FTP clients and Windows

This week I had what I consider to be curious experiences with others regarding ftp.

I’m what I would call old school; I started using ftp about 15 years ago when the internet was barely, if at all, entering the greater public consciousness, and the piece of software I had access to, gFTP, wasn’t chargeware. Way back when, Windows didn’t even have its own integrated network stack, let alone effectively having integrated ftp abilities in Windows Explorer.

Then Windows and the Vice President came along and claimed to have invented the internet :), and people use drag & drop the way you can between two directories in a gui. I have never done it this way. Ever. Even the first time I asked IT to set up an ftp site for me for a work project, I naturally downloaded and installed FileZilla after immediately finding their instructions on how to do it through Windows Explorer confusing. So the Windows way is completely foreign and confusing to me.

The first curious experience was when I, probably naively, sent out an email to a bunch of co-workers who have access to a corporate ftp site for download of files resulting from field work, such as photos. I said that if people were having difficulty transferring files using the “windows” way of transferring files, that they could use Filezilla. The response from the project manager was “Why can’t we do it directly?” Simple response, “apologies for the confusion, just in case the way IT described it doesn’t work, here’s another way to try to directly do the transfers.” Again, I became aware that I was probably naive in presuming that the “windows” way may or may not work once outside the corporate IT network — why wouldn’t it? I just checked using the windows machine down the hall on my home network, and of course I was wrong and it works.

But I found the reaction curious anyway; maybe I was taking it too literally, but I found the “why can’t we do it directly?” part curious since I was proposing an alternate DIRECT way of doing things.

The second curious experience was more concrete. A co-worker was beside me, and we’re discussing the contents of the FTP site. I fire up FileZilla, and they ask me what I’m doing. I carefully respond; they say they’ve never seen it done that way, and it looks confusing. My turn. I explain “I’m starting up an ftp client. Here are the files on my computer on the left side, here are the files on the ftp site on the right.” “oh really? That must be a new way.” (harumppphhhh.) “Uhm, I’ve been using ftp clients that look this way for the past 15 years.”

I didn’t continue into a tyrade about how Windows has people brainwashed into thinking that they way to do anything on a computer is the “Windows Way”.

Sheesh, I don’t know how to fix my car when it breaks down. Doesn’t mean I don’t have an idea about what it looks like under the hood.