Becoming slightly detached.

Posted on February 17, 2010 | by Derrick

Email is a great thing. It’s tried and true, and I couldn’t live without it. Despite Google’s claim that Google Wave will make email obsolete, I think it’s safe to say that it will be around for a while. All of that being said, it does have its limitations.

I recently received a case-related email with over 100 individual photos attached. It nearly brought Thunderbird to its knees – and I can only imagine the hacking, wheezing, coughing and choking that would have occurred in Outlook. I even had trouble accessing the files via a webmail interface. Frankly, I was surprised. I personally would not have taken that approach to getting the photos from Point A to Point B, but I didn’t think it would create such a problem. The whole event re-emphasized to me that there are better ways to transfer case photos, documents and presentations than attaching them to an email.

I thought it would be nice to review two of the services that I use regularly to transfer files. They are fast, secure and easy to use. I realize that security is critical in the legal industry, and I know that IT at law firms are understandably hesitant to endorse new systems, but these are not fly-by-night operations, and they can greatly increase productivity if used effectively.

box_logo

I’ve been using box.net for several years now, and they have been rock solid. They have both free and paid plans that allow you to store files privately on their servers that you can then access anywhere. Box has tons of features that include inline viewing of multiple file types and collaboration folders for working closely within your workgroup. This review really only focuses on the way I use box to share files to multiple (non-box account holder) recipients, but I recommend exploring their site for more a complete overview of their services.

For our purposes, it’s pretty straightforward. Simply upload any file or group of files you want to distribute, then send out a single link to that file or folder (password optional) to multiple recipients. The email you send is tiny, the link is secure, and you receive a notification anytime your files are downloaded. Piece of cake. In a crunch, I always jump back to this site. Reliable, simple and fast.

drop_io_logo_blog_cr

I’m really excited about this recent discovery, and I am still trying to wrap my head around all of the possible uses for it. What I like about drop.io is the time, or lack thereof, that it takes to be up and running. No account, no commitment, nothing. You visit the site, choose a “drop” directory name, upload your files, and voila. Unlimited drops of 100MB with the ability to password protect, and that’s just the beginning.

Each drop you create comes with a private conference call line, an email address, and the ability to present your images and PowerPoint presentations right there from your drop to multiple users. The email address feature is a very handy way to get a bunch of attachments out of your email program and into your “drop”. This was the method that ended up working for me when I needed to extract all of those photos. I simply forwarded that original email via webmail (without loading all of the attachments) into my drop, and within a short time, they were all there and available for viewing or downloading. The folks at drop.io are also big on keeping the architecture open so that developers can come up with new and useful ways to utilize the drops. They also have paid plans to allow for more control and more space.

This is certainly not an exhaustive list of sites that provide these services, but these are two that I can endorse. The bottom line is that there are often better ways to transfer files than via your email program. I recommend taking both services out for a test drive to see which one best fits your needs.


 
No Comments | Submit Comment