Amazon Launches Online Media Storage Device

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Mountain Fire Evacuation Orders Lifted For Idyllwild, Fern Valley
LAKE HEMET ( — Authorities Sunday said they were lifting evacuation orders for Idyllwild and Fern Valley as a threat to those communities from the 42-square-mile Mountain Fire had diminished. The Riverside County Sheriff's Department said an evacuation warning for the Pine Cove community was also rescinded at 11 a.m. Residents and business owners of the affected communities wishing to return in the next few hours will be required to have an access pass, KNX 1070's Ed Mertz reported. Passes are available at Lake Hemet Market, Banning High School, and the Cranston Forest Service Station. Officials, however, said visitors would not be allowed in the area until 11 p.m. Evacuations were lifted as firefighters entered their seventh day in their fight to quell a stubborn brush fire burning deep in the San Jacinto Mountains. Firefighters remained focused on the northern edge of the fire, including San Jacinto Peak, Pine Cove, Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, and Idyllwild, according to Norma Bailey, a spokesperson for the U.S. Forest Service. Bailey told Mertz that the rugged terrain was not the only element posing a threat. Crews were also concerned with lightning strikes and flash flooding. More than 2,600 personnel including 68 crews, 89 engines, 11 dozers, and 20 helicopters remained on the fire lines. On Saturday, firefighters strategically cut fire breaks and doused flames. The 27,245-acre fire remained at 49 percent containment with full containment expected on Friday. Also on Saturday, evacuation orders were lifted for Trails End and Camp Joe Scherman. Residents of Apple Canyon, Bonita Vista, Fobes Canyon, and Pine Springs Ranch. Five firefighters have suffered minor injuries. The fire has destroyed 23 structures, including 7 homes. The current cost of damage stands at an estimated $19.9 million. The cause of the fire, which erupted on July 15, remains under investigation.

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Inc. wants to be more than a destination for shopping online: It also dreams of being a place where you can store your music, photos and videos and access them any time, from any computer.

The online retailer launched two offerings late Monday: Amazon Cloud Drive and Amazon Cloud Player. The first lets you upload and store files such as music, videos and photos on Amazon’s servers, which you can get to from a Web browser on a Mac or PC. The second lets you play songs you’ve uploaded on your computer or on a smartphone that runs Google’s Android operating software. The “cloud” in the services’ names refers to the practice of storing content online and streaming it to a computer over the Internet

Google Inc. and Apple Inc. also are believed to be working on similar services to allow consumers to store and access music and other content when away from their home computer.

While Amazon will charge for the Cloud Drive service, it’s offering anyone with an Amazon account 5 gigabytes of free storage. That’s less space than you’d get on the smallest iPod Touch, but it’s a move that’s likely to woo plenty of users who might later decide to pay for more storage space.

The Seattle-based company, which already runs an online storage service for companies called Amazon S3, decided to roll out a consumer cloud service to make it easier for customers to access digital content no matter where they are, Amazon music director Craig Pape said.

The offerings could also benefit Amazon’s bottom line: The company realized customers were hesitant to purchase music digitally at work because they didn’t want them tied to their office computer, Pape said, so Cloud Drive and Cloud Player may drive more impulse music shopping.

“At the end of the day we’re trying to delight customers, but we’re trying to sell more music, too,” he said.

The company also wants to sell cloud storage. If your tunes and videos take up more space than the 5 GB Amazon is giving out, you can pay an annual storage fee to use Cloud Drive: The use of 20 GB of storage, for example, will cost $20 (and this includes the 5 free GB). For an undisclosed period of time, however, Amazon is offering 20 GB of free storage to those who buy a digital album from its Amazon MP3 store.

Documents or videos you’ve uploaded to Cloud Drive will open with programs on the computer you’re using, Pape said, while songs in the standard digital formats — MP3 or AAC — will be playable through the Web-based Cloud Player.

The player offers simple controls — you can play, pause or skip tracks, or build your own playlists. For users who want to listen while on the go, an updated version of the Amazon MP3 digital music-buying app will include Cloud Player, letting users play music they’ve stored with Amazon’s service on their cell phone as well as tunes that are already on their handsets.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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