May 2000--Have you ever needed to
access data from a remote location but didnít want to transport
floppies and drives?
How about some larger files that donít easily fit
on a floppy? A few years ago, a friend and I were going across the
country for a presentation and we needed a way to make sure the
PowerPoint presentation we were using got there in one piece. We
tried emailing the file to ourselves only to find that the file was
too large for the email system. The PowerPoint file was more than 5
megabytes (MB) and we ended up copying it onto six different
floppies. That worked, but it was really messy, and we both wished
there was a better way.
Thanks to Internet technology, itís now a
slam-dunk to create a virtual drive in cyberspace. And the best part
is that itís free.
These services provide you with a form of remote
storage. You use one computer to upload your files to a remote
server, and then use another computer elsewhere to retrieve the
files. Most of these services provide password protection to keep
your data private.
One place to start is your Internet service
provider (ISP). Most ISPs provide 10MB or more of Web space for you
to create a personal Web site. Setting up a Web page to allow access
to files may not be the best option if youíre not very familiar with
Another option is to obtain an account on one of
the free Web space areas. There are a lot of them around, and it
seems like more and more are popping up every day. Here are a few
options--no endorsement is implied here:
If Web page space isnít what you are looking for,
there are other services that provide nothing but space for files--a
few of these folks are:
Xdrive (also known as X:drive) offers a twist on
the usual space offering. You can download a small application that
makes the account you create on their server appear on your system
as another drive letter. This means you can access the space using
such familiar tools as Explorer, rather than using an FTP client or
a Web browser.
Some of these services allow others to share
read-only access to your data, via a different user ID/password or
by you granting access using an administrative function.
This is not a definitive list by any means, but it
should provide enough information for you to investigate the
options. The boss still yells at me, but never because I donít have
a file available.
Until next month, stay connected!