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/// The InterNet via Email
by Robert Niles
Are you stuck at one of those sites that only give you access to some of
newsgroups and internet email?? Are you wishing there was more that you
could do? Do you feel a bit "cut off" from the rest of the world?
Well, ease up a bit. Having plain old email access is really not so bad,
and there is a good range of things that you can do with email.
FTP, Netfind, Archie to name a few, and for those of you who only have
email access to the InterNet, we're going to show you how to do it.
Once you looked through the latest edition of Amiga Report <grin> and
spotted those files listed as FTP'able, you can, through the mail, grab
those files. There are a few FTPmail servers around that let you do this.
Most sites have their own server, and they will instruct you how to grab a
file from their site and get it to you. But we will work with
firstname.lastname@example.org. This ftpmail server will process your request, ftp
to the site in which you want a file from, grab it for you, uuencode the
file and send it to you via email.
Look at the ftpmail server commands below (they'll be explained later):
reply <MAILADDR> set reply addr, since headers are usually wrong
connect [HOST [USER [PASS [ACCT]]]]
defaults to gatekeeper.dec.com, anonymous
ascii files grabbed are printable ascii
binary files grabbed are compressed or tar or both
chdir PLACE "get" and "ls" commands are relative to PLACE
(only one CHDIR per ftpmail session,
and it executes before any LS/DIR/GETs)
compress compress binaries using Lempel-Ziv encoding
compact compress binaries using Huffman encoding
uuencode binary files will be mailed in uuencode format
btoa binary files will be mailed in btoa format
chunksize SIZE split files into SIZE-byte chunks (def: 64000)
ls (or dir) PLACE short (long) directory listing
index THING search for THING in ftp server's index
get FILE get a file and have it mailed to you
(max 10 GET's per ftpmail session)
quit terminate script, ignore rest of mail message
(use if you have a .signature or
are a VMSMAIL user)
-> the "Subject:" of your request will be contained in the "Subject:"
of all of ftpmail's responses to you regarding that request. You
can therefore use it to "tag" different requests if you have more
than one outstanding at any given time.
-> you must give a "connect" command, default host is
gatekeeper.dec.com, default user is anonymous, default
password is your mail address with a hyphen prepended.
-> binary files will not be compressed unless 'compress' or 'compact'
command is given; use this if at all possible, it helps a lot.
note that many files are already compressed. if you use any of
the binary-file qualifiers (compress, compact, uuencode, btoa)
without setting 'binary' first, your session will abort in error.
-> binary files will always be formatted into printable ASCII
with "btoa" or "uuencode" (default is "btoa"). if you don't
use the "binary" command, ftpmail will cheerfully try to mail
you the binary data, which will absolutely, positively fail.
-> all retrieved files will be split into chunks and mailed. the
size of the chunk is 64000 characters unless you change it with
the "chunksize" command. CompuServe users will need to set this
to 49000. there is no way to set it higher than 100000, so please
-> if you ask for more than 10 files in a session, you will receive
an error message and your entire request will be rejected.
-> There is only ONE chdir command allowed in a FTPmail session.
So if you want more than one file, and they are located in different
directories, it's best to use the path with the "get" command,
ie: get /systems/amiga/boing/comm/bbs/quack120.lha
These commands are the commands that you type out in your message to
OK, here's an example of the email message that you will be sending to
email@example.com. (Everything after the SUBJECT line is the actual
SUBJECT: Whatever you want to put here.
OK what's happening??
TO: firstname.lastname@example.org ...OK this is who the ftpmail server is.
SUBJECT: Whhatever you want ...Doesn't matter what you put here. When
you get your reply, this is what the
subject line will say. Good to leave a
note for yourself, so when it arrives,
you know what this is.
reply ...This is where decwrl.dec.com is going
to send the uuencoded file. If no REPLY
line is sent, it will send it back to
the address from which the message
connect ...This is were the file you want is, where
you want the ftpmail server to go get the
binary ...if the file is compressed in ANY manner
use the keyword "binary" as we did here,
if the file you want is just plain ASCII
text, replace this with the keyword
chdir /path/ ...CHDIR is the same as "CD" most users
that utilize a SHELL or CLI should
understand this...you are moving the
FTPMAIL server to where the file is.
uuencode ...You HAVE to uuencode the file if it is
binary (which includes compressed files).
If you don't the archive, file, or
whatnot will not work. AT ALL!!
get term34.lha ...Now you are telling it the file you want it
to grab. In this case it's "term34.lha"
quit ...You're done, finish up and send you
Done, now all you have to do is wait until it sends you the file in
uuencoded format. Once you have it all you have to do is uudecode it.
Here's some more examples:
-> connect to gatekeeper.dec.com and get a root directory listing:
-> connect to gatekeeper.dec.com and get the README.ftp file:
-> connect to gatekeeper.dec.com and get the gnuemacs sources:
-> connect to ftp.uu.net as anonymous and get a root directory list:
Now admittedly, using FTPmail is slower than realtime FTP, but it gets
you what you want, and it works well. I've had to use this many times
before. There also >might< be certain restrictions at your email site.
Check with the local administrator for details.
Thanks to those at decwrl.dec.com for providing this service, and for the
help file used here.
Next week we will discuss how to use Netfind, and Archie via InterNet