Tag Archives: file sharing

BitTorrent takes on Dropbox with new file-sharing service

It seems that everyone is planning an Operation Overthrow against popular file synching service Dropbox. Earlier this week, it was Insync. This time, the newest member to join the movement is BitTorrent, Inc. with their new desktop app simply dubbed Share. The service allows you to transfer any type of files to anyone with no size limit to weigh you down.

The process is easy and straightforward. After installing and firing up the application, add files by dragging-and-dropping or by browsing for them. Then, enter in your email address, as well as the recipient’s email address (you can have more than one recipient). You can also connect to Facebook and add your friends that way.

After you send the file, the recipient will receive an email letting them know about the file(s) and how to get the Share app (if they don’t already have it).

Your account will automatically be created after you send your first file share and the next window is a list of all the files that you’re sharing and information on who its shared with, etc. Users don’t have to be online at the same time to send and receive files, since they’re cached in the cloud and once the files have sufficiently been shared by peers, they’re taken off the cloud to make room for future files transfers.

Share is clearly still in its early alpha stages, but it will eventually be integrated into the popular BitTorrent client uTorrent, adding even more features to the lightweight program. Currently, Share is only available on Windows, but will be available on Macs via uTorrent in the future.

A free, unlimited file-sharing service this easy simply cannot go ignored. It’s a fantastic alternative to anyone who doesn’t want to get their hands dirty with true BitTorrent and makes sharing larger files a breeze.

Insync integrates with Google Docs to take on Dropbox

After well over a year of being in closed beta, Insync has finally released to the public. If you’re not familiar with the service, it closely resembles other cloud-storage services, in that a folder you create is automatically synced to the cloud for backup and/or sharing purposes, but a few minor differences separate it greatly from its competition.

First off, Insync uses Google Docs as its storage medium, but this doesn’t limit the filetypes you can use to only documents. I had no problem uploading images and even a ZIP file. They both showed up in my Insync account, as well as in my Google Docs. So essentially, Insync turns the Google Docs web app into a folder on your local computer and automatically syncs between the two whenever a file is altered. It’s great for when you’re wanting a little more out of a word processor than what Google Docs offers, since you can use whatever office suite you have on your computer to edit Google Docs documents.

Storage costs of Insync are all through Google, so you get 1GB free and then you can add storage for a small cost: $5/year for 20GB, $20/year for 80GB, $50/year for 200GB, etc. (up to a whopping 1TB). Compared to the cost of additional space on Dropbox, which is $50/year for 50GB and $100/year for 100GB, Insync is quite cheaper than Dropbox if purchasing additional storage is up your alley.

Sharing abilities is very fine-tuned in Insync. You’re able to change the level of control someone has over a file that you share with them, including whether or not they can re-share the same file that you originally shared with them. However, I feel Insync’s web interface is too minimalistic. It doesn’t have as many options and features as Dropbox’s web interface, including the ability to simply delete files.

In the end, if you’re wanting more storage out of a cloud service than what’s offered for free, Insync looks to be a good bet over Dropbox. But as far as functionality and features go, Dropbox is still the real winner.

Dropbox Hits 50 Million Users and Raises $250 Million

Dropbox, the easy-to-use cloud storage that we all know and love, just reported that it has reached 50 million users, which is up threefold from this time last year. The company also reached a whopping $250 million in series B financing and expects to reach $240 million in revenue by the end of the year. Not bad for a start-up company that launched its service just two years ago.

Dropbox says that those 45 million users are saving over 1 billion files every three days. 96% of these users don’t pay a single penny for the service, but that’s expected to change, since a lot of them are zipping right through the free 2GB of storage and upgrading to either the 50GB plan for $10 a month or 100GB for $20.

One of the company’s biggest competitors, Box.net, has reached $81 million in revenue. This is the same company that is currently stirring the cloud storage pot by enticing iOS users with 50GB of free storage.

However, it’s Apple’s iCloud that is really looking to take away from Dropbox’s market share. At first, Apple wanted to buy out the San Francisco-based company for an undisclosed nine-digit figure back in 2009, but Dropbox rejected the offer. Steve Jobs called Dropbox a “strategic asset,” but also told Dropbox CEO Drew Houston that his service was “a feature, not a product.” When Houston rejected Jobs’ offer, the former Apple CEO and co-founder had no choice but to warmly smile and tell Houston that he’s going after his market. Whether iCloud will put a dent into Dropbox is yet to be determined, but these next couple years should be a doozy for the cloud storage wars.

Dropbox hasn’t disclosed it’s official worth, but it’s estimated that the company is valued at around $4 billion.

Dropbox currently only has 70 employees, which makes the company’s revenue-per-employee more than Google’s.

Let Anyone Send Files to Your Dropbox with JotForm

Let’s say a family member or close friend wants to show you vacation pictures, but 1) There are too many files and 2) Even when zipped, the file size is too large to attach in an email. You suggest they sign up with Dropbox, a free way to sync and share files across any computer. The trouble is, your friend or family member is too stubborn to sign up for a free account (who doesn’t love free?!).

There just so happens to be a web service that gives anyone the ability to send a file directly to your Dropbox. It’s called Dropbox Forms, made by Jotform who provides a wide variety of web form creation tools.

It’s a completely free service with the option to upgrade to premium plans with more available space. However, the free version only allows a max of 100 MB, which was a problem for me right off the bat since I needed to request a 125 MB audio file from a fellow group member in one of my college courses. If you plan on working with files less than 100 MB, you should have no problem.

When you arrive to the Dropbox Forms homepage, simply click “Create a Dropbox Form” to get started. You’ll then need to allow the service to access your Dropbox account. Once that’s finished, you can start creating your form. You have two options for this: Either a direct link to a form hosted on JotForm’s website or embed the form on your own site.

Whenever someones uses the form to send a file your way, it will automatically sync to your Dropbox where you can easily access it!

Another similar service is AirDropper. I found this to be a little more feasible since there isn’t a cap on file sizes. You also have two choice for forms, but it’s a little different from how JotForm does it. You can either create a one-time, one-use form or create a reusable form with a password required. However, AirDropper isn’t a free service. It’ll cost you $12 a month after the 7-day free trial, which is a little more than the $10/month JotForm charges for a premium plan.

Share files the easy way with Ge.tt

Remember the old days of sharing or transferring files when you had to put them on a floppy disk or a USB flash drive to move them between computers, or to pass those files to a friend or colleague?  The method worked, but only if you were moving files a few feet away. Even so, doing it got really old really quickly.

Email has made sharing and moving files a bit easier. Slightly. Some people block messages with attachments, others use email systems that limit the size of attachments. Those attachments get stripped from a message or the message gets bounced, something you don’t want to happen.  That’s where web-based file sharing apps are a boon. Ones like Dropbox and Box.net are great, but they can be a bit more cumbersome.

Enter Ge.tt.

Ge.tt bills itself as an instant, real-time file publishing and sharing service. If you need to share one file or a bunch of them, Ge.tt makes doing the sharing files simple and easy.

Getting going

Head on over to the Ge.tt website and start uploading. While you can upload files right from Ge.tt’s main page, it might be worthwhile signing up for an account. The account is free, and lets you remove files at will. On top of that, with an account you can track who has accessed your files. In case you’re wondering, the service automatically deletes files that haven’t been touched for three months.

Regardless of what route you take, get started by clicking the Create share button. From there, search your hard drive for the file that you want to upload. That can be any kind of file — a document, a video, or a photo.

Sharing by email

A couple of things happen. Ge.tt uploads your file (and uploads it pretty quickly, too) and creates a shortened URL for it. That comes in handy with the next step of the process.

Ready to share

Sharing your files

Your file is on Ge.tt’s server. Now what? Time to spread the word. Remember that shortened URL? You can post it to Facebook, Twitter, or send it by email. All you have to do is click an icon on the page that lists your shared files.

With Facebook and Twitter, clicking the icon takes you to the login page for whichever service you choose. After you login, you can post the URL to your friends and followers.

Click the email icon to open an email form. From there, type the recipient’s email address, enter an optional message, and click Send. Unfortunately, you can only share your files with one person at a time. If you want to share the file by email with more than one person, just copy the URL and paste it into a message in your favorite email program or service.

Uploading your file

 

Yea or nay?

If you’re looking for long-term storage for your files, or to synchronize them between your computers and devices, Ge.tt probably isn’t what you’re looking for. But if you need a quick and easy way to share, say, a video that you took with your Flip cam, then Ge.tt is definitely worth a closer look.

Easily Share Photos this Holiday Season with Min.us

It’s very likely you will be surrounded by loved ones with itchy camera trigger fingers this Christmas.  The amount of picture-taking will be incalculable, as everyone is locked and loaded with gigabytes to spare on their cameras.  But after the party is over, and the ‘awkward smile’ pictures are removed, you will be left with a handful of great shots.

It’s no big chore to share your pictures via email, but it’s not the most sophisticated way to distribute them either.  So, you may ask, what are the tech-savvy using to share their family photos this holiday season?  A new web service called Min.us.

Min.us is making some noise and may even upset the current king of photo sharing simplicity – imgur.  Min.us boasts a two word motto: “Share simply”, and it allows you to do just that.  The site cleverly uses drag and drop, right onto the web page, which is a first for any image sharing service I know of.  It also automatically creates a “gallery” of the images you have dropped into your browser, making it easy to rename, delete, rearrange and share your pics.

After sharing the gallery link, your recipient can choose what pics they want from the group and then download just those pics into a zipped file.  Neato!

Oh I DID make it so.

Additionally, min.us allows for all the same things as other popular sharers, like linking to a single image, and has support for JPEG, PNG, GIF, BMP, and APNG file types.  Near the picture’s direct link you’ll see the dimensions and file size – it’s like everything you need to know, right there on one page!

Probably the most notable feature of all is the way min.us uses an effective navigation system which is controlled either by click, or by using the directional keys for skimming through the gallery pictures quickly.  The only restriction is that images are limited to 7MB, so the biggest challenge of sharing your photos might be explaining to grandma how to compress those holiday memories from her new 12 megapixel camera, ha!

Update: Since writing, there have been more updates like the option to file browse OR to just drag and drop.  Follow site and blog updates here.

Evolve Your Living Room with a DLNA HDTV and Windows Media Player

It’s a fact: Gone are the days that homes are built with computer rooms and family/living rooms in their floor plans.  The future of sit-down family entertainment is here, and dear lord its about time.  This month, my family decided to purchase a nice, new Samsung Series 6 6300 LED TV and a brand new Samsung Blu-Ray player.  Now this purchase is not something new to the modern home, but in this case something new was hiding behind that TV that made the situation different.  Something exciting.  It was…a LAN connection.

Yes, you heard me right.  A LAN connection on a HDTV.  And let’s be honest, it made perfect sense.  As the realm of internet connectivity and availability expands in our lives, the lines between specific devices doing specific things are getting blurred.  If phones can tweet, web surf, and even become a router via tethering, why can’t televisions connect to your home internet network?  A web-enabled TV in the living room is just plain, simple natural evolution.

Okay so maybe all this is old news to most techies out there.  But regardless, if Microsoft has been advertising this innovation for years or not, I just had to try it out for myself.

Getting Started

For my computing test bed, I used an Asus 1005HA netbook running Windows 7 Home Premium and connected to the local family network.  On the TV end, Samsung has a built-in program called AllShare that lets the TV connect and play media from the local area network.  This type of TV connectivity is in part thanks to the Digital Living Network Alliance (hence the acronym DLNA), a coordinated effort of major companies to allow inter-accessibility between devices and products. Since the main point of DLNA  (and Samsung’s AllShare) is to connect media, of course Windows 7 and Windows Media Player fits the bill quite well.

Setting Up Windows Media Player

Using homegroups and Windows Media Player in Windows 7 is easy.  First, make sure all your photos, videos, and music are in the right libraries and that you are allowing them to be shared in your homegroup.  Then, load Windows Media Player and hit the nice big “Stream” button in the middle to begin the TV/computer sharing fun.

Windows Media Player allows two methods of sharing your files with your home network: allowing devices to play your media, and allowing full remote access to your media.  But before these can be explored, let’s set up Windows Media Player by allowing internet access to your home media. To ensure that your media is not being accessed by hooligans and ruffians on the internet, Windows 7 does this by linking your media access to your Windows Live account.  Sounds safe enough, right?

Once this is done, Windows Media Player is ready to allow media to be allowed on DLNA TV.

Sending Media to Your TV

Like I mentioned before, there are two ways to show your media on your TV through Windows Media Player (weren’t you listening?).  Here is method one: pushing media to the TV while using your computer.  First, we need to allow devices to play any media.

As you can see by the nice screenshot above, the Samsung TV is not only on the network but has been allowed to see my shared media.  Next, let’s find a file to push to the TV.  This is done by right clicking on the file and picking the “Play To” option in Windows Media Player.

If all goes well, your TV should ask if you want to play the video (just in case you changed your mind).  After a tough choice of clicking either “Allow” or “Deny,” your video should start streaming to your TV.

As seen on your TV
As seen on your computer screen

Now that is all fine and dandy, but what if you want your TV to find the files AND play media?

Getting Your TV to Find and Play Media

Now this is where DLNA gets cool.  Not only can you stream files from your computer to your TV, but you can also access them from the comfort of your couch via the TV’s remote.  This process, called remote access, is done by clicking the “Allow Remote Control of My Player” option under the “Stream” menu in Windows Media Player.

The specific TV you purchased will determine how it accesses files.  For the Samsung Series 6, one must first hit the “Media P” button on the remote and enter the Media Play program to start playing files.

Found you.

If all goes well, your computer should show up as the default device to connect to.  Otherwise, it should not be too hard to make it the selected device.  From here, it is just as simple as flicking those fingers on that remote to begin browsing media files!

Hey look! Those are my pictures!
And those are my videos! THIS PLACE HAS EVERYTHING.

So there you have it.  Thanks to the cooperation of companies, computers, HDTV’s, and a local area network, one can turn their living room into a connected media/living/computer room.  Gone are the days of gathering the media around the TV.  It’s time to gather the TV around the media.

Evolution Image Courtesy: edyson’s Flickr

Cross-platform SyncMate Lets You Sync Files with All Your Devices

SyncMateWith everybody being so connected digitally these days, keeping basic information synced to all of your devices can be a nightmare. The nightmare can be even more difficult if you are the owner of an Apple computer and have a Windows or Nokia phone (and even worse if your understanding of network sharing is limited).

SyncMate by Eltima Software may be the key to solving this problem. SyncMate allows multiple computers to synchronize contacts, calendars, bookmarks, notes, iTunes / iPhoto, folders, and more. SyncMate runs on Windows or OSX, and also connects to Google accounts.

What will most people use this software for? Synchronizing contacts, bookmarks, and notes possibly between work and personal computers (if allowed by your employer). Others will enjoy the folder synchronization between a desktop and a laptop in the home (which I found most useful).

User Interface

The UI is fairly straightforward, but not as intuitive as most software put out for OSX. The large “Add Connection” button leads you to step one of the process where you will find a list of devices to use with SyncMate. I struggled a bit to setup the folder sync for close to a half an hour, and I am an IT person who likes to setup networks the hard way. After you complete the initial setup, however, it becomes much simpler.

Automatic reminders to sync can get annoying but are easy enough to turn off. The sync may vary depending on network speed and amount of data to be moved.

Device List
Some of SyncMate's supported devices

Windows Mobile

SyncMate appears to be an Apple substitute to Active-sync for the owners of a Windows Mobile device. We all know Microsoft and Apple don’t always play nice, but thanks to this third party software they can.

Using SyncMate

With automatic sync enabled, you really don’t have to deal with the software often. Contacts and calendars will be synchronized with ease. SyncMate also handled file duplication during folder synchronization very well. If the same file was changed on both computers, it will prompt the user and ask what to do. This will easily save a term paper from going down the drain.

Substitutes

With a Google account, things such as contacts and calendars can be synchronized with the applications in OS X. Google Chrome and Opera also have built in synchronization of bookmarks and themes built in.

iTunes has a nice home share feature. If both computers are linked to the same Apple account you can synchronize from iTunes itself.

Conclusion

Give SyncMate a try for yourself. I found it to be a nice tool that can help a new user keep multiple computers organized, but it might not cut it for more advanced users.

Share, Organize, and Store Your Digital Files Online with Quanp

The world of online storage is a growing one, with different services and new features coming out all the time. Quanp, pronounced “Quan-Pah”, is one which I’ve found to be quite useful not only for its online storage, but the way in which it organizes and displays your files on your desktop.

Quanp Home
This is the home screen for the Quanp Desktop Software

Quanp, short for Quantum Papers, couples its online storage features with an easy to use and visually appealing desktop software. This software enables you to store files in a folders called “Places”. After creating a Place, you can simply drag and drop files into it and view/sort them with 3D thumbnails. While loading your files into a Place you’re given the opportunity to add tags and descriptions to them.

Picture Info
Clicking on a picture brings up a larger view with information

I found especially convenient that Quanp doesn’t require the physical files to be moved or copied when you load them into a Place. For example, I have a lot of pictures stored on my computer. When I load them from my camera, they are automatically sorted into folders by date. This is semi-useful if I can remember when I took whatever picture I happen to be looking for, but it doesn’t really do me any good if I want to search through only pictures of family, or landscapes.  If I load all of my pictures into the Quanp desktop software, however, I can sort my pictures in a number of different ways while keeping my files and folders neat on my computer.

What I find to be the easiest and  most useful option is tagging. When I’m loading my pictures onto Quanp I can tag pictures/files based on what they contain. After they are tagged, I can use the included search options to search for pictures I’ve tagged as landscape, family, or landscape and family. The results are then brought up as thumbnails in 3D space which makes them easy to quickly browse through.

Inside a Place
Quanp shows files within a Place

If you find yourself searching for a specific tag or groups of tags often, it might be more convenient to make a different Place for those files.  For example, I take all my pictures tagged Landscape and put them in a Place called Landscapes. I can then simply click on the Place when I start Quanp to view all my landscape pictures. Even though a file my be stored in two or more Places in the Quanp software, the actual file remains unmoved from its original location.

All of this so far has been only what happens on your computer. Along with all of the aforementioned awesome features, Quanp is an online storage solution as well (similar to previously covered Dropbox). Quanp will upload any files you load to the desktop software onto the service’s website. You can do this by manually pushing the upload button or you can set up and automatic uploader that will check for newly added files every so often (you can change the how often in the settings).

Refresh Button
You may have to push this button to recently loaded files to appear

Quanp’s Microsoft Office Add-in

Quanp has recently released an Add-in for Microsoft Office which can be downloaded at http://us.quanp.com/about/addin. I’ve never used an add in for before so I was a little wary about how it was going to work.

Run the installation file and follow the install instructions. Once the add in is installed, it will appear on the right hand side of the Home Ribbon.  In this article, I’m using Office 2007 on Windows Vista, so it’s location may be different depending on the Microsoft Office you use.

Clicking the Quanp button will bring up a list of actions such as upload and download. Clicking download will prompt a log in box for Quanp. After entering your information, a box pops up asking you what Place your file is stored in. When you select the appropriate Place from the drop down menu, all the Office documents in the Place are displayed. Double clicking a document will open it up in Microsoft Office. You can also save and upload documents from Office directly to your Quanp account.

Quanp Send for Windows

Quanp Send is a widget for Windows. It allows for quick sending of large file (500MB max) to other Quanp members and to email. To use it, simply drag a file and drop it on Quanp Send and a dialog box will pop up asking you who you want to send it to. You can also assign tags and descriptions to the file before you send it off.

Quanp Send Dialogue
Fill out who you are sending it to and add tags or a description

Conclusion

All in all, I really like Quanp. I’ve always been a big fan of online storage services, and up until using Quanp, the problem has been that I had to move or copy the file I wanted from its original place on my computer to a dedicated shared folder. I enjoy using Quanp’s desktop software for its easy-to-use search options and quick browsing.

The only problem I had with Quanp was at first when I loaded files with the software, I couldn’t get them to show up.  Here’s the fix: there is a refresh button on the left side you may have to push to get recently files to appear on the software.

How to Let Your WordPress Blog Visitors Upload Files To Your Dropbox

Dropbox is one of our favorite pieces of software here at Techerator.  Every day, people are coming up with new ways to use the free online file backup and syncing service.  When used with other software, Dropbox can be utilized for just about anything.

The Dropbox Upload Form plugin for WordPress is a small plugin that adds a file upload form to a WordPress Post or Page and adds the uploaded file to your personal Dropbox.

Start by downloading and installing the Dropbox Upload Form plugin to your WordPress blog.  Activate the plugin once it is installed.  You can then navigate to Settings -> WP-Dropbox to configure the plugin.

Fill in the requested information to connect your Dropbox to the form.  Once the plugin has been configured properly, click Save options.

Now you need to add the proper code to your Page or Post to show the upload form.  Add [wp-dropbox] to a post or page to show the upload form in that part of the post and save when finished.

Below is how the upload form will look in your WordPress site.  Any files submitted through this form will appear in the Dropbox folder you specified in the settings above.  The date of submission is added to the end of the file name.

One thing you should be aware of when using this plugin is that the size of the upload file is limited by the PHP configuration of your web host.  You can check with your host to find out the maximum file upload size limit.

Know of any other ways to integrate Dropbox with WordPress?  Let us know by commenting below!