If trends continue, then in the future everything will be saved to the cloud.
A number of major companies maintain that they have the best cloud solution — Apple, Amazon, and Google top the list — but they might not be the best for your needs.
That’s why there’s a slew of other services that make it possible for you to put together your own cloud that works exactly the way you want it to.
We’ll show you how to do it.
In simplest terms, when people talk about 'backing things up to the cloud,' they're talking about saving data to an internet-connected hard drive.
This offers you a huge advantage in that, with the right software, you can access your data from anywhere you have an internet connection.
Maybe you want to manage your own data on your own terms. The big names don't offer the features you want or need.
Or maybe you're just an enterprising person who wants a weekend project that will prove useful for a long time.
Plus, if you need a lot of storage, the ~5 GB many services give you for free won't cut it.
It's all on you.
If something breaks, you better know how to fix it. If you lose data, you better figure out how to recover it.
You're your own tech support, so make sure you're up for it.
If you don't need to access your files from anywhere in the world, a networked hard drive like Iomega's Home Media Network Hard Drive (which Wired reviewed and loved) is a great way to share data among multiple computers on the same network.
All your media and documents can live in one location and you can use any computer that shares the network to access them.
You can get the 1 TB model for a very reasonable $99.
You can also use a piece of software called Hamachi to send and receive files between computers that are connected to the same Hamachi Virtual Private Network. After logging in to the software, you can open a Finder window and browse a different computer as if it were a folder on your own computer.
Hamachi is a product by LogMeIn, a company that made its name by making desktop sharing software. Click here to take a closer look at Hamachi.
What if you want to access files on your computer from your iPad or iPhone?
Files Connect lets you browse your computer and wirelessly move files around, essentially turning your iDevice into an internet-connected thumb drive. Once the files are moved to your device (music, movies, documents, whatever) you can open them up inside the app.
If you're only interested in having access to your video files while you're on the go, Air Video is a perfect app for you. With your home computer acting as a video server, Air Video can convert your video on the fly, regardless of format, and deliver it to your mobile device. With enough video on your hard drive, you can build your own personal streaming Netflix service.
Drobo offers a hardware/software combo that lets you sync and store your data between multiple computers and mobile devices. Using one central hard drive (called the Drobo) and computers that run software (called Pogoplug), it keeps a synchronised backup of all your data to allow easy access to it from mobile devices.