Internet Fascination and Frustration

A Timesaver Proposal to CytometryNet Sites


- Fascination and frustration with the present www-Internet performance are close together considering the promising potential for cytometry in comparison to the frequently long waiting times for data transfer as a practical drawback. Waiting times are especially long on transport of graphic information or flow cytometry and image data files. Since both elements are central to cytometric work, the elimination of network waiting times is very essential for the scientific progress in this field.

- Personal network waiting times are avoided in the following way: Common network browsers like Netscape or Mosaic work either by exclusive on-line URL (Universal Relocator) access, by exclusive off-line URL access to local text or image files on harddisks and CD-ROMs and finally by simultaneous off/on-line access to local and remote www-homepages.

- The consequence of this is that on-line access for local information can be avoided while on-line calls to remote sites e.g. in www-node, E-mail or Telnet call buttons are perfectly on-line serviced, provided the computer has on-line network access.

- This permits the unattended download of cytometric homepages and subfiles (Purdue, ISAC, Martinsried) by automated or semiautomated FTP(anonymous) file transfer to local sites during the night or on weekends where networks are less busy. The possibility of data compression for .html text files substantially reduces (60-70%) the number of bytes to be transported through the network. Once the files are locally available, one can off-line access them and migrate through the entire network architecture by high speed local file access from harddisk. This results in a clear gain of personal time and reduces network overload.

- An interesting application of the combined approach is its potential for the establishment of selfupdating cytometric mirror sites on CytometryNet relay nodes like Purdue, ISAC or Martinsried by FTP transfer. The cytometric information can also be put on CD-ROMs for off-line or combined off/on-line operation.

- Mirror downloads can be active (push) or passive (pull) or a combination of both i.e. the individual home page administrator could actively download the files onto mirror nodes to assure fast updates at remote sites or leave it to remote mirror node administrators or individual users to download the offered pages.

- Mirror sites as well as CD-ROMs could contain information on e.g. STEP program, mailbox contents, shareware software, file repositories, standardized classifiers, consensus documents, ring trial etc. This would considerably speed up access time and avoid transatlantic information downloading for many individual users.

- The proposal is therefore that cytometric laboratories interested in this concept are willing to make their .html and .GIF files available on FTP(anonymous) servers for download and that they provide appropriate download buttons on their home pages.

- The exclusive local access from CD-ROM is of interest for non network attached institutions by providing www-homepage, software, file repository, consensus and other cytometry information e.g. for teaching or software development purposes.

- The details of the proposed approach are explained in the "Off-line Internet" chapter on this node.

  • Cytorelay
  • Cell Biochemistry, Martinsried

  • For problems or comments, please contact:
    G.Valet E-mail:, Max-Planck-Institut für Biochemie, Am Klopferspitz 18a, D-82152 Martinsried, Germany, Tel: +49/89/8578-2518, -2525, Fax: +49/89/8578-2563
    INTERNET address:
    Last update: Feb.28, 1996