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Cool Android app, turn your phone into a tiny wifi network mobile web file server

I recently purchased my first smart phone, an Android based Samsung Captivate. I've been having a blast exploring the new paradigm of touch enabled UI and the many orthogonal dimensions of sensation (eyes..via cameras, ears via microphones, location via GPS, accelerometers and attitude sensors) that the mobile device presents for application development that doesn't exist on a desktop. One cool app. I downloaded today is called File Share. The reason requires a bit of back story:

So last week I downloaded an app called "Sketcher" to doodle on my Captivate using the touch screen, I quickly created a few bits of art that I want to share on Facebook. I could plug in the phone via micro usb and set it as usb storage but that doesn't always work as seamlessly as it should...thankfully Samsung packed removable ram via the tiny mmd flash slot, I could take that out and pop it in my adapter and into a USB stick ..instant files ready to upload to Facebook...that works reliably but still required that I unmount the flash in the phone and then remove it...too much work. My next thought was "if only I could just share files on the phone like files on a windows network share" ...I took the phone and entered the Android market to search for "share file" within seconds I found this app. It goes one better than my idea, instead of going through the complexity of windows file share mappings (which won't work on a linux/unix/mac network without some help) they simply coded a tiny *web server* into the phone and opened a port "9999" on the dhcp IP address that the phone gets when it connects via Wifi to my network! So I simply browse *to my phone* on any other device connected to the network (mac,pc,unix,linux...another phone!) and pull the files I've added to the share directly as I wish. It's a very beta product and is perfectly useful ...some issues to watch out for:

1) If you set a password, be aware that it is not encrypted..this means that if you are connected to a non trusted AP you would be flying your authentication plain text over it...if you connect to a foreign AP that has sniffing software enabled , it would then get your credentials (and people are usually using the same "golden ticket" password for *all* their services (bank, social networks, cc...etc....bad practice!) So I'd use this only on trusted networks that you know for sure aren't sniffing the line with a packet analyzer for clear text credentials.

2) You have to select the files to share on your phone one at a time, it would be nice if a multi selector option could present instead.

3) I use the default "gallery" file browser on my phone to select items to share but I also have the more full featured "astro" file browser app, unfortunately astro failed (with a cryptic error message) to share files that "gallery" did just fine...so be aware of that if you use astro.

4) You can also set the server to enable file UPLOADS, this sounds totally awesome and makes a ready way to upload files to the phone without having to do anything more than connect to the network...but it also opens your phone up to an attack where a too big file or files are stuffed in your folder until your phone memory is full...of course, you'd be impervious to this if you use a strong enough password (but then the caveat regarding the clear text nature of authentication still remains)


The points mentioned above aside it is going to save me some time copying stuff to and from my phone from my pc's on my home network so I think it is well worth the price.

FREE!

Links:

http://www.appbrain.com/app/file-share/com.navjagpal.fileshare

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