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Find and Run Robot Opinions on FileForum
It [Find and Run Robot] is the most feature-complete and most advanced launcher out there! It simply rocks! I love it, and even I use only a minor amount of features and plugins it has (because it requires someone to remember the syntax of the commands-plugins) it greatly simplifies computer usage..
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The Faery Tale Adventure: A personal history of making a video game

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Nice 3 part article about the early days of personal computer game making..

The Faery Tale Adventure was a computer game that I created for the Amiga in 1987. It was moderately popular for it’s day, and was ported to a number of platforms, including MS-DOS and the Sega Genesis.  I decided to write this account because, much to my surprise, there is still interest in the game — I occasionally get fan email or inquiries as to whether there will ever be a sequel. And so I thought it might be interesting to tell the story of how the game came to be, and what happened afterwards.


Microsoft releases update to disable Intel's Spectre mitigations

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Microsoft releases update to disable Intel's Spectre mitigations

Intel recommended that customers stop deploying the current microcode version on affected processors while they perform additional testing on the updated solution


New DonationCoder, New Ideas

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So now that we've moved the entire content of the DonationCoder website to a proper CMS, and moved servers, and are finishing up the move of the dcmembers accounts, perhaps it's time to think about the idea of adding some more useful, regular content to the site.

I'd like to get back to coding and doing some overdue updates for my apps, but I was thinking it might be nice if we could revive the old idea of DC "columnists" who would each write a weekly blog/article about some are of the tech/computer scene.

Ideally I'd like us to come up with 7 areas, one for each day of the week, and find a columnist willing to commit to writing a long-post/short-article each week, posting on a specific day, on their subject.  To be featured prominently on the website.

Here are some specialty areas I was thinking about: Security, Windows software, Open source software, Mobile apps, Technology, Kickstarter, Websites, Entertainment, Humor.  Those are just some topic area ideas off the top of my head.

Requirements: Someone dependable who is willing to put in some time every week without exception, and not miss a week.  We could team up people for a given day if they want to split the load.  A real interest in the subject.  We need to find the right person for each area, and you really have to be willing to make a year-long commitment to writing something interesting every week, with some images, etc.

Rewards: Official title, fame, love, and some small guaranteed funding.  [We will have to raise the money to pay for this.. I think what we'd do, if there is some interest in this idea, is have a fundraiser this year to pay for the year's hosting costs and some extra money to pay for this compensation.]

So the question is, can we find 7 people who are interested in embarking on this year-long experiment/job?

The new DonationCoder.com website and server

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It turned out to be a huge amount of work to move over to a CMS system -- there was always one more thing to fix and do, and that seemed to go for months on end.  It's actually been something like 5 years since I said we were going to move to a new cms system.. And at least a year of seriously working on it.  The decision to move physical servers at the same time made some things easier, and some things harder, but it was an important step in getting us the cleanest, most easily maintainable setup.

It is such a relief to have moved to a setup that is easier to maintain and keep updated and secure.  I expect there will still be some hiccups as we get things sorted out -- and some redirects from old pages that we will have overlooked and need to add in the coming days.  But overall the move seems to have gone pretty well so far.

Most of the changes to the site you can't see -- they are behind the scenes in the way the back end of the site is handled.  Lots of things that were kludged together (submission forms, license key payment stuff) in the past have been rewritten and will hopefully make things simpler and less error prone.  The license key and donation system has been revamped and should be less confusing and less effort for everyone.

And I haven't said anything here about the new member server which is up and running and has some dc members working hard to polish up their pages.

I'll have a lot more to say about the new hosting company, the backend cms and the choices made -- why and where we go from here -- in the very near future.

One of the things that has really held back the current site in terms of writing new content and updating content on the website, was just how ridiculously hard it was to do (the pages were all hand-written static html pages, from 2005).  Now that we can actually update the website more easily I hope we can embark on a course of adding real content to the pages on a regular basis.  We can talk about such plans soon.

But most of all, everything we've put in place is in keeping with the basic strategy of creating something that can last indefinitely without major intervention and operating costs and overhead.  So I hope we will be able to keep on keeping on for the next decade.

Stay tuned for lots more info about the new server and cms setup in the weeks to come.  And thanks everyone for your patience!   And do please let us know about issues you find on the new site -- there are bound to be some.

-jesse (mouser)

Read more and tell us about any problems..

What really happened with Microsoft Vista

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From OS news we are linked to some very interesting essays by people involved in the development of the Microsoft Vista operating system -- what went wrong, what the issues were, etc.



Since 2007 we have held an annual event that we call NANY (New Apps for the New Year), where we ask the coders who hang out on DonationCoder to create some new piece of free software and share it with the world on January 1st of the new year.

NANY is one of the best things we do on this site, and it's one of the few times we can all play together.  There are no winners or losers, it's simply a celebration of programming and creating new software and sharing it with the world; everyone who participates gets a free commemorative coffee mug.

I have been grossly negligent in taking 10 days to get this write-up posted.  I have been so busy day and night for the last months in getting the DonationCoder website converted to a new CMS system and getting the site migrated to a new server that I kept putting off preparing it.  I had hoped we would move servers first and then I could post this as the first new thing, but I've decided it's better not to wait any longer.  So now without further delay, I present to you the results of our annual New Apps for the New Year (NANY) 2018 celebration, in no particular order..

I'm going to take the liberty, as I typically do, to start off the NANY 2018 wrap-up by introducing one of my entries:

Cnpaperplay, a set of play-on-paper game making utilities and pre-made books that reproduce the board game Codenames Duet (by Vlaada Chvátil and Scot Eaton):

This project got started because the girl I have been seeing was recently excommunicated to Japan, and we were looking for a game we could play over irc or text messages.

First some background: One of my favorite board games of the last year is the incredible Codenames Duet.  It's a unique unusual word game where 2 players (or teams) cooperate to try to identify certain words from a 25-word tableou by giving clues that correspond to certain words and not others.  It's a brilliant design that is challenging, super-fun, and fun to talk about afterwards.  In the store-bought version, you shuffle a large deck of random word cards and lay them out in a grid and use a random key card to tell you which words each person is trying to identify.

What I did was take a few liberties with the rules, add a scoring mechanism, and create a single-page format for playing the game using randomly-generated game pages.  Essentially the utility creates pdf "books" containing random games (one per page) that you can play with a friend.  It actually creates 2 books, one for each player.  The books are synchronized, so for example to play game #10, each player turns to page 10 in their game book.  The games can be played in the same room, in a car, or over the phone or even by email.  All you need is a pen and the printed books.

The utility can generate infinite numbers of games and I've included a premade 100-game book that people can play -- no need to run the utilities yourself.

For those that are interested, the software is written in python, it's open sourced on github, and it's made to be easily translated (we already have japanese and german translations but more are welcomed).
I have also included tools to create play-on-paper versions of the original team-based codenames.

I really hope people will give this game a try - it's truly one of my favorite things in years, and I think couples in particular will love it.  And if you like it please consider buying the official board game -- my version is just a clone of it.

If you enjoy it let me know!

My next NANY entry is called Image Card Printer.  It's a windows desktop application for printing out large numbers of images on card stock paper (playing card stock, business card stock, postcards, etc.).

I have used this tool to print out custom cards for prototyping card games or makign extra custom cards for games.  It is useful for those who need to have lots of images printed out in a very precise layout and size, and you can customize the layout to fit any card stock.

And then rounding out my NANY entries for the year is a set of open source joomla and wordpress extensions that I wrote as part of the work I did migrating the DonationCoder website to a new CMS (content management system).  That new CMS system will be unveiled in the coming days, but I decided to open source some of the more generally-used custom plugins that I have written along the way.

Joomla plugins: http://www.donationc...ex.php?topic=44310.0

These include:
  • Joomla Bulk meta info viewer/changer - Used to quickly see and modify your article meta info (most similar to the osmeta extension but less invasive). I think this one is probably the most useful and of general interest to joomla users.  It's quite similar to the very popular OsMeta plugin, which is slightly more featureful and a lot more bloated and invasive.
  • Joomla Log viewer - Simple extension to allow admin to view/tail system log files.
  • Joomla Alternate control panel -- Simple alternate place to put admin modules instead of main control panel.
  • Joomla Article links plugin -- Makes it easy to see and edit the menus that link to an article being edited.
  • Joomla Menu list plugin -- Easy way to make pages that show a nice list (with image thumbnails) of child pages.
  • Joomla Comment plugin -- Super simple plugin that just lets you "comment-out" sections of an article to make them invisible.

Wordpress plugins: http://www.donationc...ex.php?topic=44847.0

  • Wordpress Multisite Elfinder Uploads - Let multisite admins have direct access to their uploads folder using elfinder. This will let your site admins to manage the files in their uploads directory, adding, renaming, etc.
  • Wordpress Multisite Addon Plugin for WP Security Audit Log - Multisite compatible addon for the awesome WP Security Audit Log plugin.  This addon registers some generic log events that you can trigger from within you code to help you test and log generic events of any kind.  Especially useful for adding logging features to other plugins, etc.  Also makes it easier to create your own sensors for multisite configurations.

All of the plugins are free and open source and are available on github.  You can find more info on the joomla extensions here and the wordpress extensions here.

Next in our roundup are some entries by DC member skwire, the only person who has participated in as many annual NANY events (12) as I have.

WHAT (Windows Hotkey Activator Tool) is a windows hotkey application designed to let you quickly bring windows on your screen to the center of focus with a hotkey.  You can create entries to find windows by title, application name, or window class.


SubAHK is a substantial but not-yet-feature-complete front end client for the Subsonic media streaming server, focuses on providing good playlist functions.

Shifting temporarily from Windows to Linux, DC member sjc1000 released ytsearch, a feature packed open source commandline youtube searcher/streamer/downloader for linux.

Next up we have entries from DC member Tuxman, who is a fan of text-mode terminals and old-school tools:

ymarks: Self-hosted, open source, cross-platform, cross-browser bookmarks synchronizing server and browser extension.
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twtxtc: A command line client for the twtxt micro-blogging network (open source; windows 10, freebsd, most platforms with c compiler)
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Gowser: A simple gopher browser for windows (open source)

UnClouder: A social commentary joke firefox plugin that changes all references on web pages to "the cloud" to make them say "other people's computers"

And next we have an entry from Jibz, who is the 3rd person who ever signed up to DC forum, way back in 2005.

Jibz' release, Solarized Minimal Visual Studio Code is for users of the Visual Studio Code editor who are fans of the Solarized color theme found in many text editors. Solarized is a popular color theme available in many text editors. The palette contains only 16 colors, which are used both in a dark (pleasant at night) and light (easy to read in bright daylight) version. The magic is that the accent colors are chosen so they appear the same in both versions.  It's open source and available on github.

DC member Wraith808 released PlainTasks a minimalist "task manager" productivity tool.  You simply type in the name of up to 3 tasks, and it shows one at a time on screen until it is completed.
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DC Member Ath shared a substantial commandline tool that was written to assist Red Cross volunteer organizers in planning sleeping arrangements for volunteers.  BedPlanner is a java application that can combine a list of people, some with specific requests, and a list of locations/rooms/beds, and come up with optimal bed assignments.
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DC Member BGM, our resident catholic brother, released BaseImage, an interesting proof-of-concept utility that can take an image and create inline-base64 encoding that can be embedded on a webpage (avoiding the need for an external image file).

DC member anandcoral submitted some major updates to previous year's NANY entries:

Stick A Note version 3 - A very cool app that let's you stick a text note to a window of program or document. The note shows only on that window and moves with it.

Overlap Wallpaper version 3  - Displays a photo on the desktop wallpaper, now with support for transparency.
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DC Member Kyrathaba, our resident proofreader and author, released a first beta of his proofreader's helper tool, Proofy, which helps proofreading track jobs and income.

DC member mat2016 decided to enter his first NANY event in style, submitting not one but five entries:
Shortcuts Creator - A launcher that lets you create a list of your favorite applications, documents, etc. and easily launch them.
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Multi-Launcher - Another launcher that let's you organize your favorite applications, documents, etc., and easily launch them.
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Ready Bible Study - A pretty substantial and general purpose Bible Study program.
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Constant Info - A program to display a ticker-type scroll of prioritized items on screen that can be used within workgroups.
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Simple Reminders - A customizable program to set repetitive reminders of daily tasks. Tasks can repeat at set intervals or be displayed at set times of the day.
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Two-time NANY participant camerb released TagMage, a proof of concept tool to quickly tag images with as few keystrokes as possible.

DC member antekgla released DualCopy, a helper app for Teracopy and Fastcopy, which are windows tools for doing lots of file/folder moving and copying.  It provides a way of managing Favorites, Recent Used Folders, etc.

Another first time NANY entrant, nasciiboy released a proof-of-concept lightweight open source markup language tool called morg.

Deozaan released Ethereum Denomination Converter, a utility for quickly converting between denominations of the cryptocurrency Ethereum.
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New forum member shinkarom submitted BaseQuiz, a program that challenges you to convert numbers between mathematical bases.

DC member and resident icon-designer hamradio submitted two applications.

Speed Dial Image Warlock - A tool for creating speed dials for the vivaldi web browser.

Health Reader - A tool for viewing exported Apples IOS health xml data.

DC member chesterw released a package of 6 command line database utilities for dumping oracle, ms sql, and sqlite databases to csv format.

DC member c.gingerich submitted four apps to NANY:

Mini Clip Mon, a simple single-window clipboard manager.

FolderZip, which creates batch files and adds the new context menu items “Convert to ZIP” and “Convert to Folder”.

Chrome Wire, a console application that takes a random Chromecast wallpaper and sets it as your windows background.

Lock Screen Reflection, which takes your current lock screen image on Windows 10 (when set as Windows Spotlight) and sets it as your desktop wallpaper.

Lastly let me mention that we asked for folks to create an alternate mug design and the one that I think is the most awesome is this design by Hamradio:

So coders who entered NANY will be able to choose from the "traditional" NANY mug or Hamradio's alternate design.

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