As the end of the term grows nearer, we see all kinds of last-minute crises and technology issues that create unneccessary strain on students. Sometimes there are tears. Any of these issues sound familar?
- You emailed yourself the wrong version of a your term paper or presentation
- You lost your flash drive containing all of your assignments
- Your computer died and your files aren’t backed up anywhere
- You constantly have trouble transitioning between Macs and Windows machines
- You want to be able to access your files from anywhere
- Facilitating group work is a nightmare
Flash Drives Now Available at the Library
Now you may borrow a flash drive for anywhere use. Check out a 1GB or 2GB flash drive with your MOCS card for a 3-day loan period. Work at the library, at home, at wherever without having to email yourself different versions of your projects. To borrow a flash drive, or for more information, visit the Circulation Desk on the first floor of the library.
If you’re in need of a flash drive for in-library use — to, for example, save a paper you’re working on or transfer files from one of your devices to a library computer — visit the Reference Desk on the first floor.
Saving to the Cloud
If you’re the type that
loses misplaces pretty much everything that’s not attached to your body, saving your files to the Web may be an even better option than using flash drives. Thanks to those recent dorky Microsoft commercials, everyone is aware of the (not at all) new-fangled thing called “the cloud.” For most of us, cloud computing involves using web-based applications. Guess what — if you’ve used any web-based email service like Gmail, Hotmail, or any others, you’ve been working in the cloud for some time now. That said, here are three great options for using the Web as a mechanism for saving and accessing your files.
Google Docs allows you to create or upload documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and more using a free Google account. Once you create or upload a file, you may download it from any computer (and many mobile devices) with an internet connection. You may also share your files with other people and allow them to edit which is a huge advantage for group work. Have a group project and you don’t want to pass around multiple drafts of the same file? Create a Google Doc, share it with the group and everyone can edit as they please. Use a Google Doc with chat or video chat to conduct a group meeting from anywhere — everyone may edit a file simultaneously. Google Docs are compatible with Windows and Mac applications meaning that, for example, you may download your document to open in Microsoft Word, Apple Pages, and other popular word processors.
As the name implies, Dropbox acts as web-based storage for your files. Sign up for the free service and you will receive 2GB of storage. You may then install Dropbox on all of your computers and mobile devices. Whenever you save a file (document, presentation, media, etc.) to your Dropbox folder on any machine, it will automatically sync to your other PCs and mobile devices meaning you will be able to access it from any of your devices. Additionally, you may upload and download files by using your account on the Dropbox website if you are working from any other machine (i.e. a library computer) and you may share any of your files with other users.
If you’re working with larger files, such as audio/video files, MediaFire can be a handy way to transfer files in a pinch. Sign up for a free account and you will be able to transfer files up to 200MB in size. Once uploaded, you may log in to your MediaFire account anywhere to download the files. You may also share your files through major social network sites, by embedding into a website, or by sharing a custom URL.
As with most tools, you will need to experiment to find out how these options will best meet your needs. Have you used other tools to help organize and sync your files? If so, let us know in the Comments section below. Having trouble getting started or have other questions? Ask a librarian!