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A Tale of Two Cloud Services

box I’ve been going on and on lately about my "push to the cloud" and all that quite a bit lately.  I have come to a few roadblocks but it’s been going pretty well.  I’ve been adding Dropbox to the mix as well, as a supplement to Skydrive.  Why do I need Dropbox when I’m paying for Skydrive?  Actually there are quite a few good reasons to spread out a bit.

I think my primary reason, I fear being locked out of my Skydrive account over stupidity the way Youtube was trying to do.  I don’t plan to use either for any sort of piracy or illegal file distribution, but I have a fear of the "False Positive".  I don’t know that Microsoft scans files, but I suspect they do.  I only have one article I’m going on but there has been at least one case where a guy got his account suspended because he was storing pornography on his Skydrive.  Not distributing, just storing.  I don’t have any porn to put on Skydrive but I don’t really want the robot scanner to flip through say, my eBooks and say "oh hey, this file may be illegitimately gotten" and lock me out of all of my important files.

I have more confidence that this won’t happen on Dropbox.

I also really like Dropbox’s app compatibility.  For example, i have linked my Dropbox account to my O’Reilly account and now all of my purchases from O’Reilly automatically dump into my Dropbox.  I’ve set up a synced folder on Dropbox that I can dump PDFs into and Evernote will pull them in as new notes.  I’ve got a watch folder going for torrent files.  I have found that if I want to save a photo from Facebook on my phone, the easiest way to do it is to "share to Dropbox".

It’s pretty versatile.  I’m working out a security set up that will toss webcam shots into a Dropbox folder as well. 

Why not just use Dropbox?  I think mostly because I really like the UI of Skydrive.  I also trust Microsoft long term a bit more to last… sort of.  I doubt Microsoft will go away anytime soon, but I’m starting to question their viability with the mess that is Windows 8.  Couple in the crazy madness of making Office a subscription service and it feels like a recipe for disaster.  On the other hand, Skydrive is about half the price of Dropbox.  Dropbox is about a dollar per GB for a year, Skydrive is $.50 per GB for a year.  Dropbox’s cheapest plan is also $100 bucks, which kind of sucks.  If they had a 20 GB plan for $25 a year I’d be all over that.  i don’t need 100 GB nor do I want to spend $100 on the service.

What I’m really in the market for is some basic image hosting.  I have a crapload of random images I’ve saved from years of internet that I like having around but I really would like to put them out somewhere for everyone to find and use.  I’ve looked into Imgur and Photobucket a bit but I think both were a bit cost prohibitive.  Dropbox would be great if I could get that non existent 20GB plan, though I don’t think Dropbox gets indexed by search engines at all. 

I’m sure I’ll come up with something.

On a side note, this isn’t a Dropbox ad but here’s my referral link if anyone wants to sign up through it and get me some free space.

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GoogleDrive, SkyDrive, Still Useless…

The long rumored Google Drive is now live.  5 GB of free Google hosted storage.  At the same time, Miscrosoft has finally gotten of their asses and given proper desktop support to Skydrive.  Skydrive, if you were previously using Skydrive you can upgrade to 25GB for free.

Both of these are fantastic deals… or… they would be…

At this time, it seems Google Drive is not fully supported by Apps accounts.  Like Google Plus, Apps users get left in the cold.  It seems to work for some people though so it may simply be not turned up for everyone yet.

Skydrive, meanwhile, doesn’t support Windows XP.  It apparently also has issues with Vista as well.  They seem to really want to use it to push Windows 7 & 8, which would be less pathetic if Windows 8 weren’t a festering pile of shit.

I have found at least one page suggesting XP support may come eventually, so there’s “hope”.

At this point, I’ve just got a bad taste from the excitement and then let down of BOTH products.

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Are We Really Ready for The Cloud?

Everyone is all talking about Apple’s new iCloud service.  there’s an article or two going around how how it “changes the way we compute”.  This is just flat out marketing of course, everything iCloud does we’ve been able to do already using several other services.  There is nothing revolutionary about it, it’s just got a better PR rep.

One of the major features is cloud storage of music.  A few weeks prior to iCloud Google announced it’s internet based music streaming/storage platform, a month or so ago Amazon started doing the same.  Google has closed invites and I don’t care at all about Apple’s pretentious bullshit but I do buy a lot of music from Amazon so I’ve tried out the service.  They gave me 20 gigs free for buying an album from them, so why not?

Actually that leads to my first why not, as in why I’m not real thrilled about the idea of using this service, or any of these services.  Apple’s service is something like 20 bucks a year.  Google’s is free for now but they have heavily implied that it won’t be forever.  Amazon gives you 5 gigs free or 20 gigs free if you buy from them.  That 20 gigs isn’t “20 gigs free forever” though it’s “a year of 20 gig storage for free”.  I can pretty much guarantee that in a year when people start rolling over, Amazon is hoping they’ll be hooked enough to shell out for the expensive paid plan to keep access.

I’m just not really interested in shoving all of my music up online only to end up a year later shelling out 20 bucks+ to keep it up.  Maybe in a year things will pan out differently.  If Amazon purchased music doesn’t count towards the quota still or something, then it may be more worthwhile.  Still, they don’t give you access to your back catalogue, which is irritating.

There are self hosted free alternatives to these cloud storage services that are extremely easy to use and serve the same function.

The second major reason I’m not real thrilled with the idea is bandwidth.  If I’m on WiFi, I’m in my house, I can access my music anyway via shared folders.  On my cell phone, where this feature is more useful due to limited storage, I’m generally on Edge cell service.  Streaming music is unusable on Edge.  Maybe it’s great in major cities where there is at least 3G everywhere but for probably 10% of my drive home out here in not San Francisco America, I don’t even have service.

Not to mention that I don’t WANT or NEED access to all my music all the time.  It would take forever to sift through everything.  There isn’t really a big deal with ocasionally updating what I’m carrying with my on my phone once a month/week/ etc.  If there is some song I really just HAVE to listen to RIGHT NOW I can always go on Youtube and find it.

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