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Well, in theory, nobody should ever need to read this page, because the search page should be quite self-explanatory. Life's never as simple as that, though, so some hints are included here to make it easier to use, and explain some of the quirks with the system.

First of all, the two most useful features to almost all visitors should be the "New" button at the top of the page (which will list all new files added in the previous 7 days) and the Quick Search field (which should provide a search mechanism sufficient for 90% of the visitors to these archives. For those who want even faster access to the newest stuff, bookmark this link:

As for the Quick Search box, it accepts everything the complete search form accepts, with no restrictions. (In fact, the only reason you'd need the Complete Search form is if the Quick Search returns too much stuff.)

If you're looking for nothing in particular, your search might return too much stuff, overloading your browser. (Your browser would have to handle something on the order of 3.5 megs of text if EVERYTHING in the database was returned... this will crash almost all browsers.) In this case, your only real option is to narrow the search. One easy way to do this is by adding the following code to the "Item Name" field:


This tells the cgi to search only for files beginning with the letters "a" through "c". (Obviously, you can substitute any letters here... or simply put one letter, instead of a range.) In fact, all standard grep-type wildcard patterns are accepted. (If you don't known any grep-type patterns, then you might be out of luck for advanced searches, because I'm really not up to providing a primer.)

It's not a completely new feature (it was first added a couple of weeks before the overhaul), but it was never really explained, so... Under each filename link there is a line that says "Get it via FTP". It does exactly what it says... gets the same file via ftp. Some people (especially folks on slow links, or very geographically distant from our servers) have had trouble getting files via the http protocol. On the other hand, when the ftp server gets really busy, http can be a more efficient way to get files... so I've provided both links for all files. If one doesn't work for you, try the other one.

And, as always, bad links, failed searches, the database returning empty pages... report them to me. I'll do my best to fix anything that's broken on this end... and help you through anything that's unclear on your end. Enjoy!

Claude Errera
17 July 1999

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