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.
Continue reading “Cloud Storage”

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

Continue reading “Dropbox”

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”

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”

PlainText: simple, elegant, useful

“For editing text on iPad & iPhone. PlainText is a simple text editor with a paper-like user interface. Unlike the default Notes app, PlainText allows you to create and organize your documents in folders and sync everything with Dropbox.com.”

PlainText logoIf you use Dropbox and you have an iPhone or iPad, you’ll love PlainText.  If you don’t have Dropbox you should, it’s the best data handling  service provided in decades and it’s free. PlainText is a deceptively simple text editor/iPhone app and it’s a gem. It’s really easy to use, it looks classy, and it makes life a little easier.

PlainText supports folders and it links to your Dropbox account, so files are automatically synchronized between your iPhone and all computers linked to your Dropbox. Because it’s minimalist, it lets you focus on writing instead of spending half your life managing the process.

If you’re over fancy todo lists you can just use an “action” text file for todo’s and a “fridge door” text file for a scratch pad. I save them into the PlainText folder in my Dropbox and that’s the job done.

PlainText is free. It displays a small advertisement at the bottom of your iPhone screen which isn’t too obtrusive but can be removed by purchasing “Remove Ads” for a miserly $2.49. Don’t be mean, pay up. 🙂 My only gripe is that it’s not available for other smartphone brands. Yet another barrier to abandoning Apple. Continue reading “PlainText: simple, elegant, useful”

Dropbox: the ideal web image management tool

Dropbox logoIf you’re a web designer or a blogger you probably have a lot of hassles with uploading, locating and managing your online images. Worry no more.

Dropbox to the rescue

Dropbox and Evernote have changed my digital life. If you use more than one computer, if you need to access files from any web-connected computer in the known universe, or if you just need no-brainer burglar-proof, tsunami-and-fire-proof file backup they’re invaluable and they’re free for commendable amounts of data. If you don’t have it just click on the Dropbox logo above and you’ll get 2.5GB of free storage (you get an extra 500MB from my referral). I’ve written more about Dropbox here.

Your Dropbox contains a Public folder. All you need do is save images destined for your website into that folder or a subfolder within it. When you wish to insert the image into your website here’s what to do (it’s far easier to do than to explain): Continue reading “Dropbox: the ideal web image management tool”

PlainText: simple, elegant, useful

“For editing text on iPad & iPhone. PlainText is a simple text editor with a paper-like user interface. Unlike the default Notes app, PlainText allows you to create and organize your documents in folders and sync everything with Dropbox.com.”

PlainText logoIf you use Dropbox and you have an iPhone or iPad, you’ll love PlainText. If you don’t have Dropbox you should, it’s the best data handling service provided in decades and it’s free. PlainText is a deceptively simple text editor/iPhone app and it’s a gem. It’s really easy to use, it looks classy, and it makes life a little easier.

PlainText supports folders and it links to your Dropbox account, so files are automatically synchronized between your iPhone and all computers linked to your Dropbox. Because it’s minimalist, it lets you focus on writing instead of spending half your life managing the process.

I’m over fancy todo lists. I just use an “action” text file for todo’s and a “fridge door” text file for a scratch pad. I save them into the PlainText folder in my Dropbox and that’s the job done.

PlainText is free. It displays a small advertisement at the bottom of your iPhone screen which isn’t too obtrusive but can be removed by purchasing “Remove Ads” for a miserly $2.49. Don’t be mean, pay up. 🙂 My only gripe is that it’s not available for other smartphone brands. Yet another barrier to abandoning Apple.

Dropbox

If you’re one of those deprived folk who haven’t yet discovered Dropbox, check it out in my Just Wondering post right here. If you use my referral link you’ll be rewarded with an extra 250MB of free synchronized Dropbox storage space.

PlainText Tips

Another very useful trick for me. I’m not the greatest phone typist, so if I wish to send a longish text message, I type it into my “textMessage” file in PlainText on the computer. It’s instantly updated by Dropbox in the iPhone app. From there I just copy all and paste it into a text message.

Cool bananas.

Use it with TextExpander

TextExpander for Mac, not surprisingly, is a text expander. The iPhone app costs $6 and if you do a lot of text work on your iPhone it’s a boon. If you don’t know what I’m on about check my post on text expanders here.

Forget Notepad

For editing text files in Windows, I use the free Notepad++ which, unlike Notepad, allows several files to be open at once in tabs.

Notepad++