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  PC-Net's PC News - September, 1999
Don Watkins

When It Needs to Be There NOW!

By Don Watkins



September 1999--This month, we'll look at updated ways to send files from system to system--hopefully in a controlled manner, rather than the uncontrolled chaos that's my usual mode of operation..

An improved chute Software maker Hilgraeve has updated Drop Chute+, adding new features. These include the ability to chat (via text messages or voice) at the same time files are being transferred, file compression, automatic virus scanning, advanced encryption (via Internet Explorer 4 or later), and unattended file transfer. Trial and free versions of Drop Chute are available at the Hilgraeve Web site.

The wonders of FTP
If you need to send files over the Internet from one point to another and just want the simplest method (no security, no confirmation, no chatting) use a File Transfer Protocol (FTP) client. Windows 95/98 comes with a very basic, command line FTP client, which may be all you need, if you don't need much documentation.

I don't recommend this program, however, unless you are a die-hard command line user with roots in Unix. Commands such as "!" and "ls" may be second nature to you. If they are, then you're in luck. If you're like me and prefer something that has a friendlier user interface, I recommend WS_FTP Pro from Ipswitch. Installation and configuration is a breeze. I found no need to refer to any of the documentation to get the program up and running or to connect to an FTP server. Here's a screen shot of the program's Site Manager, which is used to access and create FTP site entries:

With just a few mouse clicks and a little typing, creating a new FTP site entry is a snap. Once the entry is created, you can access the site using two different interfaces. This is what the classic interface looks like:

For those of you who prefer an organization similar to Windows Explorer, that option is also available:

Personally, I prefer the classic interface, but I also like being able to choose, rather than being stuck with a software author's view of how things should work.

Is an FTP client really needed, since FTP support is built into both Internet Explorer and Netscape? My answer is a definite yes, if you do much FTP work. If the FTP site requires a password or any other special log-in information, the FTP support in the browser may not work. Also, sometimes browsers return odd information when accessing some FTP sites. WS_FTP Pro is one of the best FTP clients I have seen and it's on my highly recommended list.

We were scheduled to discuss universal serial bus (USB) this month, but as the deadline approached, Microsoft released Service Pack 1 for Windows 98. This Service Pack includes additional USB support and I'm still in the process of conducting tests with this update. We're shooting to have these tests completed in time for next month's newsletter, so stay tuned.

Until next month, stay connected!


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