Tag Archives: file-sharing

Dropbox Tools


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It’s been a while since I last talked to you about Dropbox. It’s a service which gives you 2GB of free storage space in the cloud. You can then purchase up to 100GB of space if you wish to. The best part of Dropbox is being able to share your space with as many others as you choose. Invite people to download or add files, and even help organize them into separate folders. Don’t worry – if you accidentally delete something, Dropbox even lets you undo your oopsie from the interface!

Another cool feature of the service is the fact that it doesn’t matter which operating system you choose to use. Dropbox will sync between Windows, OS X and Linux with ease. Heck, each person using your Dropbox can be on different operating systems, and it doesn’t matter. It will work seamlessly for everyone.

Dropbox can be accessed from your iPhone, Android device or iPad. It’s secure, it’s private and it backs up your files online instantly (and automagically!). This isn’t why I wanted to talk to you today, though. I actually wanted to highlight AirDropper.

AirDropper will let you have people send you files by way of Dropbox, even if they don’t have an account. Connect AirDropper to your Dropbox account and send a file request to someone. They will upload the file, and it appears in your Dropbox folder quickly. Many of the file upload and sharing services out there right now are complete crap. This is the perfect solution!

Habilis is another service that makes Dropbox even more worthwhile for you. Once you sign up for a GetHabilis email address, anyone can send files to that email address and have it show up in your Dropbox account.

Even though you only receive 2GB of storage space free on Dropbox, your storage space can be increased to 10GB when you refer enough people to the service. Check them all out, and let them make your life easier – for free!

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RIAA Abandons Mass Lawsuits in Favor of ISP Deals

The RIAA has attempted to sue approximately 35,000 people since 2003 – some of those suits being downright heartless: suing single mothers, children, and and a dead person. They are now abandoning this backwards policy and striking deals with ISPs – but the devil is in the details, and the fine print that cannot be ignored.

These deals include the RIAA no longer requiring the identities of those found to be sharing files; instead, the RIAA will now send their emails to the ISP and no longer demand identity information. They will effectively be expecting the ISP to be the enforcers. This new system really is just a different way to do the same old thing. Only this time, the ISP will be doing the dirty work. The new policy that the RIAA has brokered with major ISPs is that of “three strikes and your out” – your ISP may now be able deny Internet access you if you are found guilty by the RIAA.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) suggested that the RIAA support a legal Peer-to-Peer Network in their “Let the Music Play” whitepaper. Users pay a small, monthly fee to legally share music files in whatever method suits them. The EFF states that the fee should be less than $10 per month, based on the fees charged by services like Rhapsody and Napster. “The money collected would be distributed among rights-holders based on the popularity of their music.” As long as users pay for the service, they are free to continue to do what they are doing, legally. This type of system has been done before; radio stations pay a fee for a license to broadcast music with whatever equipment works best. ASCAP was created based on these same premises.

I’m a Rhapsody subscriber for a reason, folks.

Do you support this idea? In what ways do you think the fee for this service could be collected, and would you pay it?

Have File Sharing Networks Compromised Morality?

Geek!This is Jeremy Mentley’s submission for the HP Magic Giveaway. Feel free to leave comments for this article as you see fit – your feedback is certainly welcomed! If you’d like to submit your own how-to, what-is, or top-five list, you can send it to me. Views and opinions of this writer are not necessarily my own:

Imaging yourself strolling the aisles of a Best Buy or perhaps another comparable retailer. Enthralled by the miscellanea of tech commodity, your saunter is relaxed and enjoyable. Thumbing through the selection of DVDs, you spot a movie of interest. (Huzzah!) Without second thought, a quick glance over the shoulder, or any conceivable sign of hesitation, you slip the DVD into your coat, walk past the registers, and exit the store.

If my judgment is correct, I suspect every member of this community has difficulty fathoming his or her personal involvement in such an act. For the majority of us, the concept of right and wrong is instilled in us at an early age — this indoctrination guides our decisions away from accumulation via unjust means. Unfortunately, while we all can explain why the previous hypothetical scenario is improper and morally wrong, a significant population of web users are apparently confusion in regards to the exact same crime, though under different means. Since the inception of digitized media and the internet, billions upon billions of bootleg files have been copied, swapped, and transfered. “Peer to peer” networks like Napster, KaZaA, LimeWire, and other various torrent clients have simplified and amplified the trafficking of such files to an alarming extent. More alarming, perhaps, is the fact that these file transfers are being perpetrated non-exclusively by otherwise moral and law-abiding individuals. In 2006 alone, an estimated FIVE BILLION songs were exchanged. Why are media thefts so rampant online? How do we attribute these astronomical figures? Are peer-to-peer networks to blame?

Let me continue with another [hopefully] hypothetical scenario. Suppose you’re up during the wee hours of the night, parked in front of a glowing monitor. Like dozens of sleepless nights before, you are watching “people getting hurt” videos on Youtube. After a montage of face-plants, bicycle accidents, and botched athletic maneuvers, you and your browser find their way to a torrent file search site. In a few key taps and a couple clicks of the mouse later, a DVD rip of ‘Philadelphia’ begins to download. In this instance, is this action less worse than the theft from a brick and mortar store? (If your answer is at all influenced on the fact that ‘Philadelphia’ is an awesome movie, please be mindful that the morality of theft takes precedence.) Fundamentally speaking, both actions are equally as bad. Both actions end with the same result: theft. Only the means in which this theft were perpetrated is different — and consequently, gives leeway to perceived justification. Downloading from peer to peer networks is impersonal, discrete, and surprisingly easy. It may be a factor that the lack of a visible victim negates the guilt that a perpetrator would normally experience. The down and dirty truth of the matter seems to be that people do not make the connection between downloading media and breaking the law. Once more, since today’s youth are synonymously poor and media-hungry, rationalization for illegally downloading invariably becomes: “because I wouldn’t be able to afford this anyway, it doesn’t really matter that I’m not paying.”

This beckons the question, “are peer-to-peer networks to blame?” While these applications seem to the panderers of illegal material, ultimately it is the user who chooses to implement them. No crime should ever be justified because it is easy to commit. Car thieves should not go unpunished because a careless drive left his or her keys in the ignition. The elimination of peer-to-peer networks would do a great deal to thwart the illicit trade of movies and albums, but ultimately, it is people’s perception of right and wrong that’s at the heart of the issue.

It is not my intention to accuse, scold, or talk down to anyone in this community — I only voice these concerns because it is my hope that you, the readers… the intellectual, tech-savvy members of this assemblage, keep these concepts in mind as you invariably educate others on the wonders of the web. My only endeavor is to propagate that slipping a DVD into a coat and walking out of the door is not any more dishonest than downloading that very same movie from a personal computer. When we let illegal activity persist online, we invite the prospect of regulation to stop that rampant practice… When the web becomes regulated, censored, and contained, we lose the openness and possibilities that drew us to it in the first place. While it is disheartening to know it literally takes a home re-mortgage to fill an iPod completely with purchased music, such does not excuse thievery.

I am understandably curious to hear other reader opinions.

Top 5 Reasons to Use Evernote

Geek!This is Tyler Tufte’s submission for the HP Magic Giveaway. Feel free to leave comments for this article as you see fit – your feedback is certainly welcomed! If you’d like to submit your own how-to, what-is, or top-five list, you can send it to me. Views and opinions of this writer are not necessarily my own:

What is Evernote? Evernote is a free, cloud-based note taking and organizational tool. It is beneficial to those who use multiple computers, travel or those who are sick of their desktop being cluttered with sticky notes (physical or software based).

  1. All your notes are just a couple mouse clicks away from anywhere in the world. A simple login to http://www.evernote.com will give you access to view, edit, or create notes. Windows and Mac users will also enjoy the benefit of using the client based software which will give you access anytime, online or not. If you are a Firefox user, you will also be able to select text and/or images on a website and click a toolbar shortcut to save the selection directly to your account.
  2. Creating notes is as simple as typing in a document. You can customize your notes with fancy fonts and colors. Organization of the notes is also a breeze. Notes can be grouped into customizable “Notebooks”. They can also be tagged with user-defined words. This is useful if the subject matter has multiple descriptions or key words. Just tag it with whatever words best describe the note. Then you can filter through all of your notes by tags. Of course you can always type in the search bar to search through any text (tags, OCR, text within notes, etc).
  3. Say you are at lunch with some business partners and the napkin becomes the destination of all the important decisions. Now what do you do? Retype everything? What about those great diagrams? Problem solved. Just use an iSight Note. This uses Mac’s built in iSight camera to snap a photo of hand written notes, business cards or any other information that you do not want to loose. Best off all, Evernote’s servers will do OCR text recognition on the image and automatically index any words it recognizes so they will be searchable. All those who use Windows Mobile, an iPhone or an iPod Touch will be able to take advantage of Evernote’s mobile application. Your notes will be with you all of the time and you can even utilize your camera to snap notes directly from your device or even make voice notes.
  4. Another feature of Evernote is the ability to share information with anybody. Say this Christmas you decide to build your Christmas list in Evernote. With a simple checkbox, you can make any note accessible to anyone via a public URL. The cool thing is that your note becomes a downloadable PDF for anybody to enjoy, as long as they know the correct URL.
  5. If security is a top priority for you, then you can upgrade to the premium service for a small monthly or yearly fee. Now, your account will be protected with SSL encryption and will have more monthly allotted bandwidth for all of you power users out there.

I have been using this service for several months now and I can honestly say that I would be lost with out it. The ease of use made my transition from an ad-hoc mess of papers, software stickies, and plain text files to Evernote an enjoyable one!

File Sharing at College and the Repercussions

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Kat came across an article regarding file sharing on college campuses and the possibility of the schools losing all funding from the Government as a result. As you will see, she got pretty heated in her argument against this. SC_Thor and Wirlesspacket chimed in with us on this, as well. You’ll have to excuse the times they appeared to “talk over” me. I sort of kept forgetting they can’t hear me unless I push the keyboard shortcut I set up for Ventrilo.

According to BroadbandReports.com:

Democrats are pushing a bill in the U.S. House of Representatives that would force colleges to not only deter p2p use on campus, but also offer students alternative options. The proposal, obviously supported by the entertainment industry, threatens to pull federal funding from schools if they fail to implement “technology-based deterrents to prevent such illegal activity.” As you might expect, schools aren’t so keen on risking billions in funding just because they aren’t running their networks the way Hollywood would like.

I know that piracy is rampant, and colleges are breeding grounds for this. Heck, Napster was started in a college dorm room. But is this going too far? More information from CNet:

The U.S. House of Representatives bill (PDF), which was introduced late Friday by top Democratic politicians, could give the movie and music industries a new revenue stream by pressuring schools into signing up for monthly subscription services such as Ruckus and Napster. Ruckus is advertising-supported, and Napster charges a monthly fee per student.

According to the bill, if universities did not agree to test “technology-based deterrents to prevent such illegal activity,” all of their students… even ones who don’t own a computer… would lose federal financial aid.

The prospect of losing a combined total of nearly $100 billion a year in federal financial aid, coupled with the possibility of overzealous copyright-bots limiting the sharing of legitimate content, has alarmed university officials.

Kat feels this is way over the top, and looking at it more, I have to agree. Most likely, this will never pass. If it does, it could very well cause a lot of students to end up not being in college if schools refuse to implement this, and lose their funding. On the other hand… I can foresee quite an uproar if this passes and schools DO comply. Students who don’t own their own computer, or who actually follow the law already… will NOT be happy to be “punished” and charged fees for things they don’t use.

Edit to add excellent comment from Chris Clemons:

Hey Chris. I almost lost my mind reading this post. I was completely unaware of this problem until now and I’m floored by the ridiculousness of it all. If an educational institution wants to get overly political and jump on the bandwagon by further bridging the gap between real life and Hollywood BS where lots of money is still not lots and lots of money and force students who are already hitting up their parents for upwards of $20k a year for more, I don’t think I can watch it happen. Now, I know it is a Democratic issue being passed down to our schools, but something as ludicrous as this should never have even made it past the head of our nation’s most overpaid political celebrities. I truly believe the educational systems should stand up for this debate.

Another edit to add a story and recommendation from MArk:

Hey Chris,
Spring quarter, I was downloading a torrent at school and had some other software apparently still sitting in my queue seeding. One of these was a Norton Ghost bootable image that i didnt even realize was sitting there. Anyways, I get a nasty email from the school saying that I was sharing illegal files that they would turn off my internet access… and that I had to meet with a Dean or some academic affairs committee.

I met with the Dean and he explained to me that there’s an outside agency sitting right on the other end of the school’s internet connection monitoring all the bits and pieces of data, searching for their client’s packets being illegally shared. Yhey saw me sharing Norton and told the university. Basically it resulted in a written acknowledgment that I wont do it again and will remove the offending material.

It was a first offense… of course subsequent offenses would be more severe. The file pretty much just exists for their reference but will never go outside that office if I dont ‘offend’ again.

Also, our school offers a free (to students) music/video subscription service. Ruckus is a site that you just register with your school email and you have access to most hits and almost anything you can think of. It’s a very quick download. It uses wma copy protection and allows you to keep the license for each song for a month after which you (right click) renew it for another month. There’s no limit on the amount of songs you download, and since this option is legal, I was doing downloading at school.

I don’t know. What do you think? What other alternatives are out there? Do you feel this is the answer? Leave me a follow-up comment to this video, or email me at [email protected]

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Do You Own the Music, or Does the RIAA?


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http://live.pirillo.com/ – The lead attorney for Sony BMG announced publically that copying music you legally purchased for your own use is illegal. The round table had a field day with this one.

Four of my friends joined me for this discussion: Kat, SC_Thor, Wirelesspacket, and last but certainly not least… Datalore.

Song BMG has gone on record, stating that “When an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song. Making “a copy” of a purchased song is just a nice way of saying ‘steals just one copy’.”

WHAT?! If I buy a CD, she’s saying I cannot save it to my own computer, and then listen to the CD in my car? Or… I can’t listen to it on my iPod? All of these items were purchased legally, including the CD. So why in the name of everything I hold precious can I NOT listen to MY OWN MUSIC?

The music industry has gone too far. They are hurting financially so much due to file sharing, that they are now making it nearly impossible for people to legally listen to their own music. Album sales have decreased dramatically. Yes, that’s true. However, telling me I cannot listen to the music I BUY from you in any way I want is not going to help your bottom line, Sony. All that is going to do is ensure I don’t purchase ANY music from you ever again.

Stop the insanity.

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File Sharing

http://live.pirillo.com/ – A user in the chat room wants to know how they can share files between their computers without using FTP or IM applications.

In Windows Vista you can open the network and sharing center, or right click a folder and choose the sharing option. Both will let you set various level of sharing permissions. If you’re not on the same network then you’ll need to set up some kind of intermediary server, like FTP.

Sharing between different operating systems can be done. Chris already has a little tutorial on how you can share files between Windows Vista and OS X:

The bottom line is that it generally isn’t difficult to share files between computers on the same network, and it setting it up on Windows and OS X isn’t too difficult.

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File Sharing from Windows Vista to OS X

If you’re in Windows Vista, trying to share files with an Apple PC running OS X, the process is not as simple to orchestrate as it used to be in Windows XP. Don’t ask me why, but here are the flaming hoops to get Vista to connect with your OS X machine(s):

  1. In OS X’s System Preferences, select the “Sharing” icon and enable “Windows Sharing” (place a checkmark in the box). Click the “Accounts” button and enable your designated user account.
  2. Make sure you have File and Printer Sharing enabled in Vista, and that an icon for your Mac is showing up in your Network Explorer alongside every other device connected to your network. By the way, if you can’t even see an icon for your Mac in the Windows Network Explorer (same icon as the other machines on your network), you might check to see if they’re on the same network altogether.
  3. When you’re prompted for a username and password from the Windows Vista authentication dialog, use: MacIPAddressYourMacUsername (with the password for your user account on OS X). For example, 192.168.1.27chris might be used – if your Mac’s internal network IP address was 192.168.1.27 and the user “chris” was configured for Windows sharing. The TCP/IP tab in OS X’s System Preferences Network applet for your designated network adapter should show you the proper IP address to use.

One more Vista “bug” fixed.

It freakin’ took me forever to figure this one out. Don’t ask me why it used to be easier to do in Windows XP (where you only had to supply a username and password – without the IP address).

Moreover, network performance between OS X and Windows Vista seems lousy compared to the way it was between XP and the same OS X machine (and connection). Then again, the knowledge base article 932134 (An outdated network router may not function correctly when you use it together with new networking features in Windows Vista) is already pointing the finger of blame. Progress?

BitTorrent Tips and Tricks

BitchTorrent

It’s real easy to get started with BitchTorrent for your distribution needs. To begin, all you need is a feeder. The feeder takes and seeds files called bleeders. With the feeders soon seeding bleeders, you’ll find yourself flooded with needers needing bleeders finding feeders in the seed.

When your feeder seeds the seed, you need the needer needing needs on the feeds you can bleed while bleeding feeders what they call stackers. Now, stackers sit and sack the seed while bleeders knead the needers and the hackers pack the stackers in the needy feeder feeds. Slackers take the sacking stackers in the feeder bleeding seeds.

Then the tracker stacks the hacker needing feeder feeding feeds, while the bleeder seeds the seeds and the stacker tricks the tracker into bleeding needlessly. While the tracker stacks the stacker in the feeding bleeder deed, you can sick the needy knocker in the bleeder seeding feed.

It’s just that simple, folks.