Let’s face it: our Digital-Lives are getting just a bit more complicated every day! It started with emails, and then .doc files, and .pdfs. Then came digital music, and digital photos. And now each one of us has 2 or 3 devices floating around the home or office that record video as well as take photos. As our digital lifestyles expand, the sheer SIZE of our files have expanded as well. New computers ship with 50% larger hard drives than they did just two years ago, but we’re now faced with a new problem:
How do we send files to our friends and colleagues that are far too large to send in an email?
Luckily, there are a lot of ways in which we can share files with others. We’ve got excellent services like Flickr, SmugMug, and Picasa for sharing our photos.
For video sharing there’s Viddler, Vimeo, and the ever-ubiquitous YouTube.
Now that’s all about sharing, which is great, but how does one send that 300MB video you shot to your editor?
Or perhaps you’ve hired a designer who would like to deliver the full-resolution Photoshop files to you so you can have them printed.
You’ve tried to send it via email, and have come to the painful realization that the file is just too large, and your email program is starting to get a bit cranky with you.
There are 2 products I use to accomplish this feat with. One them is not free, and the other one is mostly free.
The not free solution is YouSendIt.
With a YouSendIt account, you can upload any file up to 2GB in size to YouSendIt’s servers, and they then send a message to your recipient which contains a download link. Your friend or colleague then downloads the file from YouSendIt’s servers to their own computers. Easy, intuitive interface. Even easier to understand for the recipient. All they have to do is open their email, and click on a link. This solution is perfect for anyone who intends to regularly send large files across the internet.
YouSendIt offers several subscription levels, starting at $9.99 per month, or a Pay Per Use option which is actually a really terrible value.
The “Mostly Free” option is Dropbox.
I recommend Dropbox to most of my clients, because of its overall value, ease of use, and cross-platform performance. Dropbox is compatible with Windows, Mac OS, Linux, and iPhone, which means that you can send and receive files to and from almost any computer on the planet without too much fuss.
Dropbox is an application that you download and install on your computer which gives you access to your own file server up in the “cloud” that you can then drag files to, and organize just as you would the files on your own computer. One of the folders in your Dropbox is a “public” folder which others can access to download files that you leave in there for them to pickup.
In addition to using this service to send really large files to others, Dropbox is perfect for anyone who has ever emailed an attachment to themselves so they would have access to it from another computer in a different location. Dropbox is also perfect for anyone in the habit of carrying a USB Thumbdrive around with them all the time.
Dropbox offers a free, Basic version which offers full access and 2GB of file storage
Their Pro 50 subscription costs $9.99/month and allows 50GB of file storage.
The Pro 100 subscription costs $19.99/month and allows 100GB of file storage.
These prices are a HUGE value for anyone who needs to share large files with others, or who is looking for secure, large-capacity offline storage. Small business can benefit from using Dropbox as a shared file server for their employees.
Mac users often ask me to compare Dropbox to MobileMe, which is Apple’s all-in-one file sharing, syncing, sharing service. MobileMe costs $99 per year, and offers 20GB of file storage, which can be incrementally upgraded for a price. While MobileMe offers a lot more than Dropbox does (it’s not the same sort of product, though they both offer off-site file storage) Dropbox offers a much higher value as a storage product than Apple’s MobileMe does.
Unless you need the other features included with a MobileMe subscription, I’d recommend giving Dropbox a try instead.
Thanks for reading!