Collecting images using PIAFCTM

Introduction

With NetworkActiv PIAFCTM 2.x (File Mode), you can make image galleries of select Web page images, where each file name is a descending number based on when the file tranfer was completed (that is, when the picture finished loading).

This is especially useful for quickly saving select images from thumbnail based image galleries, because, after all, right-clicking each image and choosing Save image as (or whatever it is in your browser) and then typing a descending file name, is very time consuming.

Since you do not wish to save all the images that are displayed on these pages (ie. the Thumbnails, Ads, and other stuff), you will need to setup and enable the correct filtering options so that the program minimizes the number of undesired files being saved. Very clean results can usually be obtained.

Before we continue, it is very important to note that it is your responsibility to follow copyright laws and make sure that the Web page authors from which you are saving images permit you to save their images.

Getting started and Setting up PIAFCTM

Follow these steps:

  1. Fire up PIAFCTM and choose File Mode.

  2. Press the Choose folder button and choose the folder in which you wish to have the saved files stored.

  3. Check the Apply filters to packets and files. checkbox.

  4. Press the Configure filtering system button.

  5. Set Minimum file size to a value around 15,000, and set Maximum file size to 0.

  6. For The file extension must be one of the following: Enter the file extensions of the images you wish to save. On most thumbnail sites, the images are either jpg or jpeg. (Enter the extensions one at a time)

  7. Press the OK button.

  8. Press the File naming and placement configuration button.

  9. Replace the Parameters text with Image_%FCC.

  10. Set the %FCC current value: to 0.

  11. Press the Okay button.

  12. Set the ACK timeout (ms): field to, 3000 for reliable Internet connections. 10000 (or more) for lossy Internet connections.

  13. Check the Only store HTTP based file streams as files, and the Use latest of duplicate packets. checkboxes.

It's testing time

Steps for using the newly set up PIAFCTM:

  1. Browse to an online image gallery that you have in mind.
  2. Press PIAFCTM's Start button.

  3. Click and view images that look interesting. Each image you view should be saved shortly after it loads. If you have already looked at these particular pictures, you may need to press Ctrl + F-5 while looking at the picture so that the browser does a full refresh.
  4. Check out the PIAFCTM. Look at the information found at the lower-left. See if it looks as though it is saving the files.

  5. When the Files processing: count returns to zero, press the Stop button.

  6. Go to the folder that you told the program to save the files to and see if you have any newly created files. If PIAFCTM did not save any files, see the Troubleshooting section (further down this page).

But you said "select Web page images"

If you do not wish to save all the images that you view, simply stop PIAFCTM (via the Stop button) between each image you wish to save and when you find one that you like, press PIAFCTM's Start button and then press Ctrl + F-5 on the keyboard (while in the browser and at the picture) to have the Web browser reload the picture (so that PIAFCTM can see it too).

Be sure to let the Files processing: count return to Zero before pressing PIAFCTM's Stop button. If you do not, it may not save the image(s) or it may not save all of them.

For an experienced PIAFCTM using picture saving user, saving select pictures to a large and numbered collection is much easier with PIAFCTM than it is with the manual (right-click and Save image as) method. This is mainly because you can save so many at a time without explicit effort and you can simply not click the thumbnails that don't look interesting.

Troubleshooting

What to do if the Files processing: count stays at zero:

  1. Check the currently chosen local interface (shown on the dialog as Network interface chosen for listening:). If the interface does not seem correct or you are unsure of which one to use, go to the dialog referenced by the Settings->Network interface menu and choose a different network interface. If you are unsure of which to choose, try each one, one at a time, until you find one that works.

What to do if the Files processing: count goes up and then back down but the Files written stays at zero:

  1. Check that you have the filters set up correctly.
  2. Please note the possibility that you are listening on a Raw Sockets interface that does not receive the incoming traffic (this does occur on some systems). If this is the case, use the Packet Driver (that is, a Device interface) (only available in the full version).
  3. Try changing network interfaces (as explained in the previous troubleshooting topic).

What to do if incomplete (cut off) pictures are being written to disk:

  1. Set the ACK timeout (ms): to a higher value. On lossy connections (that is, ones that drop packets), it may be necessary to set this value to a number that exceeds that of the system's TCP timeout duration. On some systems, 10,000 may exceed this value (at least the first interval of it) and therefore be an acceptable value for lossy connections (but if such were so, why would you be reading this?).
  2. Try cutting down on other bandwidth eaters such as downloads while you are trying to save the images.
  3. Try viewing one picture at a time (for situations where you are using multiple tabs or where the pictures pop up in a new window), or perhaps just cut down on the number of pictures being loaded at a time.

What to do if some or all of the thumbnails are being saved along with the big pictures:

  1. See step 5 of Getting started and Setting up PIAFCTM and try setting higher the Minimum file size: value.

What to do if only some of the viewed pictures are being saved:

  1. See step 5 of Getting started and Setting up PIAFCTM and try setting lower the Minimum file size: value.
  2. Did you already view some of the pictures before?, if so, perhaps the browser is only loading the ones that you have not yet viewed and therefore PIAFCTM is only saving the newly viewed ones.

Additional information

Note that PIAFCTM saves your settings (that is, the program settings) when you close it. Be sure to close and re-open the program before your computer crashes and before you shut it down. Note also that the %FCC value is part of the program settings and therefore only gets written when the settings do.