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The Digital Student: Tools for storing files

Until relatively recently the most common means of storing data and accessing software was locally, such as on the hard drive of your personal computer. But users are now increasingly moving to addressing these needs via the Internet; this is known as “cloud computing”.

“Cloud computing” in its simplest sense means the process of storing and accessing data and programs over the Internet instead of your computer's hard drive (PCmag website). The advantage of cloud computing is that it provides users with the ability to access and share information at any time, from multiple devices

Cloud

You may not even be aware that you are working in the cloud. Have you used Google Drive or Dropbox to store data? Or utilised note-taking software such as Evernote or OneNote? Are you one of Google’s 900 million Gmail service? Or an XBOX gamer? If so, you’re cloud computing!

Storage

Cloud computing is a great way to manage and store data. The data in question doesn’t just refer to the stuff you use for your courses. For example, if you have a smart phone, or if you use any of Amazon’s digital products (such as music, movies, Kindle ebooks) then you are using the data storage and access services of the cloud.

The advantages of using the cloud to store data are far greater than simply having a repository should your PC fail. Using the cloud to store data makes it much easier to share such data with friends, family and colleagues quickly and conveniently. Sharing data with colleagues over the cloud allows collaboration on projects, and real-time editing by people in multiple locations.

There are a number of services that provide cloud storage facilities, usually offering an initial amount of space free (several GB) but giving you the option to pay monthly or annually for extra storage. Around a few pounds per month usually gives you access to around 100GB of storage. That’s roughly the equivalent of 21,000 music tracks!

See this comparison table to see the difference between OneDrive, Dropbox, Google Drive, Box, Amazon Cloud Drive and Copy.

What is the cloud

Cloud storage explained

University of Hull Box

The University provides students access to a Box account which has lots of storage and premium features. Login at hull.box.ac.uk to set up your account. You can then connect to your University of Hull Box account via any Box app, widget or add-in using the Single sign-on (SSO) option. If you already have a personal Box account you will need to make sure that it does not use your university email account to be able to access the University of Hull service.

Jolicloud

If you use online storage with more than one provider, then Jolicloud Drive offers a means of viewing and managing the assorted files you have stored across multiple cloud storage services like Dropbox, Box and OneDrive, among others. The software works in Safari, Firefox, Internet Explorer and Chrome; there’s also a Chrome app that works offline, and Jolicloud works on Chrome OS devices as well. Signing in to Jolicloud shows the file explorer with the option to add Google Drive, Dropbox, Box, MediaFire, One Drive, Put.io, and SugarSync storage.

The basic Jolicloud package if free. The paid-for Jolicloud Drive Pro offers true drag-and-drop file moves and supports multiple accounts from a single cloud storage service. So, for example, if you have more than one Google Drive account (such as for work and personal use), then Pro option would let you aggregate both of these file systems into Jolicloud.

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