yon Leveron blog

John's musings on the Interknot cowpath

SkyDrive Explorer

Posted by John on 12th December 2009

Although not nearly so full featured as Gladinet, not bad for a single-use type scenario . . .

What is SkyDrive Explorer

SkyDrive Explorer is a free, easy-to-use, but very powerful extension for Windows Explorer. With SkyDrive Explorer you can make any every-day operations with your documents from Microsoft Live SkyDrive™ service (read more…) using Windows Explorer, as if they were on your computer.

Moreover you don’t need to install and configure any additional programs or ActiveX components. SkyDrive Explorer will organize the interaction with the online storage itself.




With the current 1.4 version you can enjoy the following functionality:

  • View the structure and contents of folders in SkyDrive™;
  • View files information (type, size, creation date in GMT format);
  • Create new root folders and subfolders;
  • Copy files into the storage;
  • Delete files and folders;
  • Copy files from the storage to the computer;
  • Copy folders and subfolders from the storage to the computer keeping their structure;
  • Use Drag & Drop for files operations;
  • Rename files and folders;
  • Create links to SkyDrive™ folders on your computer;
  • Copy URL of the selected object(s) to the Clipboard;
  • Automatic check for the latest version;
  • Bidirectional languages support;
  • Selection of your preferred interface language.



SkyDrive Explorer allows applying some operations for group of objects that is not possible in web browser. This increases performance of work with SkyDrive™.

Examples of multi-operations are:

  • Renaming objects;
  • Deleting group of objects;
  • Copying folders with subfolders and files from SkyDrive™.



You don’t need to know how to work with the SkyDrive™ service in web browser. To work efficiently with your data in SkyDrive Explorer you just use base operations with files and folders in Windows Explorer.



SkyDrive Explorer uses the standard Microsoft library for work with Windows Live Id services. Your personal information does not leave this library and even is not passed to SkyDrive Explorer engine. Also, the traffic with online storage goes through HTTPS protocol that protects data from snoopers.


32/64 bit OS support

SkyDrive Explorer works both in 32- and 64-bit Microsoft® Windows OS. Minimal required OS is Windows XP, and SkyDrive Explorer will successfully work in Windows Vista, Windows Server 2003 and 2008, and Windows 7.

Now playing: Grateful Dead – Good Lovin’
via FoxyTunes

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review of Gladinet cloud desktop – online storage that works

Posted by John on 16th August 2009

I’ve been really impressed with Gladinet Cloud Desktop so far.  I’ve been able to seamlessly push and pull things from a few different cloud objects, including from within programs.  Being able to redundantly store that long letter locally, as well as remotely at the same time is pretty good tech.

My first test was with Google.  While Gladinet supports Google Apps, it is not quite as mature there as it is for Picasa, and standard Google accounts (yourname@gmail.com type email addresses). I expect that will mature with continued releases.

Webdav and FTP were certainly no issue, and the plugins for those allowed anonymous mode as well.  I appreciated the flexibility modes regarding bandwidth, as well as scheduling options – the Pro version includes scheduled backup options.

It can push to a cloud like Amazon S3 (that also worked well).  I suspect as others become more prominent in this field (like Rackspace) there may be plugins added for those as well; the Gladinet code seems pretty modular, with one or more plugins per service (support for Adrive added, and they’ve supported others like Box.net for some time).

With the Premium Edition it looks like Gladinet has plans for a rather “feature enhanced” enterprise type version. That’s usually what I try to choose even for home “power” use, when I can.

While SkyDrive is not perfect yet (Microsoft still has the 50 meg file size limit per file, which is sure acceptable given they give you 25 gig for free) it has been easy to drag and drop things back and forth, create new folders, etc. all from the Windows side.

Gladinet screenshot

Gladinet screenshot

Due to their plugin architecture, I expect we’ll be seeing nice incremental upgrades to this technology. While it’s easy enough for some of my non-tech friends to use, it also will definitely find a home with many of the IT folks I know.

I have to admit, the free 30 day test drive of the full professional mode helped sway me to buy.  I admired their product confidence in offering a full “free” mode for 30 days, yet still allows all of the core functionality for free after that time.  They seem to know that once you experience this in action they’re more likely to close a sale.  As well, they are taking care of their active beta testers. A business like this, I can deal with!

Gladinet box

I haven’t tested this on anything but Windows 7 RTM (go go, final code!), 64 bit ultimate.  Lots of applications don’t work smoothly (some not at all) under this, since it’s so new; Gladinet works fine.  I suspect it’d be breezy on a standard Windows XP 32 bit installation, eh?  You can download either the 32 bit or 64 bit version for free from their site.

For those that want the full scoop you can check out their complete version comparison chart;  Gladinet also has their own blog, forums, and they tweet their version upgrades.

I’ve added this to my “must have” list this year. Even if I never get an Amazon S3 account on the European side, or my very own EMC Atmos . . .

If you’d like to purchase Gladinet Cloud Desktop Professional Edition for Home Use or their Professional Edition (non home use) I’d appreciate it if you’d use these purchase links; fair disclosure is to tell you that while it won’t cost you anything additional, I would get a small commission should you purchase.  Thanks :)

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linux commands dejure

Posted by John on 14th August 2009

Tech crap warning . . . Danger! heh.

command line fu

command line fu

via http://www.commandlinefu.com/commands/browse/sort-by-votes you can find gems like

wget -c http://www.somewhere.com/file-I-want-to-download.zip

among others.  Currently searching for a reasonable command line (linux) way to push files up to SkyDrive.  If you got this tamed, don’t hesitate to send it along and of course I’ll credit you ;)

Unless of course you want to remain an ‘anonymous coward’ <grin>

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Windows 7 RTM – best MS OS in a long time

Posted by John on 14th August 2009

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to start cheering solely for one team.  But having been in the closed beta, then open, then RC, and now with RTM in hand, I can honestly say that Microsoft got this one a lot more right.

We won’t go back and talk about Vista, aka “Win7 alpha”. 64 bit computing, is good.


Have a look see, and if you (technically savvy dog that you be) are going to be buying more than one copy for self / family, etc.  you really might check out MS / Microsoft Technet Plus; the online-only option is relatively affordable, if you work out the cost there.

SkyDrive Folder

SkyDrive Folder

Nowadays, it’s easy enough to keep a copy of your OS handy.


microsoft technet plus banner

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how to fill up a skydrive

Posted by John on 14th August 2009

Or at least, how to try.  One of the home machine’s primary partitions, when backed up with Acronis and no compression or encryption, was 24.4 gig in size.  Using 7zip, and making a nice solid archive, I ended up at 8.58 gig, spread out in (177, yep) 49.9 meg chunks to meet the 50 meg upload file size limit.


More experimentation, you actually can use a client such as Gladinet to push a backup over to Skydrive. You can use the “conserve bandwidth” option while actually using your computer, and crank it up before you leave :)

(edit – there’s been an upgrade to Gladinet, it’s actually even improved a bit more – was a good investment it seems)

windows live skydrive 25 gig free

windows live skydrive 25 gig free

I’m pretty confident in leaving things out there in public, as long as I got to choose the passphrase.  I’ve verified that 7 zip really does care if one character is off in a 200 char password, and it does use AES-256.  Luckily, my data doesn’t consist of anything important enough to expend that sort of resources in attempting to decode.

Reasonably good passwords / phrases can be generated by things such as https://www.grc.com/passwords.htm – as well, 7zip does have the option to encrypt the file headers as well. I remember a business case where someone thought that an old Winzip file was encrypted with their super-secret password (likely their dog’s name) and didn’t realize that anyone, without any password at all could read the name, size, etc. of each file within the archive.  Oops, that caused him some issues with their employees.

More pith – 7zip can use the “63 random printable ASCII characters” portion of Steve Gibson’s GRC password page, which is significant, bits-of-entropy wise, because

1;s[&Exv3[-?=c*zX;sgdkHn.J’Y;CWC$.y9ScB*xl’+e9′(G$^Uk\A@loZdiPM is a little harder to try to brute-force than

82FCB457CDB17D9E08F7A1A62BB798046373F9D89EF4DDDAC47224385F7D489 – while both may be 63 characters long in this case, the second string is not quite as “strong”.

Since you put up with the tech, ending with a nice random song lyric for you : Bloodhound Gang, “I’m the root of all that’s evil, yeah, but you can call me Cookie . . .”

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online backup for your computer

Posted by John on 14th August 2009

This is something I am certainly checking out.  I have terabytes on the home NAS (I know, geek) so it’s not really feasible to back up all of my data this way (quick bunny trail : high speed @ home is generally not so high speed, on the upload side; 15 mbps DSL is only that under optimal conditions; good, but not that good – beats 110 baud though!)

I’m learning there’s more out there than “tech methods” like rsync over ssh, or using 7zip to split files up to store in email, or using GPG to encrypt and chunk things over to a 25 gig free Skydrive account. http://www.gnupg.org/ etc. to encrypt files and store them off-site at https://skydrive.live.com/

I’ve been trial (15 day) testing Carbonite a bit ; c.f. http://www.tomkirkham.com/node/109 as well as beta testing Acronis True Image home 2010, which has online backup as an option within the program.  Both of these programs seem to run just fine under Windows 7, the 64 bit variety.

One comparison is out there at http://www.techsupportalert.com/content/best-free-online-backup-sites.htm for free sites.  More to come on this topic, as I think storing things on the Cloud, encrypted by you before it heads that way, is going to be the next “wave of the future”.

It sure is a good idea to have your wordpress backed up fully. http://www.databasesandlife.com/regular-automated-backup-of-wordpress-blog/ I can tell you what happens when it breaks, and isn’t backed up properly in all areas (files and DB).

P.S. Plug for 7zip. Not only is it open source, it has been both quicker than winrar in my recent use, as well as compressing significantly better.

Boring background bits, unless you’re ready to nerd on. Pics at the bottom.

My buddy Mike told me about 7zip years ago; Open source, freeware.

Here’s an efficiency test I ran on an .iso file; want to get the smallest files for storing remotely, as it doesn’t take much time to compress things with 8 cores compared to uploading over DSL to Skydrive, etc. This below is the .iso for the beta version of Acronis I’m using (Win7 64 bit compatible, and it has a 50g online backup option of it’s own).

I used the “max compression / solid” options, turned up in both Winrar and 7zip, just as high as they’d go (as if it makes a diff, when either program is done in 10 seconds or less). The results were QUITE different.

D:\>dir AcronisTI-home-2010-beta-restoreMediaW*
Directory of D:\
54,486,602 AcronisTI-home-2010-beta-restoreMediaW.7z
100,663,296 AcronisTI-home-2010-beta-restoreMediaW.iso
91,355,044 AcronisTI-home-2010-beta-restoreMediaW.rar
3 File(s)    246,504,942 bytes
Now, 7z is not quite as "geeky feature broad" as Winrar is, but there's little that I can't do with it I've found.  Just FYI, as the differences are pretty startling.  This becomes a lot more obvious in the charts, since it is chunking up my entire C: partition, and the 100 meg pre-partition from Windows 7, in preparation for a "skydrive fly-by" upload.

BTW, while it doesn’t take nearly as much memory to decompress (which is very good, since most desktops for the moment aren’t carrying 12g of ram) as the gallery pictures  below show, if 7zip says it’s gonna take a lot of memory to compress, I’d listen to it :)

Yessir, so there you go! Charts below, you’ll need to click on each picture twice to get the full sized / potentially readable version.

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