10 Tips To Use Dropbox More Effectively

Cloud services like Dropbox have changed the way we all use our computers and mobile devices. When was the last time you actually carried files home from work on a USB drive? However, one sometimes annoying aspect of using cloud services is that the features and interfaces change at the whim of the platform owner. Who can keep up with all the tweaks? 

So here are some new (and old but updated) tips for how to use Dropbox more effectively. If you’ve apathetic to your cloud-based hard drive, one of these hot tips might just make you feel excited about it again.

Restoring Dropbox Files

Although you only see one copy of your data in Dropbox at first glance, the service actually has a rolling window that you can revert to for any file. The window differs between free and paid accounts, but free users can restore any changes in the last 30 days. 

You can restore individual files and folders manually. However, if you need to set your entire Dropbox back to an earlier time (because of say a ransomware attack) you’ll need to write an email to Dropbox support.

  • In order to use this feature, sign into Dropbox.com.
  • Click Files and then deleted files.
  • Pick the file you want to restore, click on it and then click restore.
  • Your files should now be back in place.

How To Use Two-Factor Authentication On Dropbox

Let’s face it, the current password-based system most sites use isn’t perfect. We constantly hear about new data breaches and hacks where user credentials are exposed. When it comes to a service like Dropbox which is likely to hold sensitive personal information, the need for a better solution is much more urgent. 

That’s where two-factor authentication comes into play. It combines two separate sources of verification, such as a password and a one-time phone PIN, to make it much harder for hackers to get at your stuff.

Here’s how to use two-factor authentication on Dropbox:

  • Log into the site.
  • Click your account picture and then click settings.
  • Click on the security tab and then toggle two-step verification on.
  • From here just click get started and follow the instructions.

Once the process is done you’ll have much more security for your embarrassing poetry collection.

Using LAN Sync To Speed Up Local Dropbox Machines

Most people have multiple devices these days and if you have wired internet at home you’ve also got a little LAN via your router as well. If your various connected machines are all syncing Dropbox over the internet that can put a real dent in your bandwidth. 

By activating LAN Sync, devices connected to the same LAN and Dropbox account will share files between themselves. Which means you don’t end up downloading the same data more than once.

  • To activate it, or check that it is activated, right-click on the Dropbox icon in the notification area.
  • Click the gear icon and choose preferences.
  • Click on the Bandwidth tab and under Lan Sync, ensure there’s a check mark.

Now your devices will play nice and share their data with each other.

Camera Upload Rocks For iOS Users

While Android users can easily find their photos in their Google Drive with no effort, iOS users have been limited to using iCloud, which can be a little less elegant to use. Luckily, Dropbox offers an automatic camera upload function that works on Android too, but for iOS users it’s especially useful.

  • To check if camera upload is on using iOS, open the Dropbox app.
  • Tap Account.
  • Tap Camera Uploads.
  • Toggle uploads as you desire.
  • Now your snaps will automatically go to your Dropbox.

Selective Syncing Saves You Wasted Bandwidth & Space

On desktop and laptop computers, Dropbox syncs every folder by default. For most people this is fine, but if you only need certain folders synced to a specific device, you can use selective syncing to make sure only relevant folders get downloaded to that device.

  • To activate it, right-click on the Dropbox icon in the notification area.
  • Click the gear icon and choose preferences.
  • Click on the Sync tab.
  • Click selective sync and remove the checkmark next to anything you don’t want to sync. Now those folders won’t take up space or bandwidth for that particular machine.

Make Important Files “Available Offline” On Mobile Devices

By default Dropbox doesn’t download anything to your mobile device at all. It just shows you all the files in the app, downloading if you try to open any of them. This is obviously a measure to deal with expensive data and limited storage on phones. 

You can however mark specific files to ensure that they are always up to date and available on your device, even if you have no internet connection.

It’s easy as pie. In your Android or iOS app, tap the three dots next to any file and tap make available offline. Now they will always be available until you reverse the process. Just be aware that this is now a paid feature of DropBox Plus.

Use Dropbox & “Open With” Integration To Edit Files Directly

Editing a Word or other Office file from the synced folder on your computer couldn’t be easier. All you need to do is open it as usual and then save it when the edits are done. The problem comes when you need to quickly edit a file from a computer that doesn’t have a synced folder. 

Luckily Dropbox now allows you to open a file from the website directly in the app and then automatically save the edits. This saves you from manually downloading the file, editing it, uploading it and then deleting or renaming the original.

How to Use Open With on Dropbox:

  • Open the file preview on Dropbox.
  • Click Open With and select the right app. In the case of a Word file, this correct application is of course Word.

The file will open in Word, where you can edit it as usual. After saving and closing the file, the changes will immediately reflect in the online Dropbox file.

Use Dropbox Paper To Seamlessly Collaborate & Work

Dropbox is quickly becoming much more than just a place to store and share documents. There’s stiff competition from the likes of Google and Microsoft, who integrate their cloud storage solutions with cloud-based productivity tools.

Paper is a collaborative tool where team members can work together at the same time. Dropbox didn’t design it simply to be an alternative to Google Docs. It’s also a general-purpose workspace where remote teams can hash out projects. You can use Paper to take meeting notes, have brainstorming sessions and plan out projects, while tapping into all the resources you’ve stored in your shared Dropbox cloud space. 

Paper can be used through a browser interface or through dedicated Android and iOS apps.

How To Integrate Dropbox With G Suite

Dropbox Paper is a smart, minimalist collaboration tool. However it’s definitely not a serious replacement for the productivity cloud apps you get with Google’s G Suite. G Suite is the paid, business-focused version of the Google Cloud apps we all know and love.

If your workplace uses both Dropbox and G Suite, it’s now possible to merge the two using Dropbox for G Suite. It’s one of the slickest integrations of two completely different cloud services yet seen and the benefits are pretty substantial. By using Dropbox for G Suite you can store native Google file formats in your Dropbox file storage. So Docs, Sheets and Slides will live right next door to your normal Office documents.

Speaking of which, this integration also lets you edit Office format documents directly from your Dropbox using the Google editing tools – without having to convert them at all. This option means you no longer have to make a hard choice between two of the leading cloud storage providers.

Bring Dropbox Into Slack

Just as G Suite has become essential to many businesses, Slack has become a critical team management and communication tool. It’s an excellent way to let people work together over a computer network, but Slack lacks good file storage and management tools. 

Luckily Dropbox have again recognized that there’s a need to fuse these two products and has provided official integration for Slack.

You can start Slack conversations from Dropbox itself, pertaining to specific files. You can send Dropbox files to people through Slack directly and Dropbox Paper documents can also be accessed and collaborated upon directly from Slack. 

If you use both Dropbox and Slack, this feature will cut down on the amount of inelegant fudging you currently have to do.

Thinking Outside The Box

These are just a few ways you can use Dropbox more effectively, but the community is also coming up with plenty of unofficial “hacks” and Dropbox itself keeps working hard to stay ahead of the competition. You could literally write a book on all the things that are possible with this seemingly simple cloud service.

How to find the connection speed of a network adapter on Windows 10

When we talk about an internet connection’s speed, we normally look at what the ISP is providing, and the data plan we’ve purchased. In most cases, those two things are what’s really important when it comes to a connection speed but they aren’t the only deciding factor. Desktops systems connect to the internet via hardware called a network adapter. Like any other hardware, a network adapter has its own specifications and those specifications play an important part in determining the connection speed you get.

Here’s how you can find the connection speed of a network adapter on Windows 10. A network adapter is sometimes also called a network card or a network interface card. They are all the same thing.

Connection speed of network adapter

On Windows 10, you can view the connection speed that your network adapter supports from the Control Panel. Make sure the connection is active e.g., if you want to view the speed that the WiFi supports, you must be connected to a WiFi network. Likewise, if you want to view the connection speed for an Ethernet connection, you must have an active Ethernet connection.

The quickest way to open Control Panel to the correct setting is to open File Explorer and enter the following in the location bar. Tap Enter.

Control Panel\All Control Panel Items\Network and Sharing Center

You will see your active WiFi and/or Ethernet connection here. Click it and a properties window will open.

On the properties window, look for Speed and it will tell you what is the maximum speed your network adapter supports.

If we go with the network speed from the screenshot which is 72.2 Mbps, it means that the system can use a connection that provides up to 72.2 Mbps transfer speeds (upload and download). If the connection is faster, the network will not be able to receive data at a faster speed. Instead, it will cap it at its own maximum speed which is 72.2 Mbps. If the network supports 1 Gb speed, this network adapter won’t benefit from it.

Increase network adapter speed

It is not possible to increase the speed of a network adapter beyond what it supports. If you have a faster connection and want to take advantage of it, you will have to upgrade your hardware i.e., buy and install a new network adapter. If you are going to buy new hardware, make sure that it is compatible with the rest of the hardware on your system. The speed that the network card supports is important however, the read/write speed of your drive is equally important and the new card you install must also be compatible with your motherboard.

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How to get alerts when a Facebook Messenger friend is online

Facebook messenger can be used from the desktop via your browser, or via the newly released apps for Windows 10 and macOS. The apps and the web interface will tell you when a friend is online, and how long ago they were last online. The service also tells you when a message you sent has been read. What it doesn’t do is tell you when someone has just come online. You have to constantly monitor Messenger in order to find out. If you don’t have the time for that, you can get alerts when a Facebook Messenger friend is online but you will have to use a desktop chat app.

The desktop chat app that we recommend you use is called Pidgin. It’s been around for years though setting up a Facebook account on it requires using a plugin. You can learn how to connect Facebook Messenger with Pidgin on Windows 10 here, and on Linux here.

Facebook messenger online alert

Once you’ve got Facebook Messenger connected to Pidgin, you’re halfway done. Pidgin takes a little time to show all your friends from Messenger so try exchanging a few messages with them to help the app along.

To set up an alert, open a conversation window for the person you want to get online alerts for. Go to Conversation>Add Buddy Pounce.

In the window that opens, select the ‘Signs on’ option and save it. You will get a pop up when the contact is online and if you want, you can enter a message in the ‘Pop up a notification’ field.

When the contact is online, a Pidgin alert window will appear on your screen telling you they are online. The alert might take a second or two to show up but you will get it.

The alerts are set up on a per-buddy basis. You can configure it for your frequent contacts and leave the rest as they are. While this is aimed at Facebook Messenger friends, it is entirely possible that you can set up a pounce alert for users that you talk to on Messenger but that aren’t necessarily Facebook friends.

Pidgin can be used with several other chat services and likewise, you can create a pounce alert for contacts created under that service. It goes without saying that you must have Pidgin running on your desktop in order to receive online alerts. You should also remember that users can come online, and go offline within seconds e.g., opening and closing a tab or app so if that happens, you will get an alert but the user might already have gone offline.

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How to Submit Your Music to Spotify

Are you a new artist wondering how to get your music on Spotify? Distributing your music in the digital age is very different than it used to be.

This article will explain how to get your music on one of the most popular online streaming services. Learn how to submit your music to Spotify.

Music Distribution Companies

Content on Spotify is either delivered by a distributor or a record label. Unless you are signed to a label, to submit your music to Spotify, you will need to work with a third-party distributor or aggregator service.

Spotify works with companies that distribute and license your music. They pay the earned royalties when your music is streamed.

There are numerous music distribution services. However, the three most popular ones are:

  • TuneCore
  • DistroKid
  • CDBaby

What are the Differences in Each Platform?

All the above sites basically work the same way and distribute your music to the same platforms. The process starts with paying the fee, uploading your song or album, and entering all the applicable information.


DistokKid is a relatively new company. It is also the first service to offer a one-time annual fee of $19.99 for unlimited distributions.

There are no additional fees when releasing new songs or albums. The turnaround time is quick, and they don’t charge a commission. Artists keep 100% of the royalties. 

DistroKid recently rolled out a new, exclusive feature called Synced Lyrics

Any artist can automatically create and upload synced lyrics. Listeners can sing along as the words scroll in perfect time with the music, just like karaoke.


CDBaby has been in business since 1998. There are no annual fees. Instead, you pay for each piece of music once.

If you are looking for a service that will offer physical distribution of CDs so you can sell them in their online store, CDBaby is the service for you.

They also charge 30% commission for YouTube distribution and 9% for streaming your music.


TuneCore doesn’t take commissions. Artists keep 100% of the royalties they earn.

TuneCore also offers reports to show where fans are streaming and downloading your music. They charge a fee for each song or album you want to distribute.

Steps to Submit Your Music to Spotify

The process to sign up for any of the above three services is straightforward and relatively similar.

To submit your music to Spotify:

  • Sign up for the distribution service you choose
  • Select the type of release (single or album)
  • Enter the artist, release information, and song (or album) details
  • Upload your music file or files (File Format: 16-bit/44.1k WAV files) and artwork
  • Choose the platform(s) where you want to distribute your music
  • Select a release date
  • Confirm your information and submit

Spotify Playlists

Spotify playlists are the easiest way for people to hear your music. They are one of the best ways to introduce your music to new fans.

Playlists are owned by the people who create them. The best way for new artists to get started with playlists is to start building their own.

Searchable, well-constructed playlists are a path from Spotify’s search box to an artist’s profile. Including favorite songs from well-known musicians and mixing them with your own similar-sounding music might seem tacky, but it is not dishonest and it is effective.

The better a artist curates and promotes their playlists, the higher their chances of attracting and engaging listeners.

Of course, getting on the playlists of famous artists is an ideal way to get your music heard. One method is to reach out to music influencers or regular Spotify artists who have a large following.  

You can send them a message on social media and request swapping exposure. Ask them to include your song on their playlist in exchange for sharing their music, playlists, and posts on your social media.

How to Create a Playlist on Spotify

From your desktop, open the Spotify web player. Click the New Playlist option on the bottom left of the player.

Add a name and description to your new playlist. Use keywords to increase the chances of coming up in search.

Choose or create an image for your playlist. It is highly recommended that you choose an engaging and relevant cover to attract listeners to your music.

To add tracks to your playlist, look through new releases, recommended songs, browse, or search. Look for the three dots next to the PLAY button and select Add to Playlist from the dropdown menu.

You can also drag tracks into the name of your playlist on the left side navigation.

How to Create a Spotify Playlist Cover

As discussed above, Spotify playlists have a significant impact on getting your music heard. When a listener comes across a track in a playlist, it is the cover art that they see first.

The artwork for your music will contextualize your song, grab attention, or tell the story of your single or album.

There is no need to be a graphic designer or a Photoshop expert to create an engaging playlist cover. Below are a few tools you can use to create impressive and cool artwork.

Replace Cover

A quick and easy tool to create your own playlist artwork is Replace Cover.

You can also use the random button and cycle through random image and theme combinations to find one you like.


Bannersnack is a drag-and-drop and easy-to-use graphics editor used to create all kinds of images, including Spotify playlist covers.

Use a pre-made template and customize it or create your own. Bannersnack has more features than Replace Cover.


Canva offers a library of pre-made Cover templates to get you started.

Customize the colors, fonts, images, and filters to create cover art that reflects your identity.

Cover Art Guidelines for Spotify

Follow the rules below when creating your playlist cover image:

  • Images must be a square
  • Use high-resolution images for quality display
  • 4 MB maximum image file size
  • Jpeg images only

Streaming is the most common way people listen to music today. And Spotify is one of the most popular platforms for artists to get their music heard.

When you submit your music to Spotify and get your tracks added to others’ playlists, you’ll have the opportunity for greater exposure to listeners.

Spotify also offers an Artists App for Android and iOS where musicians can track their music as it goes live, learn more about their listeners, and control their presence on Spotify.

How to remap a Windows keyboard for a Mac

A Mac can be used with any type of keyboard. It’s probably better to use an Apple keyboard or one that’s designed for a Mac but that’s really only because of the keys on it. A normal Windows keyboard will work just fine but you will have to relearn how the modifier keys work. Again, it’s not especially difficult but you need to form a new habit. If you’re struggling with it, you can remap a Windows keyboard for a Mac.

Windows keyboard

There are lots of non-Apple keyboards available in the market, and they have their own set of keys. When we say ‘Windows keyboard’, we mean a keyboard that has a key with the Windows logo on it, as shown in the image below. Most non-Apple keyboards will have it but there are always exceptions.

Windows keyboard default behavior

When you connect a Windows keyboard to a Mac, the modifier keys are mapped as below;

Windows key: Command

Control key: Control

Alt key: Option

Shift key: Shift

The above arrangement makes sense from the name point of view but on macOS, the Command key is the more important modifier key. Every Windows command that uses Control is executed with the Command key on a Mac. For example, on Windows, you can use Control + C to copy text but on Mac, this shortcut is Command + C. You can see why it can be confusing.

Remap Windows keyboard

To remap the Windows keyboard, you need to open System Preferences and go to Keyboard. Select the ‘Modifier keys’ button at the bottom right. In the panel that opens, you need to modify two keys; the Control key and the Command key.

Open the dropdown for the Command key and set it to act as the Control key. Open the dropdown for the Control key and set it to act like the Command key. Apply the change.

Now, the keys will map as below;

Windows key: Control

Control key: Command

Alt key: Option

Shift key: Shift

If you want to copy text, you will execute the Control + C keyboard shortcut. On your keyboard, you will tap the key that says ‘Ctrl’ and the Mac will detect it as Command.

You can modify the Alt key too if you want but it maps to the Option key which is reasonable behavior. Make sure you make this change for the external keyboard that you’re using if you’re using it with a MacBook. You can open the Keyboard selection dropdown on the modifier keys panel and select it there. If you do not change the keyboard, the behavior of the keys will change for the internal keyboard.

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