In order to answer new users questions
about transferring files over the Internet. We much prefer to teach new users the correct
way right off the start. That way everyone is happier, things run smoother, and we
dont have to deal with a member trying to send their 640MB Windows 95 CD-ROM through
the improper channels and disrupting, or stopping services for all members ;^) After all,
its much easier to hammer a nail with a hammer than with a screwdriver. Not to
mention a Federal Offense if you try the above ;^)
Email isn't and never was designed for transfer
of large files. It's primarily for email messages, and small attachments. Email isn't good
at long sustained connections. It's designed to do many quick connections efficiently. The
last sections of this message contains some "rules of thumb" on email. FTP (File
Transfer Protocol) is the proper application to transfer large files across the Internet.
We set our servers to reject email files over
2048K. It's considered a "newbie cardinal sin" to email anything over 50k. The
fact of the matter is; the Internet would be a much faster place if people wouldn't abuse
email so much. Whenever a large file is attached to an email, there are several processes
that must take place. First the email message itself must be translated to MIME with any
boundaries included into to the message. Next the attachment must be converted to ASCII
for transmission. Next the ASCII conversion of the attachment has to be converted to MIME
format and any boundaries to the attachment. Next that attachment has to be added to the
original email message and the whole process started over. Well we haven't even sent out
the message from the mail server yet... Now it's at the destination mail server...the
message has to be parsed with the attachment and the whole process repeated.
Small files are processed much faster than larger
files. In fact the file size increases the amount of processing not proportionally by
logarithmically! Meaning you can send (correctly) broken up smaller files (which most
email software will do automatically) much, much faster that one large file. However, most
email software will allow you to break up larger emails into small 50K chunks! It will
do this automatically. Simply access the HELP menu on your email to see how.
Of course the proper application for transfer of
files over the Internet is FTP. Thats what the acronym stands for: File Transfer
Protocol. Ftp takes the file, sends it and thats all there is to it. Its much
faster, more secure, and more reliable than trying to use email to do FTPs job.
Well, being the best ISP around (a shameless plug
we know), we want to offer a better alternative. We are more than happy to set up a
"semi-public" ftp site, (in addition to your secure site for web pages), so you
can transfer/share(in accordance to the policies of NCKCN which you will find in your web
and ftp sites) files to your hearts content :^) If this sounds like the ticket, just drop
the webmaster a note.
Here are some common email mistakes that will
* Changing the default settings of "deleting messages from the
server" to "saving E-mail on the server" after being downloaded
to your computer in your E-mail application. This is a very bad idea all the way around.
It's like if you went to your real life post office box and instead of taking out the
mail, you looked at it and then stuffed it back in the box. You then told the Postmaster
to keep delivering new mail and to keep stuffing the new mail with the old. And every day
you keep looking at just your new mail and keep stuffing it back in the box. Well, soon
there won't be any room left in the mailbox either to deliver new mail or to stuff the
mail you look at back in.
* Non-use of your E-mail account, thus having too many messages pile up. Please let us
know if you will be away for a while, or unable to check your email. We are glad to put
your account on hold.
* Someone sending large attachments on several E-mail messages (our servers reject
anything over 2MB per message). The proper application to use to send files is of course
FTP. In fact, sending attachments is one of the absolute sure fire ways to get a computer
virus if the attachment is an executable file or macro. This practice is increasing at an
THIS IMPORTANT FACT BEARS REPEATING:
FILE ATTACHMENTS, ESPECIALLY EXECUTABLE (PROGRAMS AND MACROS) FILE
ATTACHMENTS ARE THE ABSOLUTE BEST WAY TO SPREAD VIRUSES KNOWN TO MAN!
EVEN IF SENT IN ALL GOOD INTENTIONS, YOU MIGHT BE SENDING YOUR FRIEND THEIR
DOOM!!! DON'T DO IT!!! IT IS THE MECHANISM OF CHOICE FOR HACKERS AND VIRUS
AUTHORS AND THEY CERTAINLY WANT YOU TO CONTINUE THIS BAD PRACTICE!!!
Some Proper Use of Email:
- Unless you have your own Internet access through
an Internet provider, be sure to check with your employer about ownership of electronic
mail. Laws about the ownership of electronic mail vary from place to place.
- Unless you are using an encryption device
(hardware or software), you should assume that mail on the Internet is not secure. Never
put in a mail message anything you would not put on a postcard.
- Respect the copyright on material that you
reproduce. Almost every country has copyright laws.
- If you are forwarding or re-posting a message
you've received, do not change the wording. If the message was a personal message to you
and you are re-posting to a group, you should ask permission first. You may shorten the
message and quote only relevant parts, but be sure you give proper attribution.
- Never send chain letters via electronic mail.
Chain letters are forbidden on the Internet. Your network privileges will be revoked.
Notify your local system administrator if your ever receive one.
- A good rule of thumb: Be conservative in what you
send and liberal in what you receive. You should not send heated messages (we call these
"flames") even if you are provoked. On the other hand, you shouldn't be
surprised if you get flamed and it's prudent not to respond to flames.
- In general, it's a good idea to at least check all
your mail subjects before responding to a message. Sometimes a person who asks you for
help (or clarification) will send another message which effectively says "Never
Mind". Also make sure that any message you respond to was directed to you. You might
be cc:ed rather than the primary recipient.
- Make things easy for the recipient. Many mailers
strip header information which includes your return address. In order to ensure that
people know who you are, be sure to include a line or two at the end of your message with
contact information. You can create this file ahead of time and add it to the end of your
messages. (Some mailers do this automatically.) In Internet parlance, this is known as a
".sig" or "signature" file. Your .sig file takes the place of your
business card. (And you can have more than one to apply in different circumstances.)
- Be careful when addressing mail. There are
addresses which may go to a group but the address looks like it is just one person. Know
to whom you are sending.
- Watch Cc's when replying. Don't continue to
include people if the messages have become a 2-way conversation.
- In general, most people who use the Internet don't
have time to answer general questions about the Internet and its workings. Don't send
unsolicited mail asking for information to people whose names you might have seen in RFCs
or on mailing lists.
- Remember that people with whom you communicate are
located across the globe. If you send a message to which you want an immediate response,
the person receiving it might be at home asleep when it arrives. Give them a chance to
wake up, come to work, and login before assuming the mail didn't arrive or that they don't
- Verify all addresses before initiating long or
personal discourse. It's also a good practice to include the word "Long" in the
subject header so the recipient knows the message will take time to read and respond to.
Over 100 lines is considered "long".
- Know whom to contact for help. Usually you will
have resources close at hand. Check locally for people who can help you with software and
system problems. Also, know whom to go to if you receive anything questionable or illegal.
Most sites also have "Postmaster" aliased to a knowledgeable user, so you can
send mail to this address to get help with mail.
- Remember that the recipient is a human being whose
culture, language, and humor have different points of reference from your own. Remember
that date formats, measurements, and idioms may not travel well. Be especially careful
- Use mixed case. UPPER CASE LOOKS AS IF YOU'RE
- Use symbols for emphasis. That *is* what I meant.
Use underscores for underlining. _War and Peace_ is my favorite book.
- Use smileys to indicate tone of voice, but use
them sparingly. :-) is an example of a smiley (Look sideways). Don't assume that the
inclusion of a smiley will make the recipient happy with what you say or wipe out an
otherwise insulting comment.
- Wait overnight to send emotional responses to
messages. If you have really strong feelings about a subject, indicate it via FLAME ON/OFF
enclosures. For example: FLAME ON: This type of argument is not worth the bandwidth it
takes to send it. It's illogical and poorly reasoned. The rest of the world agrees with
me. FLAME OFF
- Do not include control characters or non-ASCII
attachments in messages unless they are MIME attachments or unless your mailer encodes
these. If you send encoded messages make sure the recipient can decode them.
- Be brief without being overly terse. When replying
to a message, include enough original material to be understood but no more. It is
extremely bad form to simply reply to a message by including all the previous message:
edit out all the irrelevant material.
- Limit line length to fewer than 65 characters and
end a line with a carriage return.
- Mail should have a subject heading which reflects
the content of the message.
- If you include a signature keep it short. Rule of
thumb is no longer than 4 lines. Remember that many people pay for connectivity by the
minute, and the longer your message is, the more they pay.
- Just as mail (today) may not be private, mail (and
news) are (today) subject to forgery and spoofing of various degrees of detectability.
Apply common sense "reality checks" before assuming a message is valid.
- If you think the importance of a message justifies
it, immediately reply briefly to an e-mail message to let the sender know you got it, even
if you will send a longer reply later.
- "Reasonable" expectations for conduct
via e-mail depend on your relationship to a person and the context of the communication.
Norms learned in a particular e-mail environment may not apply in general to your e-mail
communication with people across the Internet. Be careful with slang or local acronyms.
- The cost of delivering an e-mail message is, on
the average, paid about equally by the sender and the recipient (or their organizations).
This is unlike other media such as physical mail, telephone, TV, or radio. Sending someone
mail may also cost them in other specific ways like network bandwidth, disk space or CPU
usage. This is a fundamental economic reason why unsolicited e-mail advertising is
unwelcome (and is forbidden in many contexts).
- Know how large a message you are sending.
Including large files such as Postscript files or programs may make your message so large
that it cannot be delivered or at least consumes excessive resources. A good rule of thumb
would be not to send a file larger than 50 Kilobytes. Consider file transfer as an
alternative, or cutting the file into smaller chunks and sending each as a separate
- Never send unsolicited information to people.
- If your mail system allows you to forward mail,
beware the dreaded forwarding loop. Be sure you haven't set up forwarding on several hosts
so that a message sent to you gets into an endless loop from one computer to the next to