Newsletter for December 24th, 2007
Codename "Here Comes Your NANY"
1. Newsletter Editorial
Season's Greetings. I hope you are enjoying a well deserved end of year break and looking forward to ringing in the New Year with friends and family. DonationCoder, on the other hand, never sleeps and is packed with nerds and geeks who enjoy nothing better than celebrating the holidays up all night typing in the glow of their liquid crystal displays. To prove that point, we've got one of our biggest newsletters ever today. If you absolutely must engage in a "real life away from the computer" please be careful out there and make sure to buckle up.
If you're celebrating a holiday with kids this month, regardless of which one, chances are the kids have convinced you to let them open at least one present a little early (otherwise their brains might explode from the anticipation). Well I sympathize so I made available a brand new program as an early release for supporting members of the site. It's called "Point Motivator" and it was born out of discussions on the forum about creating a general program that can motivate you to do things you want to get done. Basically it lets you create a set of activities that earn you various points and then track your progress over time. As I said, it's available now as an early download present for all supporting members of the site, but will be made public in January for our NANY 2008 Challenge. It comes with a sample set of items but I hope people will share their item definition files on the forum with each other, and I'd love to hear if you find the program useful. Thanks to everyone on the forum for helping me come up with the program name.
- Mouser, your host for this week's newsletter2. New DonationCoder.com Software
Last month the coders on our site responded to our Getting Organized Experiment Software Challenge with almost a dozen new freeware releases relating to productivity and time management. You'd think we'd be resting on our laurels, but on January 1st we will be unveiling yet more new freeware: The NANY 2008 Challenge programs.
What is the NANY 2008 Challenge? It's our second annual "New Apps for the New Year" programming event, where we ask coders on our site to unveil a new unreleased program to usher in the new year. Some are silly and some are great, but they're all fun to unwrap like presents. You definitely will not want to miss this year's collection. And if you're a programmer or know someone who is, stop by -- there is still a week left to write a new program and get a DonationCoder mug as a thank you.
There have also been some new software updates on the site by other coders. F0dder updated his popular encrypted notes program "fSekrit", and Seedling updated his very cool mp3 program "Mixtape Maker". I even snuck in a minor update for my Clipboard Help+Spell program (ps. thanks PC World for recommending it).
Also make sure you stop by our Coding Snacks section -- there have been some new small coding snacks written by people on the forum in response to user requests.
As always -- we ask that if you find a program that you like, you make a small donation to the author who made it. Your donations to the site, and to the programmers on the site, make all of these things possible.3. Upcoming January Fundraiser - New Programs, New Discounts, New Giveaways, and More
If you're a supporting member of the site, there's still time to win one of the 5 copies of Surfulater
(a very nice web site surfing helper) that we are giving away in December.
But hold onto your socks for the new year, because we have some big stuff in store. In January we will be having our 3rd annual fundraiser, and we will be celebrating with an incredible number of software giveaways and discounts on some of the best software on the planet, arranged by DC member Carl Thorpe.
We are also preparing our massive Best of 2007 Roundup, where we highlight dozens of our favorite discoveries on the web from the year that was. Last year's Best Of 2006
feature was a huge hit and this year's is sure to be one as well.
We'll be sending out a special newsletter in the first days of January with more details on the fundraiser and on the special events we have planned, but I wanted to just say a few words now. This is the time of the year when we really need your help and support and encouragement.
If you're already a supporting member... Thank you. But maybe you donated a long time and you like what we're doing -- would you consider putting your money where your heart is and making another donation? Your continued donations make it possible for us to keep writing new software and improving the site.
And this fundraiser is especially directed at those of you who've not yet made a donation to the site and are sitting on the fence... I hope we can convince you in January to make the giant leap of faith and make a donation and join our little revolution in donationware. We're humbly asking for your financial contribution so that we can continue to improve the site and do new things.
If making a financial donation is not something you can do -- that's ok too. We'd love to have your participation on the site in other ways. In fact, maybe there's something we can do for you? Please let us know.4. Member site spotlight: AdminKing.com - For your server administration needs
It's my distinct pleasure this week to shed a spotlight on the new website of an extremely talented programmer and unix guru, who is also a friend and member of donationcoder, and someone who I care for a lot. John Sennesael (known as Gothi[c] on the forum) has been invaluable in solving server issues for DonationCoder. When we hit a problem that the professional managed hosting companies who run our servers can't solve, a quick email to John inevitably leads to a solution in short order. He is so good at doing server administration that he decided to quit his daytime job and jump into server administration professionally with his own management company. And he's looking for clients.
If you need a serious server administrator, who knows his stuff and is on call 24hr/day, John is your man. After years of dealing with dodgy tech support from web hosting companies, it's impossible to overstate how much better he is than any support I've ever gotten from a hosting company. I think John is going to specialize in dedicated servers and high security/stability configurations, so if you are serious about having someone set up, maintain, update, and watch over your commercial website, grab a contract with John while he's still accepting new clients. And the fact that he's a programmer and can write just about any web service you can dream up means that if you ever need custom work you don't have far to look.5. Your input requested
App103 posted a brief description of, and link to, a blog entry that she made about the DC NANY 2008 challenge and what makes DonationCoder special to her
. Donationcoder will be three years old
in March and we're heading into the big January fundraiser, so it would be great to get peoples' thoughts and experiences about the site, the community, and what you
like (or don't like) about DonationCoder.com. Other topics in which your participation is requested:
And while we are in the self congratulatory, reflective mode for this newsletter, we might as well mention that DonationCoder celebrated a milestone of sorts: 100,000 members and counting. Josh started a thread about it called, appropriately: 100,000 users!
Congratulations to everyone for making Donationcoder such a wonderful place to "hang out". If you haven't yet posted on our forum, feel free to post a little hello in that thread, we'd love to hear from some new voices.6. Living Room
The living room section of our forum is a diverse and dynamic place. People discuss everything here - from glow in the dark cats
, to Star Trek Posters
, to LCD Monitor recommendations
So, what kinds of things have DC members been discussing? Check out fodder's thread Tell me why I have to be a PowerSlave?
I had no idea that a computer that is powered off but still plugged into the wall draws so much power. We also welcome a regular member of the community back after a health related absence: JoTo advises us that we had "Better run like Hell! I am back"
(read how your postcards cheered him up and made him seem like a star to all the nurses in the hospital).7. Fun and Leisure
Kind of a slow couple of weeks for games and fun on the forum, but luckily DC member Ralf once again out did himself with some of his best original Top 10 lists to date. The last one is a bit of an insider joke though, so unless you follow the DC forums regularly, you may find yourself scratching your head.8. General Software Discussion
Well, software is what you really care most about isn't it, more than life itself. No? Oh ok then, maybe it's just those of us who hang out in the General Software section on the forum...9. Specific Software Discussions
Postings made to the General Software Discussion board often relate to specific applications.10. Software Advice and Solutions Requested
Often you need to accomplish something on your computer that requires specialized software. Googling for a solution is usually either overwhelming because there are so many choices or underwhelming because there are a limited number of expensive options. Perhaps you used a great app in the past but no longer have the installer and have forgotten the name. The General Software board is a great place to research your options and if no one's asked a question/posted their opinion about a particular application or a category of applications, you can post a question yourself. It's pretty rare that such requests go unanswered.11. Coding Snacks
If you've already read through the forum looking for software solutions for a specific task and unsuccessfully posted asking for suggestions, why not post a request in the Cody Snacks section of the forum? A kind-hearted DC member might be able to whip something up for you. Read on for a sampling of the kinds of small applications other members have been looking for over the past two weeks. Some of the posts below represent completed custom coded freeware utilities made by coders on our forum and available for download, some are just pending requests, and some are cases where an existing program was found to satisfy the request:12. Developer's Corner
Whether you are a programmer or just someone interested in entrepreneurial issues and running your own website, you'll find something useful in the Developer's Corner section of the forum.13. Announce Your Software/Service/Product
DonationCoder members travelswithmusic and jlogic77 announce their web services below. Both are worth a look - travelswithmusic.org is a website that uses music to connect world cultures while Ubernote is an online notetaker and organizer with a difference. Read the announcements below.14. Site of the Month - KarenWare.com
Karen Kenworthy has been writing freeware for almost a decade, and her site KarenWare.com is well known to people who appreciate small tools that do exactly what they say they will. She's got dozens of freeware programs available and you are sure to find something useful there. She also puts out a regular free newsletter (Karen's Power Tools Newsletter). Keep up the great work Karen! We are fans.