I’ve always loved “The Cloud” for it allows me to view pictures, listen to music, open files and save bookmarks no matter where I am in the world or what device I’m on.
There are therefore a few requirements I have for good cloud living. Cross platform (iOS/Android/Web), and ease of uploading and downloading from your chosen cloud service.
I’m not one for picking sides, or choosing one service over another. I like to explore all the options and check back on new released from previously poor services.
Here is my current cloud set-up and something you can emulate to have peace of mind and a device with plenty of space. I never buy a gadget with lots of storage because it’s a waste of money, and I can access what I need on the go and save offline for when I have no WiFi/network.
Forget iTunes and its £20+ a year for access to your music in the cloud. Google music finally opened up to the UK several months ago, and indeed to the world if you can get a VPN with a US/UK, (european?) provider for the initial registration. Once registered you download the music uploader and it checks your iTunes / music library and uploads in the background. Mine took a day or so for some 4000 tracks but it also uses a matching service to find songs already on their server. Artwork and labels are left intact, and most of my library on Google music is the same, including iTunes playlists and podcasts.
Once it has finished, make a bookmark or get the Chrome add on, and use it instead of iTunes. You can still choose to download selected tracks and albums for offline listening (I just download a few key playlists for the gym etc).
To free up space on your idevice, download the £1.99 app gmusic. There are cheaper variants but this one is the best. It looks similar to your native music app and is easy to navigate. You can also download entire albums/playlists for offline listening with one click, and create playlists that automatically update your Google library. It allows background audio and the songs are quick to buffer, and the next track in line is also pre-buffered so there is no delay in your music.
For my pictures I use google+ (photos) which is also tied in with Picasa although they’re phasing this out and keeping it all under the one roof of Google+ I believe. It allows unlimited uploads and if you have the mobile apps for android and apple etc, it will allow automatic uploads in the background. There is a small amount of compression, but if you re-download the source file from Google you will not be able to spot a discernible difference unless you’re blowing it up to larger than Is necessary. There is a choice to stop compression I think but it’s not worth the slower upload/download time.
I uploaded my pictures the rather manual way, but which was most convenient for me. I opened up my iPhoto. Made a Google album for each iphoto event, and then drag and dropped each albums worth of pictures into the browser. Head to a friends house/library with fast internet if yours isn’t great. Our upload speed of 5MB was plenty quick enough. Check yours at speedtest.net (Upload speed is important, not download speed)
I also have a secondary backup on sky drive of original
pictures because I activated my account when it first came out so have 25GB of free space although I don’t actively update this anymore, (only now and then).
Google+ also uploads your videos which is something iOS photostream doesn’t allow, but I’m experimenting with Cloudee for its simple interface, ease of sharing and lack of YouTube style comments etc. Most videos you take on your device probably stay hidden in your camera roll or hard drive somewhere. Cloudee for iOS let’s upload your camera roll videos really easily and even works in the background. (note: turn off location services in the settings for this app, because the current version seems to keep it on and will drain your battery)
I use dropbox for files, and sugar sync as a backup of my dropbox (this is overkill) and I love google so use Google drive for creating and sharing documents. The document and spreadsheets are good enough for day-to-day use and can be viewed on any device. It also means I can edit on the go. Google drives excellent search features mean you can type a single word and it will find then exact location within seconds, evenwithin Gmail. (I also use Skydrive’s online word and excel for business stuff because people can open it with ease.)
You can download dropbox, skydrive, and google drive apps for your mac and PC which allow you to save a file locally on your computer and simultaneously on the cloud. This means you can just drag and drop files/pictures from your desktop etc into the dropbox folder, and it will upload to the server. I use the selective sync feature in all of these apps to minimise what is stored on my computer.
Finally I like to use Evernote for things like pictures of bank cards, and passport info because I can take a picture and using the optical character recognition it will be able to locate text on a credit card if I type a search. Pretty amazing. It also has a lovely iOS app, and a slightly less lovely but nice Android app.
A testament to this cloud living was when I installed a new solid state hard drive on my Macbook, openedchrome, signed in, and then had access to all my life’s music and pictures, files and folders,without having to download a single byte.
Only when the internet fails will I stop loving the cloud, but if that happens, losing s few picture and mp3s will be the least of our problems.