Doug Lerner reports from Tokyo and St. Louis, and points beyond…

Posts tagged ‘dropbox’

Two drawbacks (so far) found in SkyDrive

I’ve been trying SkyDrive and have run into two stumbling blocks so far.

Here are my questions in the SkyDrive forums and replies from Microsoft which explain the issues.

(1) Local storing of files on an iOS device

Me: I’ve been hunting around for some manual or feature explanations of SkyDrive for iOS but can’t seem to find anything. I’d like to know some details such as, are the items all stored locally on my iPad and iPhone, or do I have to mark items I wish to save locally? Any tidbits like that.

Microsoft: You can read features we support from the app description in appstore. We temporarily don’t have Offline support on iOS. But we do cache files/photos locally on your phone once you’ve manually opened it. You may use that as an alternative way for offline access but it requires you to manually open each of the file you want to access.

Me: I see.

I would just like to point out that this makes dealing with large-ish files in iOS quite awkward in comparison to, say, DropBox. In DropBox you mark as “favorite” those files you wish to store locally, and it downloads them in the background.

For example, I created a family slideshow yesterday – a movie that is about 180 MB in size. In DropBox I marked it as favorite and eventually it downloaded and I was able to view it in DropBox in airplane mode. But I wasn’t able to do this in SkyDrive. In fact, I wasn’t able to watch the whole movie in SkyDrive because the streaming was poor and I could never get past the first 15 seconds of the 6 minute movie.

I hope this is improved sometime.

(2) Search doesn’t work

Me: Search doesn’t seem to work. I created a test Doc file via the web interface in a folder, and in the doc I wrote: To whom it may concern. And I had a sentence in my test document: This may concern you.

But if I try to search documents for the word “concern” it keeps coming up with no results.

Is this still buggy? Or does it take a long time to index? Are others experiencing this?

Microsoft: Hi Doug,

Please be informed that the search function in SkyDrive only supports files that are in .doc, .docx, .ppt, .pptx, .xls, and .xlsx formats. Also, you cannot use the contents within each documents when searching. You have to search for the name of the document instead.

Thank you.

Me: Search in SkyDrive cannot search the contents of documents created in SkyDrive? 🙂


OK. Thanks.


A 5 minute look at SkyDrive

If you know DropBox, you know SkyDrive. In my 5 minutes cursory look at SkyDrive I can see it being a real challenger for DropBox. Or another way of looking at it is, why not have both?

Conceptually they work the same way. But there are some immediate advantages to SkyDrive as well. For one thing, there is more free space (7 GB to start with, instead of 2 GB). And you can more selectively control sharing. While I hear this is/has changed in DropBox, their permissions has always been very rough. Basically giving somebody shared access to a DropBox folder lets the other person control the folder’s contents, and all the sub-folders and files therein. SkyDrive has more selective settings it seems.

SkyDrive also lets you create Word and other Office documents via the web, much like Google Docs. I haven’t checked to see if there is collaborative editing or not.

There are also search features (though it was not able to find a word in a test Word doc I created via the web UI). Photos uploaded can also be automatically resized, which is nice when sharing. That worked great from my iPhone.

Google is also coming out with Google Drive, but (1) it’s not ready for me yet when I try to access and (2) the iOS apps are not available as of this writing. But I was able to immediately download and use the iPhone app for SkyDrive (which synced to my iPad) and it works just fine on both. So Microsoft has beaten Google out the door on this one.

I see a lot to like and not really anything to dislike about SkyDrive in a first test drive, except the search didn’t work on the web. Of course I never get search to work in DropBox either, so they are even on that score so far.

This is just a superficial look so far, but I say why not go for it and get some more cloud storage. I mean, why not?


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