I chose to freelance for three excellent reasons – my kids. Freelancing gives me the flexibility I need to do “the juggle.” With time, I’ve gotten reasonably proficient. The only persistent problem has been having the files I need in the place I need them when I need them.
You know what I mean? You have twenty unexpected minutes to get something done and you didn’t bring the laptop. You brought the laptop but the file is on the desktop. You have the working file on the jump drive but the other information you need to complete the project is back at home on the computer.
The best solution I’ve found is Dropbox. It’s cross-platform and everything for a project lives in a folder in Dropbox. It’s not the same as Documents to Go or similar programs that require me to sync before the files are available on the receiving computer. My files reside in Dropbox in the “cloud” and I work on them while they stay in the cloud. My Dropbox account is password protected. I’m not sure I’d put something highly confidential up there but my latest essay and research notes are hardly state secrets.
For the first time in my freelance career, I can just get to work without a lot of prep work. I also know I have one and only one version of a document – let’s not even go there! You can use Dropbox on your iPad, too, if you’d like. There’s really no reason you can’t have what you need where you need it when you need it. All in all, it makes me more anxious to see what other cloud offerings are on the horizon. You do need internet access to get to your Dropbox files. That’s not a problem where I live because there’s free wireless available pretty much wherever I am. When there’s not, I use my iPhone as a hotspot.
There are obviously other ways to accomplish the goal of having what you need where you need it when you need it. A jump drive is one and I have a jump drive. It’s with me all the time. Still, it just isn’t the same as using Dropbox. Not a lot of help, I know, but it’s true. I also have iDisk but I could never get it to work the way I needed. Maybe it’s successor, iCloud, will be an improvement. If it is, it could give Dropbox some serious competition.
Technology is finally at the point I need! The productivity gains they promised in the 80’s have arrived and I could not be more thrilled.
Long Live Dropbox. It’s added hours to my workweek without having to give up more sleep!