A few weeks ago I was hunting around on the Chebucto Community Net's main site to see what was going on these days. I have been with Chebucto Community Net since around April 1995 and have recently lost touch with what was happening with CCN. What I found was the premier issue of the Beacon and I thought that maybe I could jump in and help out a little bit for all the wonderful things that CCN has done for me.
I've had an Andara account for about 6 months now but I still keep my Chebucto Community Net account for a number of very important reasons.
With recent changes to CCN you will be able to remote administer your site via FTP and POP3 services. This means that even if you decide that you can afford a regular service provider for surfing the web, etc. you can still use CCN to host your personal site and/or your organisation's site. Very soon you will be able to run a standard FTP client to upload and download HTML and graphics to your IP site(s) and you can already use any internet-based email client (I use Outlook 98) to read and respond to your email.
All of these changes are due to the fantastic work of the dedicated CCN members. The FTP facility being implemented as I write this article is top-notch and more than just a simple FTP server. Here is a description from Michael Smith, one of those dedicated members I was talking about.
FTP, for the uninitiated, stands for File Transfer Protocol. FTP is a tool used to transfer files across the Internet allowing you to remotely manage your site. With FTP you can copy files down to your local system. Copy them back up (overwriting the originals), rename them, or move them around.
I use WS_FTP95 to FTP my site back and forth. Here's how to configure it (others are similar) for use on Chebucto Community Net:
When you get connected you should see a screen similiar to the one below. You may have the directory panes arranged vertically (I prefer the side by side look) but the idea is the same. One pane, the left one in this image, shows you your local file system and the other pane shows the remote file system.
You can see with this FTP client that I can select files and move them back and forth between the local system (my D: drive) and the remote system (my IP area on CCN). I can also rename files and even move them. If you look at the screen you won't see the move command listed anywhere. The way you move something is to rename it into a different directory. So, if I was to select akcfees.html and then rename it to Zanshin/akcfees.html it actually has the effect of moving it into the Zanshin directory.
The scripting done by your handy-dandy CCN volunteers that provides file locking, etc. has been tested with a few FTP clients but needs more testing before it gets called a production service. If you feel you would like to manage your site this way please contact Michael Smith about testing your client. The more testing that gets done the faster it'll be considered a production service.
That takes care of your site but what about email? I use Outlook 98. It can be configured to check your mail from afar via POP3. The "Outgoing mail (SMTP)" field should be configured to use your main provider (Andara for me, maybe Sympatico for others). This is important because if you try to send mail using Chebucto Community Net's SMTP server it will fail if you are not on their network. This restriction is in place to prevent third-party spammers from hijacking the server for their evil purposes.
The Incoming mail (POP3) field should be configured to get your mail from Chebucto Community Net. Note that you'll have to put in your id and password here. Why did I put the password here and not in the FTP client? Basic security concerns aside I have one simple answer: kids. If you let your kids use your PC or anyone else for that matter, they would have the ability to change the contents of your website possibly deleting the entire thing. I'm sure it would be an accident and they would apologise profusely but nonetheless it would be done. Mail is a lot less visible and (for me anyway) worth the risk. Don't forget to put the correct email address and name in the account profile or outgoing mail will look like it is coming from the wrong place.
That's all I have for this issue. If you want me to continue to write this column then I ask you for one or two small things:
If you are not involved in this newsletter or with Chebucto Community Net then I ask that you get involved and make this community network part of your community to help CCN continue to thrive.
You may direct comments or suggestions about this column to: