First of all, what's with the exclamation
point "!" ?
Ahhh, for the earlier, simpler days of the Internet. Okay --
here's the scoop. First of all, in computer talk it's called a
"bang", as in BANG!. The bang is used to separate your
nickname from the name of the relay where people can find you. It's
used sort of like the at-sign "@" is used in an e-mail address.
However, since there's some support within the Shinkuro software for
users via e-mail, we needed another character to use as a separator.
We chose the bang to reflect some of the history of the internet.
Way back in the good old Internet days, the bang was used to route
e-mail and USENET using a program called uucp. You could designate
an entire route that way, such as uunet!k2.com!jkay, where uunet
would be the well know starting point that should know how to route
an e-mail to k2.com then to the user jkay. We don't use the reverse
designations like uucp did, but we did adopt the bang as part of a
What does Shinkuro mean?
Here's the story. Shinkuro is a word imported into the Japanese
language, not a native Japanese word. It's written in katakana, one
of the phonetic Japanese character sets, which is used for words which
are not really Japanese. It means "synchro" as in "synchronize". We're
not a Japanese company, however; we just liked the name. We've been
told that Shinkuro is used more typically for "synchronized swimming"
as opposed to file synchronization (which was what we were thinking)
and I've also seen it used as a term for an oscilloscope. Nonetheless,
we chose it because it alludes to synchronization, which is what
our software is based on. The Japanese word underneath the "Shinkuro"
on these web pages is how it's written in Japanese. It is properly
pronounced SHIN-kuro, although many of us pronounce it shin-KU-ro.
We won't be offended no matter how you pronounce it as long as you enjoy
the software we are producing.
How do people find me in Shinkuro?
People connect to you in Shinkuro using your Shinkuro identity.
Your identity is the combination of your nickname and your relay
name (if you use one). For example, you can reach Jeff by his Shinkuro identity --
jeff!shinkuro.com. When you set up the software, you will probably
use the shinkuro.com relay at first. However, you can set up your
own relay easily. The software includes some information on how to
do that. Your nickname must be unique on a relay.
What is a Shinkuro relay or server?
A relay is a hub of sorts. We use the terms relay and server
interchangeably -- they mean the same thing. The relay acts as a
sort of post office for Shinkuro message traffic. Messages sent
between users may need to jump over a firewall or be held until the
user connects again.
can't I connect to the relay?
There are two possible reasons
why you might not be able to connect. First, you cannot make an
outbound connection on port 7446 (check your firewall). The second
reason that is that the nickname you've selected is not unique on
the relay (you should have received an error message).
So how secure is this stuff?
Very. When you installed Shinkuro, we generated a 2048-bit RSA
key pair. This key is used as part of the encryption and
authentication system. In addition, part of the key is used to
uniquely identify you throughout the Shinkuro world. Whenever you
connect to another user, you exchange your public keys and from that
point on all data is sent encrypted. We use 256-bit AES encryption
on all messages.
In addition, it's worth noting that we actually encrypt the
messages themselves, not the connection (so we don't use SSL). Why?
Because this way any messages that are sent through the relay server
can't be read by the relay. So your messages are secure from end to
end. This security covers all data transmissions -- file transfers,
instant messages, and even screen sharing.
Can I connect directly to
other Shinkuro users?
Yes, if you are on the same network. Shinkuro will automatically
discover all other Shinkuro users on the same local area network and
connect directly to them. That way you can share information even
if you can't access your relay.
This has the added benefit of being able to build an ad-hoc
collaboration network even if no Internet connectivity exists. This
works great if you are a Wi-Fi user. Just set your Wi-Fi to ad-hoc
or peer to peer mode. Any other Shinkuro user running the same way
will discover and connect to you.
How do I share files using Shinkuro?
Each group has a designated folder for shared files. Any files
and subfolders in that folder are shared with the other members of
the group. To begin sharing files, do the following:
- Switch to the "Groups" tab and press the first button
on the toolbar to create a group. A "Create Group" dialog box
- Select the directory you want to share. Remember that subfolders
will also replicate to other group members.
- Add the people that you want in your group. When you enter
them, use their Shinkuro address (jdoe!shinkuro.com) or an e-mail
address (email@example.com). You may also leave this blank and
drag members from your list of friends into the group after it's
Where do I put files that I want
to share with other group members?
To share a file with members of the group, save it to the
directory you have designated for the group in step 2 above. No other steps are needed. Any files
you put in that folder will be replicated to all other group
How are files sent to other members?
Shinkuro most commonly sends files through your relay server.
Each file is encrypted and compressed before it's sent. The relay
server cannot read the files as they are being transmitted, only the
recipient address. If a group member is off-line, the relay server
will hold the transmissions until that person connects.
Does Shinkuro share subfolders within
a shared group?
Absolutely. This is one of our coolest features. Folders that
begin with a '.' or contain a square bracket -- '[' or ']' -- are
ignored and not replicated. Shinkuro does not allow subdirectory
replication for unregistered users. Shinkuro currently has a hard
limit set to replicating four (4) levels deep, mostly to prevent
accidents. You can modify the subfolder settings by selecting group
Can I share very large files using Shinkuro?
Yes, Shinkuro will slice up each file into pieces (approximately
1 MB). Each piece will be encrypted and sent individually. When all
pieces reach the member's computer, they are decrypted and
reassembled into one file.
How do I use screen broadcasting/sharing?
The most common problem with using screen sharing is that you haven't entered
a registration code. If you did not receive one, you can get a new one by going to
this page. After you have entered your registration code,
screen sharing will be enabled.
To share your screen, you must create a new group or use an existing group. Go into the group
window and select the third tab marked "Screen". Then click "Broadcast your screen ...". Other
group members will get a notification that you are broadcasting. To watch a screen broadcast,
use the drop-down list of channels (which starts off set to "Off") to select a screen that you want
Why do I have
"[:/Shinkuro] Shinkuro Patch" files in my inbox?
Someone is attempting to connect to you using your e-mail
address. In Windows, you should be able to double-click the file
and load it into Shinkuro. When it's loaded, you can delete the
What happens if I move a shared folder?
If you move a shared folder, the files will no longer appear in
the Shinkuro window. To re-designate a particular folder for a
group, open the group properties panel and change the directory
How do I use the conversation
within a group?
The conversation panel is used as a combination posting board or
group chat. Keep in mind that anything posted will go to all group
members (online or not) and will be persistent.
Why are there subfolders with
the names of the group members and some other funky numbers?
Shinkuro uses subfolders to hold files from other members of the
group. The member's name and key id serves as the name of this
folder. Other members' files are stored here to prevent your
files from being overwritten. Files in these folders may be
opened as read-only. You can not save changes in the member's
subfolder. To save changes to a file from a member's
subfolder, navigate up a level and save them in your folder.