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2008: A Year of Coding Snacks at DonationCoder.com

One of the best things about this forum is watching the activity on the Coding Snacks section as people post small ideas and requests and programmers stop by and implement them.

But it's also hard to keep track of everything created and present it in a way that others can locate.  The best solution would probably be for coders to create a little web page for each tool they make (DC is happy to provide web space just ask).

We do however try to keep a page listing all of the finished coding snacks and links to the discussion and download threads, and you can view that here:


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Short Coder Essay: Plugins are Not For Users

This is a really short essay about the significance of adding a plugin system to your software, from the standpoint of developer happiness.  It's something i've been meaning to write for a while.

    Click here to read the full essay now..

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New birdy comic website from nudone and timns

just a quick announcemet for our new comic strip website. as you'll see, the characters are probably related to Cody, or are his friends, at least. who knows, maybe Cody will make an appearance.

the work is a collaboration between me and another DC member, timns.

there are plenty of strips lined up and ready to go, updates will be on mondays and thursdays. the website itself is not 100% finished but it's close enough for the moment (there's plenty of stuff that needs cleaning or tweaking underneath it all).

i hope you have time to have a look and become a regular reader. there's the usual RSS and email subscriptions services available.

here's the link: http://www.head-in-the-clouds.com


This new comic site is from Nick Pearson, a talented artist and the person who designed the mascot for DonationCoder.

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Skimp or splurge?

I figure I'm not the only one broke these days. However, where I can, I buy things gently used or buy high quality new merchandise. I try not to waste money on cheap crap. I'm not a millionaire; I'm not even a hundred-aire. but as this MSN article suggests, there are a few items you can selectively save on:

  • Mattress: SPLURGE. You sit, sleep and God knows what else on this item. Get a good one.
  • Wristwatch: SKIMP. The phone now doubles as a timepiece.
  • Kitchen knife: SPLURGE. One good kitchen knife is a time-saver and is safer.

Maybe you should think of it as "splurging." It's not irresponsible or decadent to buy a quality item that you can use for decades at a reasonable price. (Of course, just because a product is expensive doesn't mean it is high quality...) And remember, if an item is high quality, sometimes you can buy it used!

So my question is: In what things do you "invest" for the long term?

    Click here to read what others say and leave your own comment..

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Woot.com Bag of Crap post

I'm sure most, if not all of you reading this know what woot.com is.  Well, in addition to the normal "Deal of the Day" stuff they offer, they occasionally do something called a "Woot-Off."  During a Woot-Off, items appear on the site for a short time (sometimes a few hours; sometimes a few minutes) for extremely low prices.  Wooters in the know watch the Woot-Off obsessively looking for a great deal on cool gadgets.  For example, this past Woot-Off saw a refurbed Creative media player sell for about $100 that usually sells for $400+.

But the gadgets aren't the biggest prize of all.  Nay, the biggest prize is crap.  Random crap.  A Bag of Crap.  When you purchase crap, you decide how many craps you want in your order up to a maximum of 3.  Each crap costs a dollar, and it costs $5.00 flat to ship crap to you wherever you are.  So the natural choice is to get all three craps in your box.  So $8.00 +tax if you live in Texas, and you have an order of crap winging its way to you via Smart Post.  Wait, did I say winging its way?  More like limping.  Crawling even.  As in it takes 12 days for this crap to finally arrive.  That's not too healthy if you ask me.  And that's if you were lucky enough to get crap at all.  This past Woot-Off, crap was on sale for mere minutes, and 4500 craps were bought by the Wooting masses.  According to the site, crap was selling at a rate of $243,378.45 worth of crap per hour.  That's a lot of crap if you believe those numbers.

    Click here to continue reading about woot crap..

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WebDrive Mini-Review: Caching FTP-to-LocalDrive Mapping Tool

WebDrive is system utility which allows you to connect to an ftp server and map it to look like a local drive on your PC.  This let's you use any program on your PC that works with local files work with your ftp sites even if they are not internet-enabled.

    Click here to continue reading the full minireview now..

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Secret Hidden Page for Tracking Firefox Extension Updates

DonationCoder member suleika found the address of a browse function on the add-ons page which appears to be hidden from normal view.

It's a nice page of all extensions, sorted by their last update date -- very useful!

https://addons.mozilla.or...e:1/cat:all/sort:updated/

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mysterious Codex Transportica book found - i have the website to prove it.

The Codex Transportica
http://www.codextransportica.com

A mysterious book has recently come into my possession (Mr. R. Maximus is the other custodian of the book). It is our belief that the book contains something profound - we simply need time to translate the illegible scribble that accompanies the bizarre illustrations.

You are invited to join us and be part of the throng that will learn the mysterious of the Codex Transportica.

...

As further introduction, Mr. R. Maximus has deciphered the first extract from the beginning of the book.
Quote
First diary entry - undated.

The Seizures, as I have come to call them, struck quite suddenly. The first time, I was dining alone in a favourite house, and awoke face down on the linen. The wait staff seemed frightened of me; I had knocked over a water glass and broken a vase of flowers. Before me was the first drawing, sketched carefully in my own hand inside of a notebook I had purchased that morning.

The next time it happened, I was at work. The incident cost me my position, for after I was revived it was shown to me that I’d carefully inked a drawing on the back of an irreplaceable 16th century manuscript. (Trading in the bonds I possessed to pay for my vandalism did not appease my employer. Though I do now own the defaced manuscript.)

Shortly thereafter I barricaded myself at home. The Seizures come upon me a few times a week, then leave me alone for a month or more. Just when I begin to wonder if they have departed me for good, I am stricken once more. Often there are words and descriptions for the bizarre devices I have drawn, left behind as the waking memory of some nightmare. I must hurry to transcribe them before they fade entirely; and transcribe them I must, for I feel they hold a clue to my worsening condition.

It is as if a spider were niggling between my frontal lobes. An odd, foreign presence that sometimes taps at the mental skylight, and finding it unlocked, sneaks in for a visit. My greatest fear is not that the Seizures continue, driving me into complete madness, but that they stop before I learn their secrets.

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Mini-HowTo: Handling Cookie Privacy the Right Way

This is a tiny little how-to guide that will show you how to handle cookies in a way that preserves your privacy, but lets you browse the web conveniently, and requires minimal effort on your part.

Cookies are tiny files created on your computer when you visit certain websites.  Most often they are used to enable websites remember who you are.  They are also occasionally used by advertising services to track your behavior across multiple sites [Read more].

For people who are very concerned with their privacy, their are tools that act as watchdogs over all cookies (e.g. CookieCop), and you can configure browsers to block all cookies except those you approve, and get an alert any time a new website tries to add a cookie (firefox extensions).

The main problem with these utilities and addons is simply that they can require too much trouble on your part, approving and rejecting cookies every time you visit a site.  And it may seem like a waste to run one of these tools constantly.

Plus, it's increasingly the case that a site simply requires cookies be enabled in order for you to navigate around the site, so blocking cookies completely while you are on a site is just not going to be an option sometimes.

I've found that the most sensible approach is to use a cleaning utility which allows you to keep a whitelist of cookies you want preserved, and then simply delete all non-whitelisted cookies occasionally.

    Continue reading the rest of the entry and discuss..

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