As a computer teacher I often find myself needing to share a file with some of my students. I normally use Edmodo as for this as it is reliable and my students are already on it. Sometimes though these students may be from another class that is not using Edmodo, or even a teacher who is not Edmodo. Then I need another route. I need another way to share these files. GoogleDocs is a great way, but in order to do that I need to log in, upload the file, change the permissions of the file from private to public. There is an easier way my friends. Allow me to introduce you to minus.com. Read on past the break to see what makes minus.com so easy to use and why it is better than some of its competitors.
What it does
So here is how this site works. There is no need to sign up. You can use the service, totally free without signing up. The idea is to be fast and easy. You just drag a file onto that minus.com webpage. The file can be anything, video, Word document, Excel, images, sound, really anything as long as it is less than 2GB (that is pretty big file). Minus will upload the file (in this case I used a PDF).
Once it is uploaded you can view the document right there. On the right hand side it will give you the URL that will allow anyone access to the file at anytime. The file will stay on Minus’s servers for 30 days and then be deleted.
There are more ways to share this as well. If you look at the bottom of the page you will see these options (as will anyone who follows the link you send them. They can:
- Download it directly
- Embed to (using an iframe – sorry wordpress.com users)
- email it to a friend
- Share it through social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Reddit)
Pretty darn fancy and that is all without signing in!
To sign up all you need to do is give them an email address, create a username and password. It’s very easy and straightforward. By signing up minus will give you 10GB of free storage just like that! Heck you can even link your minus account to your Facebook or Twitter account if you don’t want to bother with creating another account. Also they say that you get faster upload and download speeds. When you login and upload some files (by simply dragging and dropping them onto the webpage) you will see your uploads look like this.
As you can see the files that are “Public” are available for everyone. To change this just, just put your mouse over a file and a little arrow will appear. Hover over that arrow and select “Unpublish.” That’s all there is to it. You will also notice that you can delete those files as well.
You have the ability to follow people and see what they have made public. This may be nice for the head of a department or a school that wants to share some common documents that teachers would use (blank IEP reports, a document with common comments for report cards, instructions on how to set up a grade book). I don’t know how many times I’ve received instructions on email and then later in the year need those instructions and I’ve deleted it or can’t find it. This would make a nice one-stop digital document repository (OSDDR – how about that for an acronym) for a school.
If you go to another person’s minus page, you can view and download those files but you cannot delete them or upload any of your own.
Another awesome thing about minus is that there are dedicated desktop apps for all major platforms (including Linux) and most mobile devices (sorry BlackBerry). There are also bookmarklets and extensions for many web browsers too. Check out the tools page below.
A small gripe
I would love to preview all the files, but on the website I can’t seem to do that. On my iPhone app (free check out what I have to say about that here) I can view it. Heck I can even watch videos I uploaded on my iPhone but I can’t get them to play on the website or on Mac desktop app. It’s a small gripe I know and it isn’t going to keep me from using this awesome service, but it would be nicer to have all that functionality on all my devices.
This is a great service. Minus has some good competitors out there: www.ge.tt, www.mediafire.com and a few more. What makes this service stand out is how easy and versatile they make. They have programs for all your devices (computers, tablets, phones) and make uploading, sharing and viewing (if you can) pretty easy and enjoyable. If you have never had a need to quickly share a file, I assure that day will come. If you’re like me and need to share more than a few files every month, then this is probably your go-to service. I know I ‘m going to be using it a lot more.