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3951  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Why do so many micropayment systems fail? on: June 04, 2007, 07:12:42 PM
Four years ago, I wrote a piece called Fame vs Fortune: Micropayments and Free Content. The piece was sparked by the founding of a company called BitPass and its adoption by the comic artist Scott McCloud (author of the seminal Understanding Comics, among other things.) McCloud created a graphic work called “The Right Number”, which you had to buy using BitPass.

It didn’t work. BitPass went out of business in January of this year. I didn’t write about it at the time because its failure was a foregone conclusion. This isn’t just retrospective certainty, either; here’s what I said about BitPass in 2003:

BitPass will fail, as FirstVirtual, Cybercoin, Millicent, Digicash, Internet Dollar, Pay2See, and many others have in the decade since Digital Silk Road, the paper that helped launch interest in micropayments. These systems didn’t fail because of poor implementation; they failed because the trend towards freely offered content is an epochal change, to which micropayments are a pointless response.

3952  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / The top 10 dead (or dying) computer skills on: June 04, 2007, 06:09:46 PM
Those in search of eternal life need look no further than the computer industry. Here, last gasps are rarely taken, as aging systems crank away in back rooms across the U.S., not unlike 1970s reruns on Nickelodeon's TV Land. So while it may not be exactly easy for Novell NetWare engineers and OS/2 administrators to find employers who require their services, it's very difficult to declare these skills -- or any computer skill, really -- dead.

3953  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: All-New Book from O'Rly on: June 04, 2007, 04:41:28 AM
There is a wiki site to go with this book: http://lolcode.com

Here is a sample of user contributed code, for a basic calculator:

[copy or print]

VISIBLE "Welcome to the basic calculator."


        VISIBLE "Can not parse line."

                OMG +
                        RESULT IZ UP NUMBER1!!NUMBER2
                OMG -
                        RESULT IZ DOWN NUMBER1!!NUMBER2
                OMG *
                        RESULT IZ TIMEZ NUMBER1!!NUMBER2
                OMG /
                        RESULT IZ DIVIDEZ NUMBER1!!NUMBER2
        VISIBLE "Didn't work :("
        DIAF! 2 "This is dieing"



And for a donation of a 12 pack of beer, you can attend a LOLCODE workshop: I CAN HAS VAR?
3954  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Finally, an answer to the garbage problem on: June 03, 2007, 05:21:40 PM
Joseph Longo's Plasma Converter turns our most vile and toxic trash into clean energy—and promises to make a relic of the landfill.

3955  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Strange Maps on: June 03, 2007, 05:16:14 PM
For those that love looking at maps, here is a collection of some of the strangest ones you will ever see.

3956  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / The Truth About Lying and Laughing on: June 03, 2007, 05:12:15 PM
Why are we so bad at spotting a lie, do we smile when no one is looking, and what's the funniest joke ever told? Richard Wiseman took a scientific approach to answering some age-old questions

3957  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Flash Game: Virus 2 (puzzle) on: June 02, 2007, 05:14:13 PM
The object of this game is to take over the board with a single color.

You start at the bottom left. You have a limited number of attempts, which decrease with each round. Select a color from the 6 shown at the bottom of the screen to change your active color.

3958  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / How much does the internet weigh? on: June 01, 2007, 09:05:21 PM
How heavy is information? Most of us know that computers represent all types of information—e-mails, documents, video clips, Web pages, everything—as streams of binary digits, 1s and 0s. These digits are mathematical entities, but they are also tangible ones: They are embodied and manipulated as voltages in electronic circuits. Therefore, every bit of data must have some mass, albeit minuscule. This prompted DISCOVER to ask the question: How much would all the data sent through the Internet on an average day weigh?

3959  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Pocket PC utility that allows price comparison for groceries/toys/gadgets? on: May 29, 2007, 11:00:27 AM
Do the latest pocket pc's still come with Pocket Excel?

I would just make a spreadsheet in that with all the stores,dates, items, and prices.

You could make seperate ones for groceries, toys, etc.

You didn't specify what OS and CPU your pocket pc has. (mine has WinCE 3.0, pocket pc 2000, SH3 cpu, as an example) What would be a good solution might run on one pocket pc but not another.
3960  Other Software / Delphi and C++ Builder / Re: Getting Started With Borland C++ Builder Q& A ? on: May 29, 2007, 10:46:57 AM
Some of those are found in the C++ Builder 6 help file...in the text editor tutorial.

When beginning with C++ Builder, it is a good idea to start with that tutorial and do that project....then hit the rest of the help file...then google.

In case your version of C++ Builder doesn't come with the text editor tutorial, you can get a copy of the v6 help files here (have to register for free):  http://cc.codegear.com/item/24339

3961  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Sony's special screw will make your everyday screws blush in shame! on: May 28, 2007, 01:34:30 PM
What makes it so special is that it doesn't come with a root-kit.  Grin
3962  Special User Sections / Site/Forum Features / Re: ReadMe: Find out and rant about bad companies on: May 27, 2007, 07:33:06 PM
Here is another good one for complaining (or complimenting) about any company, online or offline:



Be sure to read their guide about how to file a good complaint:
3963  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Why don't you pay for software? on: May 26, 2007, 04:40:11 PM
The question was "Why don't you pay for software?"

That question in and of itself doesn't imply that one uses pirated software.

I interpreted that question to mean "Why would you use freeware? And why would you choose not to support the software you use?"

I love small single purpose tools. I don't like opening a swiss army knife and hunting for just the tool I need, or worse yet, having to have multiple swiss army knives with duplication of tools just to make sure I have everything I need.

Most of these single purpose tools that I use are freeware. In the cases where there is an option to choose either a freeware application or a payware application for the same purpose, I will usually go for the freeware one as long as it does its job well and it's stable.

I do try to support the software I love, but I can't always afford to do that. Sad

This question, to me, would be very similar to asking "Why do you eat at home instead of a restaurant?" or "Why do you shop in discount stores instead of the big department stores?" "Why would you buy used items instead of new?" "Why do you keep using something old and outdated instead of replacing it with new?" or "Why would you continue to use the older version of a program rather than paying again and upgrading it?"

And I guess the real answer to all those questions would have to be this:

I am frugal, sometimes to the point where it can be considered a fault....or an art form. embarassed

Don't misunderstand. I am not stingy, not by far. I am quite generous when I have something I can be generous with.

If I could pay for software with pizza, I think there would be a lot more really fat programmers in this world.  Grin

I could bake cookies for the developers and mail them, but it would make more sense to me to send them the money I would have spent on postage by paypal and just skip the baking. And most of the time I can't even afford the postage.

I can afford email, though...and encouraging words, and I know how much they are worth. Their value is more than the average person thinks.  Wink
3964  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Magnetic by Incredimail - Dare I try it? on: May 26, 2007, 04:33:31 PM
This is from their privacy policy:

IncrediMail will only use information that is provided in order to provide Users with importantinformation about the Software (such as upgrades, modifications, etc.)and to announce new products and services available to Users.Except as necessary to perform the functions of the Software and/or Site, IncrediMail will not share, sell or lease any personally identifiable information about any Userto any unaffiliated third party for any purpose without that User's permission.

Non- Personally Identifiable Information
IncrediMail will use certain non-personally identifiable information provide by Users for the following purposes: To create aggregate, non-personal, demographic reports about the Users of Magentic. Provide Users with certain content that may be of interest to that User based on the information the User provides.

IncrediMail may gather information related generally to Users' use of the Software, and Site including without limitation: current wallpaper, current screensaver, Magentic manager open and close time, Magentic tray startand end time. This information, which will only be collected and maintained in aggregate, anonymous form, will be used to, among other things: Provide IncrediMail with a better understanding of how Users use the Software and the various features thereof; Help IncrediMail to create and provide new services and offerings to Users; and Conduct and publish aggregate, anonymous, market research results.

Magentic may collect settings, technical and other information from Users' computers, such as a computer's operating system, browser versions used, various communication parameters and other information related to the operation and interaction of the Software, subject to the provisions herein. This information will neither contain nor be linked to any personally identifiable information.

Users, including without limitation, Users in the European Union, fully understand and unambiguously consent to the collection and processing of their non-personally identifiable information, in the United States.
The bolding of text was my doing, to emphasize certain points.

While they promise not to share or sell your personally identifiable information, they don't agree to the same with the other information they are gathering from your system. And they do admit they will be gathering information. They are also a bit vague on the limits of their gathering, mentioning only examples but also stating that they are not limited to those examples.

Sure sounds like it could be spyware to me if it phones home telling them about you and your system and what you are doing with it.

This company has a reputation of spyware...spyware you pay to use. As long as they are still distributing at least one spyware product, how can you trust any of their other products?

Have you ever noticed that their email client is never included in any serious reviews and comparisons of email software? Why is that?

It's because nobody takes their products seriously unless it's to warn people to stay away from them.

Personally, for me, I wouldn't trust anything from the company till they got serious about cleaning up their software, and their reputation, in ALL of their products.

Provide Users with certain content that may be of interest to that User based on the information the User provides.

What exactly does that mean? What kind of content? Ads maybe? And if so, where are those ads going to be presented and in what way?

Too many questions and not enough answers for a product released by a less than reputable company.
3965  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / reCaptcha: Stopping spam while digitizing books on: May 26, 2007, 03:30:16 AM
We have all seen captcha text...everywhere.

Carnegie Mellon University has come up with one with a bit of a twist that they call reCaptcha.

While helping to stop spam and ensuring that a human is actually submitting a response, it is also helping to digitize books. (currently helping Internet Archive)

To archive human knowledge and to make information more accessible to the world, multiple projects are currently digitizing physical books that were written before the computer age. The book pages are being photographically scanned, and then, to make them searchable, transformed into text using "Optical Character Recognition" (OCR). The transformation into text is useful because scanning a book produces images, which are difficult to store on small devices, expensive to download, and cannot be searched. The problem is that OCR is not perfect.

reCAPTCHA improves the process of digitizing books by sending words that cannot be read by computers to the Web in the form of CAPTCHAs for humans to decipher. More specifically, each word that cannot be read correctly by OCR is placed on an image and used as a CAPTCHA. This is possible because most OCR programs alert you when a word cannot be read correctly.

But if a computer can't read such a CAPTCHA, how does the system know the correct answer to the puzzle? Here's how: Each new word that cannot be read correctly by OCR is given to a user in conjunction with another word for which the answer is already known. The user is then asked to read both words. If they solve the one for which the answer is known, the system assumes their answer is correct for the new one. The system then gives the new image to a number of other people to determine, with higher confidence, whether the original answer was correct.

The service is free, and they even have one specifically for protecting your email address on a website.

3966  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Warning about a new software company scamming people on: May 25, 2007, 08:30:19 PM
Report a Spam Result to Google
3967  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: How do you auto-forward all IMAP mail? on: May 25, 2007, 04:19:11 AM
I have no control over the domain...can't set up any sort of forwarding there.

I have IMAP but no POP. Until Gmail supports fetching mail from IMAP accounts, it's not an option to let them handle it for me. I wish it was an option. Sad

If there is some sort of email client that can handle IMAP, grab my mail, and forward it to another email address, and do this automatically through some sort of rules I can set up, this would be fine with me.

But I don't want to go trying a million email clients just to find out they work as ineffectively as OE. That's why I am asking here.
3968  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: How do you auto-forward all IMAP mail? on: May 24, 2007, 11:49:51 PM
How does your mail get to the IMAP accounts (are they fixed email addresses that you must use or are they associated with you web hosting account?). If they are related to your webhosting account you could perhaps redirect the mail by changing the mail server you use.

Fixed email addresses. I can't change the mail server I use.

Another method would be to use Yahoo mail which includes email forwarding. You could use the web based email as your IMAP style access from anywhere and have all your mail forwarded to one central mailbox which you can collect in your mail app via POP mail.

Yahoo is not an option. These are email addresses that I have had for about 8 years. I can't just dump them in favor of something else, which is why I need to forward the mail.

Your ideas on how useful Yahoo can be, expresses my feelings towards gmail, and the reason why I want to forward this stuff to my gmail account if possible. (I use only the webmail though)
3969  Other Software / Developer's Corner / Re: Why Ruby is so great and why I'll pass and wait for the next big thing.. on: May 24, 2007, 07:05:02 AM
Coming from Delphi where I see things like this all the time:
Formatted for Delphi with the GeSHI Syntax Highlighter [copy or print]
  1. begin
  2.  Form1.Label1.Caption := 'Hello';
  3.  Form1.Label1.Font.Color := clBlue;
  4. end;

looking at something like this brings out an instinctive 'WTF?' followed by a near meltdown of my brain:
Formatted for Ruby with the GeSHI Syntax Highlighter [copy or print]
  1. 20.minutes.ago

3970  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: How do you auto-forward all IMAP mail? on: May 24, 2007, 06:21:16 AM
I don't need any type of webmail extensions to get my mail from my IMAP accounts, or send mail from them. They will work in any email client that can handle IMAP.

The problem I have is automatically forwarding everything that comes in to another email address. I tried it with OE and it didn't work because the stuff from the IMAP accounts don't end up in the main inbox. They end up in 4 seperate IMAP folders (1 for each account), which each have their own inbox subfolder.

OE can't apply rules to those other inbox folders, just the main one, which my email never hits. I have even tried manually dragging & dropping them to the main inbox folder, and then applying rules, but it did nothing. No mail was sent out.

Does Thunderbird handle IMAP folders differently?
3971  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: How do you auto-forward all IMAP mail? on: May 24, 2007, 06:07:08 AM
Yes, free is all I can afford right now.  embarassed
3972  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / How do you auto-forward all IMAP mail? on: May 24, 2007, 05:26:08 AM
I have a group of IMAP email accounts. (4 of them to be exact)

How would I go about getting the new mail from all of them and forwarding it all to another email address so I can have everything in one inbox? (gmail)

The service I have my IMAP accounts with does not offer any type of automatic forwarding. Gmail doesn't offer automatic retrieval for IMAP, only POP.

I don't care if I have to run something to download the mail and then upload it again, as long as it can be done automatically, so I never have to go manually check those accounts ever again.

I want to be able to consolidate everything into one mailbox instead of logging into so many or using webmail + an email client to get all my mail. I would prefer to just use one gmail webmail account. I already have things set up in gmail to be able to reply and send mail as these IMAP accounts' email addresses. The only thing left is to be able to get the mail into my gmail inbox.

Does anybody have any creative ideas on how to go about doing this?
3973  Other Software / Developer's Corner / Re: Why Ruby is so great and why I'll pass and wait for the next big thing.. on: May 24, 2007, 03:51:12 AM
Great post!

I'm afriad I'm in the same camp, and I agree 100%,...
I actually bit through the apple and spent a week exploring ruby and rails, by the end of it, the syntax was driving me crazy. I think they want code to look like plain English, but code doesn't look like plain English for a reason. Eventually, I told myself 'never again. Ruby isn't for me'.

If that's what they want, why aren't they programming in Plain English? Grin
3974  Other Software / Announce Your Software/Service/Product / Re: Quick Thumbnail (an online approach) on: May 23, 2007, 06:55:28 PM
Well, he did learn a bit more about using GD, so it wasn't a total waste of time.
3975  Other Software / Announce Your Software/Service/Product / Re: Quick Thumbnail (an online approach) on: May 23, 2007, 06:45:57 PM
I spent about an hour trying to talk him into downloading irfanview.

He didn't want to install anything on his pc to do it and he couldn't figure out how to batch resize in Photoshop.

After he attempted his own script on his server and running into probs with file sizes and couldn't figure out why, he gave up and finally followed my advice.  cheesy

What he was trying to do was write a script so he would be able to upload the originals, they would be automatically resized and stored, for his mom to download later.

He had a ton of 3008x2000 photos. Resizing them to 500 pixel width with his script, he was getting internal server errors...but it worked fine with 100 pixel width.

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