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Creo Tokens

The idea is quite neat.

I wonder what happens when your computer is offline though?

Since you have to pay $49.95 I can't see it taking off too quickly.

Matthew Lock
Friday, October 24, 2003

I'd guess nothing happens if your computer is offline.

That's the flaw really. If you're on a lan, windows filesharing is usually the easiest way to share a file.

If you're on the internet, you probably want the reliability of a server to distribute the files. If you don't have a server, you're probably a home user who turns their PC off, in which case the benefits of this software are somewhat dubious.

I can't really see people paying for what is basically a very limited P2P network. Especially since the functionality is so basic it's sure to be cloned for free if it ever takes off. I've been wrong before though. ;)

Sum Dum Gai
Friday, October 24, 2003

Is there any communication system on the internet where people pay for anything?

Email, p2p, IM, IM, web, ftp etc are all free. I can't imagine any of those being successful if you had to pay.

Matthew Lock
Friday, October 24, 2003

Mr. Lock, read the faq on the creo site. Creo can host a tokens server 24/7 for you.

I am going to tell my boss all about tokens as soon as I see him today, since this might be a solution to a lot of problems we have (distributed developement, meening we develop at our clients office and have no proper connection, due to firewall and policies, to our home office).

btw: ftp and email are not free! You need an ftp or mail server, which implies hardware costs, maintainance costs and a connection to the internet (or whereever you host these services).

*recieving* ftp and email is free, I agree, though such is the case also with tokens.

Daren Thomas
Friday, October 24, 2003

Whenever I have to send a file to someone I send it via IM... I've had blazingly fast transfers when everyone was behind the same firewall, and completely failed transfers when we're both behind different firewalls.

Creo Tokens looks like a good idea, espcially if they can work out any firewall problems - except where these firewall problems SHOULD exist, like corporate firewalls when access to your PC as a server would be a big no-no.

Other p2p alterantives exist.. Groove (which we know Joel looked at), Waste (which, technically, shouldn't be publicly available), and probably a half dozen others I don't know about.

Heck, why not just install Apache and dump files into the HTTP directory and send people a link to your computer. Ok maybe that's too geek for your average middle manager.

Creo Tokens look like an elegant solution to something that's can sometimes be a technically challenging process.
Friday, October 24, 2003

gotta try it, before I comment - but like Matthew says charging for it might not make it any overnight success!

Prakash S
Friday, October 24, 2003

Although it may be a good idea, there appear to be few technical barriers to entry - suggesting that if the idea resonates there will be many alternatives developed that carry little or no cost.

David Geller
Friday, October 24, 2003

"if there are firewalls in the way [...] the file transfer will automatically bounce off of Creo's giant-reflector-in-the-sky"

Uh. Yeah. So what? If a firewall is blocking a port it is blocking a port. Unless of course they have found some way of circumventing every firewall in existence, in which case this should be reported at CERT and so on.

If you regularly "wind up messing around with ftp servers and what not" and haven't got the system at least partially automated by now then you deserve a severe kicking.

Friday, October 24, 2003

Sounds like one of those chicken and egg problems that Joel wrote about ages ago. Very cool idea though - I hope that it becomes popular. It sounds like a good system for sending large files, for small files email would still be a lot easier.

Daniel Searson
Friday, October 24, 2003

A nice idea if you're not already using Groove, which allows you to share files *much* more effectively along with a host of other essential/useful stuff.

For example - your recipients(s) are offline, or you are when they are online? The files go to a Groove relay server for subsequent receipt.

Lots of recipients? The relay server fans out the files, saving you bandwidth.

You changed a file? Only the changes get sent.

Your recipients might want to control which files the get first? You can specify downbload-on-demand, specifying file sizes for automatic/verrsus manual download. AND Groove looks for the most advantagious person to get the files from, saving even more bandwidth.

Friday, October 24, 2003

Would be more useful if you could pay to receive rather than send.
If I need to send large files to customers it's easy because I can simply put them on our FTP server and give them download rights and a hypertext link. On the rare occasions that this isn't suitable I can burn a CD or DVD and post it to them for a few pence.
The tricky bit is when I want to get large data files FROM a customer. People seem to be blocked from uploading to FTP much more often than they are from downloading and not everyone has the ability to burn CDs (and especially DVDs).
So what I would want is to allow the customer to send data to me using this mechanism, at MY expense.

Friday, October 24, 2003

They forgot the most important part (at least for this first version)... trust systems.  Creo Tokens seem fine for very small groups (say, distributed dev teams).  But imagine that this is wildly successful and "everyone" sends tokens and "everyone" has a token receiver.

OK, then you have the same problem as email attachments and virus/trojan/spam detection.  You'll never want to open a Creo-received file until it's quarantined and scanned.  You will never open something from an email address you don't recognize, and probably not from addresses you DO recognize unless you're expecting the file.

At least currently AV is reasonably integrated into email at both corporate / mail-relay levels and at the client and will generally stop many harmful attachments before they get on your system.

Dave Torok
Friday, October 24, 2003

Creo appears to be primarily in the printing business. I can see this being a great mechanism for sending large files out for professional printing.

When I worked on a magazine in college, we had to muck around with Syquest drives whenever we were ready to go to press and $49.95 for unlimited digital transfers would have been much cheaper and easier.

It doesn't really seem to be suited for home use, but I don't get the impression that they're marketing it that way either.

Friday, October 24, 2003

I think that for receiving large files, my Image Manager program ( ) might be a better solution. Drop it on the web server, give people their own account, and they can upload even very large files.  If the image resizing option is turned off, it doesn't care about what kind of file you're uploading.

This is cool looking technology, but HTTP servers have been around for 10 years and most of us already know how to use them.

Clay Dowling
Friday, October 24, 2003

I'm surprised nobody really mentioned BitTorrent. It's a breeze to setup a torrent file (well, at least for techie types - don't expect the office manager to do it), and it's very fast and reliable.

If you regularly need to send large builds to your customers, consider building a system around xdelta, a powerful command-line binary diff utility. We've been sending daily builds to our publishers, around 500 MB each, but the xdelta files are typically 2-15 MB.

Friday, October 24, 2003

I added a comment to the thread above about that.  Are there any advantages to this over bit-torrent?

Steve Barbour
Friday, October 24, 2003

The thing is that they are clearly marketing themselves to people who want to share files but can't be bothered to set up a web server.  What comes to mind is non-techies with a digital camera and the like.  The problem is that their pricing sturcture isn't good for this market- sure, they might may $50 for the software, but w/o the $600 server component you have to leave your PC on and connected to the internet 24/7.  They ought to make the bundles available on the server by default, and have some sort of subscription or per-use charge.  That said, from the FAQ on their site, they seem to have a pretty neat solution for the whole firewall problem.

Friday, October 24, 2003

This really strikes me as an attempt to reproduce the functions of BitTorrent in a simpler, more accessible manner. Creo has a transparent tracker, the redeemer connects to it, and from there... voila. I wonder how deep the similarities go..?

Dan Wright
Friday, October 24, 2003

>btw: ftp and email are not free! You need an ftp or mail
>server, which implies hardware costs, maintainance
>costs and a connection to the internet (or whereever
>you host these services).

OK, show of hands: who here is on the Internet and did not get free email with that?

I would also like to point out that, without a "connection to the internet", tokens don't work, either.

Friday, October 24, 2003

Tokens may not have the same virus problems as email.  The reason email viruses are so prevalent is because they can resend themselves to email addresses they find on an infected computer.  Tokens may not be vulnerable to this type of attack because of the encryption they use.

Mike McNertney
Friday, October 24, 2003

The real question is

What problem is being solved?

File too big for quota?
I'll claim a web server + automatic uploading software + automatic file deletion on the website 1 day after the file is downloaded would be sufficient for the 'file is too big for my email quota' problem. And only one side needs to install custom software. Either side could be the payer.

Files in email = virus?
I'll claim the above works for that too. At least what you download is now (initially) 'zoned' too.

People (in general) don't understand pointers, hierarchical filesystems, filesize, etc?
This is the real problem. I don't see how this solves it.

Something else?

Friday, October 24, 2003

What business problem is being solved?  I think the press release + the token front page gives the answer:

"Tokens facilitates the exchange of large digital files for graphic designers; agencies; and service bureaus."  And they mention workflow:  "No interruption to the way you work"

Then the tokens page has the following 'benefits':  Easy, Efficient, Secure, Polite, Economical [note: compared to creating and shipping  CDs], Simple, Scaleable.

From this, I gather it's the one-click/automatic bit that's the primary selling point, rather than the technology.  It's WinZip plus HTTP server plus a file cleanup vulture plus a 'secure' token-based URL generator.  So that the end user doesn't have to mess with all the steps needed to 'workflow' those aspects together.

Dave Torok
Friday, October 24, 2003

right, so the system i described (upload side software to which does the 'messing around with ftp servers and whatnot' for you) would work just as well, doesn't need any special token redeemer beyond an HTTP client (aka web browser).

a useful product, no doubt, one I may mention to the business down the hall who passes files back and forth with customers on a semi-regular basis. the reflector part may even have some minor security advantages over a web server depending on how it's implemented.

Friday, October 24, 2003

So, do they have a patent for this so no one can make a clone of it?

Friday, October 24, 2003

Uhhh, but we already have this...

Here is a token you could use to download a file (if it was a real one) :_

Even works for ftp too...

Saturday, October 25, 2003

JB: that's great -- for YOU.

My mom, on the other hand, would not be able to move the files into a folder, figure out what the URL was, and then email that to a colleague.

Additionally, it requires that SOMEONE sets up a web server for my Mom.

The benefit of tokens is, as I mentioned before, that to the sender and recipient it's nearly the same as just emailing the file, but you don't need to worry about file sizes or anything like that.  What makes it cool is how simple it is, and how well implemented it is.

Tech-savvy developer types are NOT the target market. :-)

Tim Sullivan
Saturday, October 25, 2003

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