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76  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: EULAlyzer™ 1.1 on: January 11, 2009, 10:31:30 PM
I admit I don't often read TOS/EULA for software/websites before clicking "I Agree" but I certainly do read printed documents that are handed to me before I read them. It sure is interesting how often I get funny looks from people when I actually take the time to read legal papers before putting my John Henry on the line.

While I support anyone's right to make their own decisions, I should mention that, while I haven't come across any EULA that are as horrible as the sample contract I mentioned, I've found more than one with terms I was unhappy enough with to consider them deal-breakers - and there are web sites out there with very predatory TOS. At least for writers, there are sites where the simple act of posting something means you have lost all ability to ever sell that work, thanks to the TOS.

IMO, it depends on what you're going to do on the site. Post a simple comment? Sure, you can probably get away with ignoring the TOS. Spend much time there, posting anything of real value? Then, you'd better know what the TOS are before they burn you. Anyone with IP rights to consider has a lot to lose if they slip up and let themselves get taken advantage of. (Note: I have nothing against freeware, donationware, open source, - as long as it is the program author's choice. If I ever write anything worth sharing, I'll probably give it away. But that doesn't mean I want someone else cheating me, claiming ownership, etc.)
77  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: EULAlyzer™ 1.1 on: January 11, 2009, 10:23:54 PM
Raybeere, would you mind posting the copy of that document online?

I don't have a copy of the document myself, and if I did I suspect it would be covered under copyright. This is something I saw years ago. I don't know if there's a copy online; I'll try to remember enough to find it on Google and put a link here later if I can find it - but locating a document without knowing an exact phrase from it is a tricky thing. So I can't make any promises. Sorry.
78  Other Software / Developer's Corner / "Folder Shortcuts" in Windows on: January 10, 2009, 08:54:57 AM
I've been playing around with AutoHotKey, with a little success, but my next "great" idea was to automate the process of creating Folder Shortcuts. It seems to be a pretty undocumented feature (I'm not talking about shortcuts to folders; I'm talking about the Folder Shortcuts that will wipe out the target folder's files if you delete them without dismantling them first). Now, I know enough to copy a folder just to test things out on, so if anything goes wrong, I'll only lose my copies. But I have noticed, in the past, there are some features it is just safer not to play with. Does anyone know enough about Folder Shortcuts to say if they are safe to automate? (The only source I have on them is not entirely accurate - for example, it says you can change the icon afterwards, when, in fact, on every one I've created, the only way to 'set' the icon that has worked has been to specify it in the "Target" link before the Folder Shortcut was created. So I'd rather be cautious than sorry.)
79 Software / Find And Run Robot / Re: Idea for Incredibly Helpful Feature on: January 10, 2009, 08:29:23 AM
1) FARR has built in code to resolve changed drive letters, so that if you refer to:
X:\Programs\Notepad.exe and it doesn't find it on X it should try C:\Programs\Notepad.exe then D:\ etc.
If thats not working then i can try to find out why not.

2) I can certainly easily add a replacemnt that will expand to the drive that farr is running on.. like have it automatically change every $:\ to the drive letter that FARR is running on.

As for 1), it is a cool idea for some uses - but for a portable setup it may backfire, as if it starts with the first drive letter, it will run the program on the local machine. If that is not mine, it might be an older version, whatever. I don't mean to be overly picky, but in my case, most of my portable use is primarily intended as an emergency preparedness strategy. Sure, it is convenient otherwise, but stable function in an emergency is my top priority. Too many writers I know have lost all their manuscripts to some glitch or disaster - if I can help it, I don't intend to be one of them.

2) Yes, that would be absolutely perfect. Thanks! cheesy
80 Software / FARR Plugins and Aliases / Re: FARR plugin: Akete on: January 09, 2009, 04:21:36 PM
This is a great idea, but from my point of view there are two things that keep it from being useful when run from a USB stick. (At least from the description. I haven't tried it out yet. The last time I played around with anything on my stick, I was very, very sorry.) First, I'd like to see a simple way to turn it on and off, so when I wanted to use my own machine's associations, I could. (I do this when setting up a stick on my machine to keep the programs on it from running, so I get less reads / writes to the stick.) Second, I'd like to see a way to specify the relative path from the root without needing to specify a drive letter. After all, if I have to use my stick on another machine, I have no idea what letter it will be assigned - and if I'm doing that, nine times out of ten I'm in no mood to go in and change a bunch of settings right then.

Two other nice features would help out, a lot. One would be a chance to specify two options, by keyword, such as Open and Edit. I think the point there should be pretty clear. The other one is a workaround for a particular program I use, Liquid Story Binder XE. It is a great writing program, but it has one quirk. All files are arranged in a "library" by "book" - each book is a folder under one user-specified folder for the library. Each book actually contains a whole set of files. So, to open a "book" in LSB, you have to run LSB with the book's folder specified in the command line or shortcut. Is there any way to let the user specify such behaviour? (Open X app with the path of the selected file specified, but strip away the filename...)
81 Software / Find And Run Robot / Re: Idea for Incredibly Helpful Feature on: January 09, 2009, 04:13:21 PM
Sounds cool. I just want some way to set up "associations" on my USB sticks. I was going to take a stab at writing something myself, but since it would need to find the documents and launch them, I'd be trying to rewrite FARR. And I know my version would be nowhere near as good as Mouser's. Grin So this seemed the obvious place to post.
82 Software / Find And Run Robot / Re: Idea for Incredibly Helpful Feature on: January 09, 2009, 03:30:16 PM
Thanks; that is almost what I'm thinking of, but not quite. First, you can't easily turn these associations on and off - so if I want to use the associations on my own computer (something I do when I can, to save wear on the 'stick') I can't. Even worse, it doesn't seem that you can specify the path as ".\Apps" or whatever.
83  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: EULAlyzer™ 1.1 on: January 09, 2009, 03:11:02 PM
3. Enter into a legal agreement you really don't understand

EULAlyzer can help you make sense of software licenses and avoid #3.

Obligatory Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer. Nothing I say should be construed as legal advice. If you think you are in need of legal advice, you should consult a qualified lawyer.

Now, for my layman's opinion. I was a professional genealogist, and part of what I had to do was analyse legal documents (usually deeds, mortgages, wills, and probates) for information. I was pretty good at it: I caught a flaw in a deed the title attorneys had missed several times.

Until true AI software is available, there is no chance any software can do anything other than look for predefined terms and highlight possible concerns. Since one trick lawyers like to pull is using very subtle shifts that will alter the legal meaning without setting off alarm bells even in the minds of other lawyers who review the result, this cannot possibly be enough.

I've read the TOS for a lot of web sites. Sure, I could write a simple search that would catch some of the obvious words some of the heavier handed sites use to screw you royally on the assumption you're never going to read the thing - but I've also seen a few sites where it was necessary to read the whole agreement, then go back, re-read it, and think over how each section affected the others. In fact, as a writer, I once saw a shocking demonstration of this: a sample publishing contract. It looked fine, and none of the terms were objectionable - in themselves. But - when you considered how each term would affect and modify the others, it amounted to virtual slavery - and I am not using metaphor here: they owned you, outright, if you signed that contract. You could never get out from under, unless you successfully challenged the basic constitutionality of such a draconian agreement.

My point is very simple: you are no safer using software like this than you would be if you didn't bother to read the agreement at all. If you care about the details of a legal agreement you enter into, you only have two choices. One: learn the language it is in so well you won't miss any nuance, and learn to analyse not just single words or phrases but entire documents for their meanings. And learn the special legal meanings of any terms that might be included. Two: run it past a lawyer. Anything else, you're just fooling yourself (and most of the time, if you take the first option, you're fooling yourself a bit, too - but it can be done - I've caught traps in legal documents pretty often - but it took me years to get to where I caught all the traps, and I'm really only hoping I got them all; only a nasty lawsuit would tell me for sure I'd slipped up.)

Edited to add: I'll make a somewhat humiliating confession here to make my point. I was brought up to always read anything legal I signed, and be sure I understood it before pen touched paper. I had already learned to spot a lot of nasty little glitches - and when that sample publishing contract was shown to me, I was lucky it was as an example and not an offer from the publisher who drew it up. I looked it over, failed to find a single thing wrong with it, and if I'd been offered it to sign, I would have, without any hesitation. Then, I learned how it would work if it came into court - and when the problems were pointed out, I could see them. It was quite an education. I've never looked at any legal agreement the same way since. And, just to save my pride, I was younger then.
84 Software / Find And Run Robot / Idea for Incredibly Helpful Feature on: January 09, 2009, 02:55:37 PM
FARR is a great tool; what it does, it does very well. But I got to thinking of something it doesn't do, trying to figure out how to do it in AutoHotKey - then I realised this would make a great addition to FARR.

I like to set up a lot of apps on a USB stick, so I have them, and my documents, in an emergency. The one thing that is toughest about using them this way is the loss of file associations. Browse to find the file you want, double click on it - and find out that the computer you're using has associations set up to open HTML in IE, or TXT files in Notepad. Uggghhh!

So what would be really, really, really cool cheesy if you could add it to FARR would be a section the user could turn on or off for "associations" - FARR would find the file, check its extension, then open it with the app specified by the user. Sure, it would be a pain to set up all the associations we have in our Registries - but most of those are things we seldom if ever use. For the dozen or two dozen file types we use all the time, it would be a really excellent solution for making file associations portable. AFAIK, no other app does anything remotely similar. This would need to use a variable for drive letter, of course, since it would be possible to add the relative path from the stick's root, but the drive letter might change.

One bit that would be even cooler, if it wouldn't be too tough: allow built-in aliases of Open and Edit - with different associations for each. Say for a HTML page, Open would open the page in Firefox, and Edit would load it in Notepad++ or whatever other choices the user made.

If this were just something I'd like, I wouldn't bug you about it, but I know there are a lot of users out there who would find the ability to make 'portable associations' the greatest invention since the wheel. cheesy
85  Special User Sections / DC Website Help and Extras / Re: Chance of Displaying Advert - Does This Help DC? on: January 08, 2009, 05:59:08 PM
I prefer it without ads - if I don't see any I won't complain. But if the ad income will help DC, I can live with ads. So, what the heck, I set it to 100% - and if I never see an ad, that's fine with me. If I do, well, at least this time it would be doing some good, and I consented to it. Unlike popups. Angry Those really steamed me, until I got a popup blocker.
86  Special User Sections / DC Website Help and Extras / Chance of Displaying Advert - Does This Help DC? on: January 08, 2009, 05:31:47 PM
I noticed a setting in my profile which read "Chance of Displaying Advert" and can be set to any percentage between zero and one hundred percent. I understand what the setting does easily enough - and I took it for granted at first the reason it was there was because DC can benefit by showing the ads. Fair enough, I don't mind helping out DC, and I pushed it up - I even thought about setting it to one hundred percent. Then I got to wondering, having once known someone who actually wanted to see ads, if it was just there to satisfy those with such tastes. Does anyone know? I'm going to bump it up all the way until I find out, but I would be interested in knowing.
87  Other Software / Developer's Corner / Re: Seeking Programming Language To Learn on: January 07, 2009, 07:17:20 PM
with respect to the potential limitations of your chosen language I suspect that this is likely to be an issue regardless of your choice (eventually...).  Pick a likely candidate and see where it takes you - you might be surprised.  If it doesn't work out, just remember what you've learned along the way (it's better to make a start and work it out as you go than it is to worry about how it might end if you do start)

This advice has a lot of sense to it - which is why I had to stop and work out why it didn't feel right. I'm afraid I've done something I do all too often. embarassed Only after I begin take the first step, and think things through, do I understand what is motivating me under the surface. Yes, there are a lot of neat little custom tools I'd like to put together - but that isn't what is really motivating me to learn to program. I want to create the ultimate Writer's Workshop.

Yes, I know that's foolish, on so many levels. I already own one of the very few programs I've paid for and never regretted it, specifically designed for writers. When I think of what I'd like to wind up with, the basics are a lot like the title I use now. Heck, I got free upgrades for life, and the best support I've ever hoped for - better than anything else I've ever heard rumours of. And, if one of the experienced coders here mentioned taking on a project as huge as what I have in mind, you'd all tell them they were nuts. With good reason.

I know all that, and I still want to do it. The improvements I'd make would take a really good way to work and make it the only way to work. They're things no one else would come up with. I've got an idea for a program that is nothing at all, in total, like any other program I've ever heard of. The program I use now is a Mercedes - but I want to write one that's a Bugatti. So I've got to figure out the best language for what I want to do. (Yes, I do know it won't be my first project. I may be crazy, but I'm not completely stupid. But I do want to move in that direction as much as I can, and not meander all over the place first.)
88  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: How to tell if your cat is plotting to KILL you on: January 06, 2009, 09:30:50 PM
My cats were very offended by this thread. They are cousins to royalty, after all - the lion is the King of Beasts - so you have all annoyed four members of the royal family, who also happen to be very dangerous predators. Grin
89  Other Software / Developer's Corner / Re: Seeking Programming Language To Learn on: January 06, 2009, 09:02:23 PM
Thanks, everyone. You've given me a lot of good points to consider. I'd completely overlooked the point about libraries *duh!* which is certainly something I'd want to consider. I don't think I'm ready to reinvent the wheel.

AutoHotKey does look interesting; a lot of the tools created with it look even more so. But the "almost" makes me suspect I'll want to do something it won't allow me to soon enough. I've had that problem with macros and batch files; I even had it back when I was using Norton Batch Runner. You can go pretty far, if you get creative, but there is a point you just can't get past. Or at least I've never been able to.

Beyond that, I'm going to do a little poking around all the suggestions so I can see what looks like my best option. Since I'm interested more than anything in making a few things just the way I want them, the average user doesn't concern me much. I'll make stuff I want to use, release it free (maybe donationware, here on DC, but I wouldn't count on getting much if anything from it) and if anyone wants it bad enough, they can always install what they'd need to run it. I know I would, if I found something I wanted to run badly enough. As it is, I find the things people make because they want to are a lot better than the stuff driven by market research...

My real concern is taking the time to make the right choice for me; I don't want to get pretty familiar with this or that language, then figure out I really wish I'd chosen another one. That sort of thing drives me nuts. Of course, having said that, Murphy's Amendment provides that someone, somewhere, will now begin developing a completely new programming language, tailored especially for me, with the first release timed to occur on the same day I finally figure I've learned whichever language I finally choose.  Grin
90  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Looking for Notes / Database Software on: January 06, 2009, 08:35:49 PM
Thanks; I'll check it out, and see how well it works for me. Looks like an interesting program either way; I'm just incredibly picky when it comes to notes. (Well, I already said I've got one program I'm happy with, and I'm still looking for another for some of my notes, which should tell you something...  Grin )
91  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Looking for Notes / Database Software on: January 06, 2009, 03:26:39 PM
I have a love / hate relationship with this category of software. I understand everyone has their own preferences; mine are more specific than most, I think. For a lot of my notes, I use something called DebriefNotes - one of the very few programs I've paid for and been happy I did. It is perfect for a lot of my needs. That said, I also have some notes I need to be able to filter, not just search. DebriefNotes won't permit the level of filtering I need, so I've checked out anything I could find. Most of them were nothing even close to what I want.

Finally, I found a program, AZZCardfile, that is almost what I need and want. Almost. But those two sticking points are driving me nuts. First, it saves all notes in a proprietary format. I hate that; I like open formats that are easily readable by half the stuff out there. Then, if you lose your license key, or whatever, you don't have to go crazy trying to figure out how to save the information you've collected. Yes, it will export to HTML and RTF - those formats are fine, but I don't want to have to remember to export each time I add information. Well, I could live with that if I have to, but the other point is the "biggie" for me.

In order to do what I want, I had to design my own system, of adding a line of coded "switches" to the end of each card's title, then I can search on any "switch" or set of them I choose. That way, I can filter out groups based on the criteria important to me, and custom design those criteria. I can even live with that; it is probably better than any predefined system for some of the things I want to do. The trouble is, I don't want to have those stupid lines of code printing with each card's title if I print them out. I'd like something just like this, but with a second "title bar" - one that can be filtered, separately OR in combination with the title (two filters, both operate to filter the list, but if one is blank it does not filter at all) but that remains hidden EXCEPT when the user chooses to create / edit it.

Does something that can do just this even exist? The thing would be a great, flexible tool for authors, researchers, what have you if only it didn't have those two annoying properties. (Even better, from my point of view, would be one that does all this does, saves in RTF or HTML or some other common format, and that allows any number of user-defined, hidden checkboxes that can be used to filter. Much less work, but I fear that would be too much to hope for... I've got to learn coding myself, so I can write the custom stuff I want and can't find.)
92  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: The Monkeys Have Hit The Button on: January 06, 2009, 02:38:38 PM
The countdown does render correctly in firefox, but not in Explorer

One more reason to be glad I only use IE when MS forces me to: at update time.  cheesy

I know I'm ready to give Cairo a try, and if the reality is half of what is promised, I'll never hit the uninstall button... (except to reinstall, of course).
93  Other Software / Developer's Corner / Seeking Programming Language To Learn on: January 06, 2009, 02:25:37 PM
I'm pretty new here, and while I've found I can figure out what is wrong with my computer before tech support does (not that that's such a feat...  Wink ) and have written some pretty complex macros for WordPerfect, DOS batch files, and batch routines for something called Norton Batch Runner (acquired in 1993 with my first computer) most of you have probably never heard of, I have never quite taken the next step and learned a programming language. I bought a kit at one point, think it was Visual C++, but found that language - or perhaps the explanations - difficult to handle. I'm a writer; my brain's OS is hard-wired to English by this point, which means I have to find a language which works in ways I can manage.

I've got a lot on my plate right now, so I'm just mulling things over, but I'm trying to figure out the best programming language to learn, for my own style of learning. In case this helps, I picked up WordPerfect's macro language(s) - version 5.2 through 12 - easily enough. When for a short time I was stuck with MS Word, and tried to figure out the macro language it used, I might as well have been trying to read Sanskrit. Of course, I've never found MS products, "help" instructions, or anything else particularly helpful. It all, to me, seems oriented, more and more, towards "you're just a poor stupid user; why don't you lie back and let Bill decide what's best for you?" - and Bill's opinion seldom if ever suits me.* So I don't know how much was the "help" (You don't really want to do this, it's too complicated, so we tell you as little as we can, ha!) and how much the macro language.

I would like to use something I can write stuff with for my own machine - Windows XP - without too much fuss, and for Linux and a Web environment without too much fiddling. I suppose Java sounds like the obvious choice, except my machine always runs slowly when running Java apps, so I'd rather find something else. I've heard good things about Ruby, but I don't know enough to be sure if it is what I want. I did find one little free "toy" I downloaded that was supposed to teach the basics of Ruby - it was called Hackety-Hack and it seemed to be broken. From what I could see, Ruby did look like a language I might be able to get my head around. But how well will it suit me in other ways?

I'd really appreciate any thoughts on this, so I can take some time and think them over. Thanks.

* I know there are software "holy wars" on many sites, and I'm not out to start one. This is purely my own opinion, offered so you can judge how my mind and preferences work. If you're happy with Windows, that's fine with me, as long as you don't expect me to be...
94  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Request for suggestions: Group Bookmarking Tool on: August 30, 2008, 10:38:03 AM
Diigo explicitly has groups, which you can set up any way you like. If you need advice / help, I'll try to help you. Ma.gnolia, which, to be fair, started the whole existing ID thing to repel spammers, just doesn't have the features Diigo has. (You can comment, highlight, and add sticky notes right on web pages; any member of the group can add comments. Others can comment, if they also bookmark the site, but you can filter to only group messages.)
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