It seems that "virtual everything" is all the rage in starting new companies these days. I'll continue to write about tools and companies that allow you to create virtual companies, as it's clear if done right the approach produces a great combination of low cost and flexibility.
One small thing I checked out over the weekend were some of the virtual hard-drive companies. With more and more large files out there to store and share, having a virtual file-server makes a lot of sense. I looked at a few companies - many of which offer some sort of free trial or amount of storage (e.g. Yahoo Briefcase offers 30MB of virtual storage for free...though that's not very much space to be useful). I settled on trying X-Drive, which offers 5 GB for FREE for two weeks. I started using this as a tool to move some files I had on my home PC to my work PC that were larger than a CD-ROM or even DVD drive could hold.
Overall, it was a positive experience, though when moving some particularly large files, the upload times would take a few hours, even with cable broadband. One particular huge file was problematic because of a stupid cat. Yes, you read that right.
I had let the copying go on all of Saturday night, and woke up and saw it was 95% complete. Then the power went out! Oh, cruel fate! As it turns out, a cat had walked into a power transformer in our neighborhood, gotten zapped, and took the whole power grid in north Kirkland down for a few hours.
Actually, I don't know for sure that it was a cat, but it was reported that a "domestic animal" did the job. I can't bear to think of a dog doing that - that would be a tragedy. A cat dying in such an accident...is one less cat. Besides, what do they say about curiosity doing to cats? Once again, I digress.
Anyway, power outages aside, I've found that having a virtual hard-drive can be a very useful tool to let you transfer files between computers, or just share them between different team members (as many mail servers block files over certain sizes). Just keep the cats away.