Over the last couple of years, there have been a few Commodore specific on-line disk storage services pop up on the Net. So, I thought I'd do a brief review of the three that I've used: Commodore 8bit Search, Commodore Online and CommodoreServer.com
First and foremost, Commodore 8bit Search is a search engine for people looking for Commodore specific content. It searches many Commodore related database and websites for the content users want to find.
But, along with this, Commodore 8bit Search also provides registered users with storage space for their own Commodore related content. From what I can tell, there doesn't seem to be any limit as to what you upload to your account (Commodore related or otherwise) or how much is allowed.
Once your files are uploaded to your account, you can access them via the URL of each individual file, or through the site's web interface. You can also e-mail the URL to anyone with who you wish to share your files.
The rest of the features are somewhat limited. You can rename and delete files, under the Manage option, and you can send a share e-mail to your friends from here. But there are no organization or filtering tools available. So, if you have a lot of files in your collection, you'll have to scroll through them all to find anything.
The other notable feature of Commodore 8bit search isn't related to personal file storage, but the database search capabilities.
When you do a search and find content you like, you can either download a copy of the file to your PC or you can put a copy of it into your own storage space. So, if you'd rather not take up disk space on your own PC with .D64 (or other) content, you can keep it in your Commodore 8bit web space until you want/need it.
However, what disappointed me the most about Commodore 8bit Search's services is that I could not figure out how to use their search engine to just search my personal files, stored under my account.
Also, it would be really nice if I could upload more than one file at a time. I have quite a few disk images and having to upload them one at time is a very slow process.
I think that Commodore 8bit Search's strength lies in it's search engine. And, if you want to store more than just D64 images, then this may be the perfect match for you. On top of that, Commodore 8bit Search is also a great resource if you want to grow your collection of Commodore programs and other content.
Commodore OnLine is the web service associated with the Commodore Flyer Internet device. Not only can you access your D64, D71, D80, D81 and D82 images using your web browser, but, with the help of the Retroswitch Flyer, you can also access them using your Commodore 64 computer.
The web page itself has a nice layout and the database interface is pretty straight forward. On the left side of the screen is where you can access your personal disks and programs, your account settings, and links to your friend accounts.
In the middle of the screen is the list of the .D64 disk images you've uploaded to your account. And lastly, on the right side of the screen, is your search and tagging options of your files.
Uploading disk images is very easy, but only one can be uploaded at a time. Again, for someone who has a lot of disk images, this can make for a very slow process.
Once you've uploaded your disk images, you can assign pre-defined tags (via a drop-down list) to help you organize your collection. Unfortunately, I can't seem to create my own tags, which is a bit of a pain for my disks that are not game related. I have a good collection of office-type applications, but have no way to tag them as such, unless I want to use “miscellaneous” or “utility”.
Another drawback with Commodore OnLine's database is that I organize my disks into sub-folders. This may be a problem for those of us with large collections of disks.
However, on the plus side, I don't see any indication that I'm limited to how much I can store in my account.
Other features of Commodore OnLine include the ability to see the file contents of .D64 disk images, a sector view of the disk, and the ability to share the disks with other Commodore OnLine users.
You can create “blank” disk images and upload individual prg, seq, or usr files to them, right from the web page (and I'm assuming the Flyer device).
Commodore OnLine also has a search engine that allows you to easily find disks in your collection by searching the name of the .D64 file. This is good, but it would be even better (at least for me) if I could actually search the content of my disks for individual files, as many of my disks are compilations of two or more games/programs.
CommodoreServer is the web service associated with the Comet64 Internet modem. So, not only can you access your D64 disk images to your account via their website, but with the Comet64, you can also access them with your Commodore 64 computer.
Along with the Comet64, CommodoreServer makes provisions for Retroswitch Flyer owners so they can use their services as well.
Not only does CommodoreServer provide users with private and secure storage space, but also has a public sharing section, where users can share their disks with other CommodoreServer users.
The website is very easy to navigate and offers a lot of functionality and features to help you manage your disk collection.
When uploading your disk images, you can either do so one file at a time or you can upload a .zip file, containing a maximum of 25 disk images, and do them all at once. This feature is very handy for anyone with a large collection of disks. Unfortunately (and probably the only negative thing I can say about CommodoreServer) is that you are limited to the number of disk images you can store in your account. Non-vendor accounts have a maximum upload of 2,500 disk images. Vendor (aka “paid”) accounts can have a maximum of 3,000 disk images in their account.
Once uploaded, you can organize your disks by creating sub-folders within your storage space. If you want to share them with other users, you can then publish them into any of the public sub-folders that are available. At this time, you are given the option to include a description with your disk image to help other identify what is contained on the disk.
If you want to see what files are contained on a disk, you just have to click on the disk name and you are presented with a listing of the disk's directory
One of the things that sets CommodoreServer apart from the other services I've covered above is that you can also view the programs themselves just by clicking on them in the directory. That can be really useful, at times.
CommodoreServer also provides the ability to create blank disk images and to manually add or remove individual programs to a disk image. But, another unique feature that only comes with CommodoreServer, is the ability to create disk “snapshots” - or auto-backups of disks if you will - that retains older versions of a disk as you make revisions to it.
Another unique feature of CommodoreServer is their search engine. This is what I really like about this service. It allows me to do searches of files within the disk images themselves. As I mentioned above, many of my disks contain more than one program or game. So, having the ability to search for individual files within a disk, rather than just searches on image names themselves, is really helpful to me.
Some other notable features with CommodoreServer are:
Overall, I have to say that CommodoreServer is my favorite Commodore 64 disk storage service of all of the ones I tried and use so far.