• The Great OU Dropbox Space Race. Join In!

    Shuttle blasting off into space from a Dropbox launchpad
    Credit: Image copyrighted/owned by Dropbox

    Most people have probably heard of the handy cross-platform Dropbox shared folder service. It allows you to designate a folder on your Mac or PC and access the contents of that folder from other devices using the web or dedicated client software. Clients exist for iPhones/iPads, Android devices, and many major operating systems. Many applications have Dropbox support baked right in, too. All in all, it’s quite handy and simple to use. I know many students and academics already use it frequently.

    The reason I mention it now is because Dropbox, a freemium service, is currently running a promotion by which existing or new users can associate their academic e-mail address with their Dropbox account and they’ll get 3 GB of extra space to use for 2 years, plus additional space based on how many users from their university participate. Full details are available in the Dropbox blog entry.

    The space race is open to staff and students, so everyone can participate if they have any kind of Open University e-mail address. The OU has tens of thousands of students, 7000+ associate lecturers, plus faculty and support staff. We have the possibility of really kicking butt on this but at the moment we’re in 11th place with only 744 participants to Oxford’s 2788. Surely we can do better than that!

    1. Go to  https://www.dropbox.com/spacerace .
    2. Either  create an account  or  sign in with your existing account . Note: You don’t have to use your OU address to create an account if you don’t want to; you’ll be asked for it later.
    3. You’ll be asked next to verify your school e-mail address to join the Space Race.  Type in your OU e-mail addresss . That address should either be something@open.ac.uk or the new style OU Google Mail address. This will send an e-mail to your account, so make sure you can actually access your e-mail account!
    4. Find the verification mail and  click on the verification link  in it.
    5. See the confirmation!

    Dropbox spacerace status graphic showing we have 8 GB

    Disclosure: The link in step 1 is an affiliate tracking link for Eingang on Dropbox. By using it, you get her an additional 500 MB of space (which she can always use!). If you’re not comfortable with that, here’s an unaffiliated plain link.

    Let other people know by pointing them at this blog post or at the Dropbox space race page. Let’s see how much space we can get for ourselves!

  • How To Export Mac Kindle App Annotations to a Digital Notebook

    I have a number of books I can only read and annotate easily using the Kindle software on either my iPad or my Mac. Their reading software does not have a built-in easy way to export the notes or highlights, so you need to do some mucking around to get them in a usable format.

    First step is to install NoteScraper for Evernote. Once that’s done, I use the following steps:

    1. Log into your Kindle account at http://kindle.amazon.com/ using Safari.
    2. Click on the link to your books (https://kindle.amazon.com/your_reading).
    3. Locate the book with notes you want to export in that list and click the title of it.
    4. Scroll down to where notes start and choose “show your highlights only” (this also shows your notes).
    5. Assuming NoteScraper for Evernote is correctly installed and the Apple global Script Menu is visible on the top menu bar, choose “Export Kindle notes to Evernote”.
    6. You’ll be asked for some tags, a notebook to add it to (Kindle Notes), and whether you want each note to have its own note.
    7. Done. It’s in Evernote now.

    It can then be copied and pasted into DevonThink (the tool I use) or other electronic journal or writing tools you may use.

    Don’t use a Mac? You can perform the first four steps and then manually copy the content from the web page to wherever you like, but formatting and appearance won’t likely be as nice.

    I’ve quickly posted this based on my how-to in my own research journal in response to a Twitter question by Catulla. I’ll add some illustrative screenshots later.

  • Dropbox: Will Self-Sharing Make You Go Legally Blind or Worse?

    Dropbox recently changed its terms of use. Dropbox says on their blog the change was to make the terms easier for people to read as they’re written in more accessible English than in legalese. If you look at the comments on the post or read around the net, manny people were unhappy with the change. In particular, the following paragraph seems to have drawn their ire (purple underline is my emphasis):

    Photo of a confused girl

    We sometimes need your permission to do what you ask us to do with your stuff (for example, hosting, making public, or sharing your files). By submitting your stuff to the Services, you grant us (and those we work with to provide the Services) worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free, sublicenseable rights to use, copy, distribute, prepare derivative works (such as translations or format conversions) of, perform, or publicly display that stuff to the extent reasonably necessary for the Service. This license is solely to enable us to technically administer, display, and operate the Services. You must ensure you have the rights you need to grant us that permission.

    Photo Credit: Photo by Alexandra Bellink (Alex Bellink) under an Attribution Generic license.

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