Help Topics for Filetopia
Filetopia is a program aimed to those who collect any
kind of files. It consists of a collection manager coupled with a secure file server, a
secure chat client and a secure messaging system. It uses strong (256 bits) cryptography
along with a public key mechanism to provide security both for the file server and the
chat. It is very easy to use, its "Getting Started Wizard" will help novice
users to start working with the program in minutes, automating all the configuration
tasks. The collection manager lets you create lists of all your files, compare them with
files from other users and only get those files new to your collection. The chat client
provides mechanisms to protect your identity and to prevent attacks from other users (so
frequently seen on IRC).
The messaging system allows users to post messages for other users to read and to keep "conversations" or threads without the need to be online at the same time
-- Use Filetopia to improve your collection in a secure, comfortable environment.
Most Internet services belong to the distributed information systems group, examples of these are: Web Servers, News Servers, FTP Servers, etc. In these systems the information is published in the server, where it stays for some time waiting to be recovered by authorized users. In real time systems, however, the information is not published anywhere, it stays in the owner's machine where other users are allowed to get it explicitly and only while the owner is connected. Filetopia is very unique as it belongs to both groups: you can post information (messages) and also chat in real time.
Context Menus appear when the user presses the right mouse button over a certain area of the screen. At that time, a Popup menu with options related to that part of the screen appears. In Filetopia context menus are used extensively, and will be referenced all through this help.
The process of encoding the information in such a way that only the intented destination can read it is called Encryption. If the information is not encoded in this way, it is relatively easy to be intercepted by someone while it travels to the destination, On the other hand, if the information is encrypted it is much harder, if not impossible, to intercept. For the information to be read, it needs some data called the key, that enables the destination computer to decrypt or decode the information.
We can distingish too kinds of encryption: Weak Encryption: when the method of encoding is known to have weaknesses or the key length used is 64 bits long or less and Strong Encryption: when the method of encoding has no known attacks and the key length used is greater than 64 bits. Filetopia uses strong encryption, which means: there is no way for someone to read the information appart from the intended recipient.
These are programs that help users to manage collections of files. When you're collecting files, there are some needs not addressed by a "file manager" -like the Windows explorer- among these are:
Inside the context of the Internet, a Chat is a service that enables several connected Net users to mantain a conversation, via the keyboard in real time. One standar protocol used in chat networks inside the internet is called IRC (Internet Relay Chat), these chat networks consist in many servers interconnected and permit thousands of users to chat simultaneously. Filetopia uses a different chat protocol, therefore it is not compatible with the IRC networks, but it provides many advantages over the IRC protocol: security (the protocol has less week points that can be attacked), privacy (the information travels encrypted), and it implements many auxiliary protocols that help file exchanging among users.
Dating back to the early days of bulletin board systems (BBS's) these systems are among the most popular ways to communicate with a group of users. The users can post messages which can be read by other users at a later time, allowing for an efective way to share information. Unlike the chat there is no need for the users to be present at the same time. Filetopia hosts one of these systems very integrated with rest of the components that also shares the secure communications channel.
If you want to retrieve files from the Net, you need some kind of file client. Web browsers are the most common kind of file client, but there are other kinds. Filetopia is a very specialized kind of file client due to its integration with a collection manager and the ability to use strong encryption. The files made available through the Net need also some kind of software to "serve" them to the clients. These file servers are the programs in charge to perform this function and Filetopia has one of these servers that "speaks" the same language (protocol) that the client.
This is the heart of the Filetopia's Client, the module in charge of managing the files' collections. The collections are organized in file lists.
The file list window, is organized it tabs, it can have up to 5 tabs, although only two are visible initially. The first tab, called Files, holds the collection file list, the list consists of a grid which has initially the following columns: Icon, Filename, Size, Date and Path. By default, the lists are ordered by filename in ascending order, although this can be changed clicking in any of the column headers. The Properties tab holds some information about the list: the summary of a compare if the list has been compared, it allows to edit a textual description for the list (which will appear in the status bar). The Missing tab holds a list of the files that are not in this list from the compared to list and the Missed tab shows those files that are not in the compared to list. When the list is Activated (we have access to the list owner's server) it also shows the Upload and Download tabs, which will be explained later - they allow the transfer of files among users-.
There are a number of operations that can be performed on the file lists:
- New : This brings up the New List creation dialog. Before a list is created, you need to specify the directory set that makes up the list. You can add and delete directories and you can Save the directory set to speed up future lists creation. Additionally, it is possible to mark the Generate CRC Checksums for exact duplicate analysis to make filetopia analyze each and every file included in your collection, applying an algorithm that extracts a unique number that identifies each file, this helps produce exact duplicate file analysis, but the list takes much longer to generate. Also, it is possible to mark the Make this list the Master list for default comparing option to indicate the program that this list you are creating is the one that you will be using to automatically compare all the lists you receive. When you're ready, you can click the Create button to start the list creation.
- Open : This option lets you Open a previously saved list. The list can be either a binary list (CML) or ASCII list (CMA). It can also read lists saved in any of the supported list formats: SLD, SLX (Superlister), CLF (Cybernaut).
- Save : To save the selected list, if you edited the list adding or deleting files and you wish to keep your changes.
- Save As : (File menu) Lets you save the selected list with a different name and/or with a different file format. The supported formats to save a file are: binary compressed (CML), ASCII (CMA) and also in database readable ASCII (ASC).
- Close : (File menu) Closes the currently selected file list (it does not ask to save changes). This is the same as closing the list window.
- Compare : (List menu and context menu) it runs a compare between the selected list and another list. Two new tabs are created in the selected list window to reflect the compare results: Missing tab, that holds a list with all the files missing from the selected list and Missed tab, that holds a list with all the files missing from the target list.
- Combine : (List menu and context menu) It combines the selected list with another one. Only the files new to the selected list are added.
- Clone : (List menu) This option lets you create a new list which is an exact duplicate of the selected list. Only useful in cases you want to establish 2 simultaneous conections with the same user.
- Duplicate analysis : (List menu and context menu) It analyses the selected list to find duplicate files, it can use the same list (more usual option) or another list as a base list for analysis. If both lists have CRC information, this information is used to perform the analysis, in which case, the accuracy is almost 100%, in any other case, the file size is used to perform this analysis, resulting in a poor accuracy specially in large collections or collections with similar sized files. After the analysis is run, all duplicate files are marked with a distinctive icon and a new column appears in the analysed list, indicating the files which are equal to the duplicates.
There are also some operations that can be performed on files inside each list. All these operations are reachable through the context menu inside the list window. These operations can be classified in the following groups:
- Add to another List:
- Add to Hot List: Adds the selected files to the Individual Hot-file list.
- Add to Ignore List: Adds the selected files to the Individual Ignore-file list.
- Add to Download List: Adds the selected files to the Download list, only if the list is active. That means, we have access to the list owner server.
- Add to Upload List: Adds the selected files to the Upload list, only if the list is active.
- Add selected filest to...: Adds the selected files to another open list.
- Files: Allows the automatic selection of multiple files using wildcards. For example, we can select all files that begin with 'F' and are of type 'DOC' by typing: F*.DOC.
- Path: Instead of using the file names, the file paths can also be used along with wildcards to select multiple files. The path of the first selected file is proposed, so if you want to select all the files with that same path, you just have to click in 'OK', or if you want to select also files in subdirectories, you can add an '*' at the end.
- Invert Selection: The current selection is inverted. For example if you want to select all files that are not of type 'DOC' you select files '*.DOC' and then invert the selection.
- All Hotfiles: Selects all the Hot files, these files must already be marked.
- All Ignorefiles: Selects the files we want to ignore.
- All Duplicates: Selects all files found to be a duplicate.
- Disk Files:
- Copy: Copies the selected files to another location, these files must be accesible or this option will be dissabled.
- Delete: Deletes the selected files on disk
- Move: Moves the selected files to another location in the disk.
- Find: Finds a file in the list. It does not use wildcards, but it is enough to enter the first letters of the file name. For example if we enter 'car' it position the list in the first file whose first characters are 'car' or it displays a 'Not found' message in the status bar.
- Delete: Deletes the selected files from the list (just from the list, not from the hard drive).
- Show: It tries to open the selected file, if it is online, using the associated operating system viewer.
Once you have your collection organized, you can reach out to find other users that collect the same kind of files you do, this way you can share and increase your collection. Assuming you have entered the needed values in Tools-Options-Chat. Pressing the Connect button or the Connect to Server option in the File menu, connects you securely to the Filetopia Chat Server, once connected, you can press the Channels button to get a list of all the channels in the server. You can then join a channel selecting it from the list and pressing the Join button or you can create your own channel with the Create button. The Info button updates information on the selected channel (topic, number of users, etc).
After you have joined or created a channel, a Public chat window opens, this is where you can chat with all the users that joined the same channel. Just typing text in the box located at the bottom of the window all the channel users will be able to see it. At the right of this window, there is a list with all the users that are in the same channel, including yourself. If you select any of these users you have access to a context menu with the following options:
If you are the creator of the channel or have Operator status, you can also see here another option: Operator with the following commands:
In the channel properties window, that opens when you select 'Properties' from the context menu, you can also change the channel topic, and make the channel invisible -so it wont show in the channel list- and also protect it with a password, so only the people that knows the password can get in.
In the Chat menu, we have the following options:
The Private Chat window opens when you double click on a user in the list or you select Private Chat from the context menu.
If you want to, you can automate the file exchange procedure with other users by entering a channel and selecting 'Unattended' from the channel context menu. In this case, you will allow all users (except ignored or banned users) of that channel to have access to your List and file Server. There are several things that can be configured here in Options-Server:
The Number of Slots is the number of people we allow to be connected simultaneously. It depends on our bandwidth, and as a general rule, it is better to have less people but happy than to allow many people in but with very poor response times.
The Ratio is the number of bytes that we give to the connected user for each byte that the user sends to us. A ratio of 0 means that we give away our files not asking for anything back in return (leech mode).
The Initial credit is the number of bytes that we allow the connected user initially to retrieve, as to give them a chance to sample our collection.
If you dont find the kind of collectors you're looking for when you're online, you can leave messages at the channels or to any particular user of the system. To see the messages associated to a given channel, get into the chatroom and press the "Messages" button. The "Messages window" will open and you will be able to see all the messages previously posted just by selecting any from the list. It is also possible to perform the following actions in this window:
The "New message window" lets you introduce the message you're about to post, you can write a Subject, the text of your message and a expiration period which can be from 1 to 30 days (it defaults to 7), after this period the message will be deleted from the server.
Once you connect, if you have any waiting message, the "Private messages window" will open, this is where you can read your private mail, answer to it and even use the Delete button to delete messages inmediately from the server without waiting for them to expire.
For security reasons, no backup of the messages is kept in the user's machine, they're stored encrypted in the server and deleted after the expiration time or on the user's command.
The file client is integrated in the List window. When a list is Activated, two new tabs appear: the Download and the Upload tab, which serve the porpouse of getting files from the list-owner's server and sending files respectively. From the Files or Missing tab, it is possible to add files to the Download list. As soon as files are added, a conection with the owner's server is established and file retrieval starts automatically (unless changed in options). We can add as many files as we want, which will be queued for delivery in the Download list. Inside the Download tab, it is possible to move the files up or down in the queue, or to delete them from the queue. It is also possible to skip a given file or to stop completely the connection to the remote server. Similarly, we can add files from the Missed list to the Upload list.
The file Server starts as soon as we go online, from the File Server Window in the Tools menu -or clicking in the transfer panel at the lower right of the screen-, we can monitor all file transactions taking place in the program, we can abort any transaction, kick a user from our server and even ban that user. The Active Transfers tab, shows all transfers currently in progress, while the History tab shows all past transfers with some statistics and the status of the transfer (Ok, Not found, Aborted, etc).
To open the windows explorer right in the Download directory, we have an option under the Tools menu called Open Download directory.
There are very many things that can be configured in the Filetopia's Client, to do so, we need to open the Options Window, which is under the Tools menu. This window is divided in seven different tabs that group related parameters together. These tabs are:
It opens automatically the first time we start the program and anytime we select the option under the Help menu. This wizard will help us in the initial configuration tasks, taking us step by step, doing the following things:
Additionally, it allows you to connect to Filetopia and get into the 'Filetopia Newbies' channel once the wizard is closed.
For updated versions and more information, please visit our web page at:
You can also contact Filetopia at the following email addresses: