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Joel on Software


by Joel Spolsky
Thursday, October 23, 2003


It's hard to believe that here it is, what, 2002? No, I think it's 2003, and when you want to send a really big file or a folder full of little files to someone, you generally wind up messing around with ftp servers and whatnot.

Tokens screenshotWell, no longer. “A token is like a shortcut or alias that you can send via e-mail or instant message. With just one click you can create a token, and no matter how large the files you want to send are, the token representing them will be very small—just a few KB. Anyone you send a token to can then download the free Creo Token Redeemer software, and with one click redeem the token and download the files. It works for anything—a single file, an entire folder, a huge movie.”

It's quite cool. When you send a token via email your computer becomes a server, holding the files until the recipient redeems the tokens to get the file. The UI is really really simple, and you don't have to worry about whether the recipient already knows about tokens (if not, they'll get a link to download the free redeemer) or if there are firewalls in the way (if there are, the file transfer will automatically bounce off of Creo's giant-reflector-in-the-sky). This is a great implementation of a simple idea that brilliantly solves the nagging problem that it's just not easy enough to transfer large files down the hall, let alone halfway around the world, and it's going to take off like wildfire.

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