Wednesday, 25 August 2010

The Clouds Just Got A Little Bit Brighter

When highbrow magazines start regularly reporting on stuff that used to be considered "geeky" you know the related technology has moved into the mainstream. And, when I catch myself revisiting a topic here, it can only mean that "stuff" has either become totally reviled or, as is the case with DropBox, totally cool and above all useful.

Admittedly, the pricing for large data sets is still a bit too steep, but with 2GB thrown in for free (and an additional 250MB for every referral) you can actually save (and share) most of the mission-critical data you have. If you don't think you do have mission-critical data - think again. You do not have to be a billion dollar business to be utterly devastated when you lose a part of your digital life. After all, an increasing chunk of your life is digital these days, isn't it?

Most importantly, however, the DropBox experience is totally seamless. It took only a few clicks and not even as many minutes to have it set up, ready to roll, on a Windows XP box (yes, I still have to use one - at least it's better than Vista or Windows 7).

Most importantly the DropBox experience is also ubiquitous! First and foremost, the list of supported platforms (devices, operating systems, ...) is as long as my arm: Windows (all flavours), Apple MacOS, and Linux, iPhone, iPad, Blackberry, and Android. Hopefully they'll add a Symbian and Maemo/MeeGo clients, too. But for my current purposes they do support all I really need (Windows, Linux, and Android).

I've tried quite a few "cloud" storage systems and/or remote backups, and I must say that only the DropBox ticks both most important boxes: wide systems support, and seamless operation. For "seamless" I could almost substitute "magical". As soon I installed the Android client (again, in seconds rather than minutes) I was greeted with a discreet pop up on my laptop telling me an Android how-to guide has been added to my DropBox share. Magic! Magic that promises to be happening across all the different devices I will DropBox-enable. Sweet.

Now, only for that 100GB price to drop to something (much) more reasonable, and I can see all of my irreplaceables heading up into the DropBox cloud...