An Exhaustive Comparison Of The Best Online File Storage Services

June 4, 2015

There are so many online file storage services these days that you can find yourself lost in the herd. To help you narrow down your choices, I recommend that you visit I Love Free Software where they have a table posted that is an exhaustive comparison of the 15 best FREE cloud storage services (i.e. Dropbox, Google Drive, Box, OneDrive, Tresorit, DataBagg, Bitcasa, ASUS WebStorage, IDrive, MEGA, pCloud, Inbox Storage, Copy.com, SpiderOak, and FlipDrive).

Cloud Storage Services

I am very familiar with everyone of these services and can tell you that the cross comparison table that I Love Free Software has compiled is of great value; especially, if you do not know what services to use.

What I am finding, even with myself, I have signed up with many of these services and before I knew it I was losing track of what I had stored and where.  My recommendation, is keep it to one or two services, focus on organizing your files and focus on encrypting any sensitive files that you intend to store online.

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Remotely Fetch Files On Your PC With SkyDrive

June 25, 2013

Many people are unaware of a very powerful remote access option that is available with Microsoft’s online file storage and sharing solution called SkyDrive.

If you have the SkyDrive desktop app for Windows installed on a PC, you can use the Fetch files feature to access all your files on that PC from another computer by going to your account at SkyDrive.com. You can even access network locations if they’re included in the PC’s libraries or mapped as drives. When you browse a PC’s files remotely, you can download copies of them to work on. You can also stream video and view photos in a slide show. To access files on your PC remotely, make sure the PC you want to access is turned on and connected to the Internet. SkyDrive also needs to be running on that PC, and the Fetch files setting must be selected.

SkyDrive

I have mentioned this feature before here on the blog and can attest to using it frequently (without problem) from my work location to access the files on my computer at home (including external drives).

Here’s how it works:

  1. Download SkyDrive for Windows.
  2. Make sure you leave the box checked during setup that will allow you to “Fetch your files from anywhere.” (You can also choose this later by clicking the SkyDrive icon (SkyDrive icon) in the notification area, at the far right of the taskbar, and clicking Settings. On the General tab, under Fetch files, select Make files on this PC available to me on my other devices, and then click OK.)
  3. Open your browser and sign in to SkyDrive.com.
  4. Your PCs that have SkyDrive for Windows installed will appear in the Computers menu. Choose the computer that has the file you want, and you can view, print, or download the file you forgot.

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Storing and Opening Password Protected PDF Files Online Using Google Drive and SkyDrive

February 14, 2013

If you are concerned about security and storing personal document type files online, you may want to consider converting the document file to the PDF format, then password protecting the PDF file. Password protection of online files is one of the most requested features out there.

What I stumbled across, through experimentation, is that Google Drive and Microsoft SkyDrive can handle and open password protected PDF files, using their built-in (online) viewers. When you go to open a password protected PDF file using either of these services, you will be prompted for the password, and the PDF file will be opened online, without downloading, using either of these services.

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This gives you an additional level of security protection when storing or sharing files using either of these services’ PLUS, the convenience of keeping the file online (and not downloading it). These were the only two file storage (and sharing) services I tested, where this will work; however, there may be other services, as well, that can handle or open a password protected PDF file. I also found that you need to be using a modern web browser, as well.

I know you are probably wondering, how do I convert my file to the Adobe PDF format and how do I password protect it?  The easiest way to do this is to download the FREE Nitro PDF Reader, which has a built in a PDF creator (or printer).

After you have downloaded and installed the Nitro PDF Reader, you will notice that when you go to print a document, you will see that a new printer is on the list called “Nitro PDF Creator (Reader)”.  If you want to convert the document to an Adobe PDF file, simply select the printer labeled “Nitro PDF Creator 2 (Reader”). Basically anything that can be printed on your computer to a regular printer can be printed to “Nitro PDF Creator 2 (Reader)”, including image files, spreadsheets, Powerpoint slides, etc…

image

Using Nitro PDF Reader you also have the ability to password protect  any PDF file you desire to create. When you go to print on your computer, the print dialog box typically appears. When it appears, select the “Nitro PDF Creator 2 (Reader)”, then click on and select “Preferences”.

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Once you select preferences, the “Printing Preferences” dialog box appears. You will then notice a tab labeled “PDF Security”.  Click on that tab, click on “Require a password to open the document”, enter the desired password, then click on the “OK” button, then click on “Print” to generate (and create) a password protected PDF version of the document.

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I know this may seem like a lot of steps, but really it is a cakewalk.  After you have created the password protected PDF file, then simply upload the file to either Google Drive or SkyDrive. Your file can now be stored and opened online, with the additional security of password protection.

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MediaFire App Now Available For Android

January 18, 2013

MediaFire is an online file storage and sharing service that most computer users at home are not familiar with. With MediaFire you are given 50GB’s of space (for FREE) with a 200 MB file upload size limit. Compared to the other online storage services (which typically offer much less FREE storage space), MediaFire is very generous in their offering. I have maintained an account with MediaFire for nearly 2 years and have never experienced an issue.

MediaFire

The complaint you will hear coming from people about MediaFire is that they will remove your account is your account is inactive. There is some truth to this; however, the rule is that if you must access the MediaFire API (your account) from either the Web, your Mobile platform or your desktop platform at least once per year and if you do that, your account will never be removed.  This is a pretty easy rule to follow; especially, that you are getting 50 GBs of online storage space.  If your account is in jeopardy you will receive sufficient notice via the email account you signed up with.

The one downfall to MediaFire, that I was experiencing, was no Android App available to access and manage my MediaFire files from my tablet. This has all changed within the past couple days (prior to the writing of this article).  MediaFire now has an Android mobile app available in the Google Play Store that can be downloaded to your Android phone or tablet.  You can get the MediaFire App [HERE] .

The MediaFire mobile app lets you access all your documents, photos, and videos from anywhere. Securely store, organize, and share all your data on the web and through your Android device.

MediaFire Mobile App

Features:

• Keep all your important files at your fingertips.
• View docs, spreadsheets, presentations, video, and listen to audio.
• Take and upload pictures and videos directly in the MediaFire app.
• Upload Android gallery images.
• Create and manage folders of files.
• Share files on the go via email, SMS, through other Android apps, and with copy and paste links.
• Quickly search all your MediaFire files and folders.

MediaFire Android App:  Requires Android OS 2.2 or higher

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Access SkyDrive From Any Android Smartphone And Tablet Running Android 2.3+ Or Later.

September 4, 2012

Folks, if you are looking for a nice, dependable and easy to use online file storing (and sharing) service, I am highly recommending Microsoft’s SkyDrive. With SkyDrive you will get 7 GBs of space for FREE and can opt in to purchasing additional space if need be. This service continues to get better and better all the time and has become my main online file storage service.  I encourage you to visit the link above to learn more about SkyDrive.

As this service continues to evolve, Microsoft recently made announcement that a SkyDrive app has been developed exclusively for Android 2.3 or later.

SkyDrive for Android

SkyDrive for Android

So, if you have an Android based phone or tablet AND you are a SkyDrive user, this app is a must-have app.  I have been testing it on my Toshiba Thrive Tablet and it has performed flawlessly. I even have SkyDrive setup to access the files (and drives) on my main PC anywhere I have internet access (see recent article, Access Any File You Need From Your PC From Anywhere With The NEW SkyDrive). This option alone is like having my main PC tethered to my tablet.

With SkyDrive for Android, you can now easily access and share files on the go. You can also upload photos or videos from your phone to SkyDrive.

• Access all of your SkyDrive content including files shared with you.
• View recently used documents.
• Choose multiple photos or videos to upload from your phone.
• Share your files and photos – send a link in email or in another app.
• Open your SkyDrive files in other Android apps.
• Manage your files – delete, or create new folders.

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SkyDrive – Your Password Protected Hard Drive in the Cloud

January 2, 2012

The beauty of online file storage (in the cloud) is that you can access your files from anywhere; and from just about any internet enabled device (such as your computer, tablet pc, smartphone, etc.). If you are like me, I am always on the hunt for a good online file storage service that is reliable, reputable and is feature driven. The number of options grow daily and it is hard to determine where is the right place to store files.

Trust me, I have accounts with all of them and the more I engage in this the more confused I get and the more careless I see me getting.  Careless in the sense that I see myself storing files on a site, that in the end I may forget about, and my files are out there in never never land, forever and ever. As a result of this thinking, I have narrowed my options to a few and have made up my mind to stick with them.

One of the online storage options that has recaptured my attention is Microsoft’s SkyDrive.

SkyDrive

SkyDrive is not a new player in the field of cloud based file storage.  As a matter of fact I have had an account with SkyDrive since its’ inception; however, I just was not sold on it – until now! To use SkyDrive you have to sign up for a Windows Live ID account, or if you already have a Hotmail account you are good to go. With SkyDrive you are given a whopping FREE 25GB’s of storage.

What has changed my thinking on SkyDrive is actually this:

You can now perform (easily) batch uploads of files from your computer, as well as, batch downloads. You can select a folder in SkyDrive, select download, and the entire folder will download as a zip file.

SkyDrive appears to be quite reliable in terms of uptime vs. downtime.  You can check the status of the service [HERE] .

If you are a Microsoft Office user, SkyDrive ties nicely into Microsoft’s Office Web Apps which gives you the ability to edit your files online using Word, Powerpoint, Excel and OneNote.

The file management interface of SkyDrive just feels right… You can right click on any file in SkyDrive and perform various file operations, such as Open, Download, View Original, Move to, Copy to, Rename, Delete, Embed and Share.

SkyDrive

If you had moved away from using SkyDrive at an earlier time, I encourage you to revisit.  I think you will find that with the FREE 25 GBs you are getting an online file sharing service that is comparable to many of the other paid services out there.

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[GEEK SQUEAKS’] – Yarvik 7 Tablet PC, Mobile Wireless Storage, Choosing A Password

May 18, 2011

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A Good Read About Amazon’s Cloud Drive Music Player

April 19, 2011

Steve over at his site, Scoroncocolo, always drops me a line when he composes a new tech article. This time around he has researched and drafted an article about the Amazon Cloud Drive Music Player that he has asked that I share with you.

Amazon Cloud Drive Music Player

In summary, Steve’s article [ CLICK HERE ] explains how to use the Amazon Cloud Drive Music Player with the  Amazon Cloud Drive Service to store your personal music collection on the internet (in the cloud) where you can access your collection and stream the music content to your computer or android phone (or other android devices) from anywhere.  Be sure to check it out…

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Google Docs or Microsoft Web Apps?

December 25, 2010

Steve at Scoroncocolo has written a very good article on the comparisons between Google Docs and Microsoft Web Apps. As a matter of fact his article is perfect timing. I personally have been intensely exploring and using Google Docs.

Office Web Apps vs. Google Docs

Both of these online applications offer you the ability to create documents online inside your web browser; whether it be a letter, a spreadsheet, a presentation, etc… Why spend hundreds of dollars when all you may need is what is being offered (online for FREE) by Google and Microsoft.

My concerns in all of this is is the privacy factor; so, always keep that in mind when posting sensitive in nature documents. I realize our accounts to these online apps are password protected; however, I would like to see both entities offer password protection and encryption options for each file being stored online. Any files you store online, make sure you back them up at the PC level.

Read Steve’s Article: Microsoft Office Web Apps Versus Google Docs

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Yet Another FREE Online Storage Solution

April 9, 2010

Just recently I posted an article [HERE] about online storage which featured the likes of LiveMesh (5 GB), SkyDrive (25 GB), Gmail account (7GB) with a software client called Backup To Email; AND others recommended Dropbox (2 GB) and ADrive (50 GB).  Total of all of this is: 89 GB

Following the posting of that article, my delayed thought process kicked in and I remembered yet another FREE online storage solution called GoAruna.

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What is unique about GoAruna, and I don’t think it has totally caught on yet, is that they offer FREE “unlimited” online file storage.  Now, unlimited to me means infinity; however where the wall is with this, I do not know.

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I did find in the terms under Abuse and excessive use.

Each GoAruna free account is meant for normal personal use by one person. Accounts abusing the privilege and our service by trying to distribute content, (especially illegal and copyright protected content) to the masses, will be terminated or blocked without notice.

Ok, now that we have that out of the way, the one main feature that I liked about GoAruna is their desktop client that you download, install and manage your file transactions right from your computer.  The client file management software allows you to manage batch transfers, setup shares to files, send to a mail recipients, delete, rename, move, copy, and create new folders.

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Overall, in my testing, the upload/download process, in terms of speed, was comparable to the other online file storage services and the desktop app is pretty easy to use and understand. You can also access your GoAruna account and files online, as well; which makes it easy to grab files you need when you are somewhere else.  So if you are looking for another online storage option, you may want to check out GoAruna.

Again, in closing, I want to emphasize, that when you store files online (in the cloud), you are putting your trust in the hands of the services which you are dealing with.  Encrypting your files is definitely a plus (and a must in my opinion).

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Pogoplug – Share and Access Files from Anywhere

April 10, 2009

Pogoplug is a device that started shipping this week that really caught my eye… Pogoplug is a “plug and play” network device that I see  becoming popular with the “file sharing” crowd.

Pogoplug

Pogoplug

You simply connect the Pogoplug device to your home network router; then connect an external drive or memory stick to the Pogoplug.  You can then access the files on the external drive or memory stick from anywhere on the internet by logging into an account that you setup with Pogoplug.  In essence you are creating a network attached storage device (NAS) using one or more external hard drives or memory sticks; however, on the negative side you have to go through the Pogoplug website to access your files.  Only concern I have at this time with this device is the level of security.

Pogoplug

Features:

Easy to install — Installing your Pogoplug is as simple as connecting two cables, then visiting the Pogoplug website.

Full Web access — All the files from your external hard drive can be viewed or downloaded through your Web browser, with no need to download or install extra software.

iPhone support — Access all your media from an iPhone, and even send new pictures from your iPhone straight to your home, with a single click.

Works just like your hard drive — Your Pogoplug is accessible through Windows Explorer and Mac Finder. It’s just like using a drive that is directly connected to your computer.

Safe, simple sharing — Easily share your home videos and photos with friends and family. No uploading required!

Add-ons — Pogoplug is getting even better all the time. The Pogoplug system is expandable over the Web. Soon, Pogoplug can connect directly to popular sites such as backup, file synchronization, photo printing and more.

Specs:

  • Dimensions (L x W x D): 4″ x 2.5″ x 2″
  • Power requirements: 100-240V, 50/60HZ
  • Drive connection: USB 2.0
  • Network connection: Gigabit Ethernet
  • Operating Systems: MS Windows XP, Vista (32-bit), Mac OSX 10.5 and above (Intel based)
  • Web browsers: Safari, FireFox 3, IE 7, Chrome

Reviews: If you are interested in the PogoPlug, I strongly encourage you to read the following reviews:

Gizmodo: Pogoplug Review: Share Any USB Disk Over the Net (Even to iPhone)

Engadget: Pogoplug review

cnet: First hands-on with Pogoplug

CrunchGear: Review: PogoPlug USB hard drive network sharing

Popular Science: Access Any Hard Drive from the Internet

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Backing up the files you personally value…

March 10, 2009

A pointed question to my readers:

“Do you backup the files on your computer?”.

I find that the common answer is “NO”. Many will say that the files they created or saved (e.g. documents, photos, videos) are not that important anyway. What I have found is that when users create or save files, whether it be their internet favorites, email, a document, photo, video, etc; the human element of ownership and personal value enters the picture, whether they know it or not. I know that to be the case; especially when their computer crashes and that look of despair and helplessness appears. I find that most people do not know how to backup their PC; let alone files they have saved. I am a major advocate of backing up files and have already posted one article “Backup or Cry…” , which provides a software option. If you have anything on your PC that you hold close to you, I suggest you explore the many backup options that are available.

Usually my blog is focused on software options that are free, but due to the importance of this topic I started exploring other options for users that are looking for that “easy button”. Well, I found just that… The solution is a device called “Clickfree Transformer”… This solution is not designed to backup the entire computer (such as system files); but is designed to backup the files that you have created or saved; the files you value the most (i.e. photos, documents, videos, etc…).

Clickfree Transformer

You will need an external hard drive to make this work or you can purchase one of the combo packages from Clickfree that includes the drive. Cost may be a hindrance, but the thought of knowing that your personal files are backed up will outweigh the cost. Just remember, when backing up your personal data files to an external hard drive, it is a good idea to purchase a drive that is at least twice the size of your internal hard drive. In this case where you are backing up personal data files you should be able to get by with less; however, this is something that you should analyze and/or consult with an IT person. There is no software to install or setup with the Clickfree Transormer. You plug the Clickfree Transformer into an USB port on your computer, then plug any external USB drive into the other end of the Clickfree Transformer. The Clickfree Transformer will automatically locate your data files and back them up to the drive. You can even do multiple computers with one Clickfree Transformer.  There is an automated software option included with the Clickfree Transformer that will allow you to modify the automated backup strategy.  I also found numerous news reviews, from credible sources, supporting Clickfree [ click here ]

Clickfree Automated Backup

This backup strategy may not be the “textbook” strategy that is supported by professional IT managers; but, it is better than nothing at all and is a great concept for home based users. You can learn more about this product by clicking on any of the “Clickfree Transformer” links in this article.

Addendum (March 11,2009) – As an enhancement to this article and to further emphasize the importance of performing routine backups of your files; I encourage you to read this “Computer Tip of the Day”  by  [ Tech for-Everyone].  TechPaul, author of the “Computer Tip of the Day” enumerates backup options that are freely available to the end user.

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drop.io – The Excellent Adventures of Bob and Kay

July 24, 2008
2008 Home Depot Tour Car - #20

2008 Home Depot Tour Car - #20

This is my first post on my blog and I thought I would share a neat website I came across called “Drop.io“.  I used this site recently to post a “temporary” blog and to post some photos and a video on “The Excellent Adventures of Bob and Kay” (relatives of mine).

Drop.io enables you to create simple private sharing points called “drops.”  Each drop has four primary input methods – the web, email, voice, and fax – and a few secondary ones like “widgets.” Anything you input into a drop can then be retrieved on the web at that drop location.  You can also set a time limit on how long you want to keep the drop active.  The service has no email signup and no “accounts.” Each drop is private, and only as accessible as you choose to deliberately make it.  Each drop has four primary input methods – the web, email, voice, and fax – and a few secondary ones like “widgets.” Anything you input into a drop can then be retrieved on the web at that drop location.

Bob & Kay (our cousins) are travelling Nascar gypsies for the Joe Gibbs Racing Team. They travel the United States showing the Tony Stewart #20 Nascar (Toyota Camry).

On July 16th, we paid Bob & Kay a surprise visit at the Home Depot located in Hagerstown, MD. We really had a great time visiting with both of them. They are very knowledgeable of what they are doing and take great pride in doing their job.  Here is a pic of me and my wife with the car.

During the visit I was able to snap some photos and grab a small video of Bob starting the car.   For a moment, while shooting the video, he looked like Tony Stewart climbing out of that car…  The photos and video can be viewed at my drop (click here).  When the password box appears, enter “rick”.