At The Mercy Of Cloud Storage

I’m a big cloud services user. I have cloud storage accounts with a net of nearly 100GB of free space. I use a lot of the space for archives, but lately I’ve been using Google Drive to keep my school documents available no matter I am. And today that system failed.

Early this morning, apparently before a major Google services outage, I had saved a document I needed to print for a class later in the evening. When I got the school, and opened up my browser with the intention of printing the document, I discovered I couldn’t get to Google Drive. So no homework. It was frustrating. Class started in a few minutes and I would have to turn in a late assignment because of this failure, and the failure wasn’t all Google.

Luckily I had the original still in a Word document, and I was able to print it out and failure averted. But what if I didn’t have a second copy? So now, I need to back up my cloud storage in multiple places in case one is off line. That seems redundant and painful.

It’s also a lesson in why local applications can be important. About a month ago I removed all the cloud storage apps I had on my main machine. Dropbox, Box, SkyDrive, Google Drive, and a few more. Each of these has a cached version of my file on the local hard drive. But my thought was why do I need a local copy. The whole reason for cloud storage is so I can get it off my local storage and free up space for things, like movies.

The dilemma then is are you willing to keep cached versions of files on your local system or totally trust that the files will be available 24-7.

You could write a recipe on If This Then That (IFTTT) that copies from one service to another. But that seems so backwards and broken.

Google Drive And Cloud Storage

I couldn’t resist writing my own something about Google Drive today. Cloud storage is hot this week, and the foreseeable future. Google didn’t get it right out of the gate, most don’t. But I can tell you that Google Drive will become common cloud storage for a lot of people.

Dropbox is the 800 pound gorilla in cloud storage for consumers, and doesn’t have a lot to worry about at the moment. But the one thing that keeps cloud storage services like Dropbox, SugarSync and Google Drive from really getting all my content is file size. Limit me to a couple hundred MB or less and I just can’t fully integrate your service. I’d even pay for the large storage service if you would up the file size.

* I know some services will allow for larger files with premium accounts. *

Several of the services allow for any size file uploads using the desktop, and that’s fine, but I don’t use a desktop all the time. In fact I’m using one less and less. There is still a lot of room for improvement, and I know it’s coming. I hope. Security and privacy still remains an issue with most services, mainly because the terms of service or use state the service has access to your data and can do what ever they want with it. You may not like this, but don’t let that deter you.

Photo courtesy of sebastiankippe

Microsoft SkyDrive Cloud Storage Gunning For Dropbox

Microsoft released an update to their SkyDrive product, and they did its in a big way. This is a serious challenge to Dropbox, with the addition of Mac and Windows native app, and mobile apps for iOS and Windows Phone. But not Android mobile, which is a shame, because it would have been just as easy to write an Android client at the same time.

This is a big win for those who already have a SkyDrive account, you can be grandfathered into a 25GB plan, everyone else will be offered a 7GB plan. I’ve had my SkyDrive account for years but there hasn’t been any integration with the desktop (not Mac anyway), and no mobile use until just recently.

SkyDrive is available everywhere I travel; laptop and mobile.

There are a few quirky things about the interface. The layout isn’t like Windows Explorer, or Mac Finder. Files and folders are represented by big blocky icons, no detail list. And even weirder was they stuck the mechanism to change from large icons to small icons in the Pull Down process to refresh the screen.

Why do I think this is a serious player? Because aside from Android, which I’m sure is on the way, SkyDrive now integrates with all your systems, and you get more space. Microsoft says a study they did indicates most user have less than 7GB of data stored in the cloud, and that may be true, but the the big reason I don’t have as much as I want in the cloud, is the file size limitation. I would push video files to the the cloud drives if most didn’t limit to 100MB or less. That’s a service imposed limit, not a user issue.

Limitations aside, 25GB is a lot of space, and I intend on using it, all of it. Get a SkyDrive and software here.

New Amazon S3 Data Transfer Pricing

This is incredible. The price for transferring data into your S3 account is now FREE! Starting July 1, 2011. And now they have pricing for data storage in the Petabyte range. That just blows my mind.
New inbound data transfer price for all regions (effective July 1, 2011)

  • $0.000 – all data transfer in

New data transfer price for US-Standard, US-West and Europe regions (effective July 1, 2011)

  • $0.000 – first 1 GB / month data transfer out
  • $0.120 per GB – up to 10 TB / month data transfer out (10 TB total)
  • $0.090 per GB – next 40 TB / month data transfer out (50TB total)
  • $0.070 per GB – next 100 TB / month data transfer out (150 TB total)
  • $0.050 per GB – next 350 TB / month data transfer out (500 TB total)
  • Contact us – next 524 TB / month data transfer out (1PB total)
  • Contact us – next 4 PB / month data transfer out (5PB total)
  • Contact us – data transfer out / month over 5 PB

5 Tech Stories Worth Reading

  1. Sony cut online security staff two weeks before it was hacked
    Lawsuits against Japanese electronics giant Sony have revealed that the company laid off a number of employees responsible for network security, two weeks before attacks brought down the PlayStation Network.

    2. How to use Twitter in the classroom
    The advantage to using a tool like Twitter for education is that it’s instant and it’s to the point. There have been countless articles about whether or not social media makes us lazy, or whether it affects our attention spans. If that really is the case, why not use that to our advantage?

    3. Laptops Powered by Typing Could Be on the Way
    Australian researchers have figured out a way to harness the energy we use while typing to power a laptop. Using piezoelectricity, this method works in a similar way to cigarette lighters that create a spark by striking a piezoelectric crystal.

    4. Stack Exchange Gets In The Conference Game With Stack Overflow DevDays
    Q&A network Stack Exchange will be launching Stack Overflow DevDays this fall, a two day series of conferences targeting coders who want to brush up or dive into the latest programming technologies like MongoDB, HTML 5 and Coffeescript, with hour long tutorials put on by speakers culled from the developer community.

    5. GitHub Releases Mac Client
    Today GitHub announced a client for OSX, GitHub for Mac. The client walks developers through the process of creating a GitHub account and uploading repositories and provides a local admin interface similar to the traditional Web-based one.


    6. Cloud computing requires new thinking on privacy
    The move to the cloud has broad implications on privacy and requires a lot of discussion on the boundaries and expectations for data in a cloud environment. The government’s approach to data privacy, in particular, is of great concern, from the legislation it enacts to the way law enforcement uses it, said Nolan Goldberg, senior counsel for IP and technology at law firm Proskauer.