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Uploading and uplifting: sharing big data files
Philipp Laage

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Hamburg - There's usually no difficulty storing a couple of hundred megabytes (MB) worth of vacation photos on one's hard drive. But how to get them to far-flung friends and family?

Burning all that data onto a CD and sending it through the mail is one option. But a more elegant method is to send the data online? and you can share more than just photographs.

For small data files, it's best to use email or an instant messenger service like ICQ, MSN or Skype, says Mirko Schubert of Netzwelt, a German online magazine.

"The disadvantage is that the full bandwidth is generally not used and it can take a while to transmit large data files." Email programmes usually only allow attachments of between three and 25 megabytes. "As a plus, the transfer can happen almost instantaneously."

But that's not the case with larger data packets. That's when it's time to turn to file sharing services like Rapidshare (  or Megaupload (  )  , says Bastian Stein of Chip, a German computing magazine.

The idea is to put data up online with just a few clicks, making it accessible to many. Data files can be between 100 and 300 MB, says Schubert. The person who uploads the data is given a web address, which he can then share with others who want to view the files.

"But these kinds of portals are a hunting ground for data pirates," says Stein. Unintended users can often stumble across the data, since the links to the data are often catalogued and made accessible by metasites. That means think twice about what you upload. Also, bear in mind that, free, one-click services only offer limited bandwidth.

Sharing hosters go one step further. Opening an account with such a service offers gigabytes of storage space to use. After the data is uploaded, an email can be sent to invite others to view the data. Yousendit (  ) offers free one-click hosting for up to 100 MB of data and larger accounts for about 10 dollars a year, says Schubert.

Dropbox ( ) lets users put their files into a public folder, accessible to anyone with an encrypted link, says Stein. Other account holders can also access the files on their own, provided they have been invited. Other similar services include and

Anyone specifically interested in sharing pictures can look to larger services like Flickr ( ) or Picasa (    ). "These services are intended as communities, but are really ideal for storing and sharing pictures," says Stein. For example, Picasa has recently started offering enormous amounts of storage space - up to 20 GB for about 5 dollars a year.

Google, which supports Picasa, also has its Documents service, notes Stein. Developed as a tool for collaborative work on documents, it's also great for sharing various kinds of data. That's done with the share function, which creates an encrypted link.

Regardless of which service is used, the question of copyright is a thorny one, says lawyer Thomas Lapp. "The basic question is: which kind of data am I transmitting and do I even have the rights to that data?" Simply by distributing a music album, a person could quickly find themselves on the wrong side of the law.

Courtesy: - DPA /,uploading-and-uplifting-sharing-big-data-files.html

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