USB dongle eases Internet file transfers

PC enthusiasts never seem to have a problem sending files back and forth over the Internet. There are plenty of different methods to use, and at least one of ’em will probably work for the person on the other end of the transfer. The thing is, transferring files isn’t all that straightforward without additional software or the assistance of third-party websites. Unless the file to be sent is under the attachment size threshold of both parties’ email accounts, mainstream users don’t stand much of a chance of figuring things out without a call to whichever friend of family member they have on speed dial for tech support.

XKCD summed up the situation nicely a couple of weeks ago, and I just stumbled upon what looks like a novel solution while cruising Wired’s Gadget Lab blog. A company called iTwin has developed a two-headed USB dongle that, with the assistance of software, allows files to be transferred wirelessly between computers that have one half of the device plugged in. The system guards the virtual connection between iTwin halves with 256-bit AES encryption, and one can set a password on top of that for additional peace of mind. Users can also disable the other half of a pair remotely if it’s lost or stolen.

With a $100 street price, the iTwin is an expensive alternative to the free methods most of us use on a daily basis—ones that don’t require specialized hardware. The iTwin might be easier to explain to your mother, but it also needs one half of the dongle to be present at both ends of the transfer. The fact that such a product exists at all underscores just how complicated something as simple as sending files over the Internet can be.

Comments closed
    • djgandy
    • 8 years ago

    Dropbox. Share with other user. Done.

    • TechCtrl
    • 8 years ago

    Just setup a temporary FTP server on the machine, or use an F2F software.

    • CB5000
    • 8 years ago

    100$ will buy you a large capacity ultra fast USB3 flash drive that will be way faster in transferring files compared to the iTwin. No USB3 on your computers? 100$ will still buy you a even higher capacity drive with a slower interface that will still saturate the USB2 bandwidth.,. and still faster than the iTwin’s wireless connection.

      • Norphy
      • 8 years ago

      …which is all very good if you’re in the same building as the person you’re sending files to. But what if you’re at the opposite end of town? Or the county? Or the country? Or in a different country? Will it still be quicker then?

    • Bensam123
    • 8 years ago

    Megaupload or your favorite IM that both people have.

    Ideally FaceBook should have a direct file transfer option built in, since they already have a chat client and everyone seems to use it.

    Agh, someone beat me to it.

      • Chrispy_
      • 8 years ago

      Go and read the XKCD comic Geoff mentions, then come back when you’re qualified to comment in this thread 😉

        • Bensam123
        • 8 years ago

        I read it before I commented?

        Just because XKCD says they’re filled with spyware and spam doesn’t mean they are. Go to a reputable upload site and do some first hand research before believing what a comic says online over all other judgement. 😉

    • ShadowTiger
    • 8 years ago

    I believe that file transfers through a messenger service like AIM are the simplest.

    Since Facebook seems to be adding tons of crap lately maybe they are best suited to fill this hypothetical void in the market.

      • willyolio
      • 8 years ago

      still doesn’t solve the problem of sending a file to yourself, though.

        • Farting Bob
        • 8 years ago

        Theres a hundred ways of doing that though, and none of them cost $100….

    • xeridea
    • 8 years ago

    This is probably the least useful invention of the 21st century.

      • 5150
      • 8 years ago

      20th century – electric scissors

      • ShadowTiger
      • 8 years ago

      The purpose is to make money by selling a high margin device clearly aimed at Apple users (looks exactly like the ipod shuffle). Theres plenty of As Seen on TV stuff thats less useful.

    • swaaye
    • 8 years ago

    Essentially a USB stick with automated VPN file transfer, I guess?

    • Ryhadar
    • 8 years ago

    Techpowerup did a review on this device awhile back. Here it is if you’re curious:

    [url<]http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/iTwin/iTwin/[/url<]

    • ronch
    • 8 years ago

    If someone doesn’t have the tenacity or can’t seem to figure out how to send files around the Net, there’s also a chance he/she won’t find this thing terribly useful.

    Also, do the two halves communicate directly? I don’t believe the two can communicate halfway across the planet as, say, two PCs on a Wi-Fi connection can do over the Net. Or do the two halves connect to your wireless router and do all your homework for you?

      • Rakhmaninov3
      • 8 years ago

      Nah. But giving files to grandma, who’s still figuring out touchtone phones, will probably be easier across the room.

        • ronch
        • 8 years ago

        If it’s just across the room I’ll just use a USB flash drive. Way cheaper, simpler to use, and easier to explain to her how it’s just like a floppy, to which she may even be familiar with.

      • bitcat70
      • 8 years ago

      Wireless confusion… The title of the article is correct but the device has nothing to do with wireless as is incorrectly mentioned. All you need are two computers that are connected to the Internet wherever. [url<]http://www.itwin.com/how_itwin_works.php[/url<]

    • flip-mode
    • 8 years ago

    My mom is still not entirely comfortable with the concept of moving files from one drive to another.

    iTwin sounds to complicated for dear old mum.

      • tay
      • 8 years ago

      This sounds great to back up critical documents for parents and such. Just plug and go.

    • willyolio
    • 8 years ago

    soon to be made obsolete once cloud computing really takes off, though.

      • d0g_p00p
      • 8 years ago

      So it should be good for a couple of years then.

      • indeego
      • 8 years ago

      And what cloud provider will everyone agree upon?
      How will you guarantee access to said Cloud provider? I know of several F100 companies that don’t allow any access to gmail/yahoo/etc.

      This device isn’t even guaranteed to work. Many corps don’t allow “unapproved” external devices like USB/DVD/CD/ or network connections added.

        • willyolio
        • 8 years ago

        in short… where cloud computing isn’t allowed, this device probably won’t be anyway?

          • StuG
          • 8 years ago

          In short, never rely on the cloud. Take it from a guy who works in the web-hosting industry. The cloud should always be seen as inferior until an Atom level processor can power a enterprise server, and you can download 1080p movies in 3 minutes without a hick-up. Without those things, I would never ever rely on cloud. The cloud is a forward thinking idea…but that’s just what it is. The concept is too new, and technology needs to progress further (along with internet infer-structure needs to be overhauled).

            • willyolio
            • 8 years ago

            i still don’t see how the cloud is any less reliable or secure than this dongle.

            • StuG
            • 8 years ago

            Its not, this dongle is a stupid idea as well. If you really need to move files, a shared dropbox or FTP is by far the easiest way to do it.

      • PeterD
      • 8 years ago

      I don’t see what cloud computing has to do with it.
      The problem is transfer of BIG files.
      At the moment cloud computuing is about tiny bits of information. Just enough for a few photographs.

      Anyway: cloud computing is overrated. It’s just doing things while you’re online.
      Using a search engine is cloud computing too, you know.

        • willyolio
        • 8 years ago

        offsite storage and remote access is a part of cloud computing. There’s no reason to limit it to small files and program data only.

      • Madman
      • 8 years ago

      Cloud computing is a big bunch of crap. A.K.A. genuine way to get more money out of unaware users that read hype magazines ™.

      Cloud solutions are more expensive, less stable, are a pure maintenance, set-up, and a privacy nightmare.

      It’s way cheaper to rent a server in a collocation facility. Or just keep one 24/7 at your basement.

      • Bensam123
      • 8 years ago

      How is this ‘cloud computing’ different then file hosting sites that already exist in the cloud?

      I’m starting to think ‘cloud computing’ is just a buzz word to label already existing infrastructure.

        • willyolio
        • 8 years ago

        nothing, as far as I can tell, other than consolidation. just waiting for google to finish taking over the internet.

        • Zoomer
        • 8 years ago

        Yup.

        Some refer to virtualization and dynamically moving vms across physical machines as “cloud hosting”, which may be where the confusion lies. Currently cloud hosting is at a premium to old school shared, VM or ded hosting.

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