Conversations about life & privacy in the digital age

Happy WiFi day! 8.02.11, the most exclusive holiday ever!

WiFi Logo. Image credit: IEEE

(Image Credit: IEEE)

Your birthday comes around once every year, Halley’s comet passes once every 75 years, but WiFi day still takes the cake as the most exclusive holiday. Happening only once on this fine day of August 2nd of 2011 and thus cementing it’s position as the ruler of all holidays.

Due to the unfortunate following of ISO 8601 among other things, this wonderful day has slipped right by Hallmark and never found it’s rightful place in the calendar.

We at SpiderOak would however like to tip our hat to this this cornerstone of modern civilization and ask you the user to tell us: “What’s the most memorable, fun or strange wireless network SSID (Network name) you have ever seen in your hunt for network access?”

Post your contribution and email or SpiderOak username in the comment section and we will pick a comment at random to receive an extra 10GB of storage, as our way of tipping our hat to our dear friend 8.02.11, prince of wireless standards.

Reddit, World Backup Day, SpiderOak, March 31st and the power of Social Media

It started as a single thread from the user adamjeff on the well known forum/news site reddit.com (here). Over the next few days through reddit’s messaging system, email, twitter, facebook and word of mouth, the ‘idea’ behind World Backup Day was born.

The thread received over 2,500 ‘up-votes’ and over 1,000 comments. Users wanted to discuss the idea as a group – wondering what date should be ‘the day’ and what it should be called. The following day a few users – lead by user zoomacrymosby – were hard at work. User norunomu was designing both the website and logo, the domain worldbackupday.net was registered, and everybody was scrambling to get the information site up.

As an avid redditor and with a vested interest in online backup, I reached out to Ismail (the person behind username zoomacrymosby) asking what I could do to help worldbackupday.net go live as soon as possible and/or if we at SpiderOak could offer the users some specials to further draw attention to the site and reinforce the importance of backing up / syncing / sharing / accessing pictures, music, movies, documents.

Over one weekend everything came together. With the website designed, content created, and hosting established, the site was live. The word was already starting to spread through Facebook, Twitter, Reddit etc…

On the morning of Monday the 28th, 100s of tweets were being sent out about #worldbackupday, the Facebook page and website were receiving 1.000s of visitors and mainstream media had picked up on the ‘news’ that there was to be a day for backup awareness, and that day was to be March 31st.

With 3-days left until the actual event I can of course only speculate on the final effect and reach of the World Backup Day initiative; however and if the early reactions are any indication, I think that a few seemingly random community members with virtually no budget* may through the help of social media, ingenuity, and drive have created one of the first spontaneous ‘yearly events’ I have ever witnessed.

And that’s pretty damn cool!

*Disclosure. SpiderOak provided the funds needed to host the world backup day website and provides increased data storage to visitors of worldbackupday.net free of charge. World Backup Day remains an impartial website aimed at spreading awareness and information regarding data backup.

WHAAAAT? Unlimited storage for $4.99 a month not a viable business model?

In the wake of the news that Mozy is scrapping their ‘Unlimited’ data plans , I figured it would be apropos to write a post on: a) the reasoning behind why we at SpiderOak do not offer unlimited data plans; and b) why we believed early on that it was only a matter of time until our competitors changed their thinking on the unlimited storage plan concept.

As most people can probably understand, running an online storage service (whether backup, sync, sharing, etc…) differs quite a bit from products like share ware or anti virus in that a storage service has a a concrete incremental cost.

To use an example, if an anti virus company attracts a new customer, the incremental cost of servicing this customer is practically zero (or barely visible).

However, when an online storage service wins a new user, the space to service that user has to be present and that cost is definable and necessary to support the user. Of course the law of averages does play a part in the storage business but a given amount of space has to exist before this new user comes onboard.

The cost per user does differ depending on storage architecture, location of data centers, etc… but there is always a cost and this cost increases linearly with the amount of storage used and how active that user will be over time.

At SpiderOak our philosophy is to offer a user secure, friendly, fast, and reliable backup service at a competitive price. In doing so we offer a free full featured service with 2 GBs of free storage (up to 7 with our Refer-A-Friend Program) for anyone who wants to try our service or maybe just doesn’t have that much to backup.

In the case of Mozy, Carbonite, or any other of the ‘unlimited’ backup providers, I think time has shown that the basic premise has changed and will continue to change over time. Users’ storage needs will only continue to grow and we – as service providers – can no longer blindly think of this as a race to the most users by completely ignoring both costs and market trends.

What does this mean for the online storage industry?

Well, I personally believe that within 6 months to a year there will not be any unlimited storage providers left on the market; and should a few remain, very heavy restrictions on file size, file type and amount of devices allowed per account will be imposed (such as is already the case with many of the online backup providers).

In short: There is no such thing as a free lunch. If it looks too good to be true then it almost always is and In the end, we all have to pay the piper.

TLDR: Unlimited backup for a fixed price probably won’t be around for too much longer.

iOS Mobile Client 1.2 Released! Improvements Abound and iPad Support!

With our new Mobile development team in full swing, we are proud to present Version 1.2 of the SpiderOak iOS app for iPhone and iPad!

SpiderOak for iOS is available right now in the App Store for FREE!

The new version comes with improvements in every area from the login process, file handling, printing ability, document viewing and more. Specific areas of improvements are available in our Release Notes section below:

  1. Full Support for iPad.
  2. File Context Menu: Select specific actions related to a file including view ‘Details’, ‘Add to Favorites’, ‘Send Link’, and others.
  3. Favorites may now be updated on an individual basis.
  4. Cancel Download Operations: Effective when viewing a file or updating a favorite. This feature is enabled by tapping the ‘Cancel’ button from the progress dialog.
  5. Support for ‘Open In’: On devices with iOS Version 3.2 and up, users can now open files with any Application that supports the selected file type.
  6. Support for ‘Print’ Feature: In devices with iOS version 4.2 and up, print directly from the SpiderOak App!
  7. iOS Version 3.0 Support: It is now possible to use the SpiderOak App on devices as far back as iOS Version 3.0.

If you do not currently have a SpiderOak account, you can sign up here and receive your 2 FREE GBs – giving you full access to all product features. And even if you are not a member of SpiderOak, you can still use the SpiderOak iOS App to open up the ShareRooms of current SpiderOak users and view, sync, print and share data they make available to you.

As we do with all of our projects, we encourage your ideas and feedback as
this drives our development effort and makes SpiderOak better for everyone.
Please don’t hesitate to send your comments to
support@spideroak.com.

SpiderOak Android ver 1.1 in the wild!

With lessons learned and a new Mobile development crew in place, we proudly announce the new Android client: SpiderOak Android Version 1.1.

The new client features improvements in stability, speed, and several added features such as improved folder handling and the addition of ‘Favorites’ (or files that are downloaded and always available regardless of connectivity). Below you will find full release notes, download sources, and a tutorial video showing off the new Android client.

Android 1.1 Release Notes

- Favorites: A user now has the ability to mark specific files as ‘Favorites’. This will allow the file to remain available regardless of connectivity and the user can easily check for new updated versions.

- Improved Tab Navigation: A user can now browse his/her storage, access Shares, go to Favorites, view a specific file, and then return to his/her storage at the previous point.

- New Login Dialog: Increased efficiency such that a user no longer needs to go into Settings to enter Username/Password. New version allows a user to tap Menu –> Login and – if no credentials are present – a dialog will appear with the appropriate fields.

- Updated File Details: By default, files marked as Favorites are depicted with a star and show last modification time and size. A user can now modify this display within the Settings.

- Improved File Viewing: User may choose between potential programs to open a file when a default is not found.

- Miscellaneous Fixes & Improvements: Better handling on orientation changes and a more accurate storage progress bar.

You can download the new mobile client for Android via app-stores and repositories or directly through: https://spideroak.com/dist/android/SpiderOak.apk.

SpiderOak, Free Games and Poetry to round off the year!

It’s about that time of the year when people – for various reasons – feel the desire to spend their hard earned money on gifts for their loved ones, colleges, spouses and children.

Here at SpiderOak – being the sort of people that like to dive headlong into the spirit of any holiday (from Valentine’s to Groudhog’s day – thought we would take the opportunity to play to your greedy side much like a choir of angels would play Rock Band by offering some of the almighty ‘free loot’ that we all love so much.

Keeping it simple, we have 22 copies of some rather brilliant Indie games that we would like to pass along this holiday season. The games (10 copies of Lead and Gold: Gangs of the Wild West and 12 copies of World of Goo) are both available for installation through the Steam service and compatible with both Mac and PC*. The games are both by brilliant Indie developers and we are sure you won’t mind supporting their efforts (check further down in this post for video trailers of the games).

To score a copy of one of the games mentioned above, all you have to do is: 1) install the SpiderOak client and sign-up for a free 2GB account; and 2) post your SpiderOak username together with a home-made New Years Poem in the comment section.

An impartial jury of SpiderOak employees will then burn the midnight oil in search of 22 worthy winners and email the lucky ones game of their choice on December 31st.

To ensure that our little contest and what will surely be some of the best New Years inspired poetry seen in decades reaches even the farthest corners of the world, we encourage you to share this contest among your friends via Twitter, Facebook, Carrier Pigeon and horseback as much as you desire.

Godspeed and a Happy New Year in advance from the SpiderOak crew!

World of Goo Trailer

Lead and Gold: Gangs of the Wild West Trailer

* Happen to be an all-Linux user or just plain not interested in games? Of course we enjoy your poetry as well! Just go ahead and enter the contest with a little note of this and we will send you a 10GB upgrade for your SpiderOak account instead!

Finally here – SpiderOak Android 1.0 Application released!

We at SpiderOak are very proud and excited to finally announce the launch of our SpiderOak Android app; SpiderOak Android 1.0. The launch represents the official release of our second mobile client and gives our customers yet another way of accessing, viewing and sharing their stored data ‘on the go’.

Version 1.0 of SpiderOak Android features functionality allowing the user to:

  1. Seamlessly access all of the data backed up across the SpiderOak Network – viewing office documents, pdf files, pictures, videos, music etc…
  2. Easily access their Share-Rooms as well as the shares of friends, family, colleagues, or clients (depending on access to login credentials)
  3. Email ANY file stored with SpiderOak through the Android email client (via link)

Android users can immediately download and install the SpiderOak 1.0 android app directly via SpiderOak, the Android Marketplace and the Archos Appslib.

As we do with all of our projects, we encourage your ideas and feedback as your feedback drives our development effort and makes SpiderOak better for everyone. Please don’t hesitate to send your comments and suggestions to
support@spideroak.com.

For feature hungry users we can also reveal that we already have several new features on our Android development map for release shortly, starting with a one-way file synchronization that will allow the SpiderOak app allowing arbitrary files on your SpiderOak account to be kept up-do-date with your Android device file storage.

Still to come; SpiderOak Blackberry App and a program for the Windows mobile platform, but more info on that as development on those platforms draws to a close.

Mac OS X cats VS. The Linux animals – The Aftermath..

WOW!

I just want to start off by thanking our fantastic blog audience and customers for all the fun answers, good time banter, support and link-love our recent ‘Who would win in a struggle between all the Mac OS X cats and all the Linux animals?’ post resulted in. You guys sure know how rally around something you find amusing!

Our original idea was just see if we could possibly get 10 people to name a few animals, maybe comment on our little artwork and hand out a few GB of free storage to a few users. Something that turned into over 10.000 hits, 60+ comments and our image and following desktop-wallpaper pack being syndicated to several major blogs and wallpaper websites.

Since Wednesday I have been trying to figure out what to do to reward all you wonderful people who contributed and I think (I hope no one gets upset by this sudden change of rules) since our contest rules were vague to say the least and very few actually got 100% on the naming, order etc. (if we want to be picky) this is what we are going to do.

ANYONE who at the arbitrary time of midnightish between Thursday and Friday September 23rd/24th commented on the original post is welcome to email me at contest@spideroak.com, with the name you used for your comment and where geographically you posted the comment from (we will check this with Geo-ip, cause we are just that awesome!). Then as if by magic, you will receive back a code good for adding an extra 10GB to your free or paid SpiderOak account!

For those interested the correct animals, in order of appearance according to the artist should be as follows: 
[Linux]: (Top) Heron; (Left to Right) Ibex, Gibbon, Gecko/Chameleon, Badger, Koala, Warthog, Lynx, Fawn (Deer), Jackalope, Eft (Newt); (Bottom) Hedgehog, Drake (Duck). 
[Mac]: (Left to Right) Cheetah, Leopard, Snow Leopard, Tiger, Jaguar; (Bottom) Puma, Panther.

Of course we encourage everyone to give our service a shot by downloading the SpiderOak client and signing-up for our free service.

Once again, thank you all for your support and I look forward to ‘seeing’ you all again shortly for something completely different!

The Monthly 100GB Premium account Twitter Contest – Redux!

Here at href="https://spideroak.com/download/">SpiderOak, we are all about providing a Free, innovative and secure
online backup, synchronization, and sharing solution in addition to great
service to our customers. However, we also have lighter side.

With the release of href="https://spideroak.com/release_notes">SpiderOak 3.7 we thought it would be a good idea to reboot our twitter free premium account contest.

Starting August 2010, anyone that follows href="http://twitter.com/Spideroak">@SpiderOak on Twitter
(start now!) and Re-Tweets: ‘I Just entered the SpiderOak Free Account Contest!
You can win by following @Spideroak and RT! http://bit.ly/abj0eu #giveaway #contest
‘ will be in
the running for a 1-year 100GB SpiderOak Premium account.

The rules are as easy to follow as using SpiderOak! (Download our client for free href="https://spideroak.com/download/">here and get up to 7GB Free for life!)

  • Follow href="http://twitter.com/Spideroak">@SpiderOak
  • Re-Tweet ‘I Just entered the SpiderOak Free Account Contest!
    You can win by following @Spideroak and RT! http://bit.ly/abj0eu #giveaway #contest

The winners will be announced via Twitter the 30th of every month.

Psst… If you can’t wait or are feeling unlucky, you can use the promotion
code ‘twitterspideroak’ and pick up a 20% discount on any yearly
purchased account – 100 GB, 200 GBs, and so on…

We also offer our popular href="https://spideroak.com/referral/">refer-a-friend program, href="https://spideroak.com/partners/affiliate/register/">affiliate program for webmasters and marketers, href="https://spideroak.com/partners/whitelabel/register/">white-label solution and of course our new and exciting href="https://spideroak.com/diy/">DIY Archival Data Storage API for developers big and small.

Rules: The contest is open to anyone including previous free account
holders. SpiderOak employees, family member’s, and close friends of
employees are not eligible. The winners will be picked at random from
re-tweets and announced via twitter tweets and direct messages to the
winners. If a winner does not answer and claim their price within 7 days,
another winner will be picked at random.

Netbooks you say? Well there’s a client for that..

When people discussed the future of ‘mobile’ back in 1999, everything was WAP and cell phone Internet and mobile website development and thin clients. Well at least most of us remember how that ‘mobile revolution’ changed our lives, or, at the very least, our 401K’s.

Fast forward about half a decade and a company named Asus launches the ‘Eee PC 700′. At first the news of this new smaller notebook was a non-event; after all it is just a smaller whose main features are low weight and lasting battery life.

Fast forward again and it’s 2010 and netbooks sales are dwarfing traditional laptops, entire operating systems are being rewritten to fit our smallest best friends, and a new generation of ‘Pads’ are rolling out in the wake of the immense popularity of the cheap, lightweight and long lasting mini-laptops.

Netbooks and SpiderOak

At SpiderOak we pride ourselves in offering our service and client for pretty much every operating system imaginable and have supported netbook usage from the very beginning (now please don’t take this as an invite to start asking for Amiga OS support and tell us about how our client crashes on AS400 systems).

And with our new release we have resized, stripped, and customize our client for the sometimes quite low resolution on 7″-10″ netbook screens. We have also improved memory handling and a few other things so that you will get the best possible experience on your little sub-notebook friend.

The client auto-senses maximum resolution and customizes itself on installation so no ‘special download’ is needed just download the latest version of SpiderOak and you are good to go.

For those interested our complete list of release notes for the new release is available here.