As radiologists and radiology residents & fellows, we are surrounded by tech wherever we look—PACS, CT and MRI scanners, cutting edge workstations. It’s what drew many of us to the field in the first place. Even outside the hospital, many of us work on more than one computer and almost everyone seems to have a smart phone. How frustrating is it to realize that the latest version of a manuscript you are revising or reading is on your office/lounge computer when you just sat down at your home computer? Dropbox ensures this will never happen again. Dropbox is an online service which allows you to save your files online in an encrypted format. So, why do I like Dropbox and what is it good for?
1. It’s free. The first 2 GB of memory on Dropbox is free. You can pay for more memory (see website), though I don’t think it’s necessary in most cases unless you want this to act as your online hard drive.
2. You can upload huge files to your Dropbox folders and then share them with friends or colleagues. This comes in handy when you are working on a paper or project with people outside your institution. You can send people links to your “Public” Dropbox folder so they don’t even need to be a Dropbox member to obtain the files you are sharing.
3. Dropbox can be accessed on iPhone, iPad, Android, and BlackBerry as well as a PC or Mac.
4. Dropbox keeps a one-month history of your work, any changes can be undone, and files can be undeleted. This feature has saved me many times in the past.
5. Finally, the most useful aspect of Dropbox, is that you can sync your files on multiple computers. I now have 3 computers I work on. I used to waste a lot of time redoing work I had previously done because the computer I was working on did not have the latest version of my manuscript. Now, I save all my active files to my Dropbox folder. These files then gets updated on all the other computers on which Dropbox is downloaded.
Seriously, one of the most useful tools on the internet…and it’s free. It will make your life easier, and isn’t that what tech is supposed to do in the first place?
Editor's Note: This blog entry reflects the personal views of the author and does not represent an advertisement or endorsement of this freeware by the JTI or its publishing company, LWW/WK.