Running out of Space? New Services Let You Store Megabytes of Your Personal Data on the Web. Think of Them as Massive Storage Bins in the Sky-And They're Free.

Article excerpt

Last week, a co-worker received an e-mail containing a link to a Web parody of the Budweiser "Whassup" television ad, featuring the now famous AP photograph of Elian Gonzalez facing down the armed federal agent, their mouths crudely animated to utter the now famous greeting "Whaassuup!" Fidel Castro appears in the Dukie role. Politically correct? No. Hilarious? Well, I had to see for myself. But by the time we tried to reconnect to the Web site, the spot had already been yanked.

If only my co-worker had known about i-drive, a free Web service that lets you "clip" Web pages and save them, permanently, to a personal storage bin in cyberspace. This is just one of many cool features that come with a slew of remote storage options for consumers. Companies like i-drive, X:drive, Driveway, FreeDrive, Netdrive and at least 20 others are each offering upwards of 300 megabytes of space on their massive servers, free and par-titioned for your personal use--whether for dumb things like capturing Web spoofs or important applications like backing up critical work documents, especially data-rich image files.

At the moment, i-drive is my favorite. The service has a unique feature that allows you to easily collect Web pages for later use. Using a software tool called Filo, you simply right-click on a Web page, select "Clip Page to i-drive" and within seconds a duplicate--active links and all--is stored in your private account. It's a great way to capture Web pages that are dynamically generated (i.e., prone to disappearing without a trace), like e-commerce shopping receipts and the itineraries you build in the process of making travel reservations. It's also useful for transient Web content: for ex-ample, The New York Times posts its newspaper articles on the Web, but they're free to view for only 24 hours (after that, they go into a pay archive). …