Saving Data Between Multiple ComputersUsing the same data on a number of different computers used to be an annoyance requiring either the use of a thumb drive or, in the olden days, a CD, DVD or *gasp* floppy disc.  Today while the thumb drive still rules for most people cloud based storage of files over the Internet is fast becoming an even more convenient replacement for small scale portable storage.  I have been a big fan of DropBox for years now, as it’s easy to use interface effortlessly syncs my files between the six different work and home computers that I use on a daily basis.  The problem for some people with large amounts of files has been that with DropBox only comes with 2 gigs of free storage space by default.  Another issue has been that DropBox physically copies files to each connected computer, potentially leading to security issues if any single computer among them is compromised.  Now though, a new entry into the cloud based storage has entered the ring, and he is definitely a heavyweight contender.

Amazon Cloud Drive To The Rescue?

Recently Amazon jumped into this online file storage business, preempting a similar expected move by Google, by opening up it’s new Amazon Cloud Drive service.  What makes it different that DropBox?  For one thing Cloud Drive offers five gigs of free storage space by default, and if a user buys just a single album from the Amazon music service that five gigs gets upgraded to twenty gigs for an entire year.  Some users have already found albums on Amazon that sell for as little as $.99, meaning that you can get a year’s worth of 20 gig storage for less than a buck!  Another big deal is that the Cloud Drive is essentially set up to be an easy to use music streaming service, allowing a user to store all of their music in the cloud, and then play it on any device or computer.  You can even download the files directly to other devices apparently with no limit.  

Accessing and Streaming Files and Audio Via CloudDrive

So what does this mean for us as teachers?  My personal hope is that I can use it in conjunction with DropBox to move all of my classroom music files up to Amazon, thereby freeing up my DropBox space for other files.  Plus, once those music files are up there they can be streamed to any Internet connected music player including mobile phones.

For those that prefer the convenience of locally mounted drives you can use a free tool called Gladinet Cloud Desktop that allows you to access your Amazon CloudDrive just as though it was a hard drive installed on your computer.

The only major drawback to the Amazon CloudDrive system is that it absolutely requires solid Internet access to work properly.  If one or more of your locations has poor bandwidth or unreliable service then Amazon CloudDrive is not for you, unless you can deal with the uncertainty of not being able to access files from time to time.  In those cases DropBox is still probably your best bet.

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