Friday, February 10, 2006

AllPeers Alpha - Alive and Kicking!

So yes, it is still in alpha mode, but the talk of the Firefox world is up and running right now. AllPeers is in friends and family testing while their software team works out those last odd bugs that only naive testers can find. Since I qualify especially for the naive part (and was around one evening when they needed a tester) the app is nested in my browser as I type.

Wednesday night I put it through its paces. Item 1: Install. If you’ve ever downloaded and installed a Firefox extension, you know how easy it can be. Download, install, close your browser, open your browser, and you’re in. That’s it - a GUI designer’s dream of simplicity, a marketer’s delight. That of course, is how easy it is to install AllPeers. It is, after all, a Firefox extension.

Next test item: contacts. Adding contacts to my AllPeers buddy list was as simple as the setup, and only currently limited by the tiny poolet of people signed up. Users can find pals by nickname or email, and if they aren’t signed up yet, send an email invite. Matt, blogger supreme and CTO of AllPeers, roped me into the testing, so I returned the favor and added him as my first contact.

And finally: file sharing, the meat and potatoes of the app, its cream and caviar too. First I took the conventional route and uploaded a folder straight from My Pictures - "Film pics". I decided Matt would appreciate King Kong, so selected fifty years of monkey film photos, and clicked Matt’s name on the contact list. Kong shared.

I tried downloading files from Matt too, a few mp3 files that I of course deleted immediately. The files showed up under Matt's name. Downloading each one required nothing more than clicking on it once.

When that worked, I decided to get messy and see how far the app would go. I began importing individual files, then dragging them straight from the import folder over to Matt’s name to see what happened. He got the file. I tried opening a picture through the Firefox browser menu, then dragging it over to my import folder. That worked too. I managed to crash my computer by checking to see what would happen if I tried to import my music folder into the window. A few seconds later, the blue screen of death appeared. Apparently 421 music folders and 265 separate files put a bit of burden on the system - at least for now.

As soon as my computer kicked back to life, I sent in my feedback by IM: "Hot diggity damn, we got a live one!" I typed, until I remembered the boys over at AllPeers might not understand my southernism, and emended the message to: "Super work you guys!"

Note: For more information and to sign up for an email alert when AllPeers goes live, head over to more about AllPeers.

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