Last year I was working on a project to analyze how humans make decisions under certain conditions. For this project, I had to develop a game that students in my University could play and they were paid up to $50 for their participation. I developed the game in Visual Basic. NET and initially wanted to run it in the computer laboratory in my Department. However, I decided that it would be easier to put the game up online and let people download it onto their computers and play it at their convenience. At this time, I had to come up with a technique to capture their responses. I did not want them to mail me their responses at the end of the game because it was going to be inconvenient to them and to me. Also because their payments was based on their responses, they could manipulate them to increase their payoffs.
To avoid such a situation, I decided to use Microsoft’s own File Transfer Protocol (FTP) service, which is very easy to configure. Visit this link to learn how – FTP: Setting Up Windows NT 4.0, 2000, or XP Workstations to Accept FTP Transfers .
The advantage in Microsoft’s FTP is that no special client software is required to view the files on the FTP. They can be viewed directly from the Explorer window. Also, the VB.NET code used to open the FTP connection and to read/write files is pretty simple. The code can be found here: VB. Net FTP Client.
A second level of protection I used was a Transmission Control Protocol/ Internet Protocol (TCP/ IP) connection which prevented people from playing the game more than once. The advantage of this technique is that the connection stays on as long as the server machine is on and the internet is working. Because of this, people could play the game at any time of day.
The game was a success. Overall, 50-60 people played it and except for one response which was not captured due to a faulty internet connection, all other details were successfully captured.
The TCP/IP server is still on in Tucson, AZ and since I’m in California at the moment, I use it for accessing files etc. on the host server (in addition to using Remote Desktop Connection). Another technique (which was incidentally suggested to me by a Microsoft programmer) is to use Cygwin’s Secure Shell (SSH) service (Cygwin is a Linux-like environment for Windows, in case anyone is wondering). Simple configuration instructions are given here. I used FileZilla Client on the client machine (which, in my opinion is the easiest to use SSH client) and it worked like a charm. I had to shut down and restart the SSH service occassionally, but other than that I never had any problems.
I’ve transferred over 8 GB of data from one computer to another (within the same network). By the way, I did try other solutions, including using the FileZilla server, but found the above two methods to be the easiest.
As an aside, in my opinion, this is the most relevant article I’ve written on this site, considering its focus on Web 2.0 and Linux. My previous articles had more to do with Microsoft desktop software and an mp3 player that no one is interested in. :-p