Downloading files from the Web

One major use of the Internet, in all it's forms, is to transfer files (including programs, text files and graphics) from one place to another. This is made possible thanks to a protocol developed by CERNLink and the NCSALink, called FTP, which stands for File Transfer Protocol. This allows files to be transferred over the Internet in a binary form. This, in an aside, also forms the basis of the Web, every time that you click on a link, the file that was requested is downloaded using FTP.
Anyway, the fact that files can be transmitted using FTP is very useful for business as has been demonstrated in recent BT radio advertisements for ISDNLink (but that's a different storySmiley). The point is that businesses can simply have files transferred to them by clients over the 'Net rather than physically sending the files on a disk. Many people also download PD or freely distributable software from websites such as AminetLink, which contains just about every Shareware/Freeware program available for the AmigaLink computer - as well as many images and music modules that users want to share with other people.

With modern Web browsers, downloading files is simply a matter of clicking on a link, that is actually a file, in the same way as one would to navigate the Web. Many software companies, or even programmers with Internet access, make downloadable demos of their software available to users and this is a good thing - a form of try before you buy, but one has to take care when downloading files to avoid Trojan Horses.
A Trojan Horse, like the Greek myth of old, pretends that it is something that it is not. It usually involves a malicious program, such as a virus, masquerading as something desirable, such as a new game or something similar. Some crackers are so twisted that they will upload a virus disguised as a virus checker! To avoid risks such as this, all files that are downloaded should be checked by a reputable virus checker before they are used.

Also, it is possible to download pictures from the Web. Any picture that you can see on the screen can be downloaded to your own computer and saved on to a hard disk. This is a very simple matter, but depends on your machine/browser. For Netscape Navigator on a Windoze machine then move the mouse over the picture and press and hold the right mouse button. Move the pointer down to Save Image As and select this item. This will present you with a normal file requester and you can save the file to hard disk.
For Netscape Navigator on a Mac, it is the same process, except there is only one mouse button, so press and hold this
The process is similar, for MS Internet Explorer except that you use the Save Target As menu item after right-clicking the button.

I should mention here that downloading offensive material can lead to access being denied, and not just at university. If an ISP finds out that you are downloading - or indeed uploading (although uploading will not be covered here) - offensive material from the Web, then you could well find yourself cut off. A final note is that some material can be classed as offensive without actually being illegal, if your access is from a university, then you should be especially careful, since academic institutions tend to be very strict about this, so the best advice is to avoid it altogether to avoid the risk off being cut off.

Bullet icon Main Page Bullet icon The Origins of the Net
Bullet icon Web Browsers Bullet icon Search Engines
Bullet icon Downloading Files Bullet icon The End