How to Download Files
This section will bore the Internet Veterans, since we don't do anything fancy or unusual in storing our files. However, we were all new to this at this at some point, so here are instructions for downloading and uncompressing files.
The blue, underlined file name is linked to the file's location. When you click on this link, you'll be given the option to Open the file or Save it to your computer. Select SAVE!
You will be asked to pick a location on your computer for the file to go. It's important that you put it where you can find it again! Some people create a folder named "Downloads" for just this purpose.
You'll also have the option to change the file name. Your call, but DON'T change the file extention! For instance, changing "ntcpix95.zip" to "pictures of ntc in 1997.zip" is OK, because both filenames end in ".ZIP". That's how the computer keeps track of the TYPE of file it is. You'll see the importance of this below.
The file will begin to download. Go get some coffee!
After you've downloaded the file, use Windows Explorer to go to the directory where you stashed it. Look at the file name: if it ends with .ZIP it will need to be Un-Zipped. If it ends in something else, go to Step 3. If it ends in something else because you renamed it - and you can't remember what it was - download it again and DON'T mess with the name this time!
Most of The S2 Company files are Zipped. Files are "Zipped" for two main reasons. First, it reduces the file size, sometimes by 75%. Second, a single Zipped file can contain a large number of smaller files, making it easier to get a number of related items from a single download. A Zipped file will have a filename ending in "zip"; for example "julius.zip" might contain 10 pictures of your dog Julius and an essay explaining why he is The Best Dog.
"ZIP" is one of many compression formats, and seems to be the most popular. To UnZip these files you must obtain the correct computer program. We recommend "WinZip", which you can obtain for free from www.winzip.com. If you plan to do a lot of Internet surfing, you'll need this eventually!
Once you have installed WinZip, all the Zipped files on your computer will have a small WinZip icon: looks like a small vise holding yellow file folders.
After you've downloaded the file, use Windows Explorer to go to the directory where you stashed it. Open the file with WinZip and tell it where you want it to dump the contents. WinZip will UnZip the file, and it will "explode" into one or more files.
A word of advice: Always UnZip into an empty directory! In fact, WinZip by default will try to create an empty directory named after the Zipped file. If you select a directory that contains many other files, and the Zipped files ALSO contains a number of files, the newly UnZipped files will get dumped into the pile of existing files and you will have a hard time finding them. Worse, if any of them share the same name as the existing files, they may overwrite and therefore destroy the older ones.
Most of our files are in Microsoft Office format. If you have MS Office, just click on the filename to open.
If you don't have MS Office, your existing office suite (ie Corel Office) or software applications should be able to open and convert the files.
If you have no software applications that can read the files, you can obtain the most current Microsoft Office Viewers from the Microsoft Web Site at www.microsoft.com. These will allow you to read and print - but not change - the files.
The file extension will tell you which viewer to use:
Extension Type File Viewer filename.doc Word processor MS Word filename.ppt Slide Presentation MS Powerpoint filename.xls Spreadsheet MS Excell filename.mdb Relational Database MS Access
Other file extensions you might encounter are:
Extension Type File To Use filename.bmp
(Picture, drawing, etc)
Open with a drawing program (ie MS Paint) or paste into an application (ie word processor). filename.txt ASCII Text File Open with ANY word processor (ie MS Notepad)
Note - The "ASCII" standard set forth the binary number associated with standard letters, numbers, and symbols. For instance, "a" is always stored in the computer as 1100001 (binary) or 97 (base 10). There is little formatting and no graphics. Almost anything can read these files, but they are not visually exciting.
HyperText Markup Language (HTML) Open with any web browser. THIS web page that you are reading is in HTML - your web browser converted the embedded codes into paragraphs, colors, and tables. To see the raw HTML, select View | Source from your browser's menu. Then take an aspirin. filename.exe Program Double-click on the file to run the program. Sometimes the "program" will be a self-extracting Zipped file, and you will be asked where to save the results. Follow the advice in Step 2 above.
It Happens! Although there are many potential causes, here are the most common.
1. File Not Found. The S2 Company web pages are on a different server than many of the files. If the server with the files is having problems, most of the File Cache files will be unavailable. This is rare, but happens. If the server with the Web Pages is having problems you won't be able to read THIS page!
If you are able to download most, but not all, files, we probably have a bad link! Let us know and we'll fix it.
2. Slow Download. Even though YOU may have a fast modem connection to your Internet Provider, the Net may be congested between your provider and The S2 Company server. This will result in in the larger files trickling into your machine. If the path is REALLY busy, your browser may "Time Out", and it will tell you the page or file is unavailable. If this happens, retry the download a few times, or try it early in the morning (US EST) when the Internet is least used.