When is storage ever enough?  For some, the more space, the better.

My friends over at the and forums once tried listing all the forms of data storage they have ever owned that still work as of this writing.  Some people begin with the humble 128mb flash drive, even though nowadays the size of multimedia files render the 1G flash drive as the smallest useful size to bring around.  For work the heavy users might use a 4G or 8G flashdrive– while still on the lookout for a reasonably priced fast read/write 16G.  The same goes for sd and sdhc memory.

When I first got my  netbook, a regulation 4G ssd (solid state disk, developed for portability) was great.  When we started using our idle netbooks as torrent-download machines at home, all of a sudden the 160G external hard drive that was de rigeur last June became a data storage wonderland.  Until the need eventually came to back up — or horrors! PURGE — the tv series and movies already watched to make space for the new.  Then 160G became “small” as far as storage went.  Pinoys don’t really like throwing things away after it’s taken them days to download.  And blank cds and dvds from CDR King aren’t really that infallible.

I am still saving up for a 500G WD MyBook.  If like me you haven’t yet gotten yourself one of these necessary mini-universes, I’m sure you would recognize free file hosting sites YouSendit, Rapidshare, MegaUpload.  For photo uploaders, Multiply, Flickr, Photobucket and ImageShack are reliable lifesavers.  Because space is offered for free and the sites are supported by advertising of different kinds, file sizes for upload are necessarily limited.

My old favorite, AOL’s XDrive, is closing in January 2009, so I have rescued all my old backup data for restorage. While shopping around for a good site, a friend introduced me recently to Mediafire (UNLIMITED storage! direct linking!).  I’m using that for general data sharing.  Another recommended the free backup service Mozy (which backs up a max of 2G of data — ok for netbook users), which I am roadtesting now.  A third recommendation was ADrive, which offers free file hosting and online storage of 50G (you read that right, folks)!  I’m also giving this a try as a backup of a backup.

We can now choose from an amazing array of FREE (the magic word) file hosting sites.  Googling for “free file hosting” gives you at least 10 search pages.  Some people have very thoughtfully compiled a list of free file hosting sites, updated on a monthly basis.  Even if you already have a huge physical hard drive, it’s always good to have online backup.

Some things to remember if you haven’t tried this before:

1.  Archive related files before uploading, so that you don’t have to stay awake late uploading smaller files one by one.  Make sure each archived file (zip or rar) falls within the size limit for free accounts.
2.  Encrypt sensitive data and password-protect files before uploading.  Try the easy-to-use and open source app TrueCrypt.
3.  When you share files by direct linking, try to remember which files in your storage are designated private and public.  People should only be able to view the file directly linked and not be able to browse in the rest of your directory.
4.  If possible, share files only with friends you trust.  Recently there has been a wave of spam attacks in the online world, so be careful who you let in.
5.  Be a good netizen and make sure the files you upload do not contain malware.

Yes, yes.  The only thing you need after all this free space is more speed.  It never stops!