It’s all in the cloud

Having been a Dropbox user for sometime, I started evaluating the other options from competing providers yesterday.

  1. Ubuntu 1
  2. Google
  3. Microsoft
  4. Apple

Prices seem all over the place at the moment, as do service standards. Free.

The best free service in terms of space vs. pricing is Microsoft. If you have an account with Microsoft already, you can claim 25GB and go from there. However, there is currently an upper limit, and IT ONLY WORKS ON Windows 7! So if you are like me in anyway, and still managing half a dozen xp systems… well, look elsewhere! But it easily the most affordable at $25 pa for 75GB! That’s less than $2.10 per month! Affordable, limited and only on Win7+.

Google offers the biggest spaces of all the services, though prices are noticeably sharper than Microsoft. But the idea of the service is pretty good, if you DON’T use Google Docs. If you do, then all your Google Docs are available in a rather silly Google Doc format. You can download them in your chosen format, but then you can’t edit them In Google Docs, either. So integration between Docs/Drive and your PC is poor. Notch one point to Microsoft on that! Large space, broader support, and funky formats.

Apple is similar to Microsoft, in that if you use XP, you’re pretty much out of luck. It’s also the most expensive of the four I’m looking at, and if you’re not part of the Apple-verse, it’s rather pointless. The only plus is the iTunes Match service that I can see. I don’t think at the moment, Apple have much chance to become the CLOUD. And they’re flipflops on mobile-me aren’t very encouraging at all. Limited, expensive, but visually attractive.

Ubuntu One is a very interesting alternative to the big three: it’s already multi-platform – 2 OSes at least, as 2 mobile platforms (all the big ones). It seems to be everything Icloud isn’t: supported on many platforms, affordable, and there are options for music streaming, too. I have installed this (along with the others (except Apple, which I removed) but haven’t tested it much yet. The only odd thing is that there are two (two APPS!) in the iTunes store… Weird. Multi-platform, affordable, but unproven.

So I guess that leaves me Dropbox. It’s still more expensive than some of the others, but it’s already available, the technology is already tested, mature and stable. It’s available on multiple platforms (PC and mobi), and Web. You can’t view documents in Dropbox as such, so it’s not a competitor to either Microsoft or Google in that sense (wonder why Google didn’t buy them!). Overall, reliable, affordable (almost), but gets expensive quickly.

So which one are you going to try?

Cyber Security – Be Vigilant, Be Smart… Stay Safe on the Net

Cyber security is increasingly something that worries me: And on a variety of levels.

Why? Simply, viruses can be gotten easy on most PCs these days (Macs, too!), and many kinds of malware can infect PCs. I reckon that’s important to:

It used to be that the main vector for contracting viruses/malware was via attachments, but if you use Google or any other webmail, you can pretty much nix that vector by NOT downloading attachments to your PC.

So now things have shifted: Drive-by Downloads seem increasingly common esp. on unpatched computer systems; malware hides in regular software, and IM (SPIM) in your messenger services all are increasingly common. Also, you may find that you get caught out by Spook (Facebook Spam). As cyber security improves, you can bet your bottom dollar that thieves, criminals, and spies will try anything new to rob us of our cash, our data, and even our identity.