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Monday April 20, 2015
Last call for the DonationCoder.com 10th anniversary fundraiser
If you've donated to our site recently -- thank you! You can stop reading right now.
But if it's been a while since you last visited, I'd ask you to stop by the website to see what you helped create: A friendly community of software connoisseurs and a huge collection of applications free of ads, toolbars, or any such junk, still going strong after 10 years.
Your donation helped make that possible. Now we need your help again to improve the site -- will you consider making another donation?
There are only a few days left until the end of the fundraiser (the first one in 3 years), and it looks like we're going to meet or exceed our goal of raising $10,000. With your help we can make a statement and do so decisively, with a record number of donors.
On behalf of everyone at DonationCoder, thank you!
To donate now, click: here.
Friday April 17, 2015
Ludum Dare 32: April 17th-20th, 2015
DC member Deozaan writes:
Ludum Dare is a game programming contest that runs regularly, with a short window of time between announcement of a theme and due date.
The theme for LD32 is:
See you all in ~72 hours. I'm going to give it a shot.
Sunday April 05, 2015
Lists of Rogue Security Software?
Came across this this of "rogue" security software, software that deceives or misleads users into paying money for fake or simulated removal of malware (so is a form of ransomware) — or it claims to get rid of, but instead introduces malware to the computer.
Not sure how up-to-date it is.
Found some other lists that seemed clearly out-of-date by a year or more.
Apart from asking around, I guess if one is considering something for installation and it's small enough jotti, virustotal, and the like are likely to give useful feedback about the candidate in question.
Saturday April 04, 2015
You can now run Android apps on a Mac or PC with Google Chrome
Those of you who have read my posts on Google know that I view the company quite suspiciously.. They are masters of publicity and self-promotion and always find ways to get their hands into everything.. Often in roundabout ways like a spider that weaves a trap you don't realize you are in until it's too late. Which is not to say that the stuff they create isn't often quite excellent and useful.
So here's a predictable, and yet still intriguing, new way of extending google tentacles, the ability to run Android apps on windows using the Chrome Web Browser.
Google’s convergence of Chrome and Android is taking a big step forward this week. After launching a limited App Runtime for Chrome (ARC) back in September, Google is expanding its beta project to allow Android apps to run on Windows, OS X, and Linux. It’s an early experiment designed primarily for developers, but anyone can now download an APK of an existing Android app and launch it on a Windows / Linux PC, Mac, or Chromebook.
Thursday April 02, 2015
Ludum Dare 32: April 17th-20th, 2015
Ludum Dare 32 is fast approaching. Only 14 days until it begins.
This thread can be used for any and all discussion of LD32 and the games that result from it. I've entered the past three LD Jams, but felt severely burned out after the last one, so I don't know if I'm going to enter this time or not. We'll see what happens.
But in the meantime, the Theme Slaughter is going on right now! Go vote on themes you like. Slaughter themes you hate.
See previous DC posts about Ludum Dare:
Ludum Dare 31 - (I made Worm Wars during LD31)
Ludum Dare 30 - (I made Planetary Devourers during LD30)
Ludum Dare 29 - (I made It Came From... Beneath!! during LD29)
Ludum Dare  topic for other games - A thread about LD29 games.
Ludum Dare 23 - (I made Be Tiny, World! during LD23, and continued to work on it and improve it for years afterward!)
Ludum Dare - Game Programming Challenges
Tuesday March 31, 2015
Memoir of a Part-time Knight - comic about girls and gaming
Sweet one-off biographical comic about a 12yr old girl who finds her escape in video games.
It's part of a collection of such comics in an anthology that was successfully kickstarted.
Wednesday March 25, 2015
Astonishing comics that 'save your game' when you turn the page
This is a nice article about Jason Shiga, who was inspired by the choose-your-own-adventure books, where every page has some choices you can make that instruct you to turn to different pages which alter the storyline. Jason has been stretching the idea to introduce some more complex ways of interacting with comic stories.. One even has a kind of "inventory" system.
Every page is sliced in half, separating the comic into two parts. The top half is where the story unfolds, while the bottom half displays the contents of your suitcase. The two sides are connected by an intricate system of page-turning: When you see a number inside a square, you flip to a page in the top half of the comic, advancing the story; when you see a number inside a circle, you flip to a page on the bottom, adding and removing items from your suitcase.
Very cool stuff -- seems like these comics would make great mind-expanding gifts for young kids.
Monday March 23, 2015
The 2015 10th Anniversary DonationCoder.com Fundraiser has begun
In march of 2005 -- 10 years ago this month -- I set up the DonationCoder.com website and forum -- without much expectation that it would survive the year. Mainly I was interested in being able to share the software I had written, and in seeing if anyone would donate to support it. In the year before I had released a program and asked casually for donations and postcards -- and though the response was minimal -- the pleasure of meeting and having contact with a stranger who enjoyed the software was undeniable. That was really the simple idea behind this site -- nothing very ambitious, just a way to connect programmer and user.
Fast forward 10 years.. The large numbers of downloads of our software, and the high traffic of our forum mean that our hosting costs are substantial -- currently $367/month just for server costs -- paid for entirely by small, optional donations from regular users like you.
The last time we had a fundraiser was in 3 years ago, in 2011 -- when we raised $14,239 from about 600 individuals. For our 10th anniversary, I've set the goal at $10,000 -- a fairly modest amount I hope -- enough to pay for the next two and a half years of web hosting.
I set the fundraiser goal to less than what we raised in 2011 in recognition of the changing software landscape.. In the 10 years since we started. Mobile and web apps are becoming ubiquitous, and the notion of free software has become almost dominant -- with consequences good and bad (constant advertisements and crapware). But if you like what we do -- our software, our forum, our special projects -- it's really more important than ever that we have your financial support. It's humbling to have to ask, but that's part of what this site is about -- being willing to ask for your financial support.
Having said that -- one thing I made clear when I wrote my article on the first year of DonationCoder.com, is that this website, the software and the forum, will not be going anywhere -- regardless of the money raised. We're in it for the long haul and our software will always be maintained and free for home users without adware or unwanted junk. But your donations help keep this site vibrant and active, make it more rewarding to improve, and I think help us to be an example to others.
In the coming weeks I will be writing more of my thoughts on the website -- both where I think we could have done better over the last 10 years, and some possible future ideas we might pursue together -- and I'll be asking for your feedback.
And lastly -- for today at least -- thank you all for 10 amazing years so far! Here's to many more!
March 23, 2015
Click here to discuss the fundraiser.
Please visit our Donation Page to make a donation now.
Note: Anyone who donates during the fundraiser will receive a permanent license key for all of our current and future software.
Sunday March 22, 2015
A collection of programming and algorithm tutorials, with embedded interactive visualizations that you can play with to better get a feel for what's being explained. Some very cool stuff.
Friday March 20, 2015
The conflict of interest that is Google
'We've always suspected that Google might tweak its search algorithms to gain an advantage over its rivals — and, according to an FTC investigation inadvertently shared with the Wall Street Journal, it did. Quoting: "In a lengthy investigation, staffers in the FTC's bureau of competition found evidence that Google boosted its own services for shopping, travel and local businesses by altering its ranking criteria and "scraping" content from other sites. It also deliberately demoted rivals. For example, the FTC staff noted that Google presented results from its flight-search tool ahead of other travel sites, even though Google offered fewer flight options. Google's shopping results were ranked above rival comparison-shopping engines, even though users didn't click on them at the same rate, the staff found. Many of the ways Google boosted its own results have not been previously disclosed.'
"WASHINGTON—Officials at the Federal Trade Commission concluded in 2012 that Google Inc. used anticompetitive tactics and abused its monopoly power in ways that harmed Internet users and rivals, a far harsher analysis of Google’s business than was previously known."
Sunday March 15, 2015
DC member Twinbee writes about a new app he just released:
Most of you reading a forum dedicated to software (such as this one) will probably have heard about F.lux, and how it 'warms' the screen so you can sleep better at night, or at least have a screen which doesn't glare as much.
Cue SunsetScreen which is like F.lux but improved. In fact SunsetScreen is the only app of its type to allow you to precisely change the hue, saturation and brightness to allow you to match the screen's colour to the indoor lighting. This makes the screen look more appropriate whilst still encouraging the production of melatonin for a good night's sleep.
But perhaps a bigger advantage of SunsetScreen over any other program is the ability to set the sunset and sunrise times to match your sleep pattern, and not the whim of the seasons. For example, in winter, we only get a short day, and programs like F.lux would have the day colour too late, and the night colour too early. SunsetScreen fixes this so that you get a consistent colour changing cycle, whatever time of year it is.
So if you want to maximize seratonin production during the day, and melatonin at night, download SunsetScreen from here:
(btw, I'm the same guy who created SonicPhoto and OpalCalc. Like those two, I'm the developer of SunsetScreen).
Sunday March 08, 2015
Vivaldi, the new Web browser for power users
Interesting development in the desktop browser world, a new web browser from some Opera folks. I'm not exactly sold on this, and I was never a huge fan of Opera, but I do agree that I don't like this trend towards making the browser feel and look more and more invisible -- removing menubars, addressbars, statusbars, etc..
Desktop browsers have largely followed this overall trend of slipping into the background. Every new release sees them simplifying their interfaces and removing features that their data collection tools indicate are only used by a small handful. RSS icons disappear, toolbars get hidden away, the URL bar will likely disappear soon for many...
There is, however, still that five percent that actually did use the RSS icon, liked their status bar, and will most likely abandon any browser that hides away the address bar. The power users may be the minority, but they still exist. Exactly what constitutes a power user is up for debate, but looking at the recent history of Web browser "advances" one thing seems clear, the power user is not the target audience. The person who wants to be in control of their experience and customize it to their liking has been left behind by most browsers.
The power user's current solution to the simplification, arguably the infantilization, of the Web browser interface is to get all those missing features back with add-ons. This works to a degree, but it introduces a ton of extra code, some of it written by programmers far less capable than those contributing to the code of Firefox or Chromium. This inevitably means add-ons slow things down. The problem is bad enough that a future version of Firefox will even have a feature dedicated to letting you know which of your add-ons is slowing you down.
uTorrent has gone rogue
I was surprised when I installed a recent OS X update and it hi-jacked two browsers without user consent. Some looking around showed that there were others complaining about malware too. I rolled back to an older version, warned whoever I could and vowed never to trust the company again.
And today, there's this little gem on TorrentFreak:
Many users of the popular BitTorrent client uTorrent are complaining about it silently installing a cryptocurrency miner with a recent update. The Epic Scale tool, which slows down host computers, is reportedly being installed without consent and for some is particularly hard to remove.
uTorrent had two things going for it: a no-nonsense, lightweight app and street cred among people like me who have used and loved the app for years. Looks like they traded both in for some $$$.
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