How to dip your toe into the wonderful world of cloud storage--for free
You. Yeah, you. I know what you're thinking. "I don't need this
whole cloud thing. It's too confusing. And, anyway, nothing bad
will ever happen to my data."
That's some serious denial you've got going on there, kid.
For starters, data loss isn't a matter of "if"--it's a matter of
"when." And occasionally copying important files to a backup drive
won't do you a lick of good if a virus chews through your system or
a fire/tornado/hurricane takes out your house. Oh, and don't forget
theft. Burglars love to make off with laptops and the hard drives
connected to them. (Sorry for the scare tactics, but it's time
for some tough love!)
As for confusing, I agree that some cloud services are an
unitutive mess. But there's one I find admirably easy to use, and
it's more versatile than most. Also, you can get a big chunk of
storage space for free and earn more by performing a few
It's called Bitcasa
, which I believe is Spanish for "house
for your bits." It's a cloud-storage service along the lines of the
more famous Dropbox, but better in several respects.
For starters, Bitcasa will give you a free 10GB account just for
signing up. (Dropbox limits you to a measly 2GB.) Download one of
and you'll net another 500MB. Grab the desktop
version and get 500MB more. And for every friend you refer, you'll
score an extra 1GB of free space (up to 25GB). That's easy
money, so to speak.
Another reason I'm sweet on Bitcasa is that it lets you sync
whatever files and folders you want to its online servers, and not
just those you drag into a special bucket (as with Dropbox). That's
a huge plus, a way to make backups as simple as right-clicking a
folder and choosing "Mirror to Bitcasa."
What about security? No Web service is totally safe, but I'd
argue that because Bitcasa is a small-fry, it's a much less
inviting target to hackers than, say, Dropbox.
Finally, I really like Bitcasa's Web interface, which is elegant
and straightforward and vastly superior to Dropbox's. It's as
novice-friendly as they come, meaning you should go from cloud
newbie to cloud expert in no time.
For example, to do something with, say, a photo you've uploaded,
just mouse over it. Instantly you'll see icons for sharing the
photo via e-mail, Facebook, or Twitter. And if you want to do
something else, just click the check-box to reveal options like
move, copy, rename, delete, and download.
If you haven't yet tried a cloud-storage service or, more
likely, you've tried one and found it too confusing or cumbersome,
take Bitcasa for a spin. It has quickly become my favorite tool for
parking and sharing files online.Veteran technology writer Rick Broida
is the author of numerous books, blogs, and features. He lends his
money-saving expertise to CNET and Savings.com, and also writes for PC