Have you ever felt like an idiot because you couldn't manage to transfer files from one computer to another within your local network? I know I have. It sounds like an easy task at first, but then one of them is a PC and one is a Mac. Or you don't have the administrator privileges to share data on one of the machines. Or Windows is just having a bad day.

The LAN file sharing application P300 can help you with any of those problems, and many others as well. It's local file sharing on steroids, complete with search, a Web interface and local chat.

pic of p300 ui

P300 is a Java-based, so it runs on Windows, OS X and Linux. It operates as a stand-alone app without the need to install anything on your local machine. You can even start it as a JavaWebStart process straight from your browser.

P300 automatically finds new hosts on your local network via UDP, but you can also always add individual hosts via their local IP address. Don't want to share your files with everyone in your office? No worries, P300 also makes it possible to selectively allow or deny access to certain hosts.

P300's interface is admittedly a little bit minimalistic: Upon starting the client for the first time, all you get to see is an empty host list and two buttons, one of which promises access to P300's configuration. The other button fires up a browser to access the P300 web interface.

pic of p300 file browser

The fact that P300 has so many different interfaces makes it a little confusing (did I mention you can also use WebDAV for accessing files through your Finder or Windows explorer?), but it also offers you different tools for different use cases.

pic of p300 browser ui

I tend to use the web interface if I'm looking for a specific file somewhere, but switch to the client UI for downloading entire folders. Configuring P300 works best with the web UI, network-wide search on the other hand is something the client itself is better at.

pic of p300 search

Speaking of search: This is definitely a feature that makes P300 a must-have. Want to know if one of your buddies on your local dorm network shares a certain song? Just search the entire network in the matter of no time. Looking for something more specific? No problem, you can also restrict your search to a certain host.

pic of p300 search

The chat is an added bonus that I don't really need, but it could come handy in an office or campus LAN type of setting. I'm much more intrigued by another feature that the P300 author has been hinting at for a while: Secure, Jabber-based Internet-wide file sharing. That's admittedly not a new idea. In fact, Limewire is supporting this very function with its new version. But P300 is very lightweight, and it could even become something like the uTorrent of personal file sharing if this is done well.

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