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Official Announcements / New DonationCoder, New Ideas
« on: January 20, 2018, 10:29 AM »
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, Programming, 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.   I'm looking for a year-long weekly commitment to the project.

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.]  But if we can increase the following we can get donations directly to fund continuing columnists.

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

This will be my 3rd attendance of the Gencon board game convention.  This year it will be held from Aug 2-5 in Indiana.
If any else is planning on attending let me know and we can meet up and play some board games and I'll bring you a rare DC games division mug.

Developer's Corner / What really happened with Microsoft Vista
« on: January 17, 2018, 12:03 PM »
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.

We have just moved to a new server, and we see that hotmail and att (and maybe some others we haven't found yet), are blocking email from us.
Our new server IP does not appear to be on any blacklists so it may just be they are blocking the server because it's new to them or it is similar to an ip they don't like or they are just being grumpy.
We expect to have it sorted out very soon, but if you try to register an account at the forum or otherwise expect mail from us and don't see, that's why.

I'll post an update here when we see that the emails are going through.

Note that we can still receive mail FROM you, it's just if we send email to your address you won't get it.  So you can still submit comments to us from our Contact page.

N.A.N.Y. 2018 / Official NANY 2018 WRAP-UP IS POSTED
« on: January 11, 2018, 06:16 PM »
Posted in the official announcements section and blog:


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.
Screenshot - 1_11_2018 , 12_05_19 PM.png

twtxtc: A command line client for the twtxt micro-blogging network (open source; windows 10, freebsd, most platforms with c compiler)
Screenshot - 1_11_2018 , 12_06_15 PM.png

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.
Screenshot - 1_11_2018 , 12_07_47 PM.png

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.
Screenshot - 1_11_2018 , 12_08_22 PM.png

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.
Screenshot - 1_11_2018 , 12_11_31 PM.png

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.
2017-09-23 18_59_25-Shortcuts Launcher.png

Multi-Launcher - Another launcher that let's you organize your favorite applications, documents, etc., and easily launch them.
Screenshot - 1_11_2018 , 12_13_15 PM.png

Ready Bible Study - A pretty substantial and general purpose Bible Study program.
Screenshot - 1_11_2018 , 12_13_48 PM.png

Constant Info - A program to display a ticker-type scroll of prioritized items on screen that can be used within workgroups.
Screenshot - 1_11_2018 , 12_14_44 PM.png

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.
Screenshot - 1_11_2018 , 12_15_25 PM.png

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.
NANY 2018 - EDC.png

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.


A serious and hard-to-fix bug was recently found on most instal cpu chips manufactured since 1995.  It's causing a huge disruption on the web affecting most of the servers running the internet..

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Daniel Gruss didn’t sleep much the night he hacked his own computer and exposed a flaw in most of the chips made in the past two decades by hardware giant Intel Corp (INTC.O)...
The flaw, now named Meltdown, was revealed on Wednesday and affects most processors manufactured by Intel since 1995.

Separately, a second defect called Spectre has been found that also exposes core memory in most computers and mobile devices running on chips made by Intel, Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) (AMD.O) and ARM Holdings, a unit of Japan’s Softbank (9984.T).

Both would enable a hacker to access secret passwords or photos from desktops, laptops, cloud servers or smartphones. It’s not known whether criminals have been able to carry out such attacks as neither Meltdown nor Spectre leave any traces in log files.


This is a fascinating (though short) interview with famous director Ridley Scott on how he decided to reshoot a huge part of his latest film in a very short amount of time, to get rid of an actor with a major part in the film.


The real-life narrative depicted in All the Money in the World is quite the yarn — after his grandson is kidnapped... Director Ridley Scott originally cast Kevin Spacey as the 80-year-old Getty and covered him in prosthetics, but after the actor was the subject of numerous sexual-assault allegations in October, Sony pulled All the Money in the World from its planned premiere at AFI Fest. A wide release seemed untenable, and a delay of the film could have meant that Trust, an FX mini-series covering the same story, would come out first...

That’s when Scott settled on an unprecedented gambit: He would cast 88-year-old Oscar winner Christopher Plummer to take over the Getty role, convince Williams and Wahlberg to come back for reshoots over the Thanksgiving holiday, and quickly integrate the new footage into the movie so it could still hit a 2017 release date. Astonishingly, the results are seamless.

Happy New Year to everyone here at DC.  It's been a pleasure spending the last year with you and I look forward to 2018.  I hope it will bring us all some pleasant surprises.


Official Announcements / Big News: New DonationCoder Server
« on: December 31, 2017, 11:25 AM »
The provisioning of our new official servers is now complete!!!

I will post much more about the process, the company chosen to be our hosting provider, the specs of the new servers, in the next couple of days.
(We will have a fundraiser later this year to pay for it!)

I am extremely excited about the entire process -- the main site upgrade to a proper CMS, the new servers, the new member server setup, etc.
The new server is a huge upgrade over our current one.

We will be migrating to the new servers in the coming week or two.. I will post more details as it is about to happen, but you can expect some hiccups as we change over, and the site may be unreachable for a day or so as the DNS propagation happens.

Stay tuned!!

N.A.N.Y. 2018 / NANY 2018 Release: Wordpress plugins
« on: December 30, 2017, 05:45 AM »
A couple of wordpress plugins for NANY 2018.
Open sourced on github.

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.

Screenshot - 1_11_2018 , 11_55_24 AM.png

Wordpress Multisite Addon Plugin for WP Security Audit Log - Multisite compatible addon for the awesome WP Security Audit Log plugin.  This addon registeres 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.

Only a few more days until the Jan 1 deadline to enter our NANY 2018 programming challenge!

A quick reminder that all programmer's who enter get a free mug.

Living Room / Happy holidays, merry christmas, and all that junk
« on: December 25, 2017, 04:56 AM »
Happy winter holidays to all DC members all over the world regardless of what specific holidays you may or may not celebrate!

Living Room / How Star Wars was saved in the edit
« on: December 25, 2017, 04:55 AM »
Really nice video showing how critical the major post-production editing played in making Star Wars the great movie it was:

ps. I'm not a fan of the newer movies.

A non-coder friend of mine is curious about learning python, and we found this nice looking (free) tool for her:

Screenshot - 12_23_2017 , 8_04_50 PM.png

Looks like a really nice clean distraction-free beginner ide/scratchpad for experimenting with Python.

Easy to get started. Thonny comes with Python 3.6 built in, so just one simple installer is needed and you're ready to learn programming. (You can also use a separate Python installation, if necessary.) The initial user interface is stripped of all features that may distract beginners.

Living Room / Its hard in this world not to be cynical but you can try
« on: December 13, 2017, 11:23 PM »
Its hard in this world not to be cynical but you can try.
Try to imagine if the present you wanted most was some warm clothes.

Everyone is fighting a hard battle.

DC Website Help and Extras / Official New DC Members Pages Thread
« on: December 12, 2017, 03:06 AM »
The new dc member server is online and the new member pages are ready to be created by those with (or who want) dcmember pages.
Message me for htaccess login credentials.


Note that I will be working on this live for a while so don't be surprised to see things changing.

When it comes to a monitor, higher resolution is better, right?

Not for me.  Tried using a 27 inch 4k monitor (3840x2160) for my main monitor today, and was very disapointed.
This was replacing a 27 inch monitor running at 2560x1440 that I was very happy with at 2560x1440 -- lots of real estate on the screen, but text large enough that I could read it.

At 3840x2160, the normal text size in windows is too small to read.  So the solution would require changing desktop scaling in windows -- which would be ok except in a multimonitor setup that can cause issues when you have one monitor with higher scaling than another.

The high resolution also seemed to strain the abilities of full screen apps.
And the brightness of the new ($500) monitor left much to be desired; far inferior to my 2560x1440 one.

And lastly, trying to set the resolution of this 4k monitor back down to my previous 2560x1440 resulted in a very blurry display, so that isn't an option.

I'm returning it -- just thought I'd post a word of caution to anyone considering the move to a 4k monitor -- unless you have a really serious reason to need 4k, and you've sat down in front of one to confirm you like what you see, I would reconsider whether you really want one.

If you only have a single monitor, or plan to run multiple monitors ALL at 4k, and have the spare horsepower, and have the money to get very high quality 4k bright monitors, then 4k may still be for you.

N.A.N.Y. 2018 / NANY 2018 Release: Image Card Printer
« on: November 29, 2017, 12:18 PM »
For NANY 2018 I would like to introduce you to "Image Card Printer" a windows desktop app designed to help you print lots of images on card (or business card) stock.


Screenshot - 11_30_2017 , 2_28_52 AM.png
Screenshot - 11_30_2017 , 2_28_56 AM.png
Screenshot - 11_30_2017 , 2_29_15 AM.png

It's based heavily on code from my older Flipbook Printer and FlipSuite programs, but just simplifies the user interface.

The purpose of this program is to help you print out a bunch of images on business card or playing card stock.

I have used this myself to prototype card games or create accessory cards for some board games, etc.

Hope it's useful to someone!

General Software Discussion / Cool Retro Music Devices
« on: November 27, 2017, 08:49 PM »
I've been watching the retro music device videos from this fellow.  Some very cool devices I never imagined existed:

A sampling:

I was talking to long time DC member (and original server admin) gothic today about our early experiences coding, on cpm/m machines with no graphics, then trs-80 and tandy color computer, etc.

One of the things we really had warm feelings about were the distraction free and simpler experiences.  You turned on your computer and you coded and ran your program.

You interacted with one program at a time, the one you were writing.  There was no internet, no windows with multiple apps, nothing to install, etc.

So we were thinking about the idea of reproducing this kind of environment, probably using something like a raspberry pi.

The idea would be to build a computer that booted up into a clean distraction free coding environment, probably using python.

It should have a very minimal distraction free interface that made it easy to create/save/load projects, and edit them.  I was thinking maybe a text-only mode and a split-screen text and graphics mode.

The goal should be distraction free minimalism.

This would be meant as a good device for kids to learn coding distraction free.

Any thoughts?

Living Room / Happy Thanksgiving to DonationCoder folks - 2017
« on: November 23, 2017, 06:57 AM »
Well another year has come and gone, and I am once again thankful to all of the DC folks for your company.
I hope everyone will take a moment and remember the small things that make life more enjoyable.

I'm doing a little bit of cooking and visiting with some friends to play board games.  Anyone else in the US celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday?

Official Announcements / Forum upgraded Nov 20, 2017
« on: November 20, 2017, 08:43 PM »
I just updated the forum with new smf 2.015 release, and it forced me to move to some new forum code that I had written to work with the new dc cms server codebase before I was ready.
So there may still be some oddities on the forum -- if you see any going forward please let me know.

The good news is we are one step closer to moving to new website cms.

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