I’ve been thinking lately about what I use the most, what I love the most, and what makes Cat Johnson, both the brand and the author, who and what I am. I’ve narrowed it down to 7 things (for now) so I’ve decided to do a series of posts, one each day this week, and share my favorite things. I’m only as good as my tools, and I’m sharing them with you here with the disclaimer that just because I love these tools doesn’t mean they’ll be to everyone’s taste. So, that said, here we go.
Tool of the trade #1: Dropbox
Though they won’t be in order of importance or value to me for the entire week, tool number one truly is THE MOST VALUABLE TOOL I USE, hands down, all caps because I can NOT stress this enough or love it more. Dropbox in an online file storage system that is FREE to use for the basic account which I have yet to even come close to filling up even with keeping all my writing, stockart, coverart, music files and other assorted important documents in it.
What’s so cool?
From my MAC I can open, edit and save files to the Dropbox, then turn on my PC and VIOLA! open the Dropbox folder and see all the same files there, updated and ready to be used, edited, etc. But it gets better, I can open the Dropbox APP on my iPod Touch and my iPad and yes, there are all my updated files to be read.
Why is this important? I do most of my work on the MAC, but my Photoshop is on my PC. In the past I used to email files to myself. Now I can create a bookcover in Photoshop on the PC, save it to the Dropbox folder (filled with my created subfolders), open the MAC, grab that cover and upload it to my website, or insert it into the Word .Doc I’m writing on the MAC.
That’s not even taking into consideration that every time my files autosave while I’m working on them, every update I make, is automatically backed up on the Dropbox cloud servers and accessible by me from anywhere should something catastrophic happen to my computer so I will never lose files. I’ll never have to take the time to back up my work in progress on a thumbdrive that I can lose, or email it to myself, or any of the other extreme measures I used to take.
AND there’s more! I’m the editor in charge of the Just One Bite Short Story Writing Contest at All Romance eBooks, which means I get to pre-read all the entries before they go to my team, who will help me select the finalists. After 12 hours a day on the computer, when my eyes are so tired I can barely focus, and when the husband looks at me like if he sees the laptop in my lap for any longer he’ll divorce me, I can put away the laptop totally, whip out the iPad and open the Dropbox app. There, I touch the Contest folder where I’ve previously saved all the Word .doc or .rft files from my email account. From the App I can open and read all those Word Doc contest entries on the iPad, which may just save my eyesight and my marriage.
You can set a password on the APP in case your iPad or iPod Touch is a shared device with other family members and you want your files to be private. You can also set up sharing folders within the Dropbox and share specific files with others.
NOTE: Some of you may remember a year or two ago I was a proponent of a similar tool, Mesh. I have since moved to Dropbox for 2 reasons, the device support and the reliability. After Mesh failed to update my files a few times, sent me a complicated email about upcoming changes, and didn’t come through with the promised device support, I moved to Dropbox and haven’t looked back since.