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  PC-Net's PC News - May, 2000
Don Watkins

Taking It on the Road

By Don Watkins



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 HTML.

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!



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