Cloud File Storage

There are a plethora of options for storing documents in the cloud, but making them seamlessly available for teams can be challenging.  And as the workload and files continue to migrate into cloud storage, solutions that keep a local copy of everything and rely solely on synchronization (like Google Drive) will run into local space constraints, deadlock / overwrite issues, and timeouts.

One key approach is to harness the cloud storage as a local resource for fast, collaborative editing across a team.  Creating a link Favorite or mapped network drive lets the team use familiar applications and maximize productivity (e.g. Windows Explorer and Microsoft Office) while still leveraging the cloud for resilient storage, backup, and processing. 

COSM WebCenter provides a leading cloud document management solution that works well with the options below to provide cloud benefits with local control.  It extends the corporate network with access anyhere features like version control and block-level backups, meta data tagging, templating, full-text search, role-based security, workflows, zone OCR (Optical Character Recognition), image / video preview and streaming, etc.

The single most important factor is auto file lock to prevent overwrite or stale versions.  It's fine for an individual consumer with Google Drive or DropBox to be the only user updating an Office doc, but for business a team approach requires locks and check out/in functionality.


Our favorite:  Built-in Windows network drive mapping for normal usage, WebDrive for heavy power users


Windows 7,8




Liferay Sync


Google Drive




IT Hit Map WebDAV






Pricing (per user per year) $0 $70 $0 $60 $27 $58 $40-50
Cached Files    
Direct / Immediate File Access        
Auto File Lock          
Notes Best option for moderate document sharing and low cost. (*Office re-queries for credentials.) Most expensive, but worth it.  Best option for heavy document collaboration. Lack of locking is limiting for business use. Lack of locking is limiting for business use.
"Everything" local cache is space intensive.
Lack of locking is limiting for business use. Lack of locking is limiting for business use.

(*Office re-queries for credentials.)

Bug in latest version, would not connect.


Cross-posting News/Blog Feeds

Having your blog on your own site gives you the maxiumum control, increases link juice (SEO term for boosting page rank and trust rank), and keeps your users on your site...once they click out to Facebook, who knows what game they're going to play and if they're ever going to come back. 

The challenge is maintaining all of that fresh, relevant content to get social backlinks--Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, LinkedIn, etc.  There are several automated tools that can take the content from your company blog and cross-post it to all of your other social sites, and link them back to your site to minimize your data entry time and maximize your link juice.

Our favorite:  zapier

The details (only free versions reviewed):

  LinkedIn Company Premium  
  Google+ Premium    
  StockTwits Premium    
Max Feeds 3 5    
Frequency 15 minutes 30 minutes 30 minutes 30 minutes
Post as FB Link
Post as FB Detailed Link      
Post as FB Note      
Comment Extensive adapters, full control (but requires setup) Broadest coverage of mutliple channels, but using Facebook notes keeps them from clicking into the source site and struggles with some of the embedded HTML (so just use post style Shared Link) Adds a special formatting option that adds more text and images to feed, looks more like it was entered right in Facebook.

Nothing special.

Taking Responsibility for Hacks

There have been many stories about the recent Celebgate/Fappening hack of nude photos from the likes of Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton, etc.  Another example is Yahoo, where there have been a number of issues with compromised email accounts over the last year.  Unfortunately, many bloggers have blamed the victims ("Those celebrities just shouldn't have naked pictures on their phone!", or "Silly users, don't pick such a simple password.")  Kirsten Dunst summed it up wth her Tweet "Thank you iCloud" .


Of course the worst offenders are the criminals that hacked the accounts.  Their actions are despicable and they should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.


But the providers of our digital life are also guardians of the data we provide and the history they store. Yahoo has been alerted to numerous flaws, repeatedly citing that the issue was fixed even when it was shown to still be present, and still not making encrypted options the default (see here.)  Apple denied a breach in any of their systems in their online statement, without taking responsibility for their failures, and again downplayed their accountability (Tim Cook here in the Wall Street Journal.)


Some of the things Apple got wrong:

  • iCloud backup turned on automatically, saving pictures/data even for non-savvy users (instead of opt-in)
  • Only requiring answers to 2 security questions (potentially easier to guess with public figures)
  • No limit to 'Find My Phone' failed login attempts, making them susceptible to brute force attacks (patched since the hack)
  • 2-factor authentication difficult and laborious
  • iCloud backup restore outside of 2-factor authentication (supposedly being patched next month)


Google actively encourages their simple, easy to understand 2-step verification process.  Yahoo has seen large scale defection from their service due to their missteps.  Will Apple's iCloud be the next victim of poor security policies?


What To Do Next


The Age of the Mini PC--Part 1: Devices


Part 1:  Devices


Expensive, large, loud, power-hungry desktop PC "dinosaurs" are more and more a thing of the past.  The new class of Mini PCs are finally here--small as a credit card, powerful enough to run a full Linux OS (not just a cumbersome Android touchscreen OS), very low power, noiseless, portable, and under $100.  You can plug them straight into the HDMI slot of your monitor, grab a wireless keyboard/mouse, and you're online (more on what you can run and leveraging cloud/VDI in Part 2:  Applications.)  We've been testing, building, and integrating the top contenders--here's the roundup.




Raspberry Pi

Model B

CubieBoard2 UG008 Odroid-u U2C MK808 CX-919

700 MHz


Dual 1.9 GHz

ARM Cortex A7

Dual 1.6 GHz

RK3066 Cortex A9

Quad 1.4 Ghz

Exynos4412 Cortex A9

Dual 1.6 GHz

RK3066 Cortex A9

Dual 1.6 GHz

RK3066 Cortex A9

Quad 1.8 GHz

RK3188 Cortex A9


250 MHz

VideoCore IV

400 MHz

Quad Mali-400

400 MHz

Quad Mali-400

400 MHz

Quad Mali-400

400 MHz

Quad Mali-400

400 MHz

Quad Mali-400

400 MHz

Quad Mali-400

Memory 512 MB SDRAM 1 GB DDR3 1 GB DDR3 1 GB DDR2 1 GB DDR3 1 GB DDR3 2 GB DDR3
HD - 4 GB NAND Flash 8 GB NAND Flash - 8 GB NAND Flash 8 GB NAND Flash 8 GB NAND Flash
Bluetooth No No Yes No Yes Yes Yes
Ethernet Port Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No
AV Port Yes Yes Yes Yes No (mic) No No
Power Button No Yes Yes No Yes No No
Camera No No No No Yes No No
Weight 45g 40g - 40g 52g - -
   w/case 100g 140g 100g 165g 135g 55g 65g
Custom ROMS No No Yes No Yes Yes Yes
Linux rpi thin, rpi asterisk, wheezy cubiuntu, cubieez picuntu   picuntu picuntu picuntu
Notes Great for tinkering / kids, not enough power for PC replacement. Solid board, but slower CPU, low memory, and case is a non-starter.  Next model cubietruck fixes most of this, but jumps to $110. Solid board, but slower CPU, low memory, and case is cheap.  If they upgrade to winner. Hard to get full Linux running, and heatsink "case" is cumbersome. Stand-out with the camera and dock, but wireless is poor and not worth the cost. Best price for value, but wireless is poor and quality is low. Fastest response, great wireless coverage with the external antenna.
Price $45 $59 - - $78 - -
   w/case $53 $67 $68 $68 $90 $45 $77
Ranking 2 5 9 5 7 7 10


So the winner is the CX-919, performance is excellent and quality/materials have kept up with hard daily usage (writing this review on it right now!)  It would be nice to have a headset jack built-in, but a USB headset can be plugged in as necessary.  Stay tuned for Part 2:  Applications.




The Alligators take the field

Another season of soccer has begun...