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.

Found an awesome video converter!

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I've found an awesome video file converter called RiverPast Video Cleaner Pro that'll let me convert files from the standard Motion JPEG AVI format that our digital camera uses into tiny MPEG-4 that I can easily redistribute online. This paves the way for me to put our years of video footage online for you all to download, without having to take forever to do so or use up all of our web space.

It has two really cool features that I like. Firstly you can add a whole bunch of files to its list to process at once, secondly you can set it to store the new files where the original ones came from. Putting these two together I was able to queue up 400+ files to be converted, hit the convert button and continue on with my work while it churned away. Simply awesome!

Horde is awesome!

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I just wanted to say that the personal information manager (PIM) Horde is awesome! I set it up for use at mc-kenna.com and after a little fiddling it is working great! Lovely work!

Useful plugins for Mozilla Thunderbird (email client) (UPDATED)

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We use the program Mozilla Thundebird for doing all our email. Its pretty easy to use, reliable and does what we want. One of the best things about it is that people around the world have written lots of plugins for it to make it that little bit better. Here are some of my favorites:

  • Enigmail gives you an easy way to encrypt outgoing decrypt incoming messages. You need GnuPG or PGP to use it.
  • Bork Bork Bork! changes your messages to read like the Swedish Chef from The Muppets :-)
  • CompactFolder adds a toolbar button to compact the open mailbox. Very useful.
  • Contacts Sidebar is something I wish Thunderbird had built in, but now I can have it anyway. It shows your addressbook under the mailboxes sidebar for easy access. Simply wonderful!
  • Easy Get Mail Button adds a "Get Mail" button to your toolbar that only fetches mail for the account you've selected - handle if you've got oodles of accounts (like we do).
  • Display Mailing List Header adds an extra row to the message header with links to subscribing / unsubscribing from email mailing lists.
  • Leet Key is kinda like Bork Bork Bork only lets you convert text (either what you write or read) to l337 5p3@k, morse code, etc.
  • MailTagger adds smileys to your messages, what more do I have to say? :)
  • Move Search Items moves the Find and Search fields into the toolbar or titlebar to save screen space.
  • Quote Colors lets you change the colors displayed for different levels of quoting (i.e. for replies to replies).
  • Text Size Toolbar adds a very simple feature missing from Thunderbird - you can now easily select the text size !
  • Timestamp simply adds the date & time to a message you are writing.
  • View Headers Toggle Button lets you easily select between showing the summary headers or all headers.

Here are some others that look good:

  • AddressContext adds extra menu items to context menus. I haven't tried this one yet.
  • Attachment Extractor simplifies saving out attachments from multiple messages at once. Could be useful.
  • MessageFaces lets you view avatars that some people add to their emails.

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