Okay, here is my favorite web app of all time right now. It it literally changing the way I prepare for church and even has some great application for personally use. The program is called Folder Share and it free. I think it used to be called file taxi or something, but Microsoft bought them out and they seem to be running the show (don’t let that scare you off yet, the application is really cool).

Folder Share is about replicating data to folders on different machines. I was first introduced to this idea of data replication when we first went to the multi-site model here at Cross Timbers. Rather than have one server stored at one campus with all the files on it (and everyone on the other campuses would have to connect remotely to it), the IT director installed a server on every campus and every server has the same directory structure and set-up. The IT team then installed some kind of replication engine that synced all the files from every server to each other. Now, when I go to work, I only access files on my local server. However, when I make any changes, my local server sends those changes to the other servers in the background. That way fellow staff members can access what I’ve modified or created.

Folder Share is the same thing but on a much simpler scale. You can go to their website and create a free user account and then download the program on your machine. Then you tell Folder Share what folder you would like to share and with whom. If it is someone else, then it sends them an email asking them to sign up, download the application and then their machine begins downloading files. As the originator of the folder, you can determine what rights those who you share with have… whether they can only look at files, whether they can add files or whether they can delete or modify files.

Oh, and one last thing. It works like bit torrent technology. The more people you have sharing, the faster files transfer. So if I have 3 or 4 people sharing the same files and I invite a new person to share, the will begin downloading from all of us rather than just one of us. (I’m not even going to tell you how you can remotely access all your files from the main website… but that comes in handy too)

So, here is how I have used this already. I had some people who attended a mission trip and they all wanted to share photos. In the past I’ve had an FTP and everyone uploaded to it… but for some that was complicated. Instead, I shared my picture folders (over 2 gigs) and within 12-14 hours (overnight) the files had replicated to those who were online. I also have my presentation machines at church on folder share. That means I can create my powerpoint files and save it to my local folder. The files will then be pushed to the machines at the church so that when I’m ready to use them, they are there. The way I use it personally is to share my music/iTunes. I currently have three computers. I used to just have iTunes loaded on one of them. Now I have the whole music foder shared on all three machines and all three machines are registered to my iTunes account. So, now when I buy a new song off iTunes, the songs are available on all my machines within a few minutes.

This stuff is great!