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We all sure do love our online file-sharing services. It’s one of those things which we cannot live without. How is life sustainable if I’m not able to send my freshly snapped, high-resolution photos of my brand new BlackBook to all my friends? If you’re not familiar with the most popular online file-sharing services, I’d suggest you start here File Sharing Round-up: The Only Ones You Need File Sharing Round-up: The Only Ones You Need Read More .
Now, I’m only going to cover the services with desktop clients for Mac. Luckily, most are also available for Windows.

These desktop clients make uploading and sharing files so much easier without having to leave your browser open for the transfer to finish. Browsers are notoriously unpredictable because they can freeze or hang and then you’ll have to start uploading all over again. You know what I’m talking about, right? You’re uploading a file and you leave that browser window alone and open another one. Then you stumble onto a site that crashes your browser or renders it unresponsive. You have no choice but to press the magical keys Ctrl-Alt-Del to kill the browser. And start all over again.

I’m not saying never to use them, just like everything else – I’d like an alternative method. The clients just go on doing their thing in the background. When it’s done, some even automatically copy the public URL onto your clipboard. Talk about being efficient!

So in a randomized fashion, here they are:

1. Pando

Pando is not a new service, they started back in 2006. Mark wrote an article explaining how to use it so I won’t really venture deeply into it. I do have to mention its main features, though:

  • 1GB File Limit (for free account)
  • Hosted for 7 days
  • Share via email, IM or Web
  • Instant start – No need to wait until the upload is complete in order to download it
  • Files are uploaded to Pando’s server

Pando - FIle Sharing Client for Desktop

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Let me elaborate on the third feature: Pando’s desktop client can send an email to your recipient containing the packaged download trigger file (.pando). It can also do the same for your IM clients, doesn’t matter which instant messenger client you’re using because it’s a simple copy and paste of the download link. Although, if you’re using Skype or Yahoo Messenger with Voice there is a little extra for you. Lastly, your file can also be shared via the web. Pando will package the whole download as a web widget for you. All you have to do is copy the code and embed it into your website.

If you’re a geek and would like to find out more about how the Pando client works, check this page out. Pando is one of the clients available for Windows and Mac. Great start wasn’t it?

2. DropBox

We’ve covered DropBox before. This client is so good that Dave took the time to interview its developer DropBox: Review, Invites, and 7 Questions With the Founder DropBox: Review, Invites, and 7 Questions With the Founder Read More and got us 100 free invites!

DropBox is neatly integrated into the operating system. In Mac, we automatically get a DropBox shortcut in the sidebar. Everything that we throw in it gets shared. We also get a menubar icon which shows our usage and when it’s uploading files, it shows the progress.

DropBox

DropBox syncs the files in my “DropBox” folder with my account in the cloud. So, if I change something within the folder, it is automatically detected and the change is then reflected online. You can also track the changes you made in your DropBox Web Interface once you log in. But because of this syncing feature, you can’t really use DropBox to purely store your files online because once you delete the files from the “DropBox” folder on your computer, the files are also deleted from the server. But then again, the function of DropBox is file-sharing not online backup. Karl did write about a method DropBox: Review, Invites, and 7 Questions With the Founder DropBox: Review, Invites, and 7 Questions With the Founder Read More where you could technically use DropBox to backup your files from one computer to another on a multi-computer setup.

Its main features are:

  • Neatly integrated into the OS
  • Automatic synchronization of the shared folder
  • 5GB storage without any bandwidth limitation
  • Automatic photo album creation

Any folder of pictures that you drop into the ‘Photos’ shared folder in DropBox will immediately be created into a beautiful photo album which you can share with your friends. Who needs Flickr and their 200MB limit?

DropBox is available for both Mac and Windows however, they’re still in beta and you’ll need an invite to get started. I have 10 personal invites which I’m more than willing to give away so that you can try and see how great DropBox is. Just let me know in the comments if you want one.

3. Civil Netizen

Civil Netizen doesn’t technically fall into “online” file-sharing because it doesn’t upload to servers online. Remember Podmailing Send several GBs of data to Friends using Podmailing Send several GBs of data to Friends using Podmailing Read More ? Civil Netizen is a similar application used to send large files to friends. The only drawback is that you’ll need to be online while the transfer is taking place. But this client has the upper hand when you’re trying to send a file which is larger than 100MB or 1GB which is the file limit for most online file-sharing services.

Civil Netizen

With Civil Netizen:

  • You can send files up to 4GB
  • Tracking the file download progress is possible
  • No account is necessary

Files which are about to be sent are packaged in a parcel. Like Pando, the recipient will receive a download trigger in their email called a pickup slip. Once the recipient starts to download the file, you can track the status in the client. All very reminiscent of DHL or Fed-Ex.

Civil Netizen is available for both Windows and Mac.

4. DropSend

DropSend is one of those services which gets ignored because of its limitations. It’s only capable of sending 5 files per month, of which they can be up to 1GB in size; and an online storage of 250MB. But with a desktop client, there’s a sparkle of hope for this forgotten service.

Since you only get 5 sends a month, you really should maximize your file limitation. Make sure that the files that you’re sending are packed to the brim. Zip up all the files you want to send and push them out at once.

Features of DropSend include:

  • Uploads to server
  • 5GB bandwidth limit per month on free account
  • 1GB file limit
  • 250MB online file-storage

The free account doesn’t sound that attractive but again, with a desktop client to make life easier, why not give it a go? I’m trying to take a slightly negative product and putting a positive spin on it because, let’s face it: life isn’t always a bed of roses.

Again, DropSend can be used on both Windows and Mac.

5. steekR

Bet you haven’t heard of this guy before. SteekR provides an online storage of up to 1GB with no file or bandwidth limitations. The cool part is, steekR is a clone of the popular online backup service Mozy. You can use steekR to select certain folders on your computer and schedule it to backup to the steekR server at any time you find most convenient.

You can then browse through your backup online after logging into their website or if you’re a Windows user, here’s a little treat for you. You can use steekR DriveDrive (don’t ask me why it’s called that) to browse your online backup directly on your computer as though it’s mounted as a physical drive, much like Gmail Drive

Gmail Drive

SteekR is made by the French (I’m guessing because the installation process was entirely in French) and so you’ll see some funny, nonsensical sentences in the application, which adds to the fun if I may say so. SteekR is available for [NO LONGER WORKS] Mac and Windows, with a little [NO LONGER WORKS] extra lovin’ for Windows users.

6. Dockdrop

Ahh finally, an application just for Mac. Dockdrop supports multiple protocols i.e. Flickr, WebDAV, SCP and FTP so you can easily “drop” your files and send them away. Dockdrop resides on the dock and uploading files is as easy as dragging them and letting go on top of the icon. If you have several protocols subscribed, it will ask you where you’d like to send the files. I suppose just reading about it won’t do it justice, watch this screencast.

Dockdrop

So in a nutshell, Dockdrop is a FTP client, Flickr uploader and a desktop client for WebDAV and SCP. Uploading to Flickr has never been easier. Transferring files to an FTP server is as painless as a drag-and-drop.

Which services have you been using? Any other preferred desktop clients? Also, if you want one of the 10 invites to DropBox, holler out in the comments.

(By) Jackson Chung is a full-time medical student attempting to perform a juggling act with relationships, studies and his future.

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