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3951  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Today is my birthday- when is yours? on: November 14, 2007, 01:06:58 AM
Someone once told me that there would be serious problems if companies employing IT people gave all their employees their birthday off. There wouldn't be hardly anybody working in the IT department during the month of February.

He said that statistically speaking, good computer people seem to be born more in February than any other month.

I don't know how true this is, but most of the really good programmers I know do seem to suggest that it could be.  undecided
3952  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Top 10 Signs You're Coding Too Much on: November 14, 2007, 12:52:29 AM
A coder friend of mine once remarked about how he finally went outside and thought the snow on the ground had a low refresh rate.  Grin
3953  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Phoenix Technologies Announces Plans to Assault Windows with Hyperspace on: November 13, 2007, 08:38:14 PM
BIOS maker Phoenix Technologies' plans to market a new application platform the company claims will solve a number of problems endemic to Microsoft's Windows platform might be taken as a provocative gesture at their longtime partner. But Redmond's immediate reaction was nonchalant.

On Monday, the Milpitas, Calif., software maker announced Hyperspace, a Linux-based virtualization platform that will let OEMs bundle cut-down versions of popular open-source software that end-users will be able to access instantly, even without booting Windows.

"We call this embedded simplicity, or PC 3.0," said Woody Hobbs, CEO of Phoenix in an interview.

Phoenix has for many years been the leading maker of BIOS, which enables a PC's Windows operating system to communicate with the hardware. But BIOS is being slowly supplanted by a newer technology called Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI).

3954  Other Software / Developer's Corner / Serena to offer free apps prototyping tool on: November 13, 2007, 08:26:50 PM
Serena Software plans Monday to release Serena Prototype Composer, a free tool intended to make it easy to prototype business applications.

Prototype Composer is a requirements visualization and prototyping tool designed to simulate how applications will look and function before a developer writes any code, Serena said. The intent is to ensure that an application will meet business requirements from the onset, thus avoiding costly, time-consuming rework.

With the Prototype Composer product, Serena is attempting to solve the problem of business users not always describing everything they want in an application, or being cryptic about it, Nathan Rawlins, Serena senior director of product marketing, said.

3955  Other Software / C / C++ / Free Course: Computer Programming I (using C) on: November 13, 2007, 03:15:35 AM
University of Washington CSE 142 - Computer Programming I


This is a complete basic introductory course (using C) for beginners that have no previous programming experience, that was offered at the University of Washington during the fall of 2000 (taught by Martin Dickey).

If you have never studied programming, this course was designed for you.

Access to slides, homework assignments & solutions, exams & solutions (everything except the lectures and quizzes):

Here are the lecture videos. It may seem as if I have listed them out of order, but they are actually in the proper order in which they should be viewed. Whoever uploaded them numbered them wrong. The entire set of videos is Closed Captioned.

Lecture 1: Overview and Welcome:

Lecture 2: Problems, Algorithms and Programs:

Lecture 3: Variables, Values and Types:

Lecture 4: Arithmetic Expressions:

Lecture 5: Input and Output (I/O):

Lecture 23: Style:

Lecture 6: Conditionals:

Lecture 7: Functions:

Lecture 8: Function Parameters:

Lecture 9: Iteration:

Lecture 10: Loop Development and Program Schemas:

Lecture 11: Complex Conditionals:

Lecture 12: Functions and Design:

Lecture 27: Switch Statement:

Lecture 24: Structuring Program Files:

Lecture 13: Pointer Parameters:

Lecture 14: Arrays:

Lecture 15: Linear & Binary Search:

Lecture 16: Sorting:

Lecture 17: Multidimensional Arrays:

Lecture 18: Structures:

Lecture 19: Strings:

Lecture 21: File Input/Output:

Lecture 20: Nested Data Structures:

Lecture 26: Recursion:

Lecture 25: Recursive Binary Search:

Lecture 22: Course Wrap-up and Review:

If you want to download them for offline viewing, you can use this site with the URL's I provided above.

The textbook they used in this course is Problem Solving and Program Design in C (Hanly and Koffman)
3956  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Tales of Mere Existence on: November 12, 2007, 01:00:49 PM
I discovered a great comic/film site today while procrastinating.

The artist, Lev Yilmaz, is great at taking the ordinary and mundane and making it hilarious....from the things he thinks about when trying to sleep to a typical conversation with his mom to selecting a video to watch with his girlfriend.

Be sure to visit his Youtube page for more.

3957  Special User Sections / The Getting Organized Experiment of 2007 / How to not get stuff done on: November 12, 2007, 12:21:25 PM
This is just like a day out of my life.  embarassed

Now if you will excuse me, my keyboard needs I can get my stuff done.
3958  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Mahjongg Titans on: November 10, 2007, 08:50:20 PM
Will be playing it  alot in office Cool Wink
oops! Maybe I shouldn't have gave you that link. I don't think your boss is going to like me much.  embarassed
3959 Software / Mouser's Zone / Re: Mouser - a plea from your users! on: November 10, 2007, 10:35:18 AM
Personally, I like the whole 'robot' thing. It has become a sort of 'mousermark'.  Grin

When I think of mouser's software, I think of a whole team of little robots designed to make your life easier. The Jetsons era for your pc.  cheesy

He could start code naming new projects after famous robots until he has a real name for them.

I am waiting for 'Recipe Robot' (code named 'Rosie')
3960  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Coders' Watches on: November 09, 2007, 01:23:20 AM
I'll try not to get too technical in explaining exactly what I do, but that would be near impossible:

I use #10 granny cotton thread and a tiny size 7 (1.65mm) steel hook to crochet a 'double sided' single stitch, so it is twice as thick as it would be if I had done it in normal rows (this is a unique technique that is hard to explain but it is based on the stitch shown in the video).

The size of the hook I use combined with the size of the thread and the particular stitch I use results in something resembling a tiny canvas belt similar to this one, only it has a normal watch band buckle attached to it:


You could never fit the metal part between the stitches (it's that tight), so I have to create the holes by skipping a stitch every so often and creating an extra stitch to act as the base for the next row.

A small pocket must be made that has a small hole for the metal part to fit through, on the buckle end. I have to take the pin out that holds the buckle together to insert it and put the buckle back together, attached to the band. (if you look closely at a leather band's buckle, you will notice a pin that is just like the two that holds the band onto the watch)

It is made in one long continuous piece that is threaded over a watch pin, under the watch back, and over the opposite pin.

And yes, I even make loops near the buckle to thread the band through that hold the band flat.

So basically, it looks a lot like this nylon one but it's cotton:


It's about 8-10 hours of work for each one, and I can get 3 bands from a single ball of thread.

They are tough, comfortable (you don't get a sweaty wrist), they can be machine washed and tossed in the dryer, and even bleached if you make them in white or beige.
3961  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Perfect Software? on: November 08, 2007, 08:25:20 PM
I have an OCD like a lot of others to go with the newer, bigger,faster software
You and me both!
but whenever I've combated it and decided to stick with an older version, the decision has invariably paid off.
I've been trying to do this for years. Have only succeeded a couple of times. Other times I've succeeded in "holding out" for a full release or two and STILL break down and upgade. I need help...

The cure: Use an old 233mhz machine with 64mb ram as your only pc for the next few years.

You will start to seek out and love the small single purpose tools that have no bloat. You will lose your desire to upgrade and begin to look for things in which you can actually downgrade to the most efficient version. You will begin to really look at features offered and how you actually use the software to decide if the added features are of any real benefit to you.

Then return to your latest & greatest PC, bringing the best tools with you. You will love them and appreciate them enough to stick with them and resist the temptation to upgrade them or throw them away, unless there is a security issue that dictates that you should.
3962  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Coders' Watches on: November 08, 2007, 08:03:17 PM
How on earth do you fasten a crocheted band?  Or does it slip over your wrist?

Pix pls k thx.

Imagine your typical leather watch band with a buckle and little holes. Now imagine the same thing being cotton and not leather. I recycled the buckle from the original band that came with the watch.

Once I find the watch (I can't remember where I put it) and replace the band (need to make a new one) & battery, I'll share pics.
3963  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Genuinely stupid laws - that still APPLY !! on: November 08, 2007, 07:43:08 PM
No one breaks that law in NJ so far as I know. It's a 'make work' thing for (otherwise unemployable) gas attendants. They would come down on you like a ton of bricks if you tried to pump your own. A fate far more serious than dealing with local law enforcement!!

The irony in the fact that NJ has that gas pumping law is that we have some of the lowest gas prices in the country. You would think that the fact they have to hire someone to pump it would mean higher prices, but it doesn't.

When the idea to get rid of that law came up, lowering the prices even more was one of the suggested benefits, but it was shown by the prices in other states that this wouldn't be the case and actually the opposite would occur because the insurance rates of gas stations would increase due to the fact that ordinary people pumping gas is considered a greater risk of a mishap.

There was also another argument against repealing that law: Gas pumps are now required to carry a cancer health warning label similar to cigarette packs. So they figure that people that are willing to work in a gas station do so by choice, and therefore they assume the risk of cancer associated with exposure to gasoline and its vapors, willingly. The consumer being forced to pump their own gas wouldn't have such a choice, except to give up driving in order to protect their health.

NJ isn't the only state with that law. Oregon is another place where you can't pump your own gas. So weird going there, getting out of your car, then seeing some guy run up to you and ask for your credit cards. Grin

Incidentally, many gas stations here require you to get out of your car and go inside the convenience store they run to pay first, before the guy outside will pump the gas for you, especially after dark. They don't want attendants to have any cash on their person while working. Less risk of a monetary loss due to some drive-by holdup where the thieves don't feel like getting out of their car and having their faces picked up by cameras as they go inside to hold the place up.
3964  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Simon Tatham's Portable Puzzle Collection on: November 08, 2007, 01:58:51 AM
oh thanks!  Angry

I have a serious weakness for puzzle games. Now I will never get anything done.
3965  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Windows performance tips in one spot on: November 08, 2007, 01:06:36 AM
Here are a few things I rarely ever see mentioned on speed tips sites but from my experience with messing around on other people's computers to fix their stuff when things go wrong, too many people do not know these:

1. If you want to speed things up a lot when browsing folders in Explorer, use list or details view. It's much faster than waiting for a bunch of thumbnails to load.

If you need to switch to thumbnail view for any reason, don't forget to switch it back to list or details before leaving that folder. It will make a big speed difference the next time you visit that folder.

2. You are better off sorting your files into folders with some sort of organization system rather than having a few 1000 files in a single folder. The list will show in Explorer a lot faster when it doesn't have to show a gazillion files.

If you don't believe me, try opening a folder containing 3000 text files and compare the time it takes to load as opposed to a folder with 150 files.

3. Don't use a home page in your browser. Your browser will open much faster if you have your home page set to "about:blank".

4. Use the proper resolution for your desktop based on the size of your monitor screen. Just because your graphics card can display at higher resolutions doesn't mean you should use the highest it is capable of. (This one tip can speed up your machine a lot!)
3966  Other Software / Developer's Corner / Re: Database Application IDE on: November 08, 2007, 12:30:41 AM
If you want to go the web application route and keep it locally on your pc, you can install Xerver and set up to only grant access from localhost. That way you can use your browser to access your custom made web app but nobody else can.

Xerver is easy to set up & use and when set to run in non-gui mode, it is quite light. I have run it on a pretty low end slow machine (233mhz, 64mb ram, WinME) and you couldn't tell it was running in the background unless you bothered to check the list of running processes. It didn't affect performance in the least bit.

You would still have to install PHP/MySQL on your machine, but using Xerver is a lot easier than installing Apache or Abyss.
3967  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Coders' Watches on: November 08, 2007, 12:09:32 AM
I have a $40 (most I ever paid for a watch) timex digital thing somewhere with a super strong hand crocheted cotton band. I lived in it till the battery died, making a new band for it about once every 6 months.

Haven't got around to replacing the battery so I am currently using a keychain pocket watch attached to one of those mountain climber hooks, that I can't seem to properly photograph without an incredible amount of glare that makes it impossible to see the face.

There is nothing amazing or geeky about either watch, unless you stop to consider that crocheting is a lot like coding in asm.  smiley

I own a lot of crazy looking watches, most with dead batteries. I never bother to replace batteries in a watch unless I really like it. I kind of miss my timex, so maybe I'll try to figure out where I put it and get a new battery for it soon.

I am another one that is the type to wear a watch 24/7...taking it off only to shower, clean the watch, or make a new band for it...and yes, I wear it even during...ummm...romantic moments. (It's not that much different than wearing one of those cotton sailor's knot bracelets that shrink to fit your wrist and is impossible to remove unless you cut it.)
3968  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Mahjongg Titans on: November 07, 2007, 11:27:37 PM
Maybe you might like to try MyJongg II.

This is a classic remake of the ancient Mah Jongg solitaire game. Beautiful tile sets, different layouts, sound. We have written a Layout Editor too, and we will release it in the future to help you build your own Layouts!!! Take a look at our future release. Some features do not work yet (like High-Scores).

Seems like a very nice donationware game to me.

Just unzip & run. No installing needed. You can use your own backgrounds if you have any .gif or .bmp files suitable for it.

3969  Other Software / Developer's Corner / Re: Consumating’s Ill-Fated Point System: Nice Blog Essay on: November 07, 2007, 11:25:10 AM
I was once part of a wonderful chat community of computer geeks that got the 'bright' idea to add a member ranking system. Within weeks, the entire community came crashing down.

They started a system where you could have from 1 to 5 stars as your rank. All new members entered with at least 1 star (maybe higher if core admin team thought they deserved it). Additional stars could be added if you contributed in a positive way, or worked hard and put forth a genuine effort to increase your knowledge. Once you hit a level of 4 stars, you could vote on who was admitted to the group, and promotions to higher rank.

The intention of this system was to encourage more respect towards those that 'deserved' it and encourage people to work harder.

It completely backfired, with new members being labeled as 'worthless n00bs' and abused, and higher ranking members thinking they had some right to act obnoxious towards everyone, and demanding respect from anyone they outranked, even if they had done some horrible things to those people. (a kind of abusive forced ass kissing system) Others started kicking and banning visitors from the chatroom for no reason other than the fact they weren't 'official members'.

I had a rank of 3 stars, my father was given a rank of 4 stars when he joined (because he had been a professional programmer). I ended up having a fight with the admins when they wanted to give me a promotion to 4 stars. I didn't want it because I knew that would result in them abusing my father and treating him as if he were an idiot because he had the same rank as his daughter, who had a lot less computer experience.

I watched bright people be insulted and called stupid because they were new members (their rank was lower), treated as if they had nothing valuable to contribute. I watched people go on campaigns for votes once they learned they were added for consideration for an increase in rank.

It took only a few weeks for the entire community to go from being about computers and learning to being about stars and rank. It was horrible. The best members began walking away. No matter what happened or who left (even the guy that was hosting it left!), they wouldn't get rid of that stupid ranking system and things just kept getting worse & worse.

This was how my chat community got started. I flipped out in the chatroom one day about the behavior I was seeing and how it wasn't about learning any more and expressed a desire to walk and start my own, but couldn't I host it because I was on dialup. Another long time member who felt the same way offered to host it till I could, and we both left.

The major difference with the DonationCredits system here and the points, rank, etc. systems in other communities is that it's in the background. You can't see how many credits someone has. You can't see when they give or receive and who is doing the giving or receiving unless you are one of the parties involved in the transaction. There is no ranking of people based on their DonationCredits activities. You can't find anything to use to compare your 'status' to someone else. This is good....very good. It keeps people from losing their minds and becoming obsessed with 'status'.

We also have a little bird that is the symbol of generosity, that keeps an eye on the site and what people are doing, that secretly and unexpectedly rewards those that put forth an effort to help the community. You never know when he's watching or when he will decide to drop a few coins of appreciation in your lap.

In this community, contributing content has its own rewards. More stuff to read. More discussions to get involved in. More feedback from members. It has a snowball effect causing it to get better & better all the time. This attracts new members that want to be part of a community like this, and they contribute, making the snowball grow even larger.

I worry about some of the ideas that mouser has had, though.

Things like adding a mod to the forum that will allow people to rate posts to give more interesting posts a higher rank. Or some of the ideas he has for the Cody Club. It's not the spirit and intention of it that I am worried about. It's how it could encourage people to compete and create a false sense of superiority among members if these things were visible and comparable in some way. That's what I worry about. I really don't want to be a part of a community that is competitive like that or fighting for gold stars again.

I already had my heart broken and felt the pain caused by watching something I loved become destroyed by stuff like that. I don't want to go through that again.
3970  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Perfect Software? on: November 07, 2007, 09:27:12 AM
I only know of one such application...a silly little clock. (there are probably loads of small single purpose apps that are the same story)

Back before I learned any programming, a friend of mine made a small desktop clock for me. When I requested it, I was unaware just how much of a stubborn minimalist he really is.

I gave him an image to use as a guide.


This is what I got from him:


  • When I asked to be able to change the colors and the font, he said no...that would be bloat.
  • When I asked for a border on the clock, same answer.
  • I asked him to remove the X and put an exit option on a popup menu...nope, he wouldn't do that either.
  • How about remember position? nope.

Everything I asked for, I got that same, that would add bloat.

He says the clock is perfect the way it is and there will not be any adding of features to it or any 'beautifying' ever. (If one discovers a bug, he will fix that, but it does what it does and does it well, so there is no bug fixing needed.) He says it could only be more perfect only if he can find a way to remove more 'bloat' from it and make it even smaller.

This was the application that gave me the push to learn programming. My frustrations from dealing with him lead me to learn how to create my own version with all the bloat features I wanted. cheesy

We still argue about this clock, even today, with him still insisting that it is perfect.

For anybody that wants his clock, it's attached to this post. He gave me permission to distribute it. (earlier 'bloated' versions and source are available, bundled, on his site's files page)
3971  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Does reliable PC security have to cost money? on: November 07, 2007, 08:18:24 AM
Husbands are no good with software  Wink Whenever I let mine use my machine for anything, something breaks  Angry

I won't even let him get that far. I am afraid he'll break my desk before he even gets a chance to try to use the PC.
3972  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Genuinely stupid laws - that still APPLY !! on: November 07, 2007, 07:43:44 AM
Here is a well known law from my home state of New Jersey, that is enforced, and makes us kind of an odd-ball state:

It is against the law here to pump your own gas.
3973  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Does reliable PC security have to cost money? on: November 06, 2007, 09:36:20 PM
If by remote you mean yelling at my daughter who is sitting in the other room, telling her to get the hell off myspace b4 she ruins her laptop, then yes.  cheesy

I also seemed to have installed a '6th sense firewall' plugin that causes me to wake up and yell at my husband whenever he just thinks about getting too close to my PC while I am asleep.  Grin
3974  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Does reliable PC security have to cost money? on: November 06, 2007, 08:34:03 PM
BitDefender Free is not a good choice as a main antivirus. Their free version doesn't do background scanning. It is only good for on demand scanning (right click a file in explorer and select scan). You will still need something for background scanning for full protection.

My main antivirus is Common Sense (upgrades available daily).  Wink

But just in case that fails, I have AVG Free and I use BitDefender Free for on demand scanning.

I did write an article about it on my Snailware blog, explaining how to configure BitDefender for this job so that it won't clash with AVG.
3975  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Do you use Desktop Widgets? on: November 06, 2007, 08:01:13 PM
I have my fav widgets that I use, but rather than repeating with more scary screenshots of my desktop, you can just go here: http://www.donationcoder....ic=4782.msg79302#msg79302

A few posts after, I give links to all the widgets.
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