When it comes to sharing files between computers at work, Old Taskmaster still remembers the days of the old ‘sneakernet’.
A sneakernet involved running around the office with old-fashioned 5 ¼-inch floppy disks to transfer files from one computer to another. In more recent times, USB sticks did the job.
For its time, the old sneakernet had a lot going for it. For one, it was completely wireless, so long as you don’t count the wires between your old BBC Micro B computer and your giant disk drive. It was also very low emissions – it was entirely powered by shoe leather and the extra calories from the sausage roll you ate at lunchtime.
Of course, like anything involving computers, there were problems aplenty. “Does anyone have a floppy disk?” was a common question in the sneakernet office. So were “who stole all my floppy disks?” and “how are we going to get this to our sales reps in Oodnadatta? Especially when they need it for their sales meeting today?”
Retrieving that spreadsheet you needed on demand was also a challenge. After all, who knows where the accountant hid the right floppy disk! Once you’d overcome the paleontological challenge of finding the missing disks amidst the rubble, there was the challenge of deciphering the hieroglyphics of the accountant’s handwriting on the label.
A degree in Egyptology or the starring role in an upcoming Indiana Jones movie was yours if you ever succeeded.
Thankfully, the days of the sneakernet have been replaced by more modern methods of sharing computer files among co-workers. You can set up a shared hard drive, an account with a cloud hosting service like Dropbox, or put them on a password protected part of your website.
If you’re setting up a website, you could even set up a second site – called an intranet site – that is only accessible from computers on your network, and you could use that to share files.
So are you hiring your first staff, putting together a new website or upgrading your IT equipment? Worse, are you still relying on a sneakernet in 2012? If so, it’s time to look at some modern ways to share files. If you’re not sure, talk it over with a tech guru.
Get it done – today!