file sharing

JustCloud – Really, Just a Cloud

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If your first impression from the service is that it is exceptionally unpleasant and user unfriendly, you are in the exact place where we are. And it doesn’t get any better when you familiarize with the system.

Probably the most irritating part is that the mailing system of JustCloud sends you an email literally upon every move you make within the platform. Also, since it does not actually provide a free version (but if you trick it, it does!), it constantly reminds you that you need to upgrade to a paid plan by pop-ups and adds on the web application and on your task bar if you install the application. It says it only gives you a 14-day trial version. However, truth is that even when this period expires, there is no problem to use the service, although it becomes even more annoying. If you stop using the web or desktop application, you will continue getting emails begging you to come back.

Upon registration the system gives you various discounts, usually about 20% off of your plan price. Actually, the longer you wait during your free trial, the bigger the discount offered to sign up for paid account.

After you register an account on the JustCloud website, the desktop application automatically starts downloading on your device. It performs backup of your files to cloud.

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You can assign scheduled and automated backups and not bother manually performing them later. The platform provides a Drag & Drop functionality, which makes it easy for you to place the files you need to backup in the specific folder of the cloud system. You can also set parameters for the amount of system resources to use and specify not performing backups unless your computer is idle.

The file sharing system is compatible with Windows, Mac and Linux. It offers applications for iPhone, iPad, Android and Blackberry. With the online cloud storage system you can share files with friends and other users. You can invite them by email, Facebook, Twitter or provide them with a custom link.

Using the Control Panel functionality you can easily trace the transition of your files to and from the platform, the space you are using, the space remaining, the time remaining for your payment plan, and many others. The control panel allows you to access all of your backed up and synced files from any device with an internet connection, anywhere.

However, here is one serious breakdown. If you decide to upload your files and (since in this blog we particularly talk about photos) large collections of images, you can only upload them on a one-by-one basis! How is that possible?! Also, once uploaded, the platform structure is not quite clear and you may have difficulties finding and sorting your files. Here is a web view of the options the platform provides.

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JustCloud offers 24/7 Technical Support and online help, which could be quite necessary because the service is not too user friendly and intuitive, as you notice.

Shortly, for personal use, JustCloud works fine for backing up and syncing files now and then. However, for professional use, we would recommend other data backup services.

Your Photos are Secure in Cubby

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Cubby is all about simplicity and security. It is mostly a professional use cloud storage platform that gives you 5GB free storage space and up to 25 GB through Cubby’s referral schemes. The paid plans are concentrated around business collaboration and offer up to 1 TB of data storage space per five users. Our guess is it will probably suit fine for teams of professional photographers, working on common projects.

Cubby allows teams to easily and securely work together via one common file storage and sharing system. Since the platform is supported on various devices, such as mobiles and desktop ones, your photos are directly synced on any devices you use.

If safety is your biggest concern when storing your photos in the cloud, Cubby guarantees that it protects your information so your data stays secure. No third party will ever view your photos, except if you share them. Cubby protects your data with AES 256-bit client-side encryption. Activity monitoring is also available, but only for paid plans.

When you install the desktop application, you simply turn your folders into cubbies and they automatically and securely sync with your web application. You can sync multiple computers and devices all at once. You can share documents with anyone, without letting them make changes to your cubbies. When you upload your photos to your cubbies, you can collaborate on privately shared cubbies in order to work on the same set of files and access unlimited versions in the archives.

If you choose to install the Cubby desktop application, it will create one large folder for you, called My Cubby, where you can store your digital data securely. It will be automatically synced to the cloud. Through the desktop app you can create other cubbies or turn a folder on your system into a cubby.

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The desktop app offers a number of options, such as Sync, Share or generate a Link. Also, the On button enables linking and online access from cubby.com and mobile apps. You also have the opportunity to remove folders from being cubbies using the X button, thus cleaning space on your file storage platform. This way the folder will be no longer synced or shared through the desktop application.

The web view is also very simplified. It only gives you the folders (cubbies) you have created on your desktop app. Also, if you create a cubby on the web, it will appear on your app.

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To upload your photos to the cloud, you have two options – though the web or through a mobile or desktop application. To upload through the web, open the destination folder and click on the upload button at the top of the folders.

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You can drag and drop your files or you can click on the Choose Files or Choose Folders button to upload your photos.

To upload photos through your desktop device, simply drag and drop your files to the desired cubby folder and they are automatically synced with the web.

When your files are already uploaded to the web platform, you can easily share them with other collaborators if you click on the three line button at the rightmost of your files. Choose the Link option and the platform will generate a link that you can provide to your collaborates.

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To share an entire folder, open the main folder view and choose the Share now option to the right of your folder name. When you do so, you will be asked for your recipient’s email address. When you perform this your colleague will receive an email invitation to join Cubby and receive your share.

As we previously mentioned, in Cubby your photos are really safe, because client-side encryption is available for all users, regardless of whether they use a paid or a free plan. However, one more security step – the Cubby Locks – user-held encryption keys, is available only for paying users.

How are Photo Lovers Welcome at Amazon Cloud

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Amazon Cloud Drive is Amazon’s native online cloud storage platform, which provides its users with a diverse service in exchange for a reasonable price. For those who are used to Amazon’s other services, the online storage platform will come handy. For example, Amazon’s audio player is mostly used for playing audios, purchased from Amazon music store, and so on. However, you don’t necessarily need to use Amazon’s other services. You may simply choose the free version of its cloud service, giving you 5 GB of data storage space upon registration. It is not much, but you can at least store your phone photo collections.

Mobile applications are available for Android and iOS. To use Amazon Cloud Drive to backup your photos from your mobile, turn the Auto-Save function On. In this state, the app will automatically protect all the photos on your device in the cloud. Alternatively, you can selectively store your photos in the cloud when the Auto-Save function is turned Off.

To store your valuable photos through the web, open the Amazon Cloud web application, open the Pictures folder and click the + Add Files button on top right, and then select the photos you would like to upload.

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Once uploaded, you can perform various actions with your photos in the cloud, such as Move, Copy, Rename, Share, Download, etc. To do so, simply mark a file in your folder and click on the option menus on top. To view a photo, click on the file name and it will open in another screen.

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When you open a photo in your Amazon viewer, you can start a slide show, containing the other pictures from the same folder. Also, using the arrows, you can view other photos, which are given in thumbnail view in the bottom part of the viewer.

To share a photo, open the Pictures folder, mark one (or more) photo(s), click on the More Actions button and choose Share (the bottom option). The following screen will appear, containing a link that you need to use for sharing.

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Unfortunately, the Amazon Cloud Drive does not provide any file sharing settings. You cannot set particular rights to users. Everyone who owns the link can download and use your photos, no restrictions.

A pleasing feature that Amazon provides is the Photo and Video Preview, located at the very top left side of the web platform, right next to the All Files section. It is called “Photos & Videos”. When you click on it, you can view a gallery of your videos and photos, stored on the platform. However, not all file formats are supported for preview.

Shortly, Amazon offers a number of media services, grouped in a cloud storage system, which, for those, willing to pay a particular sum, may be a very comfortable way of creating and storing large collections of photos and other media.

Your Photos in SugarSync

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The SugarSync file sharing and synchronization service gets a lot of positive feedback from users and reviewers. However, it does not provide a free version and is mainly developed for business users. The service only provides a 90 days trial period, during which you have the opportunity to test the platform and decide if it is your cup of tea or not. This is within the range of 5 GB cloud storage space. The trial version does not provide all the available functionalities and the web interface looks very simple. It actually gives you only two automatically created folders (Mobile Photos and My SugarSync) where you store your files. Of course, you can manually create others and customize your space.

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Unfortunately, unlike the mobile applications, the web interface does not provide very good preview options for photos. The platform only previews more common photo formats, such as .jpg.

After working with many cloud storage services, I was pleased with the fact that the SugarSync application looks completely the same on an Apple device and on an Android device. Both are really neat, simple, intuitive and fast working. They both prompt you to backup the photos on your device upon installing the application. The photos are uploaded in the Mobile Photos folder.

A peculiar thing about SugarSync is that when you use it on a computer, you cannot install the application without providing your credit card details for further orders. However, you can download the application without any binding on your mobile phone or tablet.

If you use an Apple device, such as iPad or iPhone, install the application after you download it from the Apple Store. If you like, you can use the automatic photo backup function and upload the photos you have made with you device to the online application. You can view your uploaded photos by opening All Folders → Mobile Photos.

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The My SugarSync folder is initially empty and you can use it to store other files you upload to the app. If you like to upload other photos, other than those, located in your camera gallery, there is a tip you need to be aware of. When you try to locate another folder to upload from, the system provides you with the following message.

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To turn Location Services for SugarSync ON on your Apple device, go to the device Settings → Privacy → Location Services → locate SugarSync and turn it ON.

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If you have already uploaded photos to one of the folders or both of them and you need to share a photo with other users, press the Select button located at the bottom right. Check boxes appear to the left of the files in your folder. Click in the boxes to choose the photos you want to share.

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After you select them, use the Share option, at the bottom left part of the screen. The system then provides you with the options to perform the sharing using Email, Facebook, Twitter, or other application you have installed on your device.

If you choose the Sync option to synchronize your photos, you will later locate your synced files in the Synched Folder in the main menu.

If you are an Android user, SugarSync also offers you a cloud backup service for your photos upon sign up. You can set it to automatically backup your photos directly from the camera gallery of your device.

Since the view of the application is approximately the same on Android as it is on an iDevice, simply follow the tips, provided above, by skipping the Location settings, which are not applicable for Android devices. The Upload and Share options are located at the bottom left part of your screen.

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Shortly, SugarSync is better for professional photographers, because it does not provide a free version. If you are not a pro, and you simply need a data backup service for the daily pictures you make with your phone, this may not be the right service for you, although the mobile applications are adorable and very easy to use. But if you decide to subscribe to a paid version, be aware that the price/space ratios are very good.

Your Photos in Box

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Box is a neatly designed online storage system, providing fast synchronization and upload of your files, documents, pictures, etc. It is designed mostly for business purposes, since it offers options for collaboration and messaging between various users. The free option, offering 10 GB storage space for free (Personal Account), has certain file size limits, which might not be good for storing large photo or video files. However, you may choose to subscribe to a paid version and use a larger quota. The paid plans include a certain number of users, depending on your subscription.

Box does not provide automatically generated folders, such as My Documents, My Pictures, etc. When you first log in to the system, you get a completely empty space where you need to create your custom folders.

When we talk about mobile, if you are an Apple device user, download the mobile application from the Apple Store and install it on your device. To upload the photos that you take with your phone, select the Plus sign, located to the top right of the screen. When you do that, you can either select the option Take Photo or Video, and use your camera to take a photo at that particular moment, or you can select photos to upload from your photo gallery by selecting the option Choose from Library. In both cases, those photos are automatically uploaded to the main folder of your Box account.

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If you need to share a photo that you have already uploaded to the Box application, you may be a little puzzled, because the Share option, located to the top right of the screen, doesn’t work as expected, since you cannot simply mark a file in order to use it. Actually, in my own experience, when tested on an iPad, it didn’t work at all. In order to share a file, you need to place your finger on your file and slide to the left. The following screen appears:

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The first option from left to right is the Share option. When you choose it, a link is automatically generated and the following message appears on the screen: “Copy Link to Clipboard”. When you choose to copy the link, you are sent to a screen, where you can complete your sharing collaboration.

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Sounds easy, but not as much. If you are an Android user, things are even less intuitive. In terms of file sharing, I should definitely say, it takes some reading to complete the steps needed. I tested the application on three different Android devices, and I am amazed by the different views I was introduced to. Apparently, it all depends on the Android version you are using.

Uploading your files to the mobile application, however, is not as complicated as sharing. On any Android device you are using, after downloading and installing the application, you must get approximately the following screen.

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To upload your precious pictures from the photo gallery on your phone, press the Plus sign on top right and select the first option – Upload Files. When you do that, you immediately get the desired files in the main folder of your Box account.

However, if you need to share a photo you have already uploaded to the application, you need to locate the Share option. During my test, I first used a Nexus tablet with Android 4.4. No sharing option found. When you press on a file and hold it for a while, you get some additional options, such as the opportunity to put a check mark to the left of the file and Download, Move, Delete or Copy it, but that is all.

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Then I decided to test and locate it on a phone. My choice was a Samsung Galaxy Plus with Android 2.5. Nope, not a clue. The share option is simply not there and the menus are located at the bottom of the screen, rather than at the top, like with the Nexus. The final chance I gave it was with a Samsung Galaxy Tab with Android 4.1. And… Eureka! It worked! The menus were at their approximately expected places – on the top right, as the third (middle) option was the sharing one.

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For web use, things go a lot easier. You can upload your photos using the Upload button on the top left of the screen. In order to share a file, simply click the check box to the right of the file and you will get the following screen, where you can automatically generate a link to share with other users.

cloud services

Shortly, for personal needs, having in mind the 10 GB free storage space that Box provides, you can use the platform for storing the pictures you take with your phone, considering the file size limits. However, if you are a professional photographer, those size limits may not fit your storage needs and you may prefer to choose a different cloud storage platform or subscribe to a paid plan.