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January 1, 2010

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Cloud Computing with Gladinet and Skydrive

Managing Files Stored in the Cloud

Posted by Scoroncocolo January 1, 2010

What Is Google WaveWhat's going to be big in 2010? Well, Google Wave for one thing, but our migration to the Cloud will top the list of the biggest tech trends of 2010.

What's going to be big in 2010? Well, Google Wave for one thing, but our migration to the Cloud will top the list of the biggest tech trends of 2010. Cloud computing is the future. My crystal ball tells me that we will, in the near future, leave our land-based Operating Systems behind and move entirely into the Cloud. A year from now this migration to the Cloud will be number one on the list of how our computational world has changed in the last 365 days.

Gladinet, Skydrive, Cloud Computing

Off the Desktop and Into the Cloud

Before this year is over Google plans to have on the market it's challenge to Microsoft Windows. It will be a complete Operating System that will be an extension of its new Web browser, Google Chrome. This Google Chrome OS will operate solely in the Cloud. You will no longer install programs on your hard drive, rather you will access your customized versions of those programs on the Internet. Google envisions that in the near future almost all of our data will move from our hard drives onto servers across the Internet. Very soon, every program that you use for work, social interaction or entertainment will be available as a Web application. I'm not foolish enough to believe that Microsoft Windows is in jeopardy of having its dominance supplanted anytime soon by Google Chrome OS. But even Microsoft knows that the future of computing is moving away from the Desktop and into the Cloud. Just look at all of the Microsoft applications that have recently migrated to the Cloud - Windows Live Mesh, Live Sync, Skydrive and Windows Azure.

Back in September of '09 I published a page on this site called Backup Your Files to the Cloud for Free. In that page I described a number of ways that you could do just that using Web storage applications like Windows Live Skydrive,, Syncplicity, Google Docs, Google's Picasa and some others. At the bottom of that page I wrote a short piece about Gladinet Cloud Desktop. Gladinet is an increasingly popular, free, stand-alone application that you can download from Cnet, or a number of other places that gathers all of your files and folders scattered throughout the Cloud and places them on your PC's Desktop. It's a truly amazing piece of software.

Gladinet Cloud Desktop

Gladinet creates a virtual drive (Z) on your hard drive on which you can mount all of the cloud applications where you have files stored. You have total access to those files inside Gladinet's interface right on your Desktop. Well, now Microsoft has done something similar in regard to Skydrive, their on-line storage application. Microsoft has very recently created Skydrive Explorer. While Gladinet allows you to access all of your online files no matter where they reside in the Cloud, Skydrive Explorer (as its name would imply) only gives you access to the files you have stored on Windows Live Skydrive.

Gladinet, Skydrive, Cloud Computing

Gladinet Cloud Desktop

Skydrive Explorer is not nearly as powerful of a Desktop/Cloud interfacing application as Gladinet. One glaring inadequacy with Skydrive Explorer is its inability to open files. Using Gladinet, you cannot only open and view your files, you can actually edit them right there in the Gladinet interface. Gladinet can open any file residing on any Cloud platform. Gladinet will open MP3 files and play them in Windows Media Player. It will open text files in whatever Windows format they were created. It will open jpegs, gif, png and other graphic files in Windows Photo Gallery. It will open video files in WMP.

To be fair, Gladinet has had about a one year head-start on Skydrive Explorer. You have to wonder why it took MS so long to start to work on something this important. And Microsoft, in its Windows Live Blog has promised to add the open/edit files functionality to Skydrive Explorer in the near future. And Microsoft may have done so before you get around to reading this post.

Cloud Computing with Skydrive Explorer and Gladinet

If you're planning to download and install Skydrive Explorer, here's a little heads-up. Unlike most other things you download and install on your PC, once you're finished installing Skydrive Explorer, you won't see any of those annoying shortcuts placed on your Desktop. Nothing will be dumped in your Systems Trey and in fact, you won't find anything at all on your Start menu that refers to Skydrive Explorer. So how do you get to this sucker? That sort of threw me for a minute because when I first installed this program several evenings ago, I had been multi-tasking, i.e. working on a six pack of Heineken. But it installs directly to the C: drive. So to access it you just open Windows Explorer by double-clicking the Computer icon on your Desktop or winkey + e or however you want to get there. Once Windows Explorer is open, you'll see Skydrive Explorer listed under "Other" at the bottom of the page that lists all of your drives.

Gladinet Cloud Desktop

Gladinet Cloud Desktop

Both Skydrive Explorer and Gladinet allow you to drag and drop files onto their respective interfaces and copies of those files will be uploaded to Windows Skydrive in the case of Skydrive EXplorer and to any other location in the Cloud to which you have an account in the case of Gladinet. All three on the applications I've written about in this post, Windows Live Skydrive, Skydrive Explorer and Gladinet Cloud Desktop are absolutely free. Gladinet has a Professional Edition of its software that it offers for sale as an upgrade $40. But the Starter edition is free to use for as long as you like. If you choose later to upgrade to the Professional edition you can do so from within the Starter edition program.

Skydrive and Gladinet

Back in December of 2008, I wrote a piece on Windows Live Skydrive in which I went into some detail about what Skydrive is, how to download it and install it and how to use it to safely store and share files with friends, family and co-workers or with the entire world, for that matter. Microsoft's Windows Live Skydrive is definitely one of the places you should consider storing some of your important, irreplaceable files. I describe why that's so in the article I wrote about Skydrive back in '08, so I won't go into it here other than to say that Skydrive offers you an extremely generous amount of storage space -25 gigs. You can store literally thousands of high resolution photos along with hundreds of mp3's and tons of text files and spread sheets and still have room to roam. Twenty-five gigs is a lot of storage space!

Gladinet, Skydrive, Cloud Computing

Gladinet Cloud Desktop

Yes, Microsoft is being very generous by giving us so much storage space with Skydrive. And the price is right. It's free with no strings attached. There's only one little fly in the ointment. Well, there's more than just one fly. You can't upload folders to Skydrive. You can only upload files. While those files that you are allowed to upload to Skydrive can be pretty big (50 MB), unfortunately you are only allowed to upload 5 of them at a time.

But Gladinet has figured a way around this Skydrive limitation. You can use Gladinet to partially maneuver around Skydrive's five file at a time upload limit. I'll be talking more about that in this and future posts to this blog. But for now, I encourage you to set up a Windows Live Skydrive account, if you don't already have one, and to start interacting with it using Gladinet Cloud Desktop.

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