Posted by: Steven Harris | October 24, 2010

Scattered Clouds

The Green DragonThis story starts when someone tried to steal my truck a couple of weeks back. No, this story really starts when I followed someone’s link on Twitter to get free extra storage space if I signed up for Dropbox, a cloud storage service. I signed up for Dropbox almost a year ago and got my extra space. I’m still just using the free service, but Dropbox does offer paid accounts with 50GB and 100GB of storage.

So, what about the truck? Well, this summer I bought a beautiful, used Ford Ranger. I call him The Green Dragon. I’ve been driving it to work for 4 months. A couple weeks ago some idiot tried to steal my truck. This genius used some kind of tool to make a mash of the passenger door lock and the ignition. I couldn’t even get a key into the ignition to start it. This was especially distressing because I had planned to drive to give a presentation at the New Mexico Library Association Mini-conference in Gallup a couple of hours west of Albuquerque.

I did manage to find someone who would work on the locks the day before the conference. Trouble was, I was in meetings all day. I finally got through with meetings at 4:20 and had to rush off to get the truck before the mechanic closed at 5:00 p.m. (This is becoming a long story.) I didn’t even go back to my office to gather my things. Turns out, however, UNM was on Fall break. The library closed at 6:00 p.m. I didn’t make it back before closing. (I should note here that no one but a select few even have a key to the building.)

Road to GallupThe problem was that I didn’t have my PowerPoint presentation that I planned to use at the conference. Luckily, I thought, I have the file stored in Dropbox. Right? I had been told that Internet connectivity might be out during the conference. So, I went home, connected to Dropbox and saved the file on a Flash drive (in addition to the laptop itself). The only Flash drive I could find around the house was actually an SD memory card drive with a USB connector. It’s a little wider than a typical Flash drive.

When I got to the conference, I discovered that the computer in the presentation room had a case where the USB ports were in a narrow space. My drive wouldn’t fit! No worries. Once again, Dropbox to the rescue. The Internet networking was working. I logged into Dropbox and downloaded the file again. After all that I also had issues with getting the projector to work! Turns out one of the connections was loose. Check those connections.

The moral of this story  is that the cloud is a great way to get at your digital material when you don’t want to be tied to a particular piece of hardware. Cloud storage like Dropbox can give you access no matter where you are and whether or not you have access to you own computers. I’m thinking about upgrading to a paid account. In truth, I’d like more storage space than 100GB. I already have more than 100GB of material on my various PCs. A terabyte or more would be better. Imagine storing all your music and video and text files in the cloud. That’s my new fantasy.



  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Steven R. Harris, The Tech Gang. The Tech Gang said: #Cloud #Storage Scattered Clouds « Collections 2.0: No, this story really starts when I followed someone's lin… #TCN […]

  2. I agree, in theory. In practice, I have an issue with cloud storage (besides privacy concerns):

    Here in AK the ISP with the highest bandwidth (in terms of MB/second) also has bandwidth caps (in terms of total GB/month). It’s insultingly low; our once-unlimited account is limited to 40GB/month. To get 125GB/month, the highest they offer, one has to pay for cable, for phone, AND just a smidge over $100 for the Internet service itself. And if you go over their cap? It’s $5.12 per GB.

    The other option is limited to 1MB/second in my part of town, but has no cap. We’re in the process of switching.

    I guess where I’m going is, maybe we aren’t there yet, for cloud storage as a feasible option. At least, not everywhere is.

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