[xplorer˛] — Spread the bits
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You know how it goes, one day you get married and you realize that the biggest problem in married life is that your friends are challenged sending you the digital pictures they took of the wedding reception. So without further ado we proceed with a quick guide in picture sharing.

The first step is to get the photos from the camera to your computer, which is easy since every camera has some sort of wizard that helps you with this task when you plug your camera in your computer. Many good cameras also attach themselves as external drives so you can find them as a drive letter G:\ or what have you within My Computer folder.

The pictures will end up in some folder in your hard disk, usually somewhere under My Pictures which appears under My Documents in windows explorer. So start xplorer˛ or even windows explorer and get into the pictures folder; the fresh pictures will be in a separate subfolder somewhere in there.

Once you find the wedding pictures somehow you need to get them out of your computer and into your friend's computer. You may not realize it but as camera megapixels grow, the picture (file) size grows too so each picture could easily take 1MB of storage; floppy disks won't help you any more. One option would be to burn the pictures into a CDROM or put them in a USB stick and mail that to your friend, but that is very last century — but keep it in mind if everything else fails!

Children of the digital generation would share their pictures using their Facebook or FlickR account. There are many drawbacks with this approach. Uploading many large pictures will take ages, or you would have to reduce their size and they'd end up small and a bit rubbish looking. Plus the world+dog would be able to see the pictures which in this case is not what we have in mind.

Here's the final task: we need to send a lot of large pictures through the internet privately and securely. The steps involved are:

  1. Find the picture files and select them
  2. Put them all in a single archive (e.g. ZIP) file
  3. Upload this picture archive to rapidshare, a free file sharing website
  4. Email the link to your friend so he can download the archive and see the pictures

Step #2 is for convenience mostly and it helps a little with the overall size of the transfer. Digital picture files are already compressed so compressing them further won't help much but bunching them all in a single compressed ZIP file will save a few bytes. To ZIP your selected pictures, right-click on them then from the context menu pick Send To > Compressed (ZIP) folder command. You may also have installed a program like winzip or 7-zip which will also add commands to the context menu, if you feel more familiar with them.

Here are all the steps in an easy to follow demo video

ps This SendTo context menu is a rarely used gem. Say you only had 2-3 pictures to share it would be feasible to send them by email. How do you attach pictures to email? Easy, select the pictures, right-click and from the Send To submenu pick Mail Recipient. Not only this will attach them to your email, it will offer to reduce the picture size. Very convenient! Or you can just drag the pictures from windows explorer on your email composition window.

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