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Tag Archives: cloud

Amazon reaches into customers’ Kindles and remotely deletes already-purchased books. Facebook launches Beacon, an advertising mechanism that collects and publishes information about what you do on external web sites on your Facebook profile (only to apologize and offer opt-out later).  Twitter doesn’t offer the ability to export more than 3,200 status updates. Flickr only lets you see the last 200 photos you uploaded if you don’t have a paid Pro account. MySpace and Facebook don’t immediately remove photos from their servers when you delete them.

When you’re living in the cloud, you’re beholden to a third party who can make decisions about your data and platform in ways never seen before in computing.

Server Unavailability and Account Lockout

One of the biggest benefits of storing your data in the cloud is that you don’t have to worry about backing it up anymore. Big companies with hundreds of servers are more reliable than your little external hard drive, right? Yes. But servers do go down, and when you’re dependent on a web application to get your email or access that PowerPoint slideshow for the big presentation, there’s always the risk that your internet connection will go down, or that the webapp’s servers will. Offline technologies like Google Gears, decent export functionality, and a good backup system can ameliorate this particular concern, but not all systems offer those things.

Getting locked out of your webapp account is another possible pitfall.           The NY Times reports:

Discussion forums abound with tales of woe from Gmail customers who have found themselves locked out of their account for days or even weeks. They were innocent victims of security measures, which automatically suspend access if someone tries unsuccessfully to log on repeatedly to an account. The customers express frustration that they can’t speak with anyone at Google after filling out the company’s online forms and waiting in vain for Google to restore access to their accounts.

(If you’re worried about getting locked out of your Gmail account in particular, here’s one way to automatically back up your mail to your computer.)


Don’t get me wrong: I personally am right on the cloud bandwagon with all of you. My web browser is the one app I run on my desktop at all times; I’ve entrusted the likes of Google, Apple, Amazon, and Yahoo with my data just like you have. The key is to know what you’re getting into when you make that choice, to ratchet up your personal security mechanisms (like alternate email addresses and password choices) and to lobby for better user protection by hosting providers in the cloud.

What is your biggest concern about living in the cloud?

What risk factor worries you most about relying on webapps and storing your data in the cloud?

Gina Trapani, Lifehacker’s founding editor, is cautiously optimistic about the future of cloud computing.

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Google Docs is a free, web-based word processor, spreadsheet, presentation, and form application offered by Google. It allows us to create and edit documents online.  This is another very practical ‘thing’ that lets me keep my docs in the cloud and access them from any computer.  I’m not really ready to share right now, but I can see the value.

Google Docs

Google Docs is a pioneer in the free online storage market. This program allows you to store up to 5,000 documents and/or presentations with file size limitations of 500K for the document and up to 2MB per image that is embedded in the file. You can also store up to 1,000 spreadsheets in Google Docs with a maximum spreadsheet file size of 200,000 cells or 100 sheets. This program has several valuable features including the ability to lock your spreadsheets so people accessing your files can’t make changes, XLSX importing capabilities, complimentary themes for your forms and the ability to create and add drawings to your documents. Google Docs also works with Microsoft Office programs.

Sky Drive

Microsoft has their own free online storage program called Sky Drive. This program gives you up to 25GB of free storage. It is integrated with Xbox Live, Messenger and Hotmail, so if you have an account with one of the programs already then you can use your username and password from one of these accounts to access your Sky Drive account. To use Sky Drive all you have to do is drag and drop the files you want to store online into an online folder. Some of the features that make Sky Drive special include: SSL encryption, no 3rd party ads, 24/7 live support, file histories, cloud storage and remote access capabilities.

Mozy

Mozy is another first generation program that offers free online storage. The free version of this program gives you up to 2GB of storage and is compatible with Windows 2000, XP and Vista, as well as with Mac OSX 10.4 and 10.5. Mozy allows you to store any type of file you want and gives you the option of setting up an automatic backup schedule.

ADrive

A Drive is a simple free online storage option. You are given 50GB of storage space to use for movie files, documents and music files. Not only can you store your files on this site, but you can also edit documents and other files from the A Drive website.

Badongo

Badongo is a free online storage program that is set up like a social networking website. Not only do you get an unlimited amount of storage, but you can also create photo albums, music playlists and publish documents to share with other Badongo users. This site also offers free widgets that you can add to your blogs and websites.

Box.net

Box.net is unique in that it caters to businesses as opposed to a general audience. This program offers remote access, mobile access and desktop access to the files that you store in your Box.net account. The free version of this program is compatible with PCs, iPhones and Blackberries. It allows you to create five different collaborative folders, it gives you 1GB of free storage and allows you to upload files that are up to 25MB each.

DropBoks.com

DropBoks.com is a barebones free online storage option. All it offers is 1GB of storage. You can upload any type of file that you want as long as it is 50MB or smaller.

iDrive.com

iDrive.com offers both free and fee based online storage. The free option gives you 2GB of storage, an automatic backup option, true archiving control, versioning options, mapped drive backup and continuous backup options. It also gives you a search and restore feature, which allows you to find the files that you want to restore.

MediaFire

MediaFire is one of the few free online storage programs that gives you unlimited storage. However, while you can store as many files here as you want, there is a maximum file size of 100MB.

Omemo.com

Omemo.com is designed for social data storage. This means that it is designed for people who want to upload files to share with other people. There are no size limits imposed by this program, however, you do have to deal with third party advertisements. Omemo.com is compatible with Windows NT through Vista.

Integrating Your Online Storage With Your Desktop

While all of the above free online storage programs give you great storage and backup for your data files, it can be a bit of a hassle to access these files when you need them. Typically, you have to login to the online storage website, find your file, and download it to your hard drive. Not a big deal, but wouldn’t it be much easier if you could treat your web-based storage like a local hard drive?

One solution to this problem is to use a cloud integration program like Gladinet. This program will provide you with a quick link between your desktop and the files you are storing online. Gladinet allows users of Google Docs, SkyDrive, ADrive (and a few other online storage services) to access their web-based files just as if they were in a folder on a local hard drive. This program also offers extra encryption and upload/download acceleration for added convenience. Gladinet works on Windows XP/Vista, with Mac support coming soon.