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Collecting dust

With infinite spaces comes infinite hoarding. Space encourages us to consume, produce, and save everything. We try to fill every nook and cranny of a house with furniture and paintings like we do uploading files to Dropbox.

Hoarding is the paradoxical desire of collecting everything to own nothing. We keep building a massive repertoire with the excuse that one day we’ll go back and only keep what’s essential. But throwing away excess never happens without the added pressure of a significant change.

The process of elimination comes at the cost of severe stress. We wish to throw it all away and start over just to avoid the complications of sorting. It’s impossible to define what’s essential when there’s zero marginal cost to collect another item. Infinite space is a zero-sum game, especially in the digital world.

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Inside Dropbox’s Quest to Bury the Hard Drive

In the future as imagined by Dropbox, the gadgets are dumb, the features are smart, and data trumps devices. And that data doesn’t just follow us on our laptops, phones, and tablets. It’s in our cars, our fridges, our watches. Dropbox may or may not ultimately build that future. But it’s hard to imagine that someone won’t. Maybe someday a service like Dropbox will be more like a public utility, basic infrastructure for pervasive data that would be invisible, assumed, inevitable.

The genius of Dropbox is its agnosticism; it works across all Smart machines and operating systems as Internet pipes.

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One Second on the Internet

Leaders:  Facebook Likes, Google Searches & YouTube Views,  Dropbox uploads, and then Tweets.  

Nuts.  

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Dreaming of what Dropbox might have done

Dropbox is the perfect way to let us mix it up however we want. Use an Android phone and an Apple tablet. It disrupts the major platform vendors’ attempts at hegemony. Houston shows a picture of the major platforms and explains that the vendors don’t want their users’ data intermingled. But Dropbox tries to undo that, successfully. And they will keep pushing.

Dropbox is a translucent product that works across devices and competing operating systems.  Dropbox is platform neutral.  

Still, Developer Dave Fargo explains why Dropbox should be doing more

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“There are 30,000 days in your life.”

Dropbox’s CEO Drew Houston’s Commencement address at MIT:  

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The Right Tools: Apps That Will Save You Time and Headaches

As a worker, blogger, and commuter I’m always searching for the right tools to capture content.

Here’s the breakdown of a some essential apps that will help you on the go or at the desk. It took me a while to realize these were the best tools so I hope it helps save you time and money.

The Toolkit

Instapaper: Use this to save your favorite articles across the web. Those articles are like pennies you may never use but at least you know where they’re saved when you need to come back to them. You may also want to create categories to classify those articles further. I have built folders for anything social media related to health.

If you use Google Reader or even the Safari browser on Mac or iOS, make sure you install the “Read Later” Instapaper button for instant one click saving.

Evernote: I resisted using Evernote for years. The UI was a bit clunky and I had other ways to dump content. However, the last two months at work have been nuts and I needed a quick reference tool for all my notes and next steps on projects. Basically, Evernote saved me from rummaging through my Microsoft Inbox to find that important email. It also enabled me to send people a URL of clean summarized notes with snapshots and examples. Additionally, I use Evernote to dump blog posts ideas.

Scrivener: If you’re a writer and publisher this is your best tool. Scrivener excels in keeping your chapters formatted as you visualize them and most importantly, compiling the finished product in the right file format for distribution to Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iTunes.

The program is as advanced as you want it to be.

Drafts app: The best notebook is the one you have with you. The Drafts app is the quickest way to record and store any idea, opening right up to a blank page. Once you get your idea down, you can also share it everywhere with one click: to social networks, Evernote, Day One, et al.

I write my blog posts on Drafts and then copy it in Markdown. This saves me time from manually entering HTML on the Tumblr app.

Day One: This is the modern digital diary. It’s beautifully designed to collect private thoughts and memories in a clean, easy to navigate interface. I’ve been writing in Day One daily for more than a year. I love scanning back to a random entry and seeing where I was and futuring to see where I want to go next.

Dropbox: Dropbox is the definition of cloud access. I keep all my files on Dropbox, off my computer so I can access them from anywhere. I also use Dropbox to save all my images. I even have an ifft recipe set up to save each of my Instagram photos.

Camera+: Camera+ should be your default camera app for iPhone. It opens fast, allows rapid shots, cool filters, focus tools to avoid tilt, and instant share options.

All of these tools, minus Scrivener, are available as Smartphone and desktop apps and share everything in the cloud for ubiquitous access.

What’s in your tool Arsenal and why is it so useful? Please chime in on the comments below.

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Freemium has run its course

Freemium is a viable model.  You’re going to have a hell of time getting people to pay for your product if you don’t have good marketing and press.

If it wasn’t for freemium, I wouldn’t have tried Dropbox nor Spotify.  Of course, I let the latter expire.   And Dropbox just doubled my cloud space.  

Freemium is the right model, for some. 

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Simplify

Spotify is still a work in progress in terms of design and rivaling iTunes extensive library but what it has done is simplify music access.

Spotify is available on every device possible, making music truly ubiquitous.  You just turn on music (Spotify) when needed, as you do the nearest water faucet for water.

It’s all about reducing choices and unnecessary steps, narrowing clutter, and adding a touch of class to boot. (link)

Like Spotify, Square is a touch away for an instant mobile payment.  Anyone can be a vendor.  Instagram turns amateurs into neo-photographers.  You can backup any file seamlessly into Dropbox.  It’s iCloud done right.  And the Day One App turns all computers and mobile devices into a life-streaming diary.

Keep it simple or prepare to be disrupted.

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Cloud Wars

Google Drive is yet another Google ambition to own all our data and make it accessible from everywhere.

Admittedly, 100GB for 4.99/month is a steal. We’ll never have to buy an external hard drive again.

But the central flaw to Google Drive is simplicity. People want more than tons of space. They want tools that make it super easy to store and share stuff. That’s why the DropBox right click share feature is key.

DropBox is an amazing product. It was the first in seamless backup and is more importantly, well designed and mobile. All my Instagram photos automatically save there.

DropBox is Apple’s real iCloud service. It looks and integrates with all Apple products as if it were part of the family.

The online hard drive is no different than the plethora of external hard drives. It’s a matter of choice. If you like space and a dumping ground for backup go with Google. If you like design, shortcuts, and simplicity use DropBox. iCloud is still a service that doesn’t feel optimized yet.