04 08/06

Programming with Boo

I’ve spent a few nights playing with a new (to me) programming language, Boo. It really feels like the best of C#, Ruby, and Python. If you are interested in writing for the CLI or you are generally interested in programming languages, check out the features page to check out some of the reasons why I’ve been impressed.

If you are interested in trying it out, be sure and grab the new version of SharpDevelop. It’s got built-in support for Boo projects (including Windows Forms editing).

22 03/06

Using FTP applications over SFTP

A while back I wrote about using WinSCP to backup files to Strongspace. I like the WinSCP solution, but there are some other more user-friendly backup programs I thought I would check out. Unfortunately, almost every program I checked out only supported FTP. Fortunately, I found BitVise Tunnelier’s ftp bridge that allows you to use FTP applications over FTP. It sets itself up as an FTP server locally that bridges to your real SFTP server.

I’ve heard good things about SyncBack Freeware and decided to try it with Strongspace over the ftp bridge and I’ve been quite pleased.

The first step is to setup Tunnelier. Setup was fairly easy. I turned everything off except for the ftp to sftp bridge. Another advantage to using this method is that it provides quick access to a pretty good SFTP client from the task tray.


Setup Tunnelier to point to your Strongspace account and include your username and password.


Next, setup the FTP to SFTP bridge. If you use then you can only connect to the FTP server from that computer. There are some other options if you want to bridge for other computers on your network.


Turn off the other services in Tunnelier.


This is the standard setup screen for SyncBack. I choose to backup a directory and subdirectories.

syncback_setup.pngPoint to the FTP server on the local computer. This will be bridged to Strongspace.


That’s it. Now just setup the backup task schedule in SyncBack and it’ll backup to Strongspace on a schedule.

03 03/06

Strongspace backups with WinSCP

Downloading and Installing

Here are the things you’ll need:

  • WinSCP (Nice client for SFTP/SCP. Supports syncronizing folders.)
  • You’ll need the installer for WinSCP3.com for command line.
  • Pageant (Used if you encrypt your private key on your local machine)
  • PuttyGen (For key generation)

Copy pageant.exe, and puttygen.exe to a tools directory. Copy WinSCP3.exe and WinSCP3.com to the same directory.

Setting up a key

First, you need to generate a key so you won’t have to login to Strongspace each time the update runs. Run puttygen.exe to setup your key.


Once it generates a key, you’ll want to set the comment (I use username and password of the computer I’m using). And a passphrase. You don’t have to set a passphrase if you don’t mind your private key sitting unencrypted on your disk. But I think it’s a good idea to encrypt the private key. Save the private key to the same directory that you were saving the above apps.


Before closing PuttyGen, log into your Strongspace account and create a .ssh/authorized_keys file and paste the contents of the “Public Key” of PuttyGen as the first line of the file.

Next, you’ll need to setup Pageant if you set a passphrase for your key. Pageant will prompt you for your passphrase and then enencrypt your key in memory. Putty and WinSCP3 know how to get the key from Pageant. You’ll probably want to start Pageant when the system starts. I created a batch file that contains this line and added it to my startup folder:

c:\strongspace\tools\pagent.exe c:\strongspace\config\strongspace.ppk

Configure WinSCP

Launch WinSCP3.exe to configure your session. Want to set the following information:

  • Host name: username.strongspace.com
  • User name: username
  • Private key file: location of your key


Then hit “Save” and give the session a name like “Strongspace”.

Sync script for WinSCP

WinSCP3 has a pretty good scripting environment set up. There’s a lot more information in their scripting documentation. I use a really simple script to sync c:\strongspace\shared with a directory called “Shared” in Strongspace.

option batch on
option confim off
option synchdelete
synchronize both c:\Strongspace\Shared Shared

Save this script file in the same directory as the above tools and run the following command to start a sync:

winscp3.com /console /script=winscp_script.txt Strongspace

Where “Strongspace” is the name of the session you saved in WinSCP’s setup. The important part of this script is the “synchronize both” section. This does the two-way sync.


You can set this up to run at certain times with Windows Task Scheduler (Control Panel -> Scheduled Tasks). Since my collection of files is fairly static (small utilities)), I created a batch file with the above command and put it on my desktop so I can run the sync any time I know something has changed.

01 03/06

Got a 360

xbox360.jpgAfter a couple days of monitoring, the prevously mentioned BestBuy Xbox 360 Inventory Checker found me a 360 at the store close to our house right around quitting time. Stopped on the way home and walked out with it pretty easy.We played a couple of the Live Arcade games tonight, but we’ve not tried any of the real 360 games yet. Overall I’m pretty impressed. Except for the fact that it’s quite loud. It seems louder than my previous Xbox (though I did not compare them). But it’s quieter than the HTPC (which is broken right now for some reason).

Now, we just need the HDTV and Oblivion and we’ll be set for the summer.