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Saturday, January 07, 2006

Fixing The File Transfer Problem...

I was working with a long time national political consultant this week on a local campaign. We were dealing with very large data files and talking about how to manage the files between the two of us as we analyzed over 20 years of local voter data. He gave me some CD’s he had burned to load into my database at home, and we spoke about ongoing data management. Email is the easiest way to deal with file transfer, but it is not the best if the files are larger than 5MB. I told him about FTP and how I use my site to hand-off files and use it as a FTP server many times. It works well, but does not work well for the mass audience.

I started to think of the recent issues I have had with transferring files, either in business or personally, and how this issue of transferring large files in a virtual world is becoming more of an issue. The physical management of large files has been addressed, with DVD burning hardware/software and with the 750Gig or 1TB USB disks that have come out. The hand off download issue part has been addressed with broadband and work machines on high speed.

The problem is the hand-off of large files in a manner that is user friendly. Think of the easy of use of email mixed with the power of FTP. The solutions are out there, they just are not clean enough to really be helpful. There are some services that will load a file into a server and then email the link, but there needs to be something that works like email and downloads the file, but does not crash the pc. Maybe while the pc is idle so the user is not impacted in a negative manner.

Well, with the growth of video and audio files online and the continued growth of file sizes, as the size is no longer an issue, a longer term solution is needed. In the meantime, here are a few free services that I have found that are good for file storage and transfer. Though most of these are not secure, they are good for transferring audio or video files. Many of these sites are supported by advertisements, so be prepared for being bombarded with ads. - 2GB - 7 Days Inactivity, unknown download limit - 1.5GB – Files expire after 25 days of inactivity – 2GB - 14 day inactivity limit - 1.5GB – 15 days - No Limits – Requires registration - 100MB – 30 days - 200MB – No expiration

There are many others, but these are the sites I have had the best luck with. Send Over is pretty easy to use, and Rapid Share De is the best performing (if you subscribe to the premium subscription)

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