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Topics - icekin [ switch to compact view ]

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I recently came across a statistic that stated that there are far more social startup ventures in developing countries than developed ones. It got me thinking if governments were perfect and did everything they were supposed to, would there still be a role for non-profits? I also know that several non-profits are government funded. Why does it make more sense for governments to allocate funds this way versus starting a government department to take care of the social issue themselves? Is it so that they can avoid the blame on themselves should something go wrong?

General Software Discussion / Natural Language Sorting for Comments
« on: January 06, 2010, 05:55 PM »
I am currently pursuing an idea for better presentation of comments on blogs. I would like some suggestions on this:

The Problem:

On popular blog posts, there can be over a few hundred or thousand comments, spread across several threads on the same page. After a while, the few thousand comments fall into separate distinct threads talking about different things. Some posters also discuss multiple aspects of discussion in one reply. For the blog authors, it can be quite difficult to follow all the comments, especially across several blog posts. I am trying to find a solution that can help blog authors quickly prioritize and reorganize the entire thread in a more presentable format in order of post importance.

Example 1: "A Blog post supporting the use of national level internet censoring"

Comments for such a post can easily be categorized in 3 categories:

- In Favour of the author
- Against the Author
- Uncategorized (unable to categorize)

In this case, the author may wish to reply to the posts that oppose his own viewpoint first to further the discussion.

Example 2:

Blog post about: "Small independent hardware company announcing a new low voltage processor for netbooks"

Comments for this post may be more varied in categories:

- Posts pointing out other existing low voltage processors on the market - nature: informative
- Posts appreciating the product
- Posts critisizing the product for various reasons
- other

I am wondering if there is any existing Natural Language processing algorithm or software that can analyse complete sentences or comments and determine their nature as per the categories I have stated above.

From my research, the closest example I have found is Slashdot, where each post is categorized as informative, funny, insightful etc. and given a score from -1 to 5. But this is done by other visitors, not by algorithms. It works on a popular site like slashdot, but I am not sure other posters would bother doing this on a small blog.

Other solutions I have seen include methods of sorting comments based on location (IP address), time since blog post was published, length of post etc.

Any suggestion is appreciated!

Straight from Japan: Lunascape

Claims to be the world's only triple engine browser. Don't know about that, I know FF with IE View extension was quite popular among web developers before. Anyone tried this?

I've come up with a system of organization that works for me and I need help finding a software that can easily do it.

With tons of things to do, I've realized the need for a system of organization. I've heard rave reviews about GTD, but having gone through some of the book, its far too complex for my liking. Hence, I've come up with my own system. TO form this, I've taken some ideas from Dave Allen's GTD principles, plus my own.

All stuff is broken down into tasks that is organized into 4 priorities:

1) Urgent and Important
2) Urgent and non-Important
3) Non-Urgent and Important
4) Non-Urgent and Non-Important

It goes 1 to 4 in decreasing order of priority.

Each task is tagged under one or more categories - e.g. health, financial, career, business, personal development, family etc.

Whenever a new task is added into the system, I put down the date it is due, its priority, some tags plus some small notes describing it. The task is then automatically added to my calendar. When I look at the calendar, I can see the tasks that are coming up. The ones that are higher in priority will appear at the top of each day.

All this should ideally be in an online system such as Google Calendar (for the calendar) so that I can easily access it from anywhere.

Anyone already use a system like this? Any ideas? So far, I've tried thinking rock and tiddlywiki, but both are GTD based.

Living Room / The Open Source Car
« on: July 25, 2009, 09:13 AM »


The CMMN project is from Netherlands and aims to use community contribution to design a eco friendly car, whereby the entire design plans and specifications will be released under an open source license. The car is still being designed, but the idea is appealing.

I am currently looking for a very specific online web based photo management solution. I have tried several systems, but I am unable to find one with the following specific features. Can someone suggest a possible solution (paid, free or open source)? If paid, I'd prefer a outright purchase of the program rather than a hosted solution that I have to pay annually for (e.g. Flickr, Shutterfly etc.)

1. PHP & mySQL Based, runs on Apache Web Server.

2. Supports importing of multiple folders of images in the database. The images might have been uploaded earlier by FTP, for example.

3. Supports automatic resizing of images into 2 different smaller sizes for web display. One will be a thumbnail image, while the other will be slightly bigger image, but still much smaller than the original image.

4. Access to the large image if the visitor wishes to download it. Preferrably, the large image should not be opened within the browser by default. Rather, when the visitor clicks "Download large version" a pop up should automatically prompt downloading to the user's hard drive.

*** Download cart system for users ***

Explanation - Consider the below scenario:

A user see an album page containing 50 thumbnails of the photos tagged with that album name. He is able to select a checkbox next to each thumbnail. There are 2 checkboxes under each thumbnail - one stating "Full Size Image" and the other "Web Optimized Image"

Then, he adds those images to a download cart by clicking on another button located at the bottom of the page.

In a similar fashion, he browses through several more albums on the site and select the images he wishes to download and then add them to the same download cart. Finally, he does a checkout of his download cart and is shown a page with links to zip files. Each zip file contains all the images that he wished to download from one particular album or tag name.

He can then probably use a download manager like DownloadThemAll to queue all the zip files for download.

6. Supports user accounts and album privacy based on type of user

7. Supports free tagging. Hence, each album is essentially a tag and each photo can belong to multiple albums or tags at once.

8. Photo Caption support - A short description of the photo can be entered by the administrator under each photo.

9. Video Support - Support for uploading videos. Videos don't need to be resized or processed, but should also support the Download Cart System.

Other less important features (not essential)

10. Commenting Support

11. Support for Themes

12. Support for adding geolocation tags to each image, for example through Google Maps.

In my current search, the closest solution I've found is ZenPhoto, but it does not seem to have support for features 5 and 9. In fact, none of the systems I've come across seem to support feature 5.

I normally use Drupal for building my normal web sites. Drupal has excellent support for tags and even has image annotation support, similar to Flickr and Facebook, whereby you can draw squares on certain areas of an image and type a specific caption. But, it has no way to import images from the FTP server as nodes automatically. It also has no support for feature 5 - Download Cart.

I am planning to try using Gallery next, but I've had limited past exposure to using it. Any suggestions?

Living Room / Gmail launches themes
« on: November 20, 2008, 11:33 PM »
The news has been out for about 48 hours now. Gmail has finally added themes support. Themes can be accessed by going here. I've decided to go with terminal as it loads faster than any other theme. The retro feel is also nice. :)

Hopefully, there will soon be a way for users to contribute themes. Globex Designs has been adding themes support through the use of a Firefox Extension and Stylish, but the inbuilt themes support means that user's won't have to tweak around to get the desired look and feel.

Earlier this year, themes were launched for iGoogle. Hoping to see themes support for calendars, web search and reader soon.

I read about it on The actual promotion is likely to be on the ZoneAlarm site here.

MS has released a Small Basic Compiler and IDE for those looking to get started with programming. I have yet to try it and while it might not compare to C++ just yet, it has the lowest barrier to entry of any programming language I've seen so far with only 15 keywords.

From the Small Basic Website:
Small Basic is a project that's aimed at bringing "fun" back to programming. By providing a small and easy to learn programming language in a friendly and inviting development environment, Small Basic makes programming a breeze. Ideal for kids and adults alike, Small Basic helps beginners take the first step into the wonderful world of programming.
  • Small Basic derives its inspiration from the original BASIC programming language, and is based on the Microsoft .Net platform. It is really small with just 15 keywords and uses minimal concepts to keep the barrier to entry as low as possible.
  • The Small Basic development environment is simple, yet provides powerful modern environment features like Intellisense™ and instant context sensitive help.
  • Small Basic allows third-party libraries to be plugged in with ease, making it possible for the community to extend the experience in fun and interesting ways.

Please post some feedback if you have taken it for a spin.

Living Room / Protecting Data from Future Loss - PhysOrg Article
« on: November 01, 2008, 08:45 PM »

Reading the above article and the associated comments got me thinking about my own data backup system. I have recently been moving my documents to Google Docs and Spreadsheets, which has a limit of 5000 documents. An added advantage of this is that I don't have to worry about different versions of the documents on my desktop and laptop and synchronizing between them.

I do regular backups of important data onto my external drive and laptop, so I always have at least 2 sets of data besides the one on my main machine. I monitor the S.M.A.R.T status of all my drives using Speedfan and defragment them often. I don't know how reliable the S.M.A.R.T measure is. Finally, I buy a new hard disk once every 2 to 3 years and copy all my existing data to that. Since hard disks at least double in capacity every 2 to 3 years, it is usually large enough to accomodate all my existing data build up across all the current drives.

What strategies do others here on DC employ to protect against future or accidental data loss?

I am part of a industry organization that holds engineering related talks, events and seminars where we give people paper survey (feedback) forms. Till now, we have been manually entering the data into spreadsheets for tallying results. This is time consuming. The problem with asking people to do the survey online is that the feedback will not be as fresh and the response numbers are also lower.

I am looking at the possibility of using OMR (Optical Marker Recognition) to make it easier for data tallying. This means we simply scan the result sheets using a standard scanner and the results are automatically "read" and recorded to a spreadsheet. I am currently looking for a good OMR solution. Free or FOSS preferred, but I can shell out for a decent commercial package is needed.

So far, I've found the following: QueXF - FOSS, but seems hard to set up and use.

I came up with an idea which I am not sure has been implemented yet.

I frequently read reviews before purchasing a software or even installing the trial version. Normally I search through DC as it has high quality reviews, but sometimes I also look at other sites that turn up on the search results.

I have noticed that I frequently view comparison tables, like the ones on Wikipedia. (e.g. Comparison of media players) I was wondering if there is a search engine that can specifically return results of such comparison tables from across the web.

In fact, it would be neat if the search engine could generate such a table in real time if no existing one was found. For example, say I search for "Winamp versus foobar" but find no existing comparison tables among the results. It would be nice if the search engine can automatically go to the features page on both music player's sites and extract the data and put it in a new table for me to view. Or at least show the two product reviews side by side in a window split down the middle or something.

Think Google Fight, but put to an actual use.

Found Deals and Discounts / Acronis True Image 11 Home for US$ 9.99
« on: September 13, 2008, 07:59 PM »
Click to go to Acronis Offer

I found the deal posted on OzBargain.

Interesting comment from OzBargain above:
You can get an extra 10% off (down to $8.99) if you click on the “Buy Now for $9.99” link on the page, then press the “back” button on your browser. You’ll get a pop-up page saying:

“If you mistakenly left our store while trying to purchase, you may resume your purchase and receive a 10% discount by clicking on the Check Out button below.”

Press the check out button and you get an extra 10%/$1 off the already low price. I’ve just made a purchase and it works.

I use puTTY extensively. As great as it is, it does not support clipx and its extended copy paste mechanism. I can only copy and paste my last clipboard entry. Are there any putty alternatives that allow a better copy and paste mechanism with support to copy and paste the last few entries from the buffer as well?

I've got a PC problem for a while, don't know the cause but these are the symtoms.

1. In Windows Explorer, I set my default view to details, but it always reverts back to Large Icons upon reboot. The problem started after I installed Autopatcher and particularly TweakXP UI.

2) Some of my programs don't save their settings. I am using Opera and have set my default search engine, but each time I close and reopen Opera, the search engine I select is no longer listed as the default.

Now, I have installed XP Smoker, but I do not use the setting that auto-closes services and programs after a few seconds of inactivity. I believe its called low-level hook timeout, program timeout and service timeout. Hence, my programs have all the time they need to save their settings before exiting.

General Software Discussion / Firefox 3 Released
« on: June 17, 2008, 09:13 AM »
The Mozilla page does still links to the RC, but I can get it off Filehippo.

Living Room / AGP 4x on 8x Mainboard
« on: June 02, 2008, 07:22 PM »
A friend recently left me his nice desktop, but its missing the video card. The mainboard is a Gigabyte GA-8IPE775. According to the specs, its needs a 8X video card, but I have another 4x lying around.

Are the mainboards backward compatible?

C / C++ / IDE or tool that can automatically generate UML chart
« on: May 30, 2008, 06:12 AM »
While making a post over at this thread, I was wondering if there is an IDE which can automatically generate a UML diagram from code? It would greatly help me visualize what I'm writing instantly. Needed to work C++.

C / C++ / Managing Large code with Object Oriented Programming
« on: May 30, 2008, 04:51 AM »
I've taken a course this semester at my university in Object Oriented Programming. I was a decent C and C++ procedural programmer and didn't think that object oriented programming would be that difficult. How wrong I was.

I was unable to complete the course assignment. Or rather, I completed it and spent even longer on debugging it to find out why it crashed. In the end, I was unable to locate the logical errors, but submitted the assignment anyway. Eager to get the project out of the way, I had started writing code fast, but without a good design.

What I realized was that while I understood the syntax of the language, I was not taught any code design and management skills (don't know if I should blame my Uni or myself there), which eventually led to my downfall. I rewrote large sections of the code 3 times, wasting time as the design was not completely object oriented (e.g. other classes could control the behavior of some classes, rather than each class being able to control its own behaviour and attributes). Soon, I found myself facing thousands of lines of code, over a dozen classes and over 50 to 60 different functions (some with very similar names, but in different classes!). Couldn't even figure out where the logical errors where anymore and just reading the code became hard.


What I would like to learn now is how to organize a project like this better. I am set to graduate soon and my first job ironically enough is going to be in writing software. I don't want to repeat my mistakes above.

I want to ideally be able to make the best possible design (with execution efficiency and future maintanence) once, write the code once, debug once and be done with it. I am willing to read up extra books to educate myself on this design issue.

So, kind fellow DC members, please throw some tips. How do you organize your large code? I would also like to know how much of a big deal Object Oriented Programming is. After this assignment, I've started disliking it as I wasted too much time trying to contain everything inside classes, eliminate friend functions and so on. This even led to longer lines of code and seems counter productive to me.

I've suddenly lost about 13GB of space on my hard drive. Its literally lost. WinDirStat and Treesize report that the size of all the contents on the drive is 10GB. The drive is 27GB in size. Yet, I only have 4 GB of freespace. Somehow, there resides a set of files or folders on my drive that is occupying about 13Gb and is invisible to windows. I would like to know if there are any tools that I can run from a CD, loaded into RAM at bootup that can track missing space on my hard drive.

I am going to give spacemonger a try, but I am not too hopeful, since these space hogging files are missing from Windows itself.

Living Room / Laptops in the future
« on: April 01, 2008, 03:46 AM »

I especially like the portable server with 3X foldable screen. Probably heavy, but still nice.

Living Room / Free Alternatives to Silktide Sitescore
« on: March 22, 2008, 11:34 PM »
<a href="http://www.silktides.../portfolio/sitescore" title="Silktide Sitescore">Sitescore</a> is an online automated service that can check a webpage for various measures of quality and produce a report. Its owned by a UK company called Silktide that does web design and development. Some of the checks Sitescore does include validation, page loading times, accessibility checks, pagerank and several others. Unfortunately, the service closed down for a while and when it returned, it became a paid service called <a href="" title="Sitescore Enterprise">Sitescore enterprise</a>.

Does anyone know a good free alternative to Sitescore? I currently use the <a href="" title="W3C Validator">W3C validator</a>, but Sitescore used to do a lot more.

USBDeview is a tiny program from the fine coders at Nirsoft that displays all the devices that are currently connected on your USB ports. What I like about it is the flawless eject operation. No more seeing this window :


Here is the main window of the program which can be run in the background while showing the USB icon in the tray. Pressing F9 disconnects the USB device every time I've tried.

I wonder if its possible to write a FARR plugin that can automatically call up USBDeview in the background to eject a USB drive. For example, I bring up FARR and type "eject <USB Device>" to automatically disconnect the device. In fact, I don't mind even if USBdeview is not involved as long as I can eject the device without seeing thr first window above.

Living Room / Free Polo Shirt From Microsoft for answering Vista quiz
« on: February 15, 2008, 05:09 AM »
In its latest attempt to promote Vista, MS Australia has made a 10 question quiz that visitors can answer to get a free polo shirt. Questions in the quiz require visitors to answer whether each statement is a fact or fiction.

E.g. Windows Vista faces significant compatibility issues with hardware devices. Fact or Fiction?

Correct Answer (According to MS) : Fiction, because Vista supports over 2.2 millions devices upon release.

Actual Reality: There are no vista drivers for several older devices.

I think you get the idea. Never mind the shirt, its worth doing the quiz just for a good laugh.

And users need to have silverlight installed on their computers to try out the quiz.

I was a long time user of Daemon Tools, but about 6 months ago I switched to PowerISO when someone send me a .daa file, which was a propreitary file format. Last week, I got my hands on a uif file, which can only be opened by Magic ISO, so I got a trial copy to do the job.

I don't enjoy having multiple tools that do the same job no better than each other. I wish companies would stop making more propreitary formats or that people would stop using them. For my part, I always use .iso or .cue, not even .nrg

Is there a single ultimate virtual drive program that can handle every CD Image file format, propreitary or otherwise?

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