There’s lots to love about the Internet, but one of the coolest things about it is also one of the oldest – namely file sharing. Officially born in the 1960s, it wasn’t until the late 1990’s that file sharing became a household word. File sharing has come a long way since then. Here are five tips for using the web in a legal and safe manner to share and distribute files.
Use Google Docs
Google docs is one of the best, and easiest, ways to share documents on the web. Because everything is stored in the cloud, all you have to do is share the link with whomever you want. Create your document or spreadsheet, and then set the privacy rules for the document. Easy as pie.
Use P2P File Sharing
When you need to share an audio track or a video, email is practically useless. Why? Because most email providers limit your file size to a paltry 2GBs. Enter Vuze. It’s a torrent client that lets you connect directly with other peers so that you can share your homebrew videos, music, or any other file residing on your hard drive. Just keep it legal by only sharing and downloading content that’s in the public domain, licensed under the right type of Creative Commons license or GNU or some other liberal licensing scheme (i.e. Copyleft), or where the rights holder has authorized free sharing.
Join The Apple Ecosystem
If you don’t mind spending a few bucks, upgrade your hardware to Apple’s ecosystem. Then, you’ll be able to use AirDrop and its new mail system contained in iCloud (it lifts the 2GB restriction on file sizes in emails).
Apple has also been quietly developing its wireless mesh networking technology. What is it It’s basically a peer-to-peer Internet that uses each users mobile device as a “node” for transmitting data. Pretty soon, we’ll all be on P2P Internet, and P2P file transfers will be the norm. Resistance is futile.
DropBox is one of the coolest things to come down the pike since the invention of the toaster strudel. Drag your files into a DropBox folder and then all of your files magically sync with all of your other devices. When you want to share a file, you simply generate a download link, and send it to whomever you want.
The recipient then gets access to the file or folder you choose.
Create Your Own Personal Cloud
Many of the DIY home-cloud solutions out there by Western Digital, Seagate, and Synology have features baked into the cake that let you share files on your hard drive with anyone. Like DropBox, you have to generate a private link and then send that link to the recipient.
Once the recipient receives the link, he or she can access the file or files you want him to have. This solution has a bit of a learning curve, since not all external cloud solutions (called “NAS drives”) work the same. But, you own the solution and don’t need to use a third-party company, so it may be worth the added hassle.
Debbie Warner has a strong mind for modern technology. With many years experience as a computer programmer and data manager, she loves blogging about the basics and how-tos for useful apps and computer capabilities available to the everyday user.