Cloud Storage & Pushbullet

How can you get the most out of cloud storage?

Even years after the Internet boom of the early 2000s, with the number of computers (be they desktop, laptop, or handheld) growing exponentially, people still found it difficult to comprehend the idea that these were anything but separate devices. A laptop was a laptop, a phone was a phone, and that was that.

In the past few years, however, this idea has changed dramatically. With the advent of that most poetic metaphor, ‘The Cloud’, it has become clear that Wordsworth had it wrong; nothing could be less lonely. Almost every electronic device you own, from your phone to your tablet to your computer to your games console, can now be so intimately linked that anything you do on one of them can almost certainly be accessed, quickly and easily, by any of the others. So, does this mean the days of wired data transfer are over? Should you chuck that USB stick, because every essay or bit of coursework you write is now automatically stored online, ready to be accessed whenever you need it?

Well, probably not just yet. For one, cloud storage, in its current form, is far from perfect. No doubt everyone can name a recent internet-clogging, media-fuelled exposé which highlighted just how easy it can be for determined individuals to gain access to some very sensitive material, if it’s stored insecurely online. Until better security protocols are implemented on this kind of thing, it’s probably a good idea not to upload or transfer anything particularly delicate via this method.

But this shouldn’t put anyone off using online storage and transfer (which is only going to increase in popularity and usability in the future), to help make life a little bit easier, especially for students. There are many apps currently on the market that facilitate this very successfully, but a particularly popular example is one called Pushbullet.

Available officially in app-form on iOS and Android (with community-developed versions for other operating systems such as Windows and Blackberry), it’s very easy to transfer and upload files to the Pushbullet servers directly from your phone. Images, Office documents, and pretty much any other kind of file you can think of can be ‘pushed’ easily.

The real convenience, however, comes with Pushbullet’s browser extensions (Chrome, Firefox, Opera or Safari) and add-ons, as well as desktop clients, all of which connect to the same server to which you upload files. Sending a file from your desktop to your phone, from your phone to your browser, or from one phone to another is simple. Other apps certainly exist that allow similar functionalities, but Pushbullet definitely has an ease-of-use which isn’t widely seen.

A recent addition to the app is the inclusion of SMS functionality, which allows you to send a text from your browser, through your phone, to anyone in your contact list. You can even receive notifications on your laptop when you get a text, so you’ll be still be able to stay in touch even if you’ve left your phone downstairs, and the notion of getting out of bed is just unthinkable.

With the ability for end-to-end encryption as well (requiring a password to access files at each end), Pushbullet really does allow you to utilise cloud storage and data transfer to its fullest extent, with a pleasant and user-friendly interface for phone and computer.

The app certainly has the ability to make life easier, even it’s just another way of avoiding the panic when you go to give a presentation and realise you’ve forgotten to bring the Powerpoint with you.

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