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How To download files



================================
Items Covered in this document
================================

Saving information
Viewing a Document Off-line
Saving a Graphic
Downloading Programs
Download Identification

Off-line operations & file downloading

The Internet represents a vast storehouse of information and software. Some people are simply overwhelmed by the amount of data(information) contained on the Internet.

Some ISPs do not provide unlimited time accounts, so people may tend to be 'stressed' when surfing because they know the clock is ticking. Often, the best web sites are so large that sitting and reading all of the material is simply not possible in a single session.

This chapter will explore ways to lessen the impact of on-line surfing by showing how it's possible to save something for viewing at a later point in time. This chapter will also discuss downloading, what is meant by downloading, and some of the guidelines folks need to follow in regard to downloading.

Saving information

You've found a site which contains information which you find extremely useful, but do you have to return to the site everytime you need to reference the information? No! A little known feature of most browsers is the ability to load and view web pages off-line. There is a caveat here. While you can view a web page off-line, unless you specifically reconstruct the directory structure, saving all of the associated graphics, you won't see the images for the page. With that in mind, here are some the steps you would need to follow in order to save this page and view it off-line in either Navigator 2.0, Explorer or I-Comm.

Click on File Menu.

Select the option "Save as..." (Explorer users! Use "Save as File..." option.

Save the file, but remember the file name!

 This will allow you to save the file to your local hard drive in a place other than the cache directory. The cache directory is used by the browser to speed loading of the web sites if you make a return visit, but you are not assured that the files will be safe there as the browsers periodically clean out the cache directory to prevent it from growing too large. Normally the files are named using a four character extension (.html), but for a windows 3.11 or MSDOS environment, it should be shortened to ".htm". In the case of both browsers, the program will know, and use the file name under which it was stored on the remote system.

Copyrights. Most web documents are copyrighted material. You may not distribute them without the permission from the original author. You may, however, maintain a local copy of the page on your system for your own personal reference.

Viewing a Document Off-line

 Once you are disconnected from the Internet, activate your browser. If your browser complains about it being activated without a network connection, then your browser lacks the capability of displaying off-line web files. Not to worry though, you can always download Talent Comm's I-view software program. This dandy little shareware program allows you to view web files off-line. You can download the file from Talent Comm's web site, http://www.talent.com. This inexpensive package will give you 30 days to evaluate it, and it works as advertised, an off-line MOSAIC compliant browser.

 Even if you don't want to get the I-Comm browser, you may elect to stay connected and load up the page from your local hard drive.

 Once your browser is active, follow these steps for off-line viewing of the files you have saved.

Navigator 2.0

Click on the "Open File..." menu option under the "File" menu and move to the appropriate directory where you saved the html file.

Select the file that you wish to view from the list supplied and it will appear in the main display window.

Explorer Ver 3.0

Click on the "Open..." menu option under the "File" menu.

Either type the filename, including the full path of where you saved it, or use the "Browse" feature in this dialog box to move around your harddrive until you locate the file.

Select the file that you wish to view from the list supplied and it will appear in the main display window.

I-Comm/I-View

Click on the "File" menu and select the "Open..." option. Move to the appropriate directory.

Select the file you wish to view.

Viewing a file, which you have saved to your harddrive, as opposed to viewing it on-line poses a few unique problems. While you may have saved all the pages in a website, the odds are good that you did not save any pages from the offsite links. An offsite link is a link which takes you to another host computer, usually containing documents which the author of the saved document feels are worthy, but did not write himself/herself. Since you didn't save these offsite files any links to them will simply not work. Clicking on them in an off-line mode of operation will not harm your computer, nor damage any of the saved files in your computer.

Saving a Graphic

 You've found a picture of the most beautiful cat in the world, or just a photo of your favourite camping/vacation spot or perhaps a photo of a really neat space object. Did you know you can save that image on your computer, maybe even use it for a Windows background?

 It's not hard to save a graphic file (a picture) that loaded with a page when you accessed that page. It does help to understand a little about the process of loading a web page into your computer first.

Whenever you visit a webpage, your browser begins a special communications session with the server upon which the page resides (or is "Hosted").

The host computer (also called a server) gives your browser the requested file (this is usually an HTML file). Which is usually all text and the browser loads it into your computer's memory. The HTML file is a text file containing text and "mark-up" commands which instruct the browser on how to display the file. Basically the browser reads the HTML file after loading it. Locates all the commands to load graphics, then retrieves the graphics from the server, again, storing it locally on your computer. Finally it assembles the web page by combining the graphics and the text contained in the HTML file. In essence, all these graphics and text you are seeing are loaded from your own computer, not from the remote site. This process is called "Caching", which is a technical term for local, temporary disk storage.

The real trick, and it's not really a trick, is moving the graphic image from one directory to another directory. In essence, moving the image from your cache directory to another, more permanent location. Navigator and Explorer users have it easy, the designers of these programs foresaw the desire to easily save graphics.

To save a graphic under;

Navigator

Position the cursor over the image and click on the right mouse button.

Select "Save image as..."

Enter an appropriate file name for the image.

Click on the "OK" Button.

Explorer

Position the cursor over the image and click on the right mouse button.

Select "Save picture as..."

Enter an appropriate file name for the image.

Click on the "OK" Button.

I-Comm users have a rougher time of it. TalentComm neglected to include a feature like Navigator's "Save Image..." in their program, but all is not lost! If the image loaded as a result of clicking on a thumbnail version of it, such as in a catalog of some sort, then you can easily save the image. Follow the directions provided for saving a HTML file, except make sure you use either a ".GIF" or ".JPG" as the file extension.

In the event that the image is received from a thumbnail, but is part of the main portion of the page, I-Comm users can still save the image. It entails opening the HTML source window and locating the name of the graphic image in the source file. Finally, with the name in hand, you would have to use Windows File Manager to move the file from the /cache directory. Doable, but it can be a difficult to accomplish.

Downloading Programs

Downloading is the term used to describe the process of moving software from someone else's computer into your own local computer.

Generally there are four major types of software you can download from the Internet. These are Demoware, Freeware, Shareware and patches/upgrades.

Demoware - This is a crippled version of a retail copy of software. By crippled we mean that in some way the functionality of the program has been reduced enough to make the program marginally useful. The primary purpose of Demoware is to let you "test drive" software before making a decision to purchase it.

Freeware - Freeware is free, completely, no strings attached. Usually these types of programs have been written by government agencies or companies that want you to use their programs and perhaps be induced into buying something from their mainstream product line.

Shareware - Typically shareware products are a mix of freeware and demoware. In many cases today you can get a fully functional program which is shareware, but has a built-in self destruct mechanism causing it to become unusable after so many days of use. Many shareware authors rely on the honor system for people to pay them.

Patches/Upgrades - Patches and Upgrades are not usually complete programs. Basically a patch or upgrade requires that you already have a particular piece of software on your computer. The patch will alter the software, either correcting a mistake in the system, or adding additional functionality to the software.

Downloading software is going to consume a significant portion of your on-line time. Whether it's getting new software, or upgrades, or just obtaining demo copies of the latest programs, everyone needs to know how to download.

It's a sound idea, before you begin, to create a directory or folder and call it "Download". This way you will never have to scramble to figure out where to put a file you want to get from the net. Additionally, if you always save the downloaded files in the same directory, then removing them will be easier since they are all in one location on your harddrive.

Download Identification

Downloading files is only one step in a series of steps usually required to make a file useable on your system.

Once you have downloaded a file (the easy part), the next problem is figuring out what to do with it. In many cases, the download will be an executable file, so simply running the file will install the software on your machine. In some cases you won't be so lucky.

Mac owners have it fairly easy because their systems will inform the user what type of file it is. Windows/DOS users face a series of bewildering file types.

The key thing to remember about the file is the extension. The extension is the part following the period ("."). For example, some files may have a ".zip" extension. This identifies the file as a particular type of archive file. The following file extensions can be used to identify archives.

.zip
.z
.gz
.pak
.arc
.arj
.uue

Files with these extensions are in almost all cases, archives. What is an archive? An archive is a single file in which one or more files have been stored. Usually compression is performed, during the process of storing the files. It is very possible to download an archive which is one megabyte in size, only to learn it contains as much as ten megabytes of compressed files.

In order to deal with archives you need to obtain a special program which is capable of decompressing the archive. You do not need to own one program for each type of archive. There are several highly capable programs available today which handle multiple archive formats with considerable ease.

The biggest problem with downloading software is that often many people do not realise that once the file is loaded onto the computer, it almost always requires additional steps before you can use the software. The process of downloading and using a downloaded program follows these basic steps, regardless of the program doing the download.

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