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March 2, 2012

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Computing moves to the clouds

PERSONAL cloud computing services have received a lot of hype recently with various Internet-based services on different devices. The question is: how do you choose a service best for you? The list of popular cloud services includes iCloud, Evernote, Dropbox, and Skydrive. Some are designed by big names like Apple and Microsoft.

Simply speaking, cloud services provide basic functions to allow users to access documents, photographs videos and other content with mobile phones, tablet computers and laptops. The content is stored online, making it like a "cloud in the air." Virtual storage has been creeping its way into most new gadgets and software innovation over the last few years, but this year it has become apparent that cloud computing is now a staple in the tech sphere.

It's not easy to pick a cloud computing tool as people have different demands. Some may want to improve work efficiency while others may be more interested in sharing pictures on their microblog. Read on to find out which cloud tools are right for you.

Wi-Fi for the Sony TX 66

Wi-Fi connections with mobile devices and better performance in low light environments have become selling points for Sony's TX 66, the flagship model for Sony's new line of digital cameras due in stores this spring.

It features built-in Wi-Fi and allows users to transfer pictures directly between camera and smartphone or tablet computer through an application, which supports both iOS (iPhone and iPad) and Android. This means people will no longer need a computer to share pictures on microblogs or other websites. The TX 66 also features a new auto focus system that focuses in approximately 0.13 second in daylight and 0.25 second in low light.

The TX 66 boasts a 3.3-inch OLED touch screen, 18 megapixels and high-definition video functions. Price not available.

Skydrive by Microsoft

Microsoft's Skydrive allows you to access important files, photos and documents from virtually anywhere. With 25GB of free online space, people can upload photos and documents stored on SkyDrive from smartphones.

As a Microsoft product, Skydrive naturally has a better interface on phones using the Window's operating system. People have to sign into the service through a Windows Live account, which can be found on Hotmail's home page.

Every upload file is limited to 100 MB, which means it's not designed for high-definition movies but perfect for documents, photos and music. Pictures can be uploaded in the raw format.

Meanwhile, Microsoft has re-designed its picture slide-show program, making it easier to look at photos on iPads and iPhones. MSN China is negotiating with websites like Sina and Renren to let Skydrive users share their pictures on the websites.

PocketCloud By Wyse

With enterprise-grade security, PocketCloud is a personal cloud service designed by Wyse. It allows you to remotely connect to your desktop with your iPad or iPhone, no matter where you are.

Online storage services access your files, pictures, games or any other program. For example, you can search content on your desktop at home or office through your phone even if it's not in your online storage space.

Wyse has teamed with SoftBank to provide services for Japanese mobile phone users and it's talking with Chinese carriers to provide such services in China, probably through China Unicom.


Evernote is a good cloud tool with simple functions and a friendly user interface.

It encourages people to write down everything from grocery lists to appointments using your computer, phone or tablet. It can help you stay organized and possibly improve work efficiency.

Besides its popularity and easy-to-use features, Evernote has many expansion tools, which are both interesting and useful. Of course, it's well connected with your Evernote account. I strongly recommend Evernote Hello, which helps you remember people you meet for the first time. All you have to do is upload a photo, and type in the time and location of where you met.

Yahoo may sue Facebook

Yahoo is threatening to sue Facebook unless the Internet social network agrees to license some of its patents covering a variety of online services.

The demand, issued in a late Monday statement, presents Facebook Inc with a nettlesome headache as it tries to complete an initial public offering of stock.

The upcoming IPO helps explain why Yahoo decided to assert its patent rights now. Facebook may be more likely to work out a licensing agreement rather the risk having the specter of a legal battle dampen investor enthusiasm for its highly anticipated IPO.

Yahoo made hundreds of millions of US dollars from a patent settlement that it reached with Google just before it went public in 2004. Facebook says it's still evaluating Yahoo's claims.


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