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Show HN: Real-time file sharing site (volafile.io)
218 points by chmod775 on Nov 4, 2013 | hide | past | web | favorite | 97 comments

The 12-hour lifespan of content links is interesting; it prevents indexing or hot-linking content on the site. Even if the RIAA/MPAA/etc. set up bots watching the room and issuing takedowns for infringing files, the time allowed to comply with a DMCA takedown is greater than the lifespan of a file on the service.

In other words: this should be fun, until they get sued out of existence.

Feature Request: Host on infrastructure outside of the US.

EDIT: DISREGARD. It's already hosted outside the US. (Germany: https://www.ip-projects.de/)

I know a lot of this post-PRISM fear of the US government is to be expected and is certainly popular on HN, but comments that single out the US like this really make little sense to me. The governments of Britain, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand all share tech-related intel with the United States and, potentially if not presumably, have similarly intrusive methods of surveillance. China goes so far as to ban social media sites that they don't have control over (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube) and replaces them with sites that they do (renren, weibo, and youku/tudou). That, combined with general censorship of the web, is far scarier than what the NSA does, even assuming the NSA's scope is as wide as television shows make it out to be. And even in most other countries, the scope of domestic Internet surveillance is unknown, which is very different from "known to be minimal".

Edit: Ah if this was about intellectual property takedowns, then currently the US situation is a bit worse than most of the rest of the world. But still, China friggin censors their Internet, and comments like the above still seem to always single out the US.

The USA has taken possession of .com domains and raided physical premises based on copyright.

This need have nothing to do with the NSA and still be a perfectly valid and reasonable suggestion.

I think it's reasonable that any site that has user generated content should consider not being hosted on US soil or using a .tld that is under US control.

In general I'd say Germany has quite some problems with UGC hosted here as well.

> Ah if this was about intellectual property takedowns, then currently the US situation is a bit worse than most of the rest of the world. But still, China friggin censors their Internet, and comments like the above still seem to always single out the US.

Okay, let me give you the reasons:

a) No one would normally host their content in China. That's just ridiculous.

b) No other country is bragging as much about being the land of the free. So of course the one (perceived to be) at the top is going to take the most flak

c) Generally most bigger things are US hosted so the general advice to for example move your host away from Uruguay makes little sense

d) It's usually assumed that while other western industrial nations would like to spy as much as the US does, they usually do not have the money and manpower of the NSA.

In this case though, it does make sense. For this example we're not talking about surveillance, but about intellectual property takedowns, something which american companies find (slightly) harder to do in countries other than the USA.

I suggested it due to DMCA takedown notices, not NSA-related concerns.

Kind of related (in fact OT): Any news about the torrent? https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6226373

Uploaded ~100GB of it to S3, wasn't thinking enough to check torrent size limits. S3 limits torrents to 5GB objects. Want me to provide personal info for you to get in touch with me? I can mail you a SATA drive with the archive on it.

Glad to get in touch at d.pitrolo [the usual sign in the middle] gmx [dot] com

Otherwise, yes, if you provide me contact info, I'll get in touch.

We (ehrm, I) are based in Germany, along with all servers.

Genuinely interested to know how Germany is a safe-haven for file-sharing since almost every other European country would probably give you trouble.

Sorry about that. I should've checked before posting. Any chance you include SHA1 hashes of the files/objects?

Problem is upstream will either charge for handling take-down requests, null route the IP, or ask that they take their business elsewhere. I can imagine this generating dozens of abuse requests a day. It doesn't matter if you auto-comply within 12 hours - upstream still has to put time figuring things out.

Auto-assignment of nicknames seems a particularly nifty feature -- a warm welcome for first-time users.

Overall seems a well-balanced crossover of IRC and message board. (Almost) Everything Google Wave wanted to be, but never had a chance to become.

How do I rent a private channel for company-wide use? ;-)

yeah, I would also be interested in having a private channel.

> Announcement: Because of the high traffic we are seeing right now, the radio might take a long time to load or not work at all.

Hacker News killed the radio star.

Very cool idea. With a little faster chat (there's currently quite a delay between saying something and seeing it displayed) I can see it catching on. Hang out, share files, listen to the music together.

There seems to be a twitter account here for it: https://twitter.com/volafile

Also, in chat I found https://github.com/binlain/volafile-bugs for solutions to fixing the site. However, I cannot vouch that is an official bug report location.

Considering this issue (nfsw): https://github.com/binlain/volafile-bugs/issues/5

I find this website a little amusing, but also creative. I think it's quite exciting overall! Good luck!

That is the official bug report location.

For those at work, there's quite a bit of stuff not tagged nsfw. Tread with care.

Yes, do not open any images

Thanks, I was worried about that:) Cool idea though, once it's a little more structured, that could be helpful.

Wait, a chat room AND the ability to share NSFW pics? What could go wrong!?!

There's always something kind of magical about real-time sites -- like the Internet is a little less lonely, and there are real people out there.

Very cool!

Exactly my feeling. Couldn't really articulate it.

The HN room is full. You can discover other rooms here: http://volafile.io/discover

Haha, just logged in to see this: "PaulGraham: APPLY TO YC SO I CAN MAKE SOME MONEY FROM THIS" and also "PaulGraham: THIS IS THE NEXT FACEBOOK".

I'm German so I probably can't apply to YC. Plus I've just made this as a hobby/side project and don't have time to deal with trying to monetize it yet.

I am assuming this was not PG. There are much better ways to contact a site owner. Also the user kept saying "DROP THE THE". Obviously there is no "the" in the site's name.

You can definitely apply to YC if you're from Germany, or any other country.

This is basically IRC with file sharing... and everyone is ignoring the filesharing part because it's full of porn. So basically you created a html5 IRC clone, very cool.

Just wondering: What are your plans for this? And Does this have any IRC-like commands?

>and everyone is ignoring the filesharing part because it's full of porn. It's much better in smaller rooms.

Makes sense, I could see this eclipsing the current way we share files.

Thought of a new analogy: snapchat meets IRC meets torrents

I love this idea and I think this has the potential to be really amazing. I could see myself using it socially as well as a sort of remote office. The ability to have music autoplay (? it appears anyway, doesn't seem to be working for me right now) seems very interesting. I think you're really onto something with this. My main concern would be privacy before I started using this on any type of regular basis though. If you can solve that, or even really just make a self-hosted version, I'd be all over it.

Real-time file sharing on a site that seems to have already become a real-time UI to 4chan....

Let me think about this. No, no I don't trust my virus protection enough to open anything here.

You did a great job with this. I got a couple 502s viewing files but it works really well so far.

"The room is full. Please try again later."

You're gonna need a bigger boat.

I had to limit the room size to 300 people because my cheap 5€ VPS was hitting 100% CPU load. There are about 500 people on the page across all rooms now.

Nice concept, looks like 4chan may have gotten a hold of this one.

Talking about 4chan, I really love how this site seems to be a mix of some kind of IRC and imageboard. It's also bringing back memories of some DC++ rooms I used to visit when it was the best way to share files.

Yeah DC++ and i2hub were both awesome. Both got my internet privileges taken away for a year by my university for internet misuse. Good times.

As far as I know, it originates from the /g/-board there.

Or the HN community has some crossover with the 4chan one.

Interesting proof of concept although I personally prefer hipchat for a the "chatroom with group file sharing" benefit.

The ephemeral nature of the downloads is really interesting though. I've seen a number of sites starting to target that niche (http://dissipateapp.com/ for file sharing specifically with "self-destructing" files) but mostly aimed at just messaging (like Snapchat or Frankly).

Why risk putting your important documents on a site where it's only a matter of time before it's compromised? Most of the time once your recipient has the file it's safe to remove from the cloud.

It's very nice for what's going on right now. I mean, a big internet orgy. However, the lack of private rooms pretty much kills it for me.

Otherwise, it would have been perfect to use at work.

There will be private rooms (hidden in the public list) and password protected rooms in the foreseeable future.

I really like your app. I have been using it for a while and brought a few IRC buddies on it.

Interesting concept for sure. What's the tech behind this?

Hello. It's almost exclusively a nodejs + redis stack.

There are currently a little over 200 people on the page and moderating the site is taking most of my attention, I'll try to answer all questions in this thread anyways.

Build some community moderation tools and promote some trustworthy people.

What's the bandwidth cost for this kind of app? I'm always afraid a popular rampup would incur a huge bandwidth bill for sites like this.

Might be desired behavior, but holding CRTL while clicking on a link in Firefox opens the link in a new tab, but it does not keep you on the main page. It's a bit annoying to click on a file and have to switch back to the homepage tab to get something else.

Also press MAJ then, new tab should open in background ;

It never ceases to amaze me how immature people can be when unleashed with this type of product!

To be fair, it's a 4chan project.

The spam right now is out of control, but it might die off in a few days. You should consider using http://wiki.xkcd.com/irc/XKCD-SIGNAL mode for your chat.

I'd hoped this was something like Napster built on WebRTC data channel. No such luck.

I feel like I reached out and touched the face of the Internet. This is very very cool.

I find very interesting how a lot of people is sharing their resume, suddenly all the HN traffic (potential employers included) are reading random resumes.

I don't know if that would be effective at all but it is very interesting.

Trolls... Trolls everywhere.

I just saw some sick stuff there which can't be unseen. :'(

This thing will explode. Get ready to monetize or shut it down :) Easy thing you could do is rate limit transfers by default and offer higher bandwidth with a small bitcoin payment.

Please dont go down this route it leaves bad taste.

Any site which segregates its users, oppreses those non-paying, poor people, isnt attractive at least in my book.

An alternative is to do like reddit, offer pay-for-services in exchange for something more, not take away functionality from those poor users to force some kind of payments.

Very nice and cool.

Just one thing, I like to open links in a new background tab, so I just CTRL + click or just middle click with the mouse, the first option is not working the last one is fine.

This sounds really cool, but socket.io.js is throwing "Unexpected response code: 502" when attempting to make a websockets connection.

I'll have to try again later, I suppose.

So basically this is a porn site... It needs moderation badly!

To remove all the non-porn content?

This reminds me of the old school Napster. I think it could use an AV scanner on upload. Also a preview mode for images and documents and videos would be cool too.

Awesome project! I love the feel and the sharing mechanics!

Yeah I like it too.

>paul graham dancing with bill gates 1999.jpg

That escalated quickly.

You count how many lines in the chat one has missed, but if you come back to the tab there is no indication where you left off. Might be useful.

Is this kind of platform possible with WebRTC? (where the files are hosted on the users' computers instead of requiring your own servers?)

Yup it's possible. It doesn't appear to be here though, especially if the files have any sort of lifespan not dependant on the users browser staying open. Anyhow, I built something similar over at rtccopy.com which does use webrtc

I assumed this was using WebRTC. Is it not?

lol. clicking on those pictures... "for adults only", "NSFW"

good thing i'm the first one here this morning....

I saw this a few weeks ago, very cool project you're working on. I love the proto-web feeling it has. All the best!

Is the source for this available somewhere?

How are you handling piracy on the site? Surely that must be an issue. I see some torrents are being uploaded.

Piracy is obviously an issue. And we (mods) will of course delete all files that might bring volafile in legal trouble.


I don't know that the site is NSFW, but clicking the links on the site is not advised at work.

It's [largely?] unmoderated UGC, it's NSFW.

You should probably block EXE files for the safety of your users.

And .bat, .scr, .pif, .com? And .zip, .tar, .gz, .rar?

And then a shit load of file extensions that potentially run arbitrary code if you have the tool installed.

Seems kind of pointless.

Or they can just take the executable and change the extension. Extension-based blocking doesn't really work. However, these types of files generally have magic numbers in their headers that you could inspect to determine what they are.

Also, it'd be rather inconvenient if you couldn't upload a compressed archive to a file-sharing site.

It took just under 20 years for someone to re-create the core value of AOL to teenagers from the early/mid nineties.

Is there an upload limit? Is it possible to share a 5gb file?

Maybe some kind of AV scanning as files are uploaded.

Glad it dose not automatically show the images.

Keep it classy, Internet. Keep it classy.

AWESOME I'm already addicted

music piracy is the biggest issue you will face.

Very cool site.

There's a lot of lag for a few people in a chatroom. Looks fun apart from that though.

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