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Best Of 2008
Best of the Web 2008
Our Favorite Discoveries for Programmers

Mockups ...

Noticed in a recent post a mockup of an app which I liked the look of (the mockup, not the app) (Found it here)
Followed up on it and found Balsamiq Mockups
I'm sure there are lots of uses for this apart from software and internet developers.

For "do gooders" (their phrase) and various others, they'll give a free licence. I was given one on the basis that I'm an educator (antithesis of a do gooder?)
Example mockups here.

Real Life Tron on an Apple IIgs

An amazing true story of Tron:

One day, when Marco and I were playing against two computer opponents, we forced one of the AI cycles to trap itself between its own walls and the bottom game border.  Sensing an impending crash, it fired a missile, just like it always did whenever it was trapped.  But this time was different – instead of firing at another trail, it fired at the game border, which looked like any other light cycle trail as far as the computer was concerned.  The missile impacted with the border, leaving a cycle-sized hole, and the computer promptly took the exit and left the main playing field.  Puzzled, we watched as the cycle drove through the scoring display at the bottom of the screen.  It easily avoided the score digits and then drove off the screen altogether.

Shortly after, the system crashed.

Our minds reeled as we tried to understand what we had just seen.  The computer had found a way to get out of the game.  When a cycle left the game screen, it escaped into computer memory – just like in the movie.

http://blog.danielwe...n-an-apple-iigs.html - programmers Q&A site by jeff atwood + joel spolsky is public

Screenshot - 9_15_2008 , 7_43_32 AM_thumb.png, the site created by programming gurus joel spolsky and jeff atwood as gone from a closed beta to an open public beta and is worth checking out.

You can read the original dc discussion thread about here: https://www.donation...ex.php?topic=13077.0

Basically the website is a community question and answer system much like yahoo answers but focused on programming-related questions.  Users can vote for questions and answers (like on digg) so that popular ones rise to the top.

Delphi 2009 (And C++ Builder 2009) Released

Screenshot - 8_25_2008 , 9_54_21 AM_thumb.png
Some cool news for users of Borland/Codegear/Emarcadero Delphi and C++ Builder.  Seems like Delphi 2009 (and presumably C++ Builder 2009) has been released(!) and is available for pre-order now.

A list of what's new can be found here, along with some video demos.  Robust Unicode support is one of the big things, but there are also IDE improvements and some nice component upgrades.


I'm a fan of C++ Builder myself, and many of my larger programs are built using it.

The Root of Software Piracy: A Game Developer Asks Why?

Screenshot - 11_08_2008 , 17_57_45.png
A game developer takes on a novel idea to "combat" game piracy: instead of resorting to the usual DRM and prosecution of the offenders, he ask them why they're doing it. The answers seem to be the usual, and AFAIK most of them have been mentioned here when discussing software piracy, but still the article makes a nice analysis on the current state of videogaming regarding the piracy matter, and the blog post is an interesting read. Also, I wonder what conclusions Mr. Harris will extract from the comments and the mails.


Note that the discussion is mostly centered about PC gaming, as the current generation of consoles does not suffer from the rampant piracy present in the last two generations, due to various reasons (expensive blank media and duplicators, locked-down systems, etc.). And the blog is getting hammered as well.

The D programming language - an interview with the author

D takes C++ and incorporates elements from more modern programming languages such as ruby,python,java,etc...
I find this particularly interesting because D remains a true systems programming language, with many of the original concepts that make me stick to C++ in it.

Recently featured on the OSNews blog was an article on compuworld with the author of the D programming language, Walter Bright.

It looks like D has come a long way since I last tried it, and they are getting ready for their 2.0 release (alpha has been released now).

D is not without it's problems, for example, it's standard library has been forked and is not compatible with the original stdlib. Bright addresses this and other criticisms on the language in the article above.

Very interesting read!

Great Roundup: 15 Tools to Help You Develop Faster Web Pages

Screenshot - 6_15_2008 , 2_55_42 PM_thumb.png
This is a really nice roundup, which focuses on profiling tools but includes a little bit of everything..

Response times, availability, and stability are vital factors to bear in mind when creating and maintaining a web application. If you’re concerned about your web pages’ speed or want to make sure you’re in tip-top shape before starting or launching a project, here’s a few useful, free tools to help you create and sustain high-performance web applications.

I’ve tried to include a wide variety of tools that are easy to use, and have tried to keep them as OS and technology-independent as possible so that everyone can find a tool or two.


Forking in Open Source Projects - Debate

Screenshot - 5_16_2008 , 11_20_42 AM_thumb.png
Dare we say that the Coding Horror blog has been a little weak lately.. But today's blog essay was on a subject that I have been thinking about recently.  I was talking to DC member Gothi[c] about collaborating on an open source project, and i raised the possibility of using a custom license that would discourage or disallow forking.  So I thought we might use this as a jumping off point to talk about the issue of "forking":

Forking is incredibly difficult to pull off. It is a painful, but necessary part of the evolution of open source software. Just as in real evolution, I suspect that most forks die in vast, nameless numbers, before they become strong enough to engender any forked progeny of their own. Forking is the absolute bedrock of open source software -- but it is also not a path to be chosen lightly.


"1000 True Fans" - HOWTO Earn an artist's living in the 21st century

Screenshot - 3_17_2008 , 11_30_05 PM_thumb.png
The theory of Long Tail Economics is an influential idea that deals with finding a large enough audience that are outside of the mainstream, and the increasing degree to which technology is making is feasible for people to make money in that niche.  In a real sense, lives in the long tail area.

Here's a nice piece by Kevin Kelly discussing some specifics of how artsits might approach trying to make a living in the Long Tail marketplace by focusing on "True Fans."

But the long tail is a decidedly mixed blessing for creators. Individual artists, producers, inventors and makers are overlooked in the equation. The long tail does not raise the sales of creators much, but it does add massive competition and endless downward pressure on prices. Unless artists become a large aggregator of other artist's works, the long tail offers no path out of the quiet doldrums of minuscule sales.

Other than aim for a blockbuster hit, what can an artist do to escape the long tail? One solution is to find 1,000 True Fans...

GPLv3 explained

Ever wonder what's different about the brand new GPL version 3 versus it's older kin, GPLv2?

Richard Stallman, the guy who came up with the GPL in the first place, explains in non-legalese so we can all understand once and for all what it's all about:

very nice find.. it's almost a year old so it might be nice to have a more recent video explanation from an objective person, but regardless it's an interesting video to watch, and it's actually fascinating to hear about how v3 features were designed to thwart companies who found loopholes in v2.

Guide: Earning income from a Free/Open Source project.

The brainchild and creator of the GNU/Linux distro "Damn Small Linux", a GNU/Linux distro for systems with limited hardware resources, has written up a little guide on how to make money as a FOSS developer from his experiences with DSL.

It makes quite an interesting read, since it covers the donation concept and some notes on the 'psychological barrier' and some of the harder choices many developers have to face when trying to survive developing only freely available software.

Excellent find.  It seems to mirror what i wrote about here: https://www.donation...icles/One/index.html - free online html form builder

Screenshot - 1_23_2008 , 12_28_07 AM_thumb.png
DC member veign says this may be the best online form generator he's seen.  It really does look extremely nice, with drag and drop support for re-arranging your forms and a visual editor for building them.

Seems like a great way to create an initial form for a page.  After you construct it visually the site lets you download the html code to put on your website.  Very well done. is funded by donations from readers like you. If you find this site useful, please consider becoming a supporting member by making a small one-time donation, in the amount of your choice.

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