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Messages - tranglos [ switch to compact view ]

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Half my morning has been going down the rabbit hole that is Coding Horror + Links + Comments + ...

Let me fix it for you: "Half my morning every day" :)

Coding Horror, and The Daly WTF at (safe for work, despite the name)

Best Text Editor / Re: Boxer Text Editor
« on: January 07, 2008, 12:30 PM »
Cannot you tell us an estimate, can you? Weeks, months?....  :-[

Never...ask...a...programmer...that...question ;)

Or if you're a programmer, never answer it!

(I know, I've answered that question too many times. Never truthfully.)

ed: Check out this chapter from the Tao of Programming:
(third item in this book)

Best Text Editor / Re: Boxer Text Editor
« on: January 07, 2008, 11:57 AM »
However that UTF/Unicode support... Well, do you plan to add that?

Please count me in as another highly interested party.

Generally, it seems to me that many (if not most) shareware text editors are geared towards coding. (Although dedicated IDEs seem to be gaining popularity.) This may account for lack of Unicode/UTF8 support in many otherwise very powerful editors. But coding is only one of many tasks one needs a text editor for, and these other tasks increasingly often require at least UTF-8. Without it, you can't do serious work with XML files, just to mention one example.

In my translation work I've been working exclusively in Unicode for two or three years now, so I can't escape it, even though I think it's pretty evil :) Well, UTF-8 is a tolerable necessary evil, but UTF-16 is, IMtotallyHO, true unmitigated concentrated essence of hell-bound evilness, aka the spawn of satan (and I'm being generouos too!)

And yes, I realize that some compilers/interpreters support UTF8 source code files now, but that's primarily Visual Studio, which is already an IDE. Python does as well though, doesn't it?

General Software Discussion / Re: Dealing with spam
« on: January 06, 2008, 04:05 PM »
I was using PopFile for many years - one of the most active projects at SourceForge:
It was, I think, one of the first implementations of Bayesian filtering, and pretty good too, with relatively few false positives after a week of training or so.

Downsides are large memory footprint, rather slow startup, and slow operation when the database grew after several years of usage. Also, configuration is done via the browser, so when you see a miscategorized message, it takes some doing to teach Popfile a new trick.

A few months ago I replaced PopFile with AntiSpamSniper: - a Bayesian plugin for TheBat. I also supports Outlook and Outlook Express, but not Thunderbird, I'm afraid. There is a quite capable free version, but I went for the paid version ($19.95), which has a few nice additions, such as a dedicated toolbar and automatic whitelisting of addresses you send email to.

Screenshots: http://www.antispams...gin-screenshots.html

After about three months it produces even fewer false positives than PopFile (maybe one a month!), but a little more false negatives. Specifically, I've been recently getting lots of one-line spam, sometimes only a couple of words, and Antispamsniper has trouble recognizing those messages as spam, probably because there is very little content to hook on to, and each message is different.

I like it a lot - it does not slow down email download nearly as much as PopFile did, the memory footprint is negligible, and of course the training happens inside TheBat, so it's more convenient.

For a long time I used to use a procmail filter on my mail provider's shell account, but updating it was rather tedious, and every time I wanted to update the filter I had to refresh my memory of procmail syntax, which is somewhat involved. I finally switched to using procmail only for logging incoming mail, which is useful to investigate "missing" messages sometimes, but I no longer use it for blocking. Bayesian filtering is certainly much more effective than "dumb" keyword filters.

I doubt it's a MIME filetype association thing, but that's perhaps something to investigate as well; if the browser thinks it's being served a text file, it might do LF->CRLF translation, and that would certainly mess up things. Perhaps you could ask one of the people experiencing the error to email you the setup archive, and you could compare the first few kilobyte of it with an uncorrupted install file?

Could be, but DC http server indicates content type correctly. This is the header sent for https://www.donation...nshotCaptorSetup.exe:

hdr>Date: Sat, 05 Jan 2008 01:07:12 GMT
hdr>Server: Apache
hdr>Last-Modified: Mon, 08 Oct 2007 02:38:33 GMT
hdr>ETag: "5d0139-886000-47099829"
hdr>Accept-Ranges: bytes
hdr>Content-Length: 8937472
hdr>Connection: close
hdr>Content-Type: application/octet-stream

Mouser, how many reports of this did you get? Are those IE7s running on Vista?

This won't help much, but I've just downloaded ProcessTamer and Screenshot Capror successfully using IE7 on XP SP2. Both installers ran fine. I thought also maybe the server was reporting a wrong file size, and checked that too, but no.

Did you ask if the people having this problem are running an AV scanner or any similar software? A common firewall maybe?

Also, you might try checking your server logs, though I'm not sure if Apache logs any information that would identify aborted downloads or disconnects. Perhaps it's worth a try.

Of interactive applications, and excluding any special-purpose apps I use for work whose names won't ring any bells:

1. FireFox
2. TextPad
3. TotalCommander (I have a regular love affair with this one!)
4. TheBat!
5. KeyNote

Honorary mentions: locate32, Reget Deluxe, Archivarius (I couldn't see why one would buy a desktop search app with so many available for free, then I realized Archivarius supports TheBat and Forte Agent databases. A lifesaver.)

But then there are non-interactive tools that run constantly in the background and make the whole environment livable. I tend to forget about those until it's reinstall time ev ery few years and I find some things are missing. Here's to those silent, trusty utilities!

1. KatMouse (the functionality used to be present in Logitech drivers, then they removed it)
2. HoeKey (I replaced it with AutoHotkey only recently, but HoeKey served me well for a very long time)
3. FileEx (never want to see the unenhanced File Open dialog again!)
4. Backup4All
5. URLInject (a program I wrote to insert page URL, title and date/time in every html file saved from a browser)

Honorary mentions, I guess: svchost.exe, winlogon.exe, csrss.exe, spoolsv.exe, System Idle Process :)

Living Room / Re: What is appropriate content for DonationCoder?
« on: January 04, 2008, 10:52 AM »
I am not "LMAO", but I truly expect nosh's prediction to be accurate:
If you set up a special NSFW part of DC, we WILL get loads and loads of it.
So DON'T!!

Quite possible.

While a general tagging system will be useful for browsing, there's also this to consider: once the specific NSFW tag is instituted, what happens when a poster neglects to use it and complaints start pouring in?

What CWuestefeld said: the status quo is precisely the correct balance.

o_O, at least it's not like "Psychedelic Screen Saver" (kudos for the designer of that GUI ;D)

Kudos totally :)

Interesting difference in the approach of the two developers though. One was motivated by the Hall of Shame entry to redesign the UI, the other quite the opposite.

Guys, for screenshots of Multi-Edit use Google ;)

Heh, one screenshot even made it to the Interface Hall of Shame :)
(You'll need to scroll down a little.)

And not undeservedly, I should say. I installed MultiEdit trial recently and I must say it has some of the ugliest, worst-organized dialog boxes I've seen recently. (It was hard to write, so it must be hard to use - this still happens a lot with the more expensive software.) It does have a lot of power features, of course, but the complete lack of unicode/UTF8 support breaks the deal for me, just like with the otherwise fantastic Boxer editor.

Still looking for the optimal editor(tm).


CloneDVD is not intended to copy only audio tracks.

I hope this info helps you.

Thanks a lot for the explanation. I'd already bought the three products in December (computers need Christmas gifts, too :) I wonder though if I could interest you in the feature of extracting audio tracks from DVDs. It would be terribly useful and should fit the general purpose of the software.

Living Room / Re: What is appropriate content for DonationCoder?
« on: January 03, 2008, 11:18 PM »
Herein lies the problem, what I feel as pain you find humorous.  This will never be resolved.  What can be resolved is if people become more important than rights, but it appears my attempts at planting are not finding fertile soil.

CodeTRUCKER, you voiced a concern and technical solutions have been proposed. True, technology will never be fully effective, or at least not effective and efficient at the same time, as you yourself realized when it became too hard to keep maintaining your Proxomitron filters. But this is what can be done.

What also can be done is request that posters refrain from racy topics, which is happening all the time at DC - not the requesting, mind you, but the refraining! As others have noted, DC is one of the most "clean", most corteous discussion forums of its size and popularity.

What else would you like to happen, please?

I never advocate for the minority to submit to the wishes of the majority (but this itself is a highly political topic for an entirely different forum!) However, and please set me right if I misunderstand your intentions, you seem to be asking everyone to apply the lowest common denominator when deciding about what might possibly be offensive. Because it's not only about swearwords, is it? It's also about content that may well be relevant to the site. The YouPorn post might well have been an article in an IT magazine, after all. It's a "people meet technology" issue - part computing, part sociology. It seems to me you are asking adults to refrain from discussing certain relevant topics. So what would you like to be done?

Living Room / Re: What is appropriate content for DonationCoder?
« on: January 03, 2008, 10:48 PM »
Please reference my tag line.  I ask you, "What's wrong with doing right?"

Why?  Are you saying everyone else is wrong?

Maybe not, but it does mean there is only one "right". We are really tiptoeing around awfully emotionally sensitive ideas here. The issue may not be censorship (strictly defined), but what's called chilling effect: when you refrain from posting reasonable, relevant material for fear someone, somewhere may be offended - or that posting will get you banned.

Living Room / Re: What is appropriate content for DonationCoder?
« on: January 03, 2008, 10:34 PM »
A wise man once told me that you can't be offended unless you choose to be...choose wisely.

I must say I have very, very strong feelings about the issue CodeTRUCKER raised, so I was trying to avoid making a value statement one way or another, since my command of English at 5 am does not measure up to the courtesy of previous posters here :) Let me just say I have never been offended by any DC post.

Personally, I find the post CodeTRUCKER refers to as offensive a perfectly DC-suitable entry, at least inasmuch as it could have led to an interesting thread on niche (or not-so-niche) technologies. If it didn't, perhaps it was because many posters felt the topic itself was somewhat risqué and best avoided. There are very few forums on the net where one could expect such restraint.

Interesting idea about the HTML tag!

Living Room / Re: What is appropriate content for DonationCoder?
« on: January 03, 2008, 10:17 PM »
tranglos, is that similar to a feature some other SMF-based forums have, in which you get a "Spoiler" function which shows the text as you hover over it, or perhaps like the one used in phpBB, where you have to select or click in a box containing the text?

Because all the ROT-13 I know is the encryption method, and I don't know how it would be used here, if you could explain it with some detail :)

Okay, now I'm confused :) I was referring to the feature I used in my post, which lets you hide content. It's much easier to use than Rot-13, of course, but serves the same purpose: you won't be able to see the contect until you decide to physically reveal it.

It may even be "better" (forgive the inverted quotes) than the proposed tagging system, in that a tagged post remains fully readable, while the spoiler feature mechanically hides what might offend.

That said, I don't think server-side technology will solve ideological disputes, which is what we are engaging in here...

ed: typos

Living Room / Re: What is appropriate content for DonationCoder?
« on: January 03, 2008, 09:53 PM »
If we're considering implemention of a tagging system, then why is "censorship" relevant any more?

I believe it is relevant due to CodeTRUCKER's sentiment which CWuestefeld quoted, implying that a voluntary tagging system would not be sufficiently effective.

How about this:
Usenet readers used to have the ROT-13 feature, which works much as this here "spoiler" tag. This technique is already available, and perhaps better than NSFW, because the text is physically obscured.

Living Room / Re: When you make your 100'th Post
« on: January 03, 2008, 11:58 AM »
Teaching - good!  :D
Thesis - bad!  :-[ :( :'(

Oh man, are you living the story of my life or what. I taught US lit and translation at the university where I live for 10 years, never even thought of trying another job when I graduated. The teaching part was awesome, I miss it greatly. The writing part was something else entirely. In those 10 years I gave only one conference presentation, well received too, because I was speaking off the cuff, rather than reading my paper... because I couldn't be bothered to write it all down! Then I realized the net and computing in general were much more fun than writing a thesis on a topic in literature, and never even got as far as the title page. So after 10 years the university and me parted ways.

Teaching really, really good! Thesis ugh.

Post New Requests Here / Re: IDEA: inappropriate word buster
« on: December 22, 2007, 06:35 PM »
...which would catch certain words, or combination of words or numbers (house numbers, personal phone numbers, etc.) which, when caught, would immediately stop the application and flash a warning, possibly until backspace is pressed, or a password is given or key combination is pressed. He would like it to catch incoming as well as outgoing,

The second part of your question - about stopping outgoing data - is equally important as the first. The various "nanny" programs probably incorporate this feature. I would advise your friend though to read user reviews of such software, or even check Slashdot for past threads, where many of their shortcomings were thoroughly aired. There are simple things to watch out for, e.g. if a program blocks certain words using a dumb algorithm, it will also block legitimate,  neutral queries that may incorporate those words as substrings.

Another issue is that often those programs also block certain sites or domains, and they claim their blocklists to be trade secrets, so you don't really know what else they block besides smut. In practice, and this may or may not be of concern to anyone, by sheer luck they often end up blocking sites frequented by people of what I believe is called "progressive" mindset in the US.

There are other solutions than nanny software. Some firewalls, notably Agnitum Outpost, have a feature that allows you to make a list of keywords that are not allowed to be sent out - could be names, addresses, passwords, etc. The firewall will either block the communication outright, or just "scratch out" the offending keywords. Personally I am partial to this solution, since it lets the computer owner decide what is and isn't alowed, and most of time time you need a firewall anyway. I am pretty sure Outpost also has a list of incoming keywords to block.

My understanding is that CloneCD will only make 1 to 1 exact copies of DVD movies.  CloneDVD will re-encode movies so they will fit on media with less capacity.  Many DVDs require dual-layer media for 1 to 1 copies, CloneDVD will make those fit on single-layer media.  CloneDVD also allows you to perform some basic edits (like remove advertisements, alternate tracks,etc.).  As far as I know CloneCD doesn't let you perform any edits.

Thank you, this is very useful information.

However, if you're only going to get one thing from Slysoft, seriously consider AnyDVD.

Yes, I've figured that out, but AnyDVD seems pretty useless by itself, so it looks like you need to buy three products, and that's almost $100. Subtract the discount, add 20% VAT, still $100 :)

Finally - if you're considering buying from Slysoft, they've announced that starting on Jan 1 their products are going to be sold in Euros instead of Dollars (while keeping the numbers the same).  In effect, this is a 40% price increase.  So if you're going to buy you should do it before then.

I've seen that, yes :)  I must say this part seems somewhat disingenuous to me: Effective January 1, 2008, SlySoft will switch its pricing from U.S. dollars 1:1 to Euro. This will result in a price increase of about 40%. Nothing is stopping Slysoft from ensuring the conversion to Euro does not result in a price hike (or just upping the price in USD), they've just chosen to convert at 1:1 ratio.

The thing is, I've only seen one CD (a data CD I wanted to make a backup copy of) that I couldn't copy with Nero. That was a month ago, and I tried CloneCD, fully willing to buy it if it could copy that one disk - but it could not, either. Wouldn't even tell me what protection the CD was using or what the problem was. Through investgating files on the disk I found out it was SecureDisk (or was it SecureDrive?), which CloneCD claims to support.

I've never needed to copy a DVD disk yet - ever, though I expect this will change as I move my own storage to DVDs. I hardly watch any movies on DVD, so it's not a concern, but I do buy live (concert) DVDs occasionally, and I want to be able to extract audio tracks off those DVDs. (I have a dozen or so live DVDs I have never watched, but I listen to the audio tracks often). I used a program called DVD Audio Extractor once, trial version, but it didn't work with newer of those DVDs, so I had to resort to playing the DVDs on the computer and recording the audio stream. If CloneDVD doesn't do this yet, it seems like a good fit for its featureset.

Ain't so. I work for SlySoft and we do not ALWAYS have a 20% sale running. That is not only dumb but misleads customers. We offer these sales spontaneously and also with regularity for Christmas, Valentine's Day, Thanksgiving, etc. There are special coupons for returning customers if one asks and  also volume discounts. We find our policy of bundling products with "the more you buy, the more you save" and then giving an additional discount off and on throughout the year makes sense.  8)

Thank you kindly for posting here, Expat. Would you mind if I ask a couple of questions here?

1. Your description of CloneCD reads in part: CloneCD is not only able to copy CDs but also most DVD formats, such as DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD+R, DVD+RW, DVD+R Dual Layer and DVD-RAM. How much does CloneDVD offer above and beyond that? Or conversely, does CloneDVD copy CDs as well? (Yes, I'm trying to figure out if I can make do with only one ;) )

2. Is CloneDVD able to copy only audio tracks of a DVD? I'm a big fan of live music, but I'd rather listen then watch, so I often try to grab audio tracks from live DVDs (movies) and burn them to CDs. A few years ago this was somewhat easy, but I've been having much less luck recently, probably due to new formats or protection schemes. If CloneDVD does not have this ability right now, is it something you would consider adding?

Thanks a lot again!

Living Room / Re: Top 10 Signs Recursion May Be a Problem In Your Life
« on: December 19, 2007, 06:46 AM »
Best. Top 10. Ever.

Living Room / Re: The Beatles Cover Stairway to Heaven
« on: December 19, 2007, 06:43 AM »
Anyone any idea how to download YouTube videos - download helper doesn't seem to work any more (you just get audio)?

There was a Python script ( that worked nicely until YouTube changed the URL scheme. I now use VideoGet, which usually gets the job done: ($19.95, I bought it discounted at Bits do Jour two months ago)

General Software Discussion / Re: I will kill thee a 150 ways...freely
« on: December 18, 2007, 09:34 PM »
Claus's list illustrates how many software titles there are even in obscure categories. Once you start digging, you're often amazed at how much is out there.

That, and how many people need to kill processes in miscellaneous ways :)

General Software Discussion / Re: Directory Opus 9
« on: December 18, 2007, 09:27 PM »
Another thing I've noticed:

I tried to view a PDF file. The viewer window opens empty, then Acrobat Reader opens with the document, but mostly covered by the blank viewer window.

Strange it doesn't do that for me - the PDF file is opened in an Acrobat pane within the separate viewer window.

This might have something to do with the version of Acrobat Reader, who knows. It did look pretty strange :)

On Edit: Better idea: in Acrobat Reader options, I once disabled the "show in browser" feature, because I don't like it when Acrobat freezes Firefox for a long while as it loads the document. So maybe now Acrobat considers itself non-embeddable at all. Makes sense as a side-effect of disabling that feature.


General Software Discussion / Re: Directory Opus 9
« on: December 18, 2007, 08:14 PM »
You mean the separate viewer window, right? (Not the similar "preview pane" that is joined to the file display. Esc only closes the window not the pane, so I assume you're talking about the window but correct me if I'm wrong.)

I mean the separate window, yes.

(In the preview panel I view them a lot, but if I double-click them they open in Word or Firefox themselves rather than an Opus viewer window. Personally, I only really use the viewer window for pictures.)

See, this is where one gets a very different experience depending on the particulars of the tasks one performs. EmEditor - a fantastically configurable editor, and practically the only editor for Windows that handles *all* Unicode files correctly and reliably all the time - does not have a "replace in all open documents" feature. It's a mature product, so apparently no-one has requested it much. Myself, I need this function a few times every day, sometimes many times an hour, when working for a particular client. Sometimes "Replace in files" can substitute, other times it cannot, because I need to see and double-check the results immediately, lest I do something stupid that will corrupt the files. So I need to run another editor side-by-side, because it's missing one simple feature, while thousands of other people never notice that it's missing.

But back to the viewer...

I use TC's viewer all the time, and almost never to view pictures :) Most often I use it in conjunction with the search feature, to view all kinds of documents, usually in some dense xml-based format, to look up various things. Often there is no application associated with a filetype, or opening the file in the application would take a long time (the files can be quite large), or I'm searching for stuff in hundreds of files at a time, which no GUI text editor will handle comfortably, *or* the application associated with the files is itself slow, awkward to use and/or has a much inferior search functionality. (I'm talking about various "trade" applications used in software localization; you'd think they'd all have excellent search built in, since it's almost their whole purpose in life - I certainly thought so once :) Sometimes the associated application is designed to hide things from me, like XML tags, that I need to be able to see - a frequent case where programmers wrote software for translators seemingly without ever having consulted one.

Hmm, now I think you're talking about the preview pane since you can definitely open more than one viewer window in Opus. Select a file and use File->File Commands->Show Pictures to open the file in a viewer window. Do it to another file and you'll get a second viewer window.

Interesting. This is just what I do, and I always get a single viewer window. I assigned F3 to "View file" command. Select a file, press F3, get a separate viewer window. Without closing it, switch back to DOpus, press F3 on a different file -> the new file replaces the previous one in the same, single viewer window. (Not the internal pane.)

Another thing I've noticed:

I tried to view a PDF file. The viewer window opens empty, then Acrobat Reader opens with the document, but mostly covered by the blank viewer window.

Then I viewed an HTML file, saved from the browser. The file has a BASE HREF tag in it, so the embedded browser connects out to the site. I don't know what went wrong there, but all I got was a blank page, with no content at all, and the viewer wouldn't respond to clicking the close button for a few seconds. (I guess it was hanging there waiting for the remote server.) This is my main issue with viewers that invoke or embed handler applications instead of just showing the file contents: you get nothing if the application is unable to render the document. Try opening a badly formed XML file in IE - all you'll see is an error message. Not good. I need a viewer that will let me see the actual content, so I can still do whatever I need to do.

To view an HTML file as text you could make a button/hotkey which runs Show PLUGIN=Text

That's exactly what I need. Thanks!

(I must say DOpus has an excellent trial policy, the best I've seen, except for infinite trials, which are mostly a thing of the past. The 60-day extension will be immensely useful, because there are plenty of things I like in DOpus and want to keep trying it out, but it does take time.)

I'm also missing the ".." entry in folder list for going up in a folder tree. Yes, I can see the up arrow above the list, but it's too tiny for fast clicking.
You could make two full-sized toolbar buttons which go up in the left and right sides if you just want a bigger target to click on. (There's already a toolbar button which goes up in the active side, of course.)

I haven't figured out yet how to make separate toolbars for the left and right lister; I'd love to have two drive bars, one for each side (it's faster than having to click a lister first, then pick a drive). It looks like you've just hinted this can be done, so I'll go digging.

This, combined with your complained above about having to push an extra arrow key to select the folder you want to enter, seems more like you're just used to exactly how TC works and want Opus to be the same, even if it doesn't make a lot of difference.

I will grant that, and still point out that I'm mostly flagging the things that slow me down. Naturally, there's a lot I have to find out about DOpus. Right now I get awed at some newly discovered feature one minute, then find things that are flying in TC, which in DOPus proceed more slowly (example: in TC dragging any file to the toolbar makes a new button, then I can right-click any button to change its icon, associated command etc.; in DOpus this doesn't seem available).

Then again, if a program has been in development for years, is at version 9+ and has a huge user base, I guess I'm not a target user. I get that a lot recently, e.g. with UltraEdit, which has like a million registered users, who apparently don't mind all the usability annoyances, big and small, I have found in 30 minutes of playing with it.
You seem to be assuming that the little things that bug you a lot are shared by everyone else?

No, that's about the opposite of what I said :) I assume I am *not* the target audience, i.e. I use the application in a weird idiomatic ways that were not in the developers' usage scenarios. I'd always like to think that developers *had* usage scenarios in the first place, though!

Joel Spolsky's "User Interface Design for Programmers" to all our favorite shareware authors, because many of them should really read those, for our benefit :)
Joel is strange for me. I seem to strongly agree with half of what he says and strongly disagree with the other half, with no middle ground. :)

Same here, and I disagree with Alan Cooper even more. But just reading a book like that makes you think about a lot of things for the first time; things you may never have considered as issues to resolve. It makes you more aware of what you're doing to people using your software.


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