Wednesday, August 29, 2018

All we need to know about file transfer magic


Talk about cart before the horse, I want to raise three cheers and more for the astonishing way we can send words and photos from one part of the globe to another without buying a stamp, without queuing at a post office, and without the person at the other end waiting for a week or two for it to arrive.
Only - and this is the horse and carriage part - I don't understand how it can possibly happen, and yet I want to shout from the treetops of my amazement that it does.
I'm talking about an internet miracle - one of them - that's called File Transfer Protocol, and frankly even if I found a description of it written specially for children, I doubt that I'd comprehend how it works, how it could possibly work.
Better to describe it as a miracle. And it is a miracle.

 Good on the eyes

I want to find an illustration for this article, this blog.
I haven't anything appropriate enough in my files, so I will go to the great photographers who offer their masterpieces at unsplash dot com which is based in Montreal, Canada.
I'll choose something appropriate - well, for this article, something that's simply good on the eyes. A few sweet toes, perhaps.
I click on the photo which is part of a collection in Montreal which Google tells me is 3,242 miles away.
 I don't wait for days for it, not even a number of hours, not even the time it takes a postman to climb the stairs at my address.

A split second

 It's with me in a split second. Or a second or two, to make an approximation. How could it be? Through File Transfer Protocol, FTP, whatever that might be.
I'll use a program to make it an appropriate size for the page. Then I'll send it back across the Atlantic to the web host in Chicago. How long will that take? A second or so.
 It doesn't make sense, does it? Let me, who has been FTPeeing for, well, around 20 years answer.
 No, it doesn't make sense. It isn't possible, and yet it happens, I see it happen, I don't understand it because I don't really believe in magic, and yet I know the spells are going on all around us.
 Wikipedia asked for a donation today and brilliant font of all knowledge that it is, I donated, of course. So let's ask the font of just about all knowledge about it. What is File Transfer?

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