capsule review

Tokens 1.1

At a Glance
  • Creo Tokens 1.1

If you've ever e-mailed a large file only to have it bounce back because of an ISP's narrow e-mail gateway, you've undoubtedly wondered if there's a better way. That better way is here, in the form of Creo's Tokens, an easy-to-use, e-mail-based file-sharing application.

To use Tokens, you drag a file onto the Token Creator application, where your file is compressed and stored at the root level of your hard drive. Token Creator also generates a small file (a few kilobytes) that Creo calls a token -- hence the product's name.

To transfer your file, you attach this token to an e-mail and send it to your recipient. Then you leave your computer running and your connection to the Internet established. The recipient -- who must download a copy of the free Token Redeemer application (which is compatible with OS 9 and OS X) -- double-clicks on the token or drags it onto the Token Redeemer icon. The program establishes a secure connection to your computer and downloads the file from your computer to the recipient's computer. And with the Tokens 1.1 update, you can now configure Token Creator to place a link to a Token Redeemer download in e-mails containing tokens.

Keeping Things Easy

Tokens' conveniences abound. It's handy for senders because they don't have to upload huge files to a Web page or an FTP server (or learn how to set up an FTP server). As the sender, you can instruct Token Creator to have the tokens you create expire after a period of time you define -- two weeks is the default setting. Recipients of your files benefit because they can choose when and where they receive the files you send. For example, they can receive the token over a slow dial-up connection at home and then redeem that token via a business's faster broadband connection. Also, recipients can see or download only files intended for them; with FTP, they can see all the files you've stored.

Creo has even made allowances for firewalls. If Token Redeemer can't make a direct connection to a sender's computer, it tries to link to the sender via Creo's Tokens Relay Service. This service makes it possible to move files between the host and the recipient without compromising security on either computer. In our tests, Tokens worked mostly as advertised. There were no problems making connections without a firewall. But Token Creator wouldn't launch properly with an HTTP proxy enabled on our Mac.

Tokens takes about twice as long to compress files as OS X 10.3's Archive command does, but it produces files of approximately the same size. On a 1.25GHz PowerBook G4, we compressed a 260MB folder containing 47 TIFF images. Apple's Archive took 1 minute and 9 seconds, versus Tokens' 2 minutes and 21 seconds. The resulting file was 184MB for each compression scheme.

Macworld's Buying Advice

In an intuitive way, Tokens 1.1 solves the problem of moving large files over the Internet. If creating a local FTP server is beyond your abilities, Tokens is an elegant alternative.

At a Glance
  • Pros

    • Convenient for recipients
    • Easy to configure and use
    • Relay server works around firewall issues
    • Tokens can expire

    Cons

    • Some difficulty with internal proxies
    • You must leave computer on and connected to the Internet for recipient to redeem tokens
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