The New Screen Savers 120: Echo, Echo, Echo…

Leo Laporte and Roberto Baldwin try out the new Multi-Room Music feature on the Amazon Echo. We’ll set up several Echos in the studio to set it up and find out how it works. Anker has a new sister brand for smart-home devices called Eufy. One of their latest products is a tiny smart speaker called the Genie. We’ll see how to compares to the Echo Dot. Megan Morrone continues her #DigitalCleanse. This week is number four: Cleaning up your cloud storage. We’re going to revive an old Mac Pro (mid-2010) for our ‘Call for Help,’ and install NVIDIA’s flagship gaming GPU the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti. We’ll take a first look at Tovala’s meal kit service that cooks itself in a smart oven that can steam, bake, and broil. Jason Howell shows us some AR apps on the Asus Zenfone AR. In the ‘Mail Bag,’ we answer questions about what to do with vintage computers and tracking apps for Android.

– Apple to unveil the next iPhone September 12th at the new Apple campus.
– Juicero shuts down and won’t sell juice packs.
– In an email snafu, Essential shared driver’s licenses numbers of some customers.
– Roberto was at the Hyperloop Pod Competition where the winning pod hit over 200MPH.


Amazon Ditches Unlimited Cloud Storage

Megan Morrone and Jason Howell discuss Amazon’s announcement that it will be phasing out its unlimited cloud storage tier, and why companies promise unlimited if they know it is not sustainable.

Dropbox for Business launches, offering single sign-on

Cloud-storage provider Dropbox announced today the introduction of Dropbox for Business, a team-oriented version of the service with a particularly IT-friendly feature: single sign-on (SSO).

Dropbox, of course, allows users to archive, share, and access files across multiple devices: desktops, laptops, smartphones, tablets, and so on. Over the years it has grown synonymous with online file storage, arguably beating out every other service for mind-share, if not actual number of users.

The new Dropbox for Business is actually a rebranded Dropbox for Teams, which launched in 2011. Pricing continues to start at $795 annually for up to five users, though you now get “as much storage as you need” rather than a fixed amount.

Back in February, the company unveiled a new admin console and sharing controls for the service. But the marquee feature accompanying the new launch is SSO, which, as described by Dropbox’s Anand Subramani, “works behind the scenes to let users sign in just once to a central identity provider, like Active Directory, and securely access all their business apps, like Dropbox. With SSO, companies can put their existing trusted identity provider in charge of the authentication process.”

That also gives IT managers great control over user authentication and management. And for end users, SSO means one less password to deal with and one less step to get connected to their Dropbox accounts. (Once they’re logged into the company network, they’re logged into Dropbox.)

Dropbox has partnered with several sign-on identity providers, including Ping Identity, Okta, OneLogin, and Symplified. The SSO system employs industry-standard Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML), and brings Dropbox in line with competing cloud services such as Box and Google Drive, both of which already offer SSO.

What’s more, the aforementioned admin console brings Dropbox closer to Box with features like user-specific activity monitors, though the latter still offers a few extra perks for the IT crowd and end users alike, including virtual workspaces and Google Apps integration.

According to Subramani, the new feature will roll out to Dropbox for Business customers next month.

via Dropbox for Business launches, offering single sign-on | PCWorld.

Cloud-based backup: Is it right for long-term storage?

Cloud-based backup services, such as Mozy, Carbonite, and IDrive, upload your files to their servers as protection against your losing the originals. This has some big advantages over a local backup. Once set up they’re completely automatic. And it’s extremely unlikely that the same fire or flood will destroy your computer and your backup.

But there are disadvantages, as well. One is that you lose physical control of your backup. Those files could be destroyed because of someone else’s corporate decision.

But that’s not likely to happen–at least if you continue to pay your bill. But it’s a good idea to know a service’s policy.

Both Mozy and Carbonite will keep a file as long as it’s on your drive (or at least the part of your drive that you’re backing up), and for an additional 30 days after it disappears. That seems fair to me. If a file disappeared from your drive a month ago, and you haven’t restored it, chances are you don’t want it anymore.

IDrive, on the other hand, provides ways to control what will and will not be deleted from the server. You can keep files on their server that you’re no longer keeping on your hard drive, in what an IDrive representative described to me as “an archival solution.”

But I wouldn’t recommend that. If you want to keep a file indefinitely, keep it in more than one place. And at least one of those places should be your hard drive or some other local storage.

And then backup that local storage–possibly to the cloud.

via Cloud-based backup: Is it right for long-term storage? | PCWorld.