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and it's going to take off like wildfire.

Because....

a.) Its a very innovative, new, and model idea?
b.) You have shares in the company, so it better?
c.) because you say so and using your internet leverage will immediately boost its traffic and publicity to achieve greater success?

I must admit.  Yielding such power is a wonderful thing.  I wonder if there's a JOS church somewhere..  ;)

sedwo
Friday, October 24, 2003

Disclaimer: I have not looked at this, because itsolves a problem that I personally do not have, but...

How is this different/better than bit-torrent?

Maybe because it is a one time use only token and is therefore more secure?

Steve Barbour
Friday, October 24, 2003

I vote for C.  Cult of personality and all that.

 
Friday, October 24, 2003

They want money for the service. If Mirabilis had charged for ICQ.  IM programmes would not have been as succesfull today!

i.e. it is not going to take off.

J
Friday, October 24, 2003

I hate to be a retroactively brilliant kind of person, but I, like I'm sure millions of others, have had this exact idea (implemented in largely the same way) dozens of times (usually when fighting with trying to send a file to someone [just spent an hour or so doing this last weekend, making holes in my firewall and trying to do tech support for someone else's firewall that dumped PASV ftp connections, etc], or worse getting a giant file that I actually didn't want in my email)- it is one of those "obvious" ideas.

Hilariously the reason why I didn't feel that it's worth pursuing is because of the low barriers to entry to duplicate something of this sort (humorously this slant sort of backs up the idea of IP protection) - If this idea starts catching on at all, I guarantee (with absolute certainty) that about 300 variants will pop-up, likely with none of them having any network effect or interoperability, so the usability goes down the drain (I would not download a special client just to grab a file from someone). Eventually someone will create an RFC and it'll be a commodity tool. Who out there doesn't think they could throw something like ths together in less than a day? (I mean really pkzip and a http server are all you need). The only difficulty at all would be the relay resources.

Dennis Forbes
Friday, October 24, 2003

"Hilariously the reason why I didn't feel that it's worth pursuing is because of the low barriers to entry to duplicate something of this sort"

Sounds like sour grapes to me ;-)

Ken
Friday, October 24, 2003

Not sour grapes at all - I would STILL not implement something like this from anything other than a hobbyist perspective because I think the barrier to entry problem will doom them - If they don't get a huge network effect immediately they might as well shut down the shop. Beyond the relay element, what about this is really unique beyond putting a GUI on a freeware HTTP server and ZIP? It doesn't even require custom clients, and can support full encryption.

The relay idea is good to get around the eternal firewall firewall problem, but an even BETTER idea would be a "token" approach to firewalls - i.e. firewalls with an HTTP preparser that identify allowed tokens and forward on internally.

Dennis Forbes
Friday, October 24, 2003

I agree that the barriers to entry seem low here, but that's what they said about nonrepresentational painting and you can't find a Rothko for less than a million dollars, even though my 6 year old nephew could do a good copy of one.

The value is in doing things, not thinking about how easy they would be.

Joel Spolsky
Friday, October 24, 2003

Well said.  By the way, things are no always as easy as they seem.  They have ports back to Windows 95 and Mac 9, they have a painless installer and presumably this has been tested to work on all kinds of environments/firewalls/machines.  I really doubt that this could all be done "in a couple of days".

Lou
Friday, October 24, 2003

"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...  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."

Good to know that for really big files, the recipient will be limited to the 25 kB/s my DSL offers, rather than an FTP server on a T or OC line somewhere. Good thing I'm not on dialup. And luckily, my box is *never* down.

I think that anyone who has to move lots of big files all the time, an FTP server is the way to go and they already have it worked out. (Besides, most platforms have FTP clients that make an FTP server look (more or less) just like any other network drive.) For anyone who doesn't do it too often, they'll stick with whatever they use, since if you aren't going to do this very often and it's always a pain some way or another, why bother to take the extra step (and force the recipient to take the extra step) of downloading yet another little app?

I must say, I was pleased to see that not only do they support Macs, they support both OS 9 and X. Doesn't matter, though. In 6 months they'll be in the e-graveyeard with Flooz and Beenz. Who really needs this? (Besides Joel.)

Reading the other thread, I see that you have to *pay* for this? That does it. No f'ing way is this thing gonna make it.

brian
Friday, October 24, 2003

"I really doubt that this could all be done "in a couple of days"."

Well said? Joel has stated quite the contrary in many of his own writings (that when the barrier to entry is low you have achieved little until you have the network effect in place). There are lots of Internet "Drive" (i.e. remote storage) apps out there, but I strangely don't see Joel praising the execution of them (indeed he dismisses them in one of his essays). I don't know what Joel's motivation is regarding this, but I find his championing of this product highly irregular as it seems to go against many of his other stances (a relatively simple technical solution that has many existing competitors, low barrier to entry, and requires the RECEIVER to download and install special software to receive your file - how presumptuous). Comparing a technical solution to a technical limitation and art is flawed from the outset so I won't even go there. I suspect that if there wasn't such a cluster of "Joel fan boys" that frequent this forum then there would be more people calling Joel on his proclamation of this great new technology.

Regarding the complexity of this, apart from the relay functionality (which is the only reason that justifies a special client) I could, in less than half an hour:

-Create a Delphi app (it's one technology that comes to mind, though the same could be done in .NET, etc)
-Add an Indy (Project Jedi) HTTPS component
-Add a "token to package" lookup table
-Add one of the countless freeware zip components
-Add one of the countless freeware encrpytion components
-Add functionality to choose a file or directory, which is then compressed and encrypted , and add an entry in the token to package lookup
-When an HTTP request comes in lookup and then send the package (including supporting resuming)
-Run a script every day to delete old packages

Voila. Indeed my "solution" is BETTER because you can send someone nothing more than a web link, and they can use any old client to download the file. Instantly the recipients can run any operating system under the sun - if it has a web browser they are set. 

The relay functionality deserves merit and is more complex, as I have specifically stated, however it could at best be called a kludge (sending packets first to an intermediary)

Dennis Forbes
Friday, October 24, 2003

Network effect is the keyword here.
If such a thing would exist on every computer, or even beter, it was built into the os, then everybody would use it. If I however have to ask the recipient to download some stuff just for one transfer, then I don't think it's going to work.

I think to make this work you would need to make it very standardised and ubiquous:

- make an RFC out of it, as has been suggested here.
- make it work with ftp servers

Dimitri.
Friday, October 24, 2003

Joel also pumped Creo's Six Degrees (remember "Google for the desktop?")

http://www2.creo.com/sixdegrees/

I had never heard of Creo until I started reading JOS.

tomislav
Friday, October 24, 2003

This isn't the first time that Joel has praised the virtues of the wares coming out of Creo.  Remember six degrees?

 
Friday, October 24, 2003

Joel, your comment about Rothko's is irrelevant. The value of a painting is at least partly in the originality. In the software world,originality means little, unless protected by a patent, copyright, or similar.  Because of the low barrier to entry it will be copied by someone with deeper pockets for advertising, and Creo will become a niche-market server.

NC
Friday, October 24, 2003

Joel, don't you have easy access to your web server?

I can see a solution like this working for a home user (a bit expensive though) or a corporate user without a website - but I'm not sure what advantage it has over dumping the file on your website and sending a link via email - an approach that requires no additional software, works within software the users are familiar with and doesn't cost any money...

That's what we've done for years now.  We don't even run an FTP server - Usually use WebDAV or access the server directly.  In a pinch we can also upload online. From our end it is straightforward, and from the user's end - they get an email, and can download from their browser.

Phibian
Friday, October 24, 2003

Phibian: How many people have a setup that makes it as easy to post files as yours?

The Pedant, Brent P. Newhall
Friday, October 24, 2003

Oh, now I see why...

http://www2.creo.com/sixdegrees/news/news_weblog020102.asp

Interaction Architect
Friday, October 24, 2003

This is going to die a quiet and unlamented death.  If you need to send large files often enough to justify spending $49 on it, more than likely you already have a web server.

(now watch this end up in that list along with "why would anybody want a computer in their house?")

Chip Olson
Friday, October 24, 2003

*shrug*

Everyone here seems to be talking about how useless this is or how people should just use a web server or ftp.  Personally I think this would be a great idea, maybe not for businesses but for personal use.  I have often wanted to send files to people I was chatting with.  Just about everyone I know has broadband and a router, so most forms of IM file sending don't work.  I would use this in a second if it were free.  If it were something I was doing more often I could easily see paying for it.

Who the hell wants to set up an HTTP or FTP server just to send some people files?  I'm a developer and work with computers every day and even I don't want to bother with that (hell I can hardly bother myself to get web hosting).  What do you think less tech-savy people do?

Mike McNertney
Friday, October 24, 2003

Take off like wildfire?

I used to work there and they never really took off. Just kind of sputtered around until Orange acquired them.

Clutch Cargo
Friday, October 24, 2003

"I have often wanted to send files to people I was chatting with"

I haven't used chat in a long time, but don't most of those programs already have a mechanism to transfer large files?

 
Friday, October 24, 2003

If this were proposed as another mechanism of file transfer, then it would have slid under the radar largely unnoticed, but let's face it -- All appearances (and this is pure speculation so I very well may be wrong) are that Joel is greasing the palms of some friends or associates. From Joel's own writings this is exactly the sort of service that I would imagine that he would write-off as hopeless (a new service charging some pretty real dollars to provide a relatively trivial service and requiring a network effect to work), but instead it's the next great thing that will take off like wildfire? Uh huh.

Dennis Forbes
Friday, October 24, 2003

i agree with mike.  i can't send files with AIM or yahoo because everyone is behind firewalls and it never works.  this is the first piece of software in a long time that i'm excited about & i would actually consider paying for right out of the blocks.

i used it to send a copy of Star Wars Kid 2.0 to a friend.  now that's good stuff.

easier is better
Friday, October 24, 2003

Let's look a little more carefully.

The sender can't be behind a firewall. On the other hand he must have 24/7 access. In other words a small substrata of home users.

The recipient will be behind a firewall that doesn't allow file transfer by IM. However somehow or other the firewall is going to be kidded to accept the download.

The software costs $49, and yet Yahoo, which everybody knows. lets you have a sort of ftp server for free, and some reasonable storage space if you pay.

Web hosting with maybe 500MB of storage space can be had for around $49 a year.

I can see the problem fulfilling a need, but "taking off like wildfire"?

Stephen Jones
Friday, October 24, 2003

Realize that Creo's target market is digital artists (look at the rest of the company).  Digital artists have a lot of huge files that need to get to all kinds of places and they are not tech savvy.  Their customers are even less tech savvy.

They buy a Token generator and then tell their clients to download the redeemer.  Then when they want to send them the latest pic/movie/etc. they just generate a small token and send it to them.

I guarantee you that Creo knows this market better than most of the commenters here and has identified a need.

Lou
Friday, October 24, 2003

It might surprise you how few businesses actually do market research before launching a new line.  I don't know whether Creo did or not, but I know for sure we can't just automatically assume that they did.

entrepreneur II
Friday, October 24, 2003

I'm not suggesting they did market research -- I bet they just ran into this problem servicing their customer base.  I don't think it's going to take off more generally -- but there are still a lot of people who run Macs, have huge files, and have no freaking idea how to get them around. I run into this problem sometimes too, but not enough to pay for anything.

Look at the brochure -- their customers are people who are burning CD's and Fedexing them around.  Most people have no idea what FTP is -- the people on this board are not the target market.

Lou
Friday, October 24, 2003

Business decisions 101:  Build (custom solution for a few customers) or buy (free webserver software for a few customers).  If it's for their customers, unless they have a million customers then they aren't going to get rich or even make a return on this investment.  Unless of course those people who say this can be built in a few days are correct.  No doubt in my mind this is intended for more than just their customers or the printing market. 

As for your other assertion, that's just flat out not true.  I have been loosely involved in the graphics field going on 20 years now.  Those people most definitely ARE technically savvy.

entrepreneur II
Friday, October 24, 2003

"I agree that the barriers to entry seem low here, but that's what they said about nonrepresentational painting and you can't find a Rothko for less than a million dollars, even though my 6 year old nephew could do a good copy of one."

So this software will be selling for $6,000,000 one day?

Jim Rankin
Friday, October 24, 2003

tomislav and He That Shan't Be Named, that's a different Creo.

Murkin (from Murka)
Friday, October 24, 2003

No, it's the same creo. See http://www.creo.com/global/products/default.htm
and scroll down to the "Creative" section to see both Six Degrees and Token.

  I hate to say it, but there certainly is the *appearance* that Joel is rewarding a customer by hyping their products on his webpage.

Anon. Coward
Friday, October 24, 2003

My ISP and the ISPs of most people I know come wiht free hosting space, ie:

http//hosters-r-us.net/~dennisthemenace/

(not a real location, btw)

I didn't set it up, they set it up for me. It's basically free to me. I do put large files there and send people a link, mainly because it's more compact and faster than mail attachments. Also, no one likes getting a large attachment in their mail, preventing mail from being seen until the obese monster clears  through. No one.

I'm not sure what my method has that the other doesn't, except for security, which is not an issue for all the folks sharing family photos and video, which I assume is one of the larger of the target markets.

Dennis Atkins
Friday, October 24, 2003

"I hate to say it, but there certainly is the *appearance* that Joel is rewarding a customer by hyping their products on his webpage."

Yeah, it's a bit like recommending books (e.g. 'Paper Prototyping' and 'How Would You Move Mount Fuji?') without disclosing that you're mentioned in them.

Not impressed
Friday, October 24, 2003

Brent asked: "Phibian How many people have a setup that makes it as easy to post files as yours?"

That wasn't quite my point.  Obviously, individuals won't have a setup like ours and don't want a setup like ours either, I might add.  Then again, I doubt they want to pay $50 in order to solve a problem most individuals don't have.

My point was: How come Joel was still "messing around" with FTP in this day and age for any reason except testing the functionality of their product?  We already know Fog Creek has control over their web server, so that can't be the issue.  Surely they have some form of direct access to their webserver to facilitate making changes to it? 

I can see how some mainly non-technical and smaller setups/individuals might find the technology useful.  I'm just surprised that Joel is among this segment.

Phibian
Sunday, October 26, 2003

Interaction Architect made it crystal clear: Oh, now I see why...

http://www2.creo.com/sixdegrees/news/news_weblog020102.asp

<QUOTE FROM SITE>By the way, I'm using CityDesk for this weblog. And we use FogBugz in our software development process to track and resolve defects. Joel has a good team, and they do great work. Simplicity is back!</QUOTE FROM SITE>

Now link this topic to "Undercover Advertising" http://discuss.fogcreek.com/joelonsoftware/default.asp?cmd=show&ixPost=81008 and it all starts to become clear.

Next he'll be offering us free cigarettes at the pub!

Jack of all
Tuesday, October 28, 2003

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