Email 101 Part 5

First of all, FTP avoids certain restrictions on the type of file sent; in particular, you can send binary (non-text) files like programs and pictures; and you are not restricted to any particular length, as is often the case with mail programs.

Not only that, with FTP you can "browse" a directory of files before choosing one. You can move up and down the directory hierarchy and list files, looking for the one you want.

Finally, FTP lets you get places that you may not have an account (or a friend to send you mail). The method for doing this, called "anonymous FTP", is described in the next section. There are several hundred "anonymous FTP sites" worldwide, with large collections of programs, textfiles, and graphics. Anonymous FTP is the Internet equivalent of publishing--a very important topic indeed.

Anonymous FTP

Further facility with Anon. FTP requires a little knowledge of the UNIX operating system. See Appendix D for an introduction.

Getting on the Internet Step by Step

This course takes a different approach to . Rather than

In particular, you should contact the following for information.


To get on the Internet you need:

1. a home computer,

2. a 1200 or 2400 baud modem that understands AT commands ("Hayes Command Set Compatible"),

3. communications software, and

4. a credit card.

This example assumes that you are signing up with the bulletin board service DELPHI. DELPHI has no commercial relationship with the author.

It was chosen for an example because its rates are typical of the low end of the market, it offers nationwide service, it includes afterhours access by SprintNet in its basic fee, and because at this time it offers 5 free hours of Internet access to new subscribers.

You should definitely consider other providers. You can get information about other providers once you're on the Internet. In fact, that will be one of your first steps below.

1. Set your modem to 2400 (or 1200) baud, 8 bits, NO parity, 1 stop bit, full duplex, local echo and auto linefeeds off, XON/XOFF on, VT100 emulation. (see the manual for your modem, the manual for your communications software, and Appendix A if you need help)

Don't worry if some of the options are missing. Usually, for example, full duplex implies local echo off and vice versa, so your software may not list these as separate options.

2. Use your communications software to issue (or type directly to your modem) the command ATDT 1 800 365 4656. If you have a pulse-dial phone your will use ATDP instead of ATDT.

3. DELPHI will give you explicit instructions, but for reference they will look like this:

A. Make sure it is after 6 or 7 p.m. or on a weekend--unless you want a $9 surcharge for daytime access.

B. Dial your local SprintNet access number (local call!): ATDT 123 4567.

C. After "CONNECT 2400", type @D ("D" must be capital)

D. After "terminal=" type , i.e. carriage return.

E. At the @-sign type


F. After Username: type


Type your own username and password of course.

4. If at anytime you forget your Sprintnet access number, or if you are out of town, you can look up SprintNet numbers as follows.

STEP 2. Your First E-mail Get PDIAL, NIXPUB, INTERNET RESOURCE GUIDE, Info on PSI Info on LISTSERV and signing up for E-mail

STEP 3. Your First Anonyomous FTP

Get surfing the internet

STEP 4. Your First Telnet

Getting Public Access UNIX and reading Usenet news

STEP 5. First E-mail Getting Information on PSI Getting Information on LISTSERV

You can do many, many things with the Internet. The information you have retrieved, especially the Internet Guides, will give you other ideas. We will go over some of the retrieval methods in Part III of this course. For now, you should experiment and explore, using the information you have as a starting point. The experience you gain will be useful when we come to the more systematic study of Internet research methods later.

Programs and Pictures

Evenually, as you gain experience finding and transfering information, you will want to try you hand at transferring binary files containing pictures or free software from one of the large FTP archives like (Macintosh software) (IBM and compatible software)

In fact, some of the first software you will want to get is software for compressing and uncompressing files (see next Chapter), processing graphics ("image files"), and perhaps some games.

First, what is a binary file? A binary file is one that you can't read.

Unlike text, which consists of groups of eight bit code letters representing "a", "b", and so on, binary files have bits that are meant to be read only by programs. You cannot "look" at them by typing them out or with a word processor--unless the word processor understands the format of the file. Expensive word processing programs--including the most popular ones like Word Perfect and Microsoft Word--are increasingly able to read a large variety of binary files.

Frequently encountered binary files include:

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