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Netscape and Helper Applications
Not all Netscape configuration versions are handled in this document. If you have any questions or need help in configuring another version of Netscape, other than what is given here, please contact Chris Kreger at ( You may also want to try Netscape Navigator Support )

The first step in setting up Netscape is to tell it to save any files you download to a certain directory or folder. Below are directions for doing this.

1. Start Netscape. Choose General Preferences from under the Options menu.

2. Using the mouse, click and hold down on the arrow in the small gray box, and scroll down to Applications and Directories, and then release.

3. Under the Directories section, click on Browse and select the directory you wish to download everything to. For Macintosh computers, we suggest the Desktop Folder. For IBM PC's, we suggest c:\temp.

4. Click OK. From now on, anything you download will go to this directory.

In order to view certain types of files on the Internet (movies, sound files, pict graphics, etc.), you must configure your Netscape browser to use certain other helper applications. Below are links to various helper applications and instructions on configuring them.

Helper Applications For Windows

Helper Applications For Macintosh

How to Configure Applications for Netscape
In Netscape under the Options menu, choose General Preferences.

Using the mouse, click and hold down on the arrow in the grey box, move to Helper Applications, and release.

Each type of file served to you from a WWW site has an associated "mime type" consisting of two names separated by a slash. For instance, the mime type for a GIF file is image/gif; and for an mpeg movie, it is video/mpeg. GIF files and JPEG files can both be viewed without extra software. Netscape has built-in support for them. Here is a list of mime types for the applications above:

NIH Image - application/octet-stream and image/tiff.

Arcview - same as for NIH Image.

Sparkle - video/mpeg and video/quicktime.

Sound Machine - audio/basic, audio/aiff, and audio/x-wav.

In order to set up these mime types, scroll through the list and highlight the one you want to change, click on browse, and find the application on your hard drive. When you find the application, double click on it, and the title under the Application heading should change. Then simply click on Launch Application to tell Netscape you want it to use the new application.

Repeat steps (1) - (3) or step (4) for all of the mime types above, then click OK when you are done.

You may test out your new applications on this page.

What Is FTP?
FTP, or File Transfer Protocol, is a way of transferring text and binary (program) files from one site on the Internet to another. Netscape has built-in support for the FTP protocol, and therefore no other applications are needed to retrieve files from sites on the 'Net. To open a FTP session, follow these directions:

  1. Start Netscape.
  2. From the File menu choose Open Location
  3. In the dialog box, type, where is the site you wish to connect to. Press Enter, and Netscape should try to log into the FTP site.
  4. Expect error messages when logging into many sites. The Internet is a busy place and many sites have limits on the number of people that can log in at once. If you receive a message about the site being over the maximum limit, just click on Reload to keep trying.
  5. After you are logged into a site, you can move through the directory structure by clicking on the blue text. Directories will have a small folder icon beside them and will say Directory in the far right column. Anything else is a file you can download. To download a file, simply click on the blue text, and Netscape will either display the file (if it is text) or ask you where to save it.

Note: If you need help, feel free to email me at
For additional information on FTP, Email, TELNET, and many other topics, see EFF's (Extended) Guide to the Internet

Image Processing Software
NIH Image. For the Macintosh, we recommend NIH Image. The price is right (free), it is immediately available via online download, and it is frequently upgraded. It allows you to conduct measurements such as length, area, density slicing, profiling, and histograms. It also allows processing such as stretching, filtering, animating, and false coloring. NIH Image also allows you to load digital data sets and build three-dimensional topographic representations.

Button that takes you to the main teacher page.
Button that takes you to the teacher pages. Button that takes you to the modules and activities page. Button that takes you to the main Exploring the Environment page.
Last updated April 28, 2005

HTML code by Chris Kreger
Maintained by ETE Team

Some images 2004

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