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201  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Cnet's Download.com and the installer scam on: August 25, 2011, 02:07:17 PM
Let's look at what is valuable on a software download site. In my opinion:
* categorization (good searching capabilities, related software)
* completeness (contains all software, inluding newest releases)
* unbiased, regularly updated reviews (by people, who really know what they are talking about)
* accessible web (good web design, not too many ads, links to useful resources)

All users and all honest developers want this. As developers, we may have different opinions about the quality of services the software directory must offer to add our software to it. I for example require higher quality when I am adding a freeware application to a directory than when I am adding a commercial one.

Currently, there are 3 types of directories:
1. link farms - all runs automatically, they add any software, sending award badges to everyone and hoping to get some backlinks
2. proprietary directories - owner checks the listed software titles, occasionally writes a review (usually of average quality) for free or for payment (sometimes outrageous payment as is the case with tucows)
3. crowd-sourced directories - owner delegates the review task to the willing crowd; review quality is not guaranteed; reviews do not get paid and their goal usually is to give some love to the software they like, not to write an unbiased review

In my opinion, all of the above types have serious drawbacks. #1 is useless and hopefully dying. #2 is hard to scale, reviewing software costs time and hence money. #3 has scaling problems as well - review quality gets down when the site grows - spam would be a big problem. And let's not forget, that there is still a single owner that can decide to flip the switch.

We need another, better type of software directory that will ensure balance of power. I do not know how to achive it, but here are some concepts:
* contributors (developers, reviewers) must remain in control of their contributions, they must be able to change, delete, deny access to their content
* contributors shall have reputation and fields of expertise
* reviews of low quality (outdated, biased, stating false information) shall be buried

As mad as it sounds, a serach engine + a social network could be the solution. How far is the time when everyone will be able to post a review on their blog and Google will know it is a review of software X? Google (and+) is scary in its effectiveness.
202  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Cnet's Download.com and the installer scam on: August 25, 2011, 04:15:51 AM
I finally found time to blog about it... http://www.rw-designer.com/entry/293
203  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Cnet's Download.com and the installer scam on: August 24, 2011, 05:21:31 PM
BTW I am kind of angry and so I mentioned this incident on their wikipedia page.
204  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Cnet's Download.com and the installer scam on: August 24, 2011, 04:59:01 PM
Sadly, that would not work, because download.com hosts the current versions of our software and they certainly would not approve a new version that would warn users about them.

Even if they did, some users will be lost due to bad experience caused by the adware-packed installer.
205  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Cnet's Download.com and the installer scam on: August 24, 2011, 04:58:06 AM
I'm embarrassed to say I'm already feeling pretty upset about the high price of having our software removed and wondering if i did the right thing.  Sad

I am still on the other side of the wall (no reply to my email yet - I used the address from that "support" page), but I think removing is the right way. Certainly, if all your tools are freeware.

You are #1 for "screenshot captor" and download.com is holding #2 with the stars. My bet is, with that entry gone, more people would click directly on your link and get much better experience. Download.com was effectively stealing traffic and redirected people elsewhere.

I am in similar position on "cursor editor". Me being #1, but download.com being #4 with stars (or #2 if I use the full name). I suppose the high download count is due to this. Unfortunately for me, download.com has other cursor editors in stock and so by removing myself, I will not be eliminating the starred competition... But I still think it is worth the price.

Maybe google will revisit their strategy regarding star rating for download.com after what they have done.
206  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Cnet's Download.com and the installer scam on: August 23, 2011, 10:13:25 AM
At least you got a response to your email, mouser. I got nothing so far  Angry

Their blasted installer requires admin permissions! That totally destroys the show for all portable tools  Sad

----

snapfiles is one of the better ones, though they sometimes do not review/approve a program for years - I even tried to pay for their express review (years ago), but they did not review it anyway. I got my money back after asking for them, but no explanation. Their approve process is not transparent. Maybe my software was competing with owner's friend software or something like that. Who know?

I did not know about waakoopa, it looks like a nice alternative to software.informer.com  Thmbsup
207  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Cnet's Download.com and the installer scam on: August 23, 2011, 04:46:13 AM
Ooops, very bad move from download.com. Another software download site to add to the ignore list.

Up until now I have considered download.com one of the better download sites. Unlike other sites, they sometimes did a relatively thorough review of the applications they listed and the applications were approved in a reasonable time. Oh, well. The self-hosting of the installers was annoying though, but I thought they did it to guarantee functionality for their users.

Anyway, is there a "good" download site left? By good, I mean they do reviews or at least look at the software they list. Maybe softpedia.com and some specialized sites like software.informer.com, alternative.to, portablefreeware.com. Anything else?

48 hours from me as well :-)
208  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: "Upgrade" Button is Patented -- Trolls Come Out of Sewers... on: August 18, 2011, 04:01:34 PM
We, as consumers, have the ultimate power --- IF we would just choose to exercise it. YOU vote with your wallets.

Sometimes I agree with this, but more often I remain pessimistic. This would only work if a large percentage of people did it. If 95% of people ignore common sense and just buy what they are told to buy by smart marketers, the remaining 5% can vote with their wallets all they want and nothing ever changes - except that we are considered weird and laughed at by those 95%.

95% of people don't care about patents... Sad
209  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Implement features that are known to be loved in other programs, on your own on: August 17, 2011, 02:59:29 AM
I totally understand the complexity of some of these features. Some other, like breadcrumbs, are trivial, though.

Even a simple button is pretty hard to implement if you have to do it on your own. Processing mouse event (what if I click and hold and move the mouse somewhere else?), keyboard events (what if I press Space and then Tab), drawing the button using appropriate visual theme in the right resolution, possibly with customizations...

If the new feature cannot be accomplished using a standardized component, the amount of additional work increases significantly. Even in environments, where there is a lot of relatively easily integrable custom components, the component quality tends to be low (everyone just scratches their own itch).

Breadcrumbs in Vista/Win 7 file windows are implemented using a heavily customized toolbar intertwined with edit boxes. It is very hard to duplicate.
210  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Firefox fixes the version number problem on: August 16, 2011, 01:28:39 PM
I understand that some of my add-ons will often fail to work if I update Firefox too soon.  I understand that when people who upgrade Firefox as soon as possible report all kinds of problems, I want to be able to hold off on updating.  I have no desire to be the canary in the coalmine.

A properly implemented automatic updates should be able to cover this typical scenario. The Firefox devs would be stupid if they implemented automatic updates in a way that breaks their users' browsers. It is not that hard to compare version numbers of your extensions and determine whether a patch should be applied now or next week together with an extension update. Why do people always assume that developers cannot see the simplest things? Do programmers really deserve this?  cheesy
211  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Firefox fixes the version number problem on: August 16, 2011, 11:30:12 AM
I must be stoned while I'm reading this.  huh

How, in the name of all that is decent, can giving users less control over what gets installed on their machines ever be viewed as "the right way to go"? tongue

I know that it seems weird, but let's face the facts. An installer that is given admin permissions can do really evil things to your computer. The risk is here already. Control over your own computer is an illusion unless you run linux and review every bit of source code you install. Automatic updates can at least compensate this downside.

Do you think that you know better than the developers that this patch is good or bad for you? Do you want to invest the time to find out? Do you want your data lost or your computer hacked because of a stupid bug that has been fixed years ago, but you were too lazy to install the update? Sum this all up and you'll end up with a huge positive value. That's why I am saying, automatic updates are the way to go even if there is some loss of control over your computer. I know that few power users would be annoyed by this, but the silent majority will benefit greatly.

Look at the state of Internet Explorer. There are still people using IE6. How much easier it would be to develop a style for a web site if everyone had the latest version of their favorite browser?

As a user, I'd much rather use a portable application that auto-updates itself and runs with limited permissions than install anything that requires admin permissions.
212  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Firefox fixes the version number problem on: August 16, 2011, 08:38:19 AM
It is the right way to go. While it means that the users are less in control of the software they run on their computers, it simplifies the development and maintenance by a great deal.

From the developer perspective, automatic updates are a blessing. If a bug is found, it can be fixed and the fix is distributed to all users within few days without bothering them. It is a tremendous help.

I am planning automatic updates for new versions of my software, but implementing a 100% working transparent automatic updates is pretty tough. Kudos to Firefox devs.
213  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Implement features that are known to be loved in other programs, on your own on: August 15, 2011, 05:27:49 PM
I guess, the usual reason is limited resources.

Implementing feature X in its primitive incarnation costs N days. Implementing it intelligently costs 10*N. No one can do this for all the features in their software. The problem could be that we do not pick the right ones to implement properly.

Just yesterday, I watched this video http://businessofsoftware.org/video_09_gmoore.aspx , where Geoffrey Moore talks about innovation and how people should focus on and throw unreasonable amount of resources on their core features, but be very efficient when implementing all the rest.
214  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Operation Facebook (will you rejoice?) on: August 15, 2011, 03:37:49 AM
Same with me. I joined not because I wanted, but because it was expected of me... Can you run a micro-business without having a facebook profile? How many invitations from your supporters can you ignore?

I was terrified when I visited some unknown web for the first time and there I saw my picture. Clicking on in revealed that they have a "special" relationship with facebook and facebook made the information about me available to them to make their services "better". (This is not the same as the facebook comments you see on many sites.) I opted out of this program, but how many will? How many do care about these things? Now I carefully log out every time I leave facebook and I should probably purge the long-duration cookies as well.
215  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Samsung hard drives - don't buy them unless you like subliminal mental torture on: August 13, 2011, 07:22:01 AM
I am a long time advocate of silent computers, but it is pretty hard to actually build one. In the hard disk department, SSD is the obvious way to go. In the past, the Seagate drives were the most quiet. Maybe they still are - I stopped watching, because I am never going to buy another spinning hard drive. BTW the external USB drives are pretty silent these days. Fast SSD + large portable USB hard disk is a neat combo.
216  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Operation Facebook (will you rejoice?) on: August 10, 2011, 04:07:33 PM
I would not miss Facebook if it were gone. It has wasted so much time of so many people... very much like the real drugs do...

But I doubt Anonymous can really shut it down for more than a few hours.
217  DonationCoder.com Software / Screenshot Captor / Re: Image size problem while using wide screen monitor on: August 06, 2011, 01:57:23 AM
This may be a bit of an insulting question: Have you really switched your screen resolution to 1920x1080 after switching the displays? I know that it sounds odd, but I have seen people using non-native resolutions on LCDs before...
218  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Dot Net - a wrong step by MS? on: August 04, 2011, 02:52:49 AM
Interesting articles.

I became a .net skeptic shortly after it was released in 2002 after I had to work on a larger desktop app in .net. It promised simple nasty-error-free environment, but did not deliver. Don't get me wrong, it is good enough for server-side components or simple desktop apps (if you do not mind the need to have the proper version of the framework installed on users' machines (which I do)).

HTML5+JavaScript makes a lot of sense for client apps. I have actually been considering exploring that direction not a long time ago. XULRunner seems intriguing - it is maintained by Mozilla, open source, the binaries are relatively small (compared to .net framework). If anyone has actual experiences with XULRunner, I'd love to hear about it.
219  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: The social network icon flood is getting crowded on: July 31, 2011, 05:29:10 AM
I could not resist the temptation and placed a couple of buttons on my web, but I am trying to keep the number reasonable.

10 is too much, 4 is the right number for me. People hate to have too many options.

I good rule is to add a social network button only after some visitors came from that network without having the button.
220  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Do You Want Your Searches Monitored? on: July 28, 2011, 05:22:02 AM
It seems like every tragedy is an excuse to tighten the noose of control in the modern western police state.

Politicians are happy when they can play it safe and responsible and gain another bit of power in the process.

I am ashamed of the European governments. The situation in Lybia and Somalia are another examples of how effectively can we "help".
221  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Why Are Hackers Becoming So Angry? on: July 22, 2011, 12:53:43 PM
I agree with the article. The attempts to undo all the good things that internet brought in the name of profit and control would make anyone angry, not just hackers.

Though, I do not think hacking web sites is the proper reaction. The "responsible hacker" should work on something positive and develop technologies that are resistant to misuse. I admire projects like freenet or bitcoin. While they have many drawbacks, others will be built upon their legacy and one day, we'll have the free internet back. The more the governments push against it, the sooner cheesy.
222  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Why crack offered for freeware and tiny app uploaded on Megaupload ? on: July 19, 2011, 08:05:04 AM
For some people, the word "crack" is more trustworthy or comprehensible than "freeware".  Angry

But I agree with Renegade that it is most likely an automated content generator at work. It grabs names of real software and adds words like crack, serial, warez, torrent, etc. in an attempt to get a bit of search engine traffic and make some money on ads or another commodity that a spammer can harvest and sell (like emails or solved captchas).
223  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: 64 Bit OS - When to Switch ? on: July 19, 2011, 04:25:08 AM
I've run into that issue with some of my C# code, and speaking from experience, I can say the following:

that will only ever be an issue with very badly designed code. If you run into this issue, you're doing things wrong - massively wrong.

Our opinions differ in this point. I say quite the opposite. If you design your code in a good way and isolate things from each other, this limitation will bite you in the ass. Is it a bad design to use tabs, splitters or collapsible panels? http://www.rw-designer.co...t-animated-cursor-big.png Maybe I went a bit over the board with the complexity, but not in an unreasonable way.

I prefer isolated components, little black-boxes I can juggle around as I want. They need a bit more window nesting depth than the 64-bit edition gives...
224  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Am I alone in not using or wanting to use the "Cloud" ... on: July 16, 2011, 09:30:24 AM
I am slowly using more and more of the "cloud", but I am not happy about it. The main issue for me is the opacity of the cloud. I do not know what hardware and software and people are taking care of my data. When I do not understand something, I tend to fear it.

I am dreaming about a different cloud, one that is more transparent in its working and I can see what is going on inside.
225  Special User Sections / N.A.N.Y. 2012 / Re: NANY 2012 Idea Suggestion: Picture Grid Arranger on: July 13, 2011, 06:59:28 AM
My entry in the last NANY ( the Card Creator - http://www.donationcoder....m/index.php?topic=24837.0 ) can do part of what you have described. While all the built-in templates have some kind of fancy borders, it is possible to create simple templates to just arrange images in rows, columns or tables. The number and sizes of the individual images are controlled by the template - this may be a problem if you need flexibility. But it may also be an advantage if you want to publish on web and have consistent results.
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