Microsoft has never had a unified approach to online storage and sync, but it appears as though this is finally going to change. In the latest beta release of Windows Live Essentials 2011 Microsoft released a utility called Live Sync to help users manage folders across more than one PC, but this is going to be renamed yet again to Live Mesh before the final release later in the year. Just in case you’re having a hard time following the name changes, and we wouldn’t blame you if you did, Live Sync and Mesh until recently were two very different approaches to the common problem of maintaining folder sync across the Internet.
The indecision within Microsoft over which product would end up being their long term sync solution drove many users such as myself into the arms of Dropbox, but perhaps this official show of commitment will be enough to convince others like me to give it another try. It sounds as though the original concept for Mesh will remain intact, but it will be receiving a storage bump up to 5GB along with various performance enhancements.
Oddly enough Mesh.com still sports a full page ad advising users to go checkout Live Sync, but I suppose we can’t expect them to get their act together overnight now can we?
We're already smitten with Dropbox, the cloud-based backup software that makes easy work out of synchronizing files across different locations and PCs, but now we're nothing short of love struck. With the release of Dropbox Anywhere for Android, iPad, and BlackBerry, the developers have kicked things up a notch in a huge way.
"With the innovation and growth in mobile computing, the industry is shifting from a PC and desktop centric model to one where our daily computing experience spans multiple devices and locations," said Drew Houston, CEO and founder of Dropbox. "By providing seamless and ubiquitous access to users' files and media in the most popular phones and tablets, Dropbox Anywhere helps deliver on the promise of the new mobile model, and makes using these devices more productive and fun."
Dropbox was already available for the iPhone, and now users of other mobile OSes can access, manage, and share files from a variety of devices. It also includes developer capabilities so that Dropbox's file-access and syncing features can be baked directly into their mobile apps, the company said.
Dropbox for Android and iPad are available now, with the BlackBerry app expected to ship this summer.
Do you want space or do you want security? That's the fundamental question posed by this weeks' spotlight Firefox addon, Gspace. If you think about it for a moment, you can probably get a pretty good inkling of what this addon actually does. If not, here are a few clues. It's USB week here at Maximum PC. But not all of us have access to a USB stick (or a Dropbox account) at all times. And it's not like you can just hunker down and email yourself a 100MB file at once--even Gmail itself has a pesky 25MB attachment limit for anything you send.
The point I'm trying to get at is that sometimes you just need a little extra oomph in the online file storage department. And that's exactly where Gspace comes into play. This simple addon opens up a gateway to file storage via your Gmail account, all handled through an FTP-like display directly in your Firefox browser. No longer will you use your Gmail merely for sending and receiving emails. No, it's now its own file server--free for you to grab and take files anywhere you have access to Firefox and the Gspace addon. Of course, you can also access the gmail address you assign to Gspace through a standard Web client and download (as attachments) any files you've uploaded under 19MB in size--anything larger gets split into Gspace-only archives.
Neat, huh? As always, that description is but the tip of the Gspace iceberg. Click the jump to see what else this awesome addon can do!
It's difficult to envision a life without email. I'm not sure if that's a good or a bad thing. Suffice, digital messaging is just a fact of geek life that we all have to deal with on a daily basis. Whether your inbox gets flooded with messages like the Nile during rainy season, or it's barren as one of those outback wastelands that Bear Grylls likes to visit, you probably aren't using your email client of choice to its fullest potential.
That's ok. Neither was I before undertaking the research for this week's open-source and freeware roundup. But now that I have seen the light, as it were, I would never go back to the ol' vanilla installations of Outlook, Thunderbird, Gmail, or whatever one's particular email utility of choice happens to be. There are just too many interesting ways to tweak and alter the normal email experience to better enhance your ability to read, organize, and shuffle your messages.
That's kind of "the big point" of the roundup this week--making your email work better for you. Click the jump, and I'll show you five apps and utilities for taking your email processing to the next level!
When you get right down to it, Dropbox is a pretty simple app. It syncs folders—that’s it. But what makes Dropbox amazing is the sheer number of different ways you can use that functionality, by itself or in conjunction with other programs, to improve your computing experience. We like Dropbox so much that we’ve written about it severaltimesbefore, and we still haven’t gotten to every cool thing you can do with the program.
That’s why, in this article, we’re going to share with you a whopping 15 things that we think everyone should know about Dropbox, from how to get extra storage for free to how to use Dropbox to control your Bittorrent client.
For example, do you know how to hack Dropbox to accept email attachments?
Windows 7 is out, and many of you have gone through the process of upgrading to the new OS with a clean install. And while you'll enjoy the new features like Aero Snap and an ISO burner (finally!), Windows 7 still lacks some basic functionality that we've come to expect from using PCs on a daily basis. For example, cloud storage file syncing and wide compression format compatibility are things we've taken for granted from essential freeware and open-source applications. Here's our list of five utilities that we really wish Microsoft bundled with Windows 7. And if you agree with us, use one of our recommended user-friendly auto-installers to get these apps.
Possibly one of the most convenient applications of all time, Dropbox released the much requested iPhone application for its popular service.
The iPhone application (available here) packs pretty much all of the features you’d expect in its first release. Standard features like viewing any file supported by the iPhone and simple deleting were expected. However, two other features stood out in the app. First, with the Favorites feature you can download files from your Dropbox directly to your iPhone for offline viewing. Second, you can instantly upload photos and videos, taken with your phone, into your Dropbox.
It is nice to see a clean release of this application with some sweet functionality out of the box. The offline downloading of files should offer some creative uses of the application, particularly with music and video sharing.
As any PC power-user knows, getting files from one place to another is one of the oldest tasks in the book. Since way back when people have used floppies, ZIP disks, CDs, DVDs, Blu-ray discs, thumb drives, email and more to get the files you need from point A to point B. But now there’s DropBox, which has—in the half year or so since it came out of beta—become our very favorite way of making sure that we always have our most important files at hand.
If you’re not familiar with how DropBox works, it’s simple: You create a free account with DropBox, and install a small app on your computer. This app creates a folder on your computer (wherever you choose) and monitors that folder at all times. Whenever you change the contents of this folder, by adding, modifying or deleting files, DropBox automatically syncs these changes to your account’s folder on their servers. Additionally, any other computer logged into that same account will have their DropBox folder synced as well. There’s nothing earthshaking about this capability, but the whole process is amazingly simple and makes collaboration an absolute breeze.
Still, with a little creativity, DropBox can be a lot more than just a way to move files from one computer to another. We’ve compiled a list of five of the coolest DropBox tricks we’ve heard of so far, so read on to find out how you can use DropBox and other free software to recover a stolen laptop, organize your Torrents, keep your passwords safe, and more.
There's online storage, and then there's Dropbox. If you haven't heard of the latter, it's only the greatest thing to come to online storage since, well, ever. And now it's available to the public.
Dropbox purports to offer an easy way to share and store your files, but what makes Dropbox so unique is its ability to integrate with all your PCs, including Linux. It will even play nice with your Mac. Make a change to a file, and Dropbox will automatically update the changed file to any computer linked to your account. Not only that, but it will only transfer the part of the file that changed. Other goodies include the ability to designate shared folders, public folders for non-Dropbox users, drag-and-drop friendly, and AES-256 encryption.
Free accounts come with 2GB of storage, with a 50GB account available for $10/month, or $100/year.