Infrastructure // Networking
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Lamont Wood
Lamont Wood
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Go Green With Download Services

Using courier services to deliver files by hand makes no sense, even if they are too big for e-mail delivery.

Using courier services to deliver files by hand makes no sense, even if they are too big for e-mail delivery.I recently had to pay $91 to have a FedEx courier go to a museum office in Italy and pick up an envelope addressed to me, containing a CD with a 26 megabyte image file of a Renaissance painting. It was then flown across the Atlantic to my city and delivered by a truck.

Obviously, there's a better way, greener, less costly way: digital transmission. The file exceeded the 10 megabyte limit used by most e-mail servers, but could have been sent through a download service.

When the time came to send out copies of the resulting book manuscript to reviewers, it was also too big for some e-mail servers. So I clicked over to a download service called YouSendIt, and the first recipient had it in ten minutes. And it cost $91 less than the Italian method (i.e., the service was free.)

Basically, you give YouSendIt the e-mail address of the recipient, plus your e-mail, and select the file to be transmitted, which is them uploaded to the service. You can also add a message to go with the notice. The notice is then sent as e-mail to the recipient, with a screen button. Clicking the screen button causes the file to be downloaded from the service to the recipient's machine.

The free service is limited to 100-megabyte files, but for $9.99 you can go up to 2 gigabytes. Or you can skip the free service and subscribe to various levels of service, with various management controls.

YouSendIt hardly has a monopoly, incidentally, and some people count dozens of download services.

None of them would have worked with the Italian job, incidentally. They kept sending me canned e-mails in Italian saying they could sell me a 35mm slide that I must have a courier pick up at their office. Only when it arrived did I find that it was a CD. It was labeled with the name of the brother-in-law of the artist whose work I wanted, but it turned out to be the right picture.

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