Two of the biggest improvements in personal computing of the last several years have been the availability and speed increases in high-speed connections, and the rapid increase in the size of low-cost, fast hard drives.
These improvements have helped bring on an explosion in using computers for recording and editing video, downloading music, and storing and editing digital photography.
And in turn, users want to share that media with friends, relatives and business associates via the Web.
Unfortunately, one improvement lagging behind is the size of e-mail attachments, with 20MB usually the largest file size able to be attached, and often less, through most e-mail and Internet providers.
To help supplement that need, a number of providers of large file sending services have appeared in turn over the past several years.
These services allow users to upload files through their sites, which are then stored for a limited time period. In turn, users can select who they want to receive these files, and the recipients receive an e-mail with a link directing them to where the file can be downloaded.
A number of these services offer free limited large file sharing services meant for occasional usage, and offer paid monthly plans for musicians, photographers, artists and others who have a regular need to share large files with clients.
Here are some of the most popular and useful sites allowing users to send large files.
YouSendIt (www.yousendit.com). YouSendIt is one of the oldest and most popular large file sharing services. YouSendIt's free Lite accounts allow you to send files up to 100MB in size, with a 1GB monthly download limit. Each file can be downloaded up to 100 times. YouSendIt also provides an address book feature, so you can keep track of your friends' and family's email addresses in one location.
Files remain available for 7 days - recipients have a week to download the files you've sent. YouSendIt is also HIPAA Compliant for sending private medical records –details are available on the site.
YouSendIt is also now offering a plug-in for Outlook 2003 and 2007, allowing users to attach large files within standard e-mails while avoiding e-mail server limits.
SendThisFile (www.sendthisfile.com). SendThisFile is another popular service. SendThisFile's biggest advantage is that it doesn't limit file sizes. It's free plan is limited in that users only have three days to pick up files, and each file can only be downloaded three times.
Send6 (www.send6.com). This excellent service has recently brought back a free plan to go along with its paid offerings. As the same suggests, Send6 users can send up to six files at one time. Send6 offers pickup confirmation, showing that users received the file desired.
DropSend (www.dropsend.com). DropSend's free Basic Plan allows users to send files up to 1GB in size five times per month. It also offers a PC and Mac client allowing users to send files directly from the desktop.
Other file sending services worth checking out include SendSpace (www.sendspace.com) and TransferBigFiles (www.transferbigfiles.com).
I use these services on a regular basis to transfer video, music and other files, and they can be a godsend when the need arises.
Tom Meek is a computer and media consultant working with businesses and individuals on high-tech needs. Another Day In Cyberville is published weekly in print and online via The Gainesville Voice, a weekly publication of The New York Times Regional Newspaper Group. You can reach Tom Meek at email@example.com.