Looking for a service like Yahoo briefcase circa 2000
October 31, 2009 12:43 PM   Subscribe

I want to upload a few files on one computer, and be able to download them from wherever. I don't need Amazon s3 or Jungle Disk or other big backup service. I want it to be free. I don't need or want to share the files with anyone, but it's not super-sensitive information either.

Yahoo used to do this. I don't like Yahoo. Yes, you can upload files to Google docs, but it converts them and then you have to convert it back if you want to download. They must stay in their original format, no matter what it is.
posted by desjardins to Computers & Internet (22 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Dropbox?
I use to share files between my office pc and my mabook pro.
posted by special-k at 12:46 PM on October 31, 2009

gmail? I use a separate account for archiving, and it retains formatting.
posted by gene_machine at 12:47 PM on October 31, 2009 [1 favorite]

Seconding dropbox. It's astoundingly easy to use.
posted by atrazine at 12:49 PM on October 31, 2009

I'd just use S3 with s3cmd on both machines. It's a command-line tool and makes S3 as simple to use as an ftp server. There are nicer S3 front-ends if you want a UI, but this is about as simple and cheap as it gets, short of absolutely free.
posted by zippy at 12:50 PM on October 31, 2009

Perhaps Microsoft Live Mesh would be good? It's a Microsoft service, but they've added support for Macs, as well. It looks like you can also download and upload files from a browser, but unless they've updated it, you can't edit documents in browser.

In case you want an alternative, you could also go for one of the choices on this roundup Lifehacker did.

Evernote is a notetaking service that also allows you to upload and download documents. It also lets you search them, including images with writing in them through OCR. You can only upload 40 MB a month, though, which is small if you're planning on uploading stuff other than small pictures and text. The clients and interface is also optimized for notetaking, so it won't be automated like it would be with the services in the article.

All of these services are free if you use a small amount of data. LiveMesh lets you store 10,000 files, and Dropbox lets you upload up to 2GB, which is pretty much standard for this type of service. If you want more space, almost all of them let you buy a premium account.
posted by mccarty.tim at 12:53 PM on October 31, 2009

I tend to just email things to myself when I need to do this
posted by memebake at 1:03 PM on October 31, 2009

I think you want Drop.io.
posted by yclipse at 1:05 PM on October 31, 2009

Do you have an always-on Internet connection? You could set up dynamic DNS with a free service like dyndns and just run your own web server or ftp server.
posted by Zed at 1:06 PM on October 31, 2009

posted by runningwithscissors at 1:14 PM on October 31, 2009

Response by poster: I go to the Dropbox page and I get a download link. So I'd have to download it on both computers? Is there a service with a web UI? Preferably drag and drop?

I'm not cool enough to have a mac, btw.
posted by desjardins at 1:17 PM on October 31, 2009

dropbox is windows/mac/linux, though you don't necessarily need to use the OS component.
You may have to download and install it in order to create an account, but thereafter you can just use the web interface. The advantage of the software is live folder sync across multiple computers.
posted by kid_dynamite at 1:20 PM on October 31, 2009 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I think Dropbox is the best way to upload files from one computer and download them anywhere else, especially if you only need transfer a few files, no more than 2 GB. It's very convenient because all you have to do is drop your files in a designated folder, and they'll automatically be put online. Then, you can download them again by logging into the website, or, if you install Dropbox on another computer, your files will be downloaded to that computer automatically.
posted by datarose at 1:20 PM on October 31, 2009 [1 favorite]

So I'd have to download it on both computers?

No. Just install on one computer. You can use the web interface (see login field at the top right) to access files on the other machine.
posted by special-k at 1:23 PM on October 31, 2009

I've written on here before about how much I like dropbox. It's so quick on the mac and pc I use it on that I am always amazed. It also keeps my webfiles in synch over multiple computers, so don't have to worry about the last place I modified it.

And it does versioning.
posted by cjorgensen at 1:30 PM on October 31, 2009

Nthing dropbox.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 1:42 PM on October 31, 2009

Nthing + 1 dropbox.
posted by matty at 1:52 PM on October 31, 2009

Dropbox is the correct answer.
posted by AwkwardPause at 1:53 PM on October 31, 2009

Archive the files into a password protected .rar using WinRAR and upload them to Rapidshare.
posted by afx237vi at 2:12 PM on October 31, 2009

Response by poster: special-k gets best answer because he was first; datarose because that's the clearest explanation. Thanks and goodnight!
posted by desjardins at 2:29 PM on October 31, 2009

Zoho Share is free.
posted by COD at 3:25 PM on October 31, 2009

Dropbox uses a fair amount of system resources, both memory and CPU, at least on my computer, particularly in the fifteen minutes or so after I start it up. Watch for slow downs, depending on your RAM etc. (And if you don't have them, let me know so I can figure out what's wrong on my end!)
posted by salvia at 6:43 PM on October 31, 2009

If you are using Windows Microsoft Live Skydrive gives you 25GB free with public and private folders and with Skydrive Explorer it is dead easy to use.
posted by srboisvert at 8:40 AM on November 1, 2009

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