rabidrobot creations.

Freeware from Mesa Dynamics

Feb 3, 2007 6:30 PM by Discussion: Windows Vista
Amnesty Generator is an application that converts Google Gadgets, of which there are many, into Vista Windows Sidebar Gadgets, of which not so many.

Note that it is not a developer's tool, just a small utility for regular Vista users to add some of the 3000+ Google gadgets to their sidebar. Since it just "wraps" HTML into a gadget template it also supports "conversion" from other web gadgets, even video embeds from YouTube.

--Danny on AeroXP.org forums

Up till now I have neglected the Google Gadgets library, personally, thinking I had plenty of gadgets as it was, but this looks like it could be a lot of fun!.
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...or Yet Another Vista Task Switcher

Dec 27, 2006 5:47 AM by Discussion: Windows Vista
Hey everyone at WinCustomize.com, JoeUser.Com, VistaBlogging.com, and any others this might make its way to.

I made a tiny application for Windows Vista users, specifically those users who run with DWM Enabled, that is, the Aero theme turned on.  It is a smooth pane of glass window that contains a small icon bar, which the user can hover above to magnify the live thumbnails and select a task.

It isn't perfect, but I think it is neat and wanted to share.  Check out the Thumbnail Swingbar http://feebdack.com/thumbnailswingbar

Screenshot of the Thumbnail Swingbar
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Interactive Deisgner for WPF

Dec 4, 2006 9:00 PM by Discussion: Windows Vista
Expression Blend, previously known as "Sparkle" and "Expression Interactive Designer" has just been released as a Beta.  This application is used for creating applications with Windows Presentation Foundation.  Vista users can get the app and try it out now!  XP users can too, but will need some extra downloads, listed in the requirements.

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and you do too

Oct 10, 2006 5:44 PM by Discussion: Internet

The spam watchdog group spamhaus.org was recently sued by "Bulk Emailer" e360Insight in an Illinois court. Because spamhaus.org is based in the UK, spamhaus.org simply did not "accept U.S. jurisdiction." As a result summary judgment was issued, to the tune of $11.7 MILLION dollars, and there is a chance that the judge may further punish spamhaus.org by forcing (or attempting to force) the powers that be to delete spamhaus' domain name.

I'm not a lawyer, certainly not an international law lawyer. I'm not British either, so I hope I am using this right when I say to spamhaus, "Bully for you!"

Not being a lawyer, I find much of the legalities too boring to get into. But the gist of the case seems to be, spamhaus.org called e360Insight, a company run by one guy, David Linhardt, a spammer. And in so doing blocked many of the millions of emails this creep sends out from reaching the mailboxes of folks like you and me.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart once wrote an opinion on the difference between art and hard-core pornography, saying of porn, "I know it when I see it." Apparently he later realized that was not a tenable legal definition, but the basic idea still fits, especially for us laymen.

Linhardt claims his massive mailings are not spam. Well, again, I don't know the legal definitions. But here is a list of some of the emails e360Insight sends out.

And that, my friends, is spam.

Spammers claim that people want their mail. Yet they falsify their email headers and alter the email content constantly, in an attempt to get past our spam filters. If we wanted their mail, we wouldn't be trying to filter it out. So no, spammers, we don't want it.

I don't think I need to tell you all how irritating spam is. What a drain it is on the internet, sucking bandwidth from legitimate use. Remember, we are talking about billions of emails a day.

I hope that spamhaus.org eventually prevails, that the Judge in Illinois realizes he has no jurisdiction, and that David Linhardt is a spammer.

But I also wonder one thing. How do spammers make money? Who is out there buying penis enlargement creams? Who buys stock based on a misspelled multicolored gif stocktip? We should continue, as netizens, to encourage legislation to deter spammers. We should encourage grass-roots efforts like spamhaus.org. But I think we should also wonder, who the heck are these idiots who keep spammers in business, and how can we educate them.

Keep the faith, spamhaus.org. We're on your side.

18 Replies Reply 19 Referrals

I can do that?!?

Oct 7, 2006 9:44 PM by Discussion: Windows Vista

Are you like me? The more I use Vista, the more impressed I am. I am also impressed with the way Microsoft has ironed out bugs and annoyances with each new build. I was pretty psyched already, but now I feel even more enthusiastic about this really very cool new operating system.

To me, it is often all in the details. It is the little things that matter. "Windows Vista Technical Evangelist" Tim Sneath has, on his blog, been recently pointing out some of these little things. I'll pass on a few of my favorites, but don't forget to pay his site a visit.

One of the first things I added to my XP installation was the Startup Control Panel by Mike Lin . Vista has a similar tool, System Configuration, already. Get to this, says Tim Sneath, by typing "System Configuration" in the start menu search bar (which acts as a Run box as well).

How about this neat little tidbit for us keyboard commandos--your quick launch apps are automatically assigned hotkey strokes! Use the Windows Key+1, Win+2, etc. to launch the corresponding quick launch application!

Here's one I know I'll be using. Have you ever needed to input the complete filepath to a file? In XP, if you didn't want to type the entire thing, you'd have to browse to the folder, copy the folder path from the Explorer window address box, paste that into whatever you're working on, then complete the filepath by typing, or again copying and pasting, the filename itself. An extremely cumbersome process, really. Now, in a "hidden context menu" accessed by Shift-Right Clicking on the file, there is a menu option to "Copy as Path"! I think I will find this to be a timesaver.

I don't have a mouse wheel, I use an ooold Kensington trackball with four buttons and no wheel, but I may consider giving it up to take advantage of this next tip. Folder views. Vista has neat new thumbnail sizes, and enhanced versions of the other standard views, like Details and List. Vista even makes switching between these views fairly easy with its toolbar. But how about this! Hold down Ctrl and scroll your mouse wheel to switch to the most convenient Folder View! If you do this Ctrl-Scroll on the desktop, you can adjust the size of your desktop icons!

There's more hints and tips and little details on Tim's Blog, and I'm discovering neat little touches everyday too. Like the way the tree view in explorer windows scrolls horizontally automatically to keep info in view as the indentations would normally head off the right side. And the help for Vista is much more useful. I don't think I have ever been anything but frustrated by the XP "Troubleshooters", but Vista really can not only help you find a solution, it sometimes even will walk you through so you learn along the way. Sweet.

I haven't really settled into Vista yet, myself. New builds of first the framework then the OS itself just kept coming at me faster than I could keep up. But after I post this, I'll be installing RC2, which I see has completed downloading, and plan to really immerse myself.

Good times. Good times.

2 Replies Reply 22 Referrals

Help with WHAT? for crying out loud

Jul 24, 2006 9:54 PM by Discussion: Requests
I realize this is preaching to the choir, but I'd like to ask that when people make a new forum thread they make an attempt at giving the thread a title descriptive of the subject.

For example, I'm pretty handy with DesktopX, and I enjoy helping, or trying to help, people who have a question about it. On the other hand, I don't know jack about making Windowblinds and have personally given up on trying to respond to Bootskin threads.

Even if threads are created in the proper area, which Topic Category a thread is in isn't all that clear until you are viewing the thread (and even then). The easiest way for us all to communicate what the subject matter of a thread is to form a proper, descriptive subject (or "Title" here) line.

Not only are "Help Me plz" and "Looking for..." style Titles non-descriptive, they also become nearly indistiguishable from each other, and I end up opening them more than once over the course of a few days, only to discover that it is of no interest and I can be of no assistance --again.

So I ask, please, when creating a thread, put some real consideration into the Title. A good title will not only make it easier for everyone else, but is more likely to catch the eye of the specialist who can be of most help to you or the forum users with the most insightful comments.

Thanks for letting me rant,
13 Replies Reply 9 Referrals

Try one

Dec 2, 2005 5:31 PM by Discussion: Windows Software
I just learned that there are two new versions of my sound editor of choice, Audacity.

The 1.2.4 version is being described as the latest stable release, with some bug fixes from the last version.

Version 1.3 is rumored to have "hundreds of new features" but not necessarily stable.

I am told you can have both versions installed if you want to try.

Both are totally free. Unless things have drastically changed from the last version, you'll find Audacity to be one of the most powerful wav/mp3(with LAME plug-in)/ogg vorbis editors available at any price.
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yet most misunderstood

Nov 28, 2005 10:46 PM by Discussion: WinCustomize Talk
Something I like to think about is what I call "shared experience" and how it is important to interpersonal relationships. When you meet someone, you exchange information--some given away by your appearance, some by the surroundings of the encounter, but mostly through verbal communication. What do you do for a living, how many siblings do you have. That sort of thing. Then each participant in the conversation takes that information, and filters it through their own experience.

"Oh, you work at Burger King? Why, I once worked at a McDonalds!" Here we have a shared experience, but several times removed. Different restaurant chains, probably different cities, definitely different times, but now the two of you have a bond, a shared experience.

If someone sees you reading a book they have also read, the urge is to tell you that. Strangers, with nothing in common with you besides being in the same place at this exact moment, and having read the same book, can barely contain themselves from announcing that shared experience.

Or movies, as a final example before I move on. To people my age and a bit older, to find out that someone has, say, never seen the original Star Wars can almost create a sense of anxiety. "How can I relate, how can I communicate, with this person who doesn't share this experience that was seminal in my own life?" It isn't important that two people saw the exact same screening of the film, sitting next to each other. I may have seen it in the theater, and you may have seen it on VHS or DVD, but we need that shared experience if, for example, one of us wants to make a reference to "the Dark Side" or "the Force".

Because, you see, it is the Dark Side I really wanted to talk about.

When people really want to know each other better, eventually a subject of discussion will be "Where were you, what were you doing, HOW DID YOU EXPERIENCE this particular tragedy, an experience we must share because of its scope, tell me the details of how you learned of it, reacted to it, were changed by it."

These days, I suppose, the best example is the 9-11 attacks. But other examples include the Kennedy assasinations or Martin Luther King's assassination (for people older than me) or the first space shuttle explosion, or Kurt Cobain's suicide. (I apologize for an obvious American bias in my tragedy listing...I'd include the fall of the Berlin Wall, but it isn't really a tragedy, is it...oh heck I included it anyway).

The shared tragedy on my mind recently though, is the assassination of John Lennon--25 years ago December 8th.

I was seven weeks shy of my eighth birthday, and this memory is one of my earliest clear recollections. I knew of the Beatles. I loved their music! But, before then, it hadn't mattered to me that this person wrote "Yellow Submarine" and "Octopus' Garden" while "Puff the Magic Dragon" was written by someone else entirely. It was all music.

But I remember grappling with the news that there had been a terrible, terrible tragedy. My father, who must have been having a very hard time himself, having to explain to me the facts of death--which I had only experienced with a pet cat and a couple hamsters.

I remember listening to the radio, that day and for several days afterward. I remember the choked up dee-jay's voice. First, having to repeat the news over and over, then later, between Beatles and Lennon songs, inserting a bit of shared experience; ""Don't Pass Me By" has always been a favorite of mine," he might have said, "because I was late for a date once due to an auto accident." Then the song would start.

After those days I got very, very into the Beatles. When I was fourteen, before I'd learned of punk and "alternative", etc. I honestly felt and could debate well, that all the good songs had already been written, and the best songs had been written by the Beatles. I was not lamenting; at the time I didn't need anything more.

I recall a trip with the school band some years later. Discovering that, unbeknownst to me, my classmates also shared the experience of listening to and loving the Beatles. We sang the songs, all of, as the bus rolled. When one finished, someone would immediately launch into another, to be joined by the rest of us. We hit a snag with "Get Back". Only one other guy, someone I had known for years as a classmate, but never been close friends with, only he and I were certain that there were two verses before the chorus--and we connected on that shared experience of being so familiar with the song.

Eventually I moved away from home to go to college. I had picked a school with perhaps the most liberal reputation in the nation, The Evergreen State College in Washington state. Finally I would be surrounded with people who shared my experience and values: that "Yes" WAS the answer, goddamnit, that "Love" was really all you needed, and that we would, as one, gently request that "Peace" be given a fighting chance.

Of course, it did not turn out exactly like that. Even in this place where I'd hoped to find unity, there was bickering, infighting, and petty drama. Militant feminists, rabid vegetarians, eco-warriors and mislabeled anarchists. The goal was simple, I felt, the message clear, and these people, somehow, were missing that bigger picture.

Rodney King had asked, hoping to quell the riots in retaliation of the acquittal of his attackers "Why can't we all get along?" And instead of treating this for what it was--not niaevity, but honest existential angst over something deeply troubling to anyone with a miligram of humanity--it became a national joke. To this day my stomach is turned. People, probably not knowing it's genesis, say the phrase and think it funny. Well, it isn't. It isn't funny that we can't get along.

And, so it comes to pass, 25 years since the death of a man who could put into words and music what so many felt and thought. And it seems we don't get along any better. I wasn't sure how I was going to conclude this essay. I wanted to share some of my experiences, hoping that they might resonate with others. I wanted to remind people that joy, love, cooperation, peace--these aren't silly daydreams, but viable goals worth making an effort towards. I wanted to say all that and more. But I don't, or shouldn't need to. It's been said.

All we are saying is give peace a chance.

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Does it work?

Oct 12, 2005 9:09 PM by Discussion: DesktopX
I'd like to put a button on my gadget-to-be that will bring up the about box. I thought Widget.About was the way to do this, but it does not seem to work. Widget.Close and Widget.Minimize both work as one would expect, but not Widget.About.

When a button is set to Widget.About on LButtonUp it will return an error when clicked if running as an object in builder. When running as a widget, it does nothing.

Widget.Close and Widget.Minimize do nothing when running as an object, but work when running as a widget.

What gives? How do you use Widget.About?
4 Replies Reply 6 Referrals

Sep 22, 2005 6:09 PM by Discussion: DesktopX Development
I had this widget idea I thought would be a great simple thing to make and learn with. I wanted to have a My Computer shortcut, and as part of the graphic there would be a thumbnail of an actual recent screenshot.

Well, I have banged my head on this for a couple weeks now. I have nearly broken google with days of queries.

My problem is getting the screenshot to work with and having it accessable to a script for cropping, resizing, and so on. I will list some of the things I have tried, but am open to any suggestions!

First I wanted to have the object take a shot and manipulate it when the user pressed the Prt Scr key. So I tried making Prt Acr a hotkey. I was able to define that key as a hotkey in the script, and have the script respond, but when the function of Prt Scr was redefined, it lost the function of capturing the screen. So my script would see Prt Scr be pressed, but the clipboard was empty. I also tried OnKeyUp variations, but the DX Object would only see these if the object was active, which meant that the object would have to be in the screenshot, because it was the last thing you clicked on. (Maybe there is a way around that, but I don't want too many steps required by the user).

I looked into a SendKeys function (if my lingo is a bit off I apologize, I'm picking all this scripting up as I go). But SendKeys can't send the Prt Scr key. No dice there.

So I thought I could just replicate the Prt Scr functionality somehow. I searched and looked until I realized I could add ocxs or dlls that could be used with CreateObject. Eventually I found a couple of these--there are many out there that claim to get screenshots, but only a couple were free and distruibutable. In any case, they all seem to work the same, and screenshots grabbed by them don't show any widgets or docks or bars. Just the Desktop Explorer Window. That's no good for a screenshot grabbing widget, to not grab widgets!

I thought about using SendKeys again, and telling MSPaint to do some stuff, but MSPaint itself won't grab the screen. The user would have to press Prt Scr, then activate the script. I was hoping for more automation (and such control would be helpful in more complex screenshot widgets).

I considered IrfanView. I could send it the commands (as long as user has it on their machine!) to grab the screen, and more. But again, the screengrabs by IrfanView didn't show widgets or docks. That's a good thing to check to see what I mean.

Now, this may show my ignorance, but it seems to me that when you press the Prt Scr key, something happens. Maybe a system executable is executed or a dll is accessed or something, but there's got to be a step between pressing the key & screenshot on clipboard. Like with the Show Desktop shortcut. That isn't magic, it is a call to a script which runs with wsh. Well, what happens when you press the Prt Scr key, and how can I simulate that or make it happen by other means?

thanks in advance, rr

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