Technologist Tuesday: Consumer Cloud

josh davis-technologist

Ironically, the sources of all cloud-based services are giant data centers plastered to the Earth.  However, the obvious “cloud” element to these services resides in their wireless capabilities.  Do you own an iPhone, Android or Windows phone? Do you have important information stored on your home computers?  If you do, Apple, Google or Microsoft and many cloud based backup companies offer you a grocery list of cloud services.  These cloud-based services have come a long way.  Massive updates in the last few months have really pushed them to new limits.  Knowing your Smartphone’s cloud based service options and picking out a cloud based home backup service are two good simple ways to take advantage of the mighty cloud.

Smartphone Cloud Service breakdown(Apple/Microsoft /Google)

Apple’s iCloud Core Services: 


The Good:

  • Photo Stream is an amazing and fully automated solution for ensuring your pictures easily flow among all devices and can be shared.  Also, the sharing quality is better than most big software photo companies.
  • Contacts, Calendars, Notes, Reminders & your Email sync seamlessly throughout your Apple hardware

The Bad:

  • If you’re Apple ID doesn’t end in “” then you’ll find some limitations to this service.  Notes & Mail primarily (however, it’s usually not a big deal as there are ways around it)
  • Also, This system is just fantastic if you have all Mac product.  Throw a PC with Outlook into the equation and it starts to get sloppy

The Ugly:

  • When Apple turned “Mobile Me” into “iCloud” they got rid of idisk.  So now, Unlike Google’s Drive or Microsofts Skydrive, Apple’s data hides inside it’s apps.  Word docs hide inside Pages, Excel files hide inside Numbers, Powerpoint presentations hide inside Keynote and PDF files hide inside iBooks.  Want to save something other than that in your 5GB of storage?  Too bad.  Want to organize your docs into nice categorizing folders?  Think again.
  • 5GB Free total storage for below services
  • Backup:  Cloud based backup system for iOS devices
  • Mail, Contacts, Notes, Reminders & Calendar syncing: affirmative
  • Find My iPhone: Cloud based app to find, message, lock or wipe iOS device(s)
  • Pages, Numbers & Keynote: Cloud based apps similar to Word, Excel & Powerpoint.  Each App is also going to store its corresponding file types. Exa:  you can store your word docs inside the app Pages.
  • My Photo Stream&Shared Photo Stream: Automatic Photo syncing cloud service account Core Cloud Services


The Good:

  • The Mobile Windows OS is fantastic.  I like it better than Android.
  • SkyDrive gives you a simple solution to organizing data how you’d like it with great sharing and collaborating options.
  • There’s also a slew of high quality business driven features not mentioned here.

The Bad:

  • SkyDrive gives you a web based interface robust with cloud versions of Word, Excel and Powerpoint.  However, when viewed on your mobile device, editing these documents will require you to sign up for the Office365 $99 annual subscription.  (this isn’t so bad as that subscription does give you a ton of features.)

The Ugly:

  • Like all of these solutions, this is best to those that use primarily Windows 8 computers, tablets and Phones.
  • Skydrive:  Cloud based 7GB free storage for files (any kind)
    • Access to Cloud based free versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint& OneNote
    • Mail, Contacts & Calendar syncing: affirmative
    • Backup: Cloud based backup system for Windows Phones
    • Additional Cloud Services:
      • Office 365 subscription:
        • Skydrive storage increases to 27GB of total storage
        • Unlocks ability to edit Skydrive docs

Google Core Cloud Services:


The Good:

  • When it comes to cloud services, Google’s the king.  Look at the success of the Chromebooks.  These computers rely purely on the efficiency of Google’s cloud services.
  • Best services even across other devices.  Whatever computer, laptop, tablet or phone you’re using, These services will work well.
  • Most amount of free storage

The Bad:

  • There’s no great fully automated method of moving the pictures your portable device has taken.  It’s a rather manual process.

The Tasty:

  • Android OS is now called KitKat.  Previous was Jelly Bean, Ice Cream Sandwich, Honeycomb, Gingerbread, Froyo, Éclair, Donut and Cupcake.  Mmmmmmmmm.
  • Mail, Tasks & Calendar syncing: affirmative.
  • Calendar: Cloud based calendar
  • Drive:  Cloud based 15GB free storage for files
  • Backup: Cloud based backup system for Android Phones

Home Backup Cloud Service breakdown

Top 2,456 Home Backup Cloud Service breakdown

            Just kidding.  However, that’s how it feels.  There are so many services to choose from to initiate a backup system to a cloud service.  Ask your friends and family:  “Do you backup your home computers to the cloud?”  See what people like and maybe choose one.  Backups are very important.  Even if you’re backing up to hard drives in your house there are all sorts of things that can go wrong.  Hard drives LOVE to break, another peripheral on the desk, power usage and something that most don’t think about:  What if you get robbed? Working in the trenches, I’ve seen it.  “I need a quote on a new computer, router, printer and backup hard drive for my insurance company…I got robbed and they took everything.”  Consider getting your precious pictures, documents, videos and other personal data stored securely somewhere else

Top Three Services to consider:

1)      Crash Plan

  1. a.      10GB costs $2.99 /month and allows up to 10 GB of storage.
  2. b.      Unlimited is $5.99 /month and, as the plan name suggests, allows an unlimited amount of online storage.
  3. c.       CrashPlan+ Family Unlimited costs $13.99 /month and offers an unlimited amount of online storage across anywhere from two to ten computers.

2)      Carbonite

  1. a.      $59.99 /year and allows for an unlimited amount of data backup.
  2. b.      $99.99/year for HomePlus (windows only) adds the ability to automatically backup your connected external hard drives
  3. c.       $149.99 /year for HomePremier (windows only) they’ll actually ship you a copy of your data in case of emergency instead of a cloud based restore.

3)      Backblaze

  1. a.      $5 /month /computer and allows an unlimited amount of storage.
  2. b.      The cost can get down to a monthly $3.96 with a two-year plan purchase.


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