For the past several weeks, Joy has been trying out Pando, a free program for transferring large files, such as video and photos. This is an alternative to YouSendIt, which we have used for quite a while.

Both Pando and YouSendIt are free to use with files up to 1 gigabyte in size, which is still a very large file. YouSendIt will handle 2-gigabyte files if you are willing to pay $5 a month. That’s a lot of information, but images eat up file space like an alligator on steroids. You can connect with this service and to Pando at     PandoBoth send an e-mail link to your recipients and they click on that link to get the file. But with Pando the recipients must have Pando software on their machine to send or receive files. This tripped us up when we tried sending birthday photos and scrapbook stuff to a friend with an older Macintosh. Pando works with both Windows and Mac, but the Mac has to have operating system 10.3.9 or higher.

Both services encrypt files for secure transmission, and the transfer speed is way beyond what any of us are used to. Speed depends on your connection, of course, but other things being equal, Pando is faster.

With a high-speed connection, a 50-megbayte file typically takes about five minutes with Pando, but about 8 to 9 minutes with YouSendIt. Using a phone line connection, often called “dial-up,” it would take twice as long or more with either service. These times vary wildly, depending on how well your Internet server is working right then.         

If you sign up for’s free Instant Messenger service, you can use Pando to send huge files as an instant message. Here, too, what is actually being sent is a link to that file. By the end of July, Pando plans to add plug-ins that allow you to send large files in this way with a simple click while handling e-mail in Microsoft Outlook and Hotmail, or Google’s Gmail.

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