http://www.hinduonnet.com/thehindu/thscrip/print.pl? file=2008120850051400.htm&date=2008/12/08/&prd=th& Innovations in the realm of file sharing tools A shortcoming of the centralised file sharing services is that we have to upload our files for sharing with others. This edition of NetSpeak discusses the latest developments in the realm of file sharing tools/services. Sharing files/folders with friends/clients/public is an important dimension in our digital experience. Several alternatives are in place to accomplish this task. Apart from the popular services such as email and IM, online storage services like Rapidshare and drop.io (http://drop.io/) are also used extensively on this count. Here, NetSpeak takes a whirlwind tour of some the new file sharing tools/services. Document sharing sites (like Scribd, mentioned in the past) are fast turning out to be valuable means to share/distribute/promote/find subjectspecific documents. You may find quite a few valuable materials (like the children’s books with creative common licence, hosted here: <http://www.scribd.com/people/ documents/128645/folder/49703> by an Indian publisher). Another similar service tried by this author is Docstoc ( <http://www.docstoc.com/>). The advantage of this file sharing service is the file sync client software that automatically syncs documents on a specific folder on the desktop with a specified folder in your DocStoc server account. Another document publishing/sharing service encountered by NetSpeak is Issuu (http://issuu.com/), a service that lets one upload a variety of files (such as PDF, DOC, PPT, ODT, WPD, SXW, RTF, ODP,etc). Whatever be the document format, Issuu converts it into an easily readable book form. Simple file sharing A shortcoming of the centralised file sharing services is that we have to upload our files for sharing with others. Unlike those services, if one can share files directly from her machine the process becomes easier and more flexible. The recently launched file sharing service Zapr (http://zapr.com/) meets this need rather elegantly. For each of the files/folders (stored on your machine) that are to be shared, Zapr generates a web address. To get started with this service, you just need to register an account with Zapr and install/start the Zapr client program. Zapr client converts your machine into a web server and to access this server from the Net, Zpar offers a web URL (of the form: yourname.zapr. com). Any file or folder can be brought under zapr server via the Zapr interface and shared. Once a file/folder is shared, Zapr attaches a link to it. This link can be sent to anyone with whom you wish to share the file. While sharing a file via Zapr, you can restrict its access by password protecting it. Of course, for others to access the file, your machine (in which the shared files are stored) should be online and have Zapr running on it. The advantage of Zapr is that you need not worry about the constraints (such as restriction in the file size, download limit etc), generally imposed by popular file sharing services. A web based service like Zapr could be an overkill if you simply require sharing files with a set of users in your local network. For this, a Windows user would immediately point to the Windows share facility. However, if you are averse to using the Windows share facility and still wish to share files in a much more secure and easy manner, the simple free HTTP file server HFS would come in handy. HFS ( <http://www.rejetto.com/hfs/>) lets you convert your machine into a web server with a single
mouse click this portable program does not require any installation steps to get started. Once the server is live on your machine, anyone from your LAN can access the shared files with her browser. One highlight of this easily configurable web server is the ease with which you can add folders/files to its document root. To share a file/folder, just rightclick on it and click on the ‘Add to HFS’ option from the menu that pops up. Besides sharing files, you can attach users/passwords to each of them so that only authorised users can access the shared materials. In addition, HFS allows specified users to upload files to the server. Google search via SMS Assume, you stumbled on an unfamiliar term while on the road and failed to find any means to know its meaning. Naturally, you will get terribly disappointed. The recently launched SMS search service from ‘Google India’ has made such worries a thing of the past. The service allows you to send search queries as SMS messages and it instantly responds to those queries with appropriate answers. For instance, if you wish to obtain the meaning of an unfamiliar term (say, subprime), just send the SMS “define subprime” to the mobile number (9773300000) specified by ‘Google Mobile’ (http://www. google.co.in/mobile/default/sms/). You will immediately get its meaning as an SMS message. Or, if you wish to find the current rupee value of the U.S. dollar, SMS the message, ‘1 usd in inr’. This service can be used to obtain a variety of information such as train timings, cricket score, city weather report, business news, GDP of a country and so on. Network clipboard While working with a machine on a local network, it is likely that you need to transfer some content to another machine on the network. Though there are several methods (like IM and email) that can be used, the easiest is to transfer the content to the clipboard of the target machine. The R2Studios’ utility copycat ( <http://www.r2.com>. au/software.php?page=2&cat =4& catname=System) that allows you to transfer clipboard content of one machine to that of another within the network is useful for this purpose. Of course, for this, copycat should be installed/running in both computers. Winaudit Looking for a software that provides complete information on all the aspects of your Windows PC? If so, you may find the freeware Winaudit ( <http://www.pxserver.com/WinAudit.htm>) useful. As the program is a portable one, you can keep it in your pendrive and run on any machine you choose.