Streaming vs. Download – What Happens when the Cloud Evaporates?

It’s all well and good until the darn cloud is gone…so which is better, streaming or downloading?

The cloud is a wonderful thing, and it can mean and be many different things to many different people.  However, no matter what it is, no matter what it does, the cloud has one big problem.  Users must rely on the internet to get access to it and its resources.

This means different things to different people, depending on your location.  In Europe, with the requirement for ubiquitous 3G coverage throughout the European Union, and with high speed internet coming from cable and satellite providers, people can get access to the cloud and its technology from just about anywhere.  In the US, it’s a little different.

There are still many states that are without complete 3G coverage and, in some cases, without broadband internet.  The problem with all of this is that many new and soon to launch services, like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime and iCloud rely on internet access to provide the service.  Slower speed services like dial-up, DSL/ADSL and EDGE don’t handle the download requirements well, and performance of these services over these slower access services, is poor. So, there’s a problem with these streaming services when service is inconsistent.

When service simply stops – i.e. when your network connection is totally interrupted via a power outage or a service outage, when the cloud evaporates – there’s a huge problem.  There is no service.  Without a local copy of whatever resources you’re trying to access, you’re out of luck.

Services like Netflix, Hulu, Pandora and Amazon Prime – those that rely on streaming for service delivery (with or without any kind of local cached data) – aren’t functional when network service is interrupted.  Services like iCloud, which run through iTunes and may have a complete, local copy of the content you are trying to enjoy, may be better, provided they switch to the local copy if communication with the host service is interrupted.  At the very least, you could restart the media and fast forward the audio or video on the local copy to the point you were at on the streamed copy provided you can put your hands on it.

The problem is consistent, high speed network access and the fact that it isn’t available everywhere, all the time.  The problem is also storage space on your PC, laptop, smartphone or tablet.  SD & HD video can often vary in size from about 1GB to 4GB.  When many smartphones and tablets often have 8GB to 16GB of storage to start, it makes it hard to store a complete movie or TV show on your device. If you do, you run the risk of running out of needed space for mail, pictures or other items.

The bottom line is this – until internet access reaches utility status (like water or electricity), users are going to have to choose between using your internet access and streaming content to where ever you are, or carrying it with you. If you stream and you bump into a connectivity problem, you won’t get your content. If you store locally and need space later, you may not be able to add content (like pictures) on the fly.  You’re going to have to be willing to choose one or the other and be aware of its limitations.

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Catch all of your favorite videos and convert them to almost any format with aTube Catcher

Did you ever want to download a video from YouTube, Vimeo or Metacafe? Maybe you have found numerous programs that give you a way to do this, but most of them only provide an FLV file which you’ll have to convert (with another software) to a suitable video format for your computer or mobile device. To do this with ease and completly free, let me recommend you aTube Catcher.

aTube Catcher is a simple but powerful freeware that can download videos from social web sites such as YouTube, MySpace, Metacafe, Yahoo, Vimeo, etc. and convert them into a wide range of audio and video formats. aTube Catcher can also burn in DVD your videos and it has a built-in Screen Recorder to capture whatever you may see on your screen.

The installation is simple and straightforward but at a certain moment it will ask you whether you wish to install a third party software or not. I personally have chosen not to. Once done, simply copy and paste a URL of a video from YouTube (or any other supported social media web site) into aTube Catcher, select the location where you want it to be saved, set the output format and press Download. That’s all, aTube Catcher will take care of the rest.

aTube Catcher can also burn your downloaded videos to DVD , without having to use any other program. There are just a few steps: select your DVD recorder, type a title for the disc, add the files (you can drag them to the box) and then just click ‘Burn DVD’ to start the burning process. As a plus, in case you don’t want to record the DVD right away, you can create an ISO image and burn it later.

Moreover, aTube Catcher has a screen recorder and the audio recorder. This enables you to record all the things that happen in a specific section of your screen (you can select a custom area or a specific frame) using many customization options and to record audio (from your speakers, microphone or line in).

aTube Catcher is an excellent tool for downloading online movies, converting videos (to all the major formats or those supported by mobile devices), recording the screen, creating DVDs, downloading MP3’s – all this flawlessly integrated in a simple application with an easy-to-use use interface and lots of features – I highly recommend this program.

Download aTube Catcher

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Mozilla Firefox 5 is now officially available for download

Surprisingly, Firefox 5 comes just a little over three months of it previous version Firefox 4. This due to the new Mozilla model rapid release development cycle, which means smaller incremental changes and more often releases, bringing new features, performance enhancements, security updates and stability improvements in a more rapid pace.

As you can see, Firefox 5 looks exactly like Firefox 4 but under the hood, there are several improvements such as better support for web standards, tons of bug fixes and other modification in the code.

Actually, Mozilla said that Firefox 5 comes with over 1,000 improvements and performance enchantments that makes much easier for users to interact with the web browser.

Read Firefox 4 Review | Download Firefox 5 for Windows | Download Firefox 5 for Mac | Download Firefox 5 for Linux

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Winamp on Android

Winamp (1.0) & Android = love; looks like a match made in heaven. There is also a little bonus for you fans out there – some free music.

Some of the key features include :

  • Wirelessly sync with your Desktop
  • Move your iTunes library to Android™
  • Supports 2.1 Android™ OS and above
  • Playlist & play queue management
  • SHOUTcast Radio

More info about everything HERE.

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Extract multiple tracks concurrently out of a MKV file (video, audio, subtitle, etc)

If you love movies as much as I do, you’ve probably heard about MKV (Matroska) containers already. Otherwise, let me tell you a couple of words about them.

First of all, they are generally considered to be superior to any other containers in every aspect. The main reason behind this is that Matroska supports important features compared to any other multimedia container (i.e. variable frame rate and anamorphism which has an important role in video quality).

Another reason is because Matroska can enclose an unlimited number of video, audio, picture or subtitle tracks inside a single MKV file. Because of this, you might want to extract those tracks out of the MKV file. A way to do that is by using a GUI (Graphical User Interface) which I recently discovered, called MKVcleaver.

Find out more reading the full review of MKVcleaver or downloading MKVcleaver.

MKVcleaver requires MKVToolnix, you can get MKVToolnix from here.

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Organize your Facebook photos right from your desktop – with style and ease

As you already know, Facebook is the most popular Social Networking site of the world. It was launched in February 2004 as a place for students to socialize and after that, it kept growing to more than 500 million active users and still counting. Worldwide, we use it as a meeting place to keep us in touch with friends’ friends, their friends’ friends, closest friends, distant relatives and so on.

Among other stuff, you can share photos and for that, of course, you need to upload them. There is the normal option through the main web page but what you probably don’t know is that you can also upload your photos right from your desktop, through a desktop application called simple, Bloom – easier and more comfortable.

Find out more reading the full review of Bloom or downloading Bloom.

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Client application for the 4shared browser-based file storage system

In case you are a 4shared upload and sharing service user, you can now obtain for a much better file management solution through its client application 4shared desktop. Instead of using the browser-based file storage system interface, you can now upload, share and manage files using this application which is free. 4shared desktop comes with a Windows-style interface which is easy to use if you are familiar with the browser-based interface. With its classic look and traditional file tree display the application looks a bit “dusty” compared to other products from similar services, but gives you a better management control and much more in-depth info like speed upload/download, elapsed time, action list, shared links, etc.

read full review download 4shared desktop

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MP3 Rocket Download the easiest tool for downloading unlimited number of mp3 audio files at a reasonable speed and price

The Internet is an unlimited source of downloading legal and illegal music files. Between these two methods there is the music crawler, an application that can search free and legal sources of music. Therefore if you need a music crawler, choose the simpliest one: MP3 Rocket Download.

MP3 Rocket Download comes with an extremely to use interface, similar to Windows Media Player, but only with basic commands and features. You can search for any desired mp3 file, listen to hot songs playlist based on USA Airplay Hot 100, search music in generic categories such as pop, rap&hip-hop, r&b & soul, rock, etc.

read the full review download MP3 Rocket Download

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