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If you’ve ever uttered the words “Hey Cortana…”, you’re well aware of the other innovative features that Microsoft’s Kinect accessory brings to the world of television and gaming, such as voice command features, automatic recognition, and Skype and Twitch capabilities due to it’s high-quality camera technology. Despite all of these, Microsoft has finally announced the end of Kinect this morning, after several years of trying to perfect and mainstream its use.

When they launched Kinect in 2010 it was considered new and revolutionary technology for the camera to be able to sense depth and interact with its users, even winning them a spot in the Guinness World Records after becoming the fastest-selling consumer device in 2011. The Kinect could recognize bodies in the room and pick out the voice of it’s user over other background noises, making Skype features and gaming communications over  Twitch more reliable and clearer. After tweaking the technology for a couple years, they chose to marry the device with the Xbox One to make it more mainstream. While the device itself wasn’t as popular in the market as they had hoped, the sensor technology has been adopted by other companies to be used in various devices, such as Apples iPhone X, where they shrunk the sensor down and used the same algorithm to enhance it’s Face ID system.

While the death of the Kinect device itself seemed ultimate, the technology behind it is still considered innovative and is being sought out to continue the development of other devices that can use the technology in various forms to bring other new and creative ways for electronics to interact with their surroundings through a natural user interface.

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