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Orbitfiles Review April 25, 2007

Posted by jbwan in Technology, TSSG.
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About two weeks or so ago I posted a quick intro to Orbitfiles.com, an online backup solution that provides 6GB of free space to put your stuff. Naturally when I first saw it I signed up without thinking as why would you refuse free space? Well I’ve only just gotten around to really using the service in the last few days and as promised I’m posting a quick review of the offering.

Overall I’d have to give it a thumbs up in terms of simplicity and doing exactly what it says on the tin. The interface is very simple to follow with the one notable exception of how to change your password. Creating folders, selecting content for upload and managing uploaded content are all pretty straightforward and not so taxing that your average web user without any technical grounding couldn’t figure out. The option to allow public access to your files is also interesting but why you would want to do this I’m not so sure. When you consider that youtube covers sharing video content, flickr has the photo audience, Google pretty much have the documents and spreadsheets market covered and e-mail does pretty much everything else. I don’t really see the advantage of making it all publicly available. Perhaps if there were accounts you could set up yourself for restricted access but not generally accessible. As a quick and dirty backup option for non-sensitive data though I would be happy to continue using the service for small amounts of files. Backing up anything larger than 15MB from my home BB connection is just painfully slow and not worth ignoring my NAS or DVD writer for.

Downsides of the service include the HTTP upload problem of selecting file at a time uploads but at least the web interface tries somewhat to appease users by offering the option of multiple file boxes per upload action. The JavaScript/Ajax thingy that is supposed to act as a live feedback of your current upload seems to break in Firefox on my Mac and therefore leaves you wondering when it might finish uploading large quantities of data. There is definitely a reason to have an uploader client here to drag and drop directories rather than having to tar everything up first. Enter Hercules but sadly this is only available for the Windows platform at the moment. Hercules also offers the ability to schedule backups and so, might be attractive for the paranoid amongst us using always-on connections. The team also offer a mobile version of the site for backing up while on the move. Finally, the last feature that caught my eye was the ability to zip up multiple files and folders in your account by simply selecting them and clicking the zip button. Convenient if you only want to download a single bundle or increase your available backup space. For non-techie users it’s far simpler to understand than using gmail as a hard drive and that’s probably were it will get a lot of custom from. Good free service overall, not sure how much I will use it but I can definitely see it being a blip on my radar now and then.

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