The other day, The Unofficial Apple Weblog pointed me to an article from Macworld about was to move your files from one Mac to another. A few of the solutions were Mac specific (iChat, Time Machine shared disk), but most of them were not. A few were good for smaller files (email, for example), but I wanted to talk about two of the easier to use, and the two I use the most.
This is probably the least convenient, but most secure and simple to manage. Sneakernet means using something like a USB drive to copy and paste your files between two computers. There are a few obvious disadvantages to this system:
- You have to be in physical contact with the machines, so no internet.
- You have to keep the USB drive around (I have misplaced them, but found them later)
- The files in question don’t automatically sync
- You are limited in file size to the size of your USB drive.
But the other side of the coin is very enticing:
- It’s fast.
- It’s easy.
- It doesn’t rely on any network connection.
- It can work as a backup as well (leaving the old files you just moved on the USB drive while modifying the newly copied ones may save your work some day).
- It’s secure, unless you lose your USB drive on the bus.
There are very few systems as easy to use as Sneakernet. For your home file-moving needs, give it a shot. As obvious as it seems, it’s still one of the best solutions.
But if you have to give your files to someone else, out in the world? For internet savvy friends, I would set up an FTP space on my hosting for them, one only them and I could access. It was fast, but it wasn’t convenient. I never liked it as a solution.
Then I started using Dropbox for my file moving needs. And all my worries went away.
For a while (and still, until things get a too hectic and crazy), I was offering hockey podcasters free intros/ outros for their shows. I have a decent podcasting setup, one that goes beyond what most of the podcasters out there have in terms of quality, and wanted to help out their shows a little bit with adding a different voice to their show. Sending the mp3 files via email would have been cumbersome and inconvenient, but Dropbox made it easy. I could create a new folder (just like creating any folder on my computer), drop the files in I wanted to send, then share that folder with the other party (via the Dropbox website).
Dropbox gives you 2GB of storage for free, and has paid upgrades available for more storage. You also can get more storage free as more people sign up for Dropbox via your folder sharing.
This is a screen cap of my toolbar:
The blue box is Dropbox, always there when you need it. (the others are Twitter, Divvy for window resizing, and Pomodoro, which is a great way to focus on one task).
That’s the Dropbox menu. It tells you how much space you have left, as well as giving you other options.
On the plus side of Dropbox:
- It’s as easy to use as a folder on your computer.
- It’s easy to share.
- No FTP.
- There’s an iPhone app for Dropbox.
On the downside:
- You have limited space (but some easy file management can keep that from being a problem).
- File sharing is managed via the Dropbox website.
- The iPhone app doesn’t do a lot.
- Ummm…. It’s internet dependent (but so is FTP).
So there are a few options for you to move files around.
What do you use for file sharing? What would you recommend for other people to use?