Dropbox for Extended Families

Dropbox For The DivorcedRarely does a program come along that is so simple yet so powerful that it changes the way that you use your computer. Dropbox is such an application.

You probably have heard of Dropbox and have read about its many, many, many uses. It’s a fantastic automatic sync utility that keeps a copy of whatever you put in the Dropbox on the Internet cloud. You can then log into your account on any number of machines — OS X, Windows, and Linux are all supported — and have access to those files, pictures, documents, etc.

I’m not going to give you some magical tip that hasn’t been covered somewhere else, but I have found a great use of the service and wanted to share it.

My wife and I each have a child from our respective previous marriages. The ex-spouses both live within 10 minutes of our house, so the kids spend a great deal of time at each of their homes. Now, ours is a tech-savvy Mac OS X house while the others are reluctant computer owners with Windows PCs.

Being the tech guy of the bunch, I’m charged with keeping the data accessible and usable. We use a small collection of tools to accomplish this task, and I’ve made it my goal to find free or open source apps to keep happy those that want to spend as little as possible on technology. Dropbox fits the bill perfectly.

When the kids write papers for school, want to share pictures or short movies, or brag about a high score on Plants vs. Zombies, they just dump the DOC, JPG, MOV, or screenshot in the local Dropbox folder. The next time they go to the other houses, they open that local Dropbox folder and the data is magically there.

Dropbox also has a Web interface to the accounts, so they can get to the files without installing an app of any kind. This makes it great to access all of that same information at a friend’s house, the library, or even at school. The syncing isn’t automatic this way, of course, but you can easily download the desired file or use the Web browser’s ability to view certain data like pictures, audio and movie files, and PDFs. There’s even an iPhone app to get to these things.

As ours kids’ needs grow, so undoubtedly will their uses of Dropbox. For example, I use my account to store my MacJournal and 1Password data files so that they are automatically synced over the three Macs I use. Also, when I want to share sensitive information — maybe a QuickBooks file with my accountant — I can place that file in a private section of Dropbox and send the link.

The basic Dropbox account is free and allows up to 2 GB of storage. 2 GB may not sound like a lot when you’re talking about online backup services, but we’ve found it more than sufficient for syncing data between homes. If you do find the space to be cramped, you can buy more space, or you can earn 250 MB for every account that you refer.

Sure, there are other services out there that may accomplish the same goal, but Dropbox is drop-dead simple. The kids I’ve been talking about are eight and nine years old, and they have no problems using their accounts. Dropbox and similar tools really have changed the way we use our computers… for the better.

Hey! So, there’s this guy, a real friendly type, who knows a bunch about computers. He grew up infatuated with them and did everything he could to use them more and more. Eventually, after working on PCs for several years, he started his own computer store and repair place in his hometown in Iowa. It’s been open since 1998 and the guy has been teaching at the community college and writing for a few websites, including Obsessable, The Unofficial Apple Weblog, and TechVi. You should meet him; his name is Kevin Harter.

Would You Buy Divorce Insurance?

If you don’t have enough insurances like life, auto, home and health insurances, there is now one insurance you can add to your list. A company called SafeGuard Guaranty Corp. is now offering divorce insurance online. They even  provide a Divorce Probability Calculator to determine your odds of not remaining in martial bliss [see link below]. On their website the company states the following information:

Would you make a bet that might cost you your house? Are you someone who would turn over your life savings to a complete stranger without knowing their qualifications and background? Are you someone prone to street drag racing? If so then you’ll probably be comfortable without Divorce Insurance. However, if you make educated financial decisions after careful research, you work hard at protecting your hard earned assets and you’re someone who wants to ensure that their family is protected against living in poverty for any amount of time, then like the Boy Scout motto of “Be Prepared”, you’ll want to know more about Divorce Insurance.

We know it’s a lot to think about. We know it’s not something ANYONE really likes to think about, but neither is death or disability and we’ll wager that if you already have a sound financial plan, then you have insurance coverage against one or both of those. Divorce is no different. In today’s society the risk is real and tangible. No one knows what the future holds and if you’re like most people, you already know someone who has suffered some dire financial consequences as a result of divorce. More than likely through no fault of there own.

So there you have it. Divorce insurance for those who might want to protect against the possibility of getting a divorce. But I know what you are thinking? How much is this going to cost me?

The insurance can be bought in units at $15.99 a month for $1,250 of protection.  Need $12,500 of protection?  Well, you can do the math.There is also a $250 yearly management fee as well.

What do you think. Is this something worth getting?

Comments welcome.

Divorce Probability Calculator

Source – SafeGuard Guaranty Corp.

Source – NY Times

Divorce Lawyers Love Using Facebook Entries As Evidence

Last week I made comment about why we should watch what we post online, but now there is further evidence how such posts can come back to haunt us. Divorce attorneys use online social networking entries as evidence in divorce cases. Some of what people have posted come back to haunt them when they go to court. In a recent news article it stated some of these gaffs made by husbands and wife’s that were used against them:

  • Husband goes on Match.com and declares his single, childless status while seeking primary custody of said nonexistent children.
  • Father seeks custody of the kids, claiming (among other things) that his ex-wife never attends the events of their young ones. Subpoenaed evidence from the gaming site World of Warcraft tracks her there with her boyfriend at the precise time she was supposed to be out with the children. Mom loves Facebook’s “FarmVille,” too, at all the wrong times.
  • Mom denies in court that she smokes marijuana but posts partying, pot-smoking photos of herself on Facebook.
  • While this type of evidence may be only used in about 1 out of 10 divorce cases, it is becoming more common for lawyers to check Facebook and other sites for evidence. It would be hard to disprove these facts when the person themselves post the information. The article also went on to state:

    Social networks are also ripe for divorce-related hate and smear campaigns among battling spousal camps, sometimes spawning legal cases of their own.

    “It’s all pretty good evidence,” Viken said. “You can’t really fake a page off of Facebook. The judges don’t really have any problems letting it in.”

    But here is the biggest mistake people can make:

    Grown-ups on a good day should know better than to post boozy, carousing or sexually explicit photos of themselves online, but in the middle of a contentious divorce? Ken Matthews recalls photos of a client’s partially naked estranged wife alongside pictures of their kids on Facebook. “He was hearing bizarre stories from his kids. Guys around the house all the time. Men running in and out. And there were these pictures,” Matthews said.

    I bet some people really regret being so dump. LOL

    Comments welcome.

    Source – Siliconvalley.com

    Which Habit Puts You At Risk For Divorce?

    When Al and Tipper Gore dropped the news on the world of their breakup, one could only guess what could have happened to a 40-year relationship to cause it to end. Though there has been much speculation as to why the couple has decided to part ways, it makes the rest of us who are married wonder if this could happen to us. According to one family therapist, it can and the reason is fairly simple. When you stop listening you place your marriage in danger.

    A recent article also stated:

    As scary as it sounds, it’s important to remember that separation can happen to anyone, at any time, explains Berman. Just being cognizant of that will keep you from getting too apathetic and neglectful. And if you feel like you’re already in the lazy-in-love trap, she recommends against grand gestures or big changes, and instead making this small tweak: make sure you’re totally engaged in each conversation with your husband. That means not watching TV, not reading, not texting, and perhaps most importantly, not thinking about something else. Listening and interacting sounds like such a given in a relationship, but it often goes out the window after a few years, explains Berman. The good news is that it’s easy to retrain yourself to be a good listener and it could very well save your marriage.

    Though I agree that this could be one of the contributing factors, is it really that easy just to cite this one thing as being the causative factor? I believe that there is another factor we must consider and that is when you stop being best friends. I know that my wife is not only the love of my life but also my best friend.

    What do you think?

    Comments welcome.

    Source – Cosmopolitan

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    Can Using Facebook Be Hazardous To Your Marriage?

    Some researchers in the UK believe that Facebook can be hazardous to married people. They cite the fact that one in five people who are currently filing for divorce are citing Facebook as the cause of the breakup. It seems that some are actually having virtual love affairs on Facebook with people they have not actually met. Suspicious spouses are also searching the Facebook site looking for evidence of flirting and even online affairs.

    According to one source it states:

    “The most common reason seemed to be people having inappropriate sexual chats with people they were not supposed to.”

    Flirty emails and messages found on Facebook pages are increasingly being cited as evidence of unreasonable behavior.

    Computer firms have even cashed in by developing software allowing suspicious spouses to electronically spy on someone’s online activities.

    One 35-year-old woman even discovered her husband was divorcing her via Facebook.

    Last year a 28-year-old woman ended her marriage after discovering her husband had been having a virtual affair with someone in cyberspace he had never met.

    Amy Taylor 28, split from David Pollard after discovering he was sleeping with an escort in the game Second Life, a virtual world where people reinvent themselves.

    I personally find this ridiculous. These people shouldn’t be married in the first place. Obviously they do not love each other, but if they do, have no respect for their spouse or themselves. How can anyone have a cyber relationship with someone? What’s next, cyber sex?

    Comments welcome.


    Live Better by Living Life Every Day as if it Were Your Last Day on Earth

    For most of us life is a gift that we tend to take for granted not realizing just how suddenly it can end. Given that as a basis for this article I suppose I should explain what has motivated me to write it.

    A few years ago my then teen age daughters had a dear friend who at 16 years of age had everything going for him. Todd was bright, funny, and good looking. He was the kind of kid that even adults fell in love with for his giving and sweet attitude and joy for life. Then tragically one night he died when he attempted to help an older woman on a deadly highway grade. True, God must have missed Todd very much because the giving away of the mountain side could have never been predicted but when it gave it pushed Todd’s car off a 75 foot embankment into a swirling cesspool of water at the bottom.

    That same month a 45-year-old friend of mine died of a massive heart attack. Again, Louie was a kind, good-hearted loving man who was working hard to raise the daughter he loved and support the wife he adored. Louie, like Todd, worked hard and drew people to him like a magnet and then all of a sudden his flame was extinguished and we were all the worse for it.

    However, it was the combination of these two events that awoke in me a desire to live my life to its fullest since none of us can know when we will no longer have the opportunity to do the things we need or want to do. For me, it meant taking several measures that I would have put off for years and which I am so thankful that I took. The first of these was to divorce my husband of 20 years. While emotionally terrifying and physically exhausting this move has changed me, over the last 15 years, for the better,

    While I would never suggest that a marriage end in divorce in my case my first marriage had nothing going for it. I can’t say it was a mistake since God gave me two wonderful daughters that I will forever be grateful for but other than that my first husband and I were just plain miserable. For me, God allowed me to meet my current husband almost immediately and we have been married for over 14 years. Ron is my best friend. He is loving, kind, responsible, and truly my soul mate. Additionally, my girls, despite the fact that the youngest was already 14 when we married, now love him as much as I do and consider then to be their Dad.

    This is never so evident as it is with my youngest daughter, a single mom, who came home to live us again, at 20 when she found herself expecting a child. Ron opened his arms to her and she stayed with us until our grandson was a year old and Ron gave her the down payment for a little house of her own. That grandson still spends everyday with us, while mom works, and is the sparkle in his Papa’s eye.

    Ron also gave me the opportunity to return to college and get not just one degree but 2, as well as, a CA teaching credential. Then he opened a successful business and the two of us began teaching at the local college.

    Despite all of his success in CA, however, he is such an open person, that he willingly picked up and moved us 1900 miles to Missouri to enable me to live close to the sister and brother-in-law that raised me. How would I have known 15 years ago that God would have blessed me so richly?

    Taking chances is risky, be it sky diving, skiing, mountain climbing, having a child, getting a divorce, or remarrying but if you don’t live everyday as if there may never be another you can never experience the joy that may be out there for you.

    For some they consider suicide when events seem overwhelming. My answer to them is that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem and a better alternative is live as if this were to be your last day on earth, take the bull by the horns so to speak, and make those difficult choices that can change your life forever.

     [tags]Life, Life changes, Last Day, suicide, suicide alternative, divorce, children in divorce, emotional duress, death, God’s blessing,[/tags]

    Searching for My Soul

    I can’t help it; I’m a search voyeur. I’ve been watching your searches (anonymously) slide through our system and they’re giving me further insight into what kind of content you’re looking for. I don’t know who’s searching for what – so please keep those searches rolling! If you’d also like to see what other anonymous Gnomies are looking for, look no further than the official Lockergnome Hot Searches Feed. I’m seeing some good stuff in there – like identity management and Archos AV500. Although, it’s a bit weird when someone searches for autism and related keywords (according to our search service) include “Microsoft Software” and “Bill Gates.” Maybe they know something we don’t know? Regardless, I appreciate the indirect guidance you’re giving us with your basic queries. Nobody knows who you are, but don’t abuse that privledge. After launching the search service the other day, I can tell you what our top searches were – and they had nothing to do with technology. Instead, you were looking for a bit more personal information.
    Continue reading “Searching for My Soul”