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13986622203_1feae75b41_oJust about everyone has had the unfortunate event of losing family photos, favorite music/movies, or important documents due to an unexpected hard drive fail.  Well if you haven’t yet migrated your important data to “The Cloud”, well maybe now is the time.  Cloud storage has been around for quite awhile and there are many options to choose from, let’s breakdown just a few of the best options.

What is the “The Cloud”?

“The Cloud” is an online digital hard drive service provided by a company.  Cloud storage can provide greater accessibility and reliability; rapid deployment; strong protection for data backup, archival and disaster recovery purposes; and lower overall storage costs as a result of not having to purchase, manage and maintain expensive hardware.

Benefits & Disadvantages

There are many benefits to using cloud storage, most notable is file accessibility.  Files stored in the cloud can be accessed at any time from any place so long as you have Internet access.  Another benefit is that cloud storage provides people with off-site backups of data which reduces costs associated with disaster recovery. Unfortunately, the biggest disadvantage to cloud storage is that users are limited by bandwidth.  If your Internet connection is slow or unstable, you might have problems accessing or sharing your files.

Options

Dropbox

Dropbox, alongside Box, made file-syncing a household term. Dropbox remains a superbly implemented, cloud-based, automatic, file-synchronization service that’s ideal for accessing and sharing data from nearly anywhere. You only get 2GB free to start, but you can earn more space through referrals and other tasks. Dropbox Pro plans cost $9.99 per month or $99 per year for 1TB.
Available on: Windows, Mac, Linux, Web, Android, iOS, BlackBerry, Kindle Fire

OneDrive

Microsoft’s OneDrive has been quietly hosting people’s documents and photos for years. And all the while Microsoft has been honing the service. You’ll get 15GB just for signing up, plus the ability to earn more free space through actions and referrals. The company has made OneDrive a cornerstone of Windows 8, so users of that platform may find it one of the most convenient services.
Available on: Windows, Mac, Web, Android, iOS, Windows Phone, Windows Tablet, Xbox

Google Drive

Part online collaborative office suite, and part cloud storage platform, Google Drives offers everything you need to stay productive. Google Drive also has downloadable desktop programs that enable file syncing. Another perk is that files you create in Google Drive, as opposed to those you upload, don’t count toward your already-generous, free 15GB storage allotment. Paid accounts start at $1.99 per month for 100GB, and you can get 1TB for $9.99 per month. For collaborative projects, it’s one sweet package. It is Google, though, and some people may not be comfortable with its privacy terms and conditions.
Available on: Windows, Mac, Web, Chrome, Android, iOS

IDrive

You’d be hard-pressed to find an online backup solutions with as many features as IDrive. For $59.50 per year, IDrive gives you 1TB of storage, apps for just about every platform, file syncing, and more. A free account offers 5GB of space, which isn’t too shabby for anyone interested in trying out this wonderful online backup service.
Available on: Windows, Mac, Web, Android, iOS, Windows Phone, Linux/Unix

SugarSnyc

Among file-syncing services, SugarSync remains the most intuitive. SugarSync is similar to Dropbox, only it lets you sync any files and folders you want while preserving your folder structure. There’s no need to move all your content for syncing into a Dropbox-like folder, although if you’re more comfortable with that method, SugarSync’s Magic Briefcase will do the trick. There is no truly free account with SugarSync, although you can try it out for 90 days. Among paid plans, a 100GB account costs $9.99 per month or $74.99 per year. A 500GB account costs $39.99 per month or $249.99 per year, with the first year discounted to $124.99. SugarSync also has excellent and intuitive mobile apps.
Available on: Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android

iCloud

Veteran file-syncing users may be thrown for a loop by the confusing nature of Apple iCloud Drive. It’s a good service for avid Apple app users, but at $19.99 per month for 1TB and only 5GB free, it’s expensive and not the easiest service to use. The baked-in features that work seamlessly with iOS and Mac OS X are useful, however.
Available on: Mac, Windows, Web, iOS

 

 

STEVE JOBS marks the third biopic of the Apple cofounder, and the second within the past two years. It also just happens to be this reviewer’s honest opinion that it is easily the best of the three. Sorry Ashton Kutcher. Let me start by saying that by the end of the first half hour of the movie, I was convinced I was watching Steve Jobs himself on the screen. That’s how amazing Michael Fassbender portrayed the man. He’s already in talks to be nominated for an Oscar for this performance and I could quickly understand why that might be the case. Kate Winslet and Seth Rogan also play their parts impeccably as Joanna Hoffman and Steve Wozniak, respectfully. Then we have the always incredible, Jeff Daniels, rounding out the cast with another great performance (we’ll just forget about Dumb and Dumber To).

Now, I don’t want to talk much about the technical aspects of this film, but this was a really interesting film in that it was shot three different ways. The narrative is laid out in a three-act structure. However, unlike an ordinary three-act structure, Sorkin presented each act before a crucial product launch in three different years; the Mac in 1984, the NeXT computer in 1988, and the iMac in 1998. In the 1984 sequence, Danny Boyle chose to shoot on 16mm film. Naturally, this gives the impression that we are watching something dated. In 1988, he shot on 35mm film. This is a more common type of film for moviegoers to experience, but it’s still strange to see since we are so adjusted to digital. And, as you can expect, the sequence set in 1998 was shot on digital. This decision really gives each act a unique feel and helps the audience understand the gaps in time along with the advancement of technology that we missed between acts.

It should be noted that this is a dialogue heavy film. That’s actually an understatement. This movie is completely dialogue driven. Writer, Aaron Sorkin is famous for his witty and fast paced dialogue, which you can also see in other films and TV shows such as THE SOCIAL NETWORK and THE NEWSROOM. Due to his talent in crafting genuine and sometimes hilarious dialogue, the two hour conversation never seems to grow old. I was surprised by the pacing of the film and was kind of upset when I realized that it was actually over. A movie is really special, in my opinion, when it can cause the viewer to invest so heavily in the characters without the use of unneeded special effects or action scenes. Having read Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs, I knew everything there was to know about the man, but I still wanted him to succeed in every way possible. I wanted him to connect with his daughter. I wanted him to stop being such a jerk to the people who helped him become the success that he was. I wanted him to overcome the odds. Why? Because the characters and what they had to say were the only important aspects of this film. And they were both executed expertly.

If you enjoy a good and unique story, albeit one that does not rely on action or explosions, you will enjoy this movie. It’s very likely that you’ll enjoy this movie regardless of your taste in cinema. Steve Jobs was a jerk, sure, but an interesting jerk nonetheless. The performances were all top notch, the writing was crisp and fluid, and it was beautifully shot and directed. Well worth the price of admission.

four_half-stars_0-1024x238 4.5 / 5 Stars

STEVE JOBS (R) – Directed by Danny Boyle

Written by Aaron Sorkin

Starring: Michael Fassbender, Kate Winslet, Seth Rogan, Jeff Daniels

Run time: 122 minutes

Do you love watching movies and TV?  Are you a mega fan that can never miss a show?  Are you terribly busy and find it hard to watch your favs when they air?  The struggle is real, we get it!  So to help out, check out this list of the best streaming devices to watch TV your way, on your time.  Most of these devices have a long list of apps, including Netflix, Hulu, and other favorites.  But each has it’s own perks and exclusives, so choose wisely.

Roku 3

The third incarnation of Roku’s flagship streamer is the most comprehensive to date, sporting more than 2,000 channels, an intuitive cross-platform search utility, and an excellent user interface.  The puck-sized device is attractive and subtle, and equipped with nonskid rubber and enough weight to prevent it from getting shuffled around in your entertainment center.  The remote is simple, but allows snappy navigation of Roku’s extremely intuitive channel-based interface, and best of all, features a built-in headphone jack for wireless listening when turning up the TV volume is a no-go.  Wi-Fi is built in, but an Ethernet port is available if a faster connection is needed.  A microSD slot for additional app and game storage is a feature unique to the Roku.  The Roku 3 retails for $100 and can be purchased at Amazon, Walmart, and major electronic retailers.  Learn More

Apple TV

The Apple TV is getting a little grey — But there is light at the end of the tunnel.  Apple has announced a new model (coming soon) that boasts the best user experience, including the Siri remote.  The current Apple TV still remains one of the best offerings on our list— especially if you’re already heavily-invested in any of Apples other devices or services.  While most essential services are supported,  it is Apple Airplay and apps like iOS Remote that makes the Apple TV’s user experience unique.  You can easily beam any content you’ve previously purchased or rented through the iTunes Store to your TV straight from the cloud, freeing your iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad up to do other things.  Sharing personal photos and videos from iOS devices is easiest with the Apple TV.  It may be a little old, but the Apple TV is still going strong.  The Apple TV retails for $70 (future model est. $149) and can be purchased at Amazon, Apple Store, Walmart, and Major electronic retailers.  Learn More

Amazon Fire TV

Amazon’s first go at a streaming set-top box instantly became a hit among members of the company’s Prime service, which delivers tons of free streaming movies and TV shows and a handy voice-search feature to get at them more easily.  But the super-slim and speedy box will appeal to anyone with subscriptions to other services like Netflix and Hulu.  Amazon also made the device compatible with a dedicated video game controller (sold separately at $40), which is designed to work with a wide array of mobile games such as Minecraft and Grand Theft Auto III.  As the devices on this list go, the Fire TV is the most versatile and well-supported, it even plays 4k video content.  To get the most out of this device it is best to have a Prime membership.  The Amazon Fire TV retails for $100 and can be purchased at Amazon and Walmart. Learn More

Google Nexus

After canning its first attempt at a streaming media player, Google returned to the set-top box field in the fall of 2014 with the Asus-made Nexus Player.  It offers similar capabilities to Amazon’s Fire TV, allowing for voice-activated searching and personalized recommendations, along with integrated gaming if you decide to opt for an optional gaming controller.  The Android-powered and Google-backed device has been slowly but surely adding apps, and Chromecast-style “casting” ability makes it easy for friends and family to share content from their smartphones and tablets.  The only downside is no Ethernet port, which seems like an odd omission for a set-top box.  Still, for the Google (Andriod) lover this is a no brainer.  The Google Nexus retails for $170 and can be purchased at Amazon, Asus, Walmart, and Major electronic retailers.  Learn More

Consoles (Xbox One, PS4, WiiU)

Did you know that game consoles do a lot more than just play games these days.  Video game consoles rank as the most popular devices for streaming content to your TV.   The systems have quickly become a jack-of-all-trades media centers, conveniently giving you access to scores of programming from the likes of HBO Go, NFL Network, Netflix, and Hulu. Several other devices on our list provide gaming, but as you might expect, the next-gen consoles blow all mobile games out of the water in terms of graphics resolution and playability.  The downside?  These are much more expensive option with the Xbox One retailing for $349, PS4 for $399, and the WiiU for $299.  Consoles can be purchased at Amazon, Walmart, and Major electronic retailers.