I broke my eyeglasses a few months ago. While loading a toolbox into the back of the car, my eyeglasses slipped off my face and landed on the concrete driveway. One lens shattered.
Luckily, I also have prescription sunglasses that happened to be in the front seat console of the auto. I put the sunglasses on and had full vision but I wouldn’t want to wear them around the house and especially not at night.
I should also mention that I was in Florida at the time but I purchased the glasses a bit more than a year earlier from a big-name optical franchise in Massachusetts. I drove to a local franchisee in Orlando of the same chain, hoping they would have my prescription on file in their computers and could make new glasses for me quickly. Alas, it was not that easy. It seems the local store’s computers could not access prescription information from another store.
A very helpful clerk suggested I call the office of the ophthalmologist that wrote the prescription and ask someone at that office to FAX the prescription to the local store. I had a better idea.
I remembered that I had taken a picture of the prescription within a few minutes after I received it last year, using my cell phone’s camera, and then had saved the picture in Dropbox. I also remembered that the picture had been very clear and the text of the prescription was easily readable in the picture. While still in the store in Florida, I pulled the cell phone out of my pocket, pressed the Dropbox icon, and retrieved the prescription from the Dropbox servers. A few seconds later, a crystal clear image of the prescription appeared on my cellphone screen.
Of course, an optician cannot easily make new glasses while looking at a prescription displayed on a tiny screen. I also did not have a printer with me. I asked the store clerk, “Does the store have an email address?” He said they did have email and gave me the address.
While still displaying the prescription on the screen, I pressed the “forward” icon in the lower left corner of the screen, pressed EMAIL, and then entered the email address of the store that the clerk had given me. I then pressed SEND. The clerk went out to the back room and re-appeared about a minute later with a piece of paper in his hand: my prescription. It was much clearer and easier to read than the typical FAX document.
The total time consumed was less than five minutes. That certainly is much faster than calling an ophthalmologist’s office in another state (especially if it was after office hours), asking them to FAX the document, and then waiting for it to arrive.
My glasses were ready a few hours later.
Between Dropbox and Evernote, I have thousands of documents filed away, including prescriptions, insurance policies, travel itineraries, bills, automobile titles and registrations, all sorts of receipts, and notes to myself that I used to write on yellow “sticky notes.” In effect, I am carrying the equivalent of a large filing cabinet in my pocket at all times.
I also save backup copies of all my genealogy data in Dropbox. The copies include the latest update of my genealogy database (and several earlier versions as well), all text notes I have written, all email messages I have sent or received concerning my own family tree, and scanned images of all the old family photographs. Even if I have a fire or a burst water pipe in my home, I know my data is safe on servers in well-managed data centers that are professionally maintained and backed up often. Of course, I always keep copies on my own computers as well.
You can easily do the same. I use both Dropbox and Evernote. Several other, competitive services are also available. I find Dropbox to be better at keeping documents, pictures, and larger computer files. I especially like the quick and easy method of uploading pictures from a camera. I typically upload the photos every week or two and then delete them from the camera in order to make room for new pictures. However, I prefer Evernote for “notes to myself” as well as many smaller things I wish to save by copying-and-pasting from information displayed on the computer screen.
You might have different preferences. You might find images created by a smartphone’s camera are perfectly acceptable. Then again, you might prefer to scan various pieces of paper using a desktop or handheld scanner. Evernote and Dropbox don’t care; they will accept either method.
NOTE: Almost all the companies I deal with, including my bank, offer paperless billing or paperless banking. I select that option whenever possible. The mailman delivers very little paper to me these days, except for junk mail and I don’t scan that. Almost all my bills now arrive in email where I can quickly save them in Dropbox or in any other cloud-based file storage service. (I tend to use Dropbox but almost all the other cloud-based file storage services will do the same thing.) Bank statements and even canceled checks for the past several years are now available in my Dropbox account. I don’t keep any of that on paper.
Security? Much, much better than keeping pieces of paper at the house, where those documents would be available to thieves or to visitors to the house or subject to mold or mildew. Also, I can find those receipts and even canceled checks much faster in Dropbox than in a filing cabinet, especially when on vacation or just traveling down to the local mall to visit an optician.
Both Dropbox and Evernote are available FREE of charge, up to some reasonable amount of data (two gigabytes of storage space for Dropbox, 60 megabytes of data transfer per month for Evernote). Those limits will hold a LOT of documents. More storage space and data transfers are available for reasonable fees.
Both Dropbox and Evernote can retrieve your data to Windows or Macintosh systems as well as most of the popular handheld devices of today. Assuming you carry a smartphone or tablet with you, your “filing cabinet” is available to you wherever you are.
Stop running around! Make your life easier! Store your data in the cloud with Dropbox and/or Evernote or some other cloud-based file storage service. There are dozens to choose from: Google Drive, Tresorit, OneDrive, SugarSync, SpiderOak, Box, Mega.co.nz, iCloud, NextCloud, and more.