Storage devices have taken many strange forms over history. We've seen everything from an old 19th-century loom to massive data centres that power companies like Facebook and Google. But along the way, some truly weird devices tried to change how we save our precious data bits. These technologies were either wonderfully weird, woefully misguided, or just behind the times, but regardless, they each have their own idiosyncrasies worth remembering. Here are 10 of the weirdest storage devices ever created.
Tagged With file storage
Even with the influx of cheap mini-PCs such as Intel's Next Unit of Computing (NUC) series, the humble Network Attached Storage (NAS) unit still has its place. However, if you're new to the NAS game and want one for the house, perhaps to file the role of file server, there are a few caveats to consider before you go ahead with your purchase.
For whatever strange reason, popular file-sharing service Box.net has just added a new web document feature that looks very much like previous efforts from Zoho or Google Docs. We love Box.net for its easy file sharing, iPhone app, and open storage platform, but we can't see this taking off any time soon. Thoughts?
Online storage service Orbitfiles gives you a pretty impressive 6 GB of online storage space (with a 50 MB per file limit), and offers unlimited storage for $5/month. What's somewhat unique about Orbitfiles is that it makes it easy to share files publicly, giving you a public landing page for them, and tools for embedding them in blogs or web sites. What's more, if you're a creative or entrepreneurial type, you can sell files through Orbitfiles' interface, giving up only a two percent commission. Windows users also get a dedicated download client, Hercules, that makes the upload process a bit smoother. Orbitfiles is a free service, requires a sign-up (with an annoying request for a full name) to use. Orbitfiles
Innovative file sharing service Drop.io now sends and receives faxes for free. To send a fax, just upload a document to Drop.io, enter the fax number, and click Fax. To receive a fax, Drop.io generates a cover sheet you email to the sender; as long as they use your cover page on the fax, it will end up in your Drop.io account as a PDF. Like most of Drop.io, faxing services are free and require no registration to use. Drop.io Fax
The Digital Inspiration blog points out a feature of Box.net's free web storage service that makes sending large files through email links super-easy. If you're signed up and already have your free 1 GB of space, simply enable the Gmail or Outlook services (the latter will also work with Mozilla Thunderbird), and right-clicking on files or folders will set up a message that shares the files with any recipients. As Digital Inspiration puts it, it's similar to the RapidShare sharing method, but a lot less painful for the recipients. Email Large Files Quickly with Gmail and Box.net
Upload and share up to 5GB of data to Windows Live SkyDrive, an online storage solution from Microsoft that's just graduated from beta. With your SkyDrive account (which requires a Windows Live ID), you get that 5GB of storage (which bests Box.net's 1GB free plan) for personal folders accessible only to you, shared folders accessible to your friends, and public folders open to everyone (which can be subscribed to via RSS). Details on SkyDrive limitations and usage are sketchy, but it looks like individual file sizes may be limited to 500MB. If you've been using SkyDrive since its beta, share your experience so far in the comments. Windows Live SkyDrive
Windows only: My Lockbox isn't a full-featured encryption solution like TrueCrypt, but it is an easy and free way to hide a folder from all but the most technically savvy (and extremely prying) eyes. Install the program, choose a folder you want to hide (or let it create a "My Lockbox" in your My Documents folder) and then run the program to unlock and add files to it. Shutting down the program or even booting into safe mode won't reveal your folder, unlike many other "hiding" utilities, and even looking at folder sizes won't reveal your data. Somebody with a recovery disk and knowledge that you're hiding something might breach your data, but for most people's needs, My Lockbox gets the (secret) job done. My Lockbox is a free download for Windows 2000 and later. My Lockbox
Share files over the internet quickly and easily with web site Drop.io. We've mentioned a number of similar file sharing services in the past, but what's great about Drop.io is it's speed (requires no registration for any party), ease of use (just send a simple link to whoever you want to share the files with after you've uploaded them), and clean interface. Basically uploading files creates a web site to organise them. You can password protect the files, and anyone who you share the link with can add to the repository. Drop.io does have a 100mb upload limit—so it's a bit more suited for sharing documents and images than music and videos—but overall the slickness and minimalism of the site really makes it stand out among its peers. It's tough to say where they plan to make their money (so who knows if/when the crazy ads will come in), but for the time being it's a terrific tool.
With the popularity of sites like del.icio.us and YouTube, tagging has become (for better or sometimes worse) a standard feature of nearly every site on the internet, and virtually everyone has a pretty fair idea what tagging is and how to use tags online. But the latest operating systems from Apple and Microsoft also have tagging built into their filesystems, meaning that the same basic tagging ideas available online are also available for the files on your hard drive. It sounds like an excellent idea in theory, but it doesn't seem as though offline tagging is taking hold. So we're wondering.