Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

A tidy option for data pack rats

Filed under
Web

Millions of PC users have relied on Flash drives or other pint-size hard drive storage units to safeguard valuable files. But those portable drives can be broken or lost. And if you need critical documents--or favorite songs or photos--while on the road, many Internet kiosk computers in places like airports do not have USB ports to plug the portable drive into.

Internet companies like Yahoo and America Online, as well as some smaller competitors, have taken aim at these problems by allowing users to store nearly any kind of file on their secure servers. The stored files can then be retrieved from any Internet-connected computer.

These services--some charge a fee, others are free--are useful for many, but not all, consumers and businesspeople, according to Ross Rubin, an analyst with the technology research firm NPD Group. For one thing, having a high-speed Internet connection is practically a requirement, Rubin said. "One of the key issues with all of these is upload time," he said.

And even with a high-speed link, patience is necessary. Using the online data lockers can be confusing at times and unreliable at others--which is perhaps why some digital pack rats are relying on Google's simple e-mail service for storage.

Gmail, which is more than a year old but still available only by invitation, offers 2GB of free storage. That is enough to squirrel away roughly 500 standard-length digital music files, or just about anything else of importance.

I have backed up critical folders and documents through other e-mail services in the past, but Gmail is particularly useful in this regard. Not only does it offer more storage than most other services, but if you forget a file name, you can find it with Gmail's search function.

There is, however, a drawback. Google's terms of service bar users from e-mailing files of more than 10MB. Since most music files are about 5MB, unless a user is willing to build an online music library on Gmail two songs at a time, the service is not very practical for storing music.

Apart from allowing users to upload much bigger files, storage services such as Xdrive, BigVault, Streamload, Apple Computer's iDisk, Yahoo's Briefcase and AOL's My Storage provide more options, like letting users share blocks of digital files with friends or the general public.

On Yahoo, registered users receive 30MB of free storage--a relatively paltry amount compared with other services--but users can buy more capacity for fees ranging from $3 a month (for 50MB) to $5 a month (for 100MB).

Xdrive users pay $10 a month for a minimum storage account of 5GB, BigVault users pay $36 a year for every 100MB stored, while AOL is testing a service with a small number of users that gives them 100MB of online storage for no additional charge beyond the monthly AOL subscriber fee. Apple's iDisk, which works with both Windows and Macintosh computers, costs $100 a year for 250MB of storage.

In terms of free storage, none of the services can beat Streamload. The company began offering 10GB of free disk space this year.

Full Story.

More in Tux Machines

today's howtos

KaOS 2016.06 Moves the Distro to Linux Kernel 4.6, Adds Full-Disk Encryption

The developers of the KaOS Linux operating system have had the great pleasure of announcing the release and immediate availability for download of the KaOS 2016.06 ISO image with some very exciting goodies. First and foremost, the devs have decided to move the distribution from the long-term supported Linux 4.4 kernel series to Linux kernel 4.6, which makes it possible to fully automate the early microcode update. Furthermore, the default desktop environment has been migrated to the Beta of the upcoming KDE Plasma 5.7. Read more

Tiny Core Linux 7.2 Enters Development, First Release Candidate Is Out Now

The developers of one of the smallest GNU/Linux operating systems, Tiny Core, have announced that the next point release in the Tiny Core Linux 7 series, version 7.2, is now open for development. Tiny Core Linux 7.2 RC1 (Release Candidate 1) has been released today, June 25, 2016, and it lets early adopters and public testers get an early taste of what's coming to the final Tiny Core Linux 7.2 operating system in the coming weeks. Read more

Huawei CEO: Will keep using Android as long as it's open

He made the said comment in a Weibo post, where-in he also noted that Google's mobile OS has promoted the development of smartphones, which in turn has benefited consumers. Interestingly, he didn't say anything about whether or not Huawei is developing an in-house mobile OS - said to be called Kirin OS. His silence on the matter, though, can be taken as a confirmation of sorts, especially when his comment reflects the possibility of Google restricting the companies’ freedom with Android in future. Read more Also: Huawei CEO Comments On Rumors about its Independent OS