Cloud storage is being touted as the best thing since cushioned toilet seats. But is it really? I personally don’t think so.
Now before continuing, I’m going to be a little more specific. Technically, anything stored on the internet is “in the cloud”. If you use webmail for example, that’s in the cloud. What I’m specifically referring to here are services like Dropbox and Skydrive that house files via a “shared folder” on your system.
That being said, here are 5 reasons why a USB pendrive is better than cloud storage.
Uploading and downloading files to a USB 2.0 pendrive currently is much faster than pushing files over the internet.
2. No “lock file” issues
When you save a document to a folder, then open it later, a temporary file is created “alongside” it while you’re editing. This happens whether using Microsoft Word or LibreOffice/OpenOffice.
Files of this type when directly edited from a “cloud drive” will cause sync issues, because that temporary files isn’t supposed to be synchronized.
On a pendrive, the same temporary file is created, but there’s no sync issues, meaning no “jumping icon” notices in your taskbar or panel area. Once you’re done editing, the temporary file auto-deletes itself like it should. On cloud drives, yes the temp file gets auto-deleted but it may inadvertently be backed up. Stupid? Yes.
3. No account required
With a pendrive there’s no need to use a login since it’s directly attached to your system.
4. Store any kind of file you want
With cloud storage, you are nannied and there are certain types of files and images you are not permitted to upload. Sure, you could put all your files inside password-protected 7z, ZIP or RAR files using encrypted file names, but that’s not exactly convenient, is it?
USB pendrives obviously have no such restrictions.
5. Upgrading is way, way cheaper
A 64GB card (with USB stick reader) is just under 50 bucks, and that’s a one-time cost.
If you want that kind of storage in the cloud, you have to pay a monthly fee for it. And keep paying. Over and over. For how long? As long as the cloud provider can make you pay for it. You’ll pay a whole lot more than 50 bucks in a relatively short period of time.
(Side note: I find it interesting that while webmail services like Hotmail, Yahoo! Mail and AOL Mail offer unlimited storage for free, the same can’t be said when it’s labeled as cloud storage. Hmm…)
Now while it is true that flash memory eventually wears out, it takes a good long while before that happens. Ultimately, the USB stick is better than cloud storage because there are no restrictions on file types, no sync issues, and heck, you don’t even need internet access to use it.
Cloud storage may be convenient if you bounce between computers a lot, but the compromises that come along with the technology make it a hard sell.
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