We keep saying things like, “The world is smaller now,” and “The shortest distance between two places is now a byte’” and when it comes to business these days we are just as likely to be working with someone two states or continents away as we are someone two blocks away.
In this post we will look at three free online collaboration tools: Dropmark Sidebar, Online Support Tools, and Fullsync.
Dropmark Sidebar: collaborate in the cloud
Is a great Chrome extension that is an excellent first step toward online collaboration on a wide, basic level. It allows you to set up online file dump sites where you can, essentially, share 250MB of free space among anyone else you allow access.
This means you can all upload files, download, edit, synchronize from the same pool of files. Set up different ‘collections’, which are basically like albums that identify different groups of files that are, presumably, related. The advantage here is simplicity and ease of use, since it runs via Chrome as an extension. This is ideal for using in a group that doesn’t have a lot, or perhaps has no experience with online collaboration or ‘The Cloud’ at all. You will need to sign up for the account but it is totally free unless you want to buy extra space. This won’t work for a major support solution, or a central file base, but it does work nicely for keeping project files nicely synchronized between all parties.
Online Support Tools: easy, instant remote connection
Is a totally free, and very simple to use web site that will make a remote connection to any computer that can access the Internet. The admin logs in first, gets a connection key in the form of a six digit number. The key is then entered at the login page by the person to whom the admin will connect and remotely control. Press Enter and Presto! the admin is given near total control over the other computer via a web page. While you won’t be able to do some things that require the highest levels of security on another system, and you may find a glitch here or there as with any remote connection software, the basis of this service is quite solid and they accept donations rather than charging for it outright. It’s an excellent second tier step for remote collaboration or even system troubleshooting and maintenance. Bear in mind that since the host computer is giving up control to another system, it is very likely to make any security programs you have go off, and any that don’t are worthless. This is to be expected and can be allowed, since you know what the supposed threat is and where it’s coming from.
Fullsync: keep your data in sync
Is a simple little tool that is loaded with tons of options for synchronizing multiple files on multiple systems. Think of it as Dropmark after Dropmark went to college and then served two years in the Army. It’s got almost any possible option you could want for a simple synchronized connection for multiple systems and making sure that they are all on the same ‘page’ so to speak. You can include FTP sites among other options. In fact, the options and possibilities are so complex, they are beyond the realm and scope of a few simple paragraphs. Very basically speaking, it allows you to automatically synchronize data between multiple sources, at different locations, all running Fullsync and it does this with a minimum of muss and fuss
A good way to get an idea of what the Fullsync offers is to read the first line of the instruction manual: “We will start creating a simple profile which updates a destination directory with changes in the source directory. For example, this is useful for updating websites on remote locations with changes that were done on the local working copy. Additionally, we will make the profile being executed at specific times.” It reads like a cross between stereo instructions and ancient hieroglyphs transliterated into polyphonic melodies (in a word: nonsense) to the average user. The power user, however, will read the description of the program: “FullSync is a powerful tool that helps you keep multiple copies of various data in sync. I.e. it can update your Website using (S)Ftp, backup your data or refresh a working copy from a remote server. It offers flexible rules, a scheduler and more” recognize that Fullsync offers a pretty comprehensive solution at no cost, and without headaches and that, my friends, is invaluable.
So there you go. Three powerful, totally free ways to collaborate and sync up with your fellows for your own personal purposes. Business has it’s important place in the world but 80% of us would rather be at home 90% of the time but when you can’t be there 100% of your schedule, the Internet and freeware always is. Until next time, my friends.