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Author Topic: Obscured by (the) Cloud...  (Read 2413 times)

U-33

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Obscured by (the) Cloud...
« on: September 26, 2014, 09:46:58 AM »

Right, you techie lot...question for you. What is this 'Cloud' all about? I keep getting stuff about uploading all my files and pictures to 'The Cloud'...I get it on Real Player, I get iCloud on my iPad, there's this cloud and that cloud...what on earth is all about? I take it it's a form of online storage, but is it any good, or am I better off doing what I do now...storing everything on external drives?


Over to you...


Rich
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Rich

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hmsantrim

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Re: Obscured by (the) Cloud...
« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2014, 10:04:48 AM »

Hi Rich.
 the cloud is another storage but there was a big ho ha recently about celebs who had theirs hacked and certain "private photos" of them
 "in the skinny" found their way into  the public domain.  For my 2p worth your extra data stored on the external sat on the shelf cant be got at if its not connected to the system.  Pity these celebys could `nt see it that way
 
 frank   
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U-33

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Re: Obscured by (the) Cloud...
« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2014, 10:18:34 AM »

Morning Frank...yes, I remember all that hooha about those celebs and their photos. So that was 'The Cloud' in operation, then? I'm not very impressed with that...not that I have any pictures along those lines on my external drives, just years of research stuff on subs. The nearest I get to 'private' photos is a couple of the ladyfriend relaxing in a swimsuit on the beach...don't think anyone would want to see those!


No, I think I'll stick to my external drives, I know what I'm doing with them, and they've never let me down yet.


Thanks Frank,


Rich
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Calimero

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Re: Obscured by (the) Cloud...
« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2014, 10:39:58 AM »

The "cloud" is a big buzz word for a vague/general concept: hosting your data, programs and anything "IT" to a remote service instead of owning and maintaining your own computers.


There are all kinds of "cloud" services with various service levels. The most common cloud usage for end users is what hmsantrim said: remote storage which you can access from any computer, smartphone, or any other device with an internet connection.

For corporate IT, a lot more stuff can be outsourced to the cloud: entire applications/programs ...

This raises indeed quite a lot of questions: security (with the latest naughty pics being an embarrassing reminder but not necessarily a real financial pain corporate leaks might cause), "control" of your data in the long run (what if your cloud provider goes belly up ?) ...

I would advise against relying purely on any cloud service. Always keep a local copy of your data on one or - better - two of your hard drives.
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NFMike

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Re: Obscured by (the) Cloud...
« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2014, 11:21:41 AM »

As Calimero says, 'The Cloud' is a buzzword. The Cloud is in fact very solid being made up of millions of very real server computers backed by probably billions of hard drives for data storage.

If you use Gmail or almost any other e-mail system, or indeed this forum, you are using The Cloud - these posts are being stored somewhere online.

Most of these hacks involve users who will have failed to use adequate passwords, or have let them become known. And for most of us a hacker won't really be that interested in our nude photos.

For the typical computer user, like us, The Cloud can be useful to us personally in two ways. Accessibility and backup.
Many of these services allow you to synchronise data between devices (like Dropbox). What happens is that you create/change a file on a PC for example, it then gets copied up to your 'Cloud' account, and then copied back down to any other devices you have - phone, tablet, laptop. This is handy as you can save a file and then pick it up again on another device without faffing about with pen-drives or whatever.
Obviously as part of this strategy your file is also now backed up as it has been copied to another location.
Using The Cloud for backup is the same as using an external hard drive, DVD, etc. You are making a second or more copy to fall back to should you lose your 'primary'. Relying only on a hard drive on the shelf for backup does carry a risk - if your house is burgled or burnt you may lose both your primary (eg. the PC) and the backup. Any pro will tell you that any worthwhile backup strategy involves an offsite copy as well, and a Cloud copy is a good way to achieve this.

Are these Cloud solutions perfect? No; you should really keep some 'hard' backups too. But  are generally better than nothing - the chances of your house burning down and your Cloud provider going bust or having a breakdown at that same time are really pretty slim.

There are plenty of free services out there but most are limited in some way, either by amount of space or functionality. I've used SugarSync for a few years now, initially free, but as I needed more space I paid. They have now stopped all free use I think. They aren't perfect but I haven't yet found a better solution for my needs, so I pay about 45/year for 60GB. As part of that they also keep the previous 5 or so versions of each file which is useful when I get things wrong  :D
45!! you say? Well, to put that in context we spend something like 200/year on printer ink cartridges, never mind the broadband fees, etc.

derekwarner

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Re: Obscured by (the) Cloud...
« Reply #5 on: September 26, 2014, 10:39:32 PM »

I needed to review some 600 pages of .PDF files in text & images........& pull some 20 pages for my inclusion in my report

Paid AUD $49.00 for a 1 year subscription of .PDF Converter [to Word].......this then allows individual pages to be copied & pasted

The subscription was a cloud based format......the software not installed on my PC...a little strange to use at first......but it didn't bite  <*<

I use a 2TB external backup scheduled for 0200 every Sunday morning......Derek

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Derek Warner

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tigertiger

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Re: Obscured by (the) Cloud...
« Reply #6 on: September 27, 2014, 06:18:57 AM »

Three caveats with using the cloud, that I have become aware of.

1/ many 'free' cloud services are only free for a given period. After that you have to pay. Last time a I looked, about a year ago, the cost of 2TB on the cloud (for one year) was only marginally cheaper than buying a 2TB external hard drive.
Read the small print when getting free cloud storage. Otherwise you may have to download a lot of data (slow) and find somewhere else to store them. Or, worst case scenario, your free period runs out and you need to sign up again, just to download or access your files.


2/ if you store pirated files etc. on the cloud you are more visible. As such you may loose your pirated files and are more liable to prosecution.

3/ a cloud service was taken down last year, permanently. I think because of people storing pirated files. All users lost all of their files, and the official response to the problems caused was, 'you should have had a backup'. The lesson here is that you cannot rely on the cloud for backups.

Me personally, I use external hard-drives
But in some markets it is getting harder and harder to larger drives with USB 2 compatibly. The reality is that many of us only have USB 2 ports. Many of the larger drives only have USB 3 compatibility.

Next time I buy a laptop I will have to make sure that I have at least one USB 3 port. In truth though, transferring more than a Terra-bite of date over USB 2 is very time consuming, and if it fails part way through, keyboard rage may ensue.
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U-33

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Re: Obscured by (the) Cloud...
« Reply #7 on: September 27, 2014, 08:00:39 AM »

Thanks for all the comments, guys...I shall be sticking to my old faithful external plug in storage systems. They have served me well up until now, and are cheap enough to buy another one when one is filled. At least I know that, apart from an error on my part, all the information I have on them is safe and instantly to hand when I need it. They all work perfectly on all three of my laptops and my antique log burning desktop, so I shall stick with them.


Many thanks again, guys...much appreciated as usual.


Rich
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IanPal

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Re: Obscured by (the) Cloud...
« Reply #8 on: September 27, 2014, 08:12:20 AM »

Now you'e decided to stick with your external storage, next time you plug one in remember the pic's of the S for me Rich, hint hint....... :kiss:
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grendel

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Re: Obscured by (the) Cloud...
« Reply #9 on: September 27, 2014, 11:15:36 AM »

I have 2 large size drives - a 1Tb external drive on an xp box used as a print server and a 2Tb sata drive in a desktop/server, I also have about 5 other external hard drives, one of which (500Gb) travels with me to work etc. (my nominal off site storage).
I dont use off site storage now as it was originally provided by my ISP, but then they decided to shelve it, and though I got my files back off, I realised this would always be a problem.
Grendel
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derekwarner

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Re: Obscured by (the) Cloud...
« Reply #10 on: September 27, 2014, 11:53:56 AM »

TT...not quite sure why you would be backing up a set of files = 1TB?.................and considering they may also be ZIPPED  <*< files

My backup via USB2 is a humble ~~~~~~36GB & happens in some 36 seconds.......... {-)

I have the facility of USB3 on my ultrabook..........however the upload/download speed for small files is only a  :o in time

Derek

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tigertiger

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Re: Obscured by (the) Cloud...
« Reply #11 on: September 27, 2014, 01:28:44 PM »

TT...not quite sure why you would be backing up a set of files = 1TB?.................and considering they may also be ZIPPED  <*< files




I am acutely aware that any drive can fail. I have whole TV series and music that took me years to collect, replacing them would be hard. I figured it is much simpler to have a copy on alternative drives.

My old laptop has a 500GB drive, and I filled it up. Backups were pretty much out of the question. I decided I wanted to transfer to another drive. This made backing up my other files much simpler.
My music and video collection is now over 3 TB. In the old days a TV series would take up a DVD (under a GB) many of these are now over 10 GB. HD TV will increase all of our storage needs.


I can remember my first PC had 4MB of storage, and I also remember when many home users thought, 'nobody will ever use up a GB hard drive'. How wrong we were.
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