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Newsletter for November 2nd, 2007 - Codename "Challenge Yourself"

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mouser:
Newsletter for November 2nd, 2007Codename "Challenge Yourself"

"If you read nothing else on our site, read our BLOG"



1. Newsletter Editorial

Hi everyone, it's mouser here taking over the reins of the newsletter this month.  I'm not sure why, but October 2007 saw the largest number of new signups at our forum in the history of the site (over 7000)!  A giant DC welcome to all our new members -- please make yourself at home and stop by our forum to say hello.  We even have a special thread where people can post a little bit about themselves, and I invite you to do so, whether you've been a member for one day or since day one.

For the next few months I'm going to be working on a more traditional paying project for a change, so I'm not going to have as much time to work on DC coding as usual.  So I'm putting out a call for all you programmers, novice and expert alike, to participate on DC and code something fun for the DC community.  We've set up a couple of programming "contests" that will be running in the next three months to keep things interesting.  And if you have an idea for something new, post it!  It's all in your hands now, and if you've been waiting for something to goose you into becoming active on the site, now's when we need you.

We'd much rather have your time than your money -- but if you don't have the time to help us improve the site, we would deeply appreciate your financial contributions.  Are you ready to become a supporting member of our site and help fund our effort to create the best software site on the internet?  It's safe and it's easy, and in addition to the benefits of a lifetime license for our current and future software, you'll feel good all month!


* Join us a Supporting Member Now: http://www.donationcoder.com/Donate
Remember that when you donate to our site, *you* retain complete control of how your donation is allocated.  Your donation is returned to you in the form of donation credits -- when you see someone on our site who is writing a program you like, or who posts a useful review on our forum, etc., just send them a few of your donation credits to say thank you and encourage them to keep up the good work.


2. Site Announcements - Challenge Yourself!

You don't have to be a programmer to participate at DonationCoder.com -- in fact most of the people on the site are just lovers of fine software and aren't interested in coding.  But there are plenty of programmers who hang out at DC and we love to encourage them to create new programs and share them on the site.  The coolest thing by far is reading the interactions between programmers and users and they discuss ideas and feature requests.

To help celebrate the coder spirit, we are going to be having some programming-related contests (well we like to call them challenges since we like to reward everyone who participates not just pick one winner).  If you have any programming experience -- don't be shy! Check out the firefox extension programming challenge, and the Getting Organized Programming Challenge.

If you're not a programmer, but want to learn -- stop by our newly revamped self-teaching Programming School section.  There's no better time than the present.

And lastly.. For everyone who could stand to improve their efficiency and the way they spent their time -- please stop by the Getting Organized Experiment 2007 (GOE) section of the forum, and exchange ideas about productivity tips and systems.


* Firefox Extension Contest (Deadline December 31, 2007) - DC Coding Contest Too
* GOE 2007 Programming Contest for November 2007 (Deadline December 1, 2007)
* DonationCoder.com Getting Organized Experiment 2007 - Just Started
* Teach Yourself to Program in Our Programming School
* Draw Cody Competition Results Posted: Congratulates to Audrey

3. DC Software Updates

After nearly a year in development, I've finally released a public beta of my Find and Run Robot v2 program.  I think it still needs some tweaking, and until I create a set of video screencasts showing the advanced features, it's going to be hard for people to use the full feature set, but I'm still happy to have it out there in the public.  There are also a ton of plugins released for it already, with more to come in the near future.  Another one of my programs, Clipboard Help and Spell, also got some attention from PC World recently, and I just released an update of that with a cool new feature for pasting time and date stamps in a wide variety of formats.


* Find and Run Robot (FARR) - v2.00.144  - Released Oct. 22nd, 2007 -- now public beta!
* Clipboard Help And Spell - v1.17.02 - Released Oct. 21, 2007 -- new cool new time/date paste features
* Cody wallpapers for Halloween - Great new drawings of the DC Mascot
* Mouser "Sabbatical" from DC Coding for 3 Months - Your Help Requested Please
* New Bug Tracking Master Lists - Josh has created new bug tracking threads for all the main DC programs to help people better track outstanding bugs and feature requests

4. Your Input is Requested

Looking for a good place to make your first post on the forum?


* Can Open Source apps compete with commercial ones?
* Do you use Desktop Widgets?
* Post your Requests for Shareware Discounts -- We are getting ready to round up a new round of discounts on shareware for our members -- if there are programs you'd like to see discounts on, post here.

5. Living Room

Some interesting discussions and finds have been posted over the past couple of weeks. Seedling's post pointing to a page of Windows performance tips in one spot sparked lively discussions, as did a great list of freeware tools and a thread on the coming computer sex revolution.  Read on for more of what DC'ers were discussing in the latter half of October!


* Windows performance tips in one spot
* COLOURlovers Site
* How do you tag (or even organize) your files?
* Release important information after your death with this service
* These new cheap core 2 due laptops - any good?
* Magic Storage Bridge - IDE-ATA-ATAPI-SATA/SATAII/e-SATA
* Multibooting and Partitioning Experiments
* Cool idea - Find websites that sell your email address?
* Coders' Watches
* Teledildonics — build your dream (virtual) sex machine
* Building a Freeware PC + windows
* Coding Horror: Why Does Software Spoil?
* The Next Leap for Linux
* COfundOS: A site where people can join and fund Open Source Software

6. General Software Discussion

Here's a list of some of the top general software discussions and tips on our forum in the last 2 weeks.  Sometimes the best discussions start with someone posting a request for a tool to solve a specific problem, so if you have some task that you wish there was a program to help with, don't be shy about posting it.


* Print Your Own Graph Paper - Resource Roundup
* PhotoshopRoadmap.com - Very cool blog for photoshop resources
* Best (free) program to recover files?
* Fixed Drive Letters for Removable Drives?
* Do I need another anti-virus/malware program or am I paranoid?
* Veign's Top 15 MySQL Tools
* Looking for Freeware Screensaver with Space Theme
* Gmail rolling out IMAP Support
* Looking for a small dockable, auto-hide notepad
* Looking for a Profile Desktops
* Unique way to make Firefox load faster
* How to hide windows start menu/button?
* Program to Change File Attributes on Windows
* software for copying colours from one image to another
* Does your Vista installation run out of memory when copying files?
* Free virtualization options
* HowTo: Move Drive Letter to Beginning of Drive Names in Windows Explorer

7. Specific Application Discussion

There are some great finds in this issue's software discussion section - it's been a busy period.  The hardest part about preparing the newsletter is deciding which items to leave out.


* Evidence Eliminator Controversy - What has your experience been?
* New Webroot Firewall - Free Download
* NetDefender - new open source windows firewall
* What's the point of FlashGot (Firfox extension)?
* SQLNotes...what is it exactly?
* X-Mouse Button Control: Remap Mouse Buttons
* BBed, a stand-alone BBcode editor that really works!
* YzShadow - Drop shadows for all your windows
* Run apps as non-admin with SetSafer to avoid spyware.
* Attacks exploiting RealPlayer zero-day security risk
* Opening apps in a multi-monitor setup: GridMove

8. Fun and Games

The pursuit of happiness... Well, these links may not bring you happiness but you'll have a good time regardless!  If you're a long time reader of our forum you know we like "Tower Defense" games, which are very easy to play and offer a nice casual gaming experience without requiring too much effort and learning -- so make sure you don't miss the roundup of Tower Defense games posted this week.


* Tower Defense games collection - a brief roundup of tower defense games that have been mentioned on our forum over the past years
* Simon Tatham's Portable Puzzle Collection
* Bloons Tower Defense TWO
* 500 years of female portraits
* (Video) Using an oscilloscope to display oldskool sidescroller demos
* The Abrupt Goodbye
* USB Doomsday Device Hub - Fun for the Office
* Password Cracking Made Easy Thanks to the GPU
* Alternate Reality Gaming?

9. Mini-Reviews by Members

Tomos weighs in with a look at Qimage, a batch printing and processing software. Donationcoder reviews and mini-reviews are well respected and get a lot of attention from within and without the DC community. There are easy to follow and use templates to help you along, so if you'd like to review an application or a category of applications, don't be shy!  The only requirement we have is that you not be affiliated in any way with the product/company you are reviewing.


* Qimage, "Professional Photographic Printing Software" - a second look

10. Developer's Corner

Software developers fuel our software addictions, so it's only fitting that Donationcoder has a board devoted to software development. You may not think of yourself as a programmer and yet you might just benefit from a visit to the Development boards. Here you might be able to contribute end-user experiences that will assist coders in tweaking their offerings, you might learn about features and functionality in apps that you were unaware of, and you might just get bitten by the development bug!

And it's not just about programming -- it's also where we discuss running your own business and website, and talk about general entrepreneurial issues.


* Best Practices For Bulletproof E-Mail Delivery - avoid being treated like spam
* PODdy Mouth - Good blog on self-publishing and printing on demand
* Wapache: Free tool makes a standalone windows application from your web service
* Understanding the Life of a Session: Nice post about web sessions vs. cookies
* Leech Attacks
* DotNET compiler for LOLCODE
* Need a free survey site
* PalmOS Software Development/IDE
* Vanilla: a nice, strange forum

11. Coding Snacks

One of the most popular features of the community are the coding snacks. These are bespoke solutions to software wants and needs posted in the Post New Requests Here section. Read below for some recently completed coding snacks followed by some recent requests. If you are having trouble finding a software solution, perhaps drop by the Requests board and post your requirements.


* Clean known password from RAR/ZIP Archives
* ALT-TAB edge of the screen (new)
* AltTab Fingertips
* Launch application upon focusing a GUI element
* Windows Install Date Thingie: I made it!
* IDEA: Tiny Notes app for multi-user network folders
* IDEA: Do this First.
* IDEA: MP3 player with copy/move feature
* IDEA: Visualize mouse clicks

12. Member spotlight

DC member Sridhar (Sri on the forum) is a WordPress fiend, and blogs about software and technology on his website.  His site is updated daily with small summaries and lots of useful links.  Are you a member of DC with a site you think deserves wider attention, let us know.


* SridhaReena -  Scripts, Screencasts, Software, Technology, Tutorials, and everything Internet

13. Site of the Month

Our site of the month for November is one of my daily reads: MakeUseOf.com.  Though perhaps relying a little much on the "top 10 tools" genre, MakeUseOf does a great job of summarizing the top tools or tips in an area, while adding enough of a personal informed recommendation to make their frequent blogs very enjoyable and educational reads.  Combined with an occasional longer instructional post, MakeUseOf is a terrific addition to the software blogging field, and well worth your attention.  ps. They accept donations as well.


* MakeUseOf.com - Site of the Month for November 2007

Darwin:
Excellent newsletter, mouser  :Thmbsup: I know how much work went into it and really appreciate you taking the time to do it, particularly as I know that you don't have that much time to give to these things right now.

mouser:
I urge everyone who reads this newsletter to take the theme to heart.

Make November a month to challenge yourself to learn something new, or accomplish something you've been putting off.  Make a plan to create something this month.  Then let us know how it goes.

tinjaw:
 I have an idea to go along with this months theme. As you have mentioned, there are many people here that are not coders. However, there are many ways for non-coders to participate.

One of the unsung heroes of the open source arena is the technical writer. There is a pile of documentation that is necessary for an open source project to be successful. Everything from a few simple paragraphs describing the project on a web page (that just might determine whether or not somebody decides to try the project) to a good User Manual to the more technical API documentation. All open source projects are always looking for more help in this area.

And then there are those of you among us that are the misunderstood artist types. (I say that with all due respect as I can't even draw stick figures.) Logos, icons, backgrounds, UI components, illustrations, diagrams. I could go on an on about all of the stuff that is required.

There is a saying in the coding world about about how 80% of a software project is the initial coding, and that replacing the ugly "programmer art" with professional graphics and documenting the project is the other 80%.

So my challenge to those of you in our community who consider yourselves to be "non-programmers", is to contact one of the  "coders" here on DonationCoder and offer to help with documentation or graphics on one of their projects. Don't bite off more than you can chew, but take on a large enough of a challenge to get a feeling of what it is like. I bet you will find it very rewarding. And my hope is that taking this small step here amongst your friends will give you the confidence to go out into the wild and join some other open source project and help in a similar way.

I would also like to see somebody amongst you to start a new thread and describe your experience helping out a project in some "non-coding" manner to help inspire others. I'd love to see a hundred replies to that thread from others who decide to try it and a second reply from those same people further down the thread about how much fun they had and how they are going to do it again.

mateek:
TinJAw, you seemed to summarize so well, everyone seems to be mesmerized.  I had to add this is the best newsletter for DC to date, and many thanks to all.  Someday....cha-ching...the sound of my hefty donation.

I'm getting to this two weeks later, because I've been reading many many articles and follwing links all over DC, for many hours whenever I could find time.  Many are right in sync with the things I'm doing these days, like my multi-booting experiments, constant search for the better freeware, bug in a USB drive with a fixed drive letter (a virus?), need for humor (teledildonics was FUNNY!), neighborly recommendations here to give back, fixation with every update of Cliboard Help + Spell, etc.  IDEA: Tiny Notes app for multi-user network folders ...wow-wow!   The tally: 12 .mht/shortcut pages of tips saved, 5 softwares here and outside links, and I think 3 new additions to my bookmarks.  Mostly, a lot more knowledge.

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