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Office 365 Becomes Even No-Brainer-er

OneDrive Logo on Several Device TypesOn Monday, October 27, Microsoft announced that all Office 365 subscriber accounts would receive unlimited OneDrive storage.

A month ago, the software giant increased the maximum allowable files size from 2 GB  to 10 GB.This removed a major gripe many users had against the cloud storage service.

Meanwhile, this puts a lot of pressure on services like DropBox and BitCasa. It also further diminishes the value of Google Docs, which offers relatively lackluster productivity applications.

And while Microsoft officially charges $99 for Home (5 users) and $69 for Personal (1 user) subscriptions annually, you can easily find discounts in the form of Key Cards. Currently, I found them on Amazon for under $70 for Office 365 Home. The Key Cards are usually mailed to you as a credit card-sized card with a code printed on it. You enter the code in the Office 365 Web site to initiate your subscription. And you can renew the same way.

And this is legitimate. It’s how I got my family’s subscription.


Apple’s Touch ID is Finally Relevant

Apple Touch IDWith iOS 8, Apple is finally allowing third-party app developers to leverage Touch ID. This allows those apps to securely access the identity information stored in Touch ID-enabled devices. Now users of those apps can authenticate with their fingertips to gain access to information within those apps.

Touch ID first appeared in the iPhone 5s and iOS 7, but Apple chose to keep its use limited to securely accessing the phone itself. A year later, iOS 8 is much more open. And developers are free to add this powerful technology in their apps.

Now, password management apps like LastPass and 1Password can ensure that you are really you. Additionally, Apple has allowed extensions into Safari which allows these apps to more easily enter usernames and passwords automatically.

Other apps are starting to implement Touch ID for enhanced security options. Microsoft’s OneDrive was recently updated to support PIN access. Once enabled, the file storage and sharing app allows you to use Touch ID to bypass entering the PIN.

Of course, Apple Pay will use Touch ID with the new iPhone 6 phones. And that service offering might just be the killer feature of this generation’s iPhone. It facilitates credit card transactions without sharing card numbers or personally identifiable information.

Who said convenience must take a backseat to security? This sort of thoughtful approach is how technology can actually simplify life instead of just adding something else to it.


Work Around OneDrive’s 2 GB File Limit [UPDATED x 3]

OneDrive's 2 GB File Limit

Update #3: THIS TOPIC IS NOW MOOT. Microsoft has lifted the 2 GB file limit.

OneDrive is a terrific service, and it only got better when Office 365 began offering 1 TB of OneDrive storage to each of its subscribers. But if you work with very large files, then you’re going to get a nasty surprise: OneDrive has a 2 GB file limit.

I have a workaround that has limited appeal, but might work for you. It allows you to store those large files in OneDrive, but sharing them with others might not be all that convenient.

My workaround? 7-Zip.

It is a free file archive utility with a solid reputation, and it offers the ability to break (or split) large files into several smaller ones. When you double-click the first of a multiple-part archive, 7-Zip will reassemble everything for you.

For me, I want to store some CD disc images (ISO files) of some older Microsoft software. A few are well over 2 gigabytes. So 7-Zip to the rescue!

  1. Install 7-Zip.
  2. Open 7-Zip File Manager.
  3. Navigate to the folder in which the large file resides.
  4. Click once to highlight that large file.Select File and Add to Archive in 7-Zip
  5. Click the Add button on the top toolbar. The Add to Archive dialog box will appear.
  6. You’re probably fine to keep the default settings, but change Split to volumes, bytes: setting. 7-Zip allows you to choose from a few volume size. I went with 700MB – CD.Splitting the Volume
  7. Click OK.

The archive and volume splitting process will probably take a few minutes. After the process completes, be sure to store all the files together that make up the volume, and be sure they are in a place where OneDrive will sync them to the cloud. When you double-click the first file (with the .7z.001 extension), 7-Zip will expect all files to be in the same folder.

Note: If the file is already an archive file (Zip, 7z, RAR, etc.), then you might need to unarchive the archive and rearchive it using 7-Zip (if that makes sense).

Happy OneDriving!

UPDATE: If you’d like to share your opinion of OneDrive’s file size limit to Microsoft, then visit the Feedback site.

UPDATE #2 (Sept 2, 2014): Very good news! According to a couple of tweets from Paul Thurrott, Microsoft is increasing the file size limit and rolling it out in phases to OneDrive users.

Office 365 Just Became a No-Brainer [UPDATED]

OneDrive Logo on Several Device Types

Microsoft announced significant increases in OneDrive storage. From its free offering to Office 365, storage is becoming very affordable very quickly.

The new pricing and plans are expected sometime in July 2014.

All users get 15GB for free. A healthy 200GB plan is just $48 per year (other plans, too). And with Office 365, each user gets 1TB of storage included. Not 1 TB to share, mind you. A full 1TB for each person!

In my opinion, Office 365 is now a no-brainer. For $99, you get:

  • 5 installations of the latest version of Microsoft Office for Windows or Mac
  • 5 installations of Office for iPad (and Android before the end of the year)
  • Apps on mobile phones (iOS, Android, and Windows Phone)
  • 1TB of OneDrive storage for up to 5 users

So why do I give it “no-brainer” status? Because 1TB of storage pretty much negates the need for remote backup services. Just make sure you have all your stuff in your OneDrive folder (built into Windows 8.x and available for Mac) and you’re good to go. Organize it any way you like. If you’re worried a synchronization might wipe out a file you want to save, then just make a copy in a “backup” folder. And the OneDrive apps on mobile devices can save your photos and videos automatically to the cloud. And to top it all off: You can access all this from any device.

And in future updates, Microsoft plans to enhance the photo organization and sharing features.

The new pricing and offerings are extremely competitive with offerings from Google and others, and it puts DropBox to shame (which offers just 2GB for free and charges $10 per month for 100GB at the time of this writing).

See? It’s a no-brainer.

UPDATE – 7 July 2014

Microsoft has just updated its Office and OneDrive Web sites stating that 1 TB of storage is included for each user of Office 365 Home.

Sources: winsupersite.com & ars technica