File sizes are getting bigger. Security is always a big concern. Sharing and collaboration gets things done. It used to be that as computer programs evolved, the size of the files they produced (that is, that you could save and load) grew in size too. This meant that you would constantly be looking out for a bigger hard drive so that you would keep using the programs you love and not have to delete anything to avoid running out of space on your computer.
And if you wanted to access a file (be it a document, spreadsheet, photo, movie, or anything else) on another computer, you would have to first copy the file from your own hard drive to a either a USB stick or thumb drive, a CD/DVD, or external hard drive, and then carry that device around with you, connect it to the other computer and hope it recognized the device and the file would open ok for you.
I was part of this cycle and was a big advocate of CD/DVD storage, especially as a backup medium. I would backup my photos, copy files and take them around with me. There was definitely problems with this solution, many of which are obvious:
- Devices are fragile
- Devices can be lost
- CD/DVDs were a pain to use multiple times and re-writable discs were always messy
And of course, they have a limited lifespan. And who could forget the constant worry of a hard drive clicking it’s way to death.
Now, services are popping up on the internet that act as your hard drive. There’s services from Amazon, box.net, Syncplicity, Ubuntu One, Google Docs, SugarSync and more. One that I’ve found very powerful and flexible, is Dropbox.