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Topics - timns [ switch to compact view ]

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Living Room / Lots of new members
« on: January 13, 2011, 01:14 PM »
Maybe it's just me, but it feels like there have been a lot of new folks joining DC just recently.

Anyone else think the same? Are there any stats to prove it, or am I just being subjective?

And, if there are more new joiners, does the panel think it's due to NANY, or just a generally higher profile of DC nowadays?

Discuss.  :)

Timns Apps / Auspex
« on: January 10, 2011, 09:23 AM »
Mr mouser has been very generous and set up a new board for me where we can discuss the apps what I wrote (with apologies to Ernie Wise)

So the first obvious one would be Auspex, which is my larger NANY contribution for 2011.

Where would we be without DC?  :Thmbsup:

Download here

Living Room / Is there a better site than
« on: January 09, 2011, 04:51 PM »
Its information is very gappy in terms of the crap I like to listen to  :-[

Living Room / DC Demographics
« on: January 09, 2011, 12:44 PM »
Has there ever been a general survey of the DC population to find out not only where we're all based, but a bunch of other stuff that would, to me at least, be quite interesting?

I'm thinking about such things as:

age: min, average, max
sex: male, female, other
occupation in some broad sense
do you have a site or blog?
hobbies and interests in some broad sense
Have pets?
What is your greatest achievement?

The list could go on...

It could be quite entertaining: "0.0004% of DC-ers are left-handed Taurean cornflake collectors, over the age of 95 with a wooden leg and a parrot called 'Rolando'"


N.A.N.Y. 2011 / That NANY badge
« on: January 07, 2011, 04:52 PM »
Am I the only one who gets confused by this badge:


To me it looks like I wrote a NANY app for January 2001

I am the only one aren't I. It's me isn't it? Just say if it is.

Living Room / So, when you're working, do you...
« on: December 29, 2010, 07:22 AM »
I just read a comment by Renegade saying he likes a bit of TV or movie to keep him company while he works.

Personally, I would find that wayyyy too distracting.

So my question to the forum would be: what sort of environment do you find most productive?

Personally, I very much like to have music on while I'm working - even quite loud in fact. But any sort of spoken word completely collapses my concentration, so no radio, just my mp3 collection.

I also like to have a couple of lamps switched on on my desk, with the rest of the room dim. But I am lucky to have a nice view, so I do take a screen break every now and then, to stare at the bay.

When I get home I'll post a picture of my setup since I think it would be interesting to compare how we all arrange ourselves. I might get some good ideas  :Thmbsup:

Living Room / Contact information in one's profile
« on: December 21, 2010, 01:27 PM »
Is it possible to add Skype to the profile page? It's the only IM I tend to use...

General Software Discussion / Google's thumbnail pop-ups
« on: December 21, 2010, 12:59 PM »
Those not-so-little images of the website that popup on the right of the search results are awful.

Anyone know how to turn them off permanently?


N.A.N.Y. 2011 / My tribute to the guys and gals of NANY 2011
« on: December 20, 2010, 08:03 PM »
(with apologies to whoever wrote the original poem, which seems rather unclear)

Twas the night before Christmas, and all through my browser,
not a creature was stirring - except of course, mouser;

Questions were typed in the forums with care,
in the hope that some answers soon would be there;

Donation Coders were nestled all snug in their beds,
while visions of software danced in their heads;

cranioscopical had just logged back on,
and was all settled down for a long Winter's pun;

When out in the forum there arose such a thread!
We all logged back on to see what was said;

Away to my firefox I ran in a dash,
tore open my tabs and updated my flash;

And what to my wondering eyes should appear,
but some amazing new apps, in time for New Year;

A fun competition to show your ability:
create a new app, game or utility;

Code it, upload it and throw it into the mix,
and then let everyone find the bugs to be fixed

No offense meant, in fact let me be clear:
I am of course referring to my own entry here ;)

But even right now, as the deadline is nearing:
34 apps and they are still appearing!

This is why DC is my number one:
community, spirit, software and fun;

And so I exclaim, to all who can hear:
this NANY is great, and just wait till NEXT year!

General Software Discussion / New MailWasher - ugh
« on: December 20, 2010, 04:20 PM »
I was just reading the recent RoboForm upgrade thread (thanks, I'll stick with v6!) and something that Carol Haynes said rang a nasty bell. And I quote:

"It's called taking people hostage:

Sell a product with free lifetime upgrades/updates
Promote widely and get millions of people hooked in to the product
Change the licensing model"

Does anyone else here feel exactly the same way about MailWasher? I really really regret moving away from MW6. It was *not at all clear* that I was moving from a purchased product to a yearly license. And on top of that, the new MW is pretty crummy for a multitude of reasons.

Is there anything else out there I should look at?

General Software Discussion / I want a game for Christmas: turn-based
« on: December 19, 2010, 12:52 PM »
So anyway, change of plan. I'm going to be in the UK for Christmas, and by the looks of it, probably snowed-in with the in-laws.  :o

I'll have a reasonable spec'd laptop to hand, and I think I'd like to take a nice game with me to wile away a few hours, something to get my teeth into after the Christmas day sprout mountain.

I'm looking for something turn-based since I have the reflexes of a sloth, and ideally in the fantasy/sci-fi genre. Strategy or RPG is good.

Hit me up with some nice suggestions please folks!

Living Room / Where do you get your news from?
« on: December 12, 2010, 03:22 PM »
I use which seems to give reasonably solid coverage, but they do two things which really grate:

1. They run ads! The BBC is supposed to be funded by UK TV license fee payers
2. Use of speech marks around 'everything'. Feels like every headline has to have gratuitous apostrophes 'left, right and centre'

Example: Kosovo's PM 'ahead' in election.

'ahead'? he's either AHEAD or NOT. Ugh.

So: where else is going to give me good, balanced reporting on current events?

Living Room / I just gotta vent
« on: December 11, 2010, 01:05 PM »
In the name of all that's holy, who put 'Close' next to 'Edit' in the cmd window's menu? What's 'Close' even DOING in the MIDDLE of the menu?  :'(

Sweet cracker sandwich! Just closed two windows in a row when trying to paste...  >:(

General Software Discussion / slock - anyone using it still?
« on: December 07, 2010, 12:07 PM »
This has to be worth a go: does anyone on DC have any experience with slock? It's a software licensing/protection system that disappeared a few years ago. I've tried in vain to track down the developer, but no luck.

The story is that we have one piece of software left that uses this license scheme, which we will need to support for years to come, and the key generator that came with the program is only installed on one remaining PC here at the office. If that PC ever dies we're in big trouble.

In an incredibly short-sighted move, the company did not buy the source code for the key generator, so now I am looking around for a way to get it installed and working on a backup machine.

Long shot: anyone got that 'certificate builder' lying around?

It's running!

A small Java puzzlertimewaster  :D

And after all that blather about what a great name "They Must Be Stopped!" was, I have renamed it. Mainly because I changed the aim of the game a bit too much. So I might use the other title next year again for something else :-\


More info coming up shortly, but she's playable anyway:

ps I am pretty sure this is the first NANY app to mention 'gerbils' on its teaser screen.

Playable, and I'll finish it off when I return from holiday in mid-Jan.

NANY 2011 Entry Information

Application Name Auspex
Version Please refer to the official release thread
Short Description Auspex will present the busy PC user with several enhanced input features:
Replacements, Completions, Corrections, Runs
Supported OSes Windows XP,Vista,7
Web Pages Wiki where I will slowly build up a user guide: http://redmine.dcmem...projects/auspex/wiki
Download Link Auspex Topic
System Requirements
  • A PC
Version History
  • Beta
Author timns' DC page
NotesIf Auspex does not seem to ever do anything, please make sure you have launched it with Admin rights
(The program needs to communicate with all running processes and can only do this if you allow it to)

Auspex arose out of a combination of realising I was typing a lot of repetitive text, finding I did not like any of the auto-completion programs I tried, and stealing ideas from a very slick IDE I use.

The software runs in the background monitoring keyboard input in any application that currently has focus. Upon certain trigger conditions, it will do things on your behalf to enhance your productivity.

I'd been thinking about it for a while, then when spending a bit of time with a friend of mine who had broken his neck, I knew it was time to get off my behind. The guy loves to email, but finds typing very laborious. Now he's a lot more able to spin out longer and more informative emails with much less effort.

The software is capable of the following actions:

1. Replace some text with some other text when triggered to do so.
This was the feature that started it all. I write, on average, 20 or so emails a day. There is little templatable text, but a lot of what feels like duplication. I talk about similar things, and I sign off in one of 3 ways depending on my audience. So the first thing Auspex can do is take shorthand acronyms (I'm using the term mnemonic because so few of us can type or say it successfully ? :D) and replace it with more useful text.

Some examples from the 100 or so I have by now:
rt<tab> expands to Regards,Tim
tt<tab> expands to Thanks,Tim
ug<tab> expands to Please download the upgrade from our website at

A really sweet side-effect of this is of course auto-correction, for example cnotainer<space> becomes container while I fly across the keyboard. Yes, I know, Word etc. has this but it's often extremely intrusive. This thing only corrects what you want it to, and in any application.

UPDATE: auto-correction now has RegEx features. For those of you who know what this is, good - let your imagination run wild! For the rest: it means that Auspex is able to understand and correct many different variations of the same word. A good example might be 'mischievous', which, let's face it, no-one can spell. As long as you get close, this software will do the rest (e.g. mischevus, mischeevious etc.)

2. Complete some partially entered text.
I am very pleased with this. In any application, if you find yourself typing the same word or phrase repeatedly, Auspex picks up on this and begins to present you with the suggestion as you type.

For example, by the 3rd time I have typed productToLoad it is appearing as a suggested word in a little popup just under my cursor as I begin to type prod.

Hit <tab> and the complete word (or phrase) is put in place. In addition, Auspex likes camel humps (Cranioscopical: add witticism here) so now I can type pTL and the software will still make the correct suggestion. This has improved my coding: longer more informative variable names and less typos.

I can see a lot of applications for this, not just for developers but technical authors, medical transcribers, or pretentious people like me who use long words and often type them erroneoulsy ? :Thmbsup:

3. Fire up a link or program without leaving your current application.
To be honest, I only added this because it was so easy. Working on an email and need to quickly check your arithmetic? Type 'calc' and hit the trigger and Auspex will launch it for you. Personally I never use this, since I have FARR, which is farr better ? :D

In all cases, triggers and hot keys will be configurable so as not to clash with any existing applications you may be running.

Planned Features
Improved parsing for nested items (e.g. format dates and numbers)


If anyone is interested I will also discuss the technical aspects of writing this software, and how I solved some of the trickier challenges of getting the blighter to work how I wanted it to.

At the moment, you just copy an exe, run and dive into the bunker

Using the Application
Run it, start typing.

Some deletion would be required at the moment.

Known Issues
Well, there will be a lot of testing required.

Living Room / Optimus Maximus
« on: January 28, 2010, 03:30 PM »
Anyone interested in discussing this "beast?"

Experiences good or bad, are you considering one?

N.A.N.Y. 2010 / NANY 2010 Release: Twigatelle
« on: December 10, 2009, 11:05 PM »
NANY 2010 Entry Information

Application NameTwigatelle
Short DescriptionTwigatelle is a game that Twiggles (of Head in the Clouds) is developing in order to make $1million or more from winning the NANY competition. No-one has yet dared to correct his misunderstanding of how NANY works.
Supported OSesWindows, Mac, Linux
Web Pagetbd
Play online now (java)http://head-in-the-c...m/game/Twiggles.jnlp
System Requirements
  • Some reasonable graphics card, that's probably about all
Version History

Twigatelle is a simple game developed in Java inspired by any number of those pachinko-type games where little thingies bounce around hitting other thingies in a slightly hypnotic way. The name is a contraction of "Twiggles" and "bagatelle"

I chose to code up this game since:
(a) I like playing simple pinball-type games

(b) I was interested to see if I could develop a little game in Java that ran at a good framerate on any reasonable PC, Max, *nix box

(c) I wanted to see if I was capable of coding up various maths routines (collision and rebound of odd-shaped objects, procedural textures etc.) from scratch without nicking anyone elses source

and (d) I have not yet grown out of coding for 'fun'

Features: Java 2D game with animation, sound, simple particle system, simple physics effects, simple everything really. What can I say? I'm a simple kind of guy...

  • Bouncy balls.
  • Things that bouncy balls hit.

Planned Features
  • Further items for the bouncy balls to collide with.




How do you install and run the Application for the first time? Java WebStart

Using the Application
Hopefully pretty self-explanatory. I'll write a brief how-to later.

Windows: from control panel
Other OSes: tbd

Known Issues
Are there any issues that users should know about? well, it may be kind of crummy ;) Also, it was written by a fat bird

DC Member Programs and Projects / timns' MiniMon
« on: March 15, 2008, 10:28 AM »
Super-small CPU and hard disk monitor for your system tray... or a small window on-screen.

Here's the page:

Here's the screenshot:


Enjoy. Well, it's not exactly very enjoyable. But maybe it's useful. :Thmbsup:


DC Member Programs and Projects / timns' Wobbly Blobby bits
« on: March 10, 2008, 04:00 PM »
Evening all,

I just uploaded some old old code that I wrote which models blobby things bouncing around and merging / splitting. Think amoeba or those old lava lamps.

I'm putting it on DC because I always wanted to use this effect in a game but lacked the imagination to come up with anything. The source code is freely available to anyone who asks, in the hope they will be able to do something clever with it where I could not!



Announce Your Software/Service/Product / timns' ShowVolume
« on: March 09, 2008, 12:01 PM »
Eeny-teeny-weeny-tiny program to show you your current volume setting on your sound card.

Screenshot is here:


Page is here:

Discuss here:



DC Member Programs and Projects / timns' ShowVolume
« on: March 09, 2008, 11:38 AM »
Hello folks. Isn't it great to have DC back online?

I have just uploaded a tiny program that shows you the current volume of your sound card. I believe it will work with most hardware, but no guarantees of course, given the freaky kit that is out there on some of your PC's  ;)

But it works on the PC's I have here anyway :)

You can grab a copy here:


Mobysaurus / API?
« on: February 09, 2008, 06:02 AM »
Does this thing have an API so that I could call it from (say) a Java project I'm involved in somehow?

e.g. to check a spelling, search for a word, search for a synonym, maybe even get a random word back? I'd have a use for all of that.



Hello folks.

I just uploaded another free puzzle game at to keep and company.

No prizes for guessing what this game is all about. You've heard about it, you've seen it, you've played it out of obligation because it's supposed to make you clever...


I hope you enjoy my version of the game. It's standard stuff but you can print out the puzzles to play elsewhere, which is useful for those of you with a life away from the keyboard.

Discussion is here: https://www.donation...ex.php?topic=12196.0



DC Member Programs and Projects / timns' Sudoku
« on: February 07, 2008, 04:40 AM »
Hello folks.

I just uploaded another free puzzle game at to keep and company.

No prizes for guessing what this game is all about. You've heard about it, you've seen it, you've played it out of obligation because it's supposed to make you clever...

I hope you enjoy my version of the game. It's standard stuff but you can print out the puzzles to play elsewhere, which is useful for those of you with a life away from the keyboard.



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