Category Archives: Technology

The Best FTP Client – WinSCP

When we moved over to the new servers, Shayne decided not to open up the port for FTP. Fair enough (a good security move). However, I was left with having to find another way to get in and easily edit files on the system. He recommended that I get an SCP client. I downloaded a few of ’em, not being all that impressed – then I stumbled across WinSCP. It handles SSH / SCP / SFTP sessions, and has direct hooks into PuTTY. I have a long history with FTP programs. Starting with the amazingly old and incredibly unintuitive WS_FTP, I moved to FTP Explorer. When the developer abandoned the project, I flipped to FTP Voyager – and found it to be completely overpriced for my needs. Then, it was off to SmartFTP, until the desktop flashing started to annoy me. I had veen on FileZilla up until recently (living with its shortcomings, too). WinSCP surprised me.

It doesn’t do everything I want it to do, but I discovered that you can locally edit remote files by double-clicking them! This feature alone has saved me so much time and energy. I had been relying on PSPad for the longest time to do all my server-based file editing through FTP (slow, clunky). While the WinSCP edit window leaves much to be desired, it’s quick and painless – and I can hook directly into PSPad for advanced functionality and seamless integration with the file transfer. Wow. Awesome. Cool. You need this. Forget the other FTP clients out there – if you don’t have this “edit locally, save remotely” feature in your FTP program, dump it. And FTP access through a plain ol’ file editor is just painful to navigate! WinSCP is wicked.

IE Makes it Impossible to Troubleshoot Feeds

This morning, a subscriber notified us that one of our master feeds was broken. I loaded ‘er up in IE, only to (once again) be faced with cripped pieces of feedback. Yes, the browser shows me part of the error, but doesn’t actually tell me where the error is! Without some form of context, I have to dig deeper. Screw that. I have to fire up FireFox just to learn more about a problem. IE7 better be better on the code troubleshooting front. In related news, our new forums output RSS for searches. The server is definitely being brought to its knees, but we’re getting another one in place ASAP. You want proof? You can’t handle the proof.

Flickr Fun

I don’t know why I didn’t think of this before, but I’d like to put my latest Flickr photo thumbnails in the Lockergnome HTML newsletters. Since I use CaRP, I have virtually no configuration options (other than manual hacking or asking Antone). In searching for an easy way to get ‘er done, I found this solution from Fuddland (but it relies on MagpieRSS, which I’d rather not use). The information is already in the feed – it’s getting it out of the feed that’s a bit tricky for people like myself. Why doesn’t Flickr just have a separate feed for thumbnails – letting the user designate the size of the desired output? Yeah, there’s an API for that – but have I not beaten it into the world’s skull that I’m not a developer? In my Flickr travels, I found quite a few useful tools – including one I used this morning for my previous Dell post.

What other amazing Flickr tools am I not aware of?

Dell Lies

I typically don’t pay attention to emails from Dell, but a friend just so happened to email me about getting a new computer system right around the same time the Dell message popped into my inbox (with permission, of course). The email has a link that reads: “22% off ANY Dell Dimension Desktop.” Fair enough. I click the link, only to see a Web page that reads: “It’s Dell’s 22nd Anniversary! To celebrate, we’re giving you special anniversary savings: 22% off Select Dell Dimension Desktops! Simply ‘customize & price’ and purchase a new Dimension Desktop to receive INSTANT savings!”

In Dell’s messed up world, “select” is the same as “any.” Give me a break. Lies!

Googlefasting: Day 1

I’m frustrated. Utterly frustrated. I don’t think I’ll be able to make the seven days, seriously. I thought that Yahoo! would be a great substitute, but that’s turning out not being the case. Googlefasting is painful.

I had to catch myself a few times – but rewriting a few of my default utilities has pretty much stopped me from inadvertently launching into a Google search. Here’s the problem: I know where I sit for certain terms in Google, and I know how well Google works with headlines – so I know what I’m looking for, and what I can always count on finding within Google… but the other search engines I try are not even in the same ballpark – let alone, the same league.

On a positive note, I’m discovering features I like in other search engines. Like, Yahoo! will show you a preview of a map (static image) when you search for an address. That’s nice. I like that. I’m also getting recommendations for other engines I’ve forgotten about or had never heard of before – including from people who think I’m insane (for other reasons).

Avoiding Google’s software is easy enough – but avoiding its search is like research suicide. For all the services that Google enables, 99% of what “we” use is its search engine. You don’t realize how often you use Google until you stop yourself from using it. Some might say I’m slapping Google in the face for doing this – but I’d argue the opposite.

I need Google – and I’m proving it to myself in the most maddening way.

Hard Disk in the Freezer

“A few months ago, I think you featured an item about putting your HD in the freezer if there were problems with it. Yesterday, I received a ‘Write Error’ on C – the HD LED was constantly lit. I could not control the PC, Ctrl+ALT+Del did not work, so I had to turn the power off. Lo and behold, when I switched it back on, the system could not find the HD. I was dreading the thought of having to buy a new HD.”

“I remembered the article, so I popped the HD in a sealed plastic bag and put
it in the freezer for one hour. When I took the HD out, it was ice cold, I
removed it from the bag and had to keep wiping the condensation away. I put
it back in the computer and the system found it! Thank you so very much for
featuring this article. Many thanks and please keep the Lockergnome Windows Daily e-mails coming.” [Nick Urch]