By Helen Varley Jamieson - 27/08/2010
some months ago, after a short&sweet donation appeal, UpStage got a shiny new server; this was very cool & exciting, & the transfer seemed to go completely smoothly. that was until i tried to ftp web cam images to the server for my live feed web cam avatar. it didn't work. douglas assured me that nothing had been changed in the way of settings, passwords, etc & that it *should* work (should being one of doug's favourite words ;) well, it didn't work - but soon we found out that it was still working fine, just as before, for anyone using windows or linux. therefore, nothing wrong with the server. so i tried some different applications. we had been using oculus happily for years, but it hasn't been updated for ages. maybe that's the problem, i thought. so i spent hours searching for free or shareware webcam ftp apps for mac, downloading and trying them out. i tried so many different applications i can't remember them all now, but nothing worked. i tweaked settings, turned my firewall on & off, uploaded additional drivers, tried with both the built-in cam and a usb cam, i even installed virtual linux on my mac & tried that too. nothing worked. at some point i realised that i was also unable to ftp ordinary files from my mac to the UpStage server. normally i use fetch, which still works fine for every other site i ftp to - just not UpStage, since the move to the new server. i got my hands on a windows machine, installed fireftp - & sure enough, i could ftp to the UpStage server no problem at all. so, i tried looking for alternative ftp clients. i installed fireftp on my mac, carefully compared all the settings with the working fireftp connection on the windows computer, & tried - no luck. "unable to establish a data connection." then i tried through the command line. some success here - i did manage to make a connection to the server; but not being very expert with the CLI, i decided to persist with finding an ftp client that would work - since i'd been able to get connected through the command line, & upload a test file, there must be something out there that would work! sure enough, there is - it's called cyberduck - & it's incredibly slow. not just tediously slow, i mean really unworkably slow. it took over two hours to upload 365kb. i've also found a web-based upload, called webftper, which works but is a bit cumbersome & i wonder about ftping via a third party web site - how secure is that? & we still haven't solved the web cam ftp problem!!!! it really is a big problem, as we are coming up to the 101010 UpStage Festival, & several of the performers are using mac & want to use web cams. i find myself saying in a rather embarrassed way, "can you get hold of a windows machine?" so - if there is anyone out there who can shed any light on this mysterious problem (which several people are looking into, but no-one has yet found anything at all), you can have free front row seats to all of the 101010 performances plus my undying gratitude and admiration!