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26901  News and Reviews / Official Announcements / Re: NOVEMBER SOFTWARE DRAWING RESULTS on: December 01, 2005, 10:52:58 PM
we will be giving out a copy of vmware probably one a month for the next 6 months or so..
but the next winners will be chosen based on some kind of contest or something.

(hehehe - if we have a contest for best use of smilies then you might win cembree... hmm... that's not a bad idea..)



i'll also remind people that the surest way to win a copy of software of your choice is to write a guest review of some software category.
26902  Special User Sections / Site/Forum Features / About the Prize Optimizer Used in Our Drawings on: December 01, 2005, 09:09:02 PM
To give you an idea how serious we took our responsibility to try to do things differently here, and attempt to figure out the fairest way to parcel out the prizes this month, I thought that it might be useful to tell you a little bit about how prizes were assigned.

Rather than just give out prizes completely at random, we asked everyone who entered the drawing to submit a form rating the programs based on how badly they wanted to win each.

A custom program was then written to parse these submissions and search for the best way to assign prizes.  What follows is a brief description of that program.
-mouser



Overview

This program is used to try to find a reasonable way to divide up a number of prizes among a number of users.
It used a simple optimization procedure which iterates through millions of simulated possible assignments of gifts in search of the best pairings.

Users submit a form indicating their preference for each prize; these forms are submitted by a php script over email.

The program parses these email messages and extracts user ratings for each program, as well as user comments and email addresses.

A prize file is parsed which described how many of each prize is available.

It also reads an option file of user weights, which allows us to decrease the weight for users who have won previous prizes, and increase the weights of users who have contributed greatly to the community but have not yet won anything.

Optimization proceeds interactively; at any time it can be paused and the current configuration as well as user preferences, weights, and comments can be evaluated manually.

The program outputs both a list of who has won each prize, and a set of emails, one to each person who has one, informing them of the prize they have won (or that they have not won anything).  These can be imported into a mail program (like thebat!) and sent out en masse.

More on the Optimization Procedure

The optimization procedure is governed by a scoring function which can assign a score to each possible assignment of prizes.  The cost is based on the sum (weighted) "happiness" of each user.  Happiness is a function of the relative rating of the prize the user currently has compared to other prizes they have rated.

The program begins by assigns prizes randomly and then proceeds in iteration loops where two users are picked and their prizes are probabilistically exchanged based on the score differential and some noise.

The noise is decreases over time throughout a cycle and then resets; in this way the optimization process is able to explore some regions of the search space that involve making some non-beneficial swaps before a better assignment is found (i.e. this helps is escape situations where there is no single swap that improves the score, but there is a 3-way swap that does).

At the end of each annealing cycle the best scoring assignment is recalled and the process starts again.

26903  News and Reviews / Official Announcements / NOVEMBER SOFTWARE DRAWING RESULTS on: December 01, 2005, 08:53:59 PM
First of all, thank you to all of the companies and authors who donated copies of their software for us to give away this november (in total we awarded 57 different programs):

Many of these programs are still available with significant discounts to members (though many expire after this week so you may have to act quickly if you intend to take advantage of a discount): http://www.donationcoder.com/Discounts/index.html



Quote
If you have not won a prize this time, do not worry - we've got quite a few prizes for December and the coming months, and everyone will have a chance to win something eventually.  We will also be having some other kinds of "contests" and be giving out more copies of VMWare and other programs so there is a lot to look forward to.



The Winners of the November Fundraiser Giveaway Software Drawing

Winners of 'Website Watcher' (4):
  • angelia
  • brotherS
  • jbg
  • vegas
Winners of 'Local Website Archive' (4):
  • Hypophyse
  • Miles
  • winnaburger
  • xtremesurfer
Winners of 'AM Notebook' (4):
  • dellamartin
  • JavaJones
  • markan
  • Ronbaby
Winners of 'SnagIt' (3):
  • hornet
  • meeow
  • Mr.Fancypants
Winners of 'Camtasia' (1):
  • jazper
Winners of 'BB Flashback' (3):
  • Stefan
  • tsaint
  • wr975
Winners of 'Beyond Compare' (2):
  • kfitting
  • Kniht
Winners of 'UltraEdit' (1):
  • edaeuble
Winners of 'UltraEdit Studio' (1):
  • silverwolf
Winners of 'TheBat!' (3):
  • ark2
  • Dina
  • Mark0
Winners of 'VmWare' (1):
  • Defenestration
Winners of 'Ad Muncher' (2):
  • Betsy
  • Zero3K
Winners of 'Guitar and Drum Trainer' (2):
  • Bill_Cooley
  • bkaj
Winners of 'WinRAR' (3):
  • alexp
  • DeathWolf
  • Innuendo
Winners of 'File Locator Pro' ( 8 ):
  • Donmar
  • elvisbrown
  • GBark
  • GhostWriter
  • jagoldhor
  • pasweden
  • tcorelli
  • venn
Winners of 'Agnitum Outpost' (1):
  • Passivate
Winners of 'Process Lasso' (10):
  • aignes
  • bbqking
  • daver
  • dcm
  • hpitkin
  • jpfx
  • kiwi2b
  • longrun
  • Magic Speller
  • roneill
Winners of 'AcdSee' (4):
  • Chris
  • Josh
  • Kimberly
  • TeeJay



Congratulations to everyone who won. Winners will be receiving emails tonight confirming they have won.  If you do not reply acknowledging your prize within 7 days it will be given away to someone else.  Good luck next month!
26904  DonationCoder.com Software / Screenshot Captor / Re: Preferences not saved on: December 01, 2005, 05:33:14 PM
ok i'll fix it in next version.
26905  DonationCoder.com Software / Screenshot Captor / Re: Preferences not saved on: December 01, 2005, 05:15:01 PM
no its not your registry, it probably means that screenshot captor is failing to save its preferences when you reboot.
are you doing a windows shutdown, or just hitting the reset button.  if the latter, then it makes sense that the settings aren't being saved (i could have them save right away after being changed, maybe that would make more sense).
26906  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Consumers fighting back more and more via the web on: December 01, 2005, 04:55:41 PM
This is yet another example of a lone consumer who was treated poorly by a company, and sought to expose them on the internet to let others know to beware:

http://thomashawk.com/200...sive-bait-and-switch.html

i really do think this is a trend that's going to continue and it's one of the positive trends on the internet - people increasingly able to warn each other and get out the word on people and organizations that are trying to scam people.
26907  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / New windows antivirus free beta test on: December 01, 2005, 04:52:22 PM
Quote
The things you should have to help protect your PC, but probably don’t because they’re such a hassle. Stuff like virus scanning, firewall settings, tune ups, and software backups—delivered to you in a friendly, easy-to-use package that runs quietly in the background.


http://ideas.live.com/pro...f0-460e-b09b-33c2d53ac53b
26908  DonationCoder.com Software / Screenshot Captor / Re: Preferences not saved on: December 01, 2005, 04:46:31 PM
can you try this first to help me figure out the problem:
if you exit the program completely and restart it (without rebooting), does it then retain your settings or not?
[make sure it's completely exited from system tray before restarting].
26909  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: New Mozilla Firefox user on: December 01, 2005, 04:42:30 PM
thats a very clever idea for a firefox plugin - something that will remember text size (and maybe other settings) on a per-site basis.  very clever idea.  maybe someone knows a firefox site that would be interested in implementing this?

please keep us updated if you find a solution betsy.
26910  DonationCoder.com Software / Finished Programs / Re: IDEA: script to prevent near-sightedness! on: December 01, 2005, 04:04:55 PM
perhaps a more general solution would be a program that you could set the interval (and enable/disable), and it would blank the screen and place up one random picture from a set, until you hit a key; the pictures would be illustrations and text of different such techniques, whether they be like this, or repetetive strain excercises, etc.
26911  News and Reviews / Best Website Change Monitoring Tool / new open source website change monitor: page watcher on: December 01, 2005, 03:48:34 PM
http://pwatcher.sourceforge.net/

looks neat.  not nearly as full features as website watcher or copernic or check&get, but could be a good solution for those who just need the basics.
26912  News and Reviews / Official Announcements / Re: NOVEMBER SOFTWARE GIVEAWAY DRAWING IS NOW CLOSED on: December 01, 2005, 02:22:50 PM
some general preliminary observations:

  • there wasn't a single program in the drawing that was "left over" (in the sense that there weren't enough people that wanted it).
  • not surprisingly, the most expensive app (vmware) was very highly desired - makes sense since this is the one of the few programs in the giveaway that most people couldn't afford to buy.
  • there didn't seem to be too many other real standouts in terms of people wanting it more than other programs.  the rest of the apps seemed to be fairly evenly spread out in terms of requests.  that could be because the members here already own many of these programs.
26913  DonationCoder.com Software / Find And Run Robot / Re: group alias bug on: December 01, 2005, 12:38:03 PM
ah good find, thank you will fix asap.
26914  News and Reviews / Official Announcements / NOVEMBER SOFTWARE GIVEAWAY DRAWING IS NOW CLOSED on: December 01, 2005, 10:34:18 AM
The drawing is closed..

A custom optimization program was written to try to do the best job of distributing prizes in the fairest way that best matches the preferences people expressed.  It is currently running and searching for best distribution of prizes.

I will post results later today or early tomorrow.

Good luck to all who entered!

And remember, even if you didn't win this time, we will have lots more opportunities to win free software in the upcoming months (hopefully a few things to give away each month).
26915  News and Reviews / Official Announcements / Re: NOVEMEBER FUNDRAISER+CELEBRATION HAS BEGUN! -- EVERYONE READ IN PLEASE on: December 01, 2005, 10:31:25 AM
the fundraiser is over and so is the software drawing -
 winners to be announced today or tomorrow.
26916  DonationCoder.com Software / Finished Programs / Re: IDEA: Quick Serial Number Copy on: December 01, 2005, 08:34:32 AM
yeah i think its important everyone involved in this makes clear: carol+philkc are not interested in illegal numbers, but rather just a way of keeping track of their own legally owned software information.

maybe philkc you should think about making it more general, not just for keeping serials but any info related to a specific program (forum url, hints on use, etc.)
26917  News and Reviews / Best Dialog Extender / Re: Hello world! on: December 01, 2005, 08:29:28 AM
hehehe - maybe we should keep this thread about QuickFolders and give wasker a minute to breath before peppering him with autohotkey stuff smiley
26918  DonationCoder.com Software / Mouser's Zone / Re: Is it just me or has the forum spellcheck ceased to function? on: December 01, 2005, 08:24:25 AM
maybe its a browser thing (what browser are you using?)
26919  DonationCoder.com Software / Mouser's Zone / Re: Is it just me or has the forum spellcheck ceased to function? on: December 01, 2005, 08:24:10 AM
works fine here.
do you mean its not poping up a window for you or do you mean its not finding spelling errors?
26920  News and Reviews / Best Dialog Extender / Re: A warm HELLO from XFilesDialog authors to all DonationCoders ! on: December 01, 2005, 08:23:16 AM
Catalin,

It's great to see your post, and congratulations on XFilesDialog.

Discount info for XFilesDialog and other tools from xdesksoftware can be found in this post: http://www.donationcoder....um/index.php?topic=1657.0

As I've said to the other developers, it's always a great thing to see when a developer is actually interested in their users and in getting ideas to improve the program - for me that can make all the difference in the world when deciding which program to purchase.

Welcome to the site!
26921  Special User Sections / General Review Discussion / Re: For future reviews it might be interesting ... on: December 01, 2005, 07:19:28 AM
absolutely - in fact we now do two-part reviews, so the first overview of programs goes up 1 week ahead of time and we encourage our members to comment on programs and recommend others we may have missed.  the more user involvement the better and i hope eventually we get to a point where we can have enough member involvement in the reviews that readers get a nice broad opinion from different users.

right now, the most important role that members have served in reviews is helping us correct mistakes and make sure we don't miss programs the reviewer might not have heard of.  but i would like to encourage more member participation in the reviews.. maybe we can think of ways to encourage it more.
26922  News and Reviews / Best Dialog Extender / to the dialog box extender developers - two ideas i really liked on: December 01, 2005, 05:23:27 AM
in trying the dialog box extenders, i came across two ideas i really liked that are worth implementing:

1) DirectFolders has a menu item in its button that will jump to the home directory of the application you are in - VERY useful.
2) File-Ex has a built in file search function that will let you search the current directory and then select a file from the results - VERY useful.

anyone else have any new ideas for these tools?
26923  Special User Sections / Site/Forum Features / Re: NEW SITE FEATURE: Bug Tracker + Feature Request System on: December 01, 2005, 04:44:46 AM
i have to say i've been quite happy with mantis; it may be a tiny bit of overkill for us here but it's definitely a very nice thing.

i do have to say that the very fact of having a bug tracker has made much more of a positive difference than i expected.  having a central list of bugs to be fixed really helps focus attention on them and keep track of them.  i definitely recommend a bug tracker for any non-trivial project.
26924  News and Reviews / Best Dialog Extender / Re: Horizontal scrolling on: November 30, 2005, 06:48:35 PM
miles, as i was updating the review to reflect awarding of file-ex, i noticed that it is the program that has an option to remember columns widths - you might want to try it and see if it works for you.
26925  News and Reviews / Best Dialog Extender / Review updated: File-Ex added to best-in-class list (and discount avail.) on: November 30, 2005, 06:39:35 PM
I've updated the review and moved File-Ex to the best-in-class list to tie with the other three already there.

http://www.donationcoder....ialogExtenders/index.html

File-Ex makers showed me how to get it to work with MS Office, and though it requires an extra step, it does work well, and combined with the unique and very nice file finder, and good price, i felt it warranted being awarded best-in-class.
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