It’s surprising even though I run into this problem quite often, I have yet to find a perfect solution. I’m talking about file transfer. Say we have two users – let’s call them Bob and Alice. These two are inexplicably dumb, and have no clue about technology. They are in two different states, in two different time zones and they can’t exchange documents in person. Bob has some files that Alice will need in an hour or so, so snail mail is out of the question. How do the two go about exchanging the files if we assume both have broadband internet connection at their location?
Simplest solution of course is to email the files. This is what the tech idiots do all the time after all. And it works, unless of course Bob’s file is roughly 1GB. In such a situation email becomes useless, since most servers will refuse to handle attachments of that size.
I had this situation happen to me today, and I was at a loss. I kept running different scenarios in my head, and I could not find a solution. I need a simple, no hassle solution that would allow transferring of the file with no complicated setup involved.
First thing I thought off was IM. Most of modern IM protocols support have file transfer tools, which could potentially allow for transferring our large file. Unfortunately, Bob uses AIM, while Alice prefers MSN and so they can’t talk to each other. Registering a new account is tedious and annoying, and neither one wants to do it. So it’s out of the question.
Bob could set up an FTP server… But unfortunately he is an idiot. Furthermore, both of them also live behind NAT’s and firewalls so any kind of server-client communication will be very difficult. This includes setting up a torrent tracker and seeding files.
Using 3rd party services such as SendIt is out of question because neither Bob nor Alice want the file sitting on some random server for an unknown amount of time. They are bound by confidentiality agreements, and etc…
So how do we get them to exchange files?
The best I could do for them was to set up an FTP server in the office and have Bob upload the file to it, only to be downloaded by Alice. Not a perfect solution, but a workable one.
Unfortunately before I was able to configure IIS and punch a hole in the firewall and send them instructions, they already got annoyed and gave up. They were strapped for time. So in the end they opted for faxing each other relevant pages and snail mailing the rest.
But the problem is still here. If we remove the presence of a central office (here me) then Bob and Alice would still be without means to exchange files…How do you usually do this?
[tags]file, file transfer, ftp, file transfer protocol, sending files[/tags]