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Posted December 28, 2008

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Cloud Computing Part One: Windows Skydrive

Windows SkyDrive

how to get more hits to my site or blogWindows SkyDrive gives you 25 GB's of space to store copies of your music, photos and files

There are three distinct services available in Microsoft's new Windows Live suite: Live Sync, Live Mesh and SkyDrive. You can use any or all of them by setting up one Windows Live account. This way one user account name and one password gives you access to all three of these very cool products. If you are already using Hotmail or Windows Messenger, you're automatically good to go.

Let's start with the simplest and most straight forward of these three applications - SkyDrive. This program allows you to upload 25 GB's of files of any kind and store them on Microsoft's servers for free. To get to SkyDrive for the first time, you can Google Skydrive. You can also type into your browser window. Once you've logged into Windows Live you'll have to look around to find Skydrive. Click More and you'll find it there. Once you're on the SkyDrive page be sure to bookmark it so you can easily get back to it later.

Using SkyDrive

While 25 GB of storage is a huge amount of space, there are some limitations with SkyDrive. You are limited to uploading five files at a time and no one of these files can be over 50 MB. Still, it's a great way to share text files, photos and even music with friends, family and co-workers. You can place your files into three kinds of folders. Private, Shared and Public. This means you can put them into folders that only you have access to or you can put them into folders that you can invite others to share. And of course since its web based, these files can be accessed from any computer anywhere in the world. You can choose to allow total access to a folder, meaning anyone can view and download copies of its contents. Or you can limit access to folders to only people you invite to share them with you. Or as mentioned before, you can put your files into folders that only you can have access to.

Should you decide to share the contents of some folders with friends, you can choose to make the files Read Only. Read Only means that your friends or co-workers can Windows SkyDriveaccess the files but they can't make changes to them. Or you could give Read Write permissions to the files in another folder. That means that the people you invite to share this folder can not only read the files in them but can edit them as well. This makes SkyDrive a fantastic tool for doing collaborative work on projects.

If you want someone to have access to files on your SkyDrive account, that person will have to have a Windows Live account. Fortunately, signing up for an account is quick, painless and free. Once you have some files in a Share folder that you want someone to be able to access, you can use a tool on the SkyDrive page to send that person an email invitation to view your SkyDrive folder. In the process of sending the invitation, or invitations, you instruct SkyDrive to allow your guests to be able to Read and Edit your files or only Read them but not Edit them.

Click "Public" in the Icon Below

If you click on the word Public in the image above, you will go to my public SkyDrive folder. When you're through looking around, click your back button to come back and finish reading about SkyDrive

More About SkyDrive

If you click on the icon above, you'll be taken to one of my Public SkyDrive folders. There you'll find four of my favorite Calvin and Hobbs cartoons and an mp3 of Viva La Vida by Coldpaly. Click a file to view a cartoon and then hit your back-button to go back to the four choices again. You can even write a comment after each cartoon, if you wanna.

Keep in mind that you can do pretty much the same thing with emails. Every SkyDrive folder has a Web address and SkyDrive allows you to put a link to that address in your emails that will direct your email recipient to one or more of your SkyDrive folders. Or if you have a blog, you could embed the code to your SkyDrive folders in your blog exactly the way I did above.

Windows SkyDrive is very new and Microsoft is working to improve it. SkyDrive is the replacement for Windows FolderShare, if you remember that old program. SkyDrive came out of bata as recently as February of 2008. At that time it offered only 800 MB of storage and by June of '08 Microsoft increased the capacity to 5 GB. Just in November of 2008 did Microsoft increase it to the current 25 GB. So it is obvious that this application is on the front burner at Microsoft and that it will continue to get some major improvements in the near future. Hopefully sometime soon Microsoft will allow us to upload more than 50 MB at a time. But even with its current limitations, SkyDrive is an awesome application.

If you start messing around with Windows Live SkyDrive, you'll probably find it useful. If nothing else, it's fun to play with and best of all, it's free. Not to mention, this is cutting edge stuff. Cloud computing is the future.

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