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comp.sys.mac.comm FAQ (v 2.4.1) Feb 15 2003

( Part1 - Part2 - Part3 )
[ Usenet FAQs | Web FAQs | Documents | RFC Index | Airports ]
From: (Bruce Grubb)
Last-modified: Feb 15, 2003
This is the comp.sys.mac.comm Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) list

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
This list of frequently asked questions and answers is intended to
help reduce the number of "often asked questions" that make the
rounds here in comp.sys.mac.comm. Since comp.sys.mac.comm is intended 
as a forum to discuss telecommunication (and related issues) that are 
specific to the Macintosh, most questions about modems, 
telecommunications in general, and other non-Macintosh specific 
communication questions are not listed here. The proper newsgroup for
such questions is usually comp.dcom.modems.

This list is posted periodically (about once a month) to the Usenet 
groups comp.sys.mac.comm, comp.answers, and news.answers. Latest
versions of the FAQ can be retrieved via anonymous FTP from any 
info-mac mirror and from

This FAQ is purely a volunteer effort. Although every effort has been
made to insure that answers are as complete and accurate as possible,
NO GUARANTEE IS IMPLIED OR INTENDED. The editor and contributors have
developed this FAQ as a service to Usenet. We hope you find it useful.
It has been formatted in both HTMl and ASCII format for your browsing

The editor/maintainer of this FAQ takes no responsibility for its
contents.  Thanks to David Oppenheimer for giving me permission to 
continue the FAQ.

Please send your corrections and comments to the editor, Bruce L
Grubb at

              (INCLUDING THE 'LastModified' HEADER; THANKS.)

Exception to the above: Excerpts of this FAQ not exceeding 9000
characters in length may be reprinted PROVIDED that 
"the comp.sys.mac.comm Usenet newsgroup FAQ" is credited as the 
source of the information. Even in this case, no editing of the 
quoted material is permitted


                              TABLE OF CONTENTS:
+ = Updated or New information

[1] Modems and Cables

 [1.1] What kind of modem will work with my Macintosh?
 [1.2] What kind of cable do I need to use my external modem with my
 [1.3] What do V.32, V.42, bis, MNP, etc mean? 
 [1.4] How can I disable call-waiting when using my modem?

[2] File Formats and Conversion

 [2.1] What is a resource (or data) fork?
 [2.2] What is encoding?
 [2.3] What is BinHex? What is uuencode? What is Base64?
 [2.4] What are AppleSingle and AppleDouble? What is MacBinary?
 [2.5] What do file suffixes like .hqx, .sit, .bin, etc ... mean
     and how can I convert such files back to normal Macintosh
     applications and documents?
 [2.6] I keep hearing about 'tarball' files what are they?    
 [2.7] What is file mapping and why is it important?        
 [2.8] After decoding and expanding a file I get an unknown document 
       file. How do I open this file?

[3] Macintosh File Transfers

 [3.1] What is the difference between a commmunication and an 
       Internet connection?
+[3.2] Are communications programs worth messing with?
 [3.3] What Internet programs are available?
 [3.4] What is Telnet, and what MacOS Telnet Programs are there?
 [3.5] What's the best compression program to use when uploading
     files to an archive? Are there any other guidelines
     I should follow?
 [3.6] How can I transfer Macintosh files to/from my Macintosh and
     other non-Macintosh computers (eg: mainframes, UNIX boxes,

[4] Networking basics

 [4.1] What is the difference between AppleTalk, LocalTalk,
     Ethernet, EtherTalk, TCP/IP, etc?
 [4.2] What are the network methods of the Mac OS?

[5] Internet Networking

 [5.1] What kind of hardware and software do I need to have a
       direct connection (ie use TCP/IP protocol) to the Internet?
 [5.2] What is PPP?
 [5.3] Do I have to know anything about Unix to use the Internet?
[6] Miscellaneous

+[6.1] I just downloaded an .AVI file but Quicktime will not play it
       correctly.  Am I missing something?


 [A]   List of Common File Suffixes and Abbreviations
 [B]   Mac program archive list link and Vendor Information
 [C]   Contributors

[1] Modems and Cables

[1.1] What kind of modem will work with my Macintosh?

Any *external* Hayes compatible modem will work with your Macintosh. 
There are too many to list or review here. The USENET newsgroup
comp.dcom.modems is a good place to ask questions about the many 
different external Hayes compatible modems. Such modems can be used 
with any computer (Macintosh, UNIX box, MS-DOS PC, Amiga, etc) with 
a serial port (e.g.: Macintosh modem port) or USB interface.
However, there *are* modems that are designed specifically for use 
with the Macintosh but they are usially internal modems.

     Note that modems for the Macintosh Performa apparently can only
     plug into the Macintosh Performa because of an extra pin which
     they posesses (there is a corresponding extra hole on the
     Performa serial port connector into which this pin fits). As a 
     result, the bundled Global Village FAX modem can only plug into 
     the Performa.  Other modems can of course also plug into the 
     Performa; the extra pin only prevents plugging the Performa-specific 
     modem into other Macs.

Assuming you wish to use an external modem, your only other hardware 
consideration is to find an appropriate hardware-handshaking cable 
to connect it to your Macintosh. (see [1.2] for details). 

Various special modems exist with unique features; the most
notable type is the dual FAX/modem. For more information,
visit comp.dcom.modems or your local dealer: there are simply
too many products to describe here.

[1.2] What kind of cable do I need to use my external modem with my

There are currently two type of modems out there; the older modems
which have DB-25 (25 pin) connector labelled RS-232C on their 
backsides and the newer modems which have a USB port.

Connecting one of the older modems to a Mac with a serial port
(Mac Plus to the first G3s) involves getting a DIN-8 to DB-25
hardware handshaking cable which typically sale $10.00 (10 ft) 
via mail order.  Connecting one of these older modems to a USB
port involves getting a USB to DIN-8 adapter in addition to the 
cable which given the cost makes it more practical to go with a
USB modem.

There is no way to connect a USB modem to a serial port though a
USB card can be put into a PCI baced Mac.

[1.3] What do V.32, V.42, bis, MNP, etc mean?

Because these topics are universal telecommunications issues,
they are more fully discussed in comp.dcom.modems. However, a
short description of some of the more common abbreviations and
buzzwords is given below.
   Buzzword         What it typically means
---------------   ----------------------------------------------
   bit             : binary digit; amount of information necessary
                     to distinguish between two equally likely
                     events (such as the value of a binary digit)
   byte            : eight bits; size of a single ASCII character
   bps             : bits per second
   baud            : one analog signal state change; people usually
                     use baud and bps interchangeable, although most
                     modern modems can encode multiple bits per baud
   Bell 103        : 300 bps U.S. Standard
   Bell 212A       : 1200 bps U.S. Standard
   LAP/M           : Link Access Protocol/Modem.
   MNP             : Microcom Networking Protocol (Proprietary)
   MNP5            : MNP extension; 2 to 1 data compression.
   V.32            : 9600bps, 4800bps
   V.32bis         : 14.4Kbps, 12Kbps, 9600bps, 7200bps, 4800bps
   V.32terbo       : psuedo-standard extending V.32bis to 16.8, 19.2 kbs
   V.34            : 28,800 bps, 14,400 bps, 9,600 bps, 2,400 bps
   V.Fast          : Interim version of V.34; sometimes used as a
                         nickname for V.34
   V.FC            : proprietary Rockwell protocol used before V.34
                           was approved as a standard
   V.42            : MNP 4 and LAP/M modem to modem error correction
   V.42bis         : LAP/M and 4-to-1 data compression.
   V.44            : Internet focused compression
   X2/K56flex      : Two incompatable proprietary formats for 56K
                     Dependent on a digital equipment which some areas
                     do not have.
   V.90            : base standard for 56K; 33,600 bps upload maximum
   V.92            : Improved 56K stadard; 48,000 bps upload maximum

   Note: Some V.FC modems do not work with V.34 modems at 28,800 bps.

   FAX standards:
     V.21          : 300 bps FAX
     V.27ter       : 4800 bps FAX
     V.29          : 9600 bps FAX
     V.17          : 14400 bps FAX

                             Table 1.3.1

[1.4] How can I disable call-waiting when using my modem?

This varies depending on your local phone company, but often, if you 
preced the phone number you wish to tone dial with "*70," (omit the 
quotes but not the comma), you can disable call-waiting FOR THAT CALL
If you have a strictly rotary dial line, try preceding the
phone number with "1170".

In the United Kingdom, the code to use is #43#.

   In New Zealand, the code to use is *52.

   If you are using Telecom Australia, 
   ATDT#43#,;H     Will turn call-waiting OFF
   ATDT*43#,;H     Will turn it back ON again.

[2] File Formats and Conversion

[2.1] What is a resource (or data) fork?

The older Macintosh files have two parts: a data fork and a resource 
fork.  Text files and GIF image files are examples of Macintosh files 
that are usually stored completely in the data fork, and have an empty 
(or nonexistent) resource fork. Older Mac applications, as a 
counter-example, store most if not all of their information as 
'resources' in the resource fork and usually have an empty data fork.
Because this two-forked organization of files isn't very common,
not only did Mac archive formats have to support them but a means to 
turn the two fork Mac file into a data fork had to be developed so 
that mac files could pass through non-macintosh machines (such as UNIX 
boxes, or MS-DOS machines) without being damaged.

This also means that without modification non-mac archives and 
encoding formats cannot be used to send mac files.

[2.2] What is encoding?

To understand 'encoding' as the term is normally used on the Internet
one needs to understand the difference between "binary" and ASCII. 
With the noted exception of text files computers store information in
"binary" format which means that all 8-bits of a byte are used.  By 
contrast ASCII originally only defined the first 7 bits of a byte 
setting the high bit in each byte to zero. As an added complication 
the character sets for byte values 128-255 used by ANSI and early 
(1981-c1990) IBM PCs differed.

As a result for 8-bit information to reliably be sent between
computers it had to be translated into 7-bit ASCII text or 'encoded'.  
This was especially true of Usenet and e-mail which even today mostly 
supports 7-bit ASCII.  Because 8-bits worth of data are being put into 
a 7-bit text file encoded files are always larger than their binary

Due to its data and resource fork structure the Mac has an additional 
type of encoding structure: Binary encoding.  Unlike ASCII encoding 
there is virturally no increase in file size but since these formats 
are 8-bit they cannot be used on their own in the remaining areas of 
the Internet that are not fully 8-bit (like E-mail and Usenet).

[2.3] (a) What is BinHex? (b) What is uuencode? (c) What is Base64 ?

These are all ASCII encoding (see [2.2]) formats.

(a) BinHex 4.0, by Yves Lempereur, is a binary to text translator
that can directly encode any Macintosh document (ie: it knows how to
convert information in both the resource and data forks).  Since the
format is mainly used on already compressed files the RLE compression
method that can be part of the format is rarely used.
BinHex files can be easily recognized since they begin with the line:
                (This file must be converted with BinHex 4.0)
and are followed by a line starting with a colon, ':'. The BinHex
encoding of the file follows, and is ended with another colon.  
Binhex 4.0 files also can be identified externally by the suffix ".hqx".
The best option to handle BinHex 4.0 is to use a utility 
like StuffIt Expander and other StuffIt programs, and SunTar 
to name only a few.  StuffIt Expander has the advantage of also 
being able to automatically expand StuffIt, Compact Pro, and 
Applelink archives and being available on PCs.

The specifications to BinHex, should you be an interested programmer,
are available at the University of Michigan's Macintosh archive site 
as mac/misc/documentation/binhex4.0specs.txt, or at InfoMac sites as

There is also a program/format called "BinHex 5.0"; but it is NOT a 
more advanced version of "BinHex 4.0" but rather a separate _binary_
encoding format (see [2.2]). BinHex 5.0, written by Yves Lempereur, 
in 1985 was the first MacBinary converter available. BinHex 5.0 (also 
called MacBinary I) was replaced by the MacBinary II format which 
added support for several then new MacOS features (see [2.4b]).  

As new versions of BinHex were developed, they encoded only the
new format but continued to decode all previous formats:

     BinHex 1.0 encodes .hex and decodes .hex
     BinHex 2.0 encodes .hex & .hcx and decodes .hex & .hcx
     BinHex 3.0 never existed
     BinHex 4.0 encodes .hqx and decodes .hex, .hcx & .hqx
     BinHex 5.0 encodes MacBinary I and decodes .hex, .hcx, 
                .hqx & MacBinary I

(b) "uuencode" is a binary to text translator that serves the same
purpose as BinHex, except that it knows nothing about the Macintosh
resource/data fork structure. Uuencode was designed to allow UNIX 
binary files to be easily transferred through text-only interfaces, 
such as e-mail. Every uuencoded file contains a line similar to:
                begin 644 usa-map.gif
followed by a series of lines of ASCII text characters (which are 
normally 60 characters long and begin with the letter 'M'). 
The file ends with a line containing the word 'end'. There may be
other special keywords included.  Externally uuencode files are 
usially denoted with the suffix ".uu" or ".uue".

Usually, one won't find Macintosh files in uuencode format; however, 
most non-Macintosh specific binary data posted to Usenet is
uuencoded, so if you wish to use any of this data (such as the images 
posted in alt.binaries.* and elsewhere), you will need to deal with 
uuencode.  The programs 'uuencode' and 'uudecode' exist on most UNIX 
systems. If not, don't worry as there are many programs allow you to 
convert to and from uuencode using your Macintosh (see [2.6]).
(c) Base64 is the encoding format used by Multipurpose Internet Mail 
Extension (Mime) files.  The reason mime uses Base64 rather than the
more popular uuencode format is that uuencode is not really a standard 
but rather a collection of related but different formats.  This rendered 
uuencode impractical as a cross platform encoding format.

Mac files being sent via e-mail are usially binary encoded (usially 
in AppleDouble) before being encoded in Base64.

[2.4] a) What are AppleSingle and AppleDouble? b) What is MacBinary?

These are all Mac binary encoding (see [2.2]) formats.

a) AppleSingle and AppleDouble were developed out of a need to share 
Mac file between the MacOS and A/UX (Apple's first UnixOS) as well 
as allowing A/UX users to edit MacOS files.  The specs of these 
formats can be found at 

AppleDouble is useful today because it divides a Mac file into
two files: one for the data fork (with original filename) and the 
other for resource fork (with '%' prefixing the original filename)
This made it easy to adopt AppleDouble to MIME - have non-mac 
systems simply ignore the '%' file.

Mac e-mail programs that use AppleSingle and AppleDouble encode them
into Base64.

b) MacBinary is the Mac's standard binary encoding (see [2.2]) format.
MacBinary's purpose is to encapsulate *all* information (including 
the filename, creation and modification dates, file type and creator) 
contained in a Macintosh file for transport over a non-Macintosh medium. 

Although a Macintosh program (called MacBinary) does exist
to do the converting to and from MacBinary, almost all modern
Macintosh telecommunications and Internet programs have the 
capability of converting and unconverting MacBinary files for 
     Dennis Brothers, Yves Lempereur, and others gathered on
     CompuServe to discuss what eventually became the original
     MacBinary standard. According to Lempereur, "We finally
     agreed on using the MacTerminal format (without the modified
     XModem protocol). I then wrote BinHex 5.0 (see [2.3]) to
     support MacBinary. A year later, the same group got 
     together on CompuServe again and created MacBinary II."

     MacBinary I is the name given to the old MacBinary standard.
     MacBinary II is the name given to the c1987 update to the
     MacBinary III is an update to the vernerable c1987 format
     that supports the icon badge custom routing information
     finder flags that are part of MacOS 8.5 and later.

Since then, BinHex and the MacBinary II have become the standard way
of encapsulating Macintosh files for transfer over foreign systems
throughout the Internet, USENET, and elsewhere. Of course with the 
coming of a data only .sit format and programs like MacLHA, ZipIt, 
and DropZip, StuffIt Deluxe using MacBinary internally for .lhz 
and .zip PC formats MacBinary (which was never as popular as 
Binhex to begin with) has been religated mainly to older 
compression formats, sea, and smi files.

MacBinary's correct MIME type is "application/x-macbinary" and if 
you want StuffIt Expander to launch when you double click on the file 
set the type and creator fields to BINA and SITx.

[2.5] What do file suffixes like .hqx, .sit, .bin, etc ... mean and
      how can I convert such files back to normal Macintosh 
      applications and documents?
Most files available by FTP or posted to Usenet are modified twice to
allow them to more easily pass through foreign computer systems.  
First they are compressed and then either ASCII or Binary encoded with 
BinHex (.hqx) and MacBinary (.bin) being the formats of choice for 
Macintosh users (see [2.3] and [2.4] for an explanation of these 

Generally the suffix on these files only tells you the encoding
method used and nothing about the compression method.  As a result 
StuffIt Expander has become the defacto decoder utility. You can 
use the following table to determine what Macintosh programs handle 
which formats.

This table is also part of the Mac-Site-list and listed on its own as
format-chart.txt both of which are at 
as well as being archived on any info-mac mirror site, in the 
/info-mac/comm/ directory.

Here's a handy chart to keep track which programs unmangle which formats:

                                                 unix  gzip  .uu/ .b64/
Macintosh              .sit  .hqx .bin .zip .tar  .Z  .gz/.z .uue .mime*
Stuffit Expander**       D     D    D    D    D    D     D     D    D
DropStuff**              C     C
DropTar**                                     C    C     C     C
DropZip**                           I    C                     C
StuffIt Deluxe***        X     X    X    X    X    X     X     X    D
MacCompress                                        X
MacGzip                                            D     X
MPack 1.5.1                    D                               D    X
Rosetta                        D    D                          D    D
SunTar 2.2.3                   X    X         X                X    D
ZipIt                          D    D    X

Other                                            unix  gzip  .uu/ .b64/
computers              .sit  .hqx .bin .zip .tar  .Z  .gz/.z .uue .mime*
Stuffit Expander**       D     D    D    D               D     D
StuffIt Standard**       X               X    X          X     X    X
StuffIt Deluxe (Win)***  X     X    D    X    X    D     X     X    X
Expander (Linux)        D/N    D    D    D         D     D     D    D
StuffIt (Linux)***      C/N    C    C    C         C     C     C
binhex-pc-13                   X
MPack                          D                               D    X
PKZIP                                  X
xferp110 (win)                 X                               X    X

D = Decode/decompress only
C = Create/compress only
I = MacBinary format is supported internally only
X = Create and decode
N = cannot handle new sitx format

.sit refers to all versions of the Stuffit format.  A '/' denotes the
inability to handle certain formats as outlined in the legend above.

.hqx = BinHex4; .bin = BinHex5, MacBinary I, II, and III
Note: Almost every Mac communications program can decode .bin files.

*   .b64/.mime (Base 64) refers to the encoding format used by the 
    Multipurpose Internet Mail Extension.  For more information consult
    the MIME FAQ. 
**  Stuffit Expander (free) along with DropStuff, DropTar, and DropZip
    (shareware) are combined into StuffIt Standard.
    Current public versions are 7.0.0 (Mac) and 8.0/7.5 (Win)
*** Current versions as of this writing are 7.0 (Mac), 7.5 (Win)
    and 5.2 (Linux and Solaris)
    Aladdin has a more detailed format chart at their site

                                Table 2.5.1

Note: .gz and .Z compression systems, while both native to UNIX, are 
completely different, and these suffixes cannot not be interchanged.

WARNING: .hqx, .uu, .b64, and .txt files are the ONLY files that can
be downloaded in ASCII mode; all others must be downloaded in BINARY
[IMAGE] mode for the file to decompress properly.  This is especially 
true of ".bin" and "unstuffed" files.  Otherwise you will get errors 
like "unreadable file" or "file is corrupt" when you try to decompress

Less commonly used formats.  Those followed by a + are Mac formats.

Other formats
     old (c1990) MS-DOS compresion format, replaced by .zip.
     Decompressed by Stuffit Expander/Deluxe, and MacArc.
     PC format common to European sites. Decompressed by unArjMac,
     DeArj, and StuffIt Expander/Deluxe 7.0.
.cpt +
     Mac compression format created by Compact programs (last 
     updated April 1995).  Decompressed by Stuffit Expander,
     StuffIt Deluxe, Compact Pro, and macunpack.
.dd  +
     Disk Doubler (Mac) format. Decompressed by DDExpand, DiskDoubler
     and Stuffit Expander 6.0.
     DOS/Windows executable file (program); also used to create
     self-extracting archives. An .exe file used as a self-extracting
     archive can usually be decompressed with Stuffit Expander.
     Use of this format of an archive is strongly discouraged as it 
     can cause problems crossplatform.
.html (.htm)
     WWW document. Used by WWW browsers such as Netscape and Explorer.
.image/.img/.ima/ (related format - .smi, .dmg)
     These are all disk image extensions.  They represent Mac disk image
     (.image/.img), Microsoft Disk Image Utility (.img), Winimage
     (.ima), and MacOS X disk image (.dmg) formats.  Disk Copy can 
   handle all these formats. .smi is a self mounting disk image 
   format that has been made redudent with MacOS X.
     Note that .img is also used as an graphic file extension and
     needs GraphicConverter to view.
.lzh (related formats - .lha and .lzs)
     old PC/Amiga format that is still quite popular in Japan and
     with Aminet Amiga site <>, largely
     replaced by .arc and .zip elsewhere; decompressed via
     Stuffit Expander 7.0, LHA Expander 1.0.3, and 
     French KISS 2.2.0.  StuffIt Deluxe 7.0 and MacLHA 2.2.1 can 
     compress in the lha format.
     AppleLink package format currently only used for MacOS X
   installers.  Handled automaticaly by Mac 10.1 and higher.
     A DOS compression format.  Handled by MacRAR <>
     StuffIt Expander/Deluxe 7.0.
     A special version of a Mac compression format that decompresses
     itself when opened.  The most common .sea files are Stuffit,
     Compact Pro, and Disk Doubler.  Use of this format is strongly
     discouraged as it can cause problems crossplatform.
     Unix shell archive. Decoded by Unshar.
     another name for .tar.Z
     another name for .tar.z and .tar.gz (do not confuse with .tar.Z)
     The term tarball (which refers to any tar file) has also been
     used to describe this.
.txt (.abs, .doc)
     ASCII text file. There is a slight differance between ASCII text 
     files of Mac, PCs, and UNIX systems which can cause problems when 
     trying to read them. Mac ASCII uses carrage returns, UNIX uses 
     line feeds, and PC uses both.
     Suffix used by both Unix pack and early (c1993) Gzip files.
     Due to confusion between these compression methods and Unix 
     'compress' suffix (.Z) it was abandoned in favor of 
     the .gz suffix.  Unix pack itself has been effectively 
     replaced by both Unix compress and Gzip.

                                Table 2.5.3

[2.6] I keep hearing about 'tarball' files what are they?

The term tarball originally refered to a tar (Tape ARchiver) file.  As 
its full name suggests tar was designed to group files together for 
a tape archive. As a result the format is very simple containing only 
the files themselves and a header that give directory and other key 
pieces of information.  As such the format itself had no compression 
capabilities on its own and so people would compress tar files which was 
known as feathering (partly for euphony reasons but this also refers 
the method used to cutdown resistance on propellers and oars)
Today the term is also used to refer to a compressed tar file (ie 
you compress the tar file into a ball).
[2.7] What is file mapping and why is it important?

File mapping is the method by which a file's application is identified
by a three or four letter extension.  This feature was used by Internet 
Config (MacOS 7.x) and later Apple's own Internet control panel to give 
a downloaded file a "type" and "creator" by extension. The programs
ICFileDiverter and ICTypeChanger used this extension file mapping 
to change "type" and "creator" to whatever is set by either Internet 
Config or the Internet CP.

If something happens to file mapping or the file lacks an extension then 
non-mac files cannot be given a "type" and "creator" and one must either
trust the MacOS to figure it out or try to determine what broad type 
the file is (see [2.8]).

[2.8] After decoding and expanding a file I get an unknown document 
      file. How do I open this file?

The best thing to do is to try and see if there is any way to figure out 
what -broad- type of file it is: word processor, picture, sound, or movie.

Word Processor
     Tex-Edit Plus <> will read
     most of these out there though some will require Adobe Acrobat
     Reader (.pdf), a commerical Word Processor such as
     MS Word or WordPerfect, or a convertion utility like 
     MacLinkPlus <>
Sound files, Pictures, and Movies
     QuickTime <> is able to handle
     the majority of the formats available on the Internet but
     sometimes something else is needed for an uncommon format.

     Sound App (Freeware, 
     is able to play Amiga MOD files and several other old formats
     that Quicktime doesn't understand.

     GraphicConverter (Shareware, $30-$35,<>) 
     is one of the most powerful shareware graphic programs for the
     Mac being able to open 100 different graphic formats (including
     Ani, dl, gif, and fli/flc) and save in 60 of them.
     In addition GraphicConverter has editing capablities
     rivaling those seen in higher priced programs as well as being
     able to create animated gifs.
     More details on graphic formats in general can be found in the
     PC Webopaedia  

     QuickTime needs some help to handle the newer avi formats. 
     DivX Doctor II <> and the related 
     3ivx Delta codec <> are of
     some assistant in this but even they do not let Quicktime handle
     all avi formats.

Other files
     Hopefully there is a document file that tells you what is needed
     otherwise it is pretty much a lost cause.

[3] Macintosh File-transfers

[3.1] What is the difference between a commmunication and an 
      Internet connection?

A commmunication connection was the original way home computers
remotely connected to other computers.  It basicly consisted of
a direct connection between the personal computer to the computer 
on the other end of the phone line.

Originally each communication program had its own method and 
interface but then Apple created the Communications Toolbox (CTB) 
as a standard interface for programmers writing communications 
programs.  In addition, specific "tools" that interfaced with 
modems, provided terminal emulation, or handled file transferring 
could be implemented as external add-on features to CTB-aware 

The protocals most commonally associated with commmunications
software are (in order of preferance): Zmodem, YModem, Xmodem, 
and finally Kermit.  However because it was a direct connection 
you could only do one thing at a time and one was generally 
limited to a Command Line Interface.

By contrast Internet connections grew out of the development of
personal computers.  Originally Internet computers were directly 
connected to each other providing information to the user via dumb 
termanals.  With the development of personal computers a need to 
allow dial in connections developed with SLIP and PPP (see [5.3]) 
being the result.   These additional protocals allowed personal 
computer users to use such Internet protocals as FTP, Gopher, and 

Most importantly via PPP Internet connections allowed multiple 
connections through one modem allowing the user to perform several 
tasks at once.  Due to this multifunction ability continued development 
of communication programs has fallen off in favor of the more robust
Internet programs though they are still the best way to connect to 
a local BBS.

Since support for Internet connections was rolled into the MacOS
beginning with System 7.5 it has become the defacto way to link a 
personal Mac to the outside world.

[3.2] Are communications programs worth messing with?

The only communicaions programs out there worth bothering with (ie are 
MacOS X native) are also Internet programs as well and if you can get 
an Internet connection you will be only using the Internet side of 
the program anyhow. Communicaions support is a nice feature to have 
but IMHO its the equivalent of driving a Model T down the 
Information Superhighway; you can do it but unless you have no other 
option why would you want to?

[3.3] What Internet programs are available?

There are dozens of of such programs for the MacOS many of which are 
listed at The Mac Orchard web page <>. 
In addition MacOS 10.2 comes with UNIX programs which can be accessed 
via the Terminal program though they do not have as many features 
as the MacOS programs:

E-mail (mail)
     Eudora <> is perhaps the best written and 
     most popular e-mail program available for the Macintosh. Eudora
     is a complete and versatile e-mail package which can send e-mail
     via SMTP (see [5.4]) and receive e-mail via a POP server. It can 
     even be used with UUPC 3.0 (as a mail reader and message generator, 
     not a transport agent). Eudora can also be used to transfer
     arbitrary Macintosh files between computers through its BinHex 4.0
     attachment features. Many accolades go to the author, Steve Dorner.
     Hank Zimmerman maintains the comp.mail.eudora.mac FAQ which can be 
     found at <> and the [Unofficial] Eudora 
     Web Site can be found at <>

FTP clients (ftp, sftp)
     The two most popular MacOS FTP clients are Interarchy (formally 
     known as Anarchie) and Fetch. Both programs are sharewhere and can 
     be found at 
     <> and <>
     Two releatively newer FTP clients are Vicomsoft FTP 
     and NetFinder
     All Mac newsreaders make use of NNTP (see [5.4]).
     Newswatcher (2.2.1) by John Norstad and its close sister 
     Multi-Threaded NewsWatcher (currently Version 3.2.0) by Simon 
     Fraser are likely the most popular online Newsreaders.
     For offline browsing MacSOUP 
     by Stefan Haller is likely the most popular.
     The two most popular browsers are Netscape and MicroSoft Internet 
     Explorer both of which support the majority of internet features.
     The most recent versions (7.0.1 and 5.2.2 respectively)
     can be found at <> and 
     Three notable mentions are Opera <> which 
     handles sites that are problems for the big two, 
     iCab <> which has a built-in HTML validator,
     Advertsing/Popup filters, Download Manager, plus extensive 
     Cookie and Security control, all of which are fully compliant with 
     every MacOS, and native MRJ Java, and Safari 
     <> Applešs own browser (in beta).
     MacOS X comes with mail, ftp/sftp, and telnet included.    
[3.4] What is Telnet, and what MacOS Telnet Programs are there?

Telnet is a high speed terminal connection protocol designed with TCP/IP 
in mind. A Telnet program allows you to connect to computers that accept 
Telnet sessions (such as UNIX boxes) with interactive full-screen
console input and output capabilities.

There are several Telnet programs for the Macintosh.

NCSA Telnet and succesors
     The most widely known and used was the freeware NCSA Telnet
     for which developement stopped January 1, 1996.  The last 
     'offical' version was 2.6 though there is a 2.7b4 available.
     Since MacOS X comes with Telnet built-in developments
     on improving NCSA Telnet have declined.  Currently
     only MacTelnet <> had continued
     working on the NCSA code for MacOS X.
     dataComet <> is both the oldest
     (1986 as Cornell TN) and longest supported MacOS Telnet
     application.  This shareware application supports PC-ANSI,
     VT220, & TN3270 terminal emulation, as well as serial
     connections and communications protocols (including ZModem) 
     and suports both 68K and PPC machines, Classic and OS X.

       $195 MacOS X native program from Carnation Software 
       <> which replaces 
       MacToPic Plus and SBMac.  Supports Communications
       as well as Internet connections.

      $69.95 commercial program by InTrec Software 
      <> with a 30 day free trial
      that also supports a communiction connection (see 3.2)
[3.5] What's the best compression program to use when uploading files
      to an archive? Are there any other guidelines I should

Best Compression: (Revised 11/2002)
---- -----------

The best compression performance available for the Mac is generally 
regarded as belonging to Aladdin's programs StuffIt Standard and
StuffIt Deluxe.

StuffIt Standard bundles four utilities (Stuffit Expander, DropStuff, 
DropTar, and DropZip) from StuffIt Deluxe into one shareware package.
One can get the whole package or pay for individial utilities
(Stuffit Expander is free regardless). StuffIt Deluxe adds even more 
features and supports a few more formats (Lha, Unix Compress, 
Applesingle) than StuffIt Standard.

Posting Macintosh Programs: (Revised 08/2001)
------- --------- --------

You should use either DropStuff or StuffIt Deluxe to compress 
Macintosh files you send to anonymous FTP sites and Web sites. 
While MacBinary internal versions of zip and LZH exist
it is better to stick with sit for Mac files.  Zip and LZH
should at best be used for data fork only files intended for
all computers.  Simiarlly for back compatability sit rather than
sitx should be used for compression.

Regardless of which archiver you use, PLEASE DO NOT MAKE AN ARCHIVE 
YOU ARE POSTING SELF-EXTRACTING!  The convenience of self-extracting 
archives is not worth the space they waste at anonymous-FTP sites and 
Web sites (where literally thousands of compressed files are stored) and
the problems they create on other platforms. Self-extracting archives 
are useful in other contexts, but should be discouraged as a medium 
for posting to archives.

Before you create your archive, set the Finder label of all
files you plan to include in the archive to 'None'.
Avoid using strange punctuation marks in filenames that you will 
distribute. Characters such as exclamation points, spaces, dollar 
signs, etc, are legal characters in Macintosh filenames but can be 
difficult to work with on non-Macintosh systems (where most Macintosh 
archives are stored). Since all current mac specific formats store the
original Macintosh filename changing the same of the archvie file does
not change the files inside it.

After you have created the archive and named it appropriately, BinHex 
encode it (see [2.3]). Preface the resulting text file a short
description of the archive you want to distribute, including any 
system requirements and problems.  Do not bother with a signature.
Finally, upload the text file (if necessary) and e-mail it to  Your subject line should specify a suggested 
name with a suggested location in the text file.
              Subject: myfile-215.hqx

Mailing your archive to macgifts automatically submits it to the
InfoMac archive and its active mirrors.

[3.6] How can I transfer Macintosh files to/from my Macintosh and
      other non-Macintosh computers (eg: mainframes, UNIX boxes, PCs)?

Regardless of whether you are using a communications or Internet
program the procedure you should follow will be the same.  First the 
file should be compressed with StuffIt and then binhex encoded.  Some 
programs like Eudora will do the binhexing for you so you can skip 
the encoding step.

The reason you will want to use Binhex rather than MacBinary as your
encoding format is that Binhex is useable in areas (like Usenet and 
E-mail) that cannot use the entire 8-bit character set.

For Internet programs downloading a file is very simple.  For systems
or programs that do not support Drag and Drop you simply click (or
double click) on the file and it is downloaded for you.  Drag and Drop 
aware programs allow you to drag the file to the desktop which results 
in it being downloaded.  Uploading varies from program to program and 
some sites only allow files to be E-mailed.  Consult your program 
and destination site documentation for the proper procedures.

Communication downloading and uploading is a little more complicated.
This is because the remote computer is usially running a totally
different OS that the Mac user must interact with.  As a result the 
remote computer must be first be told that a file is being sent 
or received and then the Mac commmunications program told the 
same thing.

Since Unix shell accounts were the most common remote OS they are
used as example but it should be noted that many BBSes use a different
interface and therefore different commands.

For a unix shell account the command consists of two parts:
     % method filename
'Filename' is the name of the file on the remote machine and 'method'
is the protocal and whether the file is being sent or received.

The methods are generally as follows:
            Kermit      XMODEM      YMODEM       ZMODEM
            -------     ------      ------       ------
sending     kermit        sx          sb           sz
receiving   kermit        rx          rb           rz

As one goes from left to right in the chart above the protocal's speed
increaces.  As a result as early as 1994 some communication programs
were not supporting Kermit.  When Internet connections became readily
accessable communication software and its protocols rapidly faded into

[4] Networking basics

[4.1] What are AppleTalk, LocalTalk, Ethernet, EtherTalk, TCP/IP, etc?

When attempting to describe networking terms, a distinction should be 
drawn between networking _protocols_ (such as AppleTalk and TCP/IP)
and networking _hardware_ (such as LocalTalk, Ethernet, and TokenRing).
In most cases, a specific protocol can be used over more than one 
hardware medium.

In order to help understand the interaction of these disparate parts
in a real-world network, we can adopt the useful analogy of multi-layer
cake with the physical wire at the very bottom and the software which 
you are running at the very top.

Thus, we can think of LocalTalk, Ethernet and TokenRing as being the
layers at the bottom, AppleTalk and TCP/IP in the middle and programs 
like NCSA Telnet, NFS/Share and Netscape at the top.

The following terms describe protocols (software descriptions) common
to the Macintosh networking world:

     A proprietary suite of protocols developed by Apple Computer,
     Inc. that provides for near-transparent network connections 
     between Macintosh computers. However, over the years AppleTalk has 
     been ported to other OSes including UNIX, VMS and DOS.
     Questions about the AppleTalk protocol are probably best posed
     in the newsgroup comp.protocols.appletalk.    

EtherTalk and TokenTalk
     The drivers which allows AppleTalk protocols to be transported
     by Ethernet and over IBM TokenRing networks respectively.

     A suite of protocols developed by the Defense Advanced Research 
     Projects Agency (DARPA) whose purpose is multi-platform
     connectivity.  TCP/IP stands for Transmission Control 
     Protocol/Internet Protocol, because these are the two most 
     widely used protocols in the suite. However, TCP/IP includes the 
     User Datagram Protocol (UDP), Address Resolution Protocol (ARP), 
     Reverse Address Resolution Protocol (RARP) and others. TCP/IP 
     drivers are available for almost all of the computer platforms 
     in use today, including micros, minis, main-frames and 

The following terms describe hardware (the physical link such as the 
wire(s) connecting computers) common to the Macintosh networking

     One type of hardware over which AppleTalk protocols could be 
     transported. LocalTalk had a throughput of 230.4 Kbps 
     second, or roughly a quarter of a Mbps.
     Another type of hardware commonly used to transport AppleTalk
     packets. PhoneNet mated LocalTalk hardware with ordinary 
     (unused) telephone wire. PhoneNet was probably the cheapest way 
     to connect widely separated Macintosh computers within a single 
     A network medium over which AppleTalk, TCP/IP and other
     protocols travel, often simultaneously. Ethernet's maximum 
     throughput is 10 Mbps. FastEthernet offers 100 Mbps.
     A network medium developed (and patented) by IBM based on a
     topology of a ring of nodes connected serially by a single cable. 
     Each node, or computer, speaks on the cable only when it has 
     posession of a token. TokenRing technology can demonstrate 
     throughputs of ranging from 4 to 16 Mbps.
[4.2] What are the network methods of the Mac OS?

The three methods that the MacOS has used are: Classic Networking, 
Open Transport, and Unix-based.

Classic Networking (not to be confused with the Classic enviroment in
MacOS X) is the name given to the method used originally in the MacOS.  
Originally the MacOS's only native protocol was AppleTalk and 
anything else had to be added on.  In addition thanks to the AppleTalk 
Manager (which resided in the ROM of most 68K Macs) AppleTalk got 
privileged access.  As a result network software developers not only 
had to write each and every non-AppleTalk protocol they wanted to use 
but they had to contend with AppleTalk.  Apple improved things with the 
addition of the Communications Toolbox which made adding protocols and
methods somewhat easier but it still was a hassle and not all programs
used the Communications Toolbox. After Open Tranport came out this 
method became known as Classic Networking.

Open Transport was Apple's first complete revision to the MacOS's
network system software.  Interegrated into the MacOS with 7.5.3 
Open Transport changed the situation that had existed with 
Classic Networking by using industry standard Application Programing 
Interfaces (APIs) Not only did the APIs eliminate the need for 
developers to reinvent the wheel but they put all the protocols on 
an equal standing. In addition Open Transport was Power Mac native 
resulting in speed ups in both AppleTalk and TCP/IP.  While
Open Transport did in theory back support Classic Networking it 
didn't change the fact that programs written specifially for one 
Network method didn't work that well (if at all) with the other.

Unix-based networking is part of Darwin 'the under the GUI hood'
section of MacOS X.  From what I have read since Darwin has 
networking APIs built in and Open Transport still had a few
non-standard aspects to it (MacAddict Feb 2001) it made little 
sence to port Open Transport to MacOS X.  Due to its age 
it is unlikely that programs written only for Classic Networking 
will work under MacOS X.  

So read the documentation of any networking software you plan to use
to make sure it is compatable with your networking method and OS.

[5] Internet Networking

[5.1] What kind of hardware and software do I need to have a
      direct connection (ie use TCP/IP protocol) to the Internet?

For best performance there are some common hardware and software 
     a program that implementes the Defense Advanced Research Projects
     Agency (DARPA) TCP/IP Protocols (see [4.1]) This has been included
     with the MacOS since 8.1.
     a direct connection to an Ethernet or TokenRing network or PPP
     dialup connection.

Note that some ISP require their own software to use.  IMHO this is 
only usefull if they are providing some service (like AOL's parental
controls) that are not easily implimented with existing Internet 
software otherwise it is a waste of time and resources on their part
to go with some propriority software.

[5.2] What is PPP?

PPP stands for Point-to-Point Protocol.  PPP has been stated as a 
standards-track protocol by the Internet Engineering Task Force and 
the Internet Activities Board.  PPP can support both synchronous 
and asynchronous connections and protocols that are not IP-based
(such as AppleTalk). It provides specifications for error detection, 
feature negotiation, escaping control characters, etc.  As a result 
PPP has become the defacto standard for connecting to the Internet.

[5.3] Do I have to know anything about Unix to use the Internet?

For the most part the answer to this question is no though there are
some Unix and Internet protocals you should know about especially 
since MacOS X is UNIX based.  The ones followed by a * you need to be 
aware of.

DNS (Domain Name Server) *
     desinates the servers that translates domain names to IP
     numbers.  If this server has problems then you cannot use 
     domain names at all and have to use IP numbers. Interarchy
     and MacOS X have DNS lookup as one of their many network tools.
NFS (Network File System)
     file sharing protocol used by many UNIX workstations.  The
     average Internet surfer doesn't need to worry about this as 
     most file transfers involve FTP or HTTP not NFS.  Since MacOS X
     and higher have Unix as their core this is effectively built-in.
NNTP (Net News Transfer Protocol) *
     a protocol used to transfer articles between a central news
     server and many client machines over TCP/IP or a serial link.  
     Used by about every MacOS newreader program available.
SMTP (Simple-Mail-Transfer-Protocol) and POP (Post-Office-Protocol) *
     These are two protocols for transfering electronic mail between 
     machines that have a TCP/IP interface or equivalent.  Without
     these you cannot send or receive e-mail.  
    UUCP (Unix-to-Unix-Copy) is a protocol originally intended to be 
    used to transfer files between Unix machines over telephone lines.
    As with NFS it can be safely ignored by the average Internet
[6] Miscellaneous

[6.1] I just downloaded an .AVI file but Quicktime will not play it
      correctly.  Am I missing something?

Quite possibly as there have been serveral codecs for AVIs over the
years each of which have been respresented on the Mac with it own
extension: Intel Raw Video (, Indeo Video (, 
Indeo Video4 (4.4.0), and Indeo Video5 (5.0).  While Windows did have
an i235 AVI codec no Mac extension exists to view these AVIs.

The Mac extensions Intel Raw Video and Indeo Video codecs were 
originally included in a Quicktime 1.5 and higher program called 
Video For Windows (c1994) which allowed QT to view these AVIs. Today 
the Indeo Video codecs 3 through 5 plugins for Quicktime 3.0 though 
6.0 can be found at <> 
and the Intel Raw Video seems to be part of the Quicktime 4.0 and 
higher install. In addition there is the AVI codec known as DivX 
which can be viewed via DivX Doctor II <http:/>
and there is an OpenDiv codec 
<> which 
does not seem to be able to decode all DivX AVIs.

Futher complicating matters is the fact that the Indeo 3-5 and WMA 
codecs do NOT work under MacOS X and though there is a mildly 
kludgy work around. 

First make sure you can boot into MacOS 9.x.  If you donšt already
have it installed download Quicktime for MacOS 8.x-9.x and then
download the Indeo codecs.  Now restart in MacOS 9.x and install
Quicktime followed by the Indeo codecs.  Give the classic version
of QuickTime a different name and icon and reboot back into 
MacOS X.  Now put the icon of the Classic version of Quicktime
into the dock.  You can drag the problem Indeo AVI to the Classic 
QuickTime and play it.


[A] List of Common Abbreviations

        iation  Description
        ------- ------------------------------------------------------
        ADB     Apple Desktop Bus
        ARA     Apple Remote Access (was AppleTalk Remote Access)
        bps     bits per second
        CSLIP   Compressed SLIP
        csmc    comp.sys.mac.comm
        CTB     Communications Tool Box
        CTS     Clear-To-Send
        DSR     Data-Set-Ready
        DTR     Data-Terminal-Ready
        FTP     File Transfer Protocol
        IP      Internet Protocol
        LAP     Link Acess Protocol
        MNP     Microcom Networking Protocol
        NNTP    Net News Transfer Protocol
        PPP     Point-to-Point Protocol
        RTS     Request-To-Send
        SID     Sound Input Device
        SLIP    Serial Line Internet Protocol; also seen as SLIP
        TCP     Transmission Control Protocol

[B] Mac program archive list link and Vendor Information

Nearly all shareware or freeware programs described in this FAQ are 
available from one of the many archives that mirror the InfoMac archive. 
Over 90 of these mirror sites are listed in the FTP section of 
the Mac-Site-list

These vendors are either mentioned in this FAQ or provide products
relating to Macintosh networking. Neither the editor of this list
nor any of the contributors necessarily endorse any of the vendors
or their products. The following information is provided for your
convenience only. 

Please bring any errors or additions to the attention of the editor.

Aladdin Software <>

Apple Developers Association (APDA) <>

Asante <>

Ascend Communications <>

Carnation Software

COM One [France] <>

Compatible Systems <>
Farallon Computing <>

Global Village <>

Hayes Corporation <>
Quiotix Corporation <>

Raine Storm Softworks <>

Sassy Software <>

Sonic Systems <http:/>

Walker Richer & Quinn, Inc. <www:>

ZyXEL Communications <>

[C] Contributors

The editor of this FAQ would like to graciously thank all of the
following individuals who have contributed in some form or another
to the answers provided above, and to the many others not listed
who have nonetheless encouraged and corrected us along the way.

       Erik Adams                 (DivX information)
       Jack Brindle               (BinHex, MacBinary)
       Jim Browne                 (NCSA Telnet)
       Josh Cole                  (Networking, AppleDouble)
       Bill Coleman               (Smartcom)
       Tom Gewecke                (European E-Mail, Archives)
       Elliotte Rusty Harold      (General, File Transfer Programs)
       Patrick Hoepfner           (various tidbits)
       Greg Kilcup                (PPP)
       Andy Y. A. Kuo             (Networking)
       Yves Lempereur             (MacBinary/BinHex)
       Peter N. Lewis             (General)
       Ward McFarland             (Mac serial port speeds)
       Dick Napoli                (DivX information)
       David Oppenheimer          (original c.s.m.comm FAQ maintainer)
       Leonard Rosenthol          (General, StuffIt)
       Bonze Saunders             (dataComet Inforamation)
       Dan Schwarz                (Mac serial port speeds)
       Eric P. Scott              (General)
       Jon L. Spear               (General, Baud Etymology)
       Tony Stuckey               (AppleDouble information links)
       Christopher Swan           (Black Night)
       Werner Uhrig               (Macintosh Expert)
       dzubera                    (56K and .z information)

User Contributions:

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