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ncftp -- Now You Tell Me!

If you're lucky, the people who run your host system or public- access site have installed a program called ncftp, which takes some of the edges off the ftp process.

For starters, when you use ncftp instead of plain old ftp, you no longer have to worry about misspelling "anonymous" when you connect. The program does it for you. And once you're in, instead of getting line after line filled with dashes, x's, r's and d's, you only get listings of the files or directories themselves (if you're used to MS-DOS, the display you get will be very similar to that produced by the `dir/w' command). The program even creates a list of the ftp sites you've used most recently, so you can pick from that list, instead of trying to remember some incredibly complex ftp site name.

Launching the program, assuming your site has it, is easy. At the command prompt, type

ncftp sitename

where "sitename" is the site you want to reach (alternately, you could type just ncftp and then use its open command). Once connected, you can use the same ftp commands you've become used to, such as ls, get and mget. Entries that end in a `/' are directories to which you can switch with `cd'; others are files you can get. A couple of useful ncftp commands include type, which lets you change the type of file transfer (from ASCII to binary for example) and size, which lets you see how large a file is before you get it, for example

size declaration.txt

would tell you how large the declaration.txt file is before you get it. When you say `bye' to disconnect from a site, ncftp remembers the last directory you were in, so that the next time you connect to the site, you are put back into that directory automatically. If you type `help' you'll get a list of files you can read to extend the power of the program even further.

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