Toy Box: Net-based storage a dud

Maybe I'm missing the point, but outside its promotional value for the application service provider argument, I don't see a practical use for Iomega's online iStorage service, especially given its slowness.

Maybe I’m missing the point, but outside its promotional value for the application service provider argument, I don’t see a practical use for Iomega’s online iStorage service, especially given its slowness.

You pay a monthly or annual fee for a piece of uploadable storage on Iomega’s server at prices ranging from $US24.95 a year for 50MB to $179.95 a year for 1000MB.

It works through a web interface (Microsoft IE 5 or later, it warns; my 30-day trial account proved inaccessible through Netscape 4.7 or Mozilla).

I logged on from the old machine (56kbit/s dialup). An 8.8MB file took 41 minutes to upload, and three attempts to download. My new machine with a 128kbit/s cable connection worked little faster. Meanwhile, for less than a year’s subscription, you could buy a CD-RW drive for your PC and a good few disks.

I suppose there might be some files that, for some unimagined reason, you’d rather not keep on or near your PC where others might find them. Iomega ensures you of complete security and privacy … well, with certain exceptions.

“Iomega will not disclose the contents of a user’s private data to any other third party unless required to do so by law or in the good faith belief that such action is necessary to: (1) conform to the edicts of the law or comply with legal process served on Iomega; (2) protect and defend the rights or property of Iomega; or (3) act under exigent circumstances to protect the personal safety of its users or the public.”

So you can forget about using iStorage to hide your pirate software, porn, copyright or defamatory information. In any case, there are products on the market to establish confidential invisible folders and encrypt data on your own PC.

A role as a straight back-up tool is possible, with the attraction of access to files from anywhere (with competition from services such as WhaleMail), but 1000MB can hardly be called serious backup, and the slow transfer rate certainly puts it out of that league.

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