The era of cloud-based computing is vastly taking hold, and if you are a computer user who juggles between one or more computers, plus a few mobile devices, then cloud-based storage is nearly essential to accessing your digital media and other data.
What is cloud-based computing, you ask? It essentially involves uploading computer files to a web-based network, which in turn means you can access those uploaded files from any computer or supporting mobile device that gets an Internet connection. So for example, if you have lots of music files on your home computer, you can’t play that music when you’re away from home. But if you have your music floating somewhere in a cloud network, then you can access and stream your songs nearly anywhere via the Internet. Dropbox, for many of us MUO writers and avid readers, is one of the most popular uses of cloud-based computing. Read How Cloud Computing Works for more information.
If you’re looking for more cloud-based storage, one of the largest online stores on the planet, Amazon.com, now provides its customers with 5GB free online space. That amount of storage, Amazon says, could hold up to a 1,000 songs, 2,000 photos, or 20 minutes worth of HD video. If you just wanted to use the storage for backing up all your text-based files, I’m sure 5GB would be more than enough.
Using The Cloud Drive
To use Amazon Cloud storage you need to have or open an Amazon account. You are not required to actually purchase stuff from Amazon to use the Cloud service.
The Cloud Drive is where you upload your documents, music, pictures, and videos. The process is as simple as clicking the Upload Files button and from there adding your files to your Amazon Cloud drive. To keep things from getting messy, you might want to use the existing folder structure Amazon has set up for you. You can also create new folders within existing folders for even better organization.
Using The Cloud Player
As Amazon is the business of selling music, as well as books, it has also developed an Amazon Cloud Player. But even if you don’t purchase music from the Amazon store, you can still upload your own DRM-free (Digital Rights Management) music to your cloud account and stream it over the web and through your Android phone.
When you first start using the Cloud Drive, you might think you have to upload all your music files from there, but if you’re wanting to get a significant amount of songs into your Drive, then you will want to use the free Amazon MP3 Uploader, which requires that you have Adobe Air installed on your computer. If it is not installed, the Uploader will ask you to download it. You download the Uploader by clicking the Uploader button in the upper-left of the Cloud Player.
The MP3 Uploader
When you launch the Uploader, it will scan for all the music files on your computer. If your music is organized in iTunes or Windows Media Player, the Uploader will recognize and upload all your playlists, tags, and album covers.
If your computer is brimming with music files, you may think Amazon’s meager 5 gigs of storage is useless for your needs. Well, you do have the option to purchase more space, but if you want to keep it all free, uploading just your favorite playlists or individual songs could suffice.
The Uploader allows you to cherry pick from your computer music collection what you want to upload to your Cloud Drive. To make selections, click the Start Upload button. The Uploader may inform you that you do not have enough Cloud space available in your account for all your music. If you get that notice, click “Edit selections“ to narrow the amount of files you can upload.
When your list of music on your computer appears, deselect the Playlists box and then scroll down the list and select the songs, albums, or playlists you want to upload.
There are some exceptions to the files that Uploader supports, including DRM files and Non-MP3 and non-AAC format files. If you have a long list of files, you might first consider creating a playlist in iTunes or a folder on your computer that consists of only the music files supported by Amazon’s Uploader.
In iTunes, for example, you can create a smart playlist (see screenshot above) of all your non-protected music, then upload your songs via the Uploader. If the Uploader didn’t locate all your music, you can click, “browse for more music,” at the top of the Uploader to manually locate your missing songs.
After selecting your songs or playlists, simply click the “Start upload” button. The Cloud Player is a web-based music player. Similar to iTunes, you can browse music by albums, artists, genres, and songs.
Though cloud-based computing is no longer in its infancy, there will no doubt be many more features added to services like Amazon Cloud that will make accessing your files via the Internet an essential and economical way of storing, accessing, and using data.
Let us know what you think of the Amazon Cloud Drive and Player. Are there similar services that you already use? Let us know about them.