What is Dropbox? And Why Should You Be Using It?

Even though it is totally free, Dropbox is one of our very favorite web applications here at Gadgets and Technology News.

dropbox

We’re constantly surprised though by how many of our readers have never even heard

of Dropbox so I decided to write a review to explain what Dropbox is and how you can benefit from it.

In short, Dropbox is a safe and secure disk drive in the sky where you can keep copies of your documents, photos and videos.

To get started with Dropbox, you simply sign up for a free account and download the software to your computer. This then gives you an additional folder (often on your desktop) and any files you put in this folder are automatically saved to your ‘disk drive in the sky’.

So why is this useful?

Here’s just a few ways that we use Dropbox…

1/ A Secure Backup

Too many people have all of their important files, photos etc on their computer but with no backup copy. If your computer dies… and they easily can do … or your hard-drive gets corrupted, then you could lose everything on your computer. All those important holiday photos gone forever as well as emails, downloads and important documents with no way of recovering them.

dropbox3

There are of course lots of ways of creating an automated backup (such as with an external hard drive or an automated online backup service such as our favorite Carbonite) but many don’t want the extra expense of this and so simply don’t have any backup!
With Dropbox, you can simply copy all of your important documents to your Dropbox folder and as if by magic, you have a backup of them ‘in the cloud’ which you can retrieve at any time and from any computer.

2/ Your Files Available to you Anywhere

Not so many years ago most people were lucky to have one computer. These days many people with have all or a selection of a desktop, a laptop or netbook, an iPad or other tablet, and an iPhone or other Smartphone (which is essentially a tiny but powerful computer).

So, what happens if you have a file on your desktop computer but need it on your iPad or iPhone? Again this is where Dropbox comes in!

Once you have your free Dropbox account you can download the software onto any computer or laptop, and access your files from there. There are also apps for iPhone, iPad, Android and Blackberry so you can access your files from there too. And with the Dropbox website you can even access your files from any computer anywhere in the world as long as you can get internet access.

3/ Share Files with One Person or Lots of People

If you have a number of photos or large files that you need to send to a friend then what do you do? Many people will try to email them but often email hosts have a 10MB limit and it can take ages to do too. Maybe you could put them on a CD or memory stick …. but not so easy if your friend lives hundreds of miles away!

With Dropbox, you have two options:

dropbox

1/ Within the Dropbox folder on your computer you can create a subfolder that you can easily and securely give access to your friend (or a number of friends). Any files you add to this subfolder will be accessible to them immediately and they can also add files to the folder on their computer that will be accessible to you.

It’s perfectly secure though, as only the person or people that you have given authority to will be able to access the subfolder and of course they will only be able to access that subfolder and not anything you put in your other Dropbox folders.

2/ Within your Dropbox folder there is a subfolder called ‘Public’. If for example you put a photo in this subfolder and then right-mouse-clicked on it, you would be given a public link to that photo. For example, here’s a public link to the Gadgets and Technology News logo: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/1360536/New-Gadgets-Logo200w.jpg Once you have this link, you can give it to anyone you like and they will be able to download that file. You could for example, email the link to a number of friends so they could download your photo.

So there are three great uses for Dropbox. There are certainly more that you’ll discover when you join but I think that’s plenty to get you started. It’s totally free so please do give Dropbox a try… we know you’ll love it as much as we do!

As we said Dropbox is totally free for up to 2GB of storage space but we’ve got a special link that will give you a further 250MB of space for free too.

Just click here now to get your Free Dropbox

NantWorks Releases iPhone App that Helps the Blind to See

NantWorks LLC, the company formed last year by Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, released its much anticipated LookTel Recognizer app at California State University Northridge (CSUN)’s Center on Disabilities’ 27th Annual International Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference. LookTel Recognizer, now available in the iTunes App Store, enables blind or visually impaired users to recognize an object instantly by simply pointing their iPhone camera at it and listening to the phone tell them what it is. Recognition happens in real time, with no need to hold the camera still or take a photo. The app will identify packaged goods in the pantry or the grocery store, identity cards, CDs in a music collection and many other everyday objects. It can identify locations such as the entrance of a home or office and signs above store entrances or restrooms.

iphone apps for blind to see

NantWorks Releases iPhone App that Helps the Blind to See

Training the technology to recognize objects of importance to the user is a quick and easy process. Users build their item database by capturing an image of an item and recording an audio description. The item will then be immediately recognized when the phone camera is pointed at it. Recognizer allows users to back up and export their created databases via email, enabling them to share it with others or to restore a database from lost or replaced devices.

“More than 11 million Americans are considered blind or visually impaired,” said NantWorks Chairman and CEO, Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong. “This app, developed with the involvement of that community, is designed to increase independence and make a difference to a lot of people’s lives.”

Gary Kelly, Vice President of Product at LookTel, explained that “Recognizer can go to work when visual limitations are too great for identifying items in the environment where visual identification is essential. The app uses VoiceOver, the screen reading solution provided by Apple in every iOS device since the iPhone 3GS. VoiceOver aides Recognizer to bring the power of its unique engine to solving the everyday challenges encountered in performing simple tasks of daily living by so many Americans.”

You can download the app here, or watch a video demonstration here.

Background on LookTel
Recognizer represents an evolution of NantWorks’ patented and proprietary object recognition technology featured in the LookTel “Money Reader”, an app launched in March 2011 that has already helped thousands of users with visual impairments or blindness identify and count bills. It earned a 5-star review average and a featured spot in the Apple App Store’s “What’s Hot” and Apple’s “Utility App of the Year” Categories. The original technology was under sponsorship from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and was awarded two research grants from the National Eye Institute (NEI) and the National Institute of Aging (NIA).

LookTel has been featured by the New York Times, Time, Tech Crunch, Engadget, and several other major publications. LookTel was selected as the winner of the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Chairman’s Awards for Advancements in Accessibility. The award, which recognizes outstanding efforts to advance communications accessibility for people with disabilities, was awarded in Washington D.C. on October 28, 2011. For more information, see http://www.LookTel.com.

IBuildApp Announces New Android App Creator

1307906811-ibuildapp-android-builder-to-create-android-apps-1

iBuildApp Announces New Android App Creator

iBuildApp announced today a new Android app creatorcalled Android Builder. The tool simplifies creating an iPhone and Android apps for smartphones.

The iPhone solution has been live for a few months and has over 10,000 users. Small and large businesses can now easily create apps for Android devices without the need to hire expensive developers.

“iBuildApp has been testing our iPhone building solution with small business for the past 7 months. We’ve found that it opens up a world of amazing creative ideas for how mobile apps can be used for marketing and entertainment,” said Rafael Soultanov, CEO of iBuildApp.

The free solution allows anyone to create their own apps rather than hope developers create what they need. It also makes it easy to build and automatically publish an app to an app gallery. Some customers have become so good at creating iPhone apps they have started to make apps for others (becoming resellers).

The iBuildApp Android solution helps businesses to create Android apps using online WYSIWYG editor so it does not require any coding. Now anyone can build an Android app using the web interface, without any knowledge of Java (the language used to build Android apps).

The web preview interface allows a quick preview of the app while building it, without having to test it on an actual device.

There are many templates to choose from and the iBuildApp team is building 40-50 more. There will be templates for all types of business and personal uses, including for:

  • restaurants
  • e-commerce stores
  • insurance and real estate agents
  • car dealers
  • doctor and medical offices
  • fitness centers
  • corporations
  • bloggers
  • bookstores
  • photo portfolios (and photographers)
  • travel guides
  • sports teams
  • music
  • personal social networking

iBuildApp will soon give users access to the GPS, SMS, Camera and other powerful features. These will be able to be used in many different configurations (to be released in the second half of June).

There has been a strong demand for the service. In the last 35 days the number of signups has almost doubled, beating all conservative estimates.

iBuildApp is currently closing in on 10,000 apps mark in its App Gallery (similar to an app store). Those numbers are about to double this month and are expected to reach 40,000 by September.

“Given the popularity of Android phones, we suspect the number of Android apps our customers build are likely to catch up to Apple quickly,” said Soultanov.

Apple’s iPhone App Store has many more apps than the Android Market, with over 500,000 applications and games as of June 1st. In contrast Business Insider said in March 2011, that the Android Market has hit the 250,000+ mark. However, the gap is closing and is expected to close as fast as this August.

Go to http://www.iBuildApp.com to try out the new Android app creator.