Version 2.11 of iSMECloud File Manager for iPad and iPhone now in App Store

The latest version of the iSMEStorage Cloud File Manager for iPhone / iPad is now in the App Store. There are a host of new features including a re-designed workflow for easier Cloud Files (and local flies) interactions, a new PDF component that supports large PDF files, and support for OpenStack and Google Sites Clouds.

The below presentation showcases the Cloud File Manager for the iPad:

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Linux Cloud Tools updated to include Graphical Cloud File Manager

We’ve updated our Linux Cloud Tools and now include a graphical Cloud File Manager to compliment the existing Cloud Drive, and Cloud Synchronisation application. The tools are now very fully featured and work across various distributions of Linux including, Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora, Redhat, CentOS, and SUSE.

The Linux Cloud Tools will work with any free account and enabled you to manage any combination of Cloud Storage Providers that you have mapped to your SMEStorage Account.

 

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Updated WordPress Cloud File Sharing Plug-In

We updated our Cloud File Sharing Plug-In for WordPress today. You can download it from the WordPress PlugIn site. This Plug-In enables you to make files public on your SMEStorage Account and share them via a WordPress widget on your sidebar. It supports all the clouds that SMEStorage supports and is a great solution for sharing files on your blog form you Cloud Storage.

This is a good segway to point out our terms of use particularly around sharing copyrighted files of any kind. We comply with the Digital Economy act and scan files with public URL’s to check for copyright abuse. If any is found we mark the file as private and issue a warning email.

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Using Zotero with SME and WebDav

Zotero is a firefox plug-in that is an easy to use research tool that aids in gathering, organising, and analysing sources. You can choose to store documents, notes and screenshots that you take directly with Zotero or you can choose to use another WebDav resource.

Of course SMEStorage provides CloudDav, WebDav over any Cloud we support, even if the underlying Cloud does not support WebDav. If you enable CloudDav for your SMEStorage account you can use it with Zotero as follows:

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Mac Cloud Tools released !

We are really please to announce that we have released the first version of our Mac Cloud Tools.

The cloud tools encompass:

– A virtual Cloud Drive that works within Finder

– A Desktop to Cloud folder sync utility

– Cloud Files integrated into Spotlight indexing

Unlike other silo’d storage provider SMEStorage works as an abstraction layer above over 15 storage clouds and enables users to access and manage files from all the major storage vendors.

The Cloud Tools really bring the Cloud into the Mac desktop enabling users to witch storage cloud providers by simply changing directory, and editing files becomes as easy as double clicking on the file in question from within the Cloud Drive and saving when done. We’ve also integrated file actions into the Mac Finder on right click so that, amongst other things, you can easily get a URL of a file to share, or generate an email with a file link for example.

Our desktop to folder synchronisation tools makes it easy to keep files from different clouds in sync with different desktop folders. Just drop your files into the folder and the sync tool will pick up and ensure they end up on the relevant Cloud.

Lastly, we’ve integrated spotlight to work with all the Clouds mapped to a SMEStorage Account so that when Spotlight indexes the Cloud files are also searched

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Android SME Cloud File Manager updated to 1.7

We have updated our Android SMEStorage Cloud File Manager on the Google Android Marketplace to version 1.7. This new release has the following changes:
– Enabled Notes to be emailed as attachments
– Accessing notes changed to a double tap
– Added support for HTTPS on login (https is slower)
– Added support to upload any file from phone to storage cloud chosen
– Added support for icloud, safesync & Sharepoint clouds. SharePoint can only be used by SMEStorage business accounts.

The next release will feature HTTP / FTP support for local file upload over Wi Fi and also sync from ‘cloud to phone’ / ‘phone to cloud’ scheduling, a much requested feature.

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iSMEStorage Cloud File Manager 2.06 now on App Store for iPad and iPhone

We’ve rolled out another update to our iPhone / iPad Cloud File Manager, iSMEStorage taking it to version 2.06.

Changes in this update include:

New Features:

– Added support for Windows Azure Blob Storage
– Added ability to zip local folder structures
– Added ability to cancel uploads, downloads or zips
– Defaulted to Apple video rendering for better video file output when uploading videos to Cloud Storage
– Added ability to download file from URL locally to the iOS device as well as to a Cloud
– Added top things to know about SMEStorage help section
– Added new splash screen for iPhone 4 devices

Fixes:

– Fixed Twitter crash bug when sharing files via Twitter
– Fixed blue screen bug when login failed on iPad
– Fixed Cloud File Manager refresh bug after uploading a file
– Fixed display of iPhone Syncs folder icon
– Display message if Location Services are off when trying to upload photos /videos

We believe we have the most fully features file manager for local and cloud files on the App Store and we will continue to think of innovative ways to improve it, and of course add support for more storage clouds.

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How to manage your Google Docs, SkyDrive, RackSpace files + more on the Mac using ForkLift 2 with SME

BinaryNights recently updated their Mac OSX File Manager, ForkLift to version 2. This is a nice replacement for Finder on the Mac and supports FTP, WebDav, Amazon S3, as well as being able to manage the Mac files directly using a two pane window.  We’ve got used to using Forklift with our CloudDav offering (which adds a WebDav layer over any cloud we support) and this enables us to manage files on a variety of Clouds, including, Google Docs, RackSpace, SkyDrive, and of course all the other Clouds we support. It is priced reasonably at $29.95 and it has a 14 day trial download.

As a quick guide for use, see the below:

Now choose WebDav and fill in the details for CloudDav:

We can now see our various clouds within the SMEStorage. virtual cloud file system

Ensure you also choose ForkLift->preferences and to queue file operations:

You could receive an error such as the below during copying:

If this occurs then click “Apply to All” and choose to skip. Forklift can instantiate a number of parallel connections and the requests can be refused by our servers which is why the error message occurs. You should check after copy that all your files were uploaded. If not, simply selecte the file missing and drag it across the pane to where you want it to reside.

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Why an S3 compatible API ? A rebuttal

I read a post by Gladinet yesterday that talked about why, in their opinion, an S3 compatible API is not a good idea, and to be honest I was surprised at their viewpoint. If an S3 compatible API is such a bad idea, why do Eucalyptus offer it ? Why do Mezeo ? Why do Google Storage ? I’ll tell you why, because right now Amazon S3 is the big gorilla in Cloud Storage and to make it easy for developers, and tool vendors, to move to/use their platforms they are offering the nearest thing there is to a standard (apart from WebDav….and I’ll come back to that), which is an S3 compatible interface, or way into their storage clouds.

If you extend that thinking further you can see why it would be useful to users, developers, and Organisations, to use an S3 API above other Storage Clouds, that don’t currently have it. For example using an S3 endpoint with RackSpace or Google Docs could solve some key integration problems if you already use S3 and want to manage files against these clouds.

The issue really is about standards, and the lack of standard API’s in Cloud. There is an old, but still relevant ,post from Gartner on this that I tend to agree with. Having standardised API’s from day one is not good because it stifles innovation, however the basic object cloud storage is pretty basic in terms of an API and for lots of users, developers, and companies, being able to standardise around the dominant API, has in certain circumstances, many benefits.

This brings me back to WebDav. Dav was the first real  (and still the only) standard for working with files over http. I’m amazed by how many vendors don’t support it as an entry point to their cloud ie. Google Docs, Amazon S3, RackSpace Cloud Files, DropBox etc etc. Someone made a comment to me recently that WebDav “was so 20th century”. It made me smile as WebDav is still one of the most implemented integration points for Applications. Consider the Apple App Store. It’s two years old and there are a myriad of Applications that support WebDav and also have to support the clouds that don’t support WebDav, and if your cloud is not on the list, then, well it’s tough !  Need a more recent example? The new Nokia N8 Smartphone. It supports WebDav as a native client and users have already picked up that they can use our service to access their cloud data on the device. When we launched our ubiquitous WebDav over any cloud (whether it support it natively or not), CloudDav interface, we did it because we had the same frustrations. We launched this on August 25th.  In only 3 months it is responsible for 30% of our traffic and it has lead to a huge increase in our user base ! That is an amazing statistic and shows that users really want standardisation when it enables them to access their data the way they want to, and of course this is our raison d’etre 😉

Interestingly, in the past Gladinet also had a positive point of view about the S3 API, at least in earlier blog posts, so I’m not sure what lead to their change of heart, but one thing is for sure, I expect more storage companies, not less, to continue issuing compatible S3 endpoints as entry points into their storage clouds.

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OpenStack Summit and forthcoming Swift support in the SME Cloud Gateway

The OpenStack Summit took place in San Antonio last week. OpenStack is an open source project primarily put together by RackSpace. The OpenStack Advisory Board actually has 9 seats. Six are currently taken by RackSpace, Citrix have one, and NASA have the other, and the seats taken seems to be related to the most code contributed.

The summit was well attended, perhaps over 300 people were there, which is heady stuff indeed for a project that is only several months in development.

The interest we have is on the storage side of OpenStack rather than the compute side, as we intend to provide support for the OpenStack Swift framework within our on-premise Cloud Gateway appliance and encompass the API’s into our own Cloud Storage API’s as we have with other cloud storage providers.

Swift is a sub project of OpenStack and provides a highly scalable redundant unstructured data store. Swift is 5 separate services, object, container, account, auth and proxy. Although each of these can be scaled separately, in practice they run together.

Never heard of Swift? it’s the underlying distributable object store that supports RackSpace Cloud Files. It’s akin to Amazon’s S3 implementation but unlike implementations such as Eucalyptus, which clone S3 API’s, but are not sponsored by Amazon, openStack and Swift has RackSpace firmly onboard, and have proven scale.

As Swift is used by Rackspace Cloud Files. Swift RackSpace claim it is production-ready code that is scalable to massive levels (100-petabyte clusters and 100000 requests per second). Swift sacrifices C for A and P from a CAP theorem perspective. Although most operations happen synchronously consistency is sacrificed in failure scenarios.

From our perspective we see enterprise users of our on-premise Cloud Gateway appliance expressing interest in SMEStorage supporting this. As with our S3 API endpoint support the gateway will overlay a more traditional file store on top of Swift layered with the business functionality we provide in our Organisation Cloud, virtual drives and clients for Mac, Windows and Linux, and rich mobile clients for iPad, iPhone, Android and BlackBerry, as well as value added features such as Webdav support.

If you are interested in Swift integration with our Cloud Gateway Appliance drop us an email.

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iSMEStorage 2.0 is released

iSMEStorage 2.0 is now in the App Store. It has a ton of new features, which you can refer to from our prior post. There is unfortunately a bug that was picked up on release when using the folder actions when in the Cloud Files view which crashes the App. We’ve already issued a 2.01 release fix for this and this should be in the App Store around about the 5th November if Apple keep to their normal weeks approval timeline.

In the meantime we put together a short slide set so you can have a quick browse of the features in the 2.0 release:

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