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76  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Antivirus-less setup on: September 28, 2012, 05:16:09 AM
I am not running any anti-virus on my main PC and have no (apparent) problems. Once every few years, I install something and let it test the machine and then uninstall it - in most cases, it finds nothing or some false positives.

If you decide to go this way, you MUST keep your system updated or be behind a good, preferably non-standard firewall. Modems usually have firewalls configured to kill any incoming packet, which is fine. If you are not behind a modem, you should probably install a custom firewall - one that is not too popular (which means not a valuable target for hackers).

Also, using a less popular browser used to be good way to avoid infection. But gone are the days when IE dominated, these days IE, FF and Chrome are popular enough to be targeted by hackers. Chrome and FF are at least often updated, so vulnerabilities should not exist for too long. Opera is still probably the safest choice due to its market share...

And of course using common sense when installing/running applications is invaluable.
77  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Bitcoin theft causes Bitfloor exchange to go offline on: September 06, 2012, 03:04:59 PM
About shutting it down - I will not say that it is impossible, but with Bitcoin being a distributed service, it would require extreme technical and political measures. Simply shutting down a single server or seizing a domain name would not do it. I will go as far as saying that the easiest way to shut Bitcoin down is via social engineering - convincing all the people using it that it is irrelevant.

The web site that was hacked is just an easily replaceable service running on top of the Bitcoin protocol.
78  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Bitcoin theft causes Bitfloor exchange to go offline on: September 06, 2012, 10:34:24 AM
Deflation is a horrible thing. It sounds great when you first hear about it, but think about it: Deflation means that by simply sitting on a bitcoin doing NOTHING, the value of your savings increases. What if everybody did this? Believing that a deflationary economy could work is similar as believing in perpetual motion. Though, I admit that it is very intriguing to dream about outwitting nature or math.

A functional economy must favor those that take action more than those, who don't. That is why a mild, predictable inflation is necessary. Deflationary economy favors hoarders instead of producers of goods and services. In time, deflation drives active entities out of market and therefore the bitcoins in their current form cannot become widespread. They would kill every industry segment that would depend on them.

It may not sound that way, but I am a big fan of decentralized digital currencies for all the reasons mentioned by Renegade. I just don't believe in the current Bitcoin system.
79  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Bitcoin theft causes Bitfloor exchange to go offline on: September 06, 2012, 04:17:12 AM
I meant deflation of prices. If year ago you could buy 1 unit of something for 1 bitcoin, now you can buy 3 units of the same thing for the same bitcoin. Nobody invests bitcoins, cause they themselves seem the best investment and always will seem that way due to the fixed amount of coins. The larger the number of people who are using bitcoins the more valuable they are (more people - same amount of coins). So, if you have a bitcoin, you should tell all your friends about it to increase its value. Bitcoins currently run on pure PR, they are not backed by and accepted by a large enough number of merchants as real currencies are.

It is unimaginable that bitcoins are mainstream, because that would mean that the currently rich people would have to give away half of their wealth to a few bitcoin early adopters. Not going to happen, rich people (usually) are not that stupid.

Still, I hope for bitcoin 2.0 that would fix the issue and would be the right thing for online purchasing, not for investing.
80  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Bitcoin theft causes Bitfloor exchange to go offline on: September 05, 2012, 12:27:24 PM
I used to be a bitcoin fan, but at this point, I very much doubt it it will ever become widespread. It has a fatal flaw - limited amount of coins and hence unavoidable deflation problem. It will never work, because:

Imagine you have a bitcoin. If bitcoins become more popular, their value will rise. You should simply sit on your bitcoin as it will be worth thousands of dollars one day. Everybody thinks like that and hence nobody is actually using bitcoins. Since nobody is using them, they will not become popular...

I placed a message that I accept bitcoins on my web more than year ago - nobody ever took advantage of that. I also added my web to an official list of websites accepting bitcoins - no visitors came from that list.

So, as sad as it is, I do not believe that bitcoin is the solution. The worst thing is the attitude of the bitcoins supporters - as soon as someone mentions the deflation problem on bitcoin forum, they get attacked and beat to virtual death by arguments similar to "white color does not exists, it is just a very bright kind of black". Bitcoins are for investors, not for buyers and sellers of goods...

This hack was not the first and likely will not be the last... Why do bitcoiners even use these services? People should keep their bitcoins on their own computer anyway.
81  DonationCoder.com Software / Screenshot Captor / Re: Screenshot Captor - Discussion of Screencasting and Movie Frame Editing Features on: September 03, 2012, 02:47:38 AM
I have my own screencasting needs covered (thanks to winning a Camtasia license here on DC Kiss), but I see one scenario related to screencasting that is not properly covered with current products:

When a user of my software has a problem or a question, I would love to see a short screencast of the problem occurring instead of vague textual description (missing crucial context) in an email. The problem is the difficulty of creating a screencast - installing a new software, learning how to use it, selecting area for recording, configuring audio recording, choosing (or even installing) proper video codec, uploading the video somewhere, emailing me with a link... That is too much work, some of on the choices are non-trivial and require specific knowledge. It is certainly harder than writing an email...

A related use case involves a user that would like to create a video tutorial for my software, but does not want to invest too much time.

I believe many other developers would be grateful if their users had an easy way to record screencasts and share them. I even started working on something like this, but soon gave it up, because it was too far away from my core business and seemed not exactly trivial. My plan was to have 1 or 2 buttons in the status bar of my application ("Start recording" or "Pause recording"+"End recording"). Start recording would show a window with understandable options like "record audio" and "record from webcam and place it in the corner". End recording would show a window allowing the user to name and describe the video and save it to file, upload it to youtube or to my web server, or send the video via email. I was planning to incorporate Google's open source VP8 codec and nothing else. The recording would always contain just the active window scaled to 1280x720 pixels (keeping pixel aspect ratio). In short, as few options as possible during the whole process.

If the screenshot captor with screencasting would somehow make this use case practical, that would be great. Alternatively, if you decided to sell licenses for a screencast-recording library, that would make it easy for developers to implement features I described above, that may become a popular thing as well - but it would need some research.
82  Special User Sections / N.A.N.Y. 2012 / Re: NANY 2012 Pledge & Release: Image Grid on: September 02, 2012, 05:39:45 AM
OK, here is a small update - version 1.1 can be downloaded from http://download.rw-designer.com/1.1/ImageGrid.exe

I have added a new button that cycles between 3 margin presets: no margins (default), small margins and large margins.
Another change is that the background color for images of different sizes (and now also for margins) is white rather than black. If you use .png when saving, these areas will remain transparent (as in the original version).
83  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: In search of...Wordpress star ratings plugin on: August 25, 2012, 04:09:52 AM
I am afraid, my reply won't be helpful, but have you considered using something simpler than a 5-star rating system? As recently mentioned on DC http://www.donationcoder.....php?topic=32014.msg29749 people have problems rating on a 5-step scale. Facebook's Like is a friendlier alternative, even youtube dropped star ratings and adopted  thumbs up I have used a 5-star rating system on my web for years and there are indeed problems with it - each person uses the scale differently - some only give 5 stars and 4 stars, others only give 5 stars or not rate at all, trolls just give 1 star to everything they see, others give random number of stars...  If I had the choice now, I would choose a simple like button instead (and possibly also counted number of impressions to be able to compare likes/impressions ratio).
84  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: The Final Nail in the Coffin for Privacy? on: August 22, 2012, 01:30:38 PM
Yes, if factoring numbers becomes easy, we will be in big trouble for some time. Too many things depend on that.

Though, the question whether there ever will be a feasible quantum computer is not decided. It may be just too difficult to manufacture enough qubits and maintain coherency long enough. It may prove to be as difficult as making a room-temperature superconductor. Finding a way to create and control 5 qubits may be totally unrelated to finding a way to manufacture 10 of them. This is just a wild speculation, but maybe the problem with manufacturing enough qubits is exponential - building N+1 is twice as difficult than building N. Maybe we will build a quantum computer that will be able to turn exponential problems into polynomial ones, but only up to size of (a very small) N.
85  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: VLC - Is it worth it still? on: August 21, 2012, 02:34:12 AM
I believe VLC is worth it not just for the codecs. It was the only player I was able to configure to painlessly play content on a TV connected via HDMI while keeping the controls on the main display. Both video and audio can be configured to be sent to the TV. I actually use 2 players on that system - VLC to play on TV and MP Classic to play on the main display. VLC is one step away from perfection - it does not support 3D subtitles out of the box, or at least did not when I was checking some 6 months ago.

Another nice feature I have not seen in other players is that the audio goes to 200% - some movies have really quiet audio track, so this is useful.

 Thmbsup for VLC.
86  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Help me understand Virtual Machine [VMWare] on: August 17, 2012, 12:19:20 PM
VMWare Player is a feature-limited VMWare Workstation. The most notable feature that is missing in the Player is snapshots. Snapshot allow you to revert to a previous state, which is very useful when repeatedly testing your software in a controlled environment.

Without the snapshots, VMWare Player is not usable for convenient software testing. But if you just want to use a different OS, by all means, get and use the Player, its compatibility and performance are top class.
87  Other Software / Developer's Corner / Re: newsletters - how to do them properly on: August 10, 2012, 06:23:16 PM
Thanks for the responses so far, they will definitely help me decide what to do. I guess I'll try to prepare 2 or 3 newsletters and if I manage to make them at least mildly interesting, I'll start worrying about the technical challenges. It looks like mailchimp has a free plan for up to 2000 recipients and that may be just the right number of people to test the idea on.
88  Other Software / Developer's Corner / newsletters - how to do them properly on: August 10, 2012, 06:56:01 AM
Hi all,

I am considering starting a newsletter for users of my software. After years of mainly coding, I find myself a bit disconnected from the users and it seems like newsletter is still a popular format.

So, what are the biggest obstacles I am about to face? Is it even worth it? I have email addresses of people who have created an account and kind of opted-in to receive news (it was opt-out many years ago), but I have never sent a single volume email so far.

Mouser runs a successful newsletter so I would welcome his advice as of course anyone's who is running a newsletter now, was doing it in the past or even considered doing it.

Thanks,
V.
89  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Microsoft keeps DNT as default in IE10 on: August 09, 2012, 12:17:20 PM
It is not the smartest move from Microsoft. Since nothing forces the advertisers (and other entities that track users online) to actually honor the DNT header, my guess is that the advertisers will simply ignore the header sent by IE10. That will make IE10 the browser, where users will be in effect unable to opt out of tracking...

The whole DNT header is a stupid idea anyway, because it causes a conflict of interest. (Mildly) unethical advertisers will have an advantage and that is not a good thing.
90  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Olympic coverage this year SUCKS! on: August 06, 2012, 03:20:51 AM
I am boycotting Olympics this year as well, I did not watch a single event and don't talk about it with anyone (except to tell them it is only about money). I feel sorry for the people, who trained so hard for this.

The TV coverage here in Czech Republic is probably not that bad - 2 channels are showing different events most of the time. But I usually only watch the local news channel (not on a real TV, online) and when the sport news are about to show a 15 seconds clip from OG, the screen goes green informing me they do not have the rights to show this clip online on this channel - most likely because all of the content of the news channel is going to an archive and is available on demand at any time. I guess that is something the license explicitly forbids. The internet broadcast of other channels is working fine, but is geo-locked and not available at later time.
91  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Should we pre-emptively retire old hard drives? on: August 02, 2012, 04:57:01 AM
I would say no. If the drive is in good state, I would let it run not until it dies, but until more space or capacity is needed.
92  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / The most persistent scammer on: July 20, 2012, 06:45:26 AM
Hi all,

the internet if full of spammers and scammers and one of the best things we can do is to ignore them and focus our energy on more positive things. That's what I usually do, but I got dragged into this awkward situation concerning fake software awards (if you are not familiar with that topic, read for example this classic blog post by Andy Brice).

What is different in my case is the persistence the of people behind this particular fake award. If you feel you can deal with a bit of moral greyness today, go read about my year-long experience with fake awards.

What baffles me is the amount of people, who fall for this fake awards scam. Even these days, even software developers embarassed, who should be familiar with how the web works. So, fellow programmers, how many fake awards are you displaying on your web sites? Did the people, who gave you that 5-star rating at least install your software?

V.
93  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: new DVD "M-Disc" perfect for archive material on: July 19, 2012, 01:14:29 PM
Coincidentally, this topic was covered in local news today. From what I remember:
flash-based devices: 3-4 years
burned CD/DVD: 2-10 years
HDD: 10-30 years

These are times the data remains there if it is not touched. (It does not mean that a flash disk stops working after 3 years.)

The range is particularly wide for CDs/DVDs. How long the data remains stable on a DVD depends on the quality of the DVD and also on the way it is stored - leaving it on sunlight or in a hot place or reading it too many times reduces the lifespan.
94  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Need Critique On This Image on: July 19, 2012, 12:48:53 PM
I can barely recognize a turn-off sign, a tree and a cloudy sky. Since I do not know the purpose of the image, this may be perfectly fine. But if clarity is required, I believe it would be better if the individual elements would be more distinct. Maybe using the classic vertical line instead of an ellipse on the top part of the turn-off sign would work better. Another option would be to remove the clouds and replace the tree with a simplified illustration and to use plain blue color on the background.
95  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: new DVD "M-Disc" perfect for archive material on: July 19, 2012, 11:24:59 AM
I believe services like gmail/dropbox/rapidshare trumph CDs/DVDs for distribution purposes. If I distribute a piece of paper with a link or a QR code, people will be able to access it from their PC, phone or tablet without needing a DVD reader. 500MB is piece of cake these days.

What I would love to see is something like a data crystal from Star Trek. Something that is functional, you can carry it in your pocket AND is beautiful or stylish. Burned DVDs don't even work as presents, because they look cheap (compare them to a classic vinyl LPs!).
96  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: FreewareGenius: Google’s belligerent Panda Hurting Small Sites on: July 19, 2012, 10:15:55 AM
I am sad to hear that Samer's website was hit by the Panda update. I emailed with him a couple of months ago and I must say that he he does his software reviews like a real pro Thmbsup. I hope the traffic to his website recovers soon.
97  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: new DVD "M-Disc" perfect for archive material on: July 19, 2012, 08:25:08 AM
I have stopped using CDs and DVDs years ago - I have no DVD burner in my current computer. The cost per GB is equal for a big HDD and DVDs. HDD it is definitely faster (especially when you include the time needed to find the damn DVD), occupies a much smaller space (1 3.5" HDD vs 600 DVD - that's a full bookcase) and is easily rewritable. I see no future for these fragile "discs" no matter how long are they supposed to last. The technology is dead.
98  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Microsoft's New Surface Tablet Hybrid on: June 20, 2012, 08:31:01 AM
That would be a very bad situation for independent software developers. If there were only closed gardens, my guess is that small players would only invest into very small projects - there will be more news readers, FaceBook poke sending apps, farting apps, notes taking apps, kamasutra advice apps, angry birds clones, farmville clones, etc. The realm of more serious applications like 3D Studio, Firefox, Photoshop, Office, or IDEs would be in the hands of the few large players, most likely the owners of the respective gardens.

Fortunately we are not in that situation yet. Microsoft has been very good at eliminating competition that ruled a market segment in the past, but I doubt they will succeed this time. Just as they were unable to take search from Google by copying it, they may not be able to take tablets from Apple by copying their approach.

They have revealed 2 strong weapons - Surface hardware and the WinRT API (HTML+Javasript, XAML and Direct X for GUI  thumbs up, access rights management, partial compatibility with Win32). The closed Windows Store is a big minus though.
99  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Microsoft's New Surface Tablet Hybrid on: June 20, 2012, 07:56:37 AM
The hardware looks decent enough, the weakest part IMO is the battery. The Pro version with i5 processor and just 42WH battery is not going to last very long. 1-2 hours under load? How many times may the battery be recharged? Microsoft also did not mention GPS, accelerometer or Bluetooth... They also did not reveal whether the Pro version has active or passive cooling. If there is a fan, then count me out as a buyer - that is going to be the first thing to fail.

The non-Pro version with ARM processor and Windows RT is a nice piece of hardware too, but why should anyone develop an app for it? Android and iOS are already ruling the non-Windows market segment and Windows RT is not Windows. Currently, it looks like Microsoft wants to control the WinRT apps like Apple does. That makes the non-Pro version unattractive despite the nice hardware.

I mean, sure, if someone has developed a simple app that took a week to make, then it is no big deal to make an WinRT version in addition to iOS and Android ones. But if we are talking about larger apps that took a year or more of work, then I would think twice before porting them to a platform, where the owner can decide to ban that app.
100  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: image editing tools on: June 04, 2012, 03:26:16 AM
Thanks for the mention, mouser  smiley

Kalos, I presume, these are 3 independent tasks. If your final goal is to something more complex that involves the 3 mentioned steps, people may be able to give you a more suitable advice. So:

1) People usually use a Clone or a Healing Brush tools for these tasks. The first one copies pixels from one place to another place (blending the edges) and it is suitable for removal of larger objects from photos. The second one is a specialized version of Clone that takes the surrounding of the replaced are into account - it work pretty well if the replaced area is small and the surroundings are simple. Photoshop even has a spot healing brush that does not require you to specify the source of the copied pixels. You'll find at least one the first tool in many free editors (including mine). Gimp also has a healing brush (I am unsure how good it is), so if you want all a free tool with all the options, grab Gimp for this task.

2) In raster editor? I have a lasso and polygon drawing tools in my editor that should work very well. In Gimp, you'll probably have to first select an area with lasso selection and then fill it with the bucket tool.

3) There are again multiple choices. Maybe a simple Posterize filter (found again for example in Gimp) will be enough for you (though I do not usually like these posterized photographs). If you are looking for something better (for example http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6KcCYHqLAB8 ), you may need a vector editor like Inkscape. (I am working on allowing this kind of things in my editors, but it is not ready yet.)
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