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Low End Mac


    Using Jaguar's Finder for FTP

    by Alan Zisman (c) 2003 First published in LowEndMac ,  February 11, 2003 X-Basics column

    FTP is an old Unix service that has a long history of being used to transfer files. In fact, email messages were originally text files transferred via FTP.

    Jaguar's Go/Connect to Server menu makes traditional FTP software (programs like Fetch) unnecessary for many people. Here's how to do it.

    Jaguar Finder's Go menu

    In the Finder/Go/Connect to Server dialogue, if you type

    ftp://domain_name

    you'll be connected to an anonymous ftp server (if available). This might be just what you need. You'll be asked for authentication with user-name and password if that domain doesn't offer an anonymous ftp service.

    My web host, however, maintains an optional anonymous ftp service-- so if I type ftp://zisman.ca, I go there, rather than to my (password-protected) folders, which is where I want to go.

    Finder's Connect to server dialogueIf instead, you type

    ftp://user_name@domain_name

    you'll get a log-in prompt, with the user name already filled in, waiting for you to enter the password.

    And if you type:

    ftp://user_name:password@domain_name

    you'll go right in with no log-in needed (assuming you typed everything correctly!). Of course, doing that, anyone looking over your shoulder can read your password.

    Thanks to Jesse Feiler, author of Osborne Books' Mac OS X Jaguar: The Complete Reference, for help in working this out.

    Unix fans will notice that there's nothing mysterious about this; it's all standard Unix FTP syntax.

    Once connected, a network drive icon will appear on the desktop; opening it allows you to copy files to your Mac from the remote FTP host. Of course, performance will be much more sluggish than working on a local system or on a local area network. (It appears that you can only copy to your Mac; to make changes to the remote site, you'll still need a 'real' ftp program).

    Some may prefer to use the Terminal's command line FTP service. That works fine, you just need to know a little bit more about what you're doing!





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Alan Zisman is a Vancouver educator, writer, and computer specialist. He can be reached at E-mail Alan