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Services: I.T. Advice Article




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Big Emails Getting You Down? Try this Tip!

by Allan Naguit – March 2006 Frustrated User staring at monitor

Tired of sending and/or receiving email attachments that are just too big? Have any of these ever happened to you?

  • You couldn't send your email because it was "too large"

  • Your email was rejected because you had an attachment that was dangerous (as in, something that could be infected with a computer virus)

  • Your email bogged down because someone sent you an email with a large attachment, and you couldn't send or receive anything until the attachment finished downloading

Let's look at these three things in turn.

#1 - Email Too Large

Internet Service Providers usually impose a "file size restriction": a limit on how large your email can be when sending. If you go past that limit, your email won't get sent. You can try to ZIP your file (using a utility like WinZip to compress and reduce the size of your file) to try and get under the limit... but what if you're still over?

#2 - Email Contains Dangerous Attachment(s)

Email Systems (especially corporate ones) usually have all sorts of protective schemes to try and keep viruses and other malicious software from damaging their systems. This is why they can opt to block certain types of attachments (i.e., "file type restriction") because these file types might contain malicious software.

So, if you try to send someone an attachment with one of these file types that are blocked (e.g., audio files, EXE files) you might get a terse message saying something like "Your email message was blocked. It contains a SOUND file".

However, maybe the file you're trying to send is absolutely legit, even required by the person to whom you're sending it. How then do you get that file over?

#3 - Email Attachment Took Forever to Download

Email programs (e.g., Outlook, Outlook Express) periodically check for new email. However, they don't check how big the messages are before they try to download them into your Inbox. If one of those messages happens to have a large file attachment, you could be in for a very long wait, especially if you're on a slow internet connection. Wouldn't it be nice if you could choose IF and WHEN to download big attachments?

The Solution

Well, there's a way to get past all of these problems. You can try a "Large File Transmission Service".

Such a service acts as third-party file repository, kind of like a brick-and-mortar Post Office box. As the sender, you upload your file(s) to it. Since this step isn't done via email, you get past the email "file size restriction".

Then, for your intended recipients to actual get your file (package), they need to download the file from the Large File Transmission Service provider's website. This act of downloading is hands-on and is outside of the email system; this should be enough to get past the "file type restrictions" imposed by some corporate email systems.

Remember, because you, as the recipient, needs to go to the website to collect the file that's been sent to you, you can choose if and/or when to download the file that was sent to you.

If this all sounds a bit complicated, don't worry. I've found a very simple solution for you. It's called, youSENDit.

youSENDit logo

youSENDit

There are many of these large file transmission services on the net, but possibly the most popular one is youSENDit (http://www.yousendit.com).

How it works

Using youSENDit is a simple three-step act. Once you're on the youSENDit website...

  1. Enter the email address of the person to whom you're sending your file.
  2. Upload your file from your computer to youSENDit (via the Browse button on the website).
  3. Click on the "Send It" button:  Send It button

That's it.

What happens is that youSENDit will send an email to your recipient(s). In step one (above), you can even add an optional message to personalise the email youSENDit will send on your behalf. That email will include a link to the file you uploaded to youSENDit's server. When your recipients receive the email and click on that link, they'll be prompted to download your file from youSENDit.

Personally, I like youSENDit for the following reasons:

  1. You don't need to set up an account
  2. The service is free
  3. You can send to multiple recipients
  4. It's very easy to use

Unlike some of the other services, you don't need to register and set up an account to use it. If you do choose to set up a (free) account, you get a few more perks like an Inbox and Sent Items folder for keeping track of files you've sent and received.

As I mentioned, the service is free.

To send your file (say, a holiday video, but it can be anything) to several people, youSENDit allows you to enter several email addresses in the email address field - you just need to separate them with commas. Not all services have this "multiple recipient" capability.

Again, it's dead easy to use.

youSENDit Restrictions

With youSENDit, your file can be downloaded a maximum of 25 times, or within seven days, whichever comes first. After the 25th download or the 7th day, your file will be deleted from the youSENDit server. They say you can upload a file as big as 1000MB(!) but I've never tested that. Oh, and you can only send one file at a time.

Alternative Large File Transmission Services

Just to give you some alternatives, you could check out the following services. This is by no means a comprehensive list. Check Google for more alternatives.

dropload (http://www.dropload.com)
megaupload (http://www.megaupload.com)
sendthisfile (http://www.sendthisfile.com)
streamload (http://streamload.com)

My Large Email Woes — Now With Hope in Sight

The next time you're in a garage band and need to send a 5-hour recording session to your fellow band members, use a large file transmission service like youSENDit instead of crashing their email systems and yours.

The next time you record a little "Happy Birthday" song for a friend, send it via a service so you don't get upset by the "Your email has been blocked. It contained a SOUND file" rejection slip.

And the next time you want to take files from work to home and back, you can send them via one of these services. This is especially useful if your laptop's dying, you've lost your big USB Flash Key, the CD Burner's not working, you've run out of blank CDs, or you just can't be bothered using or carrying those things around.

But it certainly helps to have a fast internet connection.

Allan's signature

Allan Naguit is an I.T. Consultant for Funai Pty Ltd, an outfit that provides "I.T. Handyman Services" for small businesses and home offices based in the Sydney Metropolitan Area (Australia).
Just like a handyman, but for computers and IT.
To see "how to unblock your computer's pipes", visit our Services page.
Copyright 2007 - Funai Pty Ltd

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You can view the PDF version here (100KB).


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