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proxy-hell and mancala

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Ugh, sorry for the delay. I've been descending through the 666th level of proxy-hell here, which left my machine internet-less for the better part of the week. Basically, I've got a cable modem hooked up to Shelly's machine, and we were using SyGate to connect the other two machines (the iMac and my machine) to the internet. Unfortunately upon installing NT SP6, SyGate has gone completely bonkers. It sometimes just decided not to forward packets back to the other machines on the network, and it always screwed up after a reboot. I finally ended up dumping SyGate entirely and am running a shareware proxy-server. It's much more of a pain to set up on the client machines, but at least it appears to be working.

Dumped the idea of using TDB (see below) as my bug database. Interesting as it is, it's a bear to use and some major features are missing. I'll likely be using Access. Not that I ever have bugs :)

Found another neat Freebie. This one is AnalogX PCalc. It's a calculator with a difference. Instead of buttons, you enter expressions in C syntax. I can see myself using this gizmo a lot, especially during debugging. Give it a look.

Got another book recommendation (if you haven't guessed, I love books). This one is Mancala Games by Larry Russ. This is actually a new edition of the book. The original went out of print around 1984. For quite some time, the author was selling a photocopied version by mail, but it looks like he finally found a publisher for the new edition.

For the uninitiated, Mancala is a name for a class of games that originated in Africa thousands of years ago and are still very popular there. I've got two variants of Mancala in my own game pack. One is Wari, which is one of the most popular games in the pack (and THE most popular with women). The other is Um El Bagara, which is one of the ones in the new package.

Unlike many other ancient games, Mancala games have a very strong strategy element. They also translate very well to computers. This book has the rules and history of around 100 varients of the game. If you're a programmer looking for a unique game to make, this may be an excellent starting point.
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