Cloud storage is popping up everywhere lately, and businesses are scrambling to fill niches. While the Amazon Cloud Drive looks like a solid contender to take over the streaming-media territory, its cost (and potential legal issues) drive many users to look elsewhere. MiMedia, which started out as a cloud backup service, has added a simple media player to its 7GB of free storage to create a virtual MP3 player usable on any Web-enabled device. Here's how to get started:
- Start a free account with MiMedia and install the application (currently Windows-only, with a Mac version promised for the near future) on a computer that has access to your music collection.
- Set up the MiMedia application and tell it where to find the music you want to stream. (it's simpler if you keep it separate from the rest of your collection if it exceeds 7GB.)
- If you decided to go with one of MiMedia's paid plans offering more storage, you now have the option of getting a "shuttle drive" sent to you via priority mail that you fill up and then send back. Depending on your network setup, this may actually offer you better bandwidth, but only if you've got a pretty massive collection to stream.
- Now you need to wait while MiMedia backs up your files to the cloud. Depending on your connection speed, network traffic, and any number of other factors, this is likely to take quite some time, so you may need to get back to work or take a walk or call it a night before proceeding. Seriously, a 7GB upload takes time for most of us.
- Once it's up, just log in to your account on the MiMedia site from any Web-enabled device and navigate to "music," "photos," or "videos" to stream your media. The interface is slick and straightforward, and it's easy to find media based on tags or sorted lists. It's even easier to play files--just click the play symbol and your stream should start almost instantly. Controls are pretty stripped-down, but they do cover the essential basics like seek and shuffle.
That's all there is to it! If this works for you, it may be worthwhile to subscribe and get more storage space; for less than half the cost of a 160GB iPod each year, you get 250GB of permanent cloud storage. If you trust your connectivity, that may be quite a deal.