LapLink: The Internet on a string

LapLink founder Mark Eppley thinks he has a new vision for an old product. LapLink 2000 will help users open those billions of files shooting areound the Internet every day.

LapLink 2000 aims to make the entire Internet a LapLink cable. The cable, used to connect two computers together for fast file transfer, is familiar to millions of LapLink users. But now the product has been updated for use on the Internet by its maker, (formerly known as Traveling Software Inc.) LapLink 2000 will debut Tuesday.

"There are 1.7 billion files transferred on the Internet every week," said Mark Eppley, chairman and CEO of Those numbers include HTTP downloads, standard FTP transfers and MP3 files. But those files aren't necessarily easy to open. Eppley said he got the ideas for many of the features in LapLink 2000 while trying to set up a Web page that would have pictures and music files from a party he threw.

"It was something so simple as transferring a file on the Net, and some of us were pretty technical, and we couldn't do it," he said.

LapLink 2000 builds on the file transfer and remote control facilities in previous versions of the product. To these it adds:

Security features, including encryption, lockout protection, case-sensitive passwords and folder-level security. Eppley noted that "every week, there's some problem related to file transfers, like the Melissa virus."

VoiceChat, which allows two people to talk, via the Internet. "It's like ICQ on steroids," Eppley said, who noted that users with one phone line, such as business travelers in hotel rooms, could find this feature particularly useful.

LinkToNet, which gives remote users complete access to network resources.

LapLink FTP, a file transfer protocol which was introduced in August.

LapLink 2000 will cost $169.99 at retail and online stores, where it is available now. Portions of the program, such as LapLink FTP, are free for downloading at, which is advertising supported.

Eppley said the Internet's blended business model would help the company find creative ways to generate revenues, such as advertising. Being online also has brought it closer to its customers.

"We get instant feedback from our customers," he said.

The company also has a number of other products in the works, as well as several partnerships. It expects to make its next announcement next month.