Newsletter for November 2nd, 2007 - Codename "Challenge Yourself" -
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Author Topic: Newsletter for November 2nd, 2007 - Codename "Challenge Yourself"  (Read 10351 times)
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« on: November 03, 2007, 05:59:38 PM »

Newsletter for November 2nd, 2007
Codename "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!

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 -- 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.

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.

4. Your Input is Requested

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

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

13. Site of the Month

Our site of the month for November is one of my daily reads:  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.

« Last Edit: November 18, 2007, 11:23:09 PM by Darwin » Logged
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« Reply #1 on: November 03, 2007, 11:34:57 PM »

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.

"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin
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« Reply #2 on: November 04, 2007, 02:28:42 PM »

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.
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« Reply #3 on: November 05, 2007, 08:53:46 AM »

 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.
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« Reply #4 on: November 19, 2007, 12:18:32 AM »

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!   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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