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Tuesday June 16, 2015
DC meber Twinbee writes:
I originally posted an idea for a new "find and replace" program here. A couple of people liked the idea, so I developed it into a real application.
It takes the good bits from Regex, but makes the syntax simpler in a few ways. The program is great for people who don't want to get into Regex, but who find the usual find/replace feature in many text editors too limiting. More information on its advantages can be found in the link below, or in that thread from earlier.
For those who missed it, or who want a faster, non-glitchy, updated version of that beta edition, download the latest version 1.1 here:
http://www.skytopia.com/software/wildgem (requires .NET 4)
Here's some screenshots:
Monday June 15, 2015
LastPass has issued a Security Notice saying that they have been hacked resulting in account owners personal information being compromised.
They claim that no password data was breached, but recommend that all users change their master password ASAP.
Sunday June 07, 2015
Scary Windows error: Failure to log in to profile, loading of temp profile
This morning I had a scary experience -- when i woke up and sat down to start work, my pc was at the login screen and when i tried to log in as my normal user, my desktop layout was completely changed, none of my startup apps ran, etc. Then I saw an innocuous message in the system tray saying that my user profile could not be loaded and so a temp profile was created and loaded instead.
While this may sound like no big deal, what windows is really saying is: Something went badly wrong with your user files/registry and they are now corrupt and i don't even know how to let you start working.. It's better than a complete hd crash, but not much more informative.
After trying a few fixes found on the web along these lines: http://www.techsupportall...ary-profile-in-windows-7/
None worked, and I had to RESTORE my last known good user profile from a restore point.
But this reminds me:
Anyway, just a warning.. I've never seen this error before and I hope to never see it again.
Micro Reviews of Board Games: Star Realms
Today's micro-review is of my favorite new 2-player card game, which can be had for as little as $10-$12: Star Realms.
Star Realms is actually a "deck-builder", which means that over time each player buys and adds cards to their own personal deck which is continuously re-used (Dominion is one of the more popular "deck builders").
I can't think of a better introduction to deck building -- it's a fun, quick game with simple rules but plenty of strategy.
The theme is Sci Fi and the art is wonderful.
Really fantastic little game, could not recommend it more highly.
The creators of Star Realms look like they are using the same engine to make a similar card game set in fantasty theme, currently kickstarting here: https://www.kickstarter.c...-card-game?ref=nav_search
Wednesday June 03, 2015
Steam Introduces Refunds.
Despite all of its competition, Valve's Steam service remains the most popular digital PC game store around. While Steam does do a lot of things right, it can sometimes stumble in the worst of ways. Look no further than April's Skyrim mod debacle as a good example. Well, just as Valve fixed up that issue, it's gone ahead and fixed another: it's making refunds dead simple. While refunds have been possible in the past, it's required gamers to jump through hoops to get them. Now, Valve has set certain criteria for granting a refund, no questions asked: if you've bought the game within the past two weeks and played it for two hours or less, your refund is guaranteed.
The changes are being welcomed by most, but not all: some developers of smaller games that take less time to play through are worried that this will lead to abuse, and the system may enable more risk-free review-bombing as well.
DSLR Camera Simulator
I was going through my "Looking Back - Memories" thing on Facebook which shows you what you posted "On this day in previous years" and I came across this link from 2011.
Evidently, the site is still active and it still looks pretty cool!
Certainly worth a look if you want to know more about what sort of functions each option does - They give you some snippets of info on each control:
DSLR sim controls:
Lighting is the single biggest determinant of how your camera needs to be set. With only a few exceptions, you can never have too much light. Use this slider to experiment with different indoor and outdoor lighting conditions.
Use this slider to simulate how close or far you are in relation to the subject.
Moving this slider is the same as zooming in and out with your lens. A wide, zoomed out setting creates the greatest depth of field (more things are in focus) while zooming in creates a shallower depth-of-field (typically just the subject will be in focus).
The exposure modes of an SLR let you control one setting while the camera automatically adjusts the others. In Shutter Priority mode, you to set the shutter speed while the camera sets the aperture/f-stop. In Aperture Priority mode, you set the aperture/f-stop while the camera sets the shutter speed. Manual mode is fully manual—you’re on your own! Refer to the camera’s light meter to help get the proper exposure. Although every real SLR camera has a “fully automatic” mode, there is not one here—what’s the fun in that?
Friday May 22, 2015
HTTPS exploit ready to terrorise
Normally I will would just leave an extended title and a link, but this article is too important & too sad, to risk being unnoticed:
I don't know if this is old news, but I think it certainly is bad news:
Quote from: TechRadar
HTTPS exploit ready to terrorise thousands of websites and mail servers
By Jamie Hinks http://www.techradar.com/...-and-mail-servers-1294458
Diffie-Hellman downgrade weakness allows hackers in.
Almost 100,000 HTTPS websites are under threat from a new vulnerability born out of attempts by the US in the early 1990s to break the encryption used by foreign entities.
First reported by Ars Technica, the 'Logjam' vulnerability affects 8.4% of the world's top one million websites in addition to a slightly higher percentage of the mail servers in the IPv4 address space, according to researchers.
"Logjam shows us once again why it's a terrible idea to deliberately weaken cryptography, as the FBI and some in law enforcement are now calling for," J. Alex Halderman, one of the scientists behind the research, told Ars Technica in an email. "That's exactly what the US did in the 1990s with crypto export restrictions, and today that backdoor is wide open, threatening the security of a large part of the web."
The exploit lets eavesdroppers view data passing over encrypted connections and then modify it to successfully perform man-in-the-middle attacks. It is born out of a flaw in the transport layer security (TLS) protocol that allows websites and mail servers to set up encrypted connections with end users, and the Diffie-Hellman key exchange is where the weakness lies.
Attackers are using Logjam to take advantage of a subset of servers supporting Diffie-Hellman, which allows two parties that have never met to set up a special key even if they are communicating over an unsecured connection.
To take advantage of vulnerable connections, attackers have to use the number sieve algorithm to precompute data. After doing that they can successfully perform man-in-the-middle attacks against the same vulnerable connection.
Keep your browser updated
Only Internet Explorer has been updated to protect against the exploit, although the researchers have been in touch with the developers of Chrome, Firefox and Safari to ensure that a fix will be implemented that rejects encrypted connections under a minimum of 1024 bits.
Researchers are advising server administrators to switch off support for the DHE_EXPORT ciphersuites that permit Diffie-Hellman connections to be downgraded and they have even provided a guide on how to do so securely. For end users, make sure your browser or email client is kept completely up-to-date with the very latest version.
Tuesday May 19, 2015
Tindie - Online Hardware Makerspace
While looking into how to get experience with JTAG using a Raspberry Pi, came across tindie:
Tindie is the largest marketplace online for open hardware. Thousands of our inventions are open source. The schematics and source code are available for anyone to study, remix, or even clone.
Has any one picked up anything via tindie?
Found a "USB Lithium Ion coin cell battery charger LIR2032, CR2032 replacement":
(Though it may be that care and timing are needed to stop the charging appropriately.)
Sunday May 17, 2015
Microsoft "Hyperlapse" tech is finally available to play with
I am shocked - shocked I say! - to see that there appear to be no previous threads on the whole "hyperlapse" thing (according to the Search at least). This is a variation of timelapse where the camera actually moves *large* distances (as opposed to the small dolly shots of most timelapse) while maintaining (relatively) smooth motion, creating an amazing combination of realistic and surreal imagery and motion. It really just has to be seen to be appreciated. This is an excellent introduction to what can be achieved:
Like many things this is a technique that has been around for quite some time (earliest example I've seen was shot on film in 1995!) and was pioneered by some innovative photographer/videographers, painstakingly investing tons of time and effort into getting good results. And as with most great artistic innovations it is now starting to become more achievable for the average person who *doesn't* have days or weeks on their hand to plan, shoot, and edit such complex projects.
We first saw tools that anyone could use to create Hyperlapses from Google Maps street view data, which produced some cool results in itself. But the image quality and consistency were of course limited and the subject matter even more so. And whatever you did, it just wasn't *personal*, it wasn't *your* video.
Enter Microsoft Hyperlapse Pro!
Microsoft began doing research in this area a few years back and showed some tremendously promising results processing average GoPro-style mounted action camera videos into highly watchable compressed versions of the journey the camera captured. Rather than watching an hour long rock climbing expedition on a head-mounted camera, you can watch it in 60 seconds, with a fluid impression of the environment much as in the hyperlapses shown in the video above. This was a fairly revolutionary idea and the results of Microsoft's research really have to be seen to be properly appreciated:
Unfortunately, while MS's research was promising, there was no software to go with it...
Well, I've had a web change detector watching their page for over a year now, waiting for the actual availability of software that implements their seemingly cool tech, and at long last it's available! GHacks has a good write-up:
Microsoft Hyperlapse Pro can be downloaded from Microsoft's Research website. It is compatible with all recent versions of Windows and only available as a 64-bit version.
The installation is straightforward and the installer itself is clean and does not include any surprises.
The hyperlapse video creation process itself is divided into four parts. First thing you do is create a new project and import a supported video format. Hyperlapse Pro supports mp4, mov and wmv video files only.
Unfortunately it does come with a watermark currently, which is a real shame, but it's still cool to be able to play with the fruits of their research. Instagram came out with a similar processing technology in an iOS-only app about 8 months ago, so this kind of thing has been available for a while already. However Instagram's approach is not as thorough or capable as Microsoft's seems to be, and of course it's iOS-only. Microsoft has the PC application as well as an option for both Windows Phone and Android owners to play with.
Thursday May 07, 2015
O'Reilly ebooks and video training 50% off today
"In celebration of Day Against DRM"
For anyone interested, O'Reilly (the tech book people, not the Bill) is having a 50% off sale on all e-books and video training. Offer ends May 8, 2015 5 am PT.
Friday May 01, 2015
The DonationCoder 2015 10th Anniversary Fundraiser is Now Officially Over!
The DonationCoder 2015 10th Anniversary Fundraiser is Now Officially Over!
My heart is just overflowing with gratitude and pride at the incredible response from everyone -- it's been amazing and humbling and reinvigorating.
The donations are enough to pay for several years of hosting costs, so we're going to be here, doing our thing, ad free, for the foreseeable future. And I could not be happier about that.
* Total donations during the fundraiser: $15,649 (the most we've ever raised in a fundraiser).
* Total number of donors: 927 (the most donors we've ever had in a fundraiser).
Even if you didn't donate, I want to thank all of you who have expressed encouragement and support for the site -- it makes all the difference.
And now we return the site to it's normal look (without the fundraiser banner), for now...
But be warned, the success of the fundraiser means that we're finally going to migrate to a proper Content Management System and try to improve areas of the site. Stay tuned!
Thursday April 30, 2015
Final 24 hours of the DonationCoder.com 10th anniversary fundraiser
If you've donated to our site recently -- thank you! You can stop reading right now.
April 30th is the last day of our 10th Annual Fundraiser.
If it's been a while since you last visited, I'd ask you to stop by the website to see what you helped create: A friendly community of software connoisseurs and a huge collection of applications free of ads, toolbars, or any such junk, still going strong after 10 years.
Your donation helped make that possible. Now we need your help again to improve the site -- will you consider making another donation?
There are only a few days left until the end of the fundraiser (the first one in 3 years), and it looks like we're going to meet or exceed our goal of raising $10,000. With your help we can make a statement and do so decisively, with a record number of donors.
On behalf of everyone at DonationCoder, thank you!
To donate now, click: here.
Tuesday April 28, 2015
Some DC software updates
I've released a bunch of updates to some of my larger software apps in the last two days:
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