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Verifying Fiend Search Results

The 11 databases Fiend searches are filled with bad information. It's inevitable on the Internet, especially when you're looking for sites the record companies are closing as fast as they can. Depending on how infrequently each search engine refreshes its search, the results could be woefully outdated. So, the first thing to do is to see which of these results are any good.

You can verify one site at a time, which is the faster way to go if you see only one or two results that intrigue you. Select any result by left-clicking it. You can choose more than one result to test at a time by holding down the Ctrl key as you click results. Then right-click and select Verify Results/Verify Selected Results. Conversely, you can verify all the results at once by clicking the words Verify Results on Fiend's main screen. The verification process takes longer than the search itself because MP3 Fiend sends several commands to each site and has to wait for results. It took just short of four minutes to check out our original 133 Billy Idol songs over a cable Internet connection. During that time, MP3 Fiend tried to log as a user named Anonymous with an email address of anon@anon. Fiend tests each of the sites to see, essentially, how much it can get away with.

The results of the testing are shown in Figure 3.6. If you click the heading of the Server Address column, the results are sorted by site address, and you'll see that the same sites are duplicated several times for different songs. Our original 133 Billy Idol hits come from only 34 individual sites. The verification process rarely comes up with results that say, "Come on in! Download all you want!" Instead you get responses that at first seem to suggest you're shooting all blanks. With a guide to the responses, though, you'll find things aren't as hopeless as they seem. With Figure 3.6 are some of the verification returns MP3 Fiend produces and what they mean:

VERIFIED!

You won't see this often, and when you do, it doesn't necessarily mean someone left the back door unlocked. It sometimes hides a banner or ratio site, but it's still a keeper.

Figure 3.6 MP3 Fiend verification screen. After MP3 Fiend tests all the potential connections uncovered by a search, the results of the test are displayed in a list that needs interpretation to become helpful.

Banner Site

MP3 Fiend believes this is a banner site. This means that the site requires you to travel to a Web site to get a password, and may require you to click on banner advertisements to find it. First, of course, you must have a password to get a password. These sites are so annoying that you may want to skip them altogether. But, if you're determined, you'll see in a few moments how to fish out the information you need to assault the site. Also, MP3 Fiend doesn't claim to be perfectly accurate in detecting banner sites. Some sites it labels as banner sites are not, and many without the label are, in fact, banner sites.

Busy

The site is busy. To keep the site speed running smoothly, FTP owners often put a limit on the number of users allowed on at the same time. FTPs sites with slow connections, such at 56K and ISDN lines–yes, those are slow connections in these days of DSL and cable–usually allow five or fewer simultaneous connections. Sites with DSL, cable, T1, or T3 hookups allow more people on at one time. To get into them, you must use an FTP client such as CuteFTP, which you'll meet in Chapter 4.

Connection Refused

The site is down or, for some unknown reason, simply refused your connection. Remember, the search results MP3 Fiend comes up with are based on information in the databases of various search engines. Fiend merely reports what the databases say. It doesn't try to actually connect until you run the verification process. For this run, delete any Connection Refused results by highlighting the line on which the site is listed and pressing the Delete key, or by right-clicking and choosing Delete.

Could Not Connect

The site is down; delete it from the list.

Not Found

This result could mean one of two things. The first is that the song is missing. The site's owner might have moved that file to another directory. It doesn't mean you can't download it, but that you'll have to connect to the site and do some manual searching first. Or, Not Found could mean you have a ratio site that Fiend misinterpreted.

Permission Denied

It's not as bad as it sounds. This almost always indicates a ratio site where you have to upload an MP3 before you can download any. You have to do some manual probing of the site, but you will get the song eventually.

Syntax Error

This error will occur on FTP servers that don't follow the usual rules for communicating with remote clients. All you can do is connect to them manually to see what's going on.

Timed Out

The site did not respond in a reasonable time. Either the site is down or so slow that you might as well delete it.

Non-FTP Result

You've struck an HTTP site, which makes for easier downloading.

Nothing in Verified Column

This result is an MP3 Fiend anomaly. Often, though, sites that are blank in this column are ratio sites.

All files that show file sizes are valid downloads, although they might be banner or ratio sites that require further effort on your part.

That further effort, with any of these results, involves looking at the details of the results MP3 Fiend obtained during the verification. There you'll find the clues to making a successful connection using CuteFTP.

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