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  1. #1
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    Does anyone store computer information on the cloud?

    I've been trying to find a better way to store my videos and files. I use a Mac, but I'm not sure that matters. The clerk at the computer store told me the best way to store my files-photos-videos etc. was on the cloud. He said there are services that are as low as $5.00 a month for unlimited data.

    Does anyone use the cloud for storage? What should I know about it, pro and con. Are there services that are better and worse than others? What should I look out for?

    Are there any websites that would be helpful?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
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    Pros and Cons

    I use cloud storage for a lot of things because it's really convenient, but my husband the computer engineer has drilled caution into me about it. Once you store your information in the cloud, it is no longer in your control. You have to trust in someone else's security, someone else's technology and someone else's honorable use.

    I think he's pretty paranoid, but I don't store anything exclusively in the cloud and I don't store anything that I consider a personal security risk. It's hard to resist the convenience.
    "The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources."-- Albert Einstein.

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    I store a lot of my personal files in Drop Box because I have a work computer that I use for personal use and I figure any day I could walk into work and be laid off so this way they are always backed up.

    And all my phone stuff is automatically backed up in the cloud as well.
    Actual bumper sticker series: Jesus is my co-pilot. Satan is my financial advisor. Budha is my therapist. L. Ron Hubbard owes me $50.

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    I use Dropbox, which is great because it's automatic. I upgraded to the 100GB plan because one of my design clients shares assets on Dropbox. It's much easier than emailing large print files back and forth.

    I wouldn't consider it a long-term storage solution, though. My computer hard drive contains more than 100GB worth of stuff. I just put whatever projects I'm currently working on in Dropbox. If my computer was stolen or got fried tomorrow, I could get a new one right away and pick up exactly where I left off, so I like that piece of mind.

    I still have an external hard drive that contains my Time Machine backup. I don't have it backed up all the time, but every month, I make sure. I don't store any of my financial data on Dropbox, for reasons that Prancer gave. If you're in no teknik, I would go for the external hard drive and do Time Machine on your Mac. It's pretty simple, and hard drive storage is SO cheap nowadays. The thing is that if that hard drive burned in say, a house fire, but that's why the truly diligent have two external hard drive backups in two separate places at one time. You wouldn't need that kind of redundancy if you chose to store your files in the cloud, but there are pros and cons to each. I feel you have to be in some teknik to go cloud, at least to a high level of security and reliability. A good rule is, go where the developers go.

    I was recently looking into Amazon Web Services (AWS). Not for long-term storage, but for web hosting, although you could use it for long-term storage of your files. Security is a super-high priority with them, because they're Amazon and they run many of the internet's top sites, including Netflix streaming. Many developers (including Alf) use AWS to host apps that they're working on. Obviously security is important if it's a test version of an app, haha. Alf was telling me that Amazon S3, which is pure storage and no computing capability, is incredibly cheap to use. AWS serves one of his (admittedly tiny, like 250kb) apps about 7,000 times a month, and the total price is $0.15 a month.

    It looks like it's got quite a learning curve, but from what I surmised, it does look really cheap! And you only pay for what you use.

  5. #5

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    We're moving a lot of work stuff into the cloud after a lot of research. For critical things, the trick seems to be to have two completely different providers with data centers in different areas of the country. We do one primary company with the most critical stuff also copied to another company. So far so good.
    AceOn6, the golf loving skating fan

  6. #6

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    I work with financial data, and one of the things I promise my clients is no cloud storage. I simply don't trust that there won't be a security "oops."

    For pictures and genealogy stuff, I'm happy to use the cloud, but that's about it.

    I do have a G-drive that pushes me to do a separate backup every week (and multiple times a week during busy season) and a backup in a separate location less often.

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    I use dropbox for files in my phone. I take lots of pictures on my phone, dropbox allows me to pull and burn it to a disk. I love the convenience and piece of mind the cloud gives me. For more important documents I burn to a disk, I don't want to have to worry about a server crash/hacker when it comes to those things.

  8. #8

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    Hell NO. Every time Edward Snowden reveals something else about security "interceptions", I'm glad I store everything on flash drives (for portability) or external hard drives.
    You should never write words with numbers. Unless you're seven. Or your name is Prince. - "Weird Al" Yankovic, "Word Crimes"

  9. #9
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    Thanks for all the responses. I'm trying to find the best way to keep my skating videos. I started putting all the tapes on DVD several years ago, but I understand that nothing is permanent. I would also like to be able to do some editing and have somewhere to put that files than on my hard drive or flash drive. I keep hearing about the yuck viruses where your whole computer is held hostage until you pay someone a ransom to get things back.

    I wouldn't put anything personal or financial on the cloud, but I don't think my skating videos would be much of a security risk. Dropbox seems to be the most popular by far. I have also been looking at Google. Does anyone have any experience with Google?

  10. #10

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    I'm a designer and my computer is set up to save all of my files both on my harddrive and in a dropbox so they can be accessed remotely which helps when I'm working with other designers, printers and clients. I'm a big fan. I don't keep any sensitive financial info on the cloud however and don't understand why anyone would need to. Bookkeeping documents take up very little hard drive space unless they are scanned images of receipts, etc.

  11. #11

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    I use a service called Crashplan to keep a copy of important things that I would miss if my house blew up (which includes pictures and some important documents) in the cloud. I won't go into the security aspects of it because that's really a personal decision. But for me, that service works rather well.

    What I did want to address is that one needs to be mindful of the time it would take to upload data to the cloud. If you're moving a DVD load (roughly 5GB each) and you have a lot of DVDs, you'd better have one speedy upload connection to the net. Not only that, but unless have unlimited bandwidth you may encounter overages on your internet connection.

    I'm guessing that you probably have a large DVD collection. You might be better off to make a copy of the discs and keep them somewhere off premises so you have a readily accessible copy in case you need one.

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    I just switched from Sugarsync, which is transitioning to a pay-only model, to Dropbox. I liked Sugarsync better (you don't have to set up a separate folder) but otherwise it seems about the same. I don't back up everything - I have my ebooks so that I can access them no matter which device I'm using, and some but not all of my school and work files. I periodically back up pictures to a flash drive.

    I am a bit paranoid about security but I figure that 1. I'm not that interesting and 2. if I have anything that actually is interesting and should be backed up, I'll use a flash drive.

    If you don't mind paying, just go to whoever can offer you the most storage for your files.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by A.H.Black View Post
    Thanks for all the responses. I'm trying to find the best way to keep my skating videos. I started putting all the tapes on DVD several years ago, but I understand that nothing is permanent. I would also like to be able to do some editing and have somewhere to put that files than on my hard drive or flash drive. I keep hearing about the yuck viruses where your whole computer is held hostage until you pay someone a ransom to get things back.

    I wouldn't put anything personal or financial on the cloud, but I don't think my skating videos would be much of a security risk. Dropbox seems to be the most popular by far. I have also been looking at Google. Does anyone have any experience with Google?
    Google Cloud Storage looks like it's very similar to Amazon's offerings, except that I do not know of any developers who use Google Cloud, and I am pretty steeped in the culture. That may be telling.

    Macs are more difficult to hack into than PCs, because any program that tries to install itself requires you to enter your master password. If you're expecting to open an image or music file and get a request to enter your password, that's a virus for sure and you should cancel that and delete that file post-haste. But if you are smart and don't download any strange, unexpected attachments from your email, you should be fine on that end.

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter_K View Post
    I use a service called Crashplan to keep a copy of important things that I would miss if my house blew up (which includes pictures and some important documents) in the cloud. I won't go into the security aspects of it because that's really a personal decision. But for me, that service works rather well.

    What I did want to address is that one needs to be mindful of the time it would take to upload data to the cloud. If you're moving a DVD load (roughly 5GB each) and you have a lot of DVDs, you'd better have one speedy upload connection to the net. Not only that, but unless have unlimited bandwidth you may encounter overages on your internet connection.

    I'm guessing that you probably have a large DVD collection. You might be better off to make a copy of the discs and keep them somewhere off premises so you have a readily accessible copy in case you need one.
    I agree with Peter_K - if all you want to save is DVDs or video files, it's best to get a physical hard drive. Not necessarily DVD discs left in a box for years (cause who knows if you'd be able to play them on any computer/device you have years from now), but at least a drive. Moving it all to cloud is going to kill your connection speed for days.

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    THERE IS NO CLOUD! there are different groupings of servers on which you can buy storage for yourself. Your files may be protected and they may not. BTW you share servers. There is not necessarily a special place where your things are. I would recommend external hard drives or servers. That you can have access to and control over. If you want redundancy periodically mirror a drive and store it in a bank vault.

    BTW.. Document storage is my business. I know a couple of things about it

    .
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by A.H.Black View Post
    Thanks for all the responses. I'm trying to find the best way to keep my skating videos. I started putting all the tapes on DVD several years ago, but I understand that nothing is permanent. I would also like to be able to do some editing and have somewhere to put that files than on my hard drive or flash drive. I keep hearing about the yuck viruses where your whole computer is held hostage until you pay someone a ransom to get things back.
    You can get a 1 or 2 TB external hard drive for less than $100. It connects to your computer via USB and you can drag and drop files onto there. That's what I do.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anita18 View Post
    Macs are more difficult to hack into than PCs, because any program that tries to install itself requires you to enter your master password.
    The same thing happens on a PC if one is halfway computer literate and uses a user account instead of an administrator account.
    "The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources."-- Albert Einstein.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prancer View Post
    The same thing happens on a PC if one is halfway computer literate and uses a user account instead of an administrator account.
    That too, but most don't bother.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter_K View Post

    What I did want to address is that one needs to be mindful of the time it would take to upload data to the cloud. If you're moving a DVD load (roughly 5GB each) and you have a lot of DVDs, you'd better have one speedy upload connection to the net. Not only that, but unless have unlimited bandwidth you may encounter overages on your internet connection.

    I'm guessing that you probably have a large DVD collection. You might be better off to make a copy of the discs and keep them somewhere off premises so you have a readily accessible copy in case you need one.
    Quote Originally Posted by Anita18 View Post
    Google Cloud Storage looks like it's very similar to Amazon's offerings, except that I do not know of any developers who use Google Cloud, and I am pretty steeped in the culture. That may be telling.


    I agree with Peter_K - if all you want to save is DVDs or video files, it's best to get a physical hard drive. Not necessarily DVD discs left in a box for years (cause who knows if you'd be able to play them on any computer/device you have years from now), but at least a drive. Moving it all to cloud is going to kill your connection speed for days.
    Quote Originally Posted by AxelAnnie View Post
    THERE IS NO CLOUD! there are different groupings of servers on which you can buy storage for yourself. Your files may be protected and they may not. BTW you share servers. There is not necessarily a special place where your things are. I would recommend external hard drives or servers. That you can have access to and control over. If you want redundancy periodically mirror a drive and store it in a bank vault.

    BTW.. Document storage is my business. I know a couple of things about it

    .
    Quote Originally Posted by Cherub721 View Post
    You can get a 1 or 2 TB external hard drive for less than $100. It connects to your computer via USB and you can drag and drop files onto there. That's what I do.
    Thanks for the information about speed. That's the kind of nuts and bolts stuff I need to know.

    I use external hard drives on my DVR. My complaint is they don't always play back perfectly. Also, I am told that hard drives are only good for about 5 years. Who knows what will be next. I was just hoping I might be able to use the cloud as a more permanent solution. If it's that slow and I need tons of speed, it doesn't look like it will be the answer for me.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by A.H.Black View Post
    I use external hard drives on my DVR. My complaint is they don't always play back perfectly. Also, I am told that hard drives are only good for about 5 years. Who knows what will be next. I was just hoping I might be able to use the cloud as a more permanent solution. If it's that slow and I need tons of speed, it doesn't look like it will be the answer for me.
    Are there external storage solutions especially for DVR? If you're going to play them through a DVR, it might be worth looking into. I've never had a problem using an external hard drive with my computer, aside from the usual filetype incompatibility. Were you talking about playback speed? That's dependent on the kind of connection you have, not the drive doing the storage. The connection types should be getting faster.

    I wouldn't recommend playing your videos through the cloud. It can be done, since Netflix does it using Amazon, but I'm betting they pay a lot of money to keep that ship running smoothly.

    Also, you should do the math. Hard drives are only good for 5 years if they're constantly used, because they have physical moving parts. Solid state drives are faster and don't have physical moving parts, but the technology is still early on them. When they fail, they fail spectacularly and there's no getting your data back when they do. Even when a physical hard drive is on the fritz, it can usually still be resuscitated enough to get your data off before they die entirely. If you use a hard drive as a backup, turning it on once a week, it should last longer.

    So, $5/month for a cloud storage solution (and that is on the low end if you're in no teknik, I usually see higher rates) multiplied by 5 years, that's $300 in total for cloud, vs less than $100 for a 1TB hard drive you might have to replace every 5 years. Not to mention, the hard drives will get even cheaper in the future. If you have a physical drive, you'd still come out ahead financially.



    My personal thinking is, I use cloud storage to back things up if I am actively working on them (meaning the file versions are changing all the time) or if I need to share them with other people. I physically back up everything else myself, because there's just no need to put it into the cloud otherwise, and hard drive space is cheaper than cloud in the long run.

  20. #20
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    Btw, I think that a lot of people don't' realize how much of their information is already "in the cloud" already. Use gmail or hotmail or some other email service like that? All your emails are "in the cloud"? Use an Smart Phone? A lot of the info on the phone is being backed up automatically from your phone to some cloud-based update service. Etc. Etc.
    Actual bumper sticker series: Jesus is my co-pilot. Satan is my financial advisor. Budha is my therapist. L. Ron Hubbard owes me $50.

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