When “free” online Cloud storage comes at a cost

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Most of us use some form of “free” cloud storage or another, be it Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive, or a similar service. So do I. But over the years, the choice and use of online storage services became a problem. Here’s how I overcame it.

The problem of plenty

Over the years, I have accumulated Two gmail accounts, one Windows Live! account, Dropbox, Cloudme, and after I got the Mac, an iCloud account. The good part is, I had a total of 50 GB of ‘free’ online storage. Add to that an additional 20 GB through My wife, 100 GB from my web host, and my alma mater’s google Apps (now Google Suite) account theoretically offers ‘unlimited’ storage). For sake of simplicity, let us say we have a total of 170 to 180 GB of ‘free’ online storage, which is awesome.

Add the storage table here

I began storing the backups of documents into different accounts, and over a period of time, it became a nightmare. I began storing my writing samples, personal documents, academic transcripts, and other important documents on one of the two Google Drive accounts, with a copy on One Drive. Documents related to my business, Kamakshi Mediawere stored on the Google Drive.

All edited audio files for MyKitaab and Baalgatha Podcasts were originally stored on Dropbox. I would also use Dropbox for sending the raw audio files to my editor and get back the edited files into Dropbox, and with a 7 GB storage, I quickly began to run out of space. So I ended up transferring the completed audio files onto my second gmail account, and Dropbox was used for storing screenshots, images to be used in Social media, and sharing files with the editor. iCloud began to be used for storing all expense reports, receipts, and invoices.

Last week, I had to search for a couple of documents related to my wife’s work, and it took me over an hour to locate them. They were not on any of the online drives, but I could find them on the external 300 GB Seagate drive that I use for backing up data locally. That got me thinking, “Finding a document take me so long to find, what will happen if I had to search for images?” With thousands of photographs, it is not practical to name each image. That means opening up (or previewing) each image to find the photograph was had taken during our last vacation, for example.

There HAS to be a better way

The above line is a hat tip to Kevin O’Leary from Sharktank, and I took this line seriously. I wanted only two storage accounts, one for day to day use, and the other for a periodic backup. I signed up for Mega, the site which offers 50 GB storage in their free account. Using Multcloud, I moved all the scattered files to Mega, and cleared out the One Drive and one of the Google Drive accounts. Storage in Dropbox was brought down to 1 GB of files that I had shared with editors, customers and some other folks. One of my Google accounts became a shared account across all the Google accounts between my wife and I. This includes the mp3 files (final version of the files for MyKitaab Podcast), total storage space = 11 GB and counting. Once the 15 GB space is consumed, I will start storing the files on my Wife’s Google Drive storage space, and share the files back with me. All my writing will be in Dropbox, with a backup on Mega.

All the documents related to Kamakshi Media were moved to iCloud. Mega will be the ‘data dump’ for all documents, organised into relevant folders.


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