The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Friday, November 22, 2002

Floppies? What are those?

Spring and I are off to the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions Exhibition in Orlando. Spring found a stuff animal manufacturer for a project of hers and instead of flying up to New England to meet them, found out they were going to this show instead, where there might be other manufacturers and it was certainly cheaper than flying (not to mention less hassle).

But first, we needed to print some forms before going up there, but due to the lack of printers here in the Facility in the Middle of Nowhere and some poor planning on my part, we ended up at Kinko's at about 10:00 in the morning (ick). I had put the document we needed printing on the webserver here at the Facility in the Middle of Nowhere (floppies? What are those?). Download, print, no problem.

The setup at this particular Kinko's was quite nice—you slip your credit card into the reader next to the computer and you are automatically logged in. When you log out, you can then go to another machine, slide your credit card into that and get a receipt; never have to even bother the staff if you don't want to (of course, we couldn't find the receipt machine and had to ask—it was located around the corner from the computers partially hidden by a stand of merchandise). And before you print, the computer will display the charges per page of output and allow you to cancel.

Quite nice.

What wasn't so nice was downloading the document we needed.

Because our cable provider filters (relative to the Facility in the Middle of Nowhere) incoming web requests, I'm running the webserver on a non-standard port; I just have to remember to include the port number in the URL. No big deal.

Execept that Kinko's (or the office we were at) doesn't allow outgoing web requests except on the standard HTTP port. Okay, I can still FTP the file down.

Except there is no FTP client installed on the machine. I can't get to the command line prompt on the machine (of course it's a Windows box) nor is there a way to run a command line program from the “Start” button. While I have an FTP server running on the firewall at the Facility in the Middle of Nowhere, I don't allow anonymous FTP so I can't use the web browser. And that's assuming Kinko's even allows FTP.

Okay, don't panic.

I need to get the document to a “real” webserver. To do that, I need to log into the firewall and transfer the document. To do that, I need puTTY, a fairly small Windows program that allows one to log into a Unix system. Nice thing about this program is that you don't need to install it—you can just download and run it. And that I was able to do. I was even able to log into my firewall, transfer the file to my “real” webserver, download the document and then print.

Ten minutes top.

And then we were on our way.

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