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10 Ways To Use Your Cloud Storage

10 Ways To Use Your Cloud Storage

In case you’re not entirely sure what ‘cloud storage’ is, it’s basically a virtual place to save data online. It’s an online alternative to an external hard drive or other storage hardware really. There are plenty of ways we can use our cloud storage. Here, Make Use Of have shared 10 ways you can use your cloud storage that you may not have thought of:

One would think that by now we would have covered all the different ways to put free cloud storage to use. We here at MakeUseOf.com have done our little bit. I put my own brain cells on overdrive and came up with some uses of cloud storage that are creative a few months back. But we all need a constant source of inspiration, and it usually comes from the stories of others all around us.

When we talk about cloud storage, it usually comes down to a showdown between the big three – Dropbox, SkyDrive, and Google Drive. You can throw Box.net into it too as a serious player. Or Ubuntu One. Names may change, but the common denominator is that we use them for backup and collaboration. So, let’s try to find some more interesting ways to fill up all the space they give us for free.

As a Family History Vault…Interviews with Grandparents

    I found this touching use of cloud storage while browsing through Dropbox – 100 Million Thanks sub-site. While the majority of us use Dropbox and other cloud storage options for backup and collaborative work, someone was inspired to use it as a place to store family “jewels” – interviews with their great-grandparent encapsulating his life story.

    Save All Your Gmail Attachments to Google Drive

    Aaron gave us a detailed walkthrough on using Attachments.me to save all your Gmail attachments to Google Drive, SkyDrive, Dropbox, and Box. It is one of the better ways to cover four cloud services with a single application. Attachments.me has a free plan and two paid flavors. With Attachments.me, you can also set up rules or filters to redirect specific files to specific folders. You can set up two rules in the free plan.

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      You can also use simple Google Scripts to set up automated workflows for saving file and image attachments to Google Drive. Digital Inspiration gives you two useful scripts to send your Gmail attachments to Google Drive and also auto-save your Gmail image attachments to Google Drive. The latter is handy because Google Drive can perform OCR on images and PDF files to extract text. Microsoft SkyDrive also has an OCR feature. For instance, if you have a bunch of PDFs on Google Drive, you can easily search through them from the search bar.

      Keep Your Voice Memos on Dropbox

        DropVox is an appropriately named iOS app that records voice memos and sends it directly to Dropbox. The app is simple in itself. With a single-click you can capture your spoken ideas and reminders in the form of voice memos and auto-upload to Dropbox as compressed M4A file format. The app costs $1.99 in the iTunes Store.

        Embed Video with Google Drive

        Google Drive is a handy option to go for if you want to upload your own videos and embed them on a website or blog. This is a useful option if you do not want to use YouTube or any other video hosting site.

        1. Log into Google Drive. Click on Upload.

        2. Select the video and click on the Share button to change viewing access from Private to Public if you want to host it on a blog or website.

        3. Right-click on the uploaded video file and select Open with – Google Drive Viewer.

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          4. On the Google Drive Viewer page, select File – Embed this video. Copy-paste the embed code on your blog.

            Use Google Drive as a File Previewer

            Google Drive can be used as an impromptu file viewer. Currently it supports 30 file types. That includes code file formats like — .CSS, .HTML, .PHP, .C, .CPP, .H, .HPP, .JS. You can view .ZIP and .RAR formats as well. If you have a file meant for a vector illustration program and it’s not installed, try opening the file in Google Drive. It can open Adobe Illustrator (.AI) and scalable vector graphics (.SVG) files. The same workaround applies for AutoCAD (.DXF) files as well.

              Supported file types which are 25 MB or less can be viewed and printed if required. To view a file, click on the file’s title in Google Drive. See the list of supported file types.

              Use Dropbox as a Wallpaper Repository

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                Mark talked about Desktoppr back in 2012 when it was giving out beta-invites. It still is a great tool for controlling the appearance of your desktop wallpaper with the help of Dropbox. As Dropbox is platform-agnostic, Desktoppr works with nearly every OS. You can sign-in and connect Desktoppr to a “Wallpaper” folder in your Dropbox after due authorization. The folder will be updated with the latest wallpapers. You can also upload your own wallpapers to Desktoppr by adding your own images to a Desktoppr wallpaper folder inside Dropbox. The wallpapers will be synced by the web app for public viewing.

                Set your Dropbox wallpaper folder as the default Picture Location. On Windows, go to Control Panel – Appearance – Personalization.

                Create Video Quizzes On Google Drive

                  Yes, you can do that now with Forms on Google Drive. In a latest update, you can embed a YouTube video inside a form and create more interactive quizzes and questionnaires.

                  Send Out Quick Excel Surveys

                    Google Drive and Microsoft SkyDrive are ideal for creating and editing documents. Ryan showed one of the best uses for SkyDrive when he talked about using SkyDrive and the OneNote web app for online research. Excel surveys are another strong feature of SkyDrive. You can easily use them to plan events, take a poll, create class quizzes, gather feedback etc.

                    1. Log into SkyDrive.com
                    2. Click on the Create button and choose Excel survey.
                    3. Enter the name of your survey and add questions.

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                      4. Share the survey (you can also shorten the URL).
                      5. Answers to the survey questions are collated on an Excel spreadsheet.
                      6. Embed the spreadsheets on a webpage, or create Excel reports out of them.

                      Newspaper Clippings and Comic Strips

                      There are still some things which don’t get published online. Newspaper clippings is one such. There are articles which I don’t find any online copies for. The next best thing – use a camera to scan the copy and convert it into a graphic for online safekeeping. For example, our leading national daily has a weekly financial advice column. The sum total of that knowledge goes into a Dropbox folder marked as “Financial Lessons”. Another good thing is that the same newspaper also publishes the exact newspaper copy as an e-paper. That also makes it convenient to take a screenshot of the said articles.

                      Comic strips are the staple of childhood. My first love for them probably took root from the ones on Page 2 of our newspaper. Thanks to them, I can indulge my love by keeping the best strips from Dilbert to Garfield as JPEG files on a cloud folder.

                      Where Do You Keep All Your Favorite Infographics

                      I tend to fall in love with well-done infographics. There are many that revolve around a favorite personal hobby – photography. These photography infographics are not only instructional, but are also cheat-sheets. Cloud storage gives me a place to have them close at hand and all the free space to stock them at leisure. I can also access them from my mobile when I am out and about with my camera.

                      Let’s review some more tips we covered previously. Justin showed us how to sync an eBook library with Dropbox among other things. He again went back to show how Dropbox can be used to sync calendars and start BitTorrent downloads remotely. Bakari gave us ten more uses of Dropbox we hadn’t thought of then. Some more find mention on our free Dropbox guide.

                      It seems like Dropbox gets all the attention, but if cloud storage can be seen as a stocking and forwarding space, then are surely many innovative ways to use all of them. I am sure you have some of them in mind. That’s what the comment space is for. Give us your best tips and some more you think should be possible but don’t know how yet. We will figure them out. Also, tell us about your cloud storage of choice.

                      Written by Saikat Basu. Saikat is a techno-adventurer in a writer’s garb. When he is not scouring the net for tech news, you can catch him looking for life hacks and learning tidbits. You can find him on Google+ & Twitter watching over the world.

                      10 Ways To Use Your Cloud Storage The You May Not Have Thought Of | Make Use Of

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                      Siobhan Harmer

                      Siobhan is a passionate writer sharing about motivation and happiness tips on Lifehack.

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                      Last Updated on November 3, 2020

                      20 Best Mac Apps for Productivity You Need in 2020

                      20 Best Mac Apps for Productivity You Need in 2020

                      Whether you use your Mac for work or just for your personal projects, you’ve likely found yourself wondering how to improve your productivity. There are only so many hours in a day, and so much mental stamina you can muster before you run out.

                      There are dozens of tricks you can use to improve your own productivity and outlook, but if you’re looking for a more objective, comprehensive fix, the best thing to do is equip your Mac with productivity apps designed to help you do more in less time.

                      This Lifehack-exclusive list has some of the best productivity apps to help you feel less tired, improve your energy, and ultimately help you get more done every day.

                      What Makes For the Best Productivity Apps?

                      Beyond productivity tips, there are dozens of productivity apps to choose from too. With that in mind, here are some of the core aspects of ideal productivity apps that have formed this list.

                      • Non-intrusive – you want a productivity app to weave seamlessly into your workflow and not cause disruptions. From using the app to the overall display, it shouldn’t cause any interruptions.
                      • Good interface – Again, you want to be able to use these apps easily and have them benefit you. The easier you can navigate around these apps, the better.
                      • Fair pricing – Many of these have free trials that allow you a good chance to test before you buy. If you do decide to pay for it, the monthly pricing plans should be reasonable for what you are getting.

                      1. Todoist

                        Available for all iOS devices, Todoist is a note-taking and organization app that can keep you on top of all your projects—both personal and professional.

                        Its best features are all free to use, including browser extensions, task creation, and interactive boards you can use to organize all your notes.

                        If you want to pay the optional $29 yearly fee, you can get even more advanced features like backups and automatic reminders. Even with the free version, you’ll stay far more organized.

                        Download: Todoist

                        2. 1Password

                          You may not realize it, but you probably spend a ton of time recalling your passwords, especially if and when you forget one to an app you use on a regular basis.

                          1Password is an app for Mac that saves and remembers all your passwords for you in one place, so you can access all your favorite sites with a single click.

                          You’ll save time and keep all your accounts secure simultaneously. A personal plan is $2.99 per month.

                          Download: 1Password

                          3. Bear

                            Bear is a unique kind of note-taking app designed to make it easier for Mac users to jot down notes on the go. With it, you can create to-do lists, give yourself reminders, and outline concepts for future brainstorming sessions.

                            It comes with many different inline styles so you can customize your notes to your personal preferences, and remember the context in which you wrote them. The core version is free, with a $14.99 per year version available as well.

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                            Download: Bear

                            4. Hazel

                              Hazel by noodlesoft is an automated organization tool designed for Mac that will help you automatically organize your files based on any custom rules you want to create.

                              For example, you can set it to move untouched items from one folder into another folder labeled “action items” if they haven’t been addressed within a week. It can save you hours of organization over the course of a few weeks. A single license is a flat $32.

                              Download: noodlesoft

                              5. Alfred

                                Alfred is an all-in-one app designed to save you time with Mac shortcuts and convenient custom actions. You can use it in a variety of ways.

                                For example, you can access Alfred’s clipboard memory so you don’t copy and paste the same material over and over, or set up custom workflows to automate some of your most repetitive tasks.

                                It’s a paid app, with multiple price points based on the features you desire.

                                Download: Alfred

                                6. TextExpander

                                  TextExpander does exactly what the name suggests; it allows you to type a short snippet of text, and expand that text automatically.

                                  For example, you can create a custom expansion that allows you to conjure a full paragraph you type repeatedly by simply typing a unique abbreviation. Once you get used to your custom combinations, you’ll spare your fingers from typing thousands of words.

                                  An individual account is $3.33 per month.

                                  Download: TextExpander

                                  7. Backblaze

                                    If you’ve ever experienced a crash, or theft of your Mac, you know how much time a system restore can cost you. You’ll spend hours replacing the files you lost, and lose thousands of files that are irreplaceable.

                                    Backblaze is an automated, inexpensive way to back up your entire Mac for just $5 a month.

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                                    Download: Backblaze

                                    8. Keyboard Maestro

                                      Keyboard Maestro is an older app that still has the power to make your life easier. With it, you can automate any number of tasks based on a certain trigger (such as a hotkey combination, or an event like connecting to a wireless network). A single license only costs $36.

                                      Download: Keyboard Maestro

                                      9. Snagit

                                        There are many applications for a good screen-capture app, whether you’re trying to illustrate a tech problem you have or just want to make an interesting meme. Snagit makes it easy, with built-in editing for both still images and video. A single license covers two machines, and costs $49.95.

                                        Download: TechSmith/Snagit

                                        10. Bartender

                                          Bartender is the cleverly-named app that helps you clean up and organize all your menu bar icons. You can also access them quickly with keyboard shortcuts.

                                          If you’re like most Mac users, those icons get cluttered quickly and stop you from working efficiently. It’s free to try for 4 weeks, after which you’ll need a $15 license.

                                          Download: Bartender

                                          11. Otter

                                          Otter is the Mac app for the note taker who hates typing. It’s an intelligent voice-recognition system and note-taking app that will help you transcribe your conversations, keep notes during meetings, and even take contextual notes to yourself in your own time.

                                          Best of all, it’s free to get started!

                                          Download: Otter

                                          12. Flux

                                            Do you often find yourself feeling tired throughout the day, or feeling unable to get to sleep after a day of staring at your computer? That could be because of the unnatural blue light that radiates from your Mac.

                                            Flux naturally adapts your display to emit light that matches the time of day, so you can sleep better and feel less tired. It’s also free!

                                            Download: Flux

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                                            13. PDFpen

                                            If you deal with PDFs on a regular basis, you probably find yourself wishing for some kind of tool that can let you mark up those PDFs however you want. Without a dedicated app like PDFpen, this can be difficult.

                                            PDFpen lets you edit PDFs in almost any conceivable way, giving you more power and saving you time. A single license is $74.95.

                                            Download: Smile Software/PDFpen

                                            14. OmniFocus

                                              OmniFocus is all about task management. It has a clean interface that allows you to tag your tasks, schedule events, and even automate certain features.

                                              It’s one of the most comprehensive solutions on the market, so there’s a bit of a learning curve to get the most out of it.

                                              A standard license is $39.99, while the pro version is $79.99.

                                              Download: OmniFocus

                                              15. Franz

                                                It’s tiring to switch between dozens of different chat programs like Facebook Messenger, Slack, and WhatsApp, whenever you want to have a conversation with a different contact.

                                                Franz’s solution is simple; offer access to all these apps in one convenient package. And best of all, it’s completely open source.

                                                Download: Franz

                                                16. MindNode

                                                  If you’re the brainstorming type, you need an app like MindNode to help you efficiently organize your thoughts. There are dozens of tools you can use to connect ideas in a mind map, or simply jot down notes for future reference.

                                                  The core app is free, with in-app purchases available.

                                                  Download: MindNode

                                                  17. Focus

                                                    The internet is a wonderful thing, but it can be awfully distracting. And if you’re like the majority of us, you’ve interrupted work on a project because of some attention-grabbing site or bad online habit. That’s where Focus comes in.

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                                                    This app allows you to block the worst offenders with custom time limits and other constraints, so you can focus on the task at hand. A single license is $19.99.

                                                    Download: Focus

                                                    18. CleanMyMac

                                                      Chances are, your Mac isn’t working as fast as it could, thanks to gigabytes of clutter and unnecessary files on your system. CleanMyMac helps you scan your Mac, monitor its health, and ultimately clean it up—so you can handle all your tasks that extra bit faster. A single license is $39.95.

                                                      Download: CleanMyMac

                                                      19. Grammarly

                                                        A spelling error or grammatical mistake can cost you big time. It could be the source of a worse grade on a big paper, or compromise your credibility in the workplace. Thankfully, Grammarly can help you.

                                                        This Mac-integrated writing assistant monitors all your writing and makes live corrections, so you’re alerted to your potential mistakes before they become permanent.

                                                        A free version exists, but the premium version will cost you between $11 and $30 a month, depending on how you pay.

                                                        Download: Grammarly

                                                        Focus To Do

                                                          Focus to-do is one of the top productivity apps for your iPhone around. It even has a desktop client that you can connect to effortlessly. The app is built around two things: the Pomodoro technique and task management. It achieves these things with amazing balance. All that you have to do is create a task and then set the timer right within the app itself.

                                                          There is also great flexibility with the Pomodoro technique as well. You can choose whether to take a 5 minute break, take a longer one, or even skip it. On the task management side, you can also create reoccurring tasks, reminders, and place a priority on tasks too.

                                                          Download: Focus To Do

                                                          The Bottom Line

                                                          These productivity apps should help you squeeze more productive hours out of every day, but they aren’t the only tools you’ll have to help you find success.

                                                          Make the time to learn about and experiment with all the life hacks that can make you more productive. By improving your devices as well as your outlook and focus, you’ll be able to get far more done in a day, and feel better doing it.

                                                          More to Boost Productivity

                                                          Featured photo credit: Patrick Ward via unsplash.com

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