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Author Topic: Official Fundraiser Blog Day by Day  (Read 36328 times)
mouser
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« on: March 01, 2011, 07:04:17 AM »

Greetings and salutations!  My name is Jesse Reichler and I've been helping to run the DonationCoder.com website since its opening 6 years ago in 2005. I'm writing today to ask you to reach into your pockets and make a financial contribution to the site.

Now don't get all grumpy and close this page just yet.. This fundraiser is a cause for celebration.

Why should you make a donation now? DonationCoder is a small site. For 6 years it has thrived, supported exclusively by small direct contributions made by normal users just like you. Unlike most of the internet, we have resisted trying to fund the site using advertisements. We enjoy the idea that all of our funding comes directly from our users.

But it hasn't been easy. We've recently upgraded to a bigger server to support the demands of our software downloads and discussion community, and to allow us to provide webspace for member projects.

We have worked hard over the years to earn your support. Much of what we do revolves around creating free software to share, and with our server costs at nearly $500 a month, we need your help now to raise funds for the upcoming year.

Will you please consider making a donation today to the site? You'll be joining over 8,000 other people who have donated to the site since our opening in 2005, and you'll be a part of something fun and different. You choose the amount -- no amount is too small or too large.

And while it's easiest to donate using a credit card, through paypal, amazon.com, or one of several shareware payment services -- we will accept donations of any form: cash, cookies, rare gems, precious metals, oil paintings, knitted cat socks, etc. Even just a postcard from across the globe saying good job.

We just ask that you do something, anything, to let us know that you want to see the site keep going.

And to try to sweeten the pot a little this year, we will be running a special giveaway at the end of the month for everyone who has donated, and we'll be giving away some things that we've never tried before -- including custom coding time on a project of your own invention, and some very sweet computer hardware. Stay tuned to the website for more details in the days that follow!

Ready to make that leap of faith and send us a few bucks? Just click the Donate button at the top of the page and you'll be done and feeling good in no time!

-jesse
« Last Edit: March 02, 2011, 10:50:44 AM by mouser » Logged
mouser
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« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2011, 05:44:13 AM »

Ok it's Day 2 of the Fundraiser and we are doing well!  Over $2,000 donated by 105 people(!)  However we need to remember that this initial pace will not survive much longer -- these represent the "true believers" in DC -- people who have supported the site in the past and are responding to the initial email call for donations.

I'm going to break up today's fundraiser update into a couple of posts because I have a few things to update and talk about today.

And first up I want to talk a little bit about the giveaway we are going to do at the end of this month, open to everyone who has donated to the site.  We do giveaways pretty frequently on the site for supporting members, but it's usually in the form of giving away 5-10 copies of a commercial software program.  This year we are going to try to spice things up a little.

We will start with a big collection of commercial software to give away of course -- some site favorites and some new stuff.  But we will also be giving away some unique gifts that are being donated by other forum members, including:

One ridiculously cool Optimus Maximus keyboard (too expensive for any human to buy):


Custom Coding Time on a project of your choosing/design:
  • I will be personally donating 10-25 hours of my time to code anything (legal) that you want.
  • We'll probably have a couple more coders and website designers do the same.
  • You design it, we'll create it -- and you can do with it what you want (give it away, sell it, whatever).
  • Or maybe you want us to spend the hours improving an existing program of ours adding custom features of your choice.  It's up to you!

And a lot more -- I'll be updating this page with more items in the giveaway as the month goes on.  We should have a few more surprises up our sleeve before it's all said and done, and we'll try to have some strange and unusual things for those of you who are strange and unusual.



The entry form will be put up near the end of the month, when you will be able to enter and rank what you would like to win most. The giveaway will be open to all donators, new and old -- and in keeping with the spirit of the site we will pick winners randomly without regard to how much they have donated.
« Last Edit: March 02, 2011, 05:46:15 AM by mouser » Logged
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« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2011, 10:55:41 AM »

As part of the fundraiser celebration, every day this month (March 2011) we're going to post or release something brand new.  A new software application, a review, a screencast video, etc.

Today DC member timns, author of the wonderful Head in the Clouds web comic, posts his mini-review of Centerbase CRM and explains why he thinks its a good Customer Relationship Management program.

It's a good example of what our mini-reviews are all about (you can find more mini-reviews here).
« Last Edit: March 02, 2011, 10:57:13 AM by mouser » Logged
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« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2011, 09:19:27 AM »

It's day 3 of the fundraiser, and we're doing well: Almost $4,500 raised from about 200 donors so far!

I thought today I'd make a post to introduce the site to those of you who may not be so familiar with it.



Many people arrive on our site for one of our larger free software applications, like Screenshot Captor, Process Tamer, URL Snooper, or Find and Run Robot.  You'll find these and many more on our main Software page (you can also watch some recent videos of these).



Recently one of the busiest areas of the site has been our special "Coding Snacks" section, where anyone can post a request for a small custom utility that they would like to have created.  Coders on the site regularly read the requests and code the programs which are released as freeware.  You can visit the Coding Snacks forum section to post a new request, or view a list of finished requests to download.

And speaking of our forum, you'll find that there are always some interesting discussions going on there, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We pride ourselves on quickly responding to requests for help.  We have some serious software addicts on our site and if you're wondering what's the best tool for a job, you're likely to find someone on our forum with a strong opinion.  Most of the software discussions are Microsoft Windows related, but we also have quite a few Linux users and a handful of Apple users.

Don't be shy about registering at our forum and making your first post -- whether it's a question about a particular software program, a feature request for one of our tools, or just to post a photo of your dog or cat.  We are a friendly and diverse bunch from all walks of life.  You can also sign up at the forum to receive our monthly newsletter where we recap the month's most interesting forum discussions and new web/software discoveries.  We even have an online (text) chat channel where people come to unwind any hour of the night.  There's an About page if you want to learn more about the history of the site.



In the past we really focused on writing big long comprehensive software comparison reviews.. But most of those reviews are a bit long in the tooth now, and we have shifted focus in the last couple of years more and more to what we call member "Mini-Reviews", where forum regulars write and share their (usually) brief reviews of software packages, both commercial and free (and sometimes other things like Board Games or gadgets).

Look a bit deeper on the forum and you might stumble onto our "Self-Teaching Programming School" section -- a progression of increasingly difficult assignments in dozens of different programming languages for people who are learning to program.  It's our fun way to encourage and motivate new students to join the exciting world of programming.

Let's see, what else?  You may have heard of us through our yearly NANY (New Apps for the New Year) event, where we encourage coders who hang out on our site to release a new free application at the start of the new year.  There were over 30 entries in the event this past January.  Some are just small toys, but some are seriously cool and useful.  They are all free.  We also provide hosting space for those members on our site who need a place to host their software and website.    



So that's a quick tour of the site. I'm sure I left out a few things but hopefully it's enough to help you decide if the site is something that appeals to you.
« Last Edit: March 03, 2011, 09:27:24 AM by mouser » Logged
mouser
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« Reply #4 on: March 03, 2011, 10:16:53 AM »

To celebrate the fundraiser, DC member skwire has released a new application: sWeather.

But before I describe sWeather, I need to say a little bit more about Skwire.  Over the last year he has released an absolutely astounding number of brand new freeware programs over the last year - almost all in response to requests from everyday people who have stopped by and posted on the DonationCoder.com Coding Snacks Request board.  He's almost threatening to break the record for releases by DC member Skrommel.  It's great fun to watch Skwire create new tools based on user requests.

Ok back to the new app, sWeather.  It's a tray-based weather tool.  There are a few of these kinds of tools around, some good, some bad.  sWeather is nice because it looks great while being pretty minimalist, and does all of the important things well.  There are tray icons for weather condition and temperature, and it's easy to switch quickly between locations and perform update checks. Overall a very sweet tool.







Important Note: During the fundraiser we ask people to make new donations into the site.  And these donations help cover site hosting costs and other expenses.  But we also have a system we created (called DonationCredits) in order to let people direct their donations to specific members on the site who they would like to show support to.  The best thing you could do with your donation is actually to send your donation credits out to specific people on the site like Skwire, whose work you want to support - as a way of letting them know that their work is appreciated.  So don't just donate, spread the love a little by sending your donation out to people on the site like skwire.  Actually skwire has his own direct paypal donation button on his website, and that would also be a great way to let him know he is appreciated.
« Last Edit: March 03, 2011, 10:29:49 AM by mouser » Logged
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« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2011, 07:12:27 AM »

Ok it's day 4 of the fundraiser.  We're at $5,270 donated by 239 individuals.  Not bad!

Yesterday I talked a little about the different areas on the website, including the Coding Snacks section of the forum, where anyone can post a request for a program that they would like to see created, and where coders implement those ideas as freeware.

Today's "Fundraiser Release of the Day" is the results of a Coding Snack request.

As described in this thread, WinButtons is a program launcher with large buttons, designed for touch screen displays.  It was released today by DC member Ath, based on a request from back in January of this year.

You can learn more about WinButtons, download it (exe and source code), and request new features, all on:




« Last Edit: March 04, 2011, 07:14:43 AM by mouser » Logged
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« Reply #6 on: March 05, 2011, 08:20:58 AM »

Ok day 5 of the fundraiser.  We're at $5,900 donated by 269 individuals.  Almost at our $6,000 goal -- if we reach that we will extend the thermometer range and keep going!

Today for the fundraiser celebration we have a new mini-review, by DC member Tomos, of a new program called Scrivner, which is still in beta:

Quote
Scrivener is a tool for writers. It's basically an rich text outliner with a very nice gui, and the ability to show/edit summaries of a folder's content (the corkboard), and of course the ability to export/compile all those entries as one document (images not supported)

It is still in beta. Initial impressions are good, but I have been able to crash it by importing an image (I have yet to see can I reproduce that), and I have found a bunch of minor bugs. In general it seems well behaved though and very usable.

  • Read the full mini-review: here.
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« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2011, 10:28:49 AM »

Day 6 of the fundraiser.. Last night we reached our goal of $6,000 raised (!).  Thank you to everyone who donated.  That's enough to pay for a full year of our deluxe hosting for the site.  As we did two years ago during the last fundraiser, we've extended the range of the thermometer and will keep going for the remainder of March -- hoping to break $10k.  I hope you will join us if you haven't already (if you have donated during the fundraiser, why not post to this thread and say hello).

For today's fundraiser release, DC member timns (famous creator of the awesome Head in the Clouds web comic) has posted an interesting How To guide for "Using Skype to Monitor Remote Systems".

Quote
We provide a little network of servers that host several web services with various API's. Obviously, as part of this we have to offer support and are committed to fairly aggressive SLA's.  In order to help with this, I decided to implement a continual monitoring system to alert us of any systems falling over in our little farm. Being on a limited budget and an inveterate code tinkerer, I set up a little project to see if I could rustle something up. As far as I am aware, this is a novel approach to real-time systems monitoring. A sort of "poor man's Tivoli" if you like.

I tend to avoid anything that reminds me of a phone, but I have recently come to appreciate the value of skype as a tool for collaboration over long distances.

Click here to read the full HowTo now..
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« Reply #8 on: March 07, 2011, 12:49:08 PM »

Day 7 of the Fundraiser and we're going strong.  If you've been following the fundraiser so far you know that each day we're trying to post something new -- a new minireview, coding snacks, major software update,etc.

Today it's my turn, and I've released a major new version of my Clipboard Help+Spell application for getting the most out of your windows clipboard, along with a new 15 minute overview video on the program.  I hope you find it useful.

The video is: here.


You can download the program from the Clipboard Help+spell web page.
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« Reply #9 on: March 08, 2011, 01:23:44 PM »

It's day 8 of the fundraiser, and we're soldiering on.. $7,564 raised so far -- well passed our initial goal but the donations have definitely slowed down dramatically since they peak rate after the fundraiser email/newsletter went out.  That's to be expected -- all of the existing fans of the site have by now sent in their donations, and right now we are seeing the slow march of new donors succumbing to our modest charms..

For day 8, DC member Stoic Joker (author of the popular printer tool Page Countster), released a new utility called "(File & Folder) Fix When".  It's a tool for batch updating file data/time stamps:




« Last Edit: March 08, 2011, 01:27:33 PM by mouser » Logged
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« Reply #10 on: March 09, 2011, 02:16:06 PM »

Day 9 of the fundraiser -- and we've broken the lucky $8,000 mark.  Thank you to everyone who has donated so far.

Today's release is a classic example of the Coding Snacks requests on our forum -- someone posted a request for a custom little utility yesterday, and a DC member (jgpaiva) has coded it and released it the next day as a donationware/freeware app with source code.

You can see the request here, and then read about and download the finished utility (KaosGen) here.

Coding Snacks are usually pretty small requests, although some occasionally can get pretty big and substantial.  They are always handled on a purely voluntary basis and anyone can post requests.  Since we still have a ton of days left in the fundraiser month, this would be the perfect time for you to post a new request -- you don't have to be a member of the site -- it's open to everyone.

Post your new request on the Coding Snacks section of the forum: here.



I also wrote a post about what DonationCoder would do with a two million dollar donation -- in case we have any billionaires out there who were feeling like we weren't speaking to them.
« Last Edit: March 09, 2011, 03:47:38 PM by mouser » Logged
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« Reply #11 on: March 10, 2011, 11:56:32 AM »

Fundraiser Day 10.  We are about a third of the way through the month, and just about to pass the $9,000 mark with 350 people donating so far.  Thank you to everyone who has donated!

We are trying to release something new (software, update, howto, review) each day during the fundraiser.

Today DC member Nod5 wrote up a little howto explaining how you can use your Android phone to remotely control arbitrary scripts on your desktop pc -- including a sample autohotkey script that you could customize to do just about anything.  I can see this being something a few of you might enjoy experimenting with -- and Nod5 would probably be willing to provide some guidance for those of you new to autohotkey.

And, DC member timns brings us a fun new utility, a random password generator with some fun options: timns Friendly Password Generator:





See you tomorrow!
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« Reply #12 on: March 11, 2011, 01:11:47 PM »

It's day 11 of the fundraiser and we're officially in the long slog stage of donations.. All the more reason for you to make your move now if you haven't donated yet.

For today's fundraiser "release" DC member Cranioscopical, known world-wide for his unmatched skills at creating puns, has given us two mini-reviews:



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« Reply #13 on: March 12, 2011, 11:33:06 PM »

It's day 12 of the fundraiser, and I've used the promise to release something new each day of the fundraiser as some motivation to finally release some open source code that's been lingering unfinished for a while.

I'm releasing my PythonProtoCards library -- it's code to help programmatically prototype card games.  Or at least helps you programmatically generate card images rapidly.

This is actually the very initial stage of what I hope will eventually become a robust card/board game prototyping suite and online engine.  Right now though it's just a set of loosely coupled classed to help you very rapidly produce a large number of quick and dirty card images for a custom card game.

You can read more and download: here.

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« Reply #14 on: March 14, 2011, 12:20:43 AM »

It's day 13 of the fundraiser, and we've cracked the $9,000 mark! Thank you to those who have donated for the first time, and for those who continue to make repeated donations at every fundraiser.  At the current rate, we should meet our secondary $10,000 goal before the end of the month.  How soon we reach it will determine if we should extend it once again.

As you know, we've pledged to release something new on the site each day during the fundraiser; today I've posted a mini-review of Realtime Landscaping, a really nice and fun tool for doing some pretty sophisticated landscaping design and visualization.



Tomorrow I think we will send out a special edition mid-month newsletter.
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« Reply #15 on: March 16, 2011, 12:51:30 AM »

Fundraiser Day 14 slipped by.
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« Reply #16 on: March 16, 2011, 12:54:45 AM »

Ok fundraiser Day 15, the half-way point.. We sprinted for the first leg of the marathon and now we're just going to walk out the cramps until we get our breath back.  Well at least speaking for myself I got socked with some other work and have just caught up and gotten clear to return to DC coding.. So expect some more updates from me this week.

Meanwhile, DC member Timns, was nice enough to write us a mini-review, of a very attractive looking desktop clock software; you can read it here.
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« Reply #17 on: March 16, 2011, 03:52:03 PM »

It's Day 16 of the Fundraiser, and to commemorate our 6th anniversary birthday, DC member skwire has released a fun little utility to help you keep track of the birthdays of friends and families, and whether you've sent them a card/gift yet.  It's one of those clever little single-purpose utilities that hits the spot and fills a need.

Read more, download, and discuss "Birthdays": here.

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« Reply #18 on: March 17, 2011, 02:20:29 PM »

It's day 17 of the fundraiser.. It's about that time when I wonder if anyone reads these little updates.  Regardless, the show goes on!

EDIT:  I've been told to not make the damn fundraiser updates so damn depressing! POINT TAKEN!  smiley

There's nothing to be depressed about the fundraiser -- we're doing great and nearly at the goal line!!  I didn't mean to suggest the fundraiser wasn't going well -- I just meant that people were probably getting sick of my daily boring fundraiser updates.  But I shall adopt a less somber tone from here on out I promise.

And if you want to join us in more celebratory cheering about the fundraiser, join us on this thread which is active and which everyone is welcome to post on!

For today, DC member wraith808 wrote a very cool round up of software tools useful to people traditional pen-and-paper running role playing games.  If that's something of interest to you, check out "http://www.donationcoder....m/index.php?topic=26088.0".

« Last Edit: March 17, 2011, 02:40:28 PM by mouser » Logged
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« Reply #19 on: March 19, 2011, 07:56:05 PM »

Day 18 of the Fundraiser.  Once again DC member Skwire comes through with a small utility based on a request made on the Coding Snacks section of our forum.

The original request was for a utility that could sort a list of lines based on some text in the middle of the lines.  Skwire's solution, Regex Text Sorter, goes one step further and let's you sort lines based on any criteria that can be captured by a regular expression.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2011, 08:31:42 PM by mouser » Logged
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« Reply #20 on: March 19, 2011, 08:01:52 PM »

It's Day 19 of the Fundraiser and we've surpassed our $10,000 fundraising goal!! 

A giant thank you to everyone who has donated and made the site possible.

But we're not going to end the fundraiser mid-month just because we reached our goal.  We've extended the thermometer to a distant $15,000 finish line, and we're going to see how close we can get to that by the end of the month.  Everything is just icing on the cake at this point, but every bit helps.  So if you haven't donated yet, now is the time.



For Day 19, DC member Ath released a new utility to the public; based on a request on the Coding Snacks section, Excel2Html is a commandline tool that will convert an excel file to an html table.  Read more and download: here.
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« Reply #21 on: March 21, 2011, 04:26:28 AM »

Day 20 placeholder
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« Reply #22 on: March 21, 2011, 04:30:08 AM »

It's Day 21 of the Fundraiser, and for today we have a round of updates:
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« Reply #23 on: March 22, 2011, 11:27:58 AM »

To celebrate Day 22 of the Fundraiser, DC member and programmer phitsc has posted a bunch of Android widget micro-reviews.
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« Reply #24 on: March 23, 2011, 09:26:01 PM »

It's day 23 of the Fundraiser, just one more week left!

For today I released 3 updates:

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