Hello old friend

Today on my commute home from work, I struck up a conversation with the man sitting next to me because he was using a very special pocket computer:

psion_s5mx

That’s a Psion Series 5 (technically a 5mx but that’s irrelevant to you normal folks.) It’s probably the best pocket computer ever built, but by now it’s also extremely rare and, in the context of electronic progress, rather ancient.

I have owned and used one of these for a decade, and I’ve written a lot about it here. It served me well and I still miss many aspects of it. If such a machine existed today with Internet access then I would probably still be using it. But mobile Internet didn’t exist back in its day. Continue reading ‘Hello old friend’

We caught a dragon!

wpid-wp-1443943232096.jpgOkay so maybe the title isn’t completely true, but I got your attention :-)

For my son’s 6th birthday, my wife got the idea to create a dragon cake for kindergarten. Because this has received so much positive feedback, as well as questions about how we did it, I decided to publish our secret here.

Continue reading ‘We caught a dragon!’

Spam, begone!

I’ve been fighting spam on my sites for too long: recent stats tell me that out of all 2640 comments that I received in a given period, only 14 of them were real! So 99,5% of my blog comments are spam and only 1 in 200 are real. I’m happy to announce that I have finally found a solution that seems pretty damn watertight:

logo

CleanTalk* is a business that offers plug-ins for many platforms (including WordPress and phpBB) and it’s honestly the first software ever that succeeds in reliably stopping the flood of spam on my sites. Best of all, it does it completely without bothering the user with silly tests – and it. just. works. correction: screenshot of spam filter settingsunfortunately my initial setup blocked some comments but I found them in the logs and the CleanTalk support staff quickly helped me resolve the problem (see thumbnail on the right, click to enlarge), so all is well. I’m still keeping an eye on the logs though – but even this is so much better than all other anti-spam plugins I’ve tried so far.

I’m very happy with this now. Of all the thousands of comments and registrations that were attempted since I set this up, no spams were published, and no non-spam (“ham”) was blocked. Only 2 spams got through CleanTalk and were subsequently placed in the WordPress review queue. “Two” being a manageable amount to deal with in WordPress, it was easy to reject them.
Continue reading ‘Spam, begone!’

Progress Quest: an incredible role-playing adventure game

game logo

Progress Quest is an antic and fantastical computer role-playing game, well worth the time you’ll spend playing it. And it won’t cost you a farthing! [official website]

The official introduction above is absolutely true. It’s a great little game and, although the game-play can feel a bit one-sided, it’s still offering a surprising amount of variation. It starts quite slowly – obviously the character is very weak initially, but he’ll be hacking through his enemies faster once he gains some experience, better weapons, and armor.

Even inexperienced gamers will find Progress Quest remarkably intuitive and simple to play. [user manual]

Similar to the popular games with faux 8-bit graphics, this game also doesn’t look very impressive, even though it does contain some 3D effects.

You can play the game online and a Windows version is also available. Both are free.

Use a mantra for your password

So there is a downside to using a password manager like LastPass* and all those corporate single-sign-on tools (when they work): Using passwords as a more-than-daily reminder or mantra is no longer happening.

I still use passwords but I don’t enter them anymore; my password manager does it for me. I have been using LastPass for a long time now, and I thoroughly enjoy the automatic login for anything and everything online.

Enter password

I admit that even LastPass has a password (“the last password you’ll ever need,” as they proclaim) and I still have to enter that every once in a while. Recently I decided to change my ingenious yet well-worn master password – you know, weakest link and all that. But what new password would be good? Continue reading ‘Use a mantra for your password’