Ok this week I am going to date myself. Before
anybody knew what a Hacker was, before the web, before AOL, CompuServe, and
Prodigy, we logged on the internet from Universities. We used mail apps like PINE, which is a Unix mail program that looks a lot like a Dos window. We used FINGER to find out information about other users. We used COM programs, like windows accessories Hyperlink, to log on to a BBS, and of course ARCHIE FTP programs, to upload and download files. While you will find some old guys like
me still using these old methods of data transfer, the FTP (File Transfer Protocol) programs are still widely used.
When you download a file from a website you are actually using your browser to log on to an FTP site and make the transfer. It is often easier and faster to use an FTP program to find and download a file then it is to go through a Web Browser front end. All big software companies have an anonymous FTP site.
NOSPIN has one at ftp.fluidlight.com
, and when you click the Download button on the top of this page you are accessing it.
There are a number of full featured FTP programs available. Two Shareware Award winners that come to mind are Cute FTP and FTP Voyager, but these are complicated forty dollar shareware applications for the serious FTP user. FTP Explorer by
Alan Chavi is a FTP program that is free to students and home users and thirty dollars for businesses.
Most people will have all their FTP needs met by FTP Explorer. The biggest advantage this program has over all other FTP programs is it's interface and it's ease of use. If you know how to use Windows Explorer then you know how to use FTP Explorer, as the interface is very similar.
When you first install and startup FTP Explorer
the program will advise you that you have no predefined addresses, and ask you if you want it to create some new addresses for
you. Say yes. and you will be provided with some sites from major companies to start exploring. From then on managing your FTP addresses is very simple using FTP
Explorer's intuitive interface.
FTP Explorer has a very easy to use quick connect icon. You just press the lightening bolt icon and type in the FTP address and it will attempt to connect you as an anonymous user. FTP Explorer also has a Download
Manager. Once you start downloading or uploading you can check on the progress of all targeted files by selecting
Window on the task bar and then selecting Transfer
Manager. Transfer Manager will automatically resume broken downloads when you get disconnected
if the server you are logged on to supports resume mode.
Amazingly, FTP Explorer hasn't been updated since 1997 which says something about it's excellent design and stability, but then why fool with a good thing. The hardest part of developing software is knowing when to stop. For ninety five percent of users FTP Explorer is as full featured as you would ever need or want. Adding more features would just make it harder to use and prone to the usual bugs. There isn't anything about FTP Explorer that I don't like, and you just can't beat the price!