Friday, 18 May 2012

Personal Cloud: What I use (May 2012 edition)

This blog originally started because I was looking for ways to move much of my online life to cloud services. It's since grown to encompass some of my technical projects, but I still have an interest in what is now referred to as "personal cloud" services. So, as of May 2012, these are the services I use:


I use Google Mail for my main, personal email. For signing up to web sites etc., I also have a Yahoo email address which supports disposable addresses, very useful for creating per-domain, unique addresses that can be removed if I start getting spam. Just for completeness, I also have a Hotmail account which gets limited use and is used primarily for logging into Microsoft services.


Google Calendar synchronises with my iPhone/iPad and my Outlook calendar using Google Calendar Sync.


Google Reader remains my main application for RSS feed aggregation. I use it with Reeder on the iPhone and iPad for mobile reading.


I absolutely love Evernote. I use it to store multiple notebooks containing all my research, notes, web clipping (especially useful now Evernote Clearly has been released) and it acts as a single "dumping ground" in which to throw my thoughts and anything I find interesting. I run the client on Windows, Mac, iPhone and iPad. It's so good I pay for it as a premium user.


I have a Crashplan+ subscription and use it to backup my Windows PC, T's Windows PC and my Mac. Data is encrypted before leaving my home network so is secure online. There is a real peace of mind knowing that a copy of all our family documents - and photos - are backed up online. It's worth paying for.


I've recently started using LastPass to manage all my website passwords as well as provide a place to store other private data (such as computer account credentials). LastPass encrypts data locally, but stores the results in the cloud. There is an app for the iPhone, but you need to be a premium user to get it. I'm only using the free version at the moment, but I like what I've seen with it so far and may subscribe.

[Update: I liked LastPass enough to pay for the Premium version. Recommended!]

File sharing

I've had a Box account for a few years (with 5GB of free space) and it's recently changed its focus to become more of a SharePoint alternative. It's pretty good, but this space is getting crowded with 25GB free with Microsoft SkyDrive, 5GB with Google Drive and 2GB with Dropbox. I wouldn't use any of these services to store my important, personal data (especially since it's unencrypted), but for non-sensitive data, it's good to have options, especially if you need to collaborate with someone. It's too early to determine what service I'll end up focusing on, so watch this space as the products mature.


Carolynne Schloeder said...

Hi JR. Would you take a look at Polkast? We give you secure direct access to your computer from mobile. No cloud storage needed, so no limits. All transfers encrypted and we don't touch your files, so perfect for your confidential personal files. Let me know what you think!

Anonymous said...

if your wandering where to find it.

Anonymous said...

A bit late for a reply but if you are still looking for your really personal cloud : check out the owncloud project.

It runs on top of apache/php, allows for encrypted files, caldav, webdav, music from the cloud and even an rough android client that uploads your pictures to your own cloud.

Development is fast, sometimes a bit bleeding edge.

I'm running it now on HP microservers

code from here :

JR said...

Hi Asterisk

I did have a quick look at, but didn't want to run my own personal cloud infrastructure.

It does look like a decent product though.

Thanks for the comment.

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