Zoolz Home Review – Easy to Use Cold Storage Cloud Back-Up

Zoolz Home Free & Premium

Zoolz comes in 3 different editions – Zoolz Home Free, Zoolz Home Premium and Zoolz Business. Both Home Premium and Business editions comes in several pricing packages.  In this review I will focus on Zoolz Home editions, Free and Premium.

Although not as popular as other mainstream cloud backup services, Zoolz is a product of Genie9 that has offered back up services to home and businesses users for a long time already. Other products of Genie9 includes Genie Backup Manager, Genie Timeline and G Cloud Backup for Android.

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Zoolz uses only the best cloud storage available so it uses Amazon AWS Glacier for cold storage technology. To make the deal sweeter, Zoolz is offering 100 GB FREE storage for the first 1,000,000 users and whoever gets it will be able to use the free storage for a lifetime.

Enter vexite1 and get 5% off when you upgrade to Zoolz Home Premium 100GB 

Features

All editions of Zoolz come with modern encryption method for both file transfer and storage. I will discuss the security details later on. Take note that for all Home versions, restore time takes 3-5 hours after initiation due to the nature of cold storage technology.

You can refer to the comparison table below to see the difference between Zoolz Business, Home Premium and Home Free.

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Home Free version only allows backup interval of 45 minutes but premium allows more frequent scan interval — as frequent as every 5 minutes. It also allows setting scheduled backups and full scan interval, as well as scheduled backup by date. Premium supports file type, file size and date filters.

In Home Premium, you can also throttle upload bandwidth and set when the throttling schedule will apply. Two more modes are added in Premium as well — presentation mode which pauses backup while displaying presentation, playing games or watching movies, and battery saving mode which saves battery when your laptop is running on batteries by reducing the resources required by Zoolz client app to reduce power consumption. It will completely stop and only monitor changes if the battery level is critical. You can also allow Zoolz Home Premium to only upload files when using specific connection. For instance, you can prevent Zoolz from backing up if you are connected to 3G/4G connection.

Business version has all the premium features with additional business features such as file sharing, direct upload to Zoolz website, backup policies, server backup, adding users with bulk upload tool and smart selections. Smart selection is one important features for business users because it offers pre-configured selection of most important items on your computer and it makes backing up important data easier. For example, selecting \”email\” will ensure that all .pst files are backed up. Selecting \”Office Files\” will scan all .doc, .docx, .ppt, .pptx, .xls, .xlsx and other recognizable Microsoft Office suite files.

Although not mentioned in the comparison table Zoolz can also back-up external and network drives.

Ease of Use

I find Zoolz surprisingly easy to use. In less than 5 minutes you can download Zoolz installer, install the Windows client, run it and start your back up immediately. Below is a slideshow of the entire sign up process and getting started with Zoolz Home.

RAW and image preview is supported so Zoolz is also pegged as a back-up solution for photographers. There are very few cloud services that offer RAW support so if you are a photographer and you wish to back-up RAW and be able to preview them as well, Zoolz is one of the best out there.

Working on Zoolz Windows client is very intuitive and it kinds of reminds me the Windows 8 interface. It supports Windows XP SP3 and more recent release of Windows including Windows 8. It also supports Windows servers and both 32-bit and 64-bit platforms. At the moment Mac is not supported but Zoolz will support it in the near future.

Zoolz offers free mobile app called Zoolz Go. According to Zoolz technical support, the mobile app is intended for Zoolz Business only but I am able to use it in my Zoolz Home account. Take note that you can\’t do anything with the files if you are only using cold storage which the only option available for Zoolz Home. You could view the files but to fully use the mobile app you need to get instant storage which is only available for Business users.

Web access is not as robust as Dropbox, Box or Skydrive and it does not offer any integration with 3rd party services yet. You can open documents and certain files with Google docs but other than that there are no immediate integration with other cloud backup solutions. Navigating the website could be confusing sometimes because it is easy to forget the tabs for Home and Business is different but once you are logged in, the interface is consistent and easy to understand.

Zoolz Home Free is only limited to 1 user but you can use up to two computers. This an added value if you wish to move or restore an old machine backup to a new computer. You don\’t need to transfer the license or worry about extra fee at all. If you need to issue multiple user access you need to upgrade to premium for additional user access.

Security

In terms of reliability, Genie9 is in the backup business for more than 13 years already so you should feel more confident knowing that they have been around even before the cloud bandwagon started.

Zoolz security is using top-notch military grade encryption. I think that some of the security layer is redundant but that is good news for extra paranoid users.

Zoolz website and client software is hardened against hacking attacks. Amazon S3 uses AES-256 server-side encryption and the actual files are encrypted with military grade 256-AES encryption, too. Transfers are secured using SSL  and the only time files are decrypted is only on authorized machines.

Storage Space

Zoolz is very generous in providing free storage space. Take advantage of the free 100 GB storage now and worry about upgrading later. I think it is a good strategy knowing that most users who will outgrow the free 100 GB storage will likely upgrade to paid Zoolz packages.

Cold Storage technology is cheap. While there is an obvious advantage in value but it trades off restore time speed. The actual upload and download of files is as quick as any other services but the duration to prepare restoration is much slower compared to instant cloud storage services.

Pricing

I have plotted the storage to pricing ratio of popular cloud backup services.  Anything above the diagonal line is deemed to have more value per dollar spent. Take note that I did not include services with unlimited back-up storage because it will skew the graph too much even if I set a theoretical limit. In order to compare relative pricing per GB, I used Dropbox Free/Pro, Skydrive, Box Business and Google Drive.

The area of the circles are directly proportional to the number of users per account. The smallest circle is equals to 1 user per account.

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Zoolz Home Premium starts at $19.92 per year with 100 GB storage. As you can see, Zoolz Home is able to offer more competitive pricing than any paid services from Google Drive, Skydrive, Dropbox Pro and Box Business.

I already mentioned the restore speed trade off but I doubt many users will be crashing their computers everyday. Therefore, for budget conscious consumers, Zoolz Home gives greater value than most popular cloud storage solution mentioned.

Enter vexite1 and get 5% off when you upgrade to Zoolz Home Premium 100GB

Support

Zoolz seems to be consistent with the support structure of Genie9. You can always contact the sales hotline but there is no 24/7 hotline for technical support. What you get is a well documented and updated help center wiki as well as email forms that  are routed to sales and technical support group. In most situations I can find what I need from the help center. Given that Zoolz is easy of use, there is very little reason to call Zoolz for technical support.  Google Drive, Dropbox Pro and Box do not offer voice support as well but if you compare Zoolz to customer-centric cloud back-up companies you start to wonder why they don\’t offer telephone hotline.

I have tested the technical support form and the technical support team is able answer my inquiries in about 30 minutes. I did not test the consistency but I am happy that support is very responsive.

Summary

To wrap this up, Zoolz Home Free is a steal if you are after cost-effective solution for personal computer back-up. You also get the free 100 GB storage if you are one of the first 1 million registered user. Using cold storage technology Zoolz is able to offer cheaper price per GB without sacrificing security and ease of use. Zoolz is using Amazon Glacier for cold storage technology so it is very reliable. Users should not be discouraged with the delayed restoration period if the purpose of the back-up is for archiving only. This is great for artists, photographers and videographers who wish to keep a safe and secured copy of their work in the cloud. It is definitely a must-try service for cloud storage enthusiasts alike.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OVRZB5lJir8

Use my special coupon vexite2 to get 5% for Zoolz Business with 50 GB instant storage and 100 GB cold storage.

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The Best of MV Tech Blog: 2012 Edition

If you have WordPress Jetpack plugin installed you should have your 2012 Annual Report by now. Below is the summary.

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WordPress only reports the top 5 in the annual report so I used Google Analytics as well to get the top 10.

My top referring sites in 2012 are mostly social networks  – Twitter, Stumbleupon, Facebook, Youtube and  XDA Forums.

Also, according to WordPress some of my most popular posts were written before 2012 so my writing has staying power. Sounds awesome! Now, here\’s the list:

10. Windows 8 Consumer Preview VirtualBox Installation Step-by-Step: It seems that many people interested to test Windows 8 in virtual machine. VirtualBox is free so it\’s not surprising it is popular.

9. iGoogle Alternatives – Find a New Start Page Before Google Shutdowns iGoogle in 2013: After all, many people still use a start page. I\’m not sure if it was a good move for Google.

8. BlueStacks on Windows 8 to Run 400,000 Android Apps: BlueStacks is getting better and better and if they continue to make more Android apps run with 100% compatibility on Windows 8 it might become the best way to run Android on x86 machines.

7. Google Black Navigation Bar: Remove, Disable or Change It: People are still not stopping to make Google black navigation bar a facelift. Maybe Google should consider giving more options to people like how Microsoft gives more option to customize Windows start menu and Apple, OS X dock.

6. Windows 8 Release Preview VirtualBox Installation and Error Troubleshooting: This is a surprise because I have three Windows related blog posts in top 10.

5. 8 Blogging Lessons from Game of Thrones (Part 1): Game of Thrones is one of my favorite show this year and it will return on March 31, 2013 as  hinted in HBO teaser.

4. Browser Wars Illustrated: From #7, up to #4. I never thought browser wars is that popular.

3. Free Facebook Mobile Access (Philippines Promo): While the promo is not available anymore, some people are still looking for free Facebook access using their mobile phones. With the increasing availability of LTE phone I could see that it will stay on my top posts for quite a while.

2. Kindle Comparison Chart – Kindle Fire vs. Others: Same as last year, still in #2. I really think I should write more about gadgets.

1. How to Wisely Use DFA Passport Appointment System: Still my #1 post. I hope it still serves as a helpful guideline for many Filipinos who are confused on how to get the new Philippine e-passport.

I wrote a total of 83 posts this year and this is my most active year in blogging yet after my long hiatus in 2008.

I know I can do more next year so I am excited to start 2013 already. In just a few hours, it\’s already 2013. Happy New Year !

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Kindle Comparison Chart: Kindle Fire HD vs. Others

\"KindleIt was already expected that Amazon will release a bigger tablet, purportedly called Kindle Fire 2, in order to compete with the bigger tablet iPad. Today, after about a year of Kindle Fire announcement, Amazon introduced their new tablet line up. Interested how the flagship model Kindle Fire HD compare to other tablets?

Last year I blogged about Kindle comparison chart to guide users in buying Kindle Fire. I have updated it now so you will see the new Kindle Fire HD comparison charts below.

Kindle Comparison Chart (all variety)

There are 7 new Kindle models announced today. In Kindle Fire HD family, there are 4 — namely the Kindle Fire (2nd gen)Kindle Fire HD 7\”, Kindle Fire HD 8.9\” and Kindle Fire HD 8.9\” 4G LTE Wireless

Kindle Fire (2nd gen) and Kindle Fire HD 7\” will be available starting September 14 while Kindle Fire HD 8.9\” variants will be available only on November 20 so you better pre-order now to reserve your place in line.

If you are not sure what is the best Kindle for you, use the chart below to compare all the latest Kindle models. At the time of this writing the older models, Kindle Touch and Kindle Touch 3G are already unavailable as they are already succeeded by  Kindle Paperwhite and Kindle Paperwhite 3G respectively. Amazon touts that the Paperwhite models are the world\’s most advanced e-readers as it offers high-resolution, high contrast, built-in light and 8-week long battery life.

Interesting enough, the good old Kindle Keyboard and Kindle Keyboard 3G are still available and not refreshed or upgraded this time.

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Let\’s move forward on the top of the line model Kindle Fire HD and compare it to the premium tablet brands in the market.

Kindle Fire HD 8.9\” vs. iPad vs. Galaxy Note 10.1 vs. Microsoft Surface

Dimension

In terms of screen size, Amazon Kindle Fire HD is only 8.9 inches diagonal, which makes it smaller than 0.8 inches compared to Apple iPad\’s 9.7 inches. In fact, Kindle Fire HD is a bit smaller than Apple iPad (3rd gen), Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 and the upcoming Microsoft Surface.

To think that Kindle Fire HD is only 8.8mm thick, Amazon must have targeted iPad 2 which is also 8.8mm.

Screen

When iPad 3rd gen was released its 2048×1536 resolution seemed unnecessary. However, knowing Apple is a trend-setter I have predicted that consumers will look for more personal computing devices with better display. And now, here is the Kindle Fire HD  with 1920×1200 resolution packed in 8.9-inch IPS LCD. Many video enthusiasts should be happy because it has 16:9 screen ratio suitable for widescreen movie playback.

In retrospect, if you think Apple\’s retina display is overrated then how about the latest trend in HD TV? The new wave of digital TVs are already showcasing 4K resolution. Who knows how soon 4k will be the standard screen resolution?

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Price

According to Jeff Bezos, \”We want to make money when people use our devices, not when they buy our devices.\”

Price is one of the best differentiating factor in buying Kindle Fire HD and perhaps this alone can persuade you to buy Kindle Fire HD.  As you can see in the Kindle comparison chart, it shows that the 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HD starts at $299. That is a whopping $200 difference compared to the 3rd gen iPad. Even with the extra $200 change you can still buy the entry-level Kindle Fire HD 7\” which starts at $199.

Other Features

While Amazon can\’t compete with the number of apps in Apple Apps Store, it compensates for the vast library of movies, TV shows, songs, magazines, books, audiobooks and popular apps that users can buy and consume. There is unlimited cloud storage for all your purchased Amazon content.

It is a little disappointing that Amazon did not even try to put a decent back camera in Kindle Fire HD. This reinforced the notion that all Kindle Fire devices are made for consuming Amazon products and not for producing content. My understanding here is that Amazon wants its consumers to finish reading books or complete watching TV series and audiobooks instead of allowing them to use Instagram to take pictures which doesn\’t add any benefit to Amazon at all. If you get pass this small limitation then everything in Kindle Fire HD is perfect.

Even without a back camera, the front-facing \”HD\” camera can be used for free Skype calls and audiophiles will surely enjoy the Dolby audio virtual surround sound.

Further more, Amazon is introducing Kindle Freetime which allows you to control your kid\’s access to Kindle Fire HD tablet. As a parent you can limit time for reading books, watching videos, using apps, etc.

New users also get one month free access to Amazon Prime for unlimited, instant streaming of thousands of popular movies and TV shows.

Last Words

I hope the 2 Kindle comparison charts above helped you compare the current Kindle model line up and other existing tablets.

Do you think Amazon Kindle Fire HD hits all the sweet spots? Is it a true Apple iPad contender?  I am interested how Apple will respond to this. In several days, Apple night announce a new device. Will it include an Apple iPad mini? How about Google? Nexus 7 is not looking good when you put it beside a Kindle Fire HD.

How can you not love Amazon?

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The Best of MV Tech Blog: 2011 Edition

It\’s almost the end of another year and just like in the previous years this is the time for me to reflect on what happened in 2011 as we prepare to  move forward and welcome 2012.

I have written 79 articles this year; not my most active year in blogging but it is one of the most consistent one because I tried to write an article at least once a week to cover a great topic.

Based on stats, here are the top 10 favorites in MV Tech Blog in 2011:

10. Top 10 Business Models in 2010:  \”A compilation of successful business models in 2010.\” In this article the business models of successful startups such as Airbnb, Groupon and Spotify were revealed.

9. Does Texting Affect Your Spelling?:  \”When you use a lot of abbreviations or text speak, does texting really affect your ability in spelling? There are still debates whether this is true or not.\” I did a lot of research on this subject and I found out that it is still best to use proper spelling. I this article I showed my stand against improper abbreviation and spelling as a result of technology.

8. Run Android on PC with BlueStacks App Player and Cloud Connect: In this article I showed how easy it is to run Android on PC using BlueStacks App Player and sync Android apps from your mobile using Cloud Connect. Not all apps work out of the box because it is still in alpha.

7. Browser Wars Illustrated: \”So true and funny. This art is compelling beyond words.\” This is about an illustration depicting Firefox and Chrome fighting along with IE eating glue.

6. Facebook Japan Unique Feature: Blood Type: \”In Japan, users can post their blood type on their profile. Why can\’t we have this feature globally?\”

5. Free Facebook Mobile Access (Philippines Promo): \”You don\’t need to own a smartphone running iOS or Android to enjoy Facebook mobile. It is free for up to 90 days on Globe and Smart promo.\”

4. Google Black Navigation Bar: Remove, Disable or Change It:  \”Google Black Menu Bar (codename \’Sandbar\’) is a toolbar that attempts to unify all Google properties. Don\’t want the black bar? Remove, disable or change it.\”  Apparently many people wish to change its color.

3. Bluetooth Problems with Ovi Suite on Windows 7: \”Dear Nokia, screwing up your software will seriously discourage more people to buy any Nokia phone in the future.\” I hardly used any Nokia phones nowadays but this article is popular.

2. Kindle Comparison Chart – Kindle Fire vs. Others:  \”Kindle comparison chart comparing all Kindle versions, and Kindle Fire against iPad 2 and Nook.\” This is not a surprise. Kindle Fire is the only significantly successful Android tablet that came out this year.

1. How to Wisely Use DFA Passport Appointment System: \”For first time Philippine passport applicants and for those who are renewing their passport, here are my tips from my experience on DFA appointment system.\” This article turned out to be very helpful.

Well, as I reflect on these articles I noticed that there is no Apple headline at all. I\’m not sure why but I did cover Apple.

I wish I have the luxury of time to collate the best tweets and retweets that I received this year but I can\’t.

To all the readers and online buddies, thank you very much for being part of this wonderful year.

So long 2011. Let\’s welcome 2012!

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Kindle Comparison Chart – Kindle Fire vs. Others

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Update (September 7, 2012): If you are looking for Kindle Fire HD, I have updated the Kindle Comparison Charts featuring the new Kindle Fire HD vs. the latest premium tablets.

Amazon did not only unveil the $199 Amazon Kindle Fire tablet yesterday but it also revealed 3 new e-ink Kindles – the new $79 Kindle, $99 Kindle Touch and $149 Kindle Touch 3G. That\’s right, there are 4 new Amazon gadgets that are very competitively priced. Don\’t know the best one for you? You can find the Kindle Comparison Chart below.

According to Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, \”There are two types of companies: those that work hard to charge customers more, and those that work hard to charge customers less. Both approaches can work. We are firmly in the second camp.\”

If you\’ll do the math you can buy Kindle Fire, Kindle Touch 3G and the Kindle Touch, all in for the price on one iPad 2 tablet. And to think that you can read your e-book in all devices, that offers a lot of value for digital nomads and bookworms around the world.

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If you compare Kindle Fire against iPad 2, you will immediately see that is it not really a direct competitor but it is a competitor nonetheless. Kindle Fire is directly competing against Barnes and Noble Nook which at this point looks very outdated compared to the current offer of Amazon.

Take note that many features were removed from Amazon Kindle Fire to trim down the price of this device. It has no camera and no 3G, but you get a wi-fi connectivity anyway.

Look at the comparison chart for Kindle, iPad 2 and Nook to get the picture (from The Verge). The comparison between Nook and iPad is very much the same with Kindle Fire except that Kindle Fire has a faster processor than Nook.

 

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I am a little disappointed with the short battery life of Kindle Fire compared to its e-ink siblings. Obviously, Kindle Fire is not just an e-book reader. It can play games, playback music and videos and do pretty much every Android table can.

If you are just inclined in reading e-books or magazine, look no further than Kindle Touch 3G if you want to download e-books anywhere in the world. The $149 Kindle Touch 3G is cheap because it has special offers and sponsored screensavers.  In other words, it has ads. But for any e-book lover this is the best Kindle you can get with the longest battery life.

For all the keyboard lover, the old Kindle is renamed as Kindle Keyboard and is still available at a discounted price.

So after looking at the Kindle comparison chart, if you haven\’t got a Kindle yet, which one will you buy?

 

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E-book Reader Face-off

Gizmodo compares Amazon Kindle vs. Sony Reader. They have many differences and I don\’t think none of them is the perfect e-book reader, for now.

If I pattern this to my trend in buying gadgets, I won\’t purchase any of these until a 2nd-generation model comes up or it has become terribly cheap. I like books on paper and reading e-books on LCD monitor isn\’t that bad either. I just think that this kind of e-book reader will be popular when marketed to gadget-frenzy people who likes reading books as well. However, I don\’t see these gadgets appealing to bookworms or hardcore book readers. I\’ve asked many friends before — they all prefer book novels in paper. Some people won\’t even read e-books unless it is the last resort. On the other hand, my colleagues like e-books for reference materials and IT publications. It is very convenient when searching for terms and specific keywords.

Now, I don\’t want to spoil your reading so you might as well head to the source of the article.

Link: Amazon Kindle vs. Sony Reader

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