Uploading and uplifting:
sharing big data files
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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
"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 (www.rapidshare.com)
or Megaupload ( www.megaupload.com
) , 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 (
www.yousendit.com ) offers free
one-click hosting for up to 100 MB of data and larger accounts for about 10
dollars a year, says Schubert.
Dropbox ( www.dropbox.com ) 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 Drop.io and
Anyone specifically interested in sharing pictures can look to larger services
like Flickr ( www.flickr.com ) 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
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
Courtesy: - DPA /