Set up PuTTY to SSH into Dreamhost accounts

I am working on a new page and needed to install the XML_RSS PEAR script yesterday on my Dreamhost Account. I tried the customer support and went to their twiki. Dreamhost supplies a basic set of PEAR functions and you have to create a new folder and upload any extras that you’d like to use. Normally, I’d quit at this point and try something else. I hate the command line. It gives me heeby jeebies. If I can’t do something with a mouse, I’m quitting.

But, in the spirit of learning new things, I persevered. I installed PuTTY ( on my desktop and began the effort of logging in and updating the server. (PuTTY is a simple program that allows you to establish SSH connections with a server) Alas, it was a no-go. I couldn’t establish a connection. At this point, I do what is normal for a front-end engineer. I fired up the Yahoo! messenger and sent plaintive cries to the back-end engineers that seemed to be online for help. Unfortunately, they had just left their computers running and were nowhere to be seen.

So, back to the Dreamhost twiki. Luckily, their SSH documentation links to a really great blogpost by Phile Planet. This tutorial on How to setup SSH on Windows XP walks you through the process step-by-step. It even predicted that one step may not work for me and offered the workaround.

Logging in

I was able to login at this point by going to the command prompt, typing plink and entering my username and password (Dreamhost people: it’s the FTP username/password). I don’t know why the original tutorial went further to do something else but if it doesn’t work for you, try doing the extra step

  • Go back to the command prompt and type pageant. Double-click on the computer wearing a hat when it pops up in your system tray
  • Click Add Key and go to where you stored that private key. Double-click it and enter your password for the key if you made one earlier
  • Now go to the command prompt and type plink
  • Enter your username and it should just login from there

That’s about it. Here are a few links with stuff you can do in the Shell

Take a look at this tutorial if you are using Dreamhost, or any host for that matter, and Windows XP. It will take you about 15 minutes to set up PuTTY on your machine and hook it into the Dreamhost servers. You’ll never know when you need something like this and it’s nice to know that you’ve already got it setup ahead of time.

More free icons

I was watching one of those vapid morning television shows today. They went outside to the cheering, freezing fans that line outside the studio hoping Betty-Sue in the trailer park will see them on TV. This morning’s exhibition had singing elf-ettes walking by the masses pretending to hand out christmas gifts. I swear one of them was holding a Norton Antivirus 2000 box. mini icons from Brand Spanking NewSo anyways, just before their gift was within grasping distance of one of those freezing, jolly masses, they’d spin around, pull the gift back and sing a chorus about Christmas is the time for giving.

Yes, Christmas is the time to tease people with free gifts of outdated software. Here’s a real gift, 113 10×10 greyscale icons from Brand Spanking New for your web site. I know, you were hoping for an iDog, some beef jerky, or even an outdated antivirus package. Cheer up, these little icons are just the thing to add another bit of polish to your site.

Internet Explorer is officially released

Back in the dark days, programmers battled with a forgotten browser. It was good for its time, like a 4-cyl Fiero. But time marched on and this browser stagnated, forcing those working in the internet world to jump through programming hoops to make their pages work.

There were a few heroes that made this work a bit easier. Big John and Holly started a virtual library. There even became an “IE7” long before Microsoft got off their asses. The IE7 javascript was a library designed to fix the annoying issues in Internet Explorer 6. Zeldman began touring the world preaching the horrors of bad browsers.

And then something magical happened. Firefox was released with great support for standards-based programming. Quick on their heels came Safari and new versions of Opera that made life much easier. Instantly, Microsoft began losing their monopoly on the browser. Something had to be done!

IE7 logoChris Wilson must have been summoned to the all mighty Gates and given the go ahead to build the new beast: IE7. “Go forth and build a browser that fixes as many IE6 bugs as possible. Add tons of security fixes. Add new RSS and open-source features. And whatever you do… make it backwards compatible for our customers.” It was a big order to fill.

Internet Explorer 7 was on the road map.

To show good faith, they released a very early version – IE7 Beta 1. This browser was so meager that it generated even more bad press for the hard working group. Standardistas were up in arms over the remaining bugs. The team began to reach out even further to the developer pool. They made nice with the Web Standards Project, they went to conferences, worked with the web dev teams of large websites, they even gave out really cool shwag.

All of this led to some big promises and regular releases of subsequently better products. Bugs were squashed and developers began to learn how to deal with IE6/IE7 differences. I personally found a bug with transparent png sprites that I was happy to see fixed for the final release.

Internet Explorer Hits The Streets

This is the week we’ve all waited for. Internet Explorer 7 is officially released. Download it now. Microsoft will be actively pushing this browser as a security and feature upgrade. You can expect to see large numbers of your audience using IE7 over the next six months. I wouldn’t be surprised if IE6 is a grade B browser within a year.

Internet Explorer 7 is not as good as Firefox. It’s not as good as Safari. It’s arguably not as good as Opera, only because Opera users love to argue. But it is much, much, much better than IE6.

More importantly, this release finally allows us to use CSS2 rules. IE7 recognizes things like link[ahref=”fr”], div>p, li:hover, and ul:first-child. It doesn’t recognize generated content, that is my biggest complaint about the browser.

Web standard design seems to be stagnating lately as we’ve gotten fat and lazy creating rounded corners without thinking twice. AJAX took over some of our creativity. Now it’s time to go back to the CSS2 specifications and really begin re-inventing web design.

We’ve not only seen the light at the end of the IE6 tunnel, we’re standing out in the sun throwing pinecones at each other and running through the fields like drunk rabbits. Hats off to the IE7 team for delivering a browser we’ve been asking for. It’s not the one we begged and pleaded for, but maybe that’s what IE8 is for.

Free the Fonts!

I’m not a font master. I wish I were.

caged letter a - free the fonts!When I went to art school, we made fun of the graphic designers on the floor below. Little did I know that I would be salivating over their font-awareness just a few years later. I use Avenir on a lot of sites because Zeldman did. I use Verdana because it is universal. I use Arial at work because that is the Yahoo! standard. When I try to make something look fancy, I scroll through a bunch of fonts on my machine until something looks purty.

While my font knowledge is minimal, my desire for human rights is great. There’s a new movement to free fonts from the shackles of purchase-itude. The Free Font Manifesto prods, persuades, and pontificates over the liberation of good fonts.

Join the manifesto. Download a few good fonts. Share the joy. Let the fonts live a free, happy life on your projects.

More Icon Buffet Requests

Icon Buffet, creators of really cool icons, has a nifty free icon program. Free Delivery is a social sharing approach to free graphics. You get a set for free and you can give that set to your friends, who in turn can share their icons with you. All of this is really simple and helpful.

coffee cup iconI’m in the process of building a new web site for a friend’s floral design company and need some icons, especially Tower Grove Wedding. I have the following icon sets to share:

  • Ashbury Menagerie
  • Durango Research
  • Mallow Buzz 1
  • Mallow Buzz 2
  • Manhattan Finance
  • Manhattan Veggie
  • Marseilles Cafe
  • Modena Alfanumerico Cold
  • Oslo Atmosphere
  • Oslo Finance
  • Shanghai Tech

If you’ve got Tower Grove Wedding or any others that I’m missing, or you need one of these, please leave a comment or send a message to ted(at)


Jemaleddin has pssed on some new icons, I can now share these as well.

  • Dresden Atmosphere
  • Helsinki Hi-Fi
  • Shanghai Tech Smilies
  • Taipei Buddies 1
  • Tower Grove Melee