Monday, July 30, 2007

Thing 32: Online file storage

Last summer, I needed to send someone a really large PDF. Too large for email, actually. Too large for just about anything. I thought about sending it through the regular mail on a CD, but I needed it there sooner than international mail could deliver it.

After much searching, I found several virtual drive sites. Most of them were difficult to use, or required paying a fee, or both. I eventually used, which was one of the few free options, but I was never fully satisfied with that as a solution. It was difficult to upload the file, and even more difficult for my friend to download it.

I'm glad Julia decided to address virtual drives, because not even a full 12 months later, the situation is very different. is a lot easier to use than it once was, but there are several other virtual drive websites to consider as well. and Omnidrive each offer you 1 gig of file storage; Omnidrive has partnered with Zoho (which seems to be debuting new stuff every day) and Snipshot to make it easy for you to edit your documents or photos online. has a really handy widget you can add to a blog or website (or anywhere else you can use widgets) to make it easy for someone else to grab a file. I really like that widget!

The third contender, for me anyway, is an underdog because it's too popular - in other words, it's from AOL and the Internet snob in me thought I'd hate it. Actually, I love it. Xdrive offers 5 gig of storage, and works with the AOL log-in I already have. (See, I'm not that much of an Internet snob - I already had an AOL account. It's a perfect learning environment, and they are trying hard to be relevant again.) As a nice bonus, Xdrive lets you arrange your photos into easily-shared slideshows, and you can listen to any uploaded music files using a built-in player. They claim to offer the ability to fax an uploaded document as well, but I was never able to successfully send a fax this way.

All of the virtual drive services I looked at offer a download component that installs on your computer and makes it even easier to save files at their site. I didn't install any of these, although thinking about I think I downloaded the files to install the Xdrive add-ons.

So, it came down to a choice between and their cool widget, Omnidrive and their ease of editing and Xdrive and their 5g of storage. Xdrive won, simply because I detest worrying about file space.


Jamie said...

Have just been playing with the widget, and I really do love it. Did I say that already? Just in case, I'll repeat it - I love it. Put in a picture, and anyone who sees the widget can view the pic. Put in a file and anyone who sees the widget can click and download or open the file. That little sucker rocks!

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