Before retrieving a file, it is useful to know how big it is. This is because
transfer speed may be very fast, or as slow as one kilobyte per second
depending on factors such as 'heavy traffic congestion' on the Internet.
PC Users: You can find the size of a file by clicking on
Server on the Menu Bar,
then choosing the Directory Listing option. Click on the OK
button to produce a listing.
Mac Users: Clicking on the file you want sometimes tells you its
size, there may also be checkboxes to display more info. You may have to
consult your on-line help if you cannot get file information.
Each line of the directory listing BEGINS with what is known as the
permissions string, which relates to file protection. If the permissions
string starts with the letter d (eg drwxr-xr-x), then the line refers to
a directory. If the permissions string starts with something else,
such as a minus sign (eg -rw-r--r--), then this indicates that the line
refers to a file. The file size is typically given in bytes,
and is written just to the left of the date assigned to the file.
The README File
The README file is a text file and is located in some FTP directories for the
information of the user. You can retrieve this file to find out useful
information regarding the file archive (what files are in the current
directory, what they contain, when the archive was last updated and so on).
PC UsersYou may have to manually click on the ASCII
button to enable ASCII transfer mode (more about that later).
After having retrieved the README file, you can read its contents:
- DOS/UNIX users: type in: type filename | more and
press ENTER. A file longer than one screen-length will be more appropriately
displayed in page-long chunks ; press the space bar to see the next 'page'.
This operation is called piping the output from the type command
into the program more.
- Windows 3.1/3.11 Users: Run the File Manager by
double-clicking on the File Manager icon in the
Main group. Select the correct drive and directory and double-click on
the file to read it.
- Windows 95 Users: Double-click on My Computer and select
the correct folder by double-clicking on it (this opens the
folder to display its contents). Double-click the file you have
downloaded to view it.
- Mac Users: Open the volume and folder where the file is located
and click on it to view it.
Many large files on an FTP server will be in compressed format. This helps save
congestion when tranferring files and reduces the transfer time. Compressed
files will need to be tranferred using the BINARY transfer mode.
- DOS/UNIX Users: type in binary to activate binary
- Mac Users: Your software will automatically choose the correct
- Windows 95 Users: FTP software included with Windows 95
will automatically choose the correct mode.
- Windows 3.1/3.11 Users: Your software will typically need to
be told what mode to use. Select the binary check-box or
radio-button to acticate binary transfer mode.
Compressed files will be suffixed in a certain way, depending on what utility
was used to compress them. A couple of examples are the
suffices (or 'extensions') .Z which can be decompressed using the UNIX
command uncompress filename. There is also .zip
which indicates files suitable for DOS or Windows on Intel-basd PCs. The
command to unzip them is: pkunzip filename.zip then press
ENTER. It is good practice to copy or move the archive file into a
different (empty) directory before unzipping it !
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