Evernote

Top choice for note taking software

Evernote logo

If you have random data scattered around your computer, a digital scrapbook of clippings, recipes, scanned receipts, reference data, web clippings… stuff that you squirrel away because maybe you’ll need it one day then Evernote is your friend.

I’ve been testing a number of other similar programs but, bang for buck, Evernote is still my #1 choice.

It’s come into a bit of flack recently because the company have changed the rules for the free version, and changed the pricing structure. We’ll cover that later in this post.

Evernote makes filing and quickly retrieving your data easy. Your notes, files and images are saved to your computers’ hard drives and simultaneously to Evernote’s own servers. Its main raison d’etre is quick and easy location of those data. You have the advantages of online storage, instant powerful search capability, and automatic synchronization between your computers, tablets, and smartphones and between them and the cloud.
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Cloud Storage

cloud iconNo free lunch?

There is when it comes to your data security.

In the dark days before cloud computing, if you wished to back up your stuff, external storage drives were the logical choice of medium.

If you worked on files using more than one computer or tablet you had to ensure that you synchronised your data every time you switched devices.

The quandary

The question when backing up to extra internal or external hard drives is: “Where do I draw the line?” If your main computer’s hard drive crashes, a backup is invaluable, but if you only have one backup drive it can be stolen in a burglary, or destroyed in a fire, along with your computer. So for total peace of mind you need at least two and one should be kept at a remote location. That means regular exchanging of drives, a potential loss of data you created since the last backup, and an lot of hassle we could live without.

Do you use more than one computer?

Data management is further complicated if you need to synchronise your files on two or more devices. There is excellent software for this. Microsoft’s free SyncToy and the excellent SyncBack SE are two very good sync utilities.

But running these programs is yet another job that we can do without. If you flip back and forth between your laptop and desktop, or between home and work, it’s a never ending task.

Enter the cloud

An extra hard drive is invaluable at home or in the office. I wouldn’t be without one for backing up my whole system using imaging software, but the game has changed for your data files: documents, email, photos, and music. There are services popping up all over the place like spring daffodils. Companies are clamouring to back up and synchronise your data files on somebody else’s whopping big hard drive in the “Cloudi.e. on a remote Internet site usually thousands of miles away from your place.

And what’s more, you can take care of a lot (possibly all) of your data without  parting with a cent.
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Dropbox

Cloud storage with Dropbox

Dropbox is a cloud based data storage and synchronization service which provides 2GB of free storage and 50 or 100 GB for subscription accounts. Save your files in a Dropbox folder on your computer, and when you’re connected to the Internet, they’re automatically updated on Dropbox’s servers whenever you make changes.

Switch to a different computer, and your data are automatically synced as soon as you go online. Even if it’s not your computer, you can still access your files from your Dropbox online account or via a smartphone or tablet app.

You can share your files with others.

The nice folk at DropBox give you 2GB of free synchronized storage, and it’s a no-brainer to use. Download Dropbox using this referral link from me and you’ll get an extra 500MB of free storage. As will I. 🙂
This is an outstanding service.

UsageDropbox logo

Because it’s easy to manage, I use Dropbox for all of my everyday working files; the ones that I access or change regularly: Files like my todo list; computer installation logs; inventory; and web site files, images and notes.

As long as you don’t get carried away with lots of big photo, video and music files, 2GB is a lot of space. You can increase the free allocation up to 16GB with referrals.

Main Positives

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Cloud storage

cloud icon

No such thing as a free lunch?

There is when it comes to your data security.

Until quite recently, if you wished to back up your valuable data without cashing in the family jewels, extra storage drives were the logical choice of medium.

The quandary

The question when backing up to extra internal or external hard drives is where to draw the line. If your main computer hard drive crashes a backup is invaluable, but if you only have one backup drive it can be stolen in a burglary or destroyed in a fire along with your computer. So for total peace of mind you really need two and one should be kept at a remote location. That means regular exchanging of drives, loss of data created since the last backup, and an administrative hassle we could live without.

Do you use more than one computer?

Data management is further complicated if you need to synchronize your files on two or more computers. There is excellent software for this. Microsoft’s free SyncToy and the excellent SyncBack SE are two very good sync utilities.

But running these programs is yet another job that we can do without. If you flip back and forth between your laptop and desktop, or between home and work, it’s a never ending task.

Enter the cloud

An extra hard drive is invaluable at home or in the office. I wouldn’t be without one for backing up my whole system with imaging software, but recently the game has changed for data files. There are services popping up like spring daffodils all over the place clamouring to back up your data files on somebody else’s hard drive in the “Cloudi.e. on a remote Internet site.
Continue reading “Cloud storage”