/* Partykof: May 2010 - Managing information and Technology */
In this blog, I am summarizing some of my work so far and the issues I'm facing everyday in my work as an IT professional.
You are welcome to follow, comment and share with others. If you want to drop me a private note, send me an e-mail

Friday, May 21, 2010

Free Personal Cloud Storage

Personal Cloud Storage solution enables users to store, share, collaborate and access files – anytime, anywhere and from any device they choose. A desktop, a laptop or a mobile phone.
The Personal Cloud storage solution features secure online file storage, file sharing and in many cases some advanced collaboration, content tagging and true anytime, anywhere access from a variety of access clients. Some offer only basic web access, some offer other protocols such as SSL, ftp, Web DAV, while other include integration with the OS file manager.

What I was looking for was a solution that is basically free, or offers a free quota to start with, and can expand to bigger quota and SLA solution, which is usually charged. The services I chose to use were the ones close to the services I was already using.
  1. Google Documents  - using my Google account
  2. Windows Live Skydrive - using my MSN account
  3. Ubuntu One - embedded with my Ubuntu laptop
  4. Dropbox - just because it syncs on all platforms
  5. Adrive - just cause they were the first who offered 50GB  for free

Service Free Quota Access Search Upgrades Features
 Google Docs1 GBWebYes 20GB - $5/y
 80GB - $20/y
 Read More
 Skydrive25 GBWebNo
 Read More
 Ubuntu One2 GBWeb
Ubuntu Nautilus
No 50GB - $9.99/m Read More
 Dropbox2 GBWeb
Windows Explorer
Ubuntu nautilus
Yes 50GB - $10/m Read More
 Adrive50 GBWeb
Native Client
Yes 50GB - $6.95/m Read More

I must confess that I am using all of these services by now. but it makes it very difficult to keep track of what I put where. So I decided to use the services according to the types of content I store on them.

My favorite service is Google Docs as it allows indexing of most of the content you place there, which is very easy to search and tag. so I keep most of my Documents, Presentations, and PDF files there. For such working documents I don't need more than the 1GB offered for free. maybe one day when Google Gdrive comes out it will be more attractive.

Image 1: Google Documents

The Adrive is my archiving platform, where I keep my photos and videos which don't really need indexing. Documents and other files that I finished working on I archive there too. and what can I say the 50GB quota is a bliss.

Image 2: Adrive

For that same purpose you may use Skydrive if 25GB is enough for you. it is more convenient as you probably already own a Live account and the offer Sync to your desktop with Windows Live Sync.

Image 3: Windows Live Skydrive

Both Dropbox and Ubuntu one, are integrated with my file manager so it is very easy to use them, and you can search them using your operating systems search capabilities, which is nice BUT, you cannot search them from the web, which is something I really like as I am not always using my devices.

Image 4: Ubuntu One

Another great feature of both these services is that the sync the local folder with the folders in the cloud storage.

Image 5: Dropbox

Very important Note: Since what I reviewed here are free of charge services, you cannot really expect any service level agreement (SLA) from the provider. therefor, I would highly recommend not to store any private material, such as personal records, credit or any personal data that might leak, furthermore, I would recommend that you keep an On-premise copy (on a DVD or Local Drive)  of the important stuff you keep in the cloud, just in case someone decides to retire the service he is currently offering, such as Yahoo! did with their Briefcase service.

To summaries, I cannot tell you which one is best, only you can decide for your own. I hope I gave you some insight about the services and what they offer, and that might help you select your favorite.


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Firefox extensions that make my browsing much easier

Firefox has establish itself as a good replacement for Internet Explorer(IE),  it’s a fact.  But what sets it apart from all other browsers is the ability to add extensions. You have a very wide selection of them, but I found that there are some that make my life much easier, and I consider them as a killer-app extension, which made me forsake IE for good.  Here are my favorite extensions.
1.       FEBE
FEBE (Firefox Environment Backup Extension) allows you to quickly and easily backup your Firefox extensions. In fact, it goes beyond just backing up -- It will actually rebuild your extensions individually into installable .xpi files. Now you can easily synchronize your office and home browsers.

2.       IE Tab 2
Updated and enhanced version of the classic IE Tab that features embedding Internet Explorer in tabs of  Mozilla/Firefox (Note that it works only on Windows OS). Most useful if you use SharePoint or other Microsoft sites, and retires the use of IE altogether.

3.       Adblock Plus
Annoyed by adverts? Troubled by tracking? Bothered by banners? Install Adblock Plus now to regain control of the internet and change the way that you view the web. A short video overview is available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oNvb2SjVjjI

4.       Gmail Manager
Allows you to receive new mail notifications along with viewing account details including unread messages, saved drafts, spam messages, labels with new mail, space used, and new mail snippets..

5.       Speed Dial
With Speed Dial, you can easily access your most used websites. To show the Speed Dial tab, use the Speed Dial button (which can be added to the toolbar)

6.       GBookmarks
This extension allows you to access Google Bookmarks. It creates a menu in Firefox using which you can add, edit and remove bookmarks. So, you can access your bookmarks from any computer. You don't have to mail a link if you want to save or access bookmarks across computers, just use this extension...

7.       Greasemonkey
Allows you to customize the way a webpage displays using small bits of JavaScript. Hundreds of scripts, for a wide variety of popular sites, are already available at http://userscripts.org.  you can use Greasefire Add-on too and when you visit a web page that has compatible user scripts on Userscripts.org, this extension will highlight the Greasemonkey icon in the status bar. Right click the Greasemonkey icon and choose the "X scripts available" item to see and install the scripts available for the current page. (requires Greasemonkey)

8.       Better Gmail
Add useful extra features to Gmail, like hierarchical labels, an unread message icon on your browser tab, file attachment icons, and more.

9.       Better YouTube
A compilation of some of the best Greasemonkey user scripts for YouTube in one interface

10.       Securelogin
Secure Login is a login extension for Mozilla Firefox integrated password manager.
Its main feature is similar to Opera's (the browser) Wand login.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Partykof... what the hack does that mean?

Partykof is a slang word distorted from the phrase "Power take-off" which refers to a switch located on the front console of a Tractor, This word is commonly used among the Kibbutz members (the Kibbutznikim) in Israel.

A power take-off (PTO) is a splined driveshaft, usually on a tractor or truck, that can be used to provide power to an attachment or separate machine. It is designed to be easily connected and disconnected. The power take-off allows implements to draw energy from the tractor's engine.

Image1: The PTO on the back of the Tractor - Find out more on Wikipedia

I decided to use this analogy as most of the information I gather, comes from the Internet, and harnessing it's power for the benefit of IT is what I do.