Fabrik, which makes a complete if complex online storage service, has released a new, simplified file transfer and streaming product, MyFabrik Lite. It's a straightforward service that has two purposes: it helps you transfer large files (up to a gigabyte), and it lets you upload media files and easily insert a streaming player for the media into your site or blog.
The service is very basic, and yet it still supports several media types intelligently: you can use it to transfer files, stream video, play audio, and also to create slide shows and filmstrips. Here's a Fabrik Lite filmstrip:
But there are a few issues. This service is so simple that there's no logon screen. Once you upload a file or create a slide show, you get a link you can e-mail and embeddable code for your site. But if you lose those links, you're hosed. You'll have to upload your files again, since there's no history or file directory in the Lite version of Fabrik. Use the full version of you want a full online drive.
Also, the service expands videos to the 16:9 format, even if they're shot in 4:3. At least that's what it did in my tests, despite a Fabrik spokesperson's claim that the video is "resized" without being stretched. Not good. Do not use this service to share your family video clips. Everyone will complain that you made them look fat.
And here's another unusual twist: the Fabrik uploader utility itself is embeddable in a site. That's kind of cool, but it's also free advertising and distribution for Fabrik, for which the person, including the link, gets nothing.
I like what Fabrik is about (see my previous post on this company) but I spent all morning with this product feeling as if I was missing the point before I finally realized: it's not me, it's Fabrik. My advice is to skip this product. If you want to send large files, use YouSendIt. To embed videos, try VideoEgg or YouTube.