Thursday, November 27, 2008

RSNA Survival Kit No. 6

I'm flying off to the RSNA meeting in 2 days. Besides the usual clothes and anti-boredom gear, I'll be taking along the two presentations I'll be giving there.

After working like a slave on these presentations for the past two months, I'm taking extra measures to insure that they make it safely to Chicago with me. This is a whole lot easier than it was in the days of academic yore, when 35 mm slides ruled the earth.

I'll be putting digital backups of each talk on my laptop, several USB memory sticks, a university SFTP server and in my shiny new Dropbox account. To my computer, Dropbox looks like a 2 GB memory stick, but resides out somewhere in Amazon's S3 server cloud. The clever gnomes at Dropbox have created versions for Mac, Windows and Linux that all work the same way.

I've been storing stuff in clouds (servers) of my own for many years, so this is no new concept for me. What is new is the extreme ease of use and the deep intelligence that the Dropbox dudes have rolled into their product.

Since I'm a radiologist, I'll use a visual metaphor. Suppose you want to make a cup of coffee:


Alas, most network storage solutions look like this:

You know you want a cup of coffee, but how the hell do you get this thing to make it?

By contrast, Dropbox works like this:


The other thing I like about Dropbox is the several intelligent things it does to quietly keep me from fubaring my files. I can't improve on Rands' well-written account of this: Dumbing Down the Cloud.

(via Daring Fireball)

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