[EM] uuencoding and ftp (was Re: Are all of us able to browse web?)

Steve Eppley seppley at alumni.caltech.edu
Tue Feb 20 13:57:22 PST 1996

K.D. wrote:
>I've got access to the Web (through my AOL account), but I don't have any
>coding capacity, as far as I know.

AOL might use different terminology, such as "attachments".  I'll be
happy to send a small uuencoded file to anyone who requests it so we
can see if your emailer automatically recognizes it.  If anyone wants 
to test their mime-decoding capability, I can send one that way too.

UUencoding (like mime-encoding) is just a method to email files that
may include nontext characters.  (Text is alphanumerics and
punctuation.)  Examples of such files: word-processor formatted
documents, software, digitized sound, digitized images, digitized

Since some parts of the internet are old (can only handle 7-bit
words), and some bytes have special meanings to email software, such
files would be distorted by the net.  Encoding translates a file so
it uses only alphanumerics and punctuation characters, and a header
and footer is inserted which contains instructions (like the
filename) for the receivers' decoders.  Encoded files are 33% bigger 
than the originals, but this is a small price to pay to be able to 
send them intact.

UUencoding is an older standard than mime-encoding, so is more
ubiquitous, and I'd expect even AOL supports it.  Mime has a few
more features.  Many email packages offer both, and the trend is to
support both. 

- - -

There are alternative ways to send nontext files, like FTP (which is
a transfer protocol your web browser can use to download files). 
But ftp requires the file be available on some internet site which is
running ftp server software.  It's not an "I send to you" method; 
it's an "I upload to ftpsite, then you download from ftpsite" method.

That's something I should have asked about too...  Does anyone have
access to space on an ftp server so we can store election reform
files like FAQs?  If the goal of this maillist is to produce FAQs,
it would be nice to have a place to post them so they can be
downloaded by others.  I can probably get a couple MBytes at 
ftp://alumni.caltech.edu/pub/seppley/ if I ask the administrator 
nicely to make the directory for me.

---Steve     (Steve Eppley    seppley at alumni.caltech.edu)

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