A store room in the cloud

A store room in the cloud

REMOTE CONTROL Though hard disks are getting heavier on memory, it may make sense to store your data on Net servers. This is particularly true for those who have loads of pictures and videos

It seems it was j ust yesterday that Seagate announced its first 1GB Hard Disk Drive ( HDD), prompting one geek to wonder why anyoney would need a whole giga-gigabyte of storage space.  Little did he know that pretty soon, GBs would be passé and terabytes would be the order of the day. With Seagate’s latest l aunch, a 4TB HDD,, you are unlikely to runn out of storage space in a hurry!

While carrying a penn drive or a hard drive seems easy, in an increasingly mobile world, doing things out of the airport lounge or a friend’s home are common and it makes sense to access what you want from the Internet, or “the cloud” seems a better idea. This is more so as videos and pictures hog a lot of memory and sharing of pictures on social media sites turns more common rather than emails.

We examine a few options that may help you. users. Since Flickr is designed for photographers, it stores all your pictures in full resolution, and does not scale them down like the others discussed here. You can download the free Flickr app for Android and iPhone, and use it to upload your photos to Flickr. Or you can ggo to www.ww flickr.com from your PC aand work from there. TheTh account is free, with ggreat options for creating and managing albums, tags, and other photosharing features.

There are limitations: Flickr works only forf images. You have to sharesh your pictures publiclylicly, with no limited-circle sharinsharing options. And there is no iPad clientcl as yet.

[http://www.google.com/plus] Google’s social media platform has not really been a resounding success so far, but it does offer unlimited storage of photos — as long as each one is limited to 2 megapixels in size. But sizes down images to what it calls standard size.

On the other hand, Google lets you choose which images to share, and with whom. It has clients for both Android and iOS platforms, and integrates with Google Apps and Gmail. And your storage is not limited to just photos or videos.

Google lets you store full resolution images and videos, too, but that eats into your free Google Drive space, which is currently limited to 15GB. You can expand that to 16 TB, if you pay $799.99 (a monstrous R47,000, approximately) per month. [http://www.facebook.com] What? Facebook? Yes indeed. Facebook lets you set up as many albums as you like, and you don’t even need to share them with anybody. The photos are downscaled (sized down) for the Web, and you will not get access to your full resolution photos from its site, but the storage space is unlimited.

[www.carbonite.com] The best options usually don’t come for free. Carbonite costs $59 (about R3,400) a year for unlimited storage space. Sadly, it only works with one computer. But the advantages make up for this: Carbonite automatically backs up everything you create on your PC to the cloud server, and offers a mobile client for iOS, Android and even BlackBerry. There is also a Web version. Set it up on your computer, and you can access your files wherever you are, using your mobile device.

The downside is that the app allows only downloads, not uploads. On the other hand, all data is backed up, and if something happens to your computer hard disk and all data is lost, Carbonite also offers data recovery.

[www.dropbox.com] We can’t walk away without mentioning Dropbox. It gives 2GB storage free, beyond which you need to pay, with 100GB, 200GB and 500GB packages that begin at $9.99 a month ( R600 approximately). Expensive, compared to the others here, but it offers a wellintegrated search for folder and file The cloud storage that you choose has to be connected to your usage pattern. For just pictures, Flickr wins hands down. It also has the best interface while searching for pictures.

If you don’t want to bother about indexing, and are happy with lower resolution images, Google+ and Facebook are okay, though searching for a particular image may take a long, long time.

If you do not upload from your mobile, and create a lot of content, Carbonite maybe the best for you, but if the mobile handset is your preferred medium of operation, Dropbox is the way to go for you. Remember, though, that its storage is the most expensive among these options. Say, you are on a flight with no access to the Internet, or holidaying in a remote resort. It pays on such occasions to have a portable hard drive. The bottomline: Choose a combination of options that ensure your digital assets are backed up at different locations, and you have access to stuff you need. See what suits you best. Find your own combos!