Tag Archives: cloud

Protecting Your Digital Assets



Two FactorMat Honan’s story (as covered by Todd in the latest podcast) showed me that the strongest password in the world is worth nothing if it can be reset by a straightforward social engineering-based attack. I’m sure Apple and Amazon will be looking hard at their policies and procedures but for the individual, there’s also much to learn from the episode.

i) Two-factor authentication. There’s no doubt that this is a good thing and I enabled it on my Gmail account last night. Turning it on is easy, but it’s a pain in the ass for the first few hours as you re-login to all your Google-based services. With several regularly used PCs, email clients and umpteen mobile devices, it takes a bit of time to get them all setup correctly. Touch wood, now that I’ve been through the re-login process, things are largely back to normal.

ii) Backup, backup, backup. For at least part of the story, Mat is entirely to blame. If there’s only one copy of any piece of data, it might as well not exist. Never mind hackers; theft, damage and accidental deletion make it all too easy to lose data, especially with mobile devices. Disk space is cheap, so even if you have just one PC, have a working set of folders, a backup set of folders and also make copies on a regular basis to a USB drive, which you disconnect from your PC when not in use and preferably store somewhere else.

iii) It’s your data. Convenient as “the cloud” is, remember it’s your data and your responsibility to keep it safe. If you push information directly to the cloud, don’t forget to include this information in your backup routine. Google has tools to download data from its services. Or don’t bother with someone else’s cloud and build your own, using a PogoPlug or similar.

iv) Download email using POP3. I use web-based Gmail and IMAP-enabled apps to manage my email and if email is deleted from Gmail…poof, it’s all gone. By using a POP3 email client like Thunderbird, you can have a copy on your PC as well.

v) Spread the load. Convenient as it might be to have all your eggs in one basket, either with Apple or Google, consider spreading your digital assets across different services, e.g. email on Gmail, work files on Dropbox, personal files on Box, photos on Flickr. If someone does compromise one of your accounts, all is not lost in one go. But don’t use the same password across all the systems.

vi) Remote kill-switch. The ability to kill mobile devices remotely is very handy if they are stolen but there’s a risk that the kill-switch can get into the wrong hands as in this case. However, the benefits probably outweigh the risks in that you are far more likely to lose your device than be hacked, so it’s perhaps better to focus on minimising the fall-out from both physical loss and a remote wipe.

There’s certainly plenty of food for thought there and even if you only take on one or two of the suggestions above, you’ll make yourself much harder to attack while lessening the impact.

Picture courtesy of Brian Ronald.


Jolicloud Launches Public Profiles



Cloud storage hub Jolicloud today announced the launch of their new Public Profiles for users.  If you aren’t familiar with Jolicloud, it’s a service that grabs all of your various data from different social services like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Flickr, Picasa, and Tumblr and places the data into neat files in one single location that users can then easily scan.  For instance, you’ll find all of the photos you posted on different networks all grouped together in a convenient Photos folder.  The same for music, links, videos, and documents.

The new Public Profiles allows users to more easily share content with friends straight from Jolicloud.  Users can invite and follow friends and give them access to your media stored there.  Jolicloud only shares the data users have made public.  The new update is for both the web and iOS versions, but they hinted that Android would be coming next week, possibly with even more features.  Their official annoucement stated, “We’ve heard a lot of feedback about Jolicloud over the last few weeks, and now we’ve decided to bring some of the most requested features to you with an update to our iPhone and web apps.”  They went on to hint that, “Rumors among robots mention a major event for next week.  But you know, those are only rumors..”

Jolicloud is still officially in beta, but the service is stable and so far seems secure.  It’s also free to use, and there are mobile apps for both iOS and Android.  You can get a view of the main screen below.


AKiTiO MyCloud Mini Review



Over the past couple of weeks I have had a AKiTiO MyCloud mini plugged into my network, and when I say mini its small but packs an amazing punch. The AKiTiO MyCloud Mini is essentially a mini customized Linux server that surprisingly has a lot of standard Linux server features, that can become it’s own NAS device which then can be used as a file server. It is made to serve up media, documents, images files locally or remotely.

Managing the tiny device is done so though a web browser which is served from the device itself. My son who is 15 became quite enamored with it, and I let him manage it. The first thing he did was attach an external eSata drive that I let him borrow, and started pulling in video clips to the device that he subsequently accessed via his Xbox 360.

The MyCloud Mini supports streaming to media devices that supports UPNP and DNLA, like the Xbox 360, iTunes, Windows 7 and a variety of other devices.

I think my son became the geek of the week, when he showed his buddies at school his remote file server and how he could access files on it from his mobile phone.  There is an associated Android and iPhone app for the device which makes it easy to access your content while remote.

My concern was security and I ran a variety of test against the device internally and externally and could not find any reason to be concerned about placing media and files on the device to be accessed remotely.

What surprised me was how quickly my son got the hang of managing it. I did have to explain some very basic things to him like how he could manage it with a web browser. For the price which runs close to a $100.00 a small business or home owner could use this device to manage there media.  I never know whats going to be shipped to me to review and form the get go I knew the team that designed put a lot of thought into the design and management of the device.

I have only touched the surface of what this server can do and amazed what it does at the price point. For more info visit AKiTiO.com for more details.


Polkcast Creates Your Personal Cloud



Polkast LaptopPolkast thinks that it’s better to have your files in your control in your home or office rather than the nebulous cloud. Andy talks to Dave from Polkast on how they do this but still give you access from your smartphone.

Polkast consists of two components, a server app that’s installed on the PC or Mac where all the documents and files are stored. A client app goes on your smartphone or tablet, and both iOS and Android devices are supported, including the Kindle Fire.

The client app is much like any media player interface with icons for music, photos, videos, documents and so on. You can browse for the media you want and show photos or play music.

For a single PC or Mac, Polkast offer a free service, no matter how many client devices connect. For multiple PCs or Macs, the premium service costs $4.99 per month (though this option doesn’t seem to be available on the website yet).

Interview by Andy McCaskey of SDR News and RV News Net.

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Dolly Drive Cloud Backup for Time Machine



Dolly Drive Time Machine Cloud DriveApple’s Time Machine has been a lifesaver for many people, especially when they’ve accidentally deleted an important file. However, it doesn’t protect against fire, flood or theft when everything is lost. Enter Dolly Drive, a Time Machine-compatible cloud-based backup service.

Available as a subscription service based on data usage, Dolly Drive looks like another Time Machine target to OS X and once setup, will store revisions and changes to the cloud, giving the security of off-site backup.

Included as part of the deal, subscribers are sent a hard drive via courier to return and seed their Dolly Drive for the first time. This avoids a lengthy upload over broadband when the service is first started and the whole disk is copied.

Prices start at $5 per month for 50 GB but a more representative subscription is $10 pcm for 250 GB. As a bonus, 5 GB is added each month for free.

Interview by Andy McCaskey and Courtney Wallin of SDR News and RV News Net.

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my-Ditto Key



my-Ditto Key Do you put data on a USB stick and then do you tend to lose that USB stick? Do your kids store their homework on a USB stick and then lose it? I sure for most people the answer is yes to all of the above. Let’s face it we’ve all done it; we’ve put data on a USB stick that we want to bring with us, then we put it down somewhere or leave it behind. That use to mean that not only was the USB stick was gone but all the data on it. No longer now the information on the USB stick can also be in the cloud.

That is the idea behind my-Ditto Key. You register your my-Ditto Key with my-Ditto and then all the information on the key is copied to the cloud. Now if you lose your my-Ditto Key USB stick or leave it behind you still have access to your data anywhere in the world. You can store up to 100 GB of space in the cloud. It doesn’t matter what type of data it is it can be music, videos, documents it’s up to you. Simple and easy to use, but effective that is what my-Ditto key is all about.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central

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Basis Portable Health Monitoring



Todd talked to Jeff from Basis at the digital experience event at CES 2012 about their new product for health monitoring.

Basis is coming this spring with a wrist wearable health monitoring system to help you keep track of your overall activity level. Different from the heart monitors you would wear for working out, this new system will track your heart rate, temperature, perspiration, sleep and activity level as you go about your daily life. It will take that information and upload it to Basis’ cloud service and give you all the data along with some recommendations of things you need to do to get into better overall health.

The device and service will be available in early 2012 for $199. This includes a lifetime membership to the cloud service.

For more information, go to www.mybasis.com

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D-Link Unveils New Home Networking Products and Services



D-Link, who make one of the most popular home routers on the market, have announced a new line of products that integrate their routers and with their new cloud services.  The list of new products includes a cloud-enabled WiFi router, a camera, an HD media router, and an all-in-one mobile companion.

The new D-Link DIR-605l is available now for a retail price of $39.99.  This isn’t just a standard WiFi router, but also comes with mydlink capabilities which allow users to share files remotely and also use the available iOS and Android apps to manage your home network from anywhere.

The new HD Media Router 3000 comes with “speeds of up to 900 Mbps, HD Fuel® for automatic bandwidth prioritization and new SharePort Cloud to remotely manage and share content, the D-Link® HD Media Router 3000 provides high-performance connectivity to support a range of bandwidth intensive applications. Delivering industry-exclusive 500Mbps PowerLine bandwidth, the D-Link Wireless N PowerLine Gigabit Router taps into a home’s existing electrical wiring to extend wired and Wi-Fi networking to hard-to-reach places for enhanced gaming, HD media streaming and super-fast Internet. ”  It will be available in late January for an MSRP of $169.99.

For more information on these two products and all of the others that are currently being displayed by D-Link at the CES 2012 show you can visit this link.  You may also want to explore the D-Link Cloud Services.


Sony Connects Up At CES



Sony LogoSony‘s CES focus this year is on electronics, content and network services combining to deliver high quality entertainment anytime and anywhere. Supported by a slew of product announcements, new connected devices range from TVs, Blu-ray players and A/V receivers through to tablets, smartphones and PCs and on to camcorders and mobile music players. Sony is combining these with online services for music, video and game delivery, creating a great user experience (as they say). TVs, PCs, smartphones and tablets are key to this experience as the four main devices used for entertainment.

Sony is committed to designing technologies for every aspect of consumer entertainment – in or out of the home, on the go, in the air, at work, at play, or wherever life takes you,” said Kazuo Hirai, Executive Deputy President, Sony Corporation. “When these products are combined with Sony Entertainment Network (SEN), which offers innovative services like Music Unlimited and Video Unlimited, as well as PlayStation Network, the user experience is truly unmatched and only made possible by a company like Sony.”

The Bravia TV line has been expanded in all three areas; entry level BX, step-up EX and flagship HX. Brightness and contrast levels have been increased and picture quality improved with Sony’s X-Reality and Motionflow video technologies. In particular the latter helps to reduce blur caused by rapid camera movements which is often a problem with LCD screens. Sony is sticking with the Google TV platform with a new network player and Blu-ray player featuring Google TV. Certain Bravia models will link seamlessly to these devices to provide Google TV features directly on the TV.

Sony Xperia ion smartphoneSony’s Vaio range of computers will continue to be updated with more entertainment feature and new designs that fit with consumers’ needs and increasing mobility. At CES, Sony will be demonstrating new technologies and prototypes for a range of technologies including glasses-free 3D.

In the smartphone space, the Xperia brand has done reasonably well, but increasing the smartphone share in North America is now one of Sony’s highest priorities. Sony Ericsson will be subsumed into Sony Mobile Communications and all new phones will carry Sony branding. The latest addition to the Xperia line-up is the Xperia ion, Sony’s first LTE smartphone coming with an HD 720p display and aluminium body. Also new is the Xperia S which comes with 3D image capture.

Sony Bloggie LiveOn the imaging front, no less than 13 new Handycam camcorders are being unveiled. A new image stabilisation system called Balanced Optical Steady Shot has been developed that controls the complete optical path from lens to sensor as a single floating unit. This reduces handshake blur by up to 13 times compared to the previous models. There’s a new camcorder model with a built-in video projector that has improved brightness and enhanced audio. The trusty Bloggie range now has a “Live” model which will live stream HD video over a Wi-Fi connection and there’s an unboxing over at sister channel TPN.tv. Of course, Sony has a bunch of new Cybershot digital still cameras.

Z Series Audio MP3 PlayerFinally, it wouldn’t be CES if Sony didn’t announce a Walkman or two. The new Z series of MP3 players comes with an application interface and connectivity to both Sony’s Music Unlimited and the Android Market. Content can be played from Z series devices either wirelessly using DLNA or via HDMI to Bravia TVs. To further improve the audio experience, no less than eleven new Balanced Armature earbud-style headphones are now available as well.

That’s it – a quick overview of the products on show at CES by Sony and they all look like fun.


Pogoplug Series 4 for Your Own Cloud



Pogoplug LogoRegular readers will recall that I was quite taken with the integration of Pogoplug into the Buffalo CloudStation Duo, so I was very interested to hear that Pogoplug have released a new device, the Series 4. If you aren’t familiar with the Pogoplug device, it’s a network gadget that makes attached USB devices available across the Internet. In short, you can make your own personal cloud. More recently, Pogoplug has released a cloud service that complements the hardware devices.

Unsurprisingly, the Pogoplug Series 4 is the 4th generation of their of their original device, and while retaining the form factor of the Pogoplug Mobile, the devices now includes four different connection types for hooking up hard drives and other media.

  • 2x USB 3.0
  • 1x USB 2.0
  • 1x 2.5” SATA / USM / Seagate GoFlex ultra-portable drives
  • 1x SD card slot
New to the Pogoplug range is plug-and-play support for Seagate’s GoFlex external drives and other products that have adopted the new universal storage module standard (USM). There’s a gigabit Ethernet port for connecting the Series 4 to the network.
Series 4 Pogoplug
Series 4 Pogoplug ports
Owners can make their photos and videos available to friends and family over the Internet to PCs and mobile devices such as iPhones, Android smartphones and WebOS devices. The new Series 4 is designed to be an extension of the Pogoplug Cloud service. 5GB of cloud storage is available for free and premium options for 50GB and 100GB will be offered shortly.

The Pogoplug Series 4 is on-sale now for an RRP of $99.99.