Saturday, July 12, 2008

Sharing Large Files Over The Internet

Every now and then, we would get an inquiry for ThePictureShop from Mac users on how they can send their photos to us to be converted into a picturebook. While some of our photo book competitors use free file uploading sites like YouSendIt, I wrote our own customized software for sending images to us. Unfortunately, the PictureBookMaker software that I wrote works only on Microsoft Windows (since I don't know how to program for the Mac). So there is no straightforward way of sending image files to us if you are not running on Windows.

While reading the July 2008 issue of PC World Philippines, I came across this interesting site called You can easily upload files into it by just providing a "drop" name. The "drop" name is like the folder name. In my test, I called my drop "dicktestphoto". So my folder's URL had the name

Uploading is primarily done via the web browser. I can't tell if its just using the standard RFC for file upload via HTTP or if its using some other proprietary method. I did not get any prompt to allow an ActiveX Control to run, neither did I see a Java applet loading. So unless they used some other clever Javascript/Ajax trick, I have no idea how they are doing the file upload.

You can also upload files by simply sending it as an email attachment. The email will be addressed to the "drop" name -- in my case, to I tried sending the email via GMail, then refreshed my "drop" screen. Voila! The attached photo is there.

One of the best thing I like with is it does not require registration! You just create your "drop" folder and start uploading. Its that simple. Each "drop" folder seems to be limited to 100MB (although the PC World article was hinting 1GB). I'm not too sure though as I can't seem to find anything in their FAQ that talks about the total limit. I do know that if you really want a large amount of space, you have to "upgrade" to their premium service and pay some fee.

You can also specify how long the image files that you upload will stay in servers. For my test, I just told the system to expire it after a day. I believe if you want the file to stay there forever (or at least, while stays afloat), you also have to upgrade to their premium service.

Will ask future Mac customers inquiring about uploading photos to ThePictureShop to try this service.

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