Tuesday, 23 February 2010


As those of you who've been paying attention at the back will know, I've just got myself a new laptop. I also have a Windows Live account with its amazing 25GB of storage, which I'm sure Microsoft hope you'll never actually use, or at least never come close to filling the entire 25GB.

So the obvious question is - can you mount your skydrive from your windows desktop. It turns out that you can, and that Gladinet sell a rather nice applet (there's a restricted free version and academic pricing as well) that lets you do just that, as well as mounting your Google docs filestore, Amazon S3, hosts with ftp access, wedav hosts, and half a dozen others I havn't come across.

Gladinet both allows you to copy (back up) files between your pc and your remote filestore and to move files between remote filestores. As an experiment I got Gladinet to backup my Google Docs folder to my Windows Live Skydrive, and 45 minutes later, there they were, all converted to doc files for download and reuse.

As a demonstration it was pretty impressive, even if it wasn't something you wouldn't ordinarily do, given we trust both Microsoft and Google not to lose your files, although of course it does provide security for that moment when you realise not only have you deleted a crucial file but it's expired out of the trash ...

In parallel to this there's been a thread on the Windows-UK discussion list about staff and student filestore in universities. Basically very few universities offer more than 5GB and most offer 1 or 2GB - 1GB being the same as you get with google docs.

Technologies like Gladinet allow students and staff to use storage provided by other providers in an integrated manner. Given most students use their own computers for at least some of their work, wedav enabling student filestore would allow them to treat that filestore as a dropbox to then move files to their google docs folder to work on them via a low cost netbook such as my Asus travel computer, or indeed to their home machine or machines.

It does of course mean that we are expecting students to take more responsibility for their data, but actually no more than when we have them walking about with material on USB sticks to allow them to move between different computers.

This could get interesting ...

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