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N.A.N.Y. 2019 / NANY 2019 Pledge
« on: July 03, 2018, 06:33 PM »
I have a plan for a new program for NANY 2019  :-*
I'm not ready to announce what it is yet, just wanted to make a placeholder :)

Living Room / Gizmo's TechSupportAlert website needs our help
« on: July 03, 2018, 11:20 AM »
Ian Richards who heads the website has put out a call for assistance.

There is no better website on the planet to learn about real freeware software, and Ian and TechSupportAlert have been true friends to us here on DonationCoder, always supporting our fundraisers and always being generous in their praise of our software.

This is an absolutely essential website for freeware lovers.  I hope everyone who has donated to DonationCoder will consider sending them a donation.  I know I will.

Screenshot - 7_3_2018 , 11_15_26 AM_thumb001.png

Gizmo's Freeware is one of the few remaining websites that is doesn't charge for reviews, doesn't offer pay-for-app listing services or accept reviews written by developers and advertisers. That’s the reason our reviews have always been honest and independent and that's the way we want to keep it.

However, we are currently under a lot of financial pressure and its coming from an unexpected source: our users. That’s because 46% of our users now use ad blockers and as a result, our general Google ad revenue has fallen sharply. Don’t get me wrong: we support the right of our users to employ ad-blockers. Hey, we have even recommended to you the best ad-blocking products!

But our fall in ad revenue is now limiting our ability to update our freeware reviews and expand our coverage. That affects everybody. We are looking at long term financial solutions but in the short term we need to survive.

We could easily raise more money by being more blatantly commercial, but we don't want to go there. Instead, we are running a fund-raiser campaign asking our loyal and understanding users to contribute a small amount as a donation to the site.

So please help Gizmo's remain independent and fearless by donating just a few dollars now. In our 16 years of operation I’ve only ever asked twice before for support and hopefully will not need to do so again for a long time. So please guys and gals, stand up and be counted at this time of need.

Donate to techsuportalert here:

Does anyone have any experience with automatic geotagging of photos that they take?

Modern phones can probably do this quite easily, but mid-range dslr cameras seem to lack this feature -- you have to spend nearly a thousand dollars to get a good camera with built-in gps to geotag photos.

I have a friend who is interested in taking lots of photos and having them geo-tagged with gps location information.

One possible solution looks like combining a phone app with some post processing of photos, using a mobile app like gps4cam:

Anyone have any experience using software like this to add gps geotagging info to photos?

Automatic Screenshotter is a tool that lives down in your system tray and takes regular screenshots of your desk or the active window. The intention is to be a fairly lightweight primitive "backup" tool, like an airplane black box, so that in a case of last resort (app or system crash) you can go back and see what was on your screen at a certain time in the past.

  • It's made to run in the background, taking screenshots of either the currently active foreground window, or the entire desktop.
  • You can configure how often the screenshots are taken, and how they are named. The naming can include putting them into subdirectories and can be based on the data,time, and application name.
  • It will automatically prune older screenshots based on limits you set regarding screenshot age, # screenshots to keep, and total file space you want to use.
  • It will also try to be smart about avoiding saving multiple screenshots when the window (desktop) contents don't actually change, with some configurable tolerances, to minimize disk space used.
  • It can also be told about certain applications to never capture, or alternatively a small list of applications that it should only ever capture.
  • It can be configured to ignore capture when your pc has been idle for a certain amount of time, or when screensaver is running, or when full-screen games are running.
  • You can also manually trigger a capture with a hotkey.
  • You can also toggle capturing on-and-off easily from system tray menu.
  • Screenshots are saved as standard png files.
  • In summary, the focus is on an automated system of recording recent activity on the screen, and trying to be well behaved regarding disk space usage. You should be able to set it and forget it, until you need to go back and see what was on the screen at a certain time in the near past.

Official web page: http://www.donationc...omatic-screenshotter

Original thread: http://www.donationc...ndex.php?topic=42090


@v1.09.1 - June 24, 2018
  • [Feature] Added option to disable auto-deletion of older screenshots (and disabled this feature by default)
  • [Improvement] Updated the Internal Media Browser tool.

@v1.08.1 - Aug 5, 2017
  • [Feature] Added option to enable (default) automatic renaming of files if a file exists with the same name already.  This was always done in previous versions, now it can be disabled.
  • [Feature] Added option to save a LastCapture.EXT file in current settings directory after each capture; useful with other tools if you want to react to the latest capture.

@v1.07.1 - May 9, 2017
  • [BugFix] Capturing of active windows could result in partial capture on high-dpi systems.
  • [Feature] You can now specify custom DPI for saved images (default is now 96dpi).
  • [BugFix] Start with windows option was not working.

@v1.06.1 - May 3, 2017
  • [BugFix] Fixed GDI leak that could cause app to hang after thousands of captures.

@v1.05.1 - Mar 21, 2017
  • Support for High-DPI displays (where text magnification setting is over 100%).
  • Improved default sound.
  • New option for capturing a specific region by coordinates.

@v1.01.01 - Jan 1, 2016
  • [Info] First release

Mini-documentary about the race to conquer Mario Kart's Choco Mountain in seconds

It's amazing to see the dedication some people have to some small niches in the world -- in some ways it seems to me the best part of humanity..

Enjoy this surprisingly dramatic and gripping YouTube mini-documentary about one of gaming's strangest and most obsessive cults: racing around Mario Kart 64's Choco Mountain track. Thanks to glitchy shortcuts, racers winnowed times down to just a few seconds. But getting the trick right for all three laps of a time trial?

from https://boingboing.n...y-about-the-rac.html

N.A.N.Y. 2019 / N.A.N.Y. 2019 Announcement
« on: June 16, 2018, 01:33 PM »
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 really the funnest thing 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.  You can target any operating system (desktop or mobile) or even make a web-based tool.  It can be a game, utility, large application, whatever.  DC takes makes no claim on your software, it's just an event to encourage you to share a creation with others.  Best of all, everyone who participates gets a free commemorative coffee mug.


Browse previous year entries here: http://www.donationc...pps-for-the-new-year

Automatic Screenshotter / Automatic Screenshotter Forum Section
« on: June 13, 2018, 10:30 AM »
This is the first post in the new dedicated forum section for the Automatic Screenshotter program.

I'd like to add more features to the program so I'm looking forward to hearing more ideas and bug reports.

Originally Automatic Screenshotter was part of the NANY 2016 event and most discussion occurred in that forum section: http://www.donationc...ndex.php?topic=42090

I've been using AVG Internet Security antivirus and firewall for last few years (I like that it's an integrated tool).

Each year it seems to get worse and worse -- more bloated, more opaque, more intrusive into system, more convoluted, slower, etc.

Today I plugged in one of my backup drives, and slowly started getting notices that AVG was deleting files from it that were dangerous mail attachments.  It was a backup of an older mail folder, so the problem is not so much that it was deleting malicious files (the attachments in the old mail folders were surely spam and bad) -- the point is --- I don't need my pc slowed down by an antivirus scanning entire backup drives the moment i plug them in.. It's just one more example of AVG trying to "help" me by doing a million things behind my back that slow down my pc.  STOP DOING THINGS I DIDN'T ASK YOU TO DO!

I think I am basically at my breaking point and need to move to another software.

Any other suggestions for a NON-BLOATED antivirus + firewall combo?

Here is a cute little idea and you can code your own scripts to have it notify you about different events.  It's $30.

blink(1) is a small USB light to give you glanceable notice of anything on your computer or the internet. blink(1) makes it easy to connect data sources in the cloud or on your computer to a full-color RGB LED so you can know what’s happening without checking any windows, going to any websites or typing any command. Connect blink(1) to IFTTT, your mail, URLs or your favorite scripts.

Screenshot - 6_1_2018 , 11_55_41 AM_thumb001.png


It isn't just fake reviews, it's also fake accounts on web services, etc.  It's an arms race where business are constantly trying to one-up their competitors and everyone has accepted that fake reviews and inflating their user numbers is, at the very least, a necessary first step to jump-starting their product.

Outside the publishing industry, the practice known as “review brushing” exists on a vast, industrial scale. In 2014, Haitao Xu, a thirty-year-old researcher now at Northwestern University, monitored five black-market Internet boards where companies and individuals advertise jobs posting positive reviews of their products and services, along with negative ones on those of their rivals. In just two months, Xu saw more than eleven thousand unique sellers post close to a quarter of a million jobs, paid at anywhere between “tens of cents, up to five dollars,” he told me. Since consumers typically see positive customer reviews as a more reliable indicator of quality than advertising, the effects can be major. “Stores using brushing services can increase their reputation ten times faster than normal seller stores,” Xu, who, in 2016, spent six months working in Alibaba’s fraud-detection team, told me. “A store with a high reputation is displayed higher up a Web page, attracting more customers and increasing sales.” Online sellers who do not employ brushing services, meanwhile, often find their products overlooked.

from https://boingboing.n...w-generally-nec.html

Living Room / Working with time on computers
« on: May 30, 2018, 08:46 AM »
OSNews recommends today a nicely put together multimedia rumination on the issues of representing and working with time on computers. Looks pretty good.

This is one of the best articles - experiences? - I've ever read. It's funny, well-written, deeply informative, and covers everything from programming with time, to time and UI design, to time and accessibility. This is simply an amazing piece of work.


Pretty neat stuff.  The full short paper PDF is linked on the page below.

In a very surprising paper Steven Piantadosi shows that a simple function of one parameter (θ) can fit any collection of ordered pairs {Xi,Yi} to arbitrary precision. In other words, the same simple function can fit any scatter plot exactly, just by choosing the right θ. The intuition comes from chaos theory. We know from chaos theory that simple functions can produce seemingly random, chaotic behavior and that tiny changes in initial conditions can quickly result in entirely different outcomes (the butterfly effect). What Piantadosi shows is that the space traversed in these functions by changing θ is so thick that you can reverse the procedure to find a function that fits any scatter plot.

Just FYI, I have updated our privacy page with information concerning our compliance with new GDPR laws in Europe:


Here's an interesting article that argues that using C to write low-level fast code that operates close to the bare metal is no longer a straightforward task, and is becoming increasingly virtualized..

One of the key attributes of a low-level language is that programmers can easily understand how the language's abstract machine maps to the underlying physical machine. This was certainly true on the PDP-11, where each C expression mapped trivially to one or two instructions.  Since then, implementations of C have had to become increasingly complex to maintain the illusion that C maps easily to the underlying hardware and gives fast code... In light of such issues, it is difficult to argue that a programmer can be expected to understand exactly how a C program will map to an underlying architecture.


Living Room / The quest for a completely silent PC
« on: May 15, 2018, 09:39 PM »
I’ve been trying to make my computers quieter for nearly three decades.  Custom liquid cooling loops, magnetically-stabilised fluid-dynamic bearings, acoustic dampeners, silicone shock absorbers, you name it.  Well, last week I finally managed to build a completely silent computer.  Without further ado…


Security warning: says that you need to immediately disable and/or uninstall tools that automatically decrypt PGP-encrypted email.

This looks pretty serious.  Although they are not saying what the flaw is yet, the key seems to be if you have a mail program that AUTOMATICALLY decrypts pgp encrypted emails, somehow that can be hijacked.

A group of European security researchers have released a warning about a set of vulnerabilities affecting users of PGP and S/MIME. EFF has been in communication with the research team, and can confirm that these vulnerabilities pose an immediate risk to those using these tools for email communication, including the potential exposure of the contents of past messages.

The full details will be published in a paper on Tuesday at 07:00 AM UTC (3:00 AM Eastern, midnight Pacific). In order to reduce the short-term risk, we and the researchers have agreed to warn the wider PGP user community in advance of its full publication.

Our advice, which mirrors that of the researchers, is to immediately disable and/or uninstall tools that automatically decrypt PGP-encrypted email. Until the flaws described in the paper are more widely understood and fixed, users should arrange for the use of alternative end-to-end secure channels, such as Signal, and temporarily stop sending and especially reading PGP-encrypted email.

from https://arstechnica....mails-uninstall-now/

Today I had a hard drive crash.. Not fun.

Turned out that most of the files were still readable, the problem was that the handful among the 100,000 files that were not readable were causing major troubles.. Causing windows to hang when trying to access them, and causing all attempts to backup/image the drive to fail.

These days, looking for "free" software is an utter nightmare.  As most of you know from experience, most "free" software nowadays is basically non-functional trial software whose main job is to trick you and then make you buy the full version after you install a bunch of adware.

Imagine my surprise at finding an amazing piece of real freeware: Unstoppable Copier.
Screenshot - 5_9_2018 , 11_51_50 PM.png

This wonderful savior of a program let me very quickly back a copy of all of the files on the hard drive, SKIPPING over the bad, unreadable ones, and giving me a nice list of the ones it couldn't copy.

It has some functions to try to repeatedly read corrupt files, but I have to admit that my hard drive was not having any of that.  No matter, the fact that I was able to quickly copy all of the readable files was enough to save me and let me just restore the bad ones from a separate backup.

This is a keeper.

It's donationware, and truly fully functional and free.  I made a donation.

Skwire Empire / Free weather APIs
« on: May 05, 2018, 02:03 PM »
Saw this article and thought it might be worth posting for your reference. It talks about 5 free weather APIs:

This is a very simple beta release of a program to extract email addresses or other regular expressions from text files.

Screenshot - 5_4_2018 , 6_30_19 PM.png
Screenshot - 5_4_2018 , 6_37_13 PM.png


This is a very simple task.  I needed to extract email addresses from bounced emails in order to remove them from the donationcoder mailing lists.  This is a fairly simple task for a commandline regular expression extractor tool, but I like to be able to drag+drop and get some visual interaction.

I tried a few "free" tools for doing this and they were ALL adware, shareware, feature limited.  Just horrible.  I don't know when we got to a point where people think they can list software unambiguously as "free" and have it be filled with adware or be horribly crippled until you buy the full version.  :down:

So I decided to write my own tool, with hopes for improving it.  The goals are similar to CodeByters Linebyter which I have used in the past but whose source code was lost.

Again this is a very simple tool, it has a few minor features that make it useful for specific tasks:
  • You can create your own list of common regular expression search patterns and select between them easily.
  • You can specify a portion of the expression that should be extracted and listed.
  • You can specify additional patterns to be ignored (in regex or plaintext format).
  • The final list is sorted and duplicates removed.
  • Easy to search multiple files; remembers file list.

Again this is a very niche tool but I may add features to it to make it more useful for other tasks.  If you already have a good regular expression "extractor" that you are happy with, this is unlikely to replace it.

I think quite a few of you have seen the videos made by Simone Giertz.  She has gained fame by building small household robots that work to perform a task, but rather than expending huge efforts to make everything work perfectly, she basically settles for a first draft rough prototype experiment, and the results are funny, fun, and inspiring.  I think there is something we can all learn from her spirit -- and enjoying the pleasure of creating something that doesn't quite work.

Her very latest video has taken a sad turn though, as she posts about her discovery that she has a brain tumor.  She talks about her upcoming operation.

Some of her videos, including the last one:

We raised about $13,200 during the fundraiser in April. Time to decide how the money should be allocated.

Here are my thoughts:  I would like us to set aside $4,800 x 2 = $9,600 to pay for the next 2 years of hosting.
That leaves $3,600.

I think we want to allocate some of that to give to coders who hang out in the Coding Snacks area to encourage their work in writing code based on user requests, and maybe other coders who share their software and for whom dc is their main "home".
I suggest $1,000.    I have no idea how to divvy it up, but maybe some of the DC moderators and coding snack "consumers" can decide?

That would leave $2,600.

Speaking of moderators, I think it would be nice to give a little of the money to the moderators who take time away from their day to ban spammers, etc., so they can at least go out for a meal or drinks.  Maybe $500 total?

Lastly I would like us to try an experiment of "funding" one or two dc members who are interested in writing small but regular/consistent write-ups about news in software, technology, etc.  Maybe $1,000 x 2? = $2000?

Maybe set aside $100-$200 to help pay shipping costs for me to send out some custom painted 3d cody models..

Those are just my thoughts, I am happy to do whatever the community wants.

I wanted to say a public thanks to the person who sent me a deluxe postcard in an envelope from Belarus.  It was very fun to receive.
It had a proper wax seal on the back of the envelope, a rouble taped to it, and a hand made silver scratch-off message!
It was very fun opening it.


If this was you, send me a message, since it had no identifying information so I could associate it with a forum member or email address to send license key to, etc.

What is the influence of color, printing speed, extrusion temperature and ageing on my 3D prints?


In February 2015, 3D Matter conducted a study on infill %, layer height, and infill pattern. We wanted to continue this initial effort by studying another set of very important FDM 3D printing parameters: filament color, printing speed, extrusion temperature and ageing. These are parameters that 3D printer users have frequently singled out as making a difference on the outcome of prints. So the goal of this study is to distinguish the factors that have a large influence on the printed parts from those that have limited influence. This helps users optimize their prints by focusing on the important parameters.

Screenshot - 4_6_2018 , 8_06_15 PM_thumb001.png

ps. I'm thinking we might expand this board of the section to be "Developers, Makers, and Entrepreneurs".  Thoughts?

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