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Tuesday April 25, 2017

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Breakdown of Juicero expensive juice-pack squeezing machine travesty

Last week Bloomberg published an article exposing how easy it is to “hack” Juicero’s produce packs by squeezing them with your hands, deeming the $699 (now $399) WiFi-connected juice press completely unnecessary. Nearly overnight, Juicero has become the posterchild for Silicon Valley excess....

I hope this post serves as a lesson to other hardware startups that spending tens of millions of dollars on product development prior to shipping a single unit is a goal that’s not worth striving for.

Juicero’s Press is an incredibly complicated piece of engineering. Of the hundreds of consumer products I’ve taken apart over the years, this is easily among the top 5% on the complexity scale.

posted by mouser donate to mouser - April 25, 2017, 04:05 PM
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Two amazing talks on the creation of "Legacy" style board games

I've posted before about how I had the most amazing time playing the board game Pandemic Legacy.
Pandemic (2007) is one of the most famous cooperative board games, and it is a great game in its own right.  But the idea of a Legacy game is to add elements to the game that change each time you play it.
Stickers are applied to cards, new boxes are opened revealing new pieces to play with, and new surprises are unveiled as an ongoing story unfolds over the course of a 12-24 games.

It is an incredible experience -- by far the best gaming experience I've hard in decades of playing board games.

It really makes me want to get into making one of these kinds of games..

Anyway, the designers of Pandemic Legacy recently gave a couple of talks on the development of the game, and the talks are surprisingly insightful and useful for anyone considering working on this kind of thing, and I hadn't realized how seriously they considered some of the issues that just seemed to flow naturally during the course of the games..

Highly recommended for anyone interested in this kind of thing..

Video 1:

Video 2:

posted by mouser donate to mouser - April 25, 2017, 02:00 PM
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Thursday April 20, 2017


Game Design Kit

There was a thread a while back about prototyping games, and the high costs of doing so.  But now, there's a kickstarter for that.

The White Box: A Game Design Workshop-in-a-Box

The White Box is a learning, planning, and prototyping tool for tabletop game designers.

It contains a book of 18 essays on game design and production, covering subjects like where to find a great concept, how to use randomness, what to ask playtesters, and whether it’s wise to self-publish.

It includes an abundance of components to get you started right away, from cubes and meeples to dice, discs, and chits.

Maybe you have a golden idea inside you burning to come out. Maybe you want to tell a story or explore a problem. Do you dream of seeing your name on a box at your local game store? Or perhaps you see game design as a path to fame, fortune, and a satisfying career.

The White Box is for aspiring professionals, creative young people, and literally anyone who’s ever wanted to build their own game without having to plunder their game library for bits.

posted by wraith808 donate to wraith808 - April 20, 2017, 12:43 PM
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Monday April 17, 2017

Get legal access to paywalled research and science papers free with Unpaywall

Good news for those of us who follow research and science but don't have deep pockets.

Details here:  http://www.opencultu...e+%28Open+Culture%29

posted by 40hz donate to 40hz - April 17, 2017, 12:09 PM
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Friday March 24, 2017

Some long-overdue updates to my more popular apps - Mar 24, 2017

Mar 24, 2017:

I've uploaded long-overdue updates to some of my more popular apps.

The most significant improvement is that these apps should now look much better on high-DPI screens -- 4k displays and displays where the text size is set to something larger than 100%.

More updates will be coming soon..

posted by mouser donate to mouser - March 24, 2017, 05:17 AM
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Monday March 20, 2017

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When testing untrustworthy software, remember virtual machines can be escaped

For those of us who occasionally test "untrustworthy" software from sources we can't be sure of, using a virtual machine is generally considered "safe".  Whatever happens in a virtual machine stays in a virtual machine -- or so we hope.

This is just a reminder that malware authors are actively trying to find ways to break out of virtual machines and infect the host pc, and to be careful.

Contestants at this year's Pwn2Own hacking competition in Vancouver just pulled off an unusually impressive feat: they compromised Microsoft's heavily fortified Edge browser in a way that escapes a VMware Workstation virtual machine it runs in. The hack fetched a prize of $105,000, the highest awarded so far over the past three days.


posted by mouser donate to mouser - March 20, 2017, 01:12 AM
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Tuesday February 14, 2017

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Re: Hardware and software for quality youtube podcasting (for boardgaming)?

Nice long article on getting your podcast recordings to sound amazing: "The ear training guide for audio producers"


"This post will help you identify problematic audio, prevent the most common problems and recognize when it’s time to call for help. It’s a great reference guide for anyone who works with audio, from new producers to seasoned veterans."

posted by mouser donate to mouser - February 14, 2017, 05:12 AM
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Saturday February 11, 2017

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If you have a Wordpress site you need to patch it against latest vulnerability

Attacks on websites running an outdated version of WordPress are increasing at a viral rate. Almost 2 million pages have been defaced since a serious vulnerability in the content management system came to light nine days ago. The figure represents a 26 percent spike in the past 24 hours.

posted by mouser donate to mouser - February 11, 2017, 08:30 AM
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Wednesday February 08, 2017

Do you know how the "I am not a robot" anti-spam checkboxes work?

Many people don't realize what these "I am not a robot" (re)Captcha things are actually doing..

It's pretty cool -- it's all about watching your BEHAVIOR and mouse movement:

See also: https://nakedsecurit...uivery-mouse-clicks/

posted by mouser donate to mouser - February 08, 2017, 07:30 AM
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Tuesday January 03, 2017


NANY 2017 Wrap-Up

The new year is here, which means it's time to wrap up the results of our NANY 2017 event.

What is NANY?  Since 2007 we have held an annual event that we call NANY (New Apps for the New Year), where we ask the coders who hang out on DonationCoder to create some new piece of free software and share it with the world on January 1st of the new year. NANY is really the funnest thing we do on this site, and it's one of the few times we can all play together.  There are no winners or losers, it's simply a celebration of programming and creating new software and sharing it with the world; everyone who participates gets a free commemorative coffee mug.

I'll start out with my own contributions to the event.  This year I was all in on Android, and released 6 new Android apps designed to run on phones or tables: Two diet-related apps, and four productivity utilities.

All of my apps are freely available on the Google Play Store here, or can be downloaded directly from their NANY forum threads below.

The two diet related Android apps that I wrote have a similar flavor, and are both attempts to come up with a minimalist approach to allowing you to have brief periods where you can pig out and eat whatever snacks you want, while ensuring you eat well most of the time.

The first is "Feast Day / Fast Day":


To be honest, this is the app I am most excited about, just because it represents a unique diet experiment that I have not seen described anywhere else, and one that I have been using myself with some real success over the last couple of months.

Essentially the program cycles through 4 different modes on a schedule (you can adjust durations): Normal mode where you stick to your normal diet (default 5 days); Normal-ready mode, where you stick to your diet but you can trigger Feast mode when you are ready; Feast mode where you can pig out and eat whatever junk food you want for a short duration (default of 24hrs); Fast mode where you must fast immediately after Feast mode ends (default 24 hrs).  Modes are shown in big bright clear text, perfectly suitable for a tablet that is propped up in a room and always visible.

The idea of having a feast day followed immediately by a day of fasting really does seem to have solved what for me has always been the most difficult problem with having a "cheat" day on a diet, which is the intense cravings that follow eating any snacks.  The day of fasting seems to break the incipient cravings before they can establish a foothold, and the single day of cheating in isolation followed by a fast seems to minimize the weight gained.

I think different diets work better for different people, but the super simple rules and single degree of freedom (when to trigger feast mode) have worked really well for me.  I do believe the unique approach provided by this app may be valuable to others in helping lose weight while still allowing you occasional periods of pigging out (make sure you customize the mode durations to fit your needs).

I hope others will give it a try and let me know if it helps.

My second diet app, "Feast Decreaser",  has a similar look to my first -- with clear color coded large text displays showing you whether you are in Normal, Feast, or Restrictive eating modes.  It was inspired by a friend who uses a similar scheme to decide what kind of eating he can do on any given day.

feastdecrease1.png feastdecrease2.png

Whereas my first app uses a schedule to control what mode of eating you are allowed, in Feast Decreaser, the transitions between modes are governed by your current weight, which is always displayed on the main screen and which you can easily adjust.  You set target weights for the different modes, and the screen clearly shows what mode you are in on any given day, based on your current weight.

In addition, you can configure whether your target weights should decrease by a certain amount each day.  If you do wish to trigger "cheat days" with this app, doing so will also result in a lowering of your target weights, ensuring that you continually lose weight before you can earn subsequent cheat days.

This app is a bit stricter than the first one, and if you can stick to it, it will ensure that you lose weight, but it does make it harder to anticipate your eating schedule.

I'd be very curious to hear which apps work best for people!

Next up are a series of Android apps that use a common base of code that I wrote to help me create flexible listview-centric utilities.

The first is a Memo List app, "MemoList DC":


This program does essentially what you would expect, let you create (text) memos and notes.

It has support for tabbed tag categories, widget support, multi-device synchronization, sorting (manual drag and drop ordering, alphabetical, by date), etc.

Next up is a checklist app, "CheckList DC":

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This is a fairly straightforward checklist app, again with support for tabbed tag categories, widget support, multi-device synchronization, sorting (manual drag and drop ordering, alphabetical, by date), etc.

Next up is "ScoreTracker DC", a utility for keeping track of scores or counters:


In this app, you can create a list of items (think players in a board game), and easily keep track of their scores over the course of the game.  You can quickly adjust scores for items up or down, and easily bring up a full calculator if you need to make more complicated adjustments.  You can have as many groups of items as you wish and they are persistent across runs.  Again with support for tabbed tag categories, widget support, multi-device synchronization, sorting (manual drag and drop ordering, alphabetical, by date), etc.

Next up is something a little unusual, "Progress Bars of Life" the Android version, based on my MS Windows app of the same name (see here).


In PBOL Android, you can set up visual progress bars showing the visual progression from a start date to and end date.  This can be useful for seeing at a glance your progress towards deadlines, or recurring events (birthdays, etc.), and also for viewing regular repeating schedules, like the time left in the current day, week, month, year, etc.  There's nothing quite like seeing a progress bar showing your remaining life span to help motivate you to get your life together..

Lastly I'll just mention that my most popular android app, last year's "When Last", a tool for keeping track of (and reminding you of) the last time you did certain activities (changed the smoke detector batteries, etc.), had a major upgrade to improve many features, including the display on smaller phones.


Ok now we move on to the entries from prolific DC Member "Skwire", who has been almost single-handidly fulfilling requests on the Coding Snacks section of our forum.

Skwire contributed 4 apps to this year's NANY event.  In no particular order:

SPinger is a utility that let's you ping large lists of computers by ip to get their status, with a fun configurable icon set feature.

spinger1.png spinger2.png

SLyrics is a slick lyrics searching utility that uses the ChartLyrics API from the ChartLyrics website, to search for and download/display song lyrics by song name or partial text.


TrayLang is a cute tool for people who switch their keyboard layout language.  It shows a nice configurable icon in the system tray corresponding to the current language.


Drive Letter Tool is a small but pretty app that let's you tweak the hidden windows setting that controls the way drive letters are displayed in Windows Explorer and other Windows dialogs.  It's nice in that it shows you clear visual examples of the effects of each setting.


We now move on to other contributors..

WaveMe is GUI-based, digital electronic timing diagram drawing software for Windows 7 or newer (and Linux via Wine), what can be used to draw waveforms (signals and buses), gaps, arrows and labels. Intended primarily for documentation purposes, electronic hardware designers can use Waveme to draw a timing diagram, and then export it to an image file (PNG, BMP or TIFF) or a PDF document.


CSearcher is a portable, simple, and fast free non-indexing search program, that can filter based on date, size, and contents.


Inline Calculator is a pop-up calculator with lots of features: Live calculation as you type, Trigonometric and Algebraic Math Functions, Hex to Decimal, Binary to Decimal (and vice-versa) functions, Character to Ascii and Unicode (and vice-versa) functions, Round Fractions, Convert Answers to Fraction, Descriptive menus, Recent Equations Menu, Memorized Equations Menu.


ScratchPad allows you to keep a little window open for notes, and saves the contents automatically, whenever there has been a change.  Instead of prompting for the full location, Scratchpad shows you a Drop-Down List Box that allows you to see most recently opened Scratchpads, or you can type in a new topic name to create a new Scratchpad for it.


Auceps is a single-player browser based mini chess-like game based heavily on "Let's Catch the Lion", itself a scaled-down version of a chess game from the orient.  Fun to discover the rules as you play.


Youtube Watcher for Linux keeps track of videos from certain users. You can update to see if they have any new ones.
You can go through the list of new ones and download them right from the program, as either audio or video+audio.


Amortization Calculator is a freeware calculator for payment amounts, number of payments, total interest paid for various types of loans


Command Blocks Warlock allows you to quickly store commonly used minecraft command block commands for easy find/replace of certain certain fields when you need to create a new command.


TrackFiles tracks live changes in a file, and lets you compare the changed file with a previous version.


Screen Capture by Handle lets you capture windows objects (buttons, etc.) by their handle id in a way that's more precise than using standard capture tools.


OpLop For Windows is a simple opens ource GUI front end for the OpLop library that generates account passwords based on a nickname and a master password.


EOLConverter converts files from Unix (LF) line endings to windows (CRLF) line endings.


Mouse Shake Menu is a background utility that let's you execute keyboard command with mouse only. Just click on a window and shake the mouse left and right to popup a menu with 4 buttons. Each button is assigned to a set of keyboard keys.


Tiny Server Inventory is a simple database program to help you keep track of many servers you may maintain (ip address, domain name, etc.)


SLogo is a browser based tool that runs turtle graphics in the browser; uses WebGL to display image on HTML5 canvas[/url]


Affirmator shows daily affirmations on your screen. Write affirmations in the textbox, each one on its own line, enter the number of times to show and press "Show". Then there will be message boxes shown with your affirmations. All you have to is to read these boxes. Simple, isn't it? Complete Unicode support; ability to save to file and load from file list of affirmations; can speak phrases aloud (SAPI5 voices are supported)


Dia4 and Dia5 are text and gui (respectively) file explorer tools with an emphasis on keyboard interaction.


DonationCoder Quick Links - simple beta program with menu entries to open a browser to the most common DonationCoder website pages.


BackseatSiege (QuorraBot plugin) is a plugin for the QuorraBot chat client for, which demonstrates techniques to help interact with viewers when broadcasting on


PDST Personal Development Score Tracker (Mobile app) allows you to create a list of Personal Development tasks/targets and score them regularly.


FileFillerExtended (dummy file generation tool) - helps you generate quantities of dummy files with various parameters, to assist in testing software that works with files.


Table Select - produces a Table which lists files, shortcuts or directories, from which a selection can be made, name or path copied, or Properties inspected.

T_S MAIN.png

And that's a wrap for this year!

Click here to read and download the full listing of entries now..

posted by mouser donate to mouser - January 03, 2017, 07:41 AM
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Friday December 23, 2016


LaunchBar Commander v1.149 Released

New official release of LaunchBar Commander, a highly configurable launch bar that typically docks to one sider of your screen where it is always visible as a kind of reminder of your most useful tools.  It can also be free floating or minimized to the system tray where it acts as a pop-up menu, visible only then you need it.

Home Page and Download:

  • [BugFix] LBC was sometimes not autoadjusting its dock position when a multi-monitor secondary screen resolution changed, leaving the dock off screen.
  • [BugFix] When dropping shortcuts to create new command nodes, LBC would sometimes set the "run hidden" checkbox resulting in a launch button that seemed to have no effect.
  • [MinorImprovement] Icons added to pop-up right-click menu in config tree.
  • [MinorFeature] New launch item added to pop-up right-click menu in config tree.
  • [BugFix] Right-click shell context menus would not work on command nodes that uses environment paths.
  • [BugFix] Fixed rare crash that could occur when installing new version and existing version was already running.
  • [BugFix] Right-click context menus were sometimes disappearing - thanks abc163!
  • [BugFix] LBC was sometimes staying topmost even when a full screen app was running, contrary to options set.

Read the latest release notes..

posted by mouser donate to mouser - December 23, 2016, 03:12 AM
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Clipboard Help and Spell v2.23 Released

New official release of my Clipboard Help+Spell program, a tool to help you maximize the use of your clipboard, saving, organizing, and searching through text and image clips.

Home Page and Download:

  • [Improvement] Significantly improved performance when browsing through clips and adding new clips.
  • [Improvement] Home and End keys now go to top and bottom of grid.
  • [Improvement] New option to not update last view date of clips when browsing (better performance).
  • [Improvement] Path to database folder now shown in options dialog on Database Backup tab.
  • [NewFeature] You can now set custom printer font for printing clips.

Click to read more and discuss..

posted by mouser donate to mouser - December 23, 2016, 03:06 AM
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Tuesday December 20, 2016

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Feast Day / Fast Day / Cheat Day (Android NANY 2017 APP)

This is a bare bones minimalist diet assistant.  It is well suited as an aid to scheduling "cheat days" for low-carb and similar diets.   It should run nicely on any screen size.

It was written as an entry in our New Apps for the New Year (NANY 2017) event.

At any given time, the program will be in one of 3 modes: Normal, Feast, or Fast.

You will spend most of your time in Normal mode, where you must stick to whatever diet you are currently on (low-carb, etc.).  After a configurable duration, the program remains in Normal mode, but a button becomes available that will let you trigger Feast mode.

Feast mode will only last a short period of time (configurable, but typically something like 24 hours), during which you are allowed to eat as much as you want of whatever you want.  After this duration, the program automatically switches into Fast mode, where you are not allowed to eat anything.

Fast mode lasts only a short period of time (configurable, but typically something like 24 hours), during which you may consume only water or similar liquids.  After this duration, the program automatically switches back into Normal mode, where the cycle continues.  Note that you could set this to 0 to bypass the use of Fast mode entirely and only cycle between Normal and Feast modes..

Hey guys, I think there may be something to this app!

I've been using it for the last couple of weeks now, following the rules, and losing weight.

The key, for me personally, really does seem to me to be this idea of having an occasional feast (cheat) day followed immediately by a day of fasting.

Psychologically, the fact that I can look forward to an entire day when I can eat whatever I want is very helpful in helping me stick to my diet during the week.

And then, even more importantly, the day of fasting comes in to halt the runaway feedback avalanche that would otherwise kick in after I start eating junk food.  This is absolutely critical because the fast really does seem to reset my cravings, and without it they just seem to get stronger.  After the end of the day of fasting I'm back to just wanting a little normal food.

So.. I feel like I want to recommend that other people give this app a try.  Tweak the durations of the modes to see what works for you.  Maybe if your serious buy yourself a cheap tablet for the kitchen, put it on a stand, and just leave the app running on that.

Let me know if it works for you!

Read more..

posted by mouser donate to mouser - December 20, 2016, 02:12 AM
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