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51  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: piston and gear design on: March 18, 2015, 06:42:32 PM
Here's the SVG file, if you want to play around with it in Inkscape.  I'm a bit busy at the moment, but if I get some time later, I'll tweak it and re-post.
52  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: piston and gear design on: March 17, 2015, 08:06:46 PM
Aha, so the piston rod is actually like a rack gear.  OK.  Like so?


(drawn in Inkscape 0.91 with the new "Rack Gear" render function)
53  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: piston and gear design on: March 17, 2015, 07:14:45 PM
Is the rod attached to the gear offset? (so the piston action turns the gear)  Do you need just an illustration, or an animated thing?  Does it have to be detailed, or can it be simple shapes?
54  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: my problem with programming on: March 17, 2015, 02:00:25 AM
Mouser's advice stands true; when you finally pick a language to learn based on your needs and preferences, just start with the basics and learn as you go, step by step, and don't try and code something over your ability lest you suffer premature frustration.  Write down your grandiose schemas to try later, definitely, but don't try to climb a mountain when you're still in slippers.  Don't worry though, if you're truly willing to learn, it'll come faster than you think.  Thmbsup
55  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: my problem with programming on: March 17, 2015, 01:36:01 AM
1) there is no dictionary. there are many terms involved, like functions, actions, commands, events, attributes, properties, etc that make it difficult to follow. is there a complete dictionary for programming?

Well, yes and no.  Programming in general has a certain lexicon which you touch on in your question.  Almost all languages, for example, implement some method of storing information which can be referred to by a simple name; this is called a Variable.  Many languages also implement a method of putting together statements in an easily-referenced sub-routine that can return a result; that is a Function.  There isn't really a lingua franca as such, but maybe this will help some:

Just knowing the terms in the dictionary may not get you very far into actually learning a programming language, but I agree knowing the terms will help to at least know what the heck someone is talking about.  So next time you happen upon a bit of programmorrhea, grab a pen (or notepad.exe), jot down the terms and references you don't understand, then look them up.  If after that you still don't understand, move on or dig deeper.

2) there is no list of all commands. I cant find a list of all the commands that can be used. why there isn't really any?

That depends on what language you are interested in.  EVERY language has its own list of commands somewhere.  A language reference guide in paper or pdf form, official wiki page, help files, all kinds of stuff.  The most basic specific terms and commands are often referred to as Reserved Words; these are the Rosetta Stone of every programming language from which the basic building blocks may be constructed and extended.  When you use these words, you are doing things in the language.  Just be aware that every language has its own list of words which may contain words common with other languages, but mean slightly different things and have different purposes and must be used according to each language's Syntax.  Syntax is each language's own rules for putting these words together in Statements in order to do things.  

3) there is no outline guide. Apart from knowing which commands to use and how, there should be a guide of the whole overview structure of a program/script. like pseudocode. I cannot find instructions of this at all! how am I supposed to start a program? what am I supposed to include and in which order? I am not talking about the particular code exactly, but the overview, if you know what I mean

I get what you are saying, but in practice it seems most people just have a general idea for what they want to do, and are familiar enough with the language to just start hacking.  For the closest thing to a universal method of describing program logic, I would recommend a flowchart.  Learn the logic of flowcharting (each box shape has a definite meaning), and you have much of the same logic a program must go through to accomplish a task.  Apply the specific language's Syntax to the corresponding flowchart nodes and you just may have a working program at the end.  As far as "what am I supposed to include and in which order?" goes, many languages require a statement or two or five that set up a basic environment in which to initiate action.  Pascal has "Begin" and a corresponding "End.", C has "int main()", Python has "def main()", BASH scrips have "#!/bin/bash", that sort of thing.  Some languages require you to define and initialize variables and functions before they are used, some don't.  It is up to you to learn what your chosen language requires, if any.  

Now, down to the real question:  
What is it you want to DO with your soon-to-be-learned programming skill?
Based on what your needs and proclivities are, I can more properly suggest a language to learn and point you to some solid resources to learn it.  Like I said, ALL the information you seek is available, I suspect you may be overwhelmed by the choices and not able to find a general reference.  Nothing wrong with that, it's actually pretty common.  For a while, I flitted from language to language, looking for "the One" to scratch all my itches, but I never ended up learning much either, until I settled on Pascal; It was the only language that I was able to get comfortable with very quickly, even object-oriented stuff, and it's just as powerful as any other.  I'm also taking the CS50 class on EdX, which is slowly but surely teaching me the rudiments of C. Highly recommended.
56  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Terry Pratchett, author of the Discworld series, dies aged 66 on: March 16, 2015, 08:39:01 PM
Only 66?  Wow...  Sad
57  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: 10th Anniversary - long time member check-in thread on: March 15, 2015, 09:33:05 PM
Happy Birthday Nudone! (a bit early, I suppose...) Thanks from me also for contributing the mascot.  I still remember the thread where he was born:

58  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: email account with fastest sign up on: March 15, 2015, 03:56:51 PM
Good luck.  Without any other info besides a username and password, it's going to be hard.  There are really only a handful of free email sites left, and they all (AFAIK) require to know who you really are, to varying degrees.  Unless you have a friend who runs a private email server, I'm not optimistic about your chances.
59  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Do we have any musical people on DC? on: March 14, 2015, 06:18:36 PM
He pays for what he does.  Thmbsup

Seriously, he does ask the artists' permission when doing parodies, and he has to share a negotiated cut.  Those negotiations happen for every song, so...
60  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Do we have any musical people on DC? on: March 13, 2015, 09:43:37 PM
My thoughts?  Listen to "Wild Wild West" by The Escape Club:

<a href="" target="_blank"></a>

Then listen to "Pump It Up" by Elvis Costello:

<a href="" target="_blank"></a>

... and tell me who should be suing whom undecided
61  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: VOIP - alternatives, PROs and CONs. on: March 10, 2015, 07:23:31 PM
I've tried Jitsi, but can never seem to get anyone to use it, so... pretty useless. Sad

I too tried Jitsi, also Linphone, Ekiga, Twinkle, and a few other obscure SIP clients.  The trouble is, it seems like every SIP network has their own client, none of them work together (actually, that may have changed in recent years), and they all charge money for calling land lines.  I have accounts with IPtel and Ekiga, though I haven't logged in for so long, the accounts are either lapsed or I've probably forgotten my passwords, and they were probably linked to my Lavabit email, so recovering is an impossibility.
So much easier to use Google Talk from, which is free to call land lines in the states, so if I ever need VOIP, it's either that or Mumble, which I use to talk to my son when he's out with friends and needs me to troubleshoot the Minecraft server.

I also kept hearing that while SIP works pretty good for voice alone, it sucks when trying to shoehorn video in with it, so there were several proposals to 'upgrade' SIP to something that can handle realtime video calls and teleconferencing.  Skype was really happening around the same time, so nobody cared and nothing was done, IIRC.
62  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Vivaldi, the new Web browser for power users on: March 09, 2015, 08:37:02 PM
I use Opera mainly because it is faster than the others - ALL the others (at least on my box...).  The switch to using the webkit engine (and webkit IS just an engine) wasn't what bothered me, it was the dumbing-down trend I'd seen in other browsers.  When I was a Firefox fan, I thought the "Firefox button" was a good idea (all the menus, 10% of the space!) but then they took that away and left me with a hamburger and a box of pictures.  undecided
Opera went the same way, taking away many of the old Opera's features, and axing a bunch of fairly serious configurability (really? no way to change the default search engine? seriously?) and I usually blamed it on the switch to webkit, though I am now beginning to think that was on purpose.

I have tried Vivaldi, and it really does look like they're trying to bring back the old Opera, even starting a browser-centered community-driven site ( that has email, blogging, forums, etc. (MyOpera, anyone?).
As it stands, Vivaldi starts up rather slow for me, and it has that weird Metro square-iness look that is REALLY out of place on my Linux box, but so far, it's... OK.  Not as fast as Opera, but it renders some stuff better, and I'm looking forward to seeing what improvements are waiting in the future.  For now though, it's an also-ran that I'll keep my eye on.
63  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: 10th Anniversary - long time member check-in thread on: March 07, 2015, 10:26:08 PM
Sadly, at least one name on the list won't be making it back for the festivities.

But I have to say I'm sure Thunder7 would be raising a glass right along with us if he were here. smiley
64  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: is it possible to easily build a GUI mockup? on: March 07, 2015, 10:19:57 PM
CogTool has UI mockups and something called "predictive human performance modeling" which basically means it evaluates whether your design is going to be easy or difficult to use, according to some algorithms:

Maybe the VBA features in MS Word?

Using the "Form Controls" tool in OpenOffice and LibreOffice, you can place things like buttons, drop-down menus, listboxes, all kinds of standard GUI stuff, I wonder if you can do the same in Word?

There is no more free version of RAD Studio, no more free Delphi, C#, or C++ Builder.
I would recommend Lazarus as a good free replacement tool.

In the veign of using a RAD tool, I can second Lazarus.  It's quite capable, cross-platform, and you don't need to write any code to make the widgets 'work' after compiling.  Check boxes will check, buttons will click, menus will drop, etc.

Qt has QtDesigner for simply making forms with UI elements, it's not not available standalone anymore, but is part of the QtCreator IDE:
To get it, unfortunately you have to download the whole stack:

If you like GTK2's look, try Glade:

...or the more minimal FLTK UI builder named Fluid:
Sorry, can't find binary windows builds of it, but it is possible to compile for windows.  Maybe I'll give it a shot later on my Windows VM.
65  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: silly humor - post 'em here! [warning some NSFW and adult content] on: February 27, 2015, 07:19:53 PM
That might be due to the fact that we only had compact fluorescent bulbs available in the pantry.
 Grin Grin Grin
66  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Why won't my laptop run Firefox? on: February 26, 2015, 12:49:08 AM
Have you tried the tried-and-often-true method of simply uninstalling and re-installing?  Try tracking down and erasing any user configuration files as well (back them up first, you may end up needing them).

Have you tried running Firefox from a command prompt?  Often, this will give you some logging as it runs, and reports errors it encounters.  Could be a missing library that it doesn't have a specific error message for, or a configuration has it looking for something that isn't in it's expected place.  Give it a try if you haven't already, and let us know what you find (or not).

67  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Stop the killer robots! on: February 25, 2015, 09:28:36 PM
 Grin Grin Grin
From the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots facebook page:

68  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Stop the killer robots! on: February 25, 2015, 09:08:16 PM
Only twice in history have nations come together to ban a weapon before it was ever used.
Today a group of non-governmental organizations is working to outlaw another yet-to-be used device, the fully autonomous weapon or killer robot. In 2012 the group formed the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots to push for a ban.

My take?  I don't know.  I'd like to think that just like we banned poison gas and are on the threshold of banning nukes, it just might go through.  But the pragmatic side of me says no, killer robots will happen, just maybe not like envisioned in the "Terminator" movies or "Hardware" short film.  Why?  
Because this guy:

<a href="" target="_blank"></a>

from Codeproject News
69  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Multimeters are indispensable when working with any electrical apparatus. on: February 25, 2015, 08:51:36 PM
A few suggestions:

How to Buy a Multimeter
Even the cheapest meter is useful for DIY electronics. There are myriad problems with cheap meters, but none of them actually prevent you from making use of the meter for DIY electronics. A cheap meter simply has limits on the questions it can be expected to answer, and on the situations it can be safely used in.

And from the standpoint of your garden variety "maker":

70  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Multimeters are indispensable when working with any electrical apparatus. on: February 25, 2015, 08:39:19 PM
The workhorse "Cadillac" of multimeters would be anything by Fluke.  Hands down.  As the old saying goes, "you get what you pay for" and any given Fluke model comes with a price tag, but it's just one of those things...  Accurate, built like a tank, and is the first choice of professionals.

The best "entry-level" you're likely to find is the best you can afford from Klein Tools.  I've owned a few Klein models; they just plain work, and are cheap enough that replacing one isn't a chore, because honestly, they're not the toughest nuts on the tree.
...just don't go testing your 12-volt power supplies with the dial accidentally switched to "Ohms".  undecided
Beyond that, some names to look for would be Innova, Extech, and Ampprobe, just be sure to read the reviews before buying.

Oh, and the "killer feature" to look for would be the ability to measure capacitance.   Thmbsup
71  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Interesting "stuff" on: February 19, 2015, 09:21:19 PM
Guess who helped design the new Star Wars' movie lightsaber?

Next-generation http/2 protocol is done, promises faster, safer browsing.

72  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Do we have any musical people on DC? on: February 13, 2015, 01:18:42 AM
RE: the Keeley compressor - Nice find!  I've always known compression to be a 'secret weapon' for keeping the bass 'in the pocket' sonically (musically depends on the wielder of said four-string weapon).  Never found a really good one though, I'll check it out.

The only compressor for guitar that I've ever been truly impressed with was the Ibanez CP10 Compressor/Sustainor.  With guitar, sometimes the best thing is for it to be a little on the non-subtle side; transparent, YES, but for the brief time I was allowed to play with this thing, the more I became aware that there finally existed a tool that would smooth over the jangling mis-pick or the 'oops, I muted that bend again' that so plagued me in my formative years. 
Now, I'm painfully aware that nothing will EVER replace experience, practice, and some good 'ol fashioned talent, but sometimes, technique be damned, I just wanted to jam and boy did this little pedal let me do it, politely sweeping up the garbage as I went.

Solo demo:
<a href="" target="_blank"></a>

and vs. the Keely C-4:
<a href="" target="_blank"></a>

The CP10 has some serious hang-time and 'smoove' without raising the noise level like so many other compressors-in-a-pedal that I've heard and played. 
Now I just gotta clone that thing...
73  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Interesting "stuff" on: February 12, 2015, 12:46:05 AM
i know society expects its girls to show diffidence when criticizing boys. but come on!

Please don't make this a gender issue.  I was over that in high school.

I took issue with Ms. Maltese's critique because she's obviously personally offended about some guy getting attention for his unconventional archery skills, so much so that she had to make a "snarky" video rebuttal.  When I say "snarky" I mean pretty much what 40Hz said.  There's really no reason to say much of what she said without thinking that she was taking the whole thing a little too personally.  Air quotes?  Seriously?  Friend pulling faces to illustrate her frustration?  Really?

I will admit I don't know a whole bunch about archery.  What I DO know is the guy was doing some amazing things that I've NEVER seen any "trick shooter" do, that obviously took a lot of time and practice to hone into a skill, and was obviously inspired by his personal assessment of historical archery techniques.  I DO agree that his said assessment may be quite spotty, and he should probably rein that in a bit, and say a lot less about how "wrong" others may be.  But to go from there to criticize his methods or technique, I think is unfair at best, and downright malicious at worst.  

I admit my post may have appeared emotionally motivated as well (it was quite longer than I thought it would be), and I apologize for that; but in my opinion, she waxed a bit overmuch on trivial things that really didn't need it, and that tends to get my goat.
74  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Interesting "stuff" on: February 11, 2015, 11:32:02 PM
This Ethernet cable costs $10,000...
You probably didn’t know it, but you’ve been buying garbage Ethernet cables your entire life. Fortunately, there’s finally a better option and it only costs as much as a used car.
75  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Interesting "stuff" on: February 11, 2015, 10:27:32 PM
Being a casual sport archer, I found the following video by Anna Maltese (archery instructor, bow-maker, tournament competitor, fire archery practitioner) rebutting some of Lars ("fastest archer on the planet") Andersen's recent postulations rather interesting:

Though I can't vouch for the historicity of any of Mr. Andersen's claims, basically he's shown that he's gotten really good at doing archery stuff that looks like it'd be actually useful in medieval melee.  While Ms. Maltese's snarky 'rebuttal' may be based on stuff she knows a thing or two about, her attitude kinda grated on me.

1- "Forgotten" knowledge.
If there's a big book at the library about how to catch egg noodles in the wild with a gunny sack and some pretzels, but everybody still goes down to the grocer and picks them up for a dollar a pound, it's effectively "forgotten", even though the information is readily available.

2- "Trick shooter"
Damn straight, he's damn tricky, but the things he does look actually useful, and it obviously took a lot of practice and built-up skill to pull off what he does.  Nobody is going to pull an arrow out of their heart and say "Haha, nice trick".  Trick shot or not, if you're hit, he wins.

3- "Plate armor"
She goes on about how he's only pulling 10-13 pounds on the bow, and mocks his demonstration of shooting through chain mail by showing a picture of full dress plate armor.  Lady, how many people do you really think were on the battlefield in full plate?  Though I don't buy the myths that they were very heavy or cumbersome, I don't think they were standard issue to any and all foot soldiers.  I don't recall any medieval woodcuts or tapestries showing fields of armor-clad heroes, but plenty of woolen-knickers-and-chainmail-waistcoats.

4- "Left vs. Right"
She takes issue with him saying he has learned to "shoot arrows from the right side of the bow", then sets up a straw man by saying archers shoot on whatever side their strong eye is.  C'mon Ms. Maltese, you know what he meant.

5- "Bamboo arrows"
She takes issue with him being able to split an arrow by saying he had to use bamboo arrows to perform his amazing "split the arrow as it flies" trick.
HE SPLIT AN ARROW THAT WAS FLYING MID-AIR IN HIS GENERAL DIRECTION.  It doesn't matter if it was made of bamboo or drinking straws, HE SPLIT AN ARROW IN MID-AIR.

EDIT: This guy summed up my thoughts and more in a more precise fashion:
<a href="" target="_blank"></a>
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