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Author Topic: Newsletter for November 4th, 2008 - Codename "Election Special"  (Read 14767 times)
mouser
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« on: November 04, 2008, 03:13:56 PM »

Newsletter for November 4th, 2008
Codename "Election Special"


"If you read nothing else on our site, read our blog!"
(new rss feed with images)




1. Newsletter Editorial

Greetings and happy Tuesday.. and for all you US citizens, happy election day!

Did you know that I wrote an election prediction program back in 2004?  Such prediction programs use standard Markov Chain Monte Carlo methods to simulate millions of possible electoral outcomes in each state in order to estimate the likelihood of a candidate winning the entire election.  That program actually led to a similar 2006 online tool for predicting odds of teams winning the World Cup and making betting recommendations.  I didn't bother to write one for this year's election, though, because this year there are some very good tools already available online (see below).  Regardless of your political leanings, if you are in the US, educate yourself and then go vote!  And if you are interested in the mathematics behind gambling and predictions, read a little about Markov Chain Monte Carlo, a truly beautiful and elegant statistical process.



2. Official DC Software Updates

I hope you'll forgive me for taking up a section of the newsletter this month to focus on recent updates that I've made to some of my larger programs on DonationCoder.com.

The most notable update is to "LaunchBar Commander", my program that allows the user to set populate a dock with shortcuts to programs.  The update provides a lot of new features and some long requested bugfixes.  LBC now has a flexible hotkey system that allows you to assign hotkeys to specific launch bars or subfolders within launchbars, so you can now easily pull up menus at the cursor showing any subset of a launchbar tree.  You can also use a hotkey to toggle the visibility of an entire dock.  And keeping with this theme, LBC has a totally revamped auto-hiding/sliding implementation, which now works quite well.  So you can finally keep your dock hidden offscreen until you need it.

Screenshot Captor and Find and Run Robot have also been updated.  If you've been manually downloading the beta releases of these two programs you won't see any dramatic changes, but if you've been using the prior stable versions, there are a bunch of new bugfixes for Screenshot Captor, and a bunch of new features for plugin writers for Find and Run Robot.

And lastly, a note about the differences between Find and Run Robot (FARR) and LaunchBar Commander (LBC).  Lots of people get confused about the overlap between these programs.  Both utilities are used to launch programs and documents.  The difference is that FARR is for keyboard maniacs, who need to locate programs by typing the name of the program, while LBC is for visual people -- who like to have a reminder on screen of their commonly used programs -- think of it like a souped up customizable version of the windows Start Menu.  Personally I use both -- LBC for my more common programs, and then FARR for the less common ones.



3. Your Participation Requested

We'd love to see your input anywhere on the fourm. However, if you're having trouble deciding where to jump in, below are some general threads that we'd like to see more participation in!

Let me also point you to a revived thread on the forum about suggested changes to the DonationCoder.com approach to raising money.  We haven't had a fundraiser in a few years and we depend entirely on donations from users to keep this site running.  With the worldwide economic crisis things feel a little scary.. so we need to make sure that we continue to provide a service to the community that people feel is worth supporting, and that doesn't alienate people.



4. Help and Advice from Member to Member

If you are trying to make a tech related decision, the DC forum is a great place to turn. Read on for some recent discussions and feel free to join in the conversation with your opinion or post an issue of your own.



5. Amusements and Humour

Hi-ho, hi-ho, it's off to work we go.. Boring! We can't be serious all the time, can we? Everyone needs to unwind...



6. Games, Games, Games

We are always on the lookout for fun games. Below are some recent "finds" that members have posted. If you have any favourites, post a link to them!



7. News You Can Use

DC Member Ehtyar has taken to producing wonderfully weekly summaries of important tech/computer/security news articles that he comes across on the web.  A big hit on the forum.



8. The Weird Wide Web

Here are some recent DC members' finds from around the web. As always, your input is encouraged, so if you come across something interesting while you're surfing the web, feel free to post a link to it.



9. Software Discussion

One of the great things about DC is the range of expertise, experience, and opinion that the user base brings to the forum, be it about development, hardware, tech in general, or software.



10. Member Contributions and Projects

Mouser is not the only DC coder who has been busy. Check out some recent offerings announced and discussed below, all of it coded by our members.  Pay special attention to our Coding Snacks section.  Coding snacks are lite treats for the software afficiando. All you have to do is ask... Post a clear description of what you're looking for and one of Donationcoder's resident coding gurus might just take up the challenge.



11. Developer's Corner

The Developer's Corner has been active over the past month. Below are links to some threads of interest. Note that there is more to this section of the forum than simply the discussion of software development - there's something here for anyone interested in tech and entrepreneurial issues.

« Last Edit: December 01, 2008, 08:41:12 PM by mouser » Logged
mouser
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« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2008, 03:14:55 PM »

Thanks to Darwin for a ton of help on this newsletter (as usual!)  thumbs up thumbs up

ps.
If you've never donated to the site and feel like supporting us, just hit that Donate button at the top of the screen, right above the little bird with the coin in his mouth (our mascot Cody).  It would be greatly appreciated.
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lanux128
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« Reply #2 on: November 04, 2008, 08:11:11 PM »

another very informative issue. Thmbsup i'm going off to hit the Donate button now. smiley
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Armando
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« Reply #3 on: November 04, 2008, 09:52:58 PM »

thanks a lot mouser.  smiley
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"I suppose it can be said that I'm an absent-minded driver. It's true that I've driven through a number of red lights on occasion, but on the other hand, I've stopped at a lot of green ones but never gotten credit for it."
Glenn Gould
Curt
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« Reply #4 on: November 05, 2008, 04:45:11 AM »

Excellent letter, mouser and Darwin.  thumbs up


And lastly, a note about the differences between Find and Run Robot (FARR) and LaunchBar Commander (LBC).  .....  Personally I use both -- LBC for my more common programs, and then FARR for the less common ones.
cheesy - just goes to show how different we are, as people. I might wanted to say the exact opposite: FARR for everyday used programs, because those names I can remember, and LBC for the seldom used ones, because these names I most likely have forgotten. Anyway, as it happens I can't remember any names at all ~ I am not a 'keyboard maniac' ~ therefore: Congratulations to mouser on the major update of LauncBar Commander.   smiley
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ewemoa
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« Reply #5 on: November 05, 2008, 08:20:48 AM »

Thank you mouser and Darwin!  I think I will come to appreciate these even more when I have long periods of not using the net smiley
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mahesh2k
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« Reply #6 on: November 05, 2008, 08:50:53 AM »

Great newsletter,Keep it up guys thumbs up
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tomos
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« Reply #7 on: November 05, 2008, 09:00:59 AM »

Excellent letter, mouser and Darwin.  thumbs up


And lastly, a note about the differences between Find and Run Robot (FARR) and LaunchBar Commander (LBC).  .....  Personally I use both -- LBC for my more common programs, and then FARR for the less common ones.
cheesy - just goes to show how different we are, as people. I might wanted to say the exact opposite: FARR for everyday used programs, because those names I can remember, and LBC for the seldom used ones, because these names I most likely have forgotten.

+1 on both counts cheesy
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Tom
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« Reply #8 on: November 16, 2008, 12:20:05 AM »

thanks  cheesy
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