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podmailing logo Usually, if I need to send a large file to a friend, what I normally do is upload it to DivShare, wait for it to finish uploading, find the link, compose a new email and send the link. But if I’m disconnected from the internet while uploading the file, that’s it, I have to start all over again.

That’s just one of the myriad of problems I face with conventional online file-sharing. I don’t like having to wait for the file to be uploaded, especially if it’s a large one. I also can’t find my way around the file-size upload limits that most file-sharing services restricts us to. Driveway was the most decent service I found, their upload limit is 500MB per file with a standard 2GB free account.

I stumbled onto Podmailing a while ago. At first, I felt a little weary and had my doubts about it, but for the sake of exploration, I decided to give it a try.

For me, it was a totally new concept, which I find hard to explain, but I’ll try anyway. Sending a file through Podmailing is as easy as dropping a file into its application window. It will then ask you for your email address, so that the recipient knows who the podmail is from. Subsequently, you’ll have to enter the recipient’s email address, add a subject and type a little message- which should probably say “Don’t worry, this is not spam. It’s the video you wanted.” Click SEND.

After that, the magic begins. The file is uploaded to Podmailing’s relay servers where it will be stored temporarily (up to 30 days). An email containing the download link is sent to your recipient. Clicking on it will open a web page, where your recipient will have 3 options to fetch the file:

podmailing scr

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1. From the browser.

Simple. Click and Save. However, this is not the best method because Podmailing will send the download link to your recipient even before the file has finished uploading! Why? Find out later.

2. Directly via Podmailing software.

Click on ‘Download it with Podmailing’ and be rewarded with a ‘.zed’ file. Double click on it and start downloading the file instantly. Your recipient will have to install the application first. The beauty about this is that we don’t need to wait for the file to be completely uploaded. Podmailing will download the part which has been uploaded, and at the same time, sets up a Peer-to-Peer (P2P) connection between the sender and recipient, so that the transfer will be even faster.

3. Download with BitTorrent.

Also on the download page is a link to get your file with BitTorrent. The genius about this is: imagine that you’re sending a 700mb video file to several friends. If they download it simultaneously, they will act as a swarm and they’ll grab parts of the file from each other. When one of your friends completely downloads the file, he will act as a seeder. This means that you’re not the only one sending the file and it quickens the process by a huge factor. This method also removes the issue of the upload speed to Podmailing’s servers.

So sending large files need not be a hassle. There are a couple of things that irk me about Podmailing, though.

Firstly, I didn’t have to create an account to use it, which means that there was no agreement about the privacy of my files which I send through Podmailing. So, I have to refrain from sending sensitive material with it.

Secondly, they store my files on their servers for 30 days. Good and bad in some ways. I guess it’s good because then my recipient can download it whenever he/she wants, even when if I’m not online to participate in the P2P transfer. On the other hand, I don’t like it because I don’t have the option to remove it from their servers after the transfer is complete.

But other than that, if you don’t really care about the privacy of what you’re sending and would just like a solution that will send very large files quickly and easily, Podmailing is it. Have a go and let me know your experiences in the comments.

Podmailing is available here as a free beta for Windows and Mac.

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

  1. baker
    January 11, 2009 at 3:55 pm

    The endless array of file sharing site. A good article/ review explaining this great service that i will try out today.

    However, the topic of brokenstones keeps shifting into my head.

    my email is baker at swgms.com

  2. thezonie
    June 24, 2008 at 9:49 am

    Interesting stuff, because I am currently developing a web site that allows you to basically the same thing but without having to download and install a program on your computer.

    There are no file or size limits, no software to download and install, and it is 100% free. It also works on all platforms, including Windows, Mac and Linux.

    The site is fileai.com, and we are currently in open beta. If you happen to stop by and give it a try, we’d appreciate any feedback.

    Thanks! :)

  3. bach
    March 12, 2008 at 10:44 am

    I think i see a new revelution coming on soon. :-)

  4. Louis Choquel
    March 12, 2008 at 9:53 am

    alexis, if I may, BitTorrent is a great technology, I love it too. Podmailing is not a replacement for BitTorrent, it is built on BitTorrent. Now I perfectly understand you'd prefer to use your usual BT client instead of Podmailing, in fact that's why we provide the .torrent link ;-)

    I just want to bring to your attention that our service provides a kind of free seeding for your torrents. Because as soon as you hit the "Send podmail" button, your file is uploaded (seeded, actually) towards our server and then you can close your PC, we keep it seeded for 30 days, with a temporary bandwidth boost for 48h after the end of the upload.

    This will pretty soon take the form of a "publishing" service, with the possibility to keep the file seeded for much longer, say several months.
    I'm looking for private beta testers of this new feature, so don't hesitate to contact me if you want in. Best spot is our page on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Podmailing/5646569569

  5. alexis
    March 12, 2008 at 7:34 am

    I prefer BitTorrent :)

  6. Louis Choquel
    March 12, 2008 at 4:57 am

    Hi Jackson, thanks a lot for the review. You have a very good understanding of the system.

    let me just add that when you download using Podmailing, the underlying BitTorrent client is used, so you have the same P2P benefits as when you use the ".torrent" link (in addition to the extra info you get from the ".zed" podmail link), and you actually exchange data with other people using a BitTorrent client if there are any.

    I have read your suggestions, and they are sensible. Privacy is very important to us. Currently the Podmailing security is equivalent to that of standard email and we plan to improve on that with encryption and authentication in the future.
    On a shorter timescale we do plan to manage user accounts pretty soon.

    And concerning file retention duration, it's true that users don't always want to max out the duration. So we are designing a system that will let the sender choose how long his files should be kept.

    • Jackson
      March 12, 2008 at 8:11 am

      Ah it's great to hear from creators of Podmailing here, reviewing my article ;) I do hope that the implementations will be made. I'm really looking forward to Podmailing overtaking the conventional online file-storage/sharing. Good job guys!

  7. Dave Drager
    March 11, 2008 at 7:06 pm

    Great Post!

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