FTPbox: Your Own Personal Dropbox

FTPbox uses a hosting service you the user own to store and sync files instead of being a third party cloud service, so in this sense it is almost a self hosting Dropbox clone. It is an excellent concept but it seems that it is not the finished article.  Eventhough FTPbox is at version 1.8.5 now (a beta of the version) it is still missing some key ingredients and some that are not very clear.

FTPbox

FTPbox first requires the user to fill in FTP details. After the details are entered it checks the credentials and a window opens where the full path of the files can be chosen. By looking at the window one seems to be able to choose the root of a domain (for example / or www.rgdot.com) to store files. In my test this didn’t work, the files simply didn’t exist on the host side. It is perhaps only possible to create a (sub)folder on the host space (for example /ftpbox or www.rgdot.com/ftpbox).

The options available are that a user can choose to access a file via a browser, copy its location to the clipboard or open the local version. The first didn’t work in my test therefore I am not sure what the browser interface looks like. On the local machine FTPbox creates a folder much like Dropbox, under the Documents folder. Files dropped into the folder are automatically synced.

Right clicking on the program’s tray icon brings up a ‘Recent Files’ list, clicking on any of the listed files is the equivalent of the action or option chosen (open in browser, copy path to clipboard or open local version).

Another issue with FTPbox is that many hosts do not allow the web space to be used for personal files. Many terms of service (TOS) only allow web site files to be stored.

FTPbox is an open source project and should run on all recent Windows versions.

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AnyClient: Multi-protocol File Transfer Freeware

AnyClient (Version: 4.2.1.57 tested) is a java based FTP client that also features some other not often supported protocols. These are FTP, SFTP, WebDAV, Amazon S3 and AFTP by JSCAPE, AnyClient’s own developers.

AnyClient

AnyClient features a standard two pane interface with an area to show or log transfers and a debug section. First thing to do, of course, is to set up login details by using the Site Manager (File —>Site Manager). The Site Manager features options to preserve time stamps when downloading and uploading, though this is often the case anyway. Here AnyClient also features settings and support for proxy servers and PGP decryption.

Back in the main interface of the program there is one interesting feature that can prove useful. The right most icon under the local system pane is called ‘Zip upload’. Here AnyClient supports choosing several files from the local machine side (via Ctrl+Click) and creating a zip file within the program and uploading them compressed.

AnyClient requires the Java Runtime Environment 1.5 or newer and it should run on all Windows versions.

Have a look at the comments section of the recently reviewed dropf for some other possible file transfer options suggested by regular visitor Asen.

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Dropf: Easy File Uploading

Dropf (Version: 0.2.8.39926 Beta) attempts to make it easier to manage FTP accounts and share files. It places a box-like hovering icon on the desktop where files can be dragged and dropped into. From there they will be automatically uploaded to the user’s configured FTP space.

dropf

Setting up FTP account(s) comes first. Right click on the box, go to FTP Accounts and then Manage. Fill in the details and set the root and upload path or folder. The paths will be relative to the FTP login path. For example if after logging into your FTP you are at / and want the uploads to go to the root of the example.com folder add / and /example.com for root and upload respectively. dropf checks the connection and creates any folders (for example if the uploads path is example.com/uploads the uploads folder will be created) necessary. Drag and drop a file into the box, it will be uploaded and the url  copied to the clipboard automatically. Dropf also has a Take Screenshot and Upload option where it uploads the (active window) full screen. When uploading multiple files or a folder they will be zipped – if the zip option is checked in the settings – and the url of the .zip file will be copied to the clipboard.

Right click the box to set theme (box shape), opacity and size. The program settings has options to add it to Windows’ Send To menu, make it start with Windows, auto copy uploaded files’ URLs to the clipboard and using one of goo.gl, 2d1.in or is.gd for URL shortening. The program offers to rename files to something ‘standard’, use time stamp naming, encrypt the multi-file zip upload and upload text clipboard items as a .txt file.

A very useful feature of dropf is the upload history, a useful reference. Using the program’s tray icon the dropf box can be hidden. Dropf should work on Windows XP and newer versions.

Note: The beta state of dropf is apparent as the box disappeared at least once when changing its size and opacity.

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iQ-Notes: Freeware Sticky Notes And More

iQ-Notes (Version: 5.07 as of this post) is a freeware sticky notes program that has features that make it a good and fully capable notes taking one. It can create unlimited number of notes – and with a recent new feature up to 12 tabs inside each individual note.

iQ-Notes

iQ-Notes can back up and restore notes to and from an external source. Notes can be associated with a sound, each have their own colors and transparency, synchronized to a FTP server and sent encrypted over a network with a passphrase or password shared between the end users. A built-in clipboard manager can hold items and categorize items into URLs, email, IM and time based ones. Each clipboard item can then be saved as a note or made into a favorte clipboard item to remain there forever. iQ-Notes also features configurable hot keys for creating new notes, finding notes and hiding or unhiding all notes. It also keeps backups – daily – of all the data and has a built-in rollback feature to restore a backup.

A new note is created via the tray icon or hot key and configured using the menu bar and drop down arrow to the top right of it. Colors, subject, title, alarm, tabs and password protection are just some of the available options. Furthermore each note can send and receive text from the clipboard, printed, emailed, saved as a text file, used as a contact list or expense entry and attached to a program window.

iQ-Notes

iQ-Notes also has a manage notes option which categorizes notes by date, changed date, subject and more. This window (see image above) includes a global search.

iQ-Notes works on Windows 2000 and newer.

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Freeware Shorts: SnapShot (Screen Capture)

SnapShot (Version: 1.0.4 as of this post) is a lightweight screen shot program or screen capture tool. It can take full screen, active window or rectangular area screen shots. By default it will only present a preview of the screenshot which the user can manually save. Using its preferences (Capture —> Preferences —> Save & Edit tab) auto save can be enabled with an option to not only choose the destination location but also a prefix for the file name. SnapShot is capable of saving files in BMP, GIF, JPG (JPEG), PCX, PNG, PSD or TIFF formats. Also from the same Preferences tab the output JPG quality can be configured. A path to an external image editor can be saved in the preferences for SnapShot to send or open the capture using it or optionally send the screen shot to the system clipboard.

SnapShot

SnapShot also features email and FTP to automatically send or upload a screen shot. Use the Edit menu to configure the email SMTP server and even choose the subject and text of the email and separately the FTP details.

SnapShot supports multiple monitors and supports setting a delay for taking screen shots. It should run on all Windows versions dating back to Windows 98.

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Freeware Shorts: DesyEdit

DesyEdit

DesyEdit (Version: 3.5 as of this post) is a tabbed text editor. It also features syntax highlighting for HTML, C++, SQL, XML, PHP and others. Additionally it includes FTP support to work with documents within DesyEdit and HEX and column editing as well.
DesyEdit becomes even more useful with its bookmarks, macros recording, case, tab and space conversions, full screen mode and print preview capabilities. It can also ‘print all open windows’, stay on top and open documents in read only mode.
DesyEdit is worth a consideration when looking for freeware editors.

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JShot: Freeware Screen Capture And Upload

JShot

JShot is useful if often capturing (parts) of a screen and needing not only a program that does the capturing but one that automatically uploads it to the web. JShot can capture full screens, active windows, rectangular sections, the task bar and the desktop among others. It has a built-in editor with undo and redo support in addition to adding text and other effects to the captured image. The image editor does a lot more including but not limited to lines and shapes and other operations like resize, rotate, crop, merge and blur.

JShot comes pre-configured to upload anonymously to imageshack but out of the box it also supports uploading to FTP, Skype, Twitter, Picasa and Dropbox. These require setting up login details using the configuration wizard (accessed via the Ctrl+F12 keys by default). For example the Dropbox plugin tries to open the dropbox site and add the capture to the your Dropbox’s private or public folder. The aforementioned configuration wizard (also accessible via the tray icon) includes settings for such things as capture delay – how long after clicking to capture does it actually happen – output format – default is *.png – and multi-monitor support and more.

Plugins can be developed to support other sites to upload to. JShot keeps a history of of its captures (View—>History). When installing the user can choose to integrate it to the Windows right click or context menu. JShot requires Java Runtime Environment 1.6 and is free for personal use.

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Freeware AutoVer Does Backups And Version Control

AutoVer is a simple backup and version control application. If desired backed up files can be saved in versions with time stamps appended to file names for each time they are edited and saved or the user may just schedule full backups and fore go any versioning.

When the program launches a new ‘watcher’ should be created by clicking the folder icon on the far left (the one with the plus sign). In the tabbed settings window that follows a folder is chosen to be watched and the out put or destination folder is chosen as well. It is also possible to set the destination to be a FTP (with the associated details set up in the FTP tab) server so the files are backed up online.

The Advanced tab has settings for including and excluding file types and additional options for things like ‘Settling Time’ which is the amount of time AutoVer waits after a file is saved to generate backups and ‘Run On Copy’ which allows a program to be launched to do any necessary processing (such as encoding a video) on the saved and to be backed up file.

The Versioning tab can be left unused if ‘None’ is chosen under the ‘Versioning Mode’. ‘Version all backup files’ adds the configurable and aforementioned timestamp and backs up the saved file. If hours, minutes and seconds are chosen the files are backed up by time period. ‘Version Previous backup files’ generates only one backup so that an initial or earliest version of a file is available. It is also possible to delete or archive old backups by using the ‘For versions older than’ setting.

The folder with gear icon to the right of the main program interface lets a user set up external applications that will be used in conjunction with the Backup Explorer (folder with magnifying glass icon) window. The programs associated for compare, text and images will be used from within AutoVer’s Backup Explorer. Here is also the place to restore and delete backups by right clicking previous versions in the far right of the Backup Explorer window.

AutoVer is freeware and should run on all Windows versions post 2000, including 64bit versions.

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Safely Transfer Files Using WinSCP

WinSCP is described by its author as

WinSCP is an open source free SFTP client and FTP client for Windows. Legacy SCP protocol is also supported. Its main function is safe copying of files between a local and a remote computer.

It is a very robust and feature rich FTP client that supports secure file transfer using SSH over FTP. It has many of the usual and expected features like integration into Windows for such operations as drag and drop and insertion into the Send To context menu. Additionally in can be used via the command line to perform many actions available in its GUI such as synchronizing files between remote and local folders or simply uploading files. Many remote commands are also available by right clicking files in the remote pane, such as duplication, move, Tar, Touch, Grep and of course changing file permissions. It is possible to store sessions or login details and even remember last used local and remote directories.

Two perhaps trivial but stand out features are an internal text editor to work on remote files and the ability to actually view such formats as .htaccess files in the remote pane therefore eliminating the risk of overwriting such files that Windows does not recognize, one thing that is really missing on most FTP clients.

WinSCP should run on any system running Windows 95 or later and is currently at v4.1.8. In my experience I have had less problems with WinSCP when compared to the highly rated FileZilla.

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