The Cloud File Sharing Race

Who is winning the cloud storage race? The list is long and distinguished. Dropbox, iCloud, Google Drive, OneDrive and Box are the big five. Ubuntu One, Amazon Cloud Drive, Sugarsync, Hightail, and OwnCloud trail a list of lesser-known or perhaps lesser-used services. In terms of popularity, Dropbox still heads the list, mainly since it is the early innovator. iCloud leans heavily on Apple’s products. Google Drive is gaining market share.

In terms of my experience, I use Dropbox most of the time when sharing or transferring files. However, when creating new documents, I use Google Drive exclusively because the tools are there. When security is a concern, I tend to use OwnCloud. I do have OneDrive, iCloud, Ubuntu One, but I use them sparingly. Do I need more? Probably, not. I think having more than three services is overkill, but it’s nice to have options.

What’s your favorite? Who do you think is the best? Who will survive and who will not?

Windows XP Is Still Sting Hanging On

Microsoft is trying hard to get people to move off from Windows XP. It just doesn’t seem to be working. It’s falling on deaf ears. Interestingly, there was a slight increase in Windows XP use. Microsoft plans to drop Windows XP support April 8, meaning there won’t be anymore bug fixes, security updates, etc. Microsoft plans to use pop-up reminders after April 8.

The lesson to learn from all of this is, it is difficult to kill off a very successful product that still makes up 30% of your OS business. It’s going to take some time. The reality is, they may not all come back. In some cases, Users have found better alternatives in the form of our devices such as tablets and smartphones.

I imagine small businesses still have some old systems are still hanging around. If they haven’t moved them, there’s probably a good enough reason why they still run on Windows XP. There are many legacy systems that still run on Windows XP. Upgrades means they will break. But, then again, I can’t imagine businesses ignoring all of these warnings all this time.

So, I won’t be surprised if only a small portion of the 30 percent upgrades to newer Windows OS.

BookBook for the MacBook Air

Are you looking for a laptop cover for your MacBook Air? TwelveSouth has a laptop cover called BookBook. It looks like an old book. I mean a really old book. It’s made of genuine leather. It has a hardback case with a strong spine, with reinforced corners for impact protection, extra padding, and your laptop is kept secured by a zipper. Did I say it looks like a regular book? I guess it’s worth repeating. It’s a good disguise. It looks like you’re carrying a book instead of a laptop. The only gripe I have is, it’s a bit pricey for a laptop cover. It looks like a really nice, elegant antique book. That’s the draw. If you really want it, just be prepared to dish out $80 bucks for this item.

bookbook

Upgrading ownCloud

Are you looking for a Dropbox alternative? Try ownCloud. Dropbox and ownCloud are both free as well as a paid service. The main difference between the two is that you can run ownCloud from your own server. Like Dropbox, you can access ownCloud from your browser, desktop or smartphone. The ownCloud server software runs on any server, mine runs on Ubuntu Linux, and it doesn’t require special permissions.

The latest version is ownCloud version 6. I was still running on version 4.5. So, the following instructions will upgrade your ownCloud to the latest version on the Ubuntu server. If you have large amounts of data, it would be wise to backup your ownCloud directories. If you don’t have many files, you can opt for a clean install.

Go to your ownCloud directory.

cd owncloud

Delete everything except for data and config. You will most likely need sudo to delete your files. I opted for a clean install, so I deleted everything.

ls | grep -v 'data\|config' | sudo xargs rm -r

Download ownCloud. Since I did a clean install, I went up one directory level.

cd ..
wget http://download.owncloud.org/community/owncloud-latest.tar.bz2

Unpack the tarball. It will create a new directory ‘owncloud.’

sudo tar xfj owncloud-latest.tar.bz2

Give it write permissions. By default, the owncloud files are owned by nobody. So, you might see an error message saying it needs write permissions to ‘owncloud/data.’ I changed the ownership of the files to Apache, which is www-data.

sudo chown www-data:www-data -R owncloud

Access ownCloud by opening up your web browser and going to your ownCloud URL. If you did a clean install, you will be asked to create a new admin username and password. Otherwise, enter your former credentials. Finally, download the desktop clients as well as the mobile apps and install on your devices.

Synch your files and have fun.

Engenius ENS202ext Outdoor AP

I installed a couple of Engenius ENS202ext Outdoor access points for a client the other day. The range on these AP’s are extremely good. The device operates at 400mW Transmit Power. It has two omnidirectional antennas rated at 5dBi each. They can be replaced with even a higher gain antenna. It supports 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi standards running at 2.4Mhz. The maximum data rate is 300 Mbps. Each SSID can be tagged to a separate Vlan and they come with the EZ controller which is a free download. The Engenius ENS202ext Outdoor AP currently sells for under $100.

Facetweet

The other day, I read that Twitter was trying to make its profile pages to look more like Facebook. A few weeks ago, I recall reading that Facebook was trying to make its real-time conversations look more like Twitter. I really don’t understand. So, why don’t these two tech lovers, both headquartered in the San Francisco Bay Area by the way, just get together and consummate. Then, we will have one giant social media called Facetweet. Think about all the time we will redeem if we post on just one social media platform. We will literally cut our social media time by half. Just think about how we will have more time to ourselves, how we could be more productive, and have a better quality of life. Maybe not.

Finally Wore Google Glass

I put on Google Glass for the first time ever today. I was trying to browse a website. The side buttons were hard to find. I was just pressing anything on the side to see if it would do something. The screen was awfully small and it was blurry. It must have been my bad eyesight because I had to take off my eyeglasses to put them on. You would think it would be sharp since it’s only a few inches away from eyeballs. The screen is situated just over my right eye. What if my left eye is dominant? Does Google have them? Overall, I’m not impressed at all. They guy who was demoing me the unit told me that he doesn’t like it either. So much for that. For the $1500 price, it’s totally not worth pursuing. It’s got a long ways to go.

Subnet Mask of 255.0.0.0

I’m at a Responsive Web Trends Conference in San Francisco hosted by Moboom. The network setup is a bit unorthodox. The subnet mask is set to 255.0.0.0. Based on my experience, this network is /8, which allows up to 16,777,214 hosts. It uses the entire range of reserved private IP addresses starting from 10.0.0.0 to 10.255.255.255. Interesting setup. I just ran a speed test. Download is 50 Mbps and upload is 27 Mbps.

Mozilla Plans To Sell Advertising in Firefox

Mozilla plans to sell sponsored content, just a fancy word for advertising, in its new Tab pages. The New Tab pages will have some Mozilla-specific content, some popular websites, as well as some hand-picked sponsored content. Mozilla receives about $300 million per year from Google for making Google the default search engine for its Firefox browser. The deal is due up in December. Could it be that Mozilla is just trying to diversify its income stream just in case Google changes its mind.

Tribute to the Little Princess

Shirley Temple died today at the ripe old age of 85 in her home in Woodside, CA. I’ve seen tiny snippets of her many films on TV shows, but I’ve never a full movie until I saw the Little Princess. The film was set in a Victorian London when Sara, played by Temple, was left behind by her dad to fight in the Second Boer War and the Siege of Mafeking. Temple and and a co-star Arthur Treacher had a musical number together, performing the song “Knocked ‘Em in the Old Kent Road.” If you haven’t seen the film, check it out. And with that, I will have a Shirley Temple tonight!