Newsletter for August 14th, 2008
Codename "Summer Software Sizzle"
1. Newsletter Editorial
It's clear that we have to make a concerted effort to get these newsletters out every two weeks, because with a month between them there is simply too much to write about.
The first item of news to report is that we have announced the winners
of the DonationCoder/Veign Programming contest. The three main entrants were each so different and interesting in their own way that we decided it would be wrong to choose a single winner. So, we featured all of the entrants and awarded the main prize (a MSDN Visual Studio Developer license worth over $10k) after asking the three entrants to tell us how they would use the prize if they won it. Read the announcement for all the details and to find out who won the big prize! The winning entrants have even been featured on several big sites (we love to see them getting the attention they deserve!), including Eric Wong's "Circle Dock" -- an extremely cool non-traditional dock/launcher that he continues to improve each day, and Eoin O'Callaghan's ServiceProfiles -- a very professional tool for toggling groups of services on and off.
This month has also seen an abundance of new software releases and new websites by forum members. I released new versions of some of my programs and we saw very cool new programs from other members of the forum, including a cool utility called LineByter that I actually ended up featuring in a mini-review. Several members of our forum are also branching out with new websites, which we love to see. In this newsletter you'll even see a section devoted to such announcements.
If you are new to the website please don't be shy. Just find a forum thread below that piques your interest and jump right into the discussion!2. Your Participation Requested
A warm welcome to all the new members who have joined over the last month. Here are some great topics for you to make your debut post on -- don't be shy, we are always happy to hear from new people. And for our long term members, you know what to do -- join in and make your voice heard.3. August Shareware Discounts and Giveaway
This month we have discounts on two great programs that have been discussed on the donationcoder forums.
First up, and perhaps most exciting, is a huge 40% discount on the newly released Beyond Compare version 3
! This program is a favorite of many forum members including myself (mouser) -- and I even wrote a giant review of version 2 and its competition way back in 2005. Second, is a discount on JungleDisk
, a very cool program reviewed by DC Member Justice in June 2008. As is our usual practice, we will also be giving away a few copies of each of these program. The discounts run until the end of the month and the drawing ends on August 20th. Both the discounts and the draw are available to supporting members only, but remember that you can become a supporting member with a donation of any amount. Thanks to DC Member Carl Thorpe for arranging these.4. DC Member New Software Releases
There were a ton of seriously good, brand-new software releases this month by DC forum members! It's wonderful to see so much activity by the coders. Let's let them know how much we appreciate their work. One of the programs, LineByter, is a program I use to help me send out this newsletter, and I was so impressed with it that I wrote a little mini-review of it, which you can read below.5. Other DC Software Updates
I released some major updates to a few of my own programs on DC this month, including a long-awaited release of Screenshot Captor, marking the beginning of more regular updates for it. It contains mainly bugfixes, but there are some big things too, such as a totally re-organized and significantly more useful options dialog, and a new feature that embeds web page urls in the text comments of browser screenshots. In addition, Find and Run Robot (FARR) got a major new feature that implements "fuzzy" (non-contiguous) word searching, which makes it much easier to find whatever it is that you are looking for. The FARR plugin/alias writers have also been busy, releasing some very cool new plugins and alias packs.6a. DC Member Projects, Writings, and Reviews
Here's part one of my attempt to sneak in new little sections to the newsletter each month to spice up the organization of topics, a selection of threads where people on the forum wrote some new original content.6b. DC Member Requests for Help
Here's part two of my attempt to sneak in new little sections to the newsletter each month to spice up the organization of topics, a selection of some of the more useful threads where people reply to a call for help or advice from a fellow forum member.7. Living Room
The Living Room section of the forum is where we discuss general issues that don't really belong in the "dedicated" sections. It's kind of a catch-all section -- lots of website discoveries and recommendations, etc. This makes it a great place to explore - you never know what you're going to find!8. General Software Discussion
Almost half the posts on the forum fall into the category of general software discussions, questions, recommendations, etc. This is one of the most active sections of the DC forum and a great resource if you're trying to solve a software or hardware related problem. We get so much traffic on this board that we've split the recent content into two sections in the newsletter - general software and specific software discussions.9. Specific Software Discussion
Noteworthy posts this month about specific programs include the release of a long-awaited successor to Beyond Compare 2 and the launch of Launchy for Linux.10. Developer's Corner
We were very pleased to see a real increase in activity in the Developer's corner section of the forum this month. Remember that this section isn't just for computer programmers, it's a place for entrepreneurs of all kinds to discuss the issues involving creating things and running a small business.
11. Site/Forum Features
- Ycombinator list of ideas they'd like to fund (!). Maybe some are within reach
- Blocking text-ads, no revenue left for web-writers?
- The Software Behind the Mars Phoenix Lander
- Shopping cart for php/mysql?
- Mini-review of Redmine: website tool for collaborative project todolist/wiki, bugtracking, etc
- Dictators in free and open source software?
- The D programming language - an interview with the author
- Article: Performance Comparison: C++, Java, Python, Ruby, Jython, JRuby, Groovy
- Fileupload with Browser and Progressbar
- Quantity Always Trumps Quality - Short But True Blog Post
- Essay: Why Free Software has poor usability, and how to improve it
- What do I need to do for Game Design?
- Anyone Know of a Multi-Monitor Simulator for Software Testing?
- New Linux Distro specifically designed for programmers
In this forum section we invite everyone to discuss ideas for the site and forum -- new features we can add to improve the community, etc. Have an idea, let us know.12. Fun, Games, and Humour
One of the things that makes the forum a nice place to hang out is that there is a good balance between serious expert discussion and just plain silly fun (and everything in between). There are always a few truly sublime discoveries posted by DC members each month, and this past month was no exception.
Thanks to Darwin for the help editing this!