Archive | January, 2007

WinSCP and PuTTY; gems in their own right

The Internet is full of software gems, no doubt about it. The problem is, of course, that when you’re on the lookout for one specific piece of software, it’s not so hard to find it. But when you’re constantly (and mostly passively) trying to improve your own personal armada of tools, it’s sometimes hard to recall what you’re lacking or looking for.

So, while checking out the latest on the SmoothWall website, one click led to another, and then I had the WinSCP website in front of me. It’s one of those tools that just .. well, works. Finding good and free SCP/SFTP/SSH-software for Linux isn’t all that difficult, things are a little different in the world of Windows. Not that I mind paying for good software, I really don’t. But having free alternatives can’t be a bad thing. WinSCP does what most Windows users would expect from an FTP-client, and a lot more. More importantly, it allows you to do it in a secure fashion; connecting to the server using encrypted sessions.

For a plain vanilla SSH-shell client for Windows, PuTTY still rocks, of course. It too features an SCP-client, and it too is free.

VanDyke is also in the business of providing good and solid tools for secure data transfers in the Windows environment. They’ve been around for quite some time, measured in Internet time 🙂 Their stuff is commercial, but well worth the money. Their SecureCRT and SecureFX products are outstanding and very affordable.

In a previous post, I discussed tab add-ons for PuTTY: PuTTY with Tabs.

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La linea; old school multimedia

In the world of wireless multimedia and mobile connectivity, it brings great joy to run into some really simple and classic cartoons like “La Linea” on the net.

I remember watching these on TV when I was young (around the time of the Dinos).. and I’ve been trying to get a hold of a DVD collection of “La Linea” (or “Linus på linjen” as he’s known in Swedish) for ages. But I guess I shouldn’t be expecting that to surface anytime soon; besides, you could probably fit all of them on a 512MB flash memory. Scouting around the net, I did, however, find an old (and out-of-stock) DVD collection.. and maybe one that’ll be released in the summer of this year.. yaaay 😉

Today I ran into this TV5 archive (don’t get your hopes up, this is far from Pixar :-). Enjoy!

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Pentago-go, twisting your mind

Being a bit slow on the draw, I completely ignored Pentago when it was given its many awards during 2005. For the Christmas 2006 shopping spree, I wasn’t going to make the same mistake 🙂

The beauty of the game is, as it usually is, in its simplicity. You’ll no doubt think “hey, I could have invented this!”

Looking at it, you see four movable squares or quads. On each square there are 3×3 holes, making for nine playable positions on each square. The object of the game is to get “five in a row” before your opponent, much like tic-tac-toe. Sounds pretty simple and straightforward, doesn’t it? Only, once a square is no longer considered a “neutral square”, you can twist it one step clockwise or counter-clockwise after placing one of your marbles in a free space. This opens up another dimension of mind twisting.

The game has received quite a few rewards since it was invented 2003. Pentago has won the prestigious awards of “Game of the Year” in Sweden, Finland and France. Since then, Pentago has received rave reviews in the European and US press and the toy&game industry publications. In 2006, Pentago won the much revered Mensa Select Award in the United States, along with several other awards of excellence.

It’ll take you ten minutes to learn and get you hooked, you’ve been warned 🙂 Alexander (soon to be seven) and I both enjoy it, although it’s a bit hard for him to keep all the possibilities in his head.

Some Pentago-related links:

www.pentago.com, official site(s)
ThinkGeek.com, get the game here
CoiledSpringOnline.co.uk, or get the came here
Gerrys Pentago, for MacOS 10.3 or later
Pentago online, play Pentago online (Swedish texts)

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Strangle stupid toy makers!

Today we went to the “BR Toys” toy store to find some birthday presents for upcoming birthday parties. Keeping track of Filip in a place like that is a handful, it’s pretty much a game of unintentional hide and seek.

Catching up to him while he was frantically pushing the various “try me” buttons on toys that make noise, my eyes caught a really sad looking toy. Sure enough, five seconds later, Filip sees it too. The toy is a cartoon style “chicken”. One of the things the kids can do with it is to try to prevent it from making noise by choking it. The product is called “Anger management – Chicken”.

WHAT MORON THOUGHT OF THIS TOY, AND WHAT IDIOT PUT IT ON THE SHELF?

“Real life” and “it’s just a toy” notwithstanding, this has to be one of the saddest toy ideas I’ve seen in recent times. Don’t we live in a world with enough real violence and enough real crap to deal with? Do we really need garbage like this on the shelves of toy stores, well within reach for children?

“BR Toys” (“BR Leksaker” in Swedish) is owned by TOP-TOY A/S of Denmark, who also has a franchising agreement with TOYS”R”US for the Nordic region.

TOP-TOY’s company slogan is “Contributing to children’s positive play experiences by developing educational quality toys.”

Can you say “bullshit”?!

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