Monday, April 11, 2005
Avvenu: Mobile Friendly File Sharing
Posted by Darius Wey in "SITES & RESOURCES" @ 09:00 PM
I've lost count the number of times I've needed to gain access to a file on-the-go only to find that I left it on my home computer. Enter Avvenu, a remote file sharing service, which was recently updated to be snappier and easier to use than ever before. The beauty of it is that it's Pocket PC-friendly, so now you can access your files (whether it be a photo or document) whenever and wherever. <!>
Signing up for the free Avvenu service is a quick five-minute process. All you need to do is download the Avvenu software (for your PC), install it, register an account, and you're ready to go! Once installed, you're greeted with a login screen which restricts access only to you, meaning that Avvenu is secure and safe to use.
Once logged in, you'll discover an interface that's easy to navigate. The main interface has three tabs you can choose from: "Browse Computers" (where you can browse through the computers you have linked to the Avvenu service), "Track Sharing" (where you can track what has been shared and when it was accessed), and "Manage Account" (where you can change your user profile, subscription information, among others). There are two forms of access to your files - (1) direct, via your user login, and (2) by designated sharing, so you pick what files to share and who to share it with, and users who have access to the shared files need not have an Avvenu account to gain access to them. All that is needed is an email address and a web browser. Finally, all access is encrypted, which is a near-must these days!
But enough with the fine details. How well does it work from your Pocket PC?
In a nutshell, it works brilliantly. All you need is an internet-enabled Pocket PC, and it's as simple as opening up your browser (whether it be Pocket Internet Explorer, or the like) and typing in http://www.avvenu.com/. From there, you can login to your account, and start downloading and/or sharing your files instantly. The interface on the Pocket PC looks something like this:
Files can be presented in detail view or thumbnail view - the latter is definitely a bonus when viewing image files. Once you plow through your folders looking for the file you want to gain access to, all you need to do is click on it, and you're presented with two options: "Download" or "Share" (see the screenshot below). By clicking "Download", you instantly gain access to the file which you can view and choose to save to your Pocket PC if need be. This is the form of direct access I was talking about earlier. Clicking "Share" allows you, and others, to be given shared access to the file, all of which is controlled in three ways. (1) You have the ability to verify who has access to what file. (2) Once you have enabled a folder or file for sharing, a notification is sent to the intended recipient with a link to the shared files. Each notification includes a security token to avoid malicious access. (3) Finally, you have the ability to remove sharing privileges from a designated user at any time. This is managed with the "Track Sharing" tab I mentioned earlier.
As you can see, Avvenu is packed with features yet it's still a breeze to use. No software needs to be installed on your Pocket PC, and you can virtually access your files within seconds. Overall, I found Avvenu to be great, and those countless number of times when I've left a file at home, are now a thing of the past. Avvenu is free, but it's still in beta. Having said that, I found it to be very stable, and not once in my use has it done something quirky. If you're interested in giving Avvenu a go, you can read more about it and sign up for the service at their website.