No worries about the quick posts -- we're happy to help if we can.
Files in the files browser are access-protected as they are actually private system files: all submission file versions, etc. The public dir isn't accessible by default, but you can symlink it to your files directory location and it will appear in the Files Browser (viewtopic.php?f=8&t=3980&start=0
for a full discussion).
There's been ongoing discussion on developing a 'workspaces' type of plugin that would allow users to upload files to the system and to allow access per role (or optionally to allow for full access). I haven't submitted a feature request for this yet, and it's likely a fair bit of work as authentication and access rights would be a concern. Any thoughts you might have on the issue would be appreciated!