I travel more than most people but I am always working on something as I travel, communicating with my offices, and generally needing to access files from multiple computers. It becomes even more complicated because I work on both PC and Mac platforms, and sometimes directly from my Droid smart phone.
Even if you don’t travel as much as I do or work with multiple platforms, you probably still need to access presentations, photos, flyers, or other files from remote locations. Perhaps you started work on a document in the office on a desktop and now need to complete it or send it from your home computer. Or perhaps you use a desktop at work, a desktop at home, and a laptop when you’re at Starbuck’s having that well deserved latte late in the day. Or maybe you just got a new Ipad and need to access documents or presentations or photos you store on other devices. What ever the case is, it seems with the proliferation of different devices in our lives, the need for remote solutions or “cloud based” solutions seems greater and greater.
I’ve used both GoToMyPC, and LogMeIn , and found them to be decent alternatives when I am not near the computer where my files were stored. However if there is a challenge with the speed of the internet connection at either locations, the experience can be more of an issue.
Using the internet for storage seems to be a decent solution so you can work across platforms (PC or MAC) just through the expedient of storing the documents on Google docs and then allowing collaboration or download to different devices as needed. I like Google docs (in fact the whole Google suite of products are great tools) but you can experience some formatting issues if you start a document in a program like word or power point and then try to work through it on Google docs.
Recently I started working with dropbox and I’m liking the experience.. When you open a dropbox account, a file is downloaded on to however many computers you use. You can drag and drop files to that folder and the folders on all of your computers are automatically synchronized. For MAC users, another program called Growler actually notifies you when files are added to your folder.
A free dropbox account allows you to store 2 Gigabytes of files and the upgrades seem pretty inexpensive (if the solution works for you) at $9.9.5 a month for 50 Gigabytes of remote storage (the ultimate dropbox.com account costs $19.95 a month and allows 100 Gigabytes of storage). For me the benefit is multiplied because I can share photo files not only from computer to computer (when I’m not using my eye-fi card to upload directly to flickr) but with my assistant who can then use them in our marketing without creating zip files and emailing from place to place. In addition, having a central repository for files avoids the “Where did I store that?” problem that so many of us face.