Products & Reviews
Thu Apr 6, 2006 - 3:44 PM EDT - By
Table of Contents
Overview > One Program � Two Pu... Conclusion
One Program � Two Purposes Avvenu is a two-pronged service. As the account owner (user name and password to log you in, and you can do that from any other net-connected computer OR with your Treo from anywhere) you have access to every drive, folder, and data file of any kind on your host computer. You dont have to upload anything anywhere. You dont have to put your files on a hosting service, or FTP them into your personal Web space, or pay anyone a cent for hosting fees. Your computer running the Avvenu client IS the host computer.
Wherever you are, open a Browser and go to http://share.avvenu.com. Login with your name and password. Youll see your computers name and its drives as familiar graphics in your Browser. Magic! Navigate down to the file(s) you need; theyre displayed 15 at a time, as either thumbnails with recognizable icons, or in a detail list format, again, 15 at a time. You can [next] your way down through a directory or go [up] or [back] levels all the way to your desktop, go into a different drive, however many you have internal, external, even any removable media thats on your computer. Find the file(s) you need, and just download them to whatever computer youre using.
If you do this on your Treo, Avvenu politely displays your host computers drives, folders, and files in a format that fits the Treo's smaller screen with exactly the same functionality. You need install NOTHING on your Treo, as long as it has programs that know what to DO with those files (for instance, youll need something like Documents To Go to make use of a Word .doc or .ppt file) youre in business. The files dont stream to your remote machine, they download to it, so make sure you have enough storage space, either internal or an SD card, to hold them.
Avvenu serves your files to you at whatever the upload speed of your home computer running the Avvenu client is. If your host computers on cable, typically its upload speed is about 1/10th of its download speed, and file-grabbing speed will vary depending on the quality of your Treos connection. A 700w on Verizons EVDO network will obviously receive files a lot faster than a 650 on a normal cell connection. Stick a WiFi card into your 650 and use a hotspot if you want to kick butt.
If you need an entire folder full of files, you dont have to tediously download them one at a time. Avvenu will pack an entire folder into a .Zip file, serve it to you and then delete the .Zip off your host computer after the transfer finishes.
Sharing Your Files
Avvenus other purpose is to share selected files directly from your computer with your friends, family, or co-workers. To do this, you browse and log into your Avvenu account, select the folders or individual files you want to share, feed it the email address(es) of whomever you want to share with, and for how long you want that share to stay active: one day to a full year. Add a personal message if you wish, and mash the [share now] button. Whoever you shared with will get an email that tells them youre sharing files and they simply click on a special link that opens their browser and shows them ONLY the folders or files you want them to have. If they cant handle HTML email, theres even a text link they can cut and paste into their browser.
Any folders sub-folders are automatically shared, so move your files around if you dont want to allow that. The person with whom youre sharing files cant go UP any levels of directories higher than the highest folder youve shared with them. For instance, they cant see your desktop and all your drives if you only give them access to my documents/my pictures/joes_birthday. And they cant upload anything to your computer, only download from it, which prevents anyone from putting anything malicious on your machine.
If you shut your computer down, turn off the Avvenu client, or reboot, your sharing partner will get an error message that says your computers offline, so you should tell them to just click that email link again later. The sharing message box is the perfect place to explain this.
If you decide you really didnt want to share that folder or those files for a week or a month or a year, you can modify or cancel the share with Avvenus track sharing tab in your browser.
Whether youre logged in and using Avvenu to get your own files, or sharing files with others, itll only display 15 folders or files (in alphabetical order) at a time. This is hard-coded and cant be changed. In a directory that could have hundreds or thousands of files in it, it gets tedious having to click next next next over and over to drill down through a huge pile of files. Avvenu should change this and allow you to set and see a much bigger number of files at a time, (like the way eBay lets you see a short or long list of sellers auctions).. although if youve installed Googles desktop search engine, you can search for files, but thats only useful if you know a full or partial filename to search for.
You can share with multiple people simultaneously, but this can put quite a load on your computers resources if a few people are sucking files from you at once, and Avvenu gives you NO visual indication of any kind that anyone is logged in and taking shared files. The only way you know something is going on is seeing your hard drive light blipping, and this isnt enough. I want to know who is taking what files and when theyre doing it. Although Avvenu builds log files of all its activity, you cant view them while sharing is going on and even though theyre plain text, theyre confusing to decipher. They should provide a more elegant, real-time method of displaying the logs: So and so is logged in and downloading this or that file or folder. The information is all there in the logs, but Avvenu simply doesnt display it when you need to see it. Yet.
Avvenus currently a totally free service but they have big enhancement plans.
Next on their hit parade is the ability to sync your files with their servers, turn your computer OFF, and still be able to get or share your files securely from their disk arrays, rather than directly from your computer running their client. The free Avvenu service will carry on, but the server-cached files will be a tiered for-pay feature, and the cost will depend on how much data you want to store with them, so this will be useful if youre leery of taking a trip and leaving your home computer powered on, or if you dont want to leave the Avvenu client running all the time, as it does use up considerable CPU if you have a lot of shares happening at once. Next Page: Conclusion >>