Afterword

ThimphuTech was the first technology blog in Bhutan. We started writing it in 2009, just as broadband and mobile internet started to take off. (Although internet in Bhutan was launched in 1999, it was either super-slow or super-expensive, and was only used by a selected few).

In the blog, we wrote about technology and food, but also about plenty of other stuff. The blog became popular and influential in Bhutan. A companion bi-weekly column -- Ask Boaz -- was published for many years in the Kuensel, Bhutan's national newspaper. (The complete Kuensel columns are available as an ebook, Blogging with Dragons).

We stopped updating the blog when we left Bhutan in 2014, but the information within the posts can still prove useful, and thus we decided to keep it online.

We thank all our readers.
Tashi Delek,
Boaz & Galit.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Transferring Files (K2 #22)

What is the simplest way to transfer files between computers?
-- Karma

Dear Karma,
The simplest and quickest way to transfer files is using pen drives. However, this is also the most dangerous method! Many people in Bhutan carry files - such as songs, photos, documents, etc - on pen drives (also known as USB sticks or thumb drives). Pen drives loaded with songs now appear to be a mandatory taxi accessory (alongside solar-powered prayer wheels).

While it is tempting to transfer files between computers using pen drives, you will likely transfer unwanted passengers in the process: Most pen drives in Bhutan, after their first usage, are infected with harmful computer viruses. These viruses are designed to attack your computer once the pen drive is plugged in. If you have a good and up-to-date anti-virus software, it might help, but there's always a chance that the virus will not be detected by the anti-virus program. Using pen drives is like kissing a person with a cold, in that viruses transfer from one infected computer to another.

Here are safer ways to share files, without using pen drives. All of these methods require a broadband connection - which might be a challenge in some cases - but the extra effort is worth it. As an added benefit, your files will be backed up online. Note that songs, photos and PDF files are always safe to share, while other file types might carry a virus.

Email: Probably the most straightforward way is to send the file(s) as attachments to your friend using web-based email (Gmail, Yahoo! Mail, or Hotmail). If you are transferring files between your two computers, send the email to yourself. Note that there's usually a limit to the attachment size (Gmail, for example, caps the files at 25MB). The email - with the attached file(s) - will be kept on the sender’s "Sent" folder.

YouSendIt: If your files are larger than 25MB, YouSendIt (yousendit.com), which allows uploading and sharing larger files (up to 50MB), is very easy to use.

Photos sharing websites: There are many sites which allow you to upload and share photos and videos for free. Two of the most popular are Flickr and Picasa. Flickr (flickr.com) allows you to upload 300MB worth of photos per month. Picasa (picasaweb.google.com) has a 1GB storage space for photos, and makes it easy to control what you share and with whom. Of course, you can always upload your photos to Facebook.

Google Docs: A fantastic web-based application (docs.google.com) which allows you to upload and share files and documents. 1GB of free storage.

Skydrive: Microsoft answer's to Google Docs offers a generous 25GB - that's around 10,000 songs - for document storage and file sharing. Upload your files and share them with friends (skydrive.live.com)

Readers are encouraged to submit technology-related questions to boaz@thimphutech.com