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1
DC Gamer Club / Rabbids Coding - Learning Through Play
« on: October 09, 2019, 07:11 PM »
Rabbids Coding is a game created to be a fun and engaging educational experience, giving people the tools to get excited about learning to code. Players are tasked with cleaning up a spaceship that has been overrun by the Rabbids, which can be achieved by either providing simple instructions to a Rabbid wearing a mind-control device, or by dropping sausages in their line of sight. The game doesn't require any previous knowledge of coding at all; instructions are simple and can be dragged from a menu, placed in order, and tested with the play button. Didn't get the results you were expecting? Don't worry, just see where it went wrong, move some things around, and try again!

Rabbids Coding has been created to allow you to play with the concepts of coding, without constant supervision or instruction from a teacher. It gives you the independence to learn at your own pace, whatever your age. Your goal in each level is to provide the simplest instructions possible to get the task done. Once you've proven yourself in the basics, a sandbox environment becomes available, allowing you to explore and play with the instructions to see what you can do.


Suitable for ages 7 and up. Currently being given away here: https://register.ubi...rabbids-coding/en-US


3
Even if you can show that FF is the better browser in this regard.

But isn't the current FF Chromium based?

In any case, I did manage to fix the issue, without running my own DNS server internally or configuring anything in my router (which isn't as power user friendly as most, and can only be configured by logging into ISP's website)

I attacked the problem as a cookie issue, rather than a DNS issue, and was able to fix it with an additional line in my wp-config file.  Found solutions to other similar problems and put it all in a blog post.

4
So, I have decided to take a shot at using a multi-site installation of Wordpress, as an alternative to Surfulater. It's set up locally, only accessible on my LAN, and I have decided to call it Packrat Palace. :)

Bitnami makes it really easy to set up on Windows, with an installer that contains everything you need, preconfigured. So, you won't need to go through all the steps of installing and configuring Apache, and MySQL or MariaDB, and PHP, and Wordpress (with all the steps involved with that), and configuring Wordpress to be multisite. It's a single .exe that does it all for you, and when it's finished, you just log into your multi-site and go.

Because mine is not publicly accessible, on the internet, there's a lot of the typical plugins I won't need, such as SEO, anti-spam, contact forms, social widgets, ads, analytics, etc. That will free up resources and page space to concentrate on useful features.

And there's lots of great plugins to do plenty of useful, interesting things, so I'll have a lot of freedom with it, to add or remove features, as I go along, perhaps even with various plugins I might not have considered on a publicly accessible site (such as PHP Everywhere). Different layout & design themes and plug-in combinations for each "notebook" is also possible. And I have both tags and nested categories available to use, right out of the box.

Everything used is free and open source, but there's also the possibility of using premium plugins, if they prove to be useful.

So, here's an early stage of what I have going on. There's not much actual content added, yet, but it does illustrate the basic framework of the whole concept.

Front page of main "notebook" will display 5 most recent items from each main category, with a search bar above the whole thing.

Screenshot - 9_26_2019 , 6_27_39 AM.png

Table of Contents tab, which also features a search bar.

Screenshot - 9_26_2019 , 6_28_44 AM.png

Articles, with search bar on the right. It's also possible for longer articles to have their own table of contents, embedded at the top, to jump to various sections. I do plan on setting up conditional sidebar widgets that will display a table of contents focused only on the category currently being viewed.

Screenshot - 9_26_2019 , 6_29_49 AM.png

Oh, by the way, one thing I did have a problem with is logging into the multi-site on my LAN. Google decided (for security reasons) that nobody should ever want to log into a website whose URL is an IP address (unless it's 127.0.0.1) or a single word without a TLD (unless it's localhost), so Chrome, and any other Chromium/Webkit based based browser, can't log into anything where the URL is something like http://snax/ without displaying an error complaining that you don't have cookies enabled in your browser. (and there's no setting that I could find that can change this behavior)

Finding a browser that isn't Chromium/Webkit based is getting much more difficult, as time goes on. :(  (this is another example of why monopolies are bad and diversity is good)

There's the obvious choice of using IE, but that's not really much of an option any more, and I wouldn't consider it for any modern HTML5 site, not even locally, because stuff just breaks or looks messed up, because IE just too old and janky to play well with newer things.

Then there's Pale Moon, which had no trouble logging in, but it had compatibility issues with the Wordpress post editor, stuck in plain text mode, with no tabs to switch to view mode. That would work fine, if you can think in HTML, or only want to capture plain text, but being able to see your formatting as you compose your posts has obvious merits.

That left me with K-Meleon, which for now (v75.1), is working pretty good, with both the site URL and working with Wordpress. This could change, once the Goanna engine (same as Pale Moon) becomes the default in the official stable release., though, so if you plan on doing something similar, grab a pre-Goanna portable version to squirrel away, just in case.

5
Living Room / The Mysterious Origins of an Uncrackable Atari Game
« on: September 23, 2019, 07:29 PM »
Released in 1982, Entombed was far from a best-seller and today it’s largely forgotten. But recently, a computer scientist and a digital archaeologist decided to pull apart the game’s source code to investigate how it was made. An early maze-navigating game, Entombed intrigued the researchers for how early programmers solved the problem of drawing a solvable maze that is drawn procedurally.

But they got more than they bargained for: they found a mystery bit of code they couldn’t explain. The fundamental logic that determines how the maze is drawn is locked in a table of possible values written in the games code. However, it seems the logic behind the table has been lost forever.


6
Re Clibu: "Clibu is completely free at this time. At some point we’ll charge - if you can afford a cup of coffee a month you’ll be able to afford to use Clibu."
Well, I can't.

That sounds fine, but how about all the other softwares with subscriptions also costing a coffee (or more) each? Since I retired from the work force, with its attendant severe drop in disposable income, I can't afford several coffees/month. I'm stretched with the photoshop cc subscription, and won't drop those coffees for a Clibu coffee, attractive as Clibu sounds.

Wish I could afford the Kindle Unlimited and various music subscriptions too, all who present variations on the "only a cup of coffee" theme.


Also, most variations on the "only a cup of coffee" theme, seem to indicate that nobody brews coffee at home any more. They all seem to go to Starbucks and buy the biggest, highest priced fancy coffee on the menu.

7
Yep its me. I did try to update the activation but was unable to because eSellerate no longer had the users registration details. When that failed I created a new free license coupon which I sent. Unfortunately this didn't work because eSellerate seem to have been merged into another company (Sharit?) and their order system no longer works. Unfortunately this is out of my hands and there is nothing more I can do. In hindsight using a 3rd party to handle licensing was not the best of ideas.

So to say that I was not very helpful is pretty disappointing.

I never said that you never tried to help. I said that you were not very helpful, and seeing as I still can't activate my license and my databases are still in read-only mode, I'd say that was accurate.

Surfulater does not have any Export capability, so it isn't possible to Import it into our new app Clibu.

Speaking of export capabilities, the option to export Surfulater databases to HTML is disabled, unless you can activate a license.

I had considered exporting and then manually copying to AllMyNotes, to try to get around that crashing issue it has, but the option is currently grayed out in Surfulater. :(

I am quietly working on the next major version (rewrite) of Clibu. This stores all data locally, and will have offline support with synchronization to other devices should you wish to use that. It will also have local backups. For more information see the Clibu Blog which has links to early sample apps. The next sample release will have basic Note editing.

Will it copy any of my data "to the cloud"? Will it require a user name and password for offline access? Will I be able to create separate databases, like I could with Surfulater, and link shortcuts to them on my desktop...or does one have access to everything, when they open the app? Can I use links to files & folders on my computer, in entries?

I was in the process of compiling an info database for my daughter, in Surfulater, containing everything she would need to know, in the event of my death (I am about half done).

There's a lot of sensitive info in there that I do not want sitting in the cloud, at the mercy of hackers. I don't want her to have to figure out what my user name and password for it is, or what website she has to go to, to login. I also don't want the chance that you or another 3rd party might have access to it, or if you decide to sell off your project to another developer who can then access my data, or that my data will vanish if your servers have a mishap. Or that you might decide to change your terms and notify me some day that I have to start paying you a reoccurring subscription fee or you'll delete my data.

PS. Full disk image backups are a good idea and help greatly when disaster strikes.

My databases were backed up in triplicate. My setup files and license key for both V2 and V3 were backed up in triplicate, plus in my e-mail account. I even have the old Firefox add-ons that no longer work, backed up in triplicate.

My only loss in this disaster is Surfulater. It is the only app that I can not get working again.

I would have suffered the same issue if I had tried to voluntarily migrate to an SSD, with a clean slate. Or are you suggesting that nobody should ever do that?

To answer the original question: Clibu.

I know you wish that were the case, but because of cloud involvement, it's disqualified.

Surfulater was a wonderful application, for which there seems to be no real replacement. This was the case when I started using it, back in 2006, and it still holds true, today.

And it is heartbreaking that you have abandoned it.


8
I have come to a point where replacing my old Surfulater has become a dire necessity. :(

Recovering from a hard drive crash, where I have had to replace the drive and reinstall all my software, I can no longer activate my Surfulater license and the developer hasn't been very helpful. Currently, all my Surfulater knowledgebases are in Read Only mode. :(

I tried AllMyNotes, but I can't even copy and paste text from Surfulater without AMN crashing. Not to mention that AMN doesn't support tags, and never will, because the developer thinks that nobody should ever want both a folder hierarchy AND tags, and the only people that really want tags are former Evernote users, because that's all Evernote ever offered. (ahem! Surfulate supported both tags AND folder hierarchy, and I used both!)

As a cludgy work around, the AMN developer suggests adding plain text "tags" by just sticking keywords in [brackets] at the end of your notes, to give you something to search for later. But of course that won't give you the option to switch between using folder view vs tag view.

I supposed you can also use that plain text cludge with reference links and comments, but there are some other features I am in want of that are missing from AMN, such as being able to stick an item in a folder and paste a link to it in other folders, so you only have one single note to edit if you want to make changes, without having to hunt down and edit all copies in every folder. Also need the ability to use "see also" links, to link to other notes in the same database.

Most importantly, I need whatever I use to replace Surfulater to store everything locally, on my computer, with the ability to create separate databases for different subjects, with no "save to the cloud" crap. Some of my databases contain sensitive info that I don't ever want stored "in the cloud" and don't want my daughter to have to try to figure out my login, if anything should ever happen to me. I also don't want anything that requires a paid subscription, for the same reason. Then there's the "Ma.gnolia" reason for my not trusting "the cloud", as well as the "Google Reader" reason.

Evernote isn't an option because it stores everything "in the cloud". The only use I have for Evernote is syncing my shopping list from my desktop to my phone.

I just need a feature rich replacement for the no longer supported Surfulater, that's stable, actively developed, doesn't crash when I paste in text, uses separate databases, supports the features I mentioned above, no subscriptions, and keeps my data out of the cloud. (the closer it is to being a clone of Surfulater, the better)

Does anyone know of anything that has what I need? (I really just want my Surfulater back. )

9
I'll bet that Skwire could add this as a feature in Trout. ;)

11
Just found out that I would have to travel back in time to take advantage of any of the special licenses mentioned in the first post, because the links provided don't work as expected on the new site. :(

12
Living Room / Re: Programming/Coder humor
« on: August 27, 2019, 09:28 AM »
EC6vHEPWwAI1QLt.jpg

13
Well they have LINE, it just hasn't been updated in a couple of years and won't work with 64-bit yet.  I wish that it would be updated...  http://www.colinux.org/

Way back in the day, I ran Portable Ubuntu Remix on XP, as my first Linux experience. That had some weird clipboard issues that drove me nuts. I had mouser's Clipboard Help & Spell installed, too, and the beep when something was copied to the clipboard kept going off for seemingly no reason, about ever 20 seconds, whenever PUR was running, and I could never copy anything to the clipboard long enough to get it pasted to anywhere else, not from Windows or Ubuntu apps. That clipboard insanity was what drove me to using Wubi.

14
Anesidora - Listen to Pandora, ad free, without having to have it open in a tab. (also features ability to download songs)

better-onetab - Temporarily store lists of links from your tabs. Good for research projects, during the link gathering and sorting stages.


15
I wrote an application launcher that can also open lists of URLs. All you have to do is add one URL per line in your list file, then make a desktop shortcut with the command line parameters to point to the location of the list file.

You can do this for as many lists as you want and place all the shortcuts in a folder, if you prefer not to have them on your desktop. Then you can just launch an entire list of pages in your default browser by clicking a shortcut. And you can set a custom icon for each of your shortcuts, just like you can for any other Windows shortcuts.

Since Lacuna Launcher is an external application that isn't tied to a specific browser (not a browser add-on) and just works with your default browser, no matter what that happens to be, it will continue to work, regardless of what the browser developers decide to do to their add-ons environment.

It is highly unlikely that any browser developer will ever remove the ability to open URLs from external applications and highly unlikely that Microsoft will ever remove the ability to open urls in the default browser from Windows. So, if this works well for you, you'll have a permanent solution, even if you switch browsers at some point in the future.

http://appsapps.info...oad/lacuna-launcher/


16
This one seems for Linux only. Any similar for Windows available ?

I am still waiting for someone to come up with "LINE" and "MINE"...kind of like WINE, but for running Linux and Mac apps on Windows.

17
Elyse - tag based file manager. Free version has a limit of 30 tags. Full version is only $10. This is great for image collections. Kind of like a poor man's Extensis Portfolio 8.

Xenu Link Sleuth - For finding dead links on websites. (this has been around for a long time, and still works great)

Black Timer - Desktop timer for freelancers that integrates with Freshbooks. Used to be shareware but is now free.

eM Client -Desktop e-mail & calendar software (Outlook/Thunderbird replacement). Freeware for 1 or 2 e-mail addresses. (more than that requires paid version) It has the only free calendar software I could find that marks multi-day events correctly, with the colored line connecting them all the way across, properly aligned. You can use it for free, for just for a local calendar, without syncing with an e-mail address. Just skip all the e-mail setup stuff.


18
Living Room / Re: Gadget WEEKENDS
« on: August 25, 2019, 07:52 AM »
I picked up this awesome $21 bike "computer" gadget for my bike last week; nicely shows speed, and lots of information in a nice way:

[ Invalid Attachment ]

https://www.amazon.c.../product/B07T7G3ZLQ/



ps I haven't ridden a bike in 20 years but last week we did two 20 mile trips, and then on a whim signed up for a 50 mile event yesterday.. We had fun!


I have this on my phone, instead: https://play.google....hops.android.digihud

Screenshot - 8_25_2019 , 8_51_06 AM.png

It was the only app I could find that was suitable for walking speed (not just for cars or bikes).

19
In my opinion, Download.com is the mother of all software download websites. It’s the oldest of its type and was established about 14 years ago. The site is owned by CNet, one of the biggest names in Technology. There's an app on Apknite has a similar name but I don't know if it belongs to them or not. 

One thing that places a black eye on Download.com in my regard is the practice of wrapping installers in their own installer.  That just leaves a bitter flavor in my mouth.  I'm not sure if they are still doing it as I stopped visiting at the point where they started the practice.

And that's one reason why they are not going on my list.

The other is the quality of their downloads. They will list pretty much anything, with little regards for whether or not the software they list is safe. Maybe they scan it with an antivirus, maybe they don't. Regardless, you'll find plenty of junk with forced toolbars, home page hijackers, search hijackers, webpage ad hijackers, and old fashioned spyware. They never even bothered to clean up their listings to remove old, notorious classic spyware apps, like Gator.

And that's the kind of junk I am trying very hard to avoid adding to my list.

20
On a side note, is there an intent to record something like "when an assessment for a particular site was made" per site?

The Wordpress plugin I am using (WP Links Page Pro) lets me see when it was added, and I can edit the entry to change that, but there's no way to automatically include that info in the displayed list.

I suppose I could add that in the title field, though.

Thanks for the suggestion!


UPDATE:  This has now been added for each existing entry and will be included for all future additions on this list. (not sure if I will do this for all lists on my site, though)

21
Since you guys mentioned so many popular freesoft website.
I just want to add this one:
kubadownload

Nope! They use an obnoxious ad block blocker.

Freeware Home (which I did not know) seems to have stopped putting out additional material in early 2018.
-Steven Avery (July 25, 2019, 08:01 AM)

They are looking for someone suitable that is willing to take over running the site.

Even though it hasn't been updated with new content in quite awhile, I added it to the list because they usually link to the developers' sites, where one can get the latest version of any app they list, so it's actually not as outdated as it might seem.

Major Geeks is very heavy with advertising, and many people can be duped into clicking buttons for possibly disreputable software. So I usually go elsewhere.

I tend to forget that I am running an ad blocker, till some obnoxious page reminds me (see above), so I didn't notice anything wrong with Major Geeks. I'll have to make sure I view all the sites on the list with ad blocker turned off, and recommend an ad blocker in the site's description, if I think one is needed.

These are the ones commonly mentioned that may be good afaik.
And you may be passing them by for specific reasons.

FilePuma
FileHorse
DownloadCrew
Ninite
Sourceforge
FOSShub

FOSShub and Ninite are already listed.  8)

Sourceforge won't be on my list because I don't feel comfortable with adding them due to multiple reasons.

1. By its very nature, SF is full of stuff not ready for general use, stuff that doesn't work, stuff that isn't even compiled. Browsing for stuff to try can be a frustrating endeavor, if it's not in the "most popular" list.
2. SF has had some quality control issues over the last few years with closed source crapware making its way onto their site, because they allow anyone to make an account and upload whatever they want. A lot of sleazy people have been taking advantage of that, uploading crapware, adding fake reviews and comments, so when they spam forums with the links, their posts will be less likely to get deleted, because a lot of forum moderators and admins are duped by the sourceforge domain name, never actually checking into what they are actually linking to.
3. Despite the fact that SF changed their position on forcing their own bundled crapware installers on people, after the huge backlash from the public and developers pulling their software from their site, and how SF also started hijacking popular open source projects from other sites, creating unofficial repositories for them, just so they could bundle them with crapware, the fact SF ever thought any of that was ok and that they could get away with it, made me lose all trust in them. I don't know what sleazy thing they might come up with tomorrow.


Some Reviews - including some junk sites, not much really added.

I'll have to take a look at these later.

Do sites in languages other than english qualify?
-ConstanceJill (July 25, 2019, 02:14 AM)

It's easy to make a note about a site's language in its description, but as someone that only speaks English, it can be a little harder to evaluate the trustworthiness and reputation of non-English sites, even if I can use a translator to read it. Unless other DoCo members can vouch for its reputation, I am a bit hesitant to add non-English sites that I am not familiar with.

Alright then, if French language isn't an issue, there's http://gratilog.net
-ConstanceJill (July 25, 2019, 05:02 AM)


But this one is a hand curated list, the owner seems to have good intentions regarding quality and safety, and I haven't spotted anything questionable in a quick look at the listings, so I will make an exception for this one.  :)

22
By the way, I tried your contact page on your site (to give an idea for free stuff) and the captcha didn't work for me (Waterfox on Windows 7).  Actually, there was no captcha besides the "I'm not a robot" button, and clicking submit displays a red bar saying "invalid captcha".  Adblocker was off.


Hmm...I'll look into it. In the mean time, you can send me a private message here, if you'd like.

23
I am compiling a list of the best reliable, freeware download sites, and would like your help.

The list will be published here, on one of my websites.

To qualify for this list, a download site

  • Must specialize in freeware or have a large freeware section that can be directly linked to.
  • Must not bundle freeware with their own crapware installers.
  • Must investigate and remove malware from their listings, when it is reported to them. (if you see known malware on their website, they don't qualify)
  • Must describe programs accurately, including if a program is an adware or demo version.
  • Must not offer shareware in a way that misleads visitors into thinking it is freeware, or that it is a different freeware version exclusive to their site, when it's the same shareware version offered everywhere else.
  • Must warn if an application comes bundled by the developer, with potentially unwanted programs, for which you can opt out during installation.
  • Must not offer only a handful of apps from a single developer. (I am focusing on sites that can act as a 1 stop shop for most of your software needs)

And yes, Donation Coder is already on my list.  ;)

24
Speaking of Halloween...

851-bc295bbc-71bb-4ba5-8485-8b7771e8212c[1].jpg

And for anyone that doesn't understand:


25
My guess is that it is some background process or service that is activating it, perhaps some installed software checking for updates, phoning home, or syncing data.

Maybe Chrome, your antivirus, Windows itself, some browser add-on (if you leave your browser open when you go to sleep), e-mail app checking for new mail, a utility from your laptop manufacturer, other software, etc. It could even be your printer, especially if it's a Canon and you accidentally authorized it to phone home with usage statistics, when you installed the software on your laptop. It could even be one of those Start Menu apps that comes with Windows 10 that displays data in your Start menu, such as weather, news, etc.

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