My Files Review

My Files 1I could write pages and pages of text on how cloud computing brought a revolution to today’s file exchange, as well as the current progress towards the future and all possibilities cloud computing theoretically offers. In practice, we use services like Dropbox, SkyDrive, Box, Drive and others, simply to have a bunch of files synced across computers and mobile devices. And of course, to easily share them with friends, family, or coworkers.

Cloud services appeared at the same time when SSD drives began appearing in notebooks. This made notebooks like MacBook Air extremely light and thin, but very limited in storage. The same trend copied to a PC world, when Windows 8 appeared with all those touch sensitive controls, so now many notebooks are SSD powered come with a touch sensitive screens. Most people like this situation, since after all there are several good solutions for a limited hard drive space. Cloud computing is one of them.

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In order to save a hard drive space with cloud services, you need to upload your files using a web interface of that particular cloud service. That’s when things get tricky, since it is hard to navigate those files in a web browser, and plus – most of us use more than one cloud storage solution. Well, perhaps there’s a solution to this.

My Files is an app available in the Mac App Store ($1) which promises to unite all your cloud services into one window, where you can browse and edit your files. To be precise, it allows you to access your files located on a cloud’s server, without having to download a local copy. This seems like the perfect solution to a previously explained problem. You’ve got all you files under your fingers, from several cloud storages, which are not stored locally – thus they don’t occupy any space on your hard drive.

My Files supports numerous cloud storages like Dropbox, Google Drive, SkyDrive, SugarSync and Box. A big limitation is that you can only use one account per service, which I really didn’t like. In order to sign-up you’ll go through online authentication process which is a plus since My Files won’t store any of your credentials.

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Once you’ve signed-in to several cloud storages, you will be able to browse them just like you’re using the Finder. There’s also a search bar, which unfortunately comes with a very limited function and can search only for an exact file or folder names. In order to use a file you’ll need to download it, and this is very important to know. If you open up a file right within My Files app, for example a Pages document, that document will automatically open once you click on it. Beware that it will be automatically be saved to OS X’s cache, so if you edit and save it, it’s won’t be saved back to your cloud, which I believe will be a big problem for most users. Actually, this can make them lose their valuable work, so I really hope this will be fixed very soon.

There are also many other problems with My Files. For example, you won’t be able to add a new folder with files to a cloud storage simply by drag-and-dropping it. You can still do this, but you’ll need to upload each file using My File’s menus, manually. Finally, I’ve encountered many bugs and constant crashes. Sometimes this app won’t sign me in to my account, and you can’t use My File unless you’re signed into all your accounts at the same time.

In general, this app promised a lot in the beginning, but there are some serious flaws and annoying bugs and sudden crashes which prevent it from being useful.

Copy Review

Cloud computing has changed the way we collaborate and exchange files. In today’s age, this is very important aspect of a teamwork, where most projects are now done digitally and you receive parts of your projects from several different people, and put them all together on your computer through a single application. I am writing this without specifying any particular job, since this process can be applied to a wide range of possible jobs like graphic design, engineering, web design, music and video projects, accounting, and much more. This is why an online cloud service could easily make all your teammates easily connected and always in sync.

We won’t talk about how online cloud services work, since you probably know all about that already. The good chances are that you’re currently using one of the popular services of this kind, like Dropbox, Drive, and SkyDrive. In case you’ve already chosen your favorite and paid a premium package, you’re surely not considering switching. For those who are interested in became a first-time users, or those who are still on a free plan at one of those services, this article can be very helpful. We are going to review a new cloud service which nicely implements into OS X and brings some very interesting features.

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A new service, simply called Copy (you can find at copy.com), is a typical online cloud service. In general, it works the same way as any other, meaning that you’ll have Copy-authorized folder on your computer which will be synced with Copy’s server and other authorized computers as well. But what’s interesting about Copy is that you start off with a 5GB of free storage, and for every referral you will get 5GB free. You can see that you can easily create a massive online storage, which will be completely free of charge so I believe this is a very good deal.

In order to use Copy with your OS X, you’ll need to download and install its application. This app is a bit different Dropbox’s or SkyDrive’s since it doesn’t only silently implements into OS X’s Finder. Now let’s see what this app has to offer.

Copy 3

Once you start Copy’s app for the first time, you will need to sign-up or login with your credentials, and set up a location of your main syncing file. If you don’t want to sync this whole folder with Copy, you can go to Manage My Files tab and select which folders and specific files are going to be left out. In case a specific file is currently in sync, you can check to remove its local copy as well. Using the main interface of this app, you can review some interface changes, sharing features, and network options. Sharing allows you to send an invitations to your friends who will be able to access your main Copy folder end fully edit it. Network tab allows you to limit bandwidth usage of Copy, which is a nice feature that can be helpful in many situations.

At the end, I would like to note some sharing features which are specific to Copy. This app silently integrates into OS X’s Finder and once you get to Copy’s main syncing folder you’ll get some helpful options found in the Finder’s right-click menu. Once you select a file or a folder, by using this menu Copy will allow you to share it by sending or copying public link, or you can send it to your peer. You can also review its history and see what users accessed it in the past.

In general, Copy is a great new cloud service which offers you tons of free space and a nice OS X app which is perfect for a teamwork collaboration.

 

Transloader Review

Transloader 1My iPad is almost always by my side, and during the last year I’ve started using it much more often than before. A reason for this are those numerous iOS apps which are being developed and published, and which are extremely useful and make my iPad a bit more powerful. Besides that, I also tend to use an iPad to review and respond to e-mails, as well as to use iOS’ Safari to check some website or a particular piece of information. And I assume that more and more people are starting to use their iPads instead of a notebook for many different functions, as well.

Even though I find my iPad to be exceptionally useful in terms of web browsing, I’ve always had one particular problem. I exchange a lot of files on a daily basis, and those are Word/Pages documents, images and executable app files, or installers. When I receive a text of a PDF file, I can use iOS’ Mail to open it and then save it to my Dropbox account, so I can have them on my Mac. The same goes for images, but I still got a problem with installer files. iOS’ Safari or Mail can’t download those files, as well as many other particular file types, simply because iOS doesn’t support them. So I always had to save those e-mails with links to download on my OS X, or sometimes to copy those links to a text file located in my Dropbox account. Well, this was before I’ve found a very helpful little OS X/iOS app called Transloader.

Transloader is a small app which uses iCloud protocol to sync web links between my iOS device and a Mac, and which automatically downloads that particular file to my Mac’s desktop. This app could be found at the Mac App Store for $5, while its iOS app is free of charge. In order to use it, you’ll need to download both of these small apps to your iOS device and your computer as well.

Transloader 2

Now let’s see how Transloader actually works. When you encounter an app, or a file which can’t be opened in iOS using Safari or any other iOS browser, your iPhone/iPad will tell you that this file can’t be downloaded. Well, now you can simply copy that link, and open iOS’ Transloader app. When you open it, it will automatically ask if you want to add a new link from your clipboard and that all you need to do. This will make Transloader add that new link and sync it using iCloud with the Transloader on your OS X and download that file to a desktop.

Interface of these two apps is very simple, and you can see their screenshots in this article. It is basically made to sync links and download files on a Mac, and that’s all it does. OS X’s Transloader can automatically download files, or allow you to start that manually. You can also specify into which folder those files are going to be downloaded.

For me, personally, this app is very helpful and saves me a lot of time. It costs only a couple of dollars, so it’s worth its price. The truth is that you can do this syncing using Apple’s own iCloud with some tinkering (for free), but this app saves you a trouble and automatizes this process.

Clementine Review


Clementine 2When it comes to audio players, iTunes is the first choice for the most Mac users. iTunes is one of the best players out there, and the newest version received very positive critiques. Mac users are actually forced by Apple to use its own music player, especially if you’ve got an iOS device. You will need to use iTunes to sync your library and create back-ups, as well as to buy and update iOS apps. This goes hand-in-hand with other branches of iTunes Store, which is altogether one huge ecosystem. Actually, iTunes Store could be a company for itself, since its profits are now counted in hundreds of millions of dollars.

Trying to create and then offer your own music player to Mac users seems like impossible task. Even though iTunes could use some improvements in certain areas, it seems that Mac users are simply stuck with it, but they are also very happy with all the functions it provides. Some applications found success in video reproduction (like VLC player), which is one of iTunes’ weak spots. Today we are bringing you a music player which was available for a while now, but just lately began grabbing some attention.

Clementine is a big project of a music player development, and could be used not only with Mac OS X, but also with Windows, Fedora, and multiple Ubuntu systems. Development team is trying hard to bring the latest version to each of those platforms, and this is one of the reasons why development is still very slow.

Clementine 1

Once you open Clementine for the first time you’ll need to set up folders which already contain music files. By default, Clementine will use iTunes’ library, but you can also add any folders on your hard drive which is big advantage over iTunes. Another surprising feature is implementation of online services like Last.fm, Grooveshark, Spotify, and others. You can even add your Google Drive folders, which contain music, and Clementine will nicely implement all your tracks and make them accessible from one place.

After you’ve set up your library, you’ll be taken to Clemetine’s main window. After the first good impressions, you’ll be disappointed with its old fashioned interface. I actually thought at first that this was an abandoned project, but as it turns out, it is pretty much alive and that’s why I was surprised that developers didn’t try to make it more competitive. After all, they are fighting against iTunes which is a beautifully designed application.

On the other hand, Clementine is one of those applications which puts functions over design. Once you’ve got accustomed to its interface, you’ll be able to fully explore its features. You can easily reorganize your tracks, find very detailed song and artist info, and even keeps track of your podcasts (which will require gPodder.net account).

If we don’t compare it with iTunes, Clementine is feature-rich and very capable music player. It brings all your music to one place, no matter if those tracks are stored locally or in the cloud, which seems like its biggest selling point.

Doo Review

Doo 1Most of us have already signed-up at one of the cloud storage companies, or perhaps you don’t even know that you already got some cloud storage available (in case you use Gmail for example, you already have a Google Drive account). You probably know all about this technology and how it enhanced our everyday workflow. As the time passes, top three services are in the battle for getting the most users, and the chances are that you are already using Dropbox, Google Drive, or Microsoft’s SkyDrive. There’s also Apple’s iCloud, which should not be compared to others since it delivers enhanced cloud technology.

I’ve used Dropbox from the day it was released, and I was always happy with it. I use several computers at different places, and this is lifesaving solution. I always have all my documents in the cloud, properly synced and organized into folders, so I can access them easily via computer or my iPhone. But, I also use Google Drive since some of my employers tend to use solely this service, so I juggle between different folders on my desktop. And I assume that a lot of people are in the same situation, especially if you use Windows 8 and Office365, so you probably have SkyDrive account as well.

Doo 2

I’ve been waiting all this time for an application which could unify all these cloud storages, so I can browse all my files from one place. And this is where Doo comes to an action.

Doo connects most popular cloud services, as well as your local documents folder, and stores all these files on its own server. It automatically syncs all these services, and keeps all your files synced at any given moment. What more, you can select which folder within your cloud storage you’d like to sync.

Doo is a nicely designed application, and features attractively looking interface. Still, you will need some time to learn your way around, since it isn’t very intuitive. For example, my problem was that Doo simply pulls all my files, and I have to search for the right one over and over again, since it doesn’t show from what cloud it came from. On the other hand, there are some surprisingly interesting features. There’s a beautifully designed smart search, and timeline which allows you to easily browse your files.

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Besides using Doo for Mac, you can also download native Windows 8 application, and mobile versions are coming soon. Once you sign-up, you will receive 1GB (or 2,000 documents) of free storage, but you can upgrade to a very affordable premium storage. Premium packages are still not available, since they are still in development, but should be available soon.

Sure, Doo has its downsides. On my computer, it crashed quite often which really annoyed me. This seems to be the problem with many users as well. I also had some problems with the initial setup, specifically with Dropbox connection.

Doo surely promises a lot, and it could be a lifesaving application, but it still feels like beta version. It would be interesting to follow the further development, since I really believe that Doo was released a bit early and that some improvements over its performance and interface will mean a lot.

Plain Cloud Review

Plain Cloud 2By now, you probably know all about Apple’s iCloud. Since most Apple users tend to stay within Apple’s ecosystem of hardware and software, iCloud is usually present on their iOS devices as well as on Macs. As you probably know, this cloud service keeps certain information in sync, making it possible to start working on a project on your Mac, and finish it on your iPad, for example. Besides this workflow, iCloud also pulls application data, iTunes purchases, creates backups, and much more. On the other hand, it is still somewhat closed for an end user, so you can’t upload files and use it like other cloud storages.

In order to gain a better insight into what iCloud stores and to be able to pull certain information from it, you can use your Mac. You will need to go to System Preferences for iCloud, and then turn on Documents and Settings Syncing. This will make iCloud store all its content locally. Now you will need to navigate to ~/Library/Mobile Documents/, which could be a bit tricky. You will need to insert this path into search bar, or you can use Go to Folder, but in the end this will lead you to iCloud folder. This is where you can find all iCloud data, divided into oddly named folders, so explore around and you will find that file you’re looking for.

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In order to eliminate this complicated process, you can use one interesting application, named Plain Cloud. This application automatically access iCloud folder and shows you easy to understand list of applications. It doesn’t feature any eye catching design of interface, but it does its job. You will see a window with a list of all iCloud-enabled applications which could be found on your Mac, but right next to an application’s name you will see if there are any stored content. Simply click on the app’s name and you will be taken to its iCloud folder.

Once you get to iCloud folder, you can do any kind of operations that you would normally do within Mac OS X. This means that you can move it to your desktop, edit it, and then move it back to iCloud. You won’t be able to move files between different applications, which is as expected since iCloud is limited in this way. You also won’t be able to see any iOS-only specific files, which iCloud doesn’t download to your Mac. These folders will be empty.

Plain Cloud is a simple (and free) application which simply creates easy to use shortcut, in order to access iCloud. It doesn’t offer any advanced features, but you would hardly expect this, since iCloud is quite closed in general. If you’re in need for such application, I would recommend Plain Cloud, since it’s easy to set-up and use.

 

Found For Mac Review

During the last couple of years, we all witnessed increasing popularity of cloud services. There are more and more companies whose main goal is to create and sell innovative cloud packages, which should ease up our day-to-day life. We reviewed some of these companies and their services right here on macreview.com, which is a good place to find some valuable information in case you’re in need of cloud storage or advanced file exchange.

Cloud computing has clearly changed the way we collaborate with each other. It is mainly used to store files somewhere on a server, so many people can download it, edit and return it back to the cloud. Then you can access edited file, and integrate it with your project. You can also use cloud storage to make backups of your important files, which is a must in case you don’t have a backup yet.

So it’s pretty much clear that cloud technology has its perks and that it can be highly useful to each one of us. This is why there are so many free and paid cloud services out there. The most popular certainly are Dropbox, SkyDrive, Google Drive, and Evernote. The chance that you’re using several of these at the same time. This creates a huge mess, and you need to go to several different web directories to keep up with all these files. Well, now there’s a helpful little app called Found, which productively solves this problem.

Found is a very small application, available through Mac App Store for free, which scans all your cloud computing services and keeps track of all files stored there. Then it lets you search for those files just like you would normally search for a file using Mac’s Spotlight. It is basically a search tool, which keeps track of your cloud storage.

In order to use Found, you will need to set-up all of the accounts you might possibly have. This little app supports all of the most popular services like Dropbox, SkyDrive, Evernote and Google Drive, as well as Gmail attachments. You can also set-up multiple accounts of the same service. Now, simply double-click control button and a search bar will roll in from the left side of your screen. Simply start typing and results will pop-up instantly.

You will be able to see where a particular file is located and how old is its current version. Then, you can open it, or drag it to your desktop to make a local copy. You can also effortlessly use QuickLook to inspect a file, before opening it. And this is basically it.

Even though this is a very small application that you even might not even heard of, it will surely change your everyday computing. In case you use multiple cloud storages to save your files, this is the best way to search and open up a specific file.

Dropbox Review

Dropbox

DropboxDropbox provides users a way to create a folder on each of their computers, which Dropbox can then synchronize so that it displays as being the same folder. It contains the same files, regardless of which computer the said folder is being accessed from.  It silently syncs over the internet and you may use it on as many computers as you would like and just the same, Dropbox does all the syncing without you having to worry about it.  It works well on Windows, Mac, and Linux systems. It also works just as seamlessly on mobile devices such as iOS, Blackberry and Android.

DropboxDropbox only synchronizes files saved in a single dedicated folder.  In case you prefer to consolidate folders scattered across your system without having to transfer them into your dedicated Dropbox folder, this application may not be your cup of tea.  Despite that, its effortless operation should make it most worthy of your consideration for your backup and file sharing needs.

Cost

Dropbox is being offered at different price points.  To start off, there is the basic package which provides users with 2GB of storage for free.  You then get to earn additional free space by virtue of referrals to the tune of 500MB per person, up to a maximum of 18GB. You can also add to this by linking your Twitter account in case you have one.

If this will not suffice, paid plans known as Dropbox Pro are available through the following options:

  • $9.99 per month for 100GB ( or $99 per year )
  • $19.99 per month for 200GB ( or $199 per year )
  • $49.99 per month for 500GB ( or $499 per year )

Lastly, listed below is a package known as Dropbox Teams, a plan best suited for small businesses:

  • $795 per year, offering 1TB of storage for five users, plus an additional 200GB priced at $125 for each additional user.

In addition, this type of account provides users administrative tools, phone support, and access to unlimited version history.

Installation

After downloading and installing the Dropbox client, you will then have the option to either sign into your existing account or create a new one.  A new folder called “Dropbox” will then be created by the program on your computer.  You can then specify where you would like to have it installed or simply accept the default location given, which you can always change afterwards.  Dropbox will then appear as a shortcut on your Mac’s top menu bar where clicking it allows you to customize it’s settings according to your preference from changing the folder’s location to adjusting your download and upload rate.

Since Dropbox uses cloud storage to save synchronized files, this translates to the same files also being made available on any computer that has an internet connection or where you have also installed Dropbox.  Copies of older versions of your files are preserved in My Dropbox. Thus, you will always have the latest copy of the said files on your computers apart from still being able to access older versions or files you have already deleted or moved by virtue of your internet connection.  Dropbox also provides the ability to upload and download only the parts of files that change during revisions.  After making a few changes to a 200MB file I had, I discovered that Dropbox only needed to transfer 4 to 5MB of data in order to update the file which translates to modest savings on bandwidth.

DropboxFile and Collaborative Sharing

Aside from the features mentioned above, Dropbox provides collaborative sharing with others, read-only sharing, and image uploads.  A mobile app is also available for download albeit with limited options. It is worth mentioning here some of the ways on how you can share files with others. From a subfolder called Photos, one may select to send a link to a Public Gallery that anyone can access to view photos you have copied into it.

You may also opt for invitation-only shared access to folders that you have created in My Dropbox, rather than just for individual files.  Simply right click any folder you would like to share, and the application will lead you to Dropbox’s website where you can input the email addresses of people who you would like to grant access.  Your friends will now have the ability to add, edit, and delete files in the folder.  They will need a Dropbox account but as long as they are satisfied with accessing the folder online, they do not need to install the client.  If in case they decide to install it, the shared folder will consequently be downloaded to their My Dropbox folder.

Another way to share files is by giving out it’s direct link.  Right clicking on a file yields out an option called Get link, which in turn opens your Dropbox file in a web browser along with its own URL.  You can then provide that URL to anyone even if they do not have a Dropbox account.  By doing this, you get to keep the files right where you want them on your Mac and still make them accessible to anyone.

Collaborative sharing allows any folder to be shared with any other user ( if they do not have an account, they can sign up for the basic package for free ).  A shared folder is then synced among all users accessing it, unless they remove themselves or gets kicked out by the owner.

MacReview.com Verdict:

Dropbox is very well executed, cloud based, and offers automatic file synchronization for working on files saved in a single virtual folder.

Pogoplug Review

Pogoplug

PogoplugDuring the recent years, we’ve seen rapid expansion of cloud storage services. Most of these are free for a basic users and they tend to offer just enough free cloud storage for an average home user. You can always buy premium packages with increased storage and sometimes increased bandwidth. Apple has introduced its iCloud service, which has proven quite helpful and successful. Microsoft has also tried to give their own cloud solution with the implementation of SkyDrive in recently published Windows 8.

Even though these cloud storage services can be a good way to share your files with friends and colleagues, there are also some other innovative solutions which might be even better option. One of these is a small device called Pogoplug.

Pogoplug is a device that is actually a sharing server, this might sound complicated at first. The best thing is that everyone can set up Pogoplug in just a matter of minutes. This device looks like an external hard drive, which needs to be connected to router via an Ethernet cable. You’ll need an actual external hard drive, even though you can purchase Pogoplug with its own storage. Note that you’ll need a storage formatted as NTFS, FAT32, Mac OS Extended Journaled and non-Journaled drive.

Pogoplug

The next step is to visit Pogoplug’s official web site where you’ll need to set up an account. You’ll be using Web interface (which is compatible with Safari, IE, Firefox and Chore) to access files and folders on the Pogoplug device. In order to share an item or a whole folder, all you need to do is to select the files and click on the Share button. You’ll be directed to a page which will require you to invite people, which means you’ll need to enter e-mails to share files with someone. Invited people will receive an email with a link leading to a Pogoplug website, directing them to your directory. They don’t need to be a Pogoplug users to view those files.

Pogoplug

You should know that the speed of the Pogoplug depends on your internet connection, especially your upload speeds. On the other hand, this means that you can get the most out of this device if you don’t have any download/upload bandwidth limits, since large files will surely take over your monthly bandwidth if you have a limited plan. If that’s the case, our advice is to use one of the available cloud storage services, which Pogoplug also offers (without buying the actual device).

As you can imagine, this device can be utilized in a number of situations. For example, businesses can use it to quickly transfer files between multiple computers and to keep files up-to-date. Also, if you’re traveling, you can use any computer to access your Pogoplug account to get important files. The possibilities are really endless.

Finally, a few words about the pricing options. Currently, there are three available packages. Family package costs $29 per year, Family+ is $49 per year and Family+ Pro costs $99 per year. The main difference between those is the number of users (3, 5 and 7) and offsite archival storage (100GB, 300GB and 1TB).