Live in the cloud without iCloud

So Apple has announced its iCloud service, which is coming “this fall”. At least some of what iCloud will offer you can have already today. Here we present three services which you can start using today. What’s even better is that they are all free but if you pay a little bit you get enhanced functionality and more storage space.

By Magnus Nysted

Published: Sat 11 Jun 2011, 11:18 AM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 8:02 AM

DropBox (free up to 2GB; $9.95 for 50GB) is the first thing you should get and with 2GB of space available for nothing, there’s really no reason not check out this service. You sign up for an account, download the free app (available for Android, Linux, Mac OS X and Windows) and start putting files in the DropBox folder. The basic mechanics is that there’s one folder on your computer that is synchronised between all computers in your account. So add or change a file on one computer and it’s automatically reflected on all of them. The folder is also available online by logging in to your account on the DropBox website. You can even share files with other Internet users as well as host a simple website using DropBox. On mobile devices, DropBox will not sync the entire content of the folder but you can still access files and add new files.

EverNote (free; with sync $5 per month) is kind of like a virtual shoebox into which you can throw all kind. You can put text, pictures, and almost anything else into your EverNote shoebox. The strength of EverNote lies in its abilities to sort and tag content and make it available for you to search on. If you have a wide range of different types of information and files, EverNote is a better choice than DropBox. While DropBox “just” synchronises a folder between computers, EverNote can take a lot more of different kinds of stuff. It can even automatically “read” digital pictures you upload using OCR (Optical Character Recognition) and turn them into text. You can get the EverNote app for Mac OS X and Windows as well as Android, BlackBerry, iOS, WebOS and Windows Mobile.

Remember The Milk (free; $25 per year for Pro) is the cloud app for you if you want to keep track of things you are doing or have to be doing. You create lists for your tasks, like Work and Home, then you create your tasks and give them a priority. It’s not a complicated system at all but it can, if you’re disciplined about using it, really help you in structuring your work or private life and just simply get things done. Paying $25 per year for the Pro edition will give you access to your tasks from a range of mobile and computer clients, such as iPhone, Android, Outlook, BlackBerry and more. That is truly a small investment to make to keep yourself on track.

Magnus Nystedt talks and writes about technology as much as he can. Follow him on Twitter as @mnystedt for the latest on consumer technology in the Middle East.

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