Tech + Lifestyle

games, gear, and googleplexes (joke)

Skydrive

Apparently, Windows offers 25Gb of free storage called SkyDrive with any Windows Live ID. Given my activities, this will be useful for backing up important documents, and for uploading pictures/video for use in posts like this.

Signing in to SkyDrive is done easily enough with any Windows Live ID (if you use Hotmail, Messenger, of XBox Live, it’s the same ID). If you don’t already have an account with them, signing up is free and fairly straight-forward.

When uploading pictures, the service allows you to upload up to five at a time, similar to the interface when attaching files to an email. I wasn’t a big fan of the limit of only five pictures at a time – you’d think they would realize that most people upload pictures dozens or hundreds at a time.The 25GB limit is far and above anything else you can get for free, though, so I can’t complain too much. There’s a file size limit 50MB per file, but this shouldn’t be an issue for most people. The only time I can foresee having a problem is if I were to try to upload a video file of decent quality and/or length.

SkyDrive Uploading

SkyDrive Uploading

When uploading, you aren’t given any indication of the progress or status of the upload. Not having any idea of how far along it was made the process feel incredibly slow. Five photos, at total size of perhaps 15-20MB took around two or three minutes to upload (though I didn’t accurately time it). I’ve got a good connection, and other tabs and programs were responsive and getting good up/down rates, so I’m not sure why SkyDrive was so slow. Even with everything else closed, it still didn’t get much of a speed increase (if any). Granted, this is still probably comparable to the performance I get using Flickr, but I’d like to see something a little faster. In terms of status indications, all I got was Firefox’s hourglass-equivalent icon and “Uploading…” because who doesn’t love a nice ellipses? I know I do!

Really, though, this service is off to a good start. I love the beefy storage capacity you get – other companies are still trying to charge you a monthly or yearly fee for that amount of space. The 50MB limit isn’t too shabby, either, but I won’t be using this for videos.

SkyDrive Interface

SkyDrive Interface

I would have preferred that they include at least a basic set of photo-editting tools, but I can understand why it doesn’t have that right now. SkyDrive is still a storage tool first and foremost; I would like to see more capabilities in the future, similar to what Flickr offers. Their interface is clean and intuitive, allowing for sharing photo albums with friends and viewing pics as a slideshow, among other things.

While trying out the slideshow, I noticed that it uses amient lighting/color for the background, matching it to the tones present in each particular photo. It’s nice, but makes me wonder why they chose to include that, but no photo-editing. It seems that building in features should be a focus of theirs, especially since Windows is looking to offload some of their built-in apps into an online, “cloud” format. Perhaps they’ll begin that transition when Windows 7 is released.

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December 5, 2008 - Posted by | Tech | , , , , ,

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