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21.001 What is the easiest way to download files from Apple II sites?


This article is from the Apple II Csa2 FAQ, by Jeff Hurlburt with numerous contributions by others.

21.001 What is the easiest way to download files from Apple II sites?

         Modern PC internet browsers like netscape and Internet Explorer have
spoiled much of the challenge of connecting to sites on the net. For example,


in IE's "Address" box gets you to Ground's IIgs games folder ready to download
with just a mouse click.

Downloading via a Browser

     Some major Apple II sites are FTP sites-- places you get to via an ftp:// 
URL. FTP connections tend have a pretty raw look-- instead of colorful
backgrounds, pictures, fancy buttons, etc., what you see is mainly text showing
folder and file names. You may get folder icons and, perhaps, some simple icon
next to each file name.

     Today, many Apple II sites are web sites with pages you get to via an
http:// URL. Often, web download sites will offer a relatively fancy display
listing titles with descriptions and, by each title, a button to click to do
the download. Other web sites may do without html pages and not be much fancier
than an FTP site.

     Whether FTP or HTTP, you usually just click a button or file name to start
the download process. An exception might be when the file is a Text file you
wish to download; for Text file downloads you may need to right-click or SHIFT-
click on the item to get some sort of 'Save file' dialogue.

     If the file is some binary type (like .shk, .dsk, .zip, etc.), just
clicking on the download link or button should bring up a Save dialogue-- like
an alert asking if you wish to Save the file-- or take you immediately to a
Save window.

     When regular (left) clicking gets you to a Save dialogue or window, it
indicates that the download page's server knows that the item is not Text or
that your browser is one which defaults to binary mode when the filetype is not
recognized. Either way, the odds favor getting a good download.

     Many Apple II sites are on servers which have no difficulty recognizing PC
filetypes like .zip and .bin but do not recognize popular Apple II filetype
designations such as .shk, .sdk, and .dsk If a regular click on a download link
or button for a shk, or other binary file results in a dump of garbage text to
your screen, it means your browser thinks it is supposed to download some kind
of Text file.

     Right-clicking or SHIFT-clicking should allow you to avoid the garbage and
get a Save dialogue and download the file. However, since the browser thinks
it's Text, the resulting file will probably have the linefeed character code
($0A) added after every $0D in the file which is not followed by an $0A. So,
almost certainly, the download will be corrupted.

     One try at a workaround if you are on an http:// site is to try the
place's ftp:// URL if it has one. If that doesn't help, contacting the FTP site
via an FTP program will almost certainly work.

     If you are using an older browser, going to a newer version of IE or
Netscape could get the job done.

     If you have not defined the particular Apple II filetype in Windows and/or
your browser, that may help. (See Geoff Weiss's page which talks about making
web browsers aware of Apple II file types for ftp connections at http://
www.gwlink.net/geoff/IIdownload.html .)

     If the item is available from another place, you may find that going there
for your download solves the problem.

     Another pretty good alternative is to go ahead and download the .shk, etc.
file and use a PC utility named "Uncook" to try producing a copy with the
corruption removed.

     Uncook was 'discovered' by GS Ed (manager of the ACN Florida archive); and
tests indicate that it usually succeeds when the file is corrupted. If the file
is not corrupted, Uncook may produce a messed up copy! Fortunately, it is
pretty easy to tell when the latter occurs.

     If the result of Uncook is a file just 2-4 or so bytes smaller, the
original is probably good and the Uncook is bad. If the new (Uncooked) file is
known to be the correct size (like it's a 143,360-byte .dsk file) or if it is
many bytes smaller, or if the site is known to deliver corrupted files, then
the Uncooked file is probably good. And, if there is any doubt, you can always
try using both files-- e.g. the .sdk file which gets you a "bad data" error
during unshrinking is the bad one.

     Uncook.zip is available from GS WorldView's "Download Help" page at http:/
/apple2.org.za/gswv/a2zine/DownloadHelp.htm . To get Uncook, click on
"Download" near the bottom of the page.

Downloading via an FTP Program

     A slightly different approach is to use a good FTP program (often called
an "FTP client"), such as WS_FTP or Cute FTP. It is easier to download (or
upload) multiple files, speed is usually a bit better, and, since you can force
binary mode, direct FTP is not much bothered with file type recognition.

     To connect to an FTP site you can run a dial-up program to establish
contact with your Internet Service Provider (ISP) and start your FTP program.
If you are on the net under Netscape, 'Explorer, etc., then you are already
connected to your ISP and can start your FTP program as a new task.

     After starting your FTP program, you can select the FTP site you want from
a list you've created. The list, also called a "profile list", contains ...

o- the site's internet name-- such as "ground.ecn.uiowa.edu" (Note: there are
no "/" folder separators in this entry.)

o- the particular folder or directory you want to begin with-- such as "/2/

o- and the folder on your computer for downloads-- such as "C:\Downloads".

     Other information, such as the kind of connection (usually "Unix
standard") and the password you send to the site-- usually you will log-in as
"anonymous" and use your email address as the password-- are entered more or
less automatically when you first create a site's profile entry. (To create a
new entry you will usually just click "New", "Create New", etc. instead of
picking a site to contact.)

     When the connection is made, you will see a list of files and folders in
the folder you have entered. If you open one of the folders, you will get a new
listing of files and folders contained in the selected folder. You can
'navigate' deeper into the archive and reach, say, Ground's /2/apple2/
Collections/AOL/Games folder; and you can navigate backward to, say, /2/apple2/
Collections and explore some other collection, such as /2/apple2/Collections/

     You can, also, change the the drive and folder on your hard disk
     to which you wish to download. For example, the default "local"
     folder may be C:\Downloads whenever you connect to Ground. If you
     want downloads to go into D:\TempStuff, you can pick this
     destination. Another situation in which you may wish to change
     the local folder is when uploading files to a site.

     Practically all programs and compressed disks will be in .SHK, .SDK, .DSK,
or some other "binary" form. In fact, "Binary" should nearly always be your
download/upload mode setting, even when downloading (or uploading) Text files.
About the only exception would be when dealing with a binscii archive site
which can not handle binary.

     In general, when downloading an Apple II .SHK, .ZIP, etc. file, it is best
to avoid letting any "helper" applications process the file during download.
Usually, it is best to unZIP .zip and .gz files on the PC but, still, after you
have completed the download. Your Apple II can take care of un-Shrinking and
most other kinds of processing which may be required after the file is
downloaded and transferred from the PC (or Mac).

     To download one or more files you click-highlight each file you
     want.  Then, you click some button-- such as an arrow symbol
     pointing to your C:\Downloads folder-- to start the download.

     Usually everything will go smoothly and the files will appear on hard disk
in your target folder (e.g. C:\Downloads).  If you use a dedicated ftp utility
you will, usually, be able to see the exact length of a file on the site's file
list. One good check for a successful download is to compare file lengths
displayed in your target folder with those shown in the FTP site's file list.
If you do straight downloads with no processing, there should be no differences
for binary transfers. (Text file transfe

rs in Text mode often result in small length changes.)



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