Hardware failure: decisions, decisions

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Last week I mentioned that we had two components of our main computer die - a hard drive and the video card. I sent the video card back for replacement and it turned out that particular model is no longer produced. Instead I'm being offered a comparable product, which uses the same "chipset" (i.e. same card, different sticker), or a refund. I'm going to go with a refund because in the six months since we bought first our card the prices have dropped significantly, so much so that we now have a choice in what to get:

  1. Pretty much the same card (nVidia Geforce 6200) but save $30.
  2. An upgraded version of the same card for the original amount, the nVidia Geforce 6600.
  3. A card with built-in video capture, but its slower than the one that failed on us, uses the X600XT chip by ATI.

I'm in a bit of a quandry as to what to do. I'd really like the video capture bit but that card is just terribly slow in comparison to even our older card, nevermind option #2 above. Ack!

Computer hardware failures suck!

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This truly sucks! In the same day we had both a harddrive and video give up the ghost. The drive is out of warranty but the video card will be replaced/fixed by the store we got it from. The drive luckily didn't have anything irreplaceable on it, ironically I had put a lot of what was on it onto DVDs the other day, good timing or what. So, time to get our backup routine in order. <knocks-on-wood>

Sajax makes Ajax easy!

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The pseudo-standard "AJAX", which is just a buzzword for Javascript + XML (which was done for years without the fancy name) is a bit tricky at times. For most simple needs, though, the Sajax API makes life extremely easy, especially if you use multiple languages (PHP, Python, ColdFusion, etc). Well worth learning, it makes life just so easy!

The Mootrix has you!

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At work today I was reminded of the fact that a) I'm a geek, b) I'm nuts.

A few months ago I was working on a program, an events calendar as it happened. I needed a way to be able to count up a list of week ordinals (first, second, third, etc) so I put them in a matrix, and because it was an Ordinal MaTRIX I called it mootrix.

Secure file transfers on Windows

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For the two geeks who read this, here are some tools for doing secure file transfers to/from Windows, most of them free.

Server:

  • freeSSHd is really easy to install and use, and uses the built in Windows user accounts so you don't have another set of passwords to manage. Well worth trying.
  • copSSH is a bundling of the cygwin ssh daemon in a more user friendly package.

Clients:

  • WinSCP is the defacto SFTP/SCP tool for Windows. Its easy to use and free, what more do you want?
  • Directory Opus, the amazingly powerful file manager, has an Advanced FTP plugin available, which costs about $8 per computer. If you use Directory Opus you should use this.

I came across these while looking for a way to secure our file transfers at work. After fiddling with multiple server programs I realized that the freeSSHd program was going to serve our needs much better than many commercial server programs, including Serv-U and Gene6 FTP Server! Also, WinSCP is a much better choice than CuteFTP Pro if you don't need its advanced features and just want a simple file transfer program.

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