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Author Topic: Easy alternative to email for sending files?  (Read 3402 times)

JavaJones

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Easy alternative to email for sending files?
« on: October 09, 2006, 05:15:23 PM »
Recently in this thread the subject of sending files through email came up and all the issues that entails. It got me wondering again whether there really is a good, easy solution for sending files that is comparable to email in its simplicity and ease of use. So many people use email for this purpose because the functionality is there and it's easy to use and familiar. Yet it is terribly inefficient and riddled with problems - from lack of download resume capability (in most cases) to the 30+% bloating of file size - email and the standard POP email protocol just wasn't built with file sending in mind.

This also makes me wonder why a more efficient encoding method such as yEnc hasn't been adopted for email as it has for news protocol. Of course this would take client support, but I don't think that is a big deal. The sooner the better.

Anyone know of any alternatives? I don't consider rapidshare or similar systems to really be comparable. First of all they're not direct, person-to-person, and generally not secure because of that. Sure your email data passes through several servers via email anyway, but it's transient, it doesn't usually sit there just waiting for someone to look at it. There are also more steps involved with web-based systems like that and few of them have dedicated desktop applications for streamlining. P2P systems also for the most part do not work that easily for specific individual file transfer. IM is too unreliable. Something like HFS works great IMO - even for non-tech people - but they need to be convinced to use it and when email "just works", why would they bother? Nevermind that email doesn't "just work" all that well, especially for the poor ISP's running the servers. But of course the average user doesn't really think about that.

Anyway, thoughts, ideas, alternatives?

- Oshyan

kimmchii

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Re: Easy alternative to email for sending files?
« Reply #1 on: October 09, 2006, 05:28:20 PM »
try Pando.
If you find a good solution and become attached to it, the solution may become your next problem.
~Robert Anthony

JavaJones

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Re: Easy alternative to email for sending files?
« Reply #2 on: October 09, 2006, 05:38:37 PM »
Yeah, I've seen Pando, haven't tried. But it's still yet another app people have to download.

Ideally this solution would be an extension of something people already have access to. That's why HFS is so cool. Only the sender needs to have it, although it does mean they need to keep their system up until the download is finished unfortunately. Pando does solve that at least.

I don't know, Pando seems like a decent alternative, but I'm just hesitant to recommend any solution that requires *everyone* involved to get a new piece of software. If it's just the sender I think that's ok - preferable to just the recipient, and certainly preferable to *bott* sender and recipient.

A good suggestion though, and thank you. :)

- Oshyan

brotherS

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Re: Easy alternative to email for sending files?
« Reply #3 on: October 09, 2006, 05:41:57 PM »
try Pando.
http://www.pando.com/how_it_works explains how it works, should be good for when you often send files.

http://www.sendspace.com is a simple web-based solution. I need to send files > 1 MB only every 2 weeks or so, so that service is good (and easy) enough for me.

tinjaw

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Re: Easy alternative to email for sending files?
« Reply #4 on: October 09, 2006, 05:47:13 PM »
Put the file on a webserver and email them the URL.

jgpaiva

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Re: Easy alternative to email for sending files?
« Reply #5 on: October 09, 2006, 06:30:32 PM »
www.yousendit.com is also pretty good, and supports files up to 2gb, iirc.

JavaJones

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Re: Easy alternative to email for sending files?
« Reply #6 on: October 09, 2006, 06:45:15 PM »
Web server is not an option for most people. I'm familiar with stuff flike Yousendit and Sendspace, but there is still the security issue. I do think those kinds of services are reasonably easy. I guess the real question for me though is would any of those services be an adequate solution for the problem in the referenced thread above. If not then they don't really address the whole problem, only a certain part of it and for certain people. The goal is to get people off of sending big files (larger than 1MB really) via email.

- Oshyan

tinjaw

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Re: Easy alternative to email for sending files?
« Reply #7 on: October 09, 2006, 06:52:14 PM »
Web server is not an option for most people.
I disagree. Between space provided by one's ISP to tons of free website hosting, just about anyone can get free web space. Top that off with most OS's having the ability to map a drive/directory/folder to provide for drag & drop and it is easy for anybody.

For example, my ISP is Road Runner cable. I can run any of a dozen free & easy to use FTP programs to put up my file. Then I email the link. done.

kimmchii

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Re: Easy alternative to email for sending files?
« Reply #8 on: October 09, 2006, 06:55:59 PM »
then HFS is the solution, i like it and use it a lot, not only the recipients can download from the sender but can also upload to sender from their web browser, it's perfect.
If you find a good solution and become attached to it, the solution may become your next problem.
~Robert Anthony

tinjaw

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Re: Easy alternative to email for sending files?
« Reply #9 on: October 09, 2006, 07:22:35 PM »
Never heard of HFS before. It looks a lot like BarracudaDrive.

JavaJones

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Re: Easy alternative to email for sending files?
« Reply #10 on: October 09, 2006, 08:14:59 PM »
HFS kicks ass. :D It looks like BarracudaDrive is almost exactly the same, and also pretty cool. Not sure if it's as easy to use though - HFS is incredibly easy, which is the main reason I like it.

As far as a web server not being an option for most people, it's not because they don't have the space, it's just that it requires learning something new to use it. Sure it can be easy to maybe map a drive and use Explorer's FTP interface (which sucks btw - very poor indications of speed and time remaining), but they have to learn that. With email there is nothing to learn. Even with Pando there is hardly anything to learn - it's very familiar. Although it is not a big deal to learn how to work with your existing web space, it is nonetheless too much for most people. Or don't you think people would use it more otherwise? ;)

Even HFS isn't that good a solution for many people with dynamic IP's, behind NAT systems, etc. Having to have someone setup port forwarding is really just too much. It's amazing how good a solution email is despite the flaws. I just wish there were a universal, email-like system that was just more efficient and functional than email. Or really something like "email 2.0", with better file encoding (yEnc?), support of download/upload resume, etc. While we're at it implement some stuff to fight spam. :D

- Oshyan