Have you ever wanted to have your own personal cloud storage instead of having to rely on third-party services? Whether you want to do this for convenience, privacy, security reasons, or something else, Lima is a viable choice when it comes to building your own personal cloud.
Launched on Kickstarter in July 2013 and funded with $1,229,074 (by over 12k backers) in September 2013, Lima was an instant hit. It’s really no surprise considering how useful it is.
With Lima you can access all of your files and media (music, movies, pictures) no matter where you are; it works over WiFi, 3G, 4G and even offline (as long as you’ve set it for offline viewing). Lima also helps you save space on your computers and mobile devices while providing instant access to the same drive from all your devices.
Best of all, there are no monthly fees. You pay for your Lima device, purchase a storage device (if you don’t already have one), and you’re all set. Lima is available in six different accent colors: blue, green, yellow, purple, orange, and pink.
Here’s a closer look at the setup process and usage of Lima.
What’s in the Box
Along with the Lima device, you’ll get a power adapter and network cable. You’ll also need some type of storage device like a USB drive or external hard drive.
The amount of storage you have for your own personal cloud storage depends on the size of your storage device. Even though you may have to purchase a USB drive or external hard drive, it’s still better than paying monthly for a premium cloud service subscription.
Setting Up Lima
Lima is compatible with Windows, Mac OS X, Android, and iOS. If you’re a Linux user like me, you’re out of luck as far as a native app, but there may be some workarounds. Also, there is a Linux client in the works that will be available in three package formats: RPM, DEB, and TAR.
Lima has three ports on it – two on one side (power supply and ethernet) and one on the other (USB).
The bottom has a large rubber-like piece (silicone, I believe) that helps to keep Lima in place so it doesn’t slide around whatever surface it’s on.
Getting up and running with Lima is fairly simple. First, you’ll need to do three things so that you’re actually ready to set it up.
1. Download the app for your platform of choice from the website.
Note: you will need to have Lima on a desktop or laptop in order to add files and media; the mobile app is only used for viewing and streaming.
2. Install the app on your desktop or laptop. You can also go ahead and install the mobile app or wait until later. Setup will be done after installing the desktop version.
3. Run the app and follow the on-screen prompts and directions. It will take you through the process of plugging in Lima (if you haven’t already), connecting your storage device, and creating an account.
Once you run the desktop app, you’ll need around five to ten minutes to get Lima working. I found the on-screen prompts and directions very easy to follow. Just make sure you have everything you need before starting the process.
The first step is to connect the power adapter to Lima and plug it into an outlet. You’ll want to be sure it’s close to your router since you’ll also need to connect it to your router via the included ethernet cable. This is also the second step: connect Lima to your Internet router. Third, you’ll need to plug in your USB drive or external hard drive.
Next, you’ll create a Lima account to help protect your files and media. Here you’ll have to enter your email and create a secure password. You’ll be signed into your account automatically.
If all goes well, your Lima device should be found and shown as available. Once you select it, the setup process will begin. The app will start the Lima device program, check your storage drive’s health, create your account, pair it with your computer, wait for the storage device to mount, and finally, mount the storage device. All of this takes around one to two minutes.
When done, Lima will show you how much cloud storage space you have (dependent on your storage device). After that you can choose to install Lima on your smartphone by getting a link sent via text or by installing directly. You don’t have to set up the mobile app now, but it makes sense to do it now since it’s part of the process.
Finally, you’ll need to select a Lima mode. Currently, there is only one mode to choose: Lima Pioneer Kit. The Lima Unified mode shows as “not available yet.” You can always switch modes later, though, should it become available (or if another is added).
Basically, with the Lima Pioneer Kit mode, all of your devices will be synced with one specific drive on your computer. Lima will create that drive automatically; it works much like Dropbox and OneDrive.
As I stated above, the desktop version of Lima works much like Dropbox and OneDrive. It shows up as a separate drive on your computer, and you can drag and drop files or save files directly to it. It already comes with five folders: Desktop, Documents, Movies, Music, and Pictures. These respective folders also show on the mobile app.
Whenever you add a file to Lima on your desktop, it’s automatically synced to the mobile app. It will also show the little Lima infinity symbol on the bottom left of the icon letting you know that the content has been synced.
Likewise, when you view the file on your mobile device, it will have the Lima infinity symbol showing that it is synced to your device.
From there you can choose to view it, share it, or save it for offline viewing (switch the “Keep offline” option to on).
Speaking of offline viewing, there’s also an option to keep files for offline viewing on the desktop as well. As a matter of fact, that’s the only option in the Lima right-click context menu.
Lima also works with Chromecast. When you’re on your mobile device, open the item and tap the cast icon in the top right corner. Then choose your device from the list.
Besides viewing your files and streaming media, that’s all you can do from the Lima mobile app, which is disappointing. While you can choose to have all of your photos and videos automatically synced to your Lima personal cloud storage, there’s no way to add items individually.
If you’re sharing Lima with your household, you probably won’t want all of your personal photos and/or videos being synced to a common storage area. Sadly, it’s either all or nothing with Lima. I even tried sharing an image and song from the gallery via ES File Explorer file manager, and there were no options to send to the Lima app.
Besides the fact that there isn’t a Linux client and you can’t add individual files via your mobile device, Lima seems like a winner. However, these are two important things that are missing that are sure to turn away some potential users.
While I do have a dual boot with both Windows 8 and Xubuntu on my desktop, I only use Windows every few months for gaming. It would be counterproductive and inconvenient to log out of Xubuntu and into Windows each time I wanted to add a file or two to Lima. Luckily, my husband is a Windows user, so I can use his computer for that (still inconvenient, but at least I won’t have to sign out).
I’ve had a great experience with Lima so far and no issues with adding, removing, or viewing files. It’s definitely a better, more affordable alternative to Dropbox, OneDrive, Box, and all the rest. If you’re tired of depending on third-party services for your cloud storage needs, give Lima a try.
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