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How to Use Cloud Backup to Customize Your Android Phone

Use Online Backup to Help Root Your Android PhoneAs any self-respecting technology geek knows, it is hard to leave well enough alone. That’s why, in spite of having a constant flow of new technology that my career requires that I master, there are always those pieces of technical gadgetry that I feel I must play with.  Most recently, that gadgetry has been Android tablets and phones.

It’s not just a matter of need; sure my Nook Color eBook reader became much more useful when I rooted it, then decided a custom ROM was the only way to go, and some of the last generation Android tablets have been abandoned by the vendor in terms of upgrades, so what else is a self-respecting geek supposed to do.  They simply had to be re-ROMed and updated. But when I decided that my state-of-the-art Samsung Galaxy S II phone needed a better ROM I realized that it was just an obsession.

That didn’t stop me from doing it; I just came to terms with my addiction.

One of the most annoying parts of this particular technology addiction, is that when you want to be sure you aren’t going to screw up a device you actually need, you often need to do a complete wipe of the device before you do a ROM upgrade. Fortunately there are a number of good Android backup apps and it’s possible to do a selective restore of your device from these applications.  And if you are using modified or officially unsupported apps, you can always backup your APK files so that you can reinstall via sideloading the apps.

Less worry, cleaner updates

It used to be that this backup and restoration process would mean that you needed to make sure you could move files between your desktop PC and your Android device, so that you could recover files when you were done with your upgrade.  But the advent of cloud storage clients for your Android device has made this whole process much more flexible.

By using the cloud as the storage location for complete backups of my Android devices, as well as a repository for apk installation files, I can now just worry about making sure that I do whatever it takes to do a clean update of my devices when I play with custom ROMs and the like.  Every device has its own, up-to-date backup stored in the cloud, using my cloud storage/backup-provider app of choice.

After I update a device, I simply go onto the Android Market, reinstall my cloud storage and backup application, and I’m now ready to reconfigure the device either to a previous state I was happy with or with some version of my previous configuration, with all of the apps and data easily at hand. I don’t have to worry about finding that special apk file, or making sure that I’m connected to the network where my last full backup is stored.  Everything I need for the device to be running the apps I want with the data I need is as close as my nearest Internet connection.

 

 

How the Cloud Reduced Our Newlywed Stress

Cloud Storage for PhotosDespite having been through it all once before, I made the rookie bridegroom mistake of thinking that once the wedding was done, all of the stresses involved in that specific day in our lives would be over. After all, the wedding had gone off without a hitch, everyone involved had a good time, we had a great destination event with family and friends, and being in our 50’s, I thought we had all of the bases covered. After all, this was the second time around for both of us.

I was wrong.

Despite a pretty high level of technical awareness, my years of focusing on business technology, from basic hardware through designing data centers had ill prepared me for the changes that had happened in a small corner of the  consumer technology world; the wedding photographs.

The first time I got married, sometime back in the 20th century, the wedding photo book process went like this: The photographer sent you proofs, you picked out the photos that you liked, the photographer delivered a wedding book made up of those prints. You complained about some part of it, then went on with your life.

It doesn’t seem to work like that anymore.

We received 7 gigabytes worth of pictures on CD; this might seem like a good thing (it did to my wife) but to me it meant that there were close to a thousand images that had to be sorted through. And as a fairly decent amateur photographer, it meant that I could look at an image and see how just the right post processing might make it a better picture.

So much for the simple yes/no judgment for each of those images.

To make it worse, my wife really wanted to be able to create lots of different photo books, with the intent to eventually print them. A book for her parents, a book for mine, one for her bridesmaids, one for my only sibling (we had taken lots of pictures the day before the wedding itself).  And while she was more than willing to start sorting images, it was up to me to do the post processing. And get her the two or three hundred images that she had narrowed her selection down to for all those different photo books.

Traveling photos

To make my life just a little more complex, my wife’s job requires that she travel a fair amount. And when she traveled for business she often met up with old friends and wanted to show them the wedding pictures. This meant that before she left on each trip she would ask me to put a selection of the pictures on her tablet. Of course, I never seemed to have the pictures she wanted available to be copied to her tablet, with the post processing of the images being relatively low priority in the crush of events that define our lives.

Fortunately for our marriage, the cloud actually came to the rescue. Using a cloud backup service with a client for her tablet, I was able to create some working directories that replicated to the cloud from my desktop, and she was able to pull images that she wanted to show off down to her tablet whenever she wanted them, eventually deciding on a core set of images that she stored locally, and others that she downloaded to show specific people. Most importantly, from the husband perspective, was that it took me out of the loop. She had all of her images available, without using up a large percentage of her local storage, she could see what images were in the pre-or post-processing stage, and with a simple email to me, while she traveled, she could ask to have a specific image edited to her liking, often so she could have it printed out for a family member she was seeing in her travels.

It’s been six months and she’s still trying to decide which images get printed for who, but with the cloud making all of the pictures available to her wherever she happens to be, my honey-do list has gotten significantly shorter.