Sunday, May 8, 2011

How to Move Your Stuff from Your Cellphone or iPad or Netbook to Your Computer and Vice Versa

Smartphones (not to mention tablet computers and netbooks) are great, but they have a number of annoying properties. On the top of that list is the trouble getting information --files, clips, notes, photos-- from one device to another. This can be especially aggravating with iPhones and iPads because they don't have USB ports into which you can plug a little thumb drive.

In the realm of software solutions, there are those programs that will transfer your stuff when you connect your device to the mother ship, your PC. But in a perfect world, you shouldn't have to physically connect your phone or tablet computer to another machine: You should be able to transfer everything without wires. No wires is one of the points to having a smartphone or tablet computer in the first place.

There are two programs that can easily move data from one device to another: DropBox and Evernote. Using them is a cinch, and both applications are free. (DropBox and Evernote cost if you exceed a certain amount of data, but for the purpose of moving data between phones, tablet computers and desktop computers, the free plans should work fine.) DropBox and Evernote serve different functions, so you'll need both.

DropBox is the perfect solution for transferring files, especially videos and photographs. Because it works wirelessly, you can transfer your data anywhere and anytime you want. I found DropBox to be perfect for getting photos from my iPhone to my iPad. Prior to using DropBox, I had to first sync my iPhone, then find the photo on my computer, then sync it back to my iPad. If DropBox sounds handy to you, sign up here.

Evernote has a different function, but also useful: Evernote lets you sync everything else between devices -- and that everything else includes notes and items in your clipboard. With Evernote, anything I copy (you know, that control-C command in Windows) can automatically arrive on my iPhone. It's great for putting phone numbers, web URLs, directions --anything-- you want on your smartphone or tablet computer. Sign up for Evernote here.

The concept behind this is that your data should, and can be, available to you on any device. The device and platform don't matter with DropBox and Evernote: They're designed to make your data-life simple and easy, regardless of what technology you're using.

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