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Tuesday April 16, 2013
Aphelion Science Fiction Fantasy Horror Webzine 2013
DC member TaoPhoenix posts about a science fiction magazine he is involved in:
"I shall post a promotional piece for the Science Fiction - Fantasy - Horror - Poetry webzine Aphelion.
It's been around since 1997. However we gradually lost the "regular" posters through attrition and we haven't undertaken much marketing at all. This post is "semi-unauthorized". That means I'm doing it ad-hoc, with a wink and a nod to "what isn't forbidden becomes Do First and Ask Permission Later"!
I am the (somewhat erratic!) Archives Editor over there. It was a fluid position that evolved out of my interests in poking around in information related to past issues and lately some basic manual site stats. There aren't many trackers - they might be using some basic stuff on the back end, but it's certainly not crushed with stuff, and Ghostery only shows Google Analytics, which from what I know of their culture is probably "just because it's likely best of breed" and not at all related to our more intense focus on the goings-on of Google.
Since darn near everyone on DC is smarter than me, you're one of two crews I would like to encourage to join and post a note about at least a couple of stories! They do have a focus on newer and developing writers, so go REAL EASY on the comments - if you see something that a writer could have improved, PLEASE work REAL HARD to soft-ball it! As part of a bit of backstory that we don't need to visit here, in this somewhat fragile year it's important to get a couple of really nice newcomers, because we/they don't have a Basement to put anything hotblooded.
I would love to see say 7-12 strong enthused newcomers sign up who hope to be around for at least a couple of months!
*Important Signup Note* They recently had a rather severe spam problem, so they put in an extremely aggressive anti-spam measure. Even if you are not a SciFi fan, I also would like to do a call to arms for the DC crew who is as tech savvy as they get, to do some kind of False-Negative test. That means to sign up and post at least one nice note, to test if by accident we're not losing real users. Bathwater, Babies.
Holler at me in this thread for any specific notes you folks may have.
The Lead intro page:
http://www.aphelion-webzine.com/ - typically a graphic that changes for each issue
They do a "Flip" where the current month issue is on a "hardlocked" set of links by story/item category such as Short Stories. So if you get busy, and want to go back next month, they'll be gone (temporarily!) and replaced by the new issue. There's a big topic in Archives, but that's another day.
The intro Editorial by the senior editor:
"Features:" - most usually an instructional article on writing but a few other things sometimes
Monday April 15, 2013
Some Ars Technica articles
Challenge accepted Dwarf Fortress pros show Ars up with insane 10-hour forts Ars Technica
I know we have some Dwarf Fortress people here.
Possible security disasters loom with rollout of new top-level domains Ars Technica
Sunday April 14, 2013
New Skwire Release: sStockQuote
DC Member and prodigious coder Skwire has released a new tool:
Saturday April 13, 2013
Why are there no sites to shame and punish companies that spammers promote?
I understand how terribly hard it is to track down and deter/punish the individuals that post spam comments to forums and send spam emails.
That seems like an impossible task.
But what continues to bewilder me is why there don't seem to be any mechanisms for shaming/punishing/reporting/deterring the COMPANIES that spammers promote?
We get dozens of spam posts and profiles changes every day that are deleted from the DonationCoder.com forum before anyone seems them. All of these spam posts are promoting a given store or product.. Why on earth is there not someplace for forum/blog admins to report these companies that could impose some penalty that would stop them from hiring or incentivizing these spammers.
The commercial spam ecosystem is very clear -- the companies are paying the spammers to do this stuff -- or paying middle men that they know hire spammers. We can't stop the individual spammers but de-incentivizing the companies seems trivial -- google could put them out of business in 10 seconds if they wanted to..
Every time i see some story about some stupid new google pr stunt i wonder.. hey wouldn't it be cool if every once in a while they devoted some energy to shoveling off a layer or two of the advertising spam that the internet is drowning in?
Thursday April 11, 2013
Public preview of Excel “GeoFlow” - 3D cartographically distributed data maps.
DC member IainB writes:
For a while now I have been playing with Microsoft's WorldWide Telescope, but I had not realised that it might lead to this "GeoFlow" exercise.
You can follow this up on the Excel blog, and you can get a download of the app via that route also.
Here's the post on the Excel blog which gives the background to the preview of this development. This looks like a bit of a statistician's "dream modelling tool" for presentation of data.
(Copied below sans embedded hyperlinks/images.)
Public preview of project codename “GeoFlow” for Excel delivers 3D data visualization and storytelling
by Ari Schorr
on April 11
Today we are announcing the availability of the project codename "GeoFlow" Preview for Excel 2013, a result of collaborations between several teams within Microsoft. GeoFlow lets you plot geographic and temporal data visually, analyze that data in 3D, and create interactive "tours" to share with others.
GeoFlow originated in Microsoft Research, evolving out of the successful WorldWide Telescope project for scientific and academic communities to explore large volumes of astronomical and geological data. Researchers collaborated closely with the Office product team to usher GeoFlow from its research lab inception to this public preview availability in Excel. GeoFlow adds to the existing self-service Business Intelligence capabilities in Excel 2013, such as Microsoft Data Explorer Preview and Power View, to help discover and visualize large amounts of data, from Twitter traffic to sales performance to population data in cities around the world.
With GeoFlow, you can:
Unlocking insights within geospatial data like ticket sales is now possible with GeoFlow.
To learn more about how people are already using GeoFlow to gain and share insights in conjunction with existing self-service business intelligence tools in Excel, go the Excel blog.
Download the Add-in for Excel 2013 with Office 365 ProPlus or Office Professional Plus 2013.
Find out more about Microsoft BI.
Saturday April 06, 2013
Musicope.com: online open-source piano game
DC member CZB posted today about a new open source music-instruction game he just released, Musicope:
I have put together a small online open-source piano game. You connect an electric piano to your computer, install Jazz plugin to make Google Chrome communicate with the piano and then you start playing. I use it almost on every-day basis and I must say that I am very happy about it. It really helps me to play songs that I like in an easy manner!
I have prepared three small videos about the game. The first video shows the game in action. The second video gives a brief overview of the game. The third video shows how to change default parameters of the game.
How to change game parameters.
Here is a sample link which loads songs from my dropbox public folder.
Who is this app designed for:
Musicope is for anybody who would like to play a piano in an easy manner.
Musicope helps in playing a piano quickly and without the need to learn notes. It is an online game and it is open source! This means that you can very easily integrate it into your blog or modify it to your needs.
The needs improvement section
The game is in its alpha phase. I have used it only together with my piano Yamaha PSR423. The game surely has many bugs and lacks plenty of features . As for now, I am the only developer. More developers and testers are welcome to make the game better!
Why I think you should use this product
This game helps you to play the piano in a very easy manner. No need to learn notes. The game is free and open-source!
How does it compare to similar apps
There is Synthesia which is an offline paid alternative. There is also PianoCrumbs which is online and very limited with a lot of adds. This game is open source and free. It lack features that Synthesia has, but since it is open source, nothing restricts you to implement the features that you like!
I hope you like the game . If you have any comments, if you find any bugs (and there are many), or if you would like to contribute in any way, do not hesitate to contact me.
Friday April 05, 2013
Fixing E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial for the Atari 2600
This is a fun read that I think many will enjoy, that will shed some light on why so many hated this classic game, and how it was a game that was actually ahead of its time.
And if you follow along with your hex editor and E.T. rom, you'll find out just how to fix it, to make it more fun.
If you're reading this page, chances are that you're already well aware that E.T. for the Atari 2600 is one of the most reviled games ever made. I never understood why. As a child, it was one of my favorite games. I still think it's a good game. Apparently, I'm not alone.
On this page I'm going to briefly explore why people hate E.T., and how the game can be fixed.
Wednesday April 03, 2013
The 2013 Game Developer Gender Wage Gap
I’m reading through the latest digital edition of Game Developer Magazine which contains their annual survey. The salary numbers overall weren’t concerning to me, until I scrolled down and saw the differences between the male and female survey respondents. The next time someone tells me that men and women get paid equally for their talents in the game industry, I wanted something to link to them. This is just plain disgusting.
Sunday March 31, 2013
I have no idea how the hell they managed it, but it works like a charm. Been sitting here enjoying the smell of an open fire, for the past 45 minutes. Perfect.
Tuesday March 26, 2013
Newsletter for Mar 26, 2013 - Codename: Major Updates
1. Newsletter Editorial
Greetings readers, and welcome to another edition of the DonationCoder newsletter.
March is typically the month we hold our annual fundraiser -- so normally in this newsletter I would be asking you to visit the site and make a donation to support us. However, while the site has been busy in the last year -- with our regular big NANY (New Apps for the New Year) programming event held in January, and a major new release of one of our more popular applications (more about that in a minute) -- it just didn't feel right asking for your support while we haven't made more progress on the long planned upgrade of the website. Let's hope we have a reason to celebrate that next year.
But I do have something I want to ask for your help with.
The sending of this newsletter coincides with a major new release, version 4, of my program, Screenshot Captor, and the new release is filled with tons of new features. If you haven't tried it yet, now would be a perfect time to do so (big thank yous to DC member Carroll D. (hamradio) for creating a ton of beautiful new icons for the program, and app103, for creating a bunch of great new clipart which is included with the program).
Screenshot Captor has consistently been one of the more popular and well-reviewed programs on the website. It's also the program that I most frequently receive commercial-site-license inquiries about. The policy here at DonationCoder has always been that our software is free for personal use (and free for individuals using for work), but that we ask larger companies to purchase commercial site licenses. And while we've sold commercial site licenses is the past, we've never done a good job of explaining our commercial site licensing policies or had a dedicated page explaining them.
That is now changing. I've created a dedicated commercial site license landing page complete with prices for high-volume site licenses, and a description of the benefits of choosing DonationCoder software for commercial business use. I'm requesting your help in spreading the word about our new commercial site-licenses. If you know a medium or large organization that you think would be interested in purchasing a commercial site-license for any of our software programs, or might be interested in hiring us for custom development, please point them to our commercial site license page.
In addition to the major Screenshot Captor update, I've also released a new major version of my Multi Photo Quotes screensaver, which is now capable of extracting and displaying random frames and subtitles from video files (perfect for movie buffs or home videographers), a medium sized update to my popular URL Snooper application, and minor update to my Desktop Coral and Easy Screencast Recorder tools. Details below.
2. Official DonationCoder News and Updates
Summarizing the major official updates on the site:
Wednesday March 13, 2013
What *Should* We Be Worried About?
Need a few more things to ponder?
Every year, the online magazine Edge asks top scientists, technologists, writers, and academics to answer a single question. This year, that question was "What Should We Be Worried About?", and the idea was to identify new problems arising in science, tech, and culture that haven't yet been widely recognized. And it's a very long list. There are some 150 different things that worry 151 of the planet's greatest minds. The answers cover a wide variety of topics and ideas.
This is the stuff keeps the smartest folks in the world awake at night.
Sunday February 24, 2013
Free Software from Microsoft.
When talking to Krish and Stephen on IRC I informed them of a program Microsoft offers called WebsiteSpark
WebsiteSpark gives small Web development and design companies a jumpstart by providing free tools, technologies and resources to build great websites.
It includes software such as Windows Server 2012 Standard (5 keys none the less) and Visual studio 2012 Professional and other development software.
So if your an independent developer with a tight wallet or a small startup company on a budget this is perfect for you.
I am not an employee of Microsoft or any subsidiary
Thursday February 14, 2013
Adobe Reader zero-day
Don't open that PDF: There's an Adobe Reader zero-day on the loose
After Java and Flash, now PDF Reader is under attack, with one security firm warning Reader users to avoid PDFs.
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