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26976  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Firefox Extensions: Your favorite or most useful on: December 02, 2005, 08:23:14 AM
this thread is getting good.

i think crono's link to Tabbrowser Preferences may be the key extension that i like.
[EDIT: actually it was this one i liked, though it seems to be unrecommended(?): http://piro.sakura.ne.jp/...bextensions/index.html.en]
26977  Special User Sections / Site/Forum Features / Re: About the Prize Optimizer Used in the November Drawing on: December 02, 2005, 07:56:33 AM

People who won got an email telling them their predicted "happiness."
Happiness is calculated as follows:  Your rating for the prize you won / Your rating for your highest rated prize
26978  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Atheist group offers free porn in exchange for Bibles on: December 02, 2005, 07:25:16 AM
26979  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: New Mozilla Firefox user on: December 02, 2005, 06:57:46 AM
coincidentally, betsy just won a copy of admuncher in the nov drawing, so that might solver her problems also.
26980  DonationCoder.com Software / Clipboard Help+Spell / Re: Bug: commas in editbox "Strip trailing stuff" on: December 02, 2005, 06:53:49 AM
great point! that hadn't even occured to me smiley
i will add ability to escape out commas (probably ill just let you type ,, to mean strip commas.

ill try to have a new version out this week with an additional feature regarding text formatting that i think people will really like.
26981  Other Software / Found Deals and Discounts / Re: CHIP Online: a different program for free every day! on: December 02, 2005, 05:41:35 AM
26982  News and Reviews / Official Announcements / Re: Name and Catchphrase for New DC Logo Mascot - PART 2 on: December 02, 2005, 05:37:03 AM
It kinda looks like the bird has just pinched the money and made a run for it!

 lol  lol  lol
26983  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Firefox Extensions: Your favorite or most useful on: December 02, 2005, 04:36:46 AM
there is only one extension i would consider essential, and that is a TABBED browsing extension; not sure what the best one is currently.
26984  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Firewalls, What you need to know... on: December 02, 2005, 04:34:52 AM
i also wanted to post an extra thanks to philKC who found an amazing registry key: "SOFTWARE\\Clients\\StartMenuInternet\\" which apparently lists all installed browsers on your computer (works for me!), and will be useful to me for next version of browser tray switch.

ps. i dont know what this registry key does - one way to thwart this attack is to rename that key if its not used for anything important.. the basic attack though could easily use other ways to locate common browser installations.
26985  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Firewalls, What you need to know... on: December 02, 2005, 04:32:07 AM
awesome post.

as i was telling philKC on the irc chat, this is the first firewall leak tester that beats me, because it tries to run any non-default browsers it finds on the system, and while i have my default browser blocked, i have others which are allowed to connect through the internet.

the way to defeat this is (and now this is the first demonstration i've seen of why its important) to have security that alterts you to when one program tries to launch another, and allows you to set rules restricting that.  this might still not protect you if the app is already running, but it would save you from most situations.

checking whether your firewalls can block such launches of other programs.  agnitum has some support for this but i have it disabled - i guess its time for me to rethink this..

I also want to comment on the idea of blocking outgoing connections:

I agree 100% with PhilKC that having good outgoing blocking in your firewall is critical - you really do need a firewall with good outgoing blocking rules, but as a layer of protection defense, and as a good way of keeping track of what programs are tring to send information where.

However, it's very important to realize that no matter how good your firewall is, if you actually launch an evil program on your computer, you have lost.

No matter how good your firewall is, launching a trojan on your pc allows it to do whatever it wants and breaching your firewall may be the least of your problems.  Other registry defense and sandboxing tools may help you a little, but basically such a program can do all sorts of damage i think that are going to be hard to stop if the program is truly determined.

To quote from War Games, the only way to win is not to play.

The most important thing is just to not run programs on your pc unless you really trust them.  One exception to this so far is the use of virtual machines, which is making it easier to safely run questionable stuff, since they offer much better sandboxing than other approaches.  In addition to VMWare, there are some free virtual machine tools which may work well enough for this purpose, and it's worth your while to get a virtual machine tool if you do a lot of software testing of questionable files.  See our review here: http://www.donationcoder....VirtualMachine/index.html
26986  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.
26987  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.


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.

26988  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

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!
26989  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.
26990  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).
26991  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:


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.
26992  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / New windows antivirus free beta test on: December 01, 2005, 04:52:22 PM
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.

26993  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].
26994  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.
26995  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.
26996  News and Reviews / Best Website Change Monitoring Tool / new open source website change monitor: page watcher on: December 01, 2005, 03:48:34 PM

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.
26997  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.
26998  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.
26999  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).
27000  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.
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