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51  Other Software / Found Deals and Discounts / Re: 365 day trial of AVG AntiVirus 2015 on: June 07, 2015, 04:08:14 PM
mouser, how is AVG on memory and CPU use these days? It seems all the AV apps change tremendously between some versions and their resource use shifts a lot. Very frustrating. Like how Eset/NOD used to be the "lean, low impact" choice, and then... it wasn't. Argh.

- Oshyan
52  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: The End of my Macbook Pro Experiment on: June 07, 2015, 04:03:24 PM
The thing that gets me about Mac users is...

Well, I am also one of those people that don't "get" Mac. I've accepted that this is true and that I never will "get" it, just like Innuendo above. I always thought there really was something to "get" though, that there really was some identifiable, useful difference - an advantage. In terms of hardware this was arguably true for a long time, at least for non-custom builds, and still is to *some* degree in the laptop area. But Windows machines are catching up steadily, and with the hardware inside being essentially identical for years now, soon there will be little overall difference physically.

I do see OS X doing a number of pretty nice things that I would count as advantages... but they're strangely *not* the thing that *most* Mac users I know actually like or even use much. In fact, having lived with a Mac user for a while now, and knowing several others over the years, it's amazing to me how little they take advantage of even what OS X *does* offer (nevermind the things it's missing that they could benefit from).

But here's what's confusing to me: Mac users are, as a whole, very loyal to and "satisfied" with their platform. If you ask most of them they'll sing its praises, how easy it is to use, how "intuitive", etc. But have you ever actually watched and lived with a Mac user for a long period of time? They have just as many frustrations and issues with their computers as Windows or Linux users! True story. I've seen hard freezes, random reboots, inability to shut down, crashing apps, install/uninstall issues, and much more. Macs aren't, on the whole, more stable or reliable than any other machine, nor more easy to troubleshoot. And when you start to look into the world of troubleshooting Mac issues you discover there's a whole ugly underbelly there. Threads 10s or 100s of pages long in Apple's support forums of users reporting the same issues, like problems with switching between onboard and discrete graphics in laptops. And these are issues that aren't necessarily solved between hardware revisions. And new issues crop up with every new piece of hardware, despite how minor many of the iterations are!

Perhaps even worse, in my eyes, they often use their computers in the most naive and ignorant ways. For example, OS X doesn't (as far as I know) have a really easy way to minimize/maximize a window (rather than use "full screen") by clicking something (on Windows you just click the entry on the taskbar and the app comes up and then minimizes again, easy and clean). So many Mac users I know just *drag the window to the edge of the screen* when they want to see something behind it, or another app, then *drag the window back afterward*. This is incredibly cumbersome and time consuming, and it means that your windows are almost always in slightly different places because you're dragging them arbitrarily around. This makes difficult to develop really good muscle memory for where buttons and functions are, for one thing. OS X has a decent way to deal with this, which is a couple of hotkeys/shortcuts like Command-H and Command-M (hide/minimize), but no Mac user I know uses them! I suspect it's because hotkeys are, for them, "too techy" or advanced or something.

The reality actually is that Macs and OS X in particular *can* be pretty awesome for advanced users as you almost need to be one to use the OS properly and efficiently (ironic!) *and* it's got BSD underpinnings so there's a pretty sweet commandline, piping, and all kinds of other stuff going on there that's fun for power users... But *most* users actually use the OS very inefficiently and suffer from and struggle with its limitations or design choices fairly frequently (whether they realize it or not). Take the still-batshit-crazy-to-me behavior of OS X (and Mac for as long as I've known) of separating applications and their windows. Why do I want MS Word to be open and sitting there in the background *if there are no documents open in it*? How many times have I seen a Mac user using some high-memory application, then close all its windows but *leave the application running* because *closing all windows does not close the app*? (hint: many, many times)

Granted on Windows there are occasionally some awkward things that result from the Windows behavior being opposite (applications are defined by their windows and closing all windows usually closes the app), for example applications that always want to have *some* document open, so if you close the last one it creates a new, default, blank document (many applications work around this by having a background "workspace"). Hardcore Mac users will tell you that the advantage of having these floating windows that are not "contained" by their parent app and a "workspace" is that you can more easily drag and drop things between apps, a function that Windows has in a more limited capacity as far as I know, and one which I think is theoretically useful. But practically I've actually *never* seen an average Mac user do any of this fancy drag-and-drop between apps. So once again some theoretically advanced capability of OS X goes underutilized.

In the end I think this all goes a long way toward explaining why Apple may be merging iOS and OS X in the end. Much less of iOS's functionality is wasted simply because it has less functionality. So much of OS X that Apple has to maintain is really being lost on the majority of their users. They've been steadily alienating their power users while profits soar, so I think they're on the right track, at least as a business. If they go through with it they can probably reduce complexity of their core OS (and fragmentation) by 75% while maintaining 95% of their market. Win!...

But I'll never be a Mac user. cheesy

- Oshyan
53  News and Reviews / Mini-Reviews by Members / Re: Not-so-mini review of CrashPlan backup software on: May 27, 2015, 02:30:52 PM
Update 2 on iDrive: Another problem found.

The impression of iDrive being a feature-rich but fairly naively implemented application continues to solidify for me. The latest issue is that backups take a *really long time* (about 14 hours on an overclocked 4.2Ghz i7 2700k with 32GB of RAM). Now of course we're talking about 3TB of data, but these are incremental backups. The problem appears to be that iDrive is very bad at identifying what data has changed and so it basically scans through *all data in the backup set* and then updates anything new or changed that it finds. You can see in this screenshot of the log that it's actually only backing up a mere 47 changed files! But it still took 14hrs to do it because there are 1.3 million total files.


I'm fairly certain there are more effective approaches, such as using the NTFS file table to look for changed files, doing active file system monitoring (performance considerations?), etc. And of course the tremendous length of time is due largely to the sheer size and number of files in my backup. Still though, I don't think this should be considered normal and expected behavior, right? If I recall correctly from my time with CrashPlan, this kind of thing was not really a problem. But this may go into the pile of evidence suggesting that CrashPlan's high memory use had a bit more reason to it than I'd expected, i.e. if it's doing more work in monitoring the file system for changes, deduplication, etc. than iDrive is. It's still an open question whether the memory trade-off is worth it for those features...

I should note that there is a separate "continuous data protection" option that may help with my particular needs, but it's a bit of a workaround. Here's their page on the feature (emphasis mine):
The Continuous Data Protection feature allows IDrive to automatically recognize the changes to files present in your backup-set and back them up in real-time...

What's odd is that this indicates the technology I'm talking about *does* exist in iDrive, it's just not used for the main backup. So why not just use this Continuous Data Protection *instead* of the main backup? Well, the big limitation is it does not consider or backup files larger than 500MB. As their FAQ indicates:

CDP is not a replacement for the traditional schedule backup feature but works along with the scheduled backup to provide timely protection for your data.

Now thinking about my particular backup needs, dealing with files greater than 500MB in size is fortunately not actually that common. So my current thinking is I will enable this CDP feature and see how well it works, and lower the frequency of the full backups to once or twice a week instead of daily as I have it now. If I'm right about not dealing with large files that much, then this should give me a good level of protection through the week, and then reserve the once-weekly full backup to basically just catch any missed big file changes. It will still take a long time, but at least it will only be once a week. The one big exception is my Lightroom catalog, which is currently around 1.6GB in size. This is a pretty important one for me, so I need to think about how much this puts me at risk... I'm also not sure whether this CDP option works for both online and local backup.

Does anyone else deal with big quantities of data?

I think once I've worked out all the kinks and addressed all my own questions I'll try to write a separate "mini" review of iDrive to distill these experiences down into something more immediately useful and accessible.

- Oshyan
54  News and Reviews / Mini-Reviews by Members / Re: Not-so-mini review of CrashPlan backup software on: May 25, 2015, 09:46:06 PM
4wd, glad to hear the updates work for you. Must be some configuration issue on my end. I'll have to look into it.

- Oshyan
55  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Help me choose an online backup service on: May 25, 2015, 02:34:28 PM
Before anyone switches to iDrive, you should read the latest update post in my CrashPlan review thread:

- Oshyan
56  News and Reviews / Mini-Reviews by Members / Re: Not-so-mini review of CrashPlan backup software on: May 25, 2015, 02:34:04 PM
Update on iDrive: All is not so rosy.

I have run into a couple of concerns and issues over the past week or two that I thought I should mention here.

First off I get notifications for updates to the client but trying to use the built-in update function never works. It downloads to 100%, then just sits there and never applies an update. This may be a security setting issue on my end. It's a minor but consistent annoyance. Downloading the application from their server manually and then just reinstalling it seems to work fine to update though.

Second - and perhaps most importantly - their system's support for deduplication seems to either be extremely minimal/simplistic or *non-existent*.

This is normally considered as much of a benefit to the host/service provider as to the user in that it can help them reduce data use on their end *if* it's done *between* people's accounts (i.e. if you have a large movie file downloaded and Joe Schmoe who also uses iDrive does, then they only need to store a single instance of the file on their server). This is an obvious privacy and security risk and it does not appear that iDrive does this (which is good for you, the user). For the user the main benefit is reduced bandwidth use if the file can be found to already exist on their server.

If deduplication is done *within a single user's account* it can still help with bandwidth, i.e. if you *move* files around on your system, it does not have to re-upload them. Unfortunately iDrive does not seem to handle this, or doesn't support it very well. What happened is I have 2 physical hard drives being backed up to the same location at iDrive (and locally). I had 150GB of photos on one drive when I did my original iDrive Express "seeded" backup that I sent to them. I later moved that 150GB of photos to the other drive, where all the other pictures live; it's a sort of archive, whereas the main drive is an SSD and a "working drive". So I do such file transfers semi-frequently. iDrive then had to *re-backup* all 150GB of photos (re-upload), even though they were the same exact photos and had simply been moved from one drive to another!

I consider this to be a pretty big drawback, at least for my usage patterns. I will seldom be moving such a large amount of data at once, usually it's more like 10-15GB, and that can re-upload fairly quickly. But it's still a needless inconvenience and evidence of an extremely simplistic - frankly naive - backup client. It is quite honestly not confidence inspiring, although I have no other specific reason to believe that their backup system is shoddy. It just seems like such a big, important, and obvious thing, one wonders what else they're overlooking...

It also may help explain why CrashPlan - which uses fairly sophisticated deduplication, block-level even, I believe - might be using so much more memory than iDrive. It seems reasonable to conclude that CrashPlan is just doing a lot more with the data locally, i.e. it also does compression, whereas iDrive seems to do so minimally if at all (the local backup size is roughly equivalent to the original data size on disk), or to only do it for remote backup and not local. I would really like to see both compression *and* deduplication and I consider both it to be an important features of any modern backup solution. The fact that iDrive appears to be missing both this (to some degree) is worrisome. They do claim to have compression and incremental backup on their features page, but I assume both are it is referring to remote backups, and apparently "incremental" doesn't cover my scenario of moved-but-not-modified files. [edit: I later found that compression *is* working]

Lastly, when I contacted support to discuss this issue they were not exactly impressively knowledgeable. The rep did eventually tell me several times that the data would have to be re-uploaded, but couldn't explain why and didn't seem to understand that this was a missing *feature* (and an important and relatively standard one). He did say he'd open a feature request for that, but had no information about whether such a request was common. Visiting their (surprisingly hard to find from their site) forums I don't see any other mention of it, which is surprising. Maybe my usage pattern is unusual.

Anyway, all that being said I'm still sticking with iDrive for a while, both because I have invested money in it, and because CrashPlan was not without its (significant) problems either. As I've mentioned, I have such a large amount of data that a "seeded" backup service is necessary, and the per-GB storage cost needs to be reasonably low. iDrive and CrashPlan are the only 2 services that seem affordable for my needs at present, but I'd love to hear about other options if anyone is aware of one that fits those specific needs.

Last but not least if you're still interested in iDrive after my concerns expressed above, and if you don't need 10TB of space like I do, this deal might be more of interest (I haven't tested it to see if it's still live):

- Oshyan
57  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: WildOpal - hypothetical new idea for a "find and replace" program on: May 25, 2015, 02:09:47 PM
Interesting discussion. As someone who has struggled with RegEx in the past but regularly uses simpler search operators and wildcards (e.g. *.jpg, *DCM_??, etc.) I might find this tool useful. Especially if it interfaces with/generates RegEx. It of course would need to do that if it has no built-in editor capability. If it did, it could get some use especially if it could be invoked easily through e.g. Notepad++ ("Open this file in WildOpal"). Generating RegEx would extend its reach quite a bit more.

Anyway, I find the idea appealing. And since you're already going forward with it, I am curious to see what you come up with.

- Oshyan
58  News and Reviews / Mini-Reviews by Members / Re: Not-so-mini review of CrashPlan backup software on: May 19, 2015, 05:58:52 PM
Yeah, plus $80 for the initial data import, which is free with iDrive. cheesy

I certainly think Glacier and a RYO solution is a great option to have. For those more security concerned, or who want more specific setups, etc. But indeed for my needs iDrive seems to be a better deal *and* have more features, be easier to setup and manage, etc.

- Oshyan
59  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Microsoft "Hyperlapse" tech is finally available to play with on: May 19, 2015, 05:55:21 PM
Cool trek! Now I know why you're called 4wd. Wink And not a bad result on the hyperlapse either.

- Oshyan
60  News and Reviews / Mini-Reviews by Members / Re: Not-so-mini review of CrashPlan backup software on: May 18, 2015, 12:25:04 PM
Roll your Own isn't an option for me due to the sheer size of my data set (unless Amazon offers a service where you can send them a hard drive and they'll stick it on Glacier storage - do they?). Even if such an option were available, it would have to have a clear price advantage and require minimal maintenance, otherwise it really wouldn't be worth it for me. But I'm *definitely glad* such options exist. Can't let the big backup players get too complacent. When storage is available so simply and cheaply direct to the user, the backup companies have to compete on features and price, which is good. smiley

- Oshyan
61  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Microsoft "Hyperlapse" tech is finally available to play with on: May 18, 2015, 12:22:06 PM
Requiring WMP is pretty lame! Has anyone tried the mobile apps yet?

- Oshyan
62  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Microsoft "Hyperlapse" tech is finally available to play with on: May 17, 2015, 09:38:59 PM
Yeah, ICE (Image Composition Editor) is also really cool tech, and is actually usable (no watermark, I think). It works better than many other apps I've tried for stitching, including Photoshop (panorama stitch mode).

- Oshyan
63  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Seeking experiences from people backing up relatively large personal data sets on: May 17, 2015, 07:51:37 PM
I finally had to let go of CrashPlan due to the memory use issue, primarily. I am now using iDrive. Details if you're interested:

- Oshyan
64  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Help me choose an online backup service on: May 17, 2015, 07:51:00 PM
I have added an update to my CrashPlan review. In short: I have stopped using CrashPlan because the memory use continued to suck. I am now using iDrive. Details if you're interested:

- Oshyan
65  News and Reviews / Mini-Reviews by Members / Re: Not-so-mini review of CrashPlan backup software on: May 17, 2015, 07:46:58 PM
Well, I thought I should report here that I finally stopped using CrashPlan. The memory use stayed around 1.5-2GB permanently, never improving over the years I continued using it! This is just a really bad sign IMO. But I couldn't be sure if there was something wrong until I tried another service, and as outlined in my original review, my needs were somewhat specific: affordable for large data sets (I'm now backing up nearly 3TB, up from just under 2TB when I wrote the review), a "seeded" backup option, and a local backup option in the same client, primarily.

I finally found iDrive and to my surprise it seems to meet all my needs. It has also been running on my full nearly-3TB data set for a few weeks now and memory use has hovered around 150MB! So clearly CrashPlan is doing something wrong, wrong, wrong.

Not only does iDrive do online and local backup - like CrashPlan - it *also* has a sync option and a full-disk image function (you can't schedule it though), it supports mobile devices too, it can backup Facebook and some other social media (many people here probably don't care, but it's an interesting feature), *and* it has online file sharing, which Crashplan and many other backup-oriented online storage systems don't support (so I don't have to keep using the free and highly space-limited Dropbox). It may be a security risk, and I would guess that in general CrashPlan's security is superior to iDrives, but for my needs iDrive is sufficient. Oh yeah, and they have a "seeded" backup and restore option too (called iDrive Express). It's kind of a Swiss Army Knife of features, which might be good or bad depending on your perspective, but I can say that at lesat memory use doesn't suffer because of it!

There are two caveats to the iDrive services that I should point out. First is that it's more expensive than CrashPlan. The amount of data I have necessitated the "10TB" plan, with is $375yr (holy crap, what!?). So actually iDrive would not have been an option for me at all had it not been for the fact that they have all kinds of deals out there. This is the one I took advantage of: https://deals.androidhead...-10tb-cloud-backup-bundle
It has been set to expire "within a few days" for months now, it seems to be perpetually on sale essentially.

This is an odd one, $97 gets you both an iDrive Wifi (a local hard drive for backup that you can connect to wirelessly, great for people who only have laptops in their homes), *and* a 1 year subscription to the 10TB plan at iDrive. What's odd about it is it would be a huge discount - and worthwhile for me and probably many others - if it were *just* the 10TB plan, but it also includes the wifi device. Mine is actually sitting unused on my desk, it was the 10TB of online data I was after.

The other thing that's odd to me about this deal is I contacted them before finding this deal saying I would happily pay for a 3 or 5TB plan that was priced in-between the 1TB and 10TB plans they already have, and that the 10TB option was way too expensive for me and much more space than I needed anyway. A sales rep got back to me but even after repeated back-and-forth and knowing I was a potential CrashPlan convert, he didn't offer me a price that was even remotely appealing. I had written iDrive off and was just going to stick with CrashPlan until I found this deal. It's quite strange to me then that the sales rep wouldn't offer me even a *decent* deal, let alone this frankly kind of crazy discount (80% off).

So you pay $97 the first year basically, and then it's a discounted $59 rate for the 2nd year. After that it's the full price, which I don't think I'll be willing to pay. But it gives me 2 years to decide if I like the service and to find something better if it doesn't justify the price when that 3rd year renewal comes due. In that time they'll hopefully realize a 3 or 5TB mid-tier plan also makes sense, or bring down the cost of their 10TB as competition from others continues. 2 years from now storage costs could be a fair bit less, or at least that's my hope. cheesy

Anyway, the other issue with their service is that in order to get the iDrive Express you have to fill out an online form. It's not something you can do from within your online account, for some reason, so you have to fill out some details including your address. For some odd reason the form on their site never worked for me, it always told me that I had to fill in the "State" field, which of course I had filled in every time to no avail; it kept giving me that error. I tried on multiple browsers, then multiple computers, and it never worked. I contacted their support several times about it and they said to try again and couldn't understand why it didn't work, but I'm honestly not confident they even tried it themselves, so it may well be legitimately broken. I finally called in to resolve the issue, which they insisted on (they wouldn't do it over email), and while the support rep and overall experience was not particularly good, I did finally get everything resolved. The iDrive "express" shipment took quite a while to arrive, but it's free (I think they have faster shipping options, but I was still using CrashPlan and not in a hurry at this point).

iDrive itself is fine. Its interface is a bit quirky, but no worse than CrashPlan, and according to their support the client is native, not Java. It certainly seems to respond and perform better than CrashPlan's did, particularly in the area of memory use. Bandwidth usage has been fine, in fact it saturated my upstream cable bandwidth until I throttled it (the throttle percentage is relative to your LAN connection speed, it seems, and not in some specific unit of measure unfortunately, e.g. Kb/s, so I had to set it to 10% or something of my 100mb LAN port; not sure if this also affects actual LAN transfer or just WAN). I don't use the social media backup yet, nor have I tried online file sharing or file sync. I just started using local backup, but have been using the online since my "Express" transfer finished a week or so ago. I haven't tried a restore yet, I know I should test that and I will soon.

Overall I'm fairly happy with iDrive and plan to stick with it for at least 2 years at this point. For those with 1TB of data or less, their standard plan is competitively priced and the breadth of features combined with reasonable resource use is, IMO, unmatched. Even if you do have "only" 1TB of data, iDrive Express ("seeded backup and restore) is still very worthwhile, and many other services don't offer it despite offering "unlimited" space, a fact which seems quite inconsistent, even disingenuous, to me.

So has anyone else had experience with iDrive? Anyone still using CrashPlan?

- Oshyan
66  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Microsoft "Hyperlapse" tech is finally available to play with on: May 17, 2015, 04:28:13 PM
I am shocked - shocked I say! - to see that there appear to be no previous threads on the whole "hyperlapse" thing (according to the Search at least). This is a variation of timelapse where the camera actually moves *large* distances (as opposed to the small dolly shots of most timelapse) while maintaining (relatively) smooth motion, creating an amazing combination of realistic and surreal imagery and motion. It really just has to be seen to be appreciated. This is an excellent introduction to what can be achieved:

Like many things this is a technique that has been around for quite some time (earliest example I've seen was shot on film in 1995!) and was pioneered by some innovative photographer/videographers, painstakingly investing tons of time and effort into getting good results. And as with most great artistic innovations it is now starting to become more achievable for the average person who *doesn't* have days or weeks on their hands to plan, shoot, and edit such complex projects.

We first saw tools that anyone could use to create Hyperlapses from Google Maps street view data, which produced some cool results in itself. But the image quality and consistency were of course limited and the subject matter even more so. And whatever you did, it just wasn't *personal*, it wasn't *your* video.

Enter Microsoft Hyperlapse Pro!

Microsoft began doing research in this area a few years back and showed some tremendously promising results processing average GoPro-style mounted action camera videos into highly watchable compressed versions of the journey the camera captured. Rather than watching an hour long rock climbing expedition on a head-mounted camera, you can watch it in 60 seconds, with a fluid impression of the environment much as in the hyperlapses shown in the video above. This was a fairly revolutionary idea and the results of Microsoft's research really have to be seen to be properly appreciated:
Unfortunately, while MS's research was promising, there was no software to go with it...

Well, I've had a web change detector watching their page for over a year now, waiting for the actual availability of software that implements their seemingly cool tech, and at long last it's available! GHacks has a good write-up:

Microsoft Hyperlapse Pro can be downloaded from Microsoft's Research website. It is compatible with all recent versions of Windows and only available as a 64-bit version.

The installation is straightforward and the installer itself is clean and does not include any surprises.

The hyperlapse video creation process itself is divided into four parts. First thing you do is create a new project and import a supported video format. Hyperlapse Pro supports mp4, mov and wmv video files only.

Unfortunately it does come with a watermark currently, which is a real shame, but it's still cool to be able to play with the fruits of their research. Instagram came out with a similar processing technology in an iOS-only app about 8 months ago, so this kind of thing has been available for a while already. However Instagram's approach is not as thorough or capable as Microsoft's seems to be, and of course it's iOS-only. Microsoft has the PC application as well as an option for both Windows Phone and Android owners to play with.

So does anyone have any videos they can try this one? Show us your results!

67  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Interesting "stuff" on: May 13, 2015, 03:19:33 PM
Cookie butter is *AMAZING*. I mean, if you're into that sort of thing (the flavor, mainly - kind of like gingerbread). If you do like the flavor, it's like spreadable cookie. Awesomeness.

- Oshyan
68  News and Reviews / Official Announcements / Re: The DonationCoder 2015 10th Anniversary Fundraiser is Now Officially Over! on: May 01, 2015, 07:09:28 PM
Pure awesomesauce. Delicious!

- Oshyan
69  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Need an Easy fix for annoying problem with sorting in Windows on: April 29, 2015, 12:23:54 PM
There are a couple of other approaches that *might* help.

One thing I use quite often, both on the desktop and in regular file lists, is pressing the first letter of what I'm looking for to quickly cycle through items that start with that letter. So let's say they have 100 icons. As long as they haven't renamed "Computer" or their username folder or Recycle, etc., then just pressing "c" (if looking for Computer) should find it more quickly than a random search. Pressing it repeatedly will cycle through whatever items they have on their desktop that start with C. Sounds slow, but it actually works reasonably well in many situations.

It also sounds like you're able to install software on your user's computers, so while something like Listary is probably overkill, it may be something you can teach them to take advantage of too. What it will let you do is just click on the desktop and start typing a filename and find it quickly. It pops up a results list contextually and lets you type full names rather than just cycling through start-letters as above. Listary is free for individual use:

- Oshyan
70  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: The 2015 10th Anniversary Fundraiser Cheer for Victory Thread! on: April 23, 2015, 02:26:10 PM
Holy shiteballs, it's a Codymas miracle! cheesy

Clearly something is working. Now let's not mess it up. Wink

- Oshyan
71  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: The 2015 10th Anniversary Fundraiser Cheer for Victory Thread! on: April 20, 2015, 07:04:43 PM
Awesome, the DC community is clearly still strong! Congrats to us all. smiley

- Oshyan
72  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: free photo editing? on: April 19, 2015, 02:11:46 PM
Picasa should work reasonably well:
Affinity Photo is also currently in a free beta period and may work (not sure how extensive its RAW support is):

- Oshyan
73  Other Software / Programming School / Re: Building a new programming school - V3.0 on: April 07, 2015, 03:54:39 PM
I was curious myself, so I looked into it. While the coding school may be quite old, this thread is not. Wink However, it was originally started in 2011 several months before Codecademy launched, and a year before Udacity did. So the original question made good sense at the time and the idea that DC might have an important role to play wasn't that odd. Nowadays the picture might be different...

I don't have personal experience with any of the existing systems, but my first question would be what level of personal interaction you get with them (Udacity and Codecademy in particular). The big stand-out aspect of DC as an educational tool is the community. If other sites have great communities focused on their area of interest (e.g. teaching/learning programming) and you have experts to ask for advice and info, then I wouldn't feel like DC necessarily needs to invest efforts in this area anymore. Alternatively, if such sites have great learning content but still lack good community interaction, you could consider the possibility of a hybrid - use these other public educational systems and tools for the actual lessons and tests, but keep a discussion, Q&A, etc. going here. Almost like a teacher at any random school who uses a textbook, lesson plan, and other materials from a 3rd party provider - there is still value in the teacher's interaction and presence. But again I don't know how Udacity or Codecademy run their courses, they may already excel in this area, in which case problem solved!

Edit: I see that both have forums. Udacity's seems to be flooded with terrible spam and looks to be semi-unusable as a result. But I'm just looking at the main/open forum area. e.g.
Sadly this appears to be a technical/priorities issue for Udacity, but they do have the *capability*. I would still wonder whether the interaction in the forums is with teachers or mostly other students and how well it works, but at least it's there. Hopefully they can clean up the spam issue.

Codecademy's forum system seems less clear to me. They say they have a Forum Q&A link at the bottom of each exercise. I'm not signed up so I don't know if that's still there. But I do know the Groups system for more general discussion no longer exists for some reason:

So... the jury is still out. DC may or may not have a role to play. But I certainly agree that creation of instructional content and tests is probably not the best use of DC time and resources. smiley

- Oshyan
74  Special User Sections / N.A.N.Y. 2014 / Re: NANY 2014 Release: Reference Overlay Tool on: April 05, 2015, 06:52:33 PM
*Gentle nudge* cheesy

- Oshyan
75  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: The 2015 10th Anniversary Fundraiser Cheer for Victory Thread! on: April 02, 2015, 06:35:31 PM
This community seems pretty healthy by those numbers. cheesy

- Oshyan
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