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Topics - Ruffnekk [ switch to compact view ]

Pages: [1] 2next
LaunchBar Commander / Feature Request: Sorting Nodes
« on: September 15, 2009, 02:19 AM »
Hi Mouser,

I've been using this application for ages and I really miss a feature to sort a list of nodes alphabetically. Maybe you can include this in your next release?


Living Room / Super Mario AI Competition
« on: September 11, 2009, 01:27 AM »
Hi all,

I want to let you know about a unique competition for Java programmers. It involves writing an AI controller to play randomly generated Super Mario Bros. levels. You will get a basic package of Java classes that you can use to test and play the game and write your controller around. You can enter the competition for free and win up to $500 if you can beat the other AI agents!

More information about this competition can be found at I'm not affiliated with the organisation of the competition in any way.

It might be nice to set up a DC team and see what we can come up with...

Argus / v1.1 released
« on: April 26, 2007, 01:14 PM »
Please visit the Argus Panoptes website to download the new 1.1 version, which includes support for drag-n-drop operations.

You can now drag and drop one or more files and folders onto the included files list to add these automatically to your search scope. If you drop a folder, the currently selected Filter Template will be used to determine the files to include.

Developer's Corner / Interesting String Manipulation Problem
« on: April 13, 2007, 01:37 AM »
A friend of mine asked me to code a little tool that can take any string of morse code and output all possible translations of it. At first glance this seemed easy enough, but it turns out to be rather tricky and I'm kind of stuck.

To clarify the problem, I will give an example. I use dots (.) and dashes (-) for morse code.

D   O   N  A  T I  O   N
-.. --- -. .- - .. --- -.

Now, to parse this and get the word 'DONATION' is easy, but what if the spaces were left out?


Taking into account that a morse code 'character' can consist of 1 to 7 dots or dashes (letters, digits and punctuation) the problem arises.

What I need is an (recursive) algorithm that can split the string without spaces into all possible groups of substrings, with a maximum length of 7 chars per substring. It will start at some point, for example 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1... and iterate through all possible combinations. In the example given, the first morse code character can be - (T) or -. (N) or -.. (D) or -..- (X).

I realize the number of possibilities will grow very large, but that's not the issue.

EDIT: Please realize that the relative positions of the morse code characters do not change.

So does anybody have an idea? Any ideas are welcome, and sample code is appreciated in any language.

Argus / Argus Panoptes Release & Download Information
« on: April 02, 2007, 12:20 PM »
A new release version of Argus is coming very soon!

All of the details will be available in the coming DC newsletter :)

Untill then you can try the beta release, which can be found here.

Microsoft now has the upcoming Visual Studio Codename "Orcas" available for download as a Virtual PC Image. This enables you to download and install it without risking damage to your currently installed software. You will need Virtual PC 2004 SP1 or Virtual PC 2007 (Windows Vista). The download is quite large, around 6 GB, but for those who can't wait to see C# 3.0 in a safe environment it may be worth it ;)

You can download it from here: Microsoft Download Page

The download page also has a full feature list, installation instructions and specifications.

Mini-Reviews by Members / Einstein Puzzle 2.0 by Flowix Games
« on: March 09, 2007, 10:03 AM »
Basic Info

App NameEinstein Puzzle
App Version Reviewed2.0
Test System SpecsWindows XP Pro SP2 on Intel Pentium 4
Supported OSesWindows, Linux, MacOS
Support MethodsWebsite
Upgrade PolicyN/A
Trial Version Available?N/A
Pricing Scheme$ 0.00 (€ 0.00)
Reviewer Donation LinkDonate to Ruffnekk the Author
Relationship btwn. Reviewer and Product I, the reviewer, am in no way affiliated with this game or its creators.


Einstein Puzzle is a neat little game created by Flowix Games for people who like challenging puzzles. I have played it for a long time already and have solved it on several occasions, but definitely not every time I play it.

Website quote:
Einstein puzzle is a free cross-platform open source remake of old DOS game Sherlock which was inspired by Albert Einstein's puzzle. Einstein said that only those with an intelligence quotient of 98 percentile and higher should be able to solve it.


Please note that the text "Happy birthday, Ann!" appeared after a certain date, most probably Ann's birthday, but never disappeared after that ;)


The game is a puzzle in which you must determine the value of each card in a 6 x 6 grid. Each card can have one of six values to start with. To help you a bit, there are hints given on the screen. It's your job to use these hints and solve the entire puzzle. It's not as easy as it sounds though, the hints often seem to be of little help.

There four types of hints:

1. Vertical hint

In this hint, the + sign must be in the same column as the B.

2. Neighbour hint

In this hint, the domino 6 must be in a column neighbouring the column of the = sign, but it may be on the left or right side.

3. Left hint

In this hint, the domino 3 must be in a column left of the column with the II roman numeral 2.

4. In Between hint

In this hint, the square must be in a column that is in between the columns of the = sign and the number 5. It does not mean that the number 5 is on the left or the right side however.

Here's another shot of the game in action:


Who is this game designed for:

People seeking a challenging puzzle to relax for a while.

The Good

Intuitive interface, great replayability value and very challenging. The game is open source, so you can port it to your favourite platform if you like.

The needs improvement section

It think the author(s) is/are Russian, and spelling errors in the help sections reflect that. But it's not disturbing in any way during gameplay.


All in all, it's a great game, well worth the time, and terrific for those times you need some distraction from work :P

Developer's Corner / Detect unused code (C#)
« on: March 08, 2007, 01:29 AM »
I am looking for a tool/trick/technique to detect any unused methods/functions in my C# application. It's quite a large application (Argus) and it has over 37 code files, totalling about 25000 lines of code. I want to run a tool or something to see if I have any code that is unused (never called). When I'm coding I'm in another mindstate and tend to forget to delete subs or functions I don't need anymore. I organize my code into regions and comments them, but still it's a tedious job to do this manually... Using "Find all references" has helped me already, but that's not very useful if one unused method calls another unused method and so on... Any ideas about this?

General Software Discussion / Argus v0.1 First Beta release
« on: March 02, 2007, 02:06 AM »
Following the early Alpha release now comes the first Beta release of Argus. Download link below.

Please note that the screenshots are now outdated. I want to see some reactions to the new look before I decide to keep it permanently.

Change log > 0.1ß

 - Fixed Filter Template dialog code to properly edit and add templates.
 - Fixed Search Template dialog code to properly edit and add templates.
 - Added option to save the current state
 - Added option to load a saved state
 - Added option to clear the search history
 - Changed version numbering from x.x.x.x to x.x
 - Added a blue theme to the forms, not sure whether it's an improvement or not...
 - Form size and location are now restored on next start

What is Argus?

Following up this earlier post on DC by Riposa, I've made a freeware search utility for Windows that will search inside one or more files for a given search term. The application is called Argus, and you can download the ALPHA version from the link at the end of this post. I recommend you read this post before you try the application.

Argus is a search utility that will search inside one or more files for a specific search term. What makes Argus unique is the capability of matching terms that are not an exact match. I.e., misspelled words, derived words and words that are phonetically identical can be found with this tool.

Because of the lack of documentation in Argus, I will explain the main functionality in this post. In the future a help file will be included with Argus.


After installing Argus, you can launch it from the Start Menu folder Argus and you will be presented with this screen:


The main screen consists of four sections, Search Options, Search Scope, Results and Context View. You can expand and collapse a section by clicking on its header. However, you cannot collapse the Results section.

At the top, next to the menus, you will find the text field to enter your search term and the button to start a search. Argus keeps track of your used search terms and you can use the drop down button to quickly look up your previously used terms.

Before you start a search, you may want to set some search options. Argus uses Search Templates that will hold a set of settings that are used for a search. By default Argus has four defined Search Templates: Exact, Phonetic, Extensive and Regular Expressions. You can click on the 'Manage Templates...' button to view, edit or add Search Templates:


In the above example the 'Exact' template is shown and you can see that a search conducted with this template will only return exact matches, with exact letter casing and whole words only. It also ignores any words that are written in all uppercase and words that contain digits. You can add new templates or edit the existing ones to suit your needs.

Once you have defined the method, you must define a scope to search in. The Search Scope section allows you to define the files to search in. Argus uses Filter Templates which defines the type of files that are included in the search when you add one or more folders to a search scope. There are three default Filter Templates: All files, All but executables and Text files. You can click on the 'Manage Filters...' button to view, edit or add Filter Templates:


Here the 'All but executables' template is highlighted. You can see that the include filter contains *.*, which results in all files to be included. However, the exclude filter contains some entries. Files that match one or more of these exclude filters are not included in the search scope.

The filters are basically the same as what you might use on a command prompt. You can use the wildcards '?' and '*' to match any one or more characters. Please mind that your are not limited to extensions. You may also define a Filter Template that has an include filter 'readme.txt' to only search in files called readme.txt located in any of the folders you specify.

Clicking the 'Add Folder(s)...' button allows you to browse for a folder to search in. You will be prompted to include subfolders or not after your selection.

Clicking the 'Add File(s)...' button allows you to browse for one or more files to include in the search. The Filter Template has no effect on these files!

You can clear the search scope by pressing CTRL+DEL or right clicking in the search scope list and selecting 'Remove all'.

Once you have chosen your search method and scope, you can enter a search term and hit Enter or click the Search button to start searching.


I've started an example search in the above screenshot. I used the extensive search in all text files in my C:\Temp folder and its subfolders. The Search Scope header reports that 31 files match the used Filter Template. I searched for 'install' and the Results section header reports 42 items that match my criteria.

I've highlighted one of the matches. The match is in the C:\temp\ClearTemp folder, the filename is readme.txt. The match is located on line 11, column 152 in the file. In this case the match is 100%.

The Context View section shows the entire line this match is located in and highlights the match itself.

You can right-click any search result and run a macro on it. There is one macro defined: 'Launch file...'. This will launch the file with its associated application. You can use the 'Tools' > 'Macro Editor...' menu to define your own macros:


Above, the default macro 'Launch file' is selected. All it does is launch the application %assoc%, which is a shorthand term for the associated application. You can define your own macro and launch any application you wish. You can use the various shortcut terms to pass them as an argument to the application. For example, if you set the launch application to Notepad.exe and use the argument %path%, Notepad will be launched and open the selected file. Most text editors have an option to scroll to a certain line and column position from the command line. You can use %line% and %col% for this.

Search Methods Summary

Exact: Will match only exact terms, case sensitivity is optional, whole words is optional.
Phonetic: Will match all terms that are phonetically identical. Optionally, you can use Phonetic Near to match any term that is phonetically similar to the search term.
Extensive: This method will usually result in the most matches, but it also the slowest method. It searches for the extact term, but it will also match misspelled versions. For example, if you search for 'install', it may return 'instal', 'nstall', 'isntall', 'unstall', 'instoll', 'enstill', etc. This is most useful if you are looking for a name that may be spelled differently or you don't remember exactly.
Regular Expressions: This search allows you to enter a RegEx pattern in the search field and it will show all matches across the files. This can be useful to extract email addresses, phone numbers, etc from multiple files. You can toggle case sensitivity in the Search Template Manager.


Argus comes with 9 dictionaries: English (US), English (UK), English (Canada), English (Australia), Spanish (Spain), Spanish (Mexico), French, Italian and German. For now, the dictionaries are only used for phonetic based searched. In the future they will be used for spell checking pusposes as well.

You can change the default dictionary (English US) by using the 'Tools' > 'Dictionary' menu. The available menu items are based on the files in the 'Dictionaries' folder of the Argus installation folder.

Planned Features

In the future I plan to add:

  • Spell checking
  • Search for multiple terms using boolean identifiers
  • Searching inside compressed archives

Please let me know about any features you may feel are useful to add or modify.


Please use the links below to download and install Argus. In the future, I will make a home page for Argus. I hope you will test the application thoroughly and report your findings in this thread. Many thanks in advance!

ArgusInstaller.exe is the main application installer
The other files are optional dictionaries (Italian, French, German / Spanish / Other English). They are not required for the program to run properly (the US English dictionary is included by default). The dictionaries are only used for phonetically searching.

Living Room / Windows Power Shell 1.0
« on: February 26, 2007, 07:33 AM »
I discovered the Windows Power Shell from Microsoft. This command line shell is absolutely a must-have for any serious IT professional. I've been playing with it a couple of days and the type of information you can get is amazing. A nice touch is that you can use most common *nix/Linux commands as well (Microsoft created a set of aliases for those). Check the Windows Powershell homepage for downloads and documentation. It's on the Windows 2003 Server section, but they have a version that runs on XP and Vista as well.

From the Microsoft site:

Microsoft Windows PowerShell command line shell and scripting language helps IT Professionals achieve greater productivity. Using a new admin-focused scripting language, more than 130 standard command line tools, and consistent syntax and utilities, Windows PowerShell allows IT Professionals to more easily control system administration and accelerate automation. Windows PowerShell is easy to adopt, learn, and use, because it works with your existing IT infrastructure and existing script investments, and because it runs on Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server “Longhorn”. Exchange Server 2007, System Center Operations Manager 2007, System Center Data Protection Manager V2, and System Center Virtual Machine Manager leverage Windows PowerShell to improve efficiency and productivity.

EDIT: This Microsoft site has a nice collection of sample scripts to get you started.

Living Room / Knology Connection Speed Test
« on: February 15, 2007, 03:38 PM »
I stumbled upon a nice graphical connection speed test at Take a look at the screenshot for an example (my own result).


Developer's Corner / C# TreeView problem
« on: February 15, 2007, 03:18 AM »

I'm having a bit of a problem in C#. I have an MDI Form that contains a Treeview (directly on the form, docked left). The remaining space contains some MDI child windows.

When I programmatically add a treenode to the treeview at runtime, I want the user to be able to edit the default label text of the new node immediately. This saves the trouble of either a dialog to prompt for the name of the new element, or having the user click the node to change the name manually. The code I have so far:

        private void SelectAndEditNode(string id)
            TreeNode[] temp = tvwProjects.Nodes.Find(id, true);
            if (temp != null && temp.Length > 0)
                tvwProjects.SelectedNode = temp[0];

The string id is the unique key and the Find function theoretically always returns one node. The code works fine, the node gets selected, is visible and the label of the node is in edit mode so the user can start typing a name.

The problem is, when I start typing a name, the label accepts one character and then the last active MDI child window is activated and the rest of what I type is put in the MDI child window:

Screenshot - 15-2-2007 , 10_16_48.png

If there are no MDI child windows then it works fine. I tried tvwProjects.Focus() before calling BeginEdit() but that makes no difference.

Any one got an idea?

LaunchBar Commander / Not appearing from autohide
« on: February 14, 2007, 12:01 AM »
Hi mouser,

I love your LaunchBar Commander but I have one problem using it: after the bar autohides I can only get it to appear by clicking the thin border and then resize the bar each time. This only happens after another application had the focus. Is this a know issue?

Living Room / DonationCoder Pocket PC Theme
« on: February 11, 2007, 03:03 PM »
I created a Pocket PC theme based on DonationCoder. It's suitable for all versions of Window Mobile and it's (of course) free to use for all :) The attached zip file contains the .tsk file to copy to your PDA or other Windows Mobile device.


Credits and a kind thank you to nudone for creating the background image!

In Charlie Calvert's Community Blog there's an interesting interview with Anders Hejlsberg, the lead architect of C#.

In this video interview, Anders Hejlsberg, the chief architect of C#, describes features in the next release of C#, code named Orcas. Anders first describes how LINQ solves the impedance mismatch between the code that lives on a database server and the code we write with standard programming languages such as C# or VB. He then outlines the new capabilities that functional programming will bring to developers.

Developer's Corner / Top Tips #2: Nullable Numeric Datatypes
« on: February 09, 2007, 01:21 AM »
Top Tips Subject:Nullable Numeric Datatypes
Summary:Since the .NET Framework 2.0 (Visual Studio 2005 series) there is a new feature for numeric value types in C# and Visual Basic. You can now declare a value type and have it assigned null or Nothing. This article will explore the nullable value types and show you how to use them.

Before the .NET framework 2.0 you could run into trouble by accidentally assigning a null value (Nothing in Visual Basic) to a value type. For example, a database field could return DbNull when you expect an integer. Microsoft has tried to solve this issue by introducing nullable value types. Let me illustrate shortly what the difference between value types and reference types is:

A value type is a built-in type that occupies an address in memory and stores its value with it. A value type is a fixed length variable that always takes a certain amount of space to be stored. For example, an int or Integer (System.Int32) in the .NET Framework is a 32-bit integer value, therefore using 4 bytes to store its value.


int a = 8;
int b = a;
b = 4;

This code will print the value 8. Integers a and b are value types, so when we say 'int b = a' that does not mean that they are the same object in memory, it means that the value should be copied from a to b.

A reference type on the other hand is a type that is stored somewhere in memory and contains a pointer to a value. This means that the value is not stored with the variable itself. The reference type has no fixed length and can point to an object that may vary in size during the course of the execution of your code. Any class you create and instantiate is a reference type. This is also why multiple variables in your code can represent the same object in memory; they point to the same object.


System.IO.FileInfo fInfo = new System.IO.FileInfo("c:\\test.txt");
System.IO.FileInfo fInfo2 = fInfo;

This code will print "c:\test.txt". The line 'System.IO.FileInfo fInfo2 = fInfo;' sets fInfo2 to point to the same object as fInfo. Any changes in the object will be reflected in both variables, even though they are stored in different memory locations themselves.

When an object is null or Nothing, it simply means that the pointer of that object does not point anywhere. There is no reference to refer to. Since a value type stores its own value, it could never represent null or Nothing. That is changed now. You can declare a value type nullable and assign null or Nothing to it:


Nullable<int> myInt;


Dim myInt As Nullable(Of Integer);

Microsoft has taken this a bit further for C# where you can use the ? type modifier to indicate a nullable value type:


int? myInt;

The downside of using nullable value types is that you must be careful using them along with non-nullable value types. For example, the next code will fail if the value of x is null:


public int DoSomething(int? x)
    int y = (int)x;
    return (y);


  Public Function DoSomething(ByVal x As Nullable(Of Integer)) As Integer
    Dim y As Integer = CType(x, Integer)
    Return y + 1
  End Function

If x in the above function is passed with the value null or Nothing, then y cannot be assigned to it and a InvalidOperationException will be thrown. You can prevent this from happening by first checking if x is null or Nothing by using the HasValue property of a nullable value type:


public int DoSomething(int? x)
    int y;

    if (x.HasValue)
        y = (int)x;
        y = 0;

    return (y);


  Public Function DoSomething(ByVal x As Nullable(Of Integer)) As Integer
    Dim y As Integer

    If x.HasValue Then
      y = CType(x, Integer)
      y = 0
    End If

    Return y + 1
  End Function

Again, in C# Microsoft made it easier by also introducing a new operator ??. You can rewrite the aboce C# code as:

public int DoSomething(int? x)
    int y = (x ?? 0);
    return (y);

The ?? operator first checks if x is null and if it is, it assigns the value 0 to y. If x is not null then the value of x is automatically cast to the type of y and its value copied. Unfortunately none of these extra features are present in VB .NET 2005.

Some things you have to keep in mind using nullable value types:

  • Take precaution when mixing them with non-nullable types.
  • A nullable value type that is declared without a value will have the default value of null or Nothing.
  • If you operate on two nullable value types and one of the values is null, then the result will always be null. For example, adding two int? values by using the + operator will always result in null when one of the values is null.
  • When comparing two nullable types, the result will be a regular bool or Boolean, not a nullable bool or Boolean like in SQL.

This concludes this issue of Top Tips, I hope you found it helpful.

Developer's Corner / Free online computer books
« on: January 31, 2007, 01:30 PM »
This is not a spam message  :P

I usually do not even look at sites claiming they have something for free, but the people at really have a great collection of truely free, online readable, books about computers and programming. I've tested about 15 random links and they all worked so far. To me it is a treasure of information and I just had to share it here.


Click the button to reveal a list of topics:


 Free J2EE books
 Free Java books
 Free .NET books
 Free C# books
 Free VB.NET books
 Free ASP.NET books
 Free MS-Office books
 Free Ajax books
 Free XML books
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 Free Game Prog. books

Developer's Corner / Sorting Contest
« on: January 31, 2007, 01:20 PM »
I remember this earlier post by KenR about comparing sorting algorithms. I found another site that does the same.

Check out this Sorting Contest. Nice thing is you can click one button to start all sorting routines similtaneously.


Developer's Corner / Kid's Programming Language
« on: January 30, 2007, 09:17 AM »
You should check out the Kid's Programming Language website. It's a freeware programming language developed for kids. It's similar to BASIC but less linear. It is interesting so many non-kids, that they decided to change the name to Phrogram now. Amazing games and programs can be written with just a few lines of code. Some examples:



Developer's Corner / Great site: Coding4Fun
« on: January 29, 2007, 12:28 AM »
I recently discovered the Coding4Fun section on Microsoft's website. It's a great section where you can choose from a range of topics and view sample code and tutorials, mostly aimed at C# and VB .NET. I specifically like the Gaming topic, where some new technologies like Windows Presentation Foundation and XAML as well as DirectX programming are explained in detail.


Living Room / Poll: How do you read topics?
« on: January 26, 2007, 05:54 AM »
On every forum I am registered I try set newest messages first, but usually oldest messages first is the default. I'm wondering if I'm the only one using newest messages first :D

Macromedia Flash / What is needed?
« on: January 26, 2007, 01:28 AM »
I'd like to get started on Flash programming, but can you advise me on what I would need (software/tools)?


Fixed Run Dialog - v0.97ß - December 15, 2006

Program Description:
Fixed Run Dialog is a minimal enhancement to your Windows desktop. It will add a 'command box' that can be always on top or not. It acts just like the Run Dialog, which you would get by clicking 'Start > Run...'. Fixed Run Dialog can handle all commands that you normally enter in the Windows Run Dialog, plus more! You can define custom commands for your frequently used applications, documents, folders or websites. You can set the Fixed Run Dialog command box to be transparent (customizable level of transparency) to make it less obtrusive. The command box is quickly accessed by pressing a (customizable) global hotkey like CTRL+SHIFT+R or WIN+A for example. This application is aimed at people like me who don't like to use their mouse so much. The application is fully customizable to suit your personal needs.

  • Accepts all Windows commands
  • Accepts locations of folders to open them in Windows Explorer
  • Accepts website URLs to open with your default web browser
  • Accepts documents and launches the default application to open them
  • You can create new custom commands with a dialog or from the command box directly
  • Keeps track of your history of used commands
  • The command box can be dragged anywhere you like
  • The label under the command box can be hidden or the text customized
  • You can set the font, foreground- and background colors
  • You can resize the command box quickly by pressing CTRL + LEFT/RIGHT arrow keys
  • A readme.rtf and readme.txt file is included explaining all of the features in details

Change log 0.96ß to 0.97ß:

    * Changed Font tab of the options dialog to use a native Windows Font Picker dialog
    * Changed Hotkey tab; removed combobox and replaced it with a textbox
    * Various labels in Options dialog are now updated properly after a change
    * Fixed a bug: when changing the font size the controls were not drawn properly
    * Removed the entry in the Startup folder during installation, you have to add it manually if you want it so

Screen shots:

The Options Dialog:

The Add new command Dialog:

Using transparency:

Without transparency:


Living Room / Bypassin the proxy server
« on: December 14, 2006, 01:13 AM »
Hi everyone,

I'm using WhatPulse at work, but I can't bypass our proxy server using HTTP-Tunnel-Client anymore  :( I keep getting the error "Remote server rejected the connection". Does anyone know of another good tool to try for this purpose?

DonationCoder Projects / DonationCoder Programming Tips and Tricks
« on: December 11, 2006, 05:55 AM »
Hi everyone,

I haven’t been a member for long, but I really love this site and its forums. There’s only one thing that I really miss though, and that’s a section in which users (programmers) can post self-made Tips and Tricks posts for a specific language. I was thinking an extra sub-forum under ‘Developer’s Corner’ could be created, with a sub-board for each (common) language. The kind of posts I expect there are tips and tricks ranging from novice to hardcore, from which everyone can benefit or start a discussion about. It can also act as a FAQ board, in which users who see a particular question asked over and over again can post their knowledge and create a FAQ for it.

What do you think? Maybe you feel the current board structure is sufficient?

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