Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Webs gems

I've spent the better part of the week devising new class assignments and correcting old ones. In lieu of anything useful, let me revert to Netsurfer Digest format and introduce you to fun and/or useful corners of the Net.

Let's start with comedy. This YouTube clip comes from Robot Chicken and made me laugh out loud.

I would have liked a more substantial set-up; the human co-worker is far too sincere to be playing a silly prank. Nevertheless, it earns a chuckle.

Speaking of online video, Zamzar is an awesome service that will convert online video formats into downloadable files you can archive for yourself. It works for images, text, and music as well, but the moderately clever netsurfer knows how to save those already - you do, don't you? If not, Zamzar's there for you. All of us will benefit from the service's ability to save YouTube and other video in pretty much any video format known to humanity - yes, even .rmvb, whatever that is.

Once you have amassed a collection of videos, you'll want to back it up. I'm betting most of you either don't back up your data at all or do with local media such as an extra hard drive or a pile of CD-ROMs or DVDs that are slowly compressing the Iomega and floppy disks beneath them into rock.

Offsite back-ups are the way to go. A house fire will render your drives, disks, and paleomedia to slag, after all. There are several options; Mac users are familiar with the expensive .Mac service that Apple offers. Amazon S3 will store all your data for a few dollars a month. For 15 cents per GB a month, Amazon S3 will safely store your bytes at a great whopping facility with its own back-ups. There's a small fee for data transfers as well, but it's still an attractive package.

How to upload your files to Amazon S3? Use Jungle Disk, beta software available for all major operating systems. Jungle Disk is designed to interact with your Amazon S3 storage. The software is free, at least for now, and the home page provides a handy table that lets you compare various data-storage pricing plans.


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