IDrive: One-stop Backup for All of Your Devices and Computers

IDrive: One Stop Backup for All of Your Devices and ComputersA few weeks ago I took inventory of all the toys I have in my house and was surprised at just how much stuff I own. My list of computers and devices consists of the following:

  • 2 laptop computers running Windows 7
  • 1 laptop running Windows XP
  • 1 desktop running Windows 7
  • 1 Google Chromebook Cr-48
  • 1 Apple iPad
  • 1 Apple iPod
  • 1 Amazon Kindle Fire
  • 1 Android-powered smart phone

When you have this many toys, you need a reliable backup service that supports all of your devices and computers.

To address this need, I was recently introduced, through our Gnomies Facebook group, to Stephen Gold, the Business Development Manager for IDrive. Let me be clear, however, that this was my first exposure to IDrive’s backup service and that I have no personal relationship with the company nor do I know Stephen personally. The opinions I will express in this article are mine and mine alone.

IDrive: One Stop Backup for All of Your Devices and ComputersMy first experience was to install IDrive on my personal laptop computer system running Windows 7. I found IDrive very simple to install and even easier to use.

From this screen shot, you will notice that the left side of the screen displays the files and drives that you can back up, while the right side of screen announces when your backup is completed.

The simplicity of the software begins when you click on the Backup Now button. This will take you on your course down the yellow brick road. At one juncture in the road, you can even schedule a future backup or, at another, opt to do a complete system restore.

Admittedly, this trial had been on a computer, so I knew I had to extend my trial; I also tried using IDrive Lite on my Android smartphone and am pleased to note that both the Windows version and the Android version performed perfectly.

But like many of you, I thought to myself, was IDrive just another pretty face in the crowded iCloud backup field, or was it really different? I decided to put Stephen Gold under the microscope and ask him some pretty hard questions. Here is the interview:

What are the main benefits that you believe IDrive has over your competition?

Some services limit the number of devices a person can connect to their account. IDrive allows for an unlimited number of devices (computers and mobile [devices]) and file access is universal between OS X, Windows, and Linux data.

“You need a third-party app to do this in Dropbox, and Carbonite for some reason “strongly recommends” a non-private key –we call this a ‘Default’ key– our philosophy is the opposite, we encourage people to use the private key, although we can’t reset it if its forgotten or lost, its ultimately a more secure way to store data in the cloud.”

Any time a person chooses to go with an “unlimited” storage backup plan, they’re always accepting limitations in other areas. Most commonly this is with file retention. Mozy and Carbonite delete files from their servers 30 days after a customer has deleted them from their computer, so the customer doesn’t really ever get unlimited storage, only how much they’re storing locally. The customer pays $50 per year to back up 10 GB or 100 GB, but that’s only a good deal for the guy who backs up 100 GB. We offer tiered plans with unlimited file retention — that’s what online storage should be. The customer can choose how much space they want to purchase on our servers, fill it up, and let it stay there for as long as they’d like.

IDrive has no file type or size limitations, and no bandwidth throttling — for every account. Box.net limits [its] free users to 25 MB files and [its] paid users to 2 GB files, [which is] not very useful for video editors or my office iPhoto library (3.46 GBs and counting).

Every customer can back up their first 5 GB free and refer friends to get more. Gnomies, of course, have a special 25 GB free promo available!

How safe is cloud computing?

“Safety” is, unfortunately, a bit subjective. Some people feel it’s safe to purchase items online with a credit card, and some don’t. [Here are] five questions to ask your cloud backup provider; answer them and you’ll get a good picture of how “safe” you and your data will be:

  • Where is my data being stored? It’s important to know if the facilities holding your [data] meet international standards and are secured both physically and electronically. Our data-center facilities are physically guarded 24-hours a day, our network is monitored by our team 24-hours a day, and we’re SAS 7 compliant.
  • How is my data being stored? Is your data being encrypted properly before being copied? Who has access to the encryption key? Do you have the option to set your own key? All data is encrypted before it leaves a customer’s computer and is transferred over an SSL connection.
  • Who do I contact if I need help? Make sure your cloud backup provider has a support team you can rely on in case you need help. Does it have a call center? 24-hour live chat for emergencies? Check and check!
  • What am I paying for? Even though cloud-based backup services tend to be significantly more affordable than traditional solutions, especially tape, be sure to watch for per-client license fees and contracts! IDrive offers easy paid plans starting at $4.95 per month for 150 GB and it supports as many devices as a customer would like to connect. Dropbox, for instance, is $19.99 per month for 100 GB (since [it has] to pay Amazon for the storage) and Mozy is $5.99 for 50 GB and the customer can only connect three computers — anything additional is $2 per computer per month.
  • What if the worst happens? It’s hoped that you’ll never have to recover from a disaster, but if you do, is your backup provider there for you to help you get up and running quickly? Some providers offer physically shipped restores in cases involving large amounts of data; would you need this kind of service? The old adage goes, “A backup is only as good as its restore.” Our 24-hour support team is available in case someone encounters trouble restoring their data and we have a Rapid Serve hard drive program for quick disaster recovery.

What future plans does your company have to stay at the forefront of cloud storage?

APIs and third-party development; over the last two years we re-created our storage platform (we call it EVS) and for the first time have recently made available public APIs to access to IDrive. Other developers (such as Primadesk) can integrate IDrive into their own applications. We’ll be launching an app studio to highlight the new apps as they’re released.

And we’re staying a little quiet about it, but we’re cooking up a re-launch of our sync product, IDriveSync. It’s going to be killer.

Thanks, Ron. Let me know if you need anything further!

Stephen

What Stephen says about your backup being only as good as your restore is, unfortunately, very true. I have personally experienced a failed restore from one cloud-based company, but after using the software, I believe that IDrive has the integrity and purpose to provide a reliable backup and restore of your data. In another words, I personally believe that IDrive is a company that can be trusted.

Comments welcome.

I received this from the iDrive team with a correction:

‘There is a factual error in the posting. The IDrive technology does not use SSL for encryption when data is backed up from Windows and Mac desktop apps. It uses AES encryption. There are two options provided with AES, one with default encryption where the system chooses the encryption key, and the other where the user chooses the key.

IDrive Team. ‘

AVG Technologies – Double Winner of 2009 Global Excellence Awards

There are few weeks that go by when someone here in the forums, somewhere on the Internet, a friend, neighbor or acquaintance doesn’t ask about the best anti-virus program. I know from personal experience that everyone has their personal favorites for a variety of reasons. I am personally partial to AVG since during the past four years of using the freebie, I have never, repeat never, had an infection on my system or any system which I had installed the software.

So last week when my bud from CA., Goose, sent out an email to myself and another friend, Bugsy, the answer was simple. Get AVG dude. Today I read a press release in which AVG was award two awards for excellence. According to the release it states that:

Amsterdam, April 21 2009- AVG Technologies, a leading developer of Internet security software, announced today that a pair of its security solutions won prestigious 2009 Global Product Excellence Customer Trust Awards. The awards are sponsored by the Info Security Products Guide. These awards recognize products that offer the highest levels of security to consumers and businesses. Winners were announced during the RSA Security Conference in San Francisco. AVG was one of the rare companies receiving recognition in multiple categories.

AVG Internet Security won the top Security Solution for Consumers. AVG Internet Security for home users delivers comprehensive protection against viruses, spyware, identity theft, and poisoned web pages. It protects against all types of malware that can threaten an individual’s personal information.

AVG Internet Security Network Edition won the top Security Solution for Enterprise (Small and SOHO). It provides comprehensive internet security for a company’s workstations, notebooks, and file servers. Small and SOHO companies have limited IT resources. With AVG providing security, they can focus on other business critical activities.

I do recommend AVG to anyone who needs a reliable software program to protect their system against the bad stuff.

Comments welcome.

Source.

Nitrogen In Your Tires

In last Sunday’s newspaper I noticed an advertisement from one of our local Chevy dealers that was offering a half-price sale on nitrogen for your car tires. So I went out to see what I could find out about the benefits of running your tires filled with nitrogen instead of plain old air.

The Get Nitrogen Institute states the benefits as:

Proper tire pressure is a big deal.
Maintain it with nitrogen, and you’ll see
these three primary benefits:

  • Increased Fuel Efficiency – Correct tire pressure keeps the manufacturer’s recommended “contact patch” on the road. This lessens the rolling resistance and maximizes fuel efficiency. Read On
  • Longer Tire Life – When it comes in contact with other materials, oxygen causes oxidation. Oxidation can make rubber brittle and cause it to lose tensile strength. In addition, at high temperatures and pressures, oxygen reacts and damages inner tire liners and belt packages; nitrogen does not. Read On
  • Increased Safety – Under-inflated tires cause 90% of blowouts. Nitrogen provides more reliable pressure for reduced blowout potential. Read On

The local dealer’s half-price sale was $19.95 to fill your tires with nitrogen. I have not personally used nitrogen in my tires, so I haven’t a clue whether the savings are for real. If anyone has tried this, please share your thoughts.

Comments welcome.

Source.

PS When I mentioned this to my wife she said ‘now we have to pay to have our tires filled with gas?” :-)

Do You Own A KIA?

One of the beauty parts about blogging, is not only the information I get to share with my readers, but also your comments and observations. Since I started here at LG back in October 2006, I have covered a variety of subjects, most of which have been about computer technology. Once in awhile I toss in a subject that is of interest to me and in which I solicit your comments and opinions. I have been extremely fortunate in that I feel I have gained just as much information from my readers as I have presented.

With this in mind I want to share a piece of my life as it relates to automobiles.  During my existence on planet Earth I have owned some 19 different makes of cars, 17 of which have been American made. So in February 2007 when it came time to replace the family chariot, I was extremely excited with the prospects of car payments once again. I think we will all agree that owning a car, while a necessity in our lives, is one of the biggest money wasting items we can ever purchase.  I always say if I had all of the money I spent on cars, gas, auto insurance, maintenance and so forth, I could of bought a villa in Monte Carlo. :-)

So my wife Jackie and I were making the rounds of car lots, looking at the new beauties available. We happened to stumble into a KIA dealership and were looking at the different models.We wanted something that was luxurious, stylish, sporty, bottom line, something that was CHEAP! She spotted a KIA Sportage that she liked and felt she could maneuver easily around town. Priced at about $18K it had everything we needed. We went home to contemplate our purchase. I wasn’t sure if a KIA was right for us. I was concerned since it was so inexpensive, how well it would be built. I was impressed with the 10 yr./100,000 mile warranty as well as six airbags and ESC [Electronic Stability Control].

I was looking on the Internet on the KIA site and noticed they had a special lease for the Sportage. We could lease it for 30 months and if we didn’t like it bring it back.  Why not. So we ended up with a new SUV for 30 months that we had the option to either give back to the dealer or buy when the lease ended.

Well after 16 months of ownership we are still enjoying driving our KIA. The fit and finish of the vehicle is great. Our KIA is a well built vehicle that is easy to drive and the mileage is respectable, but not great. 21/29 m.p.g. The ECS is a nice feature but a little suprising when it kicks in, which has only happened once. Last winter I made a turn onto a street with black ice, The ass end started to swing around and bang, in kicked the ECS which straightened out the vehicle and also slowed the speed until control was gained.

Overall I give our KIA a 10/10. But what about you other KIA owners? What do you think?

Comments welcome.

Samsung Announces 256 GB SSD Drive

Samsung is once again leading the way to large SSD drives, this time announcing a 256 GB drive. According to sources, the new drives should become available during the 4th quarter of 2008. Smasung estimates that the drives should have a life expentency of 1 million hours. It is also stated:

 Through major advancements in proprietary controller technology, Samsung’s new MLC 256GB SSD, besides being comparable in speed to an SLC-based SSD, also boasts reliability equal to that of SLC SSDs, with a mean time between failures (MTBF) of one million hours, while costing considerably less.

Power consumption is also exceptionally low at 0.9 watts in active mode.

In addition, the drive offers a sophisticated data encryption process that prevents data stored on the SSD from being accessed in an unauthorized manner, even after the SSD is removed from the PC. Overall, the number of computing units in which SSDs are being offered is expected to increase dramatically once Samsung’s previously announced 128GB SSD and the new 256GB SSD are launched. At present, Samsung is actively involved in high-capacity SSD design-in activities for all of the top PC and server manufacturers from the U.S., Asia, and Europe.

SSD drives promise to change the way we compute by providing a more reliable storage in which there are no moveable parts to waer out. Hopefully with the new SSD drives hard drivec rashes will become a thing of the past.

Comments welcome.

Source  [.pdf format]

The Different Faces of Microsoft's Windows Vista – Part #1 HOME BASIC & HOME PREMIUM

Because different kinds of computer users need different features in their operating system, Microsoft offers multiple editions, or retail “SKUs,” of Microsoft Windows Vista, each oriented to the needs of specific types of customers. During the coming weeks, I will be covering the different versions of Vista, and how each is designed to meet the needs of home users and/or business users.

“The first version of Vista is HOME BASIC:

 

Windows Vista Home Basic is the entry-level offering for consumers. Highlights include:

§ Significant advances in security and reliability

§ Parental Controls

§ Windows Vista Basic user interface

§ Search and Organize innovations

§ Improved networking

 

Windows Vista Home Basic is designed to be easy to set up, to help people use their PCs securely and reliably, to help people stay better connected, and, like all of the editions of Windows Vista, to be compatible with the widest range of software, devices, and services that people use and trust. For those who simply want to use their PC for tasks such as surfing the Internet, corresponding with friends and family using email, or performing basic document creation and editing tasks, Windows Vista Home Basic delivers a safer, more reliable, and more effective computing environment.

Estimated retail pricing: Upgrade $99.00 Full Version: $199.00

The second version of Vista is HOME PREMIUM:

Windows Vista Home Premium is the mainstream edition of Windows Vista for consumer desktop and mobile PCs. It includes all features available in Windows Vista Home Basic, plus:

§ Windows Aero™ user interface

§ Windows Media Center functionality

§ Additional digital media features such as authoring and DVD burning

§ Windows Tablet PC capability

§ Additional mobility features such as PC-to-PC synchronization

Windows Vista Home Premium makes finding information, staying connected, and interacting with your PC easier and more secure. Using, organizing, and sharing photos, video, TV programs, and music becomes a part of your everyday life. With Windows Vista Home Premium, balancing your checkbook, doing homework, watching a movie, listening to music, or playing a game is a better and more enjoyable experience.”

Estimated retail pricing: Upgrade: $159.00 Full Version: $239.00


Use this handy chart from Microsoft to compare the different versions here.

 

 


[tags]Windows, Vista, home, basic, premium, internet,safer, reliable, effective, computing, tasks,retail, pricing[/tags]