by Adam C. Engst <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I've been quiet in TidBITS for the last few months, but I haven't been sitting around twiddling my thumbs (which would be bad for my carpal tunnels, anyway). In the spring and early summer, I finished the second edition of Internet Starter Kit for Macintosh, and after that, I worked on a number of Internet projects. Some of the projects have finally taken full form, so I thought I'd take this opportunity to announce them.
First, I changed <ftp.tidbits.com>. Along with the existing directories of back issues of TidBITS and so on, the /tisk directory (the original acronym resulting from the slightly incorrect title "The Internet Starter Kit") now mirrors the /comm directory of the Info-Mac Archive, and I've become an Info-Mac moderator, helping out with files related to communications. Liam Breck and I reorganized the /comm directory to more closely match what I'd originally done at <ftp.tidbits.com>, which in turn matches the way I organized the book. The reorganization has been in place for some time, but after much fussing with Unix permissions (the answer seems to be, "No, you may not have any"), we have the basic mirror script working. The task remaining is to get a separate part of the mirror script working so the /tisk/util directory contains utilities of interest to Internet users from all over the Info-Mac Archive (I'm continually rebuilding links to keep that directory up to date as files appear and disappear elsewhere in the archive - oh for Macintosh aliases). So, the practical upshot is that most any file related to using the Internet from the Mac should be in:
Second, there's another directory that you might want to check out. The /select directory, at the same level as /tisk, contains what I consider the most important MacTCP-based Internet applications. They are all the latest versions, and are stored as self-extracting archives. However, people stumbling on this directory have been confused, and for good reason. The file names are generic, such as anarchie.sea or mosaic.sea, so you can't tell their version numbers. Also, if you don't explicitly turn on Binary mode when retrieving the files via FTP, they're corrupted in transit. What could have been in my drinking water that day?
There's a simple answer. One of the features of Internet Starter Kit for Macintosh, Second Edition, is that the disk comes with Anarchie and a folder of Anarchie bookmarks pointing at these files. The file names cannot include the version numbers or else the bookmarks would break, and since I anticipate people using these files frequently, I decided that self-extracting archives would be the fastest to download and the easiest for new users who might not yet have StuffIt Expander. For those who don't want to buy the book, you can download a folder containing the updated bookmarks at:
Needless to say, the rest of the files are available in:
One note. Some people (most notably Netcom users) seem to have trouble with Anarchie 1.2.x and the FTP server running on <ftp.tidbits.com> not agreeing on the password. Peter Lewis changed the way Anarchie sends passwords in Anarchie 1.3.1, so I strongly recommend you get that version from another site if you have trouble.
Now, I still haven't said how you can figure out what versions of the programs are stored in that /select directory. With help from Charles Cooper of OneWorld Information Services and Ed Morin of Northwest Nexus, we set up <www.tidbits.com> to point to the /tidbits directory on <oneworld.wa.com> (a NeXT cube, actually). People who buy the second edition of the book get a copy of MacWeb that connects to this site by default - it was the best way I could think of to keep readers up to date.
On <www.tidbits.com>, I've created an Internet Starter Kit for Macintosh home page that lists, chronologically, the latest versions of these programs along with a little information about what changed. There are also a few links to what I consider interesting Web launch sites for Macintosh Internet users. (I'm biased, of course, which is why TidBITS is the first one.) You'll note that I haven't included FTP links within the text of the file descriptions - that's because Web browsers don't seem to handle FTP file transfers well, and even if that function did work well, it wouldn't be as easy to use as Anarchie's bookmarks. In any event, the URL for the Web site is:
Feel free to use and create links to these services whether or not you have the book. I should note that none of these services are running on my Macs - I don't know if the Mac server software can handle the load (at least not on my SE/30), and my 56K Frame Relay line would undoubtedly bog down if I served a popular Web page or FTP site to the world. I plan to set up some services on the SE/30 <king.tidbits.com> once I figure out what it makes sense for me to provide given my hardware and bandwidth limitations. Suggestions are of course welcome, and you can check out the APS price list there via Gopher for the time being.