Posts Tagged ‘Amazon S3’

Confessions of an iPad Road Warrior: Working with your Cloud Files on the move

The great thing about the iPad is it’s form factor, it’s battery life, and the very functional applications that enable you to do pretty much everything you want to. The web browsing and reading aspects are fantastic ,but the email and file management aspects leave a lot to be desired for a “road warrior”.

Personally I user a combination of Google Docs, Microsoft SkyDrive and Amazon S3. Yes, I know it would be naice to use just one but realities don’t work like that. SkyDrive I use for my personal files. Who can argue with 25GB for free ! Google Docs we use at work as we are Google Apps user for email and Documents (so much better than Microsoft bloatware…..) and we use Amazon S3 for our corporate Archive of PDF’s ,files, emails etc.

I’m not one of these people who wants all my files on the device. It’s impossible and¬†impractical. I don’t ask for much, I want the ability to access all my files from the different providers I use and I’d like some easy way to share them and interact with other Apps on the iPad.

To date I’ve been using GoodReader to do this for my Google Docs / Drive files and it works pretty well but I’ve had to use the web interface of the iPad for my SkyDrive files and I’ve not really found a client I like well enough for Amazon S3 on the iPad.

iSMEStorage

I finally found an application that gets close to what I wanted though which is iSMEStorage. iSMEStorage is the iPad client for the StorageMadeEasy.com service. Storage Made Easy is essentially a cloud data broker. It enables you to connect to a variety of different clouds and presents these in a file system view. A cloud file system if you like. You can set the service up by registering for free directly from the iPad application. After registration you setup your cloud and sync. To get a feel for how this works check out the video at the foot of this post. Suffice to say it was fairly easy to setup.

A small tip. You can register for any free package when you buy the app, but some of the the packages come with three clouds for free. Register for these, because when you come to setup you can choose from any cloud so essentially signing up for two gives you one extra cloud to add into the app. If you want more clouds then can add another cloud from the StorageMadeEasy.com website for $2, so by registering for the two cloud package to being with you just saved yourself $2! Also you can sign up for more than one free account, so you can easily login and out of the app as different users.

What I like about the App is that I can finally get to work with all my files from one application, and as far as I know it is the only application on the iPhone and iPad that supports Microsoft SkyDrive. I could not find another. The other thing I really like is that I can upload files locally, either via a web browser or just by dropping some files into a special folder called “My iPhone syncs” and then doing a Wi Fi sync in which the files are batch uploaded. The “My iPhone Syncs” folder resides on what is termed your “Primary Storage Cloud” which confused me at first but it is basically the one you set as default for all upload and downloads from the “Cloud Providers” menu screen on the iPad.

The other neat feature is that you can take notes and voice memos directly from the App and you they are sync’d back to the underlying cloud. As the App is universal you can also use it on your iPhone for free. This means you can sync any notes or voice memos take no the iPad onto the iPhone and vice-versa.

The other feature I like is the ability to open any of the files you have downloaded from the cloud into the app, in any other supported app’ either on the iPhone or iPad. This is really nice and I wish more app vendors would take advantage of this. I guess the app is fulfilling the data brokering concept on the iPad.

Purchasing the App also enables something SMEStorage refer to as CloudDav which enables you to access, edit and save,any of the Clouds mapped to your account from any Apps that support WebDav. This means you can, for example, edit and save your SkyDrive files in the iWork suite from Apple. Pretty neat.

There are other neat business features such as generating file links that can be share over email and something that is called the Cloud Clipboard. This is a neat feature that enables you to add files from different clouds to a clipboard and then have an email generated with links to all the different files that can be shared with someone.I’ve ended up using this feature a lot in meetings and the people I meet always end up thinking that it is some cool feature of the iPad !

There is also an offline mode in which you can access file that are local without having access to a network, and again you can open these in any supported application.

Another feature I’ve become fond of is the ability to upload pictures from the iPhone directly onto one of my clouds. It’s handy as I know the picture is backed up and available for my family for example. Yes, I could send it over email but then I’d only end up backing it up later when I get home anyway.

There is heaps more functionality and some I don’t touch such as the Group collaboration, but I’m looking forward to having a reason to try that out.

The next post will tackle email for the Road Warrior !