View Full Version : Utility program, freeware

05-04-2006, 06:56 PM
I've been messing about with Visual Basic Express. I whipped up a belt length calculator to give it a try. More about that later. It isn't as capable as Marv's but it is easier to use (sorry Marv).

Here is a screen shot:


You can download it here, it's a 300k file:


Guaranteed no viruses or spyware, free to use and copy, may not be sold.

You must be running the dot net framework to use it. The dot net framework is available from Windows update and runs on 98SE and up.

I'll be putting together a few more freeware utilities as time permits. Any requests?

05-04-2006, 07:11 PM
...You must be running the dot net framework to use it.

Do you really think anybody here is stupid enough to download Spyware Central in order to run your program?

Any requests?
Yeah. Learn to write programs using tools that don't require a Micro$oft spyware environment.

05-04-2006, 07:21 PM

Do you really think anybody here is stupid enough to download Spyware Central in order to run your program?

I'll take that as a compliment. By the way, what OS are you using?

Yeah. Learn to write programs using tools that don't require a Micro$oft spyware environment.

That's the only kind I have written, until now. You don't have to use it if you don't want to. I will cheerfully refund your money.

05-04-2006, 07:34 PM
Very nice, although, at 300K, it's 7.5 times bigger than QBELT, but then
Windoze is all about bloat. And it needs a further chunk of bloatware to run.

Nevertheless, I'm very glad to see that you're doing this. With your native
cleverness and mathematical sophistication, I'm looking forward to some truly
innovative programs.

I have one suggestion for a program.

Sheet layout optimizer - assuming all parts are rectangular (i.e., are
described by the smallest rectangle needed to make them), what is the smallest
rectangular piece of stock from which they can be cut and what is the mapping
of the part rectangles onto the stock rectangle? In general, this is an
NP-difficult problem but, with some reasonable restraints, it should be
possible to come up with a nice approximation that's 'pretty good' most of the
time. I've played with it a few times but, so far, I don't have anything
worth going public with.

05-04-2006, 07:42 PM
Gee thanks, Marv want's me to solve an NP-Hard problem. I'll get right on it. :D

The program is bigger than it needs to be because of the graphics but I just can't resist polishing things... 300k isn't that bad.

I used an approximation algorithm that tends to break down if the ratios are really large and the pulleys very close but it's plenty accurate for any reasonable configuration.

Lew Hartswick
05-04-2006, 09:36 PM
I cant imagine why anyone needs a "program" to figure out a belt length.
I have a peice of paper with 4 simple equasions that I just plug in the
numbers on a calculator and out comes the length. Been using it for years
before computers could be set on a desktop. :-) I suppose it could be
"programed" by why bother???

05-04-2006, 09:38 PM
How about a volume of a wedge of a cone calculator? Something to calculate the volume of a section of cone - the calculus required is pretty messy if you have to do it by hand. Marv's program doesn't seem to run correctly for me.

p.s. i think its neat that your putting together some software, but i'm with Lew on this one - for me its easier to just do the figuring out in the shop on a piece of paper. (All my comps are upstairs inside ;) )

05-04-2006, 09:42 PM
Lew, got that right! No need for a program when it's all in your "Bible". It's also faster with a calculator.

05-04-2006, 09:59 PM
Not everyone is good with math. Belt length isn't as simple as it may seem. It is simple for the restricted case when the pulleys are the same size but for different size pulleys some trig is needed.

Marv, I think that Penrose tiling may offer a possible way to a good approximation of a solution to the problem of best fit/least waste sheet layout. I'll have to think on it.

05-04-2006, 10:04 PM
How about a volume of a wedge of a cone calculator?

All conical sections can be described as ellipses. Kepler's law should be of some help there. A simple brute force numerical approximation technique can be used to any arbitrary degree of accuracy by integrating the area of small slices.

05-04-2006, 10:25 PM
By the way, what OS are you using?
Win'98SE and SuSE Linux 10.0

05-05-2006, 02:15 AM
Evan; you should know all those formulae are in the BOOK. Why shouldn't anyone want to do a little trigenometry? Computers were designed to make life easier, that doesn't seem to be the case. 300k for 1 minute computation? Measure the pulleys and do the math.

05-05-2006, 09:34 AM
I have a fully programmable Sharp EL9900C calculator. They cost less than $100 and are very portable. I intend to write a set of utilities for it to calculate all the commonly needed formulaes in the shop.

I don't have any reference books in my shop, they are in my library. I don't mind getting a keyboard grubby but I don't want to destroy my books with oily hands looking something up. For the most part I just do the math on a whiteboard in the shop but it is nice to confirm the result.

The main object of the above exrceise was to see what Visual Basic Express is like as a programming environment. I have never used Visual Basic before as most of my coding has been in assembler or other unrelated environments.

VBE is fairly easy to use but I certainly wouldn't recommend it for someone learning to program. It hides far too much from the programmer. Although it supposedly uses strong data typing it still has instances of weak typing that can lead to hard to find errors. Anybody learning programming should use a language implementation that enforces rigourous data typing.

05-05-2006, 09:36 AM
300k for 1 minute computation?

So what? Storage space is essentially free. There is virtually no correlation between program size and utility any more.

05-05-2006, 09:59 AM
Very nice, although, at 300K, it's 7.5 times bigger than QBELT, but then
Windoze is all about bloat. And it needs a further chunk of bloatware to run.

I agree with the whole bloatware thing etc. But time is short and I'd rather spend my time in other ways so I am stuck with windows (tried MAC didn't like it any better) rather than spending time programming or learning Linux or whatever alternatives there are.

That said, I've downloaded a few of your C programs, but they don't like windows. With older windows versions I could shut down windows and get to DOS; is there a way to do that in XP? I see from your notes, etc. that I can get the window to stay open by unclicking the checkbox. But going completely to DOS could be useful.

Some of those little gems look useful and I'd like to try them out. Some, if I can figure out your math I could probably rewrite for Excel.

I have a small program I wrote once to solve bolt circle problems. I had a new 3 jaw chuck and needed to find the bolt circle to drill the back plate. If you have an even number of holes you can measure straight across, but with an odd number you are measuring the chord. So this program took the chord length and the number of holes in the bolt circle and found radius and diameter.

Marv, thanks for your work and willingness to share.

05-05-2006, 10:10 AM
Evan; you should know all those formulae are in the BOOK. Why shouldn't anyone want to do a little trigenometry? Computers were designed to make life easier, that doesn't seem to be the case. 300k for 1 minute computation? Measure the pulleys and do the math.

I have always been a bit math challenged. If I use a formula often enough I eventually get it memorized. But some of that stuff is so seldom needed I have to get the "book" as you say. Then I have to find it, transpose for different variables if it is not laid out exactly for the solution I'm looking for, etc. Having a bit of "software" where I've already "done the math" so I simply plug in numbers makes sense to me. And if I made good comments in the code I can figure it out again later if I need to revise it or whatever. Excel or other spreadsheets using their macro and/or visual basic aids (or whatever your spreadsheet uses) can be very useful. One workbook can contain multiple worksheets, each of which is a different tool for a different problem. (sorry you non-excel people for that)

So in the long run the computer does make doing math for me easier even though the programming upfront can be tough because of my mediocre math skills.

05-05-2006, 10:39 AM
It depends on what you are used to. I will naturally go to Machinery's Handbook to look up a formula or information. Using a computer is unnatural for me, and I can probably get the answer quicker the "old" way.

Reference books are tools and are of no value unless used. I probably have a dozen Machinery's Handbooks laying around, and keep a worn copy for shop use. I always have a pencil and paper and a $2.00 calculator on the bench, and rarely need more than those three items to assault the project at hand.

Part of the enjoyment of the hobby to me is the challenge to figure out how to do something, or how it was done. I read and do crossword puzzles and cryptograms to keep my language skills, and machining and the allied calculations help keep my math skills from getting rusty.

Unfortunately, computers and calculators are eliminating the need for people to think and reason and producing a nation of button pushers.

05-05-2006, 10:56 AM
Unfortunately, computers and calculators are eliminating the need for people to think and reason and producing a nation of button pushers.

I disagree somewhat. What computers and especially calculators do is enable people that don't have good math skills to arrive at a wrong answer more quickly and with confidence. It has always been the case that the majority of the population hasn't had good math skills and it isn't just a matter of education. You need a certain inherent ability to understand mathematics and without it you will never be good at it.

The computer simply provides an agent that is known to do math well and so the tendency is to believe that if it didn't declare an error then the answer must be correct.

05-05-2006, 11:34 AM
I've been asked on many occasions why I would bother to write a
program that does little more than provide information readily available in
certain reference texts. My answer is, "Why would one buy a scientific
calculator if one already has a book with a table of trig functions in it?"

GAGE is a good example. It allows you to find (sheet/wire) gage
number given thickness/diameter or vice versa. This is information easily
available in 'Machinery's Handbook' or a wealth of other references. Why
write such a program?


First, not everyone has the needed reference work to hand or
necessarily knows instantly which book to pull from the shelf. Even if one
has the book, finding the information can often be tedious. In the
information age, it's generally easier to find data via the web than to search
for it in one's (even perhaps extensive) home library. If the information is
stored on your computer, you're always within a few keypresses of having it to
hand. In fact, the ready availability and locatability of information is, in
my mind, a more important asset of the computer than it's ability to do
lightning fast computation.


If you're a regular computer user, as many of us are today, you
already know that typing some simple command, like 'GAGE' is far easier than
searching out the book, scanning the index, finding the page, reading the
table usage information, and then interpolating to find the desired
information. Where appropriate, my programs tabulate output into a file which
can be printed and carried to the shop for reference and that's a lot easier
than dragging a bulky book to the shop and trying to hold it open with your
anvil as a book weight.


What computers are all about. Being able to get an answer rapidly
makes you are more likely to 'do it right the first time' and to explore
alternate solutions to the problem. Often a well written program will
effortlessly provide 'more information than you asked for' and that can be a
boon to creativity.


If the code is written correctly, a program 'remembers' FOREVER EXACTLY
how to solve a given problem. The human mind is never capable of this long
term precision. Beyond remembering the mechanization of solution, it can also
remember all the likely errors to check for, catch typos, and just generally
formalize the input to the point where most simplistic errors will be caught.


By utilizing an easily edited data file as input, the well-written
program provides a means whereby the user can tailor the program, or add to its
data base without the need to understand in detail the interior workings of the

05-05-2006, 11:40 AM
Sheesh, people! What a bunch of nitpicking nanny's. The man develops an easy to use, intuitive, productive piece of software, and all some of you can do is find fault with it?

I think folks need to realize that not everyone lives life in the programming world, and hates Bill Gates. In fact, as much as this might come as a surprise, MOST people just want easy to use, intuitive, visual software. They don't care how evil Bill Gates is, they don't care how complex the programming is, they don't care how "bloated" the software is, they just want to get the job done.

Yes, I could run the numbers on paper and figure out the belt length. I could also pencil out all the various relatively simple calculations I do during the course of the day as well. But what is the point when I can use the calculator and get it done quickly? The are few things in life we cannot get more of, and one of them is time. I am vary protective of what little time I may have left on this planet, and choose to use that time on things I find enjoyable. Jacking around calculating belt length is not one of them.

If handy little programs like this can make some of the mundane tasks go by quicker, then I call that a benefit.


05-05-2006, 11:51 AM
Thanks Marv and Wayne. BTW, the utility is also an instant metric converter. Enter a value and check/uncheck the metric box and it converts.

05-05-2006, 12:49 PM
First, addressing a couple of questions...


No, I don't expect you to solve an NP-hard problem. (If you did, it would be
an instant Field's prize and then you'd be insufferable :-) However, Google
"Sheet Layout" by Productivity Software. They have a working sheet layout
program that makes a fair (though not perfect) stab at the problem. That's the
sort of thing I'm thinking about.


Which conical section volume calculation are you talking about? The conical
wedge calculation in WEIGHT is correct AFAIK. Also, it's a closed form
equation so no approximations are involved. The UNGULA (another term for a
conical wedge) program implements the same calculation.


Lots of folks seem to be using my programs happily on XP. I'm not a computer
whiz so I won't assume to lecture you on the use of your computer but I
seriously doubt that the problems you're having are due to my programs. Talk
to a computer expert about using DOS on Windoze.

My BOLTCIRC program will handle your boltcircle computations in terms of x-y
coordinates of the holes. If you want to strike off chords the old fashioned
way, you want the CHORD program.

Finally, for the folks saying, "Who needs a program when I can just knock the
calculation out on paper with my calculator?"...

Some of the programs on my page do calculations that, theoretically, could be
done on paper, but only if one had the patience of a saint and the ability to
never enter a number incorrectly into a calculator.

For example, take CHANGE and its concomitant programs. It takes all the
available change gears you have and exhaustively examines all the combinations
thereof to find the best combination to cut a desired thread. Two, four and
six gear pairing can be tested. Try doing that, error-free, on paper and beat
the computer's time to completion!

A further remark... How many tyros out there, given the correct formula, can
reliably plug numbers into it, adjust units, distinguish when to use degrees
and radians, do the computations, et cetera ad nauseum, and come up with the
correct answer? In my experience with the people I help locally, I'd put the
percentage at less than two. It's a sad fact that the majority of people
can't interpret even a simple mathematical formula, much less derive one. A
(correctly written) program gives the right answer every time though, sadly,
it still can't compensate for those who don't know how to enter numbers or
check what they type. If the intent of this forum is to help metalworkers,
then I submit that programs are the best way to phrase that help for
mathematical problems.

05-05-2006, 12:53 PM
No, I don't expect you to solve an NP-hard problem.

Just joking Marv. I was thinking about it last night and it occured to me that the problem resembles the game Tetris...

05-05-2006, 01:08 PM
This thread is such a beautiful demonstration of where this community goes wrong that I could barely read it without uncontrollable giggles. Here we are publishing challenges in others threads that lurkers should jump in and post something to the site, thereby enriching us all.

Evan spends his good time writing this little program, and it looks like a nice piece of work. You can barely find the kudos amid all of the bitching and moaning about Windows, the admonitions that people have to be able to read books, the editorial comments about it's usefulness. Wow! Why would some beginner want to post anything into that buzz saw unless they were completely certain they had just produced a full-on CNC masterpiece of work and had 40 years of experience as a machinist to back it up?

It amazes me that some of these posts against Evan were coming from some of the same people that want the newbies to ante up.

If it sounds like I'm angry, I'm not at all. The jarring insanity of it is just too funny.

And now I will done my own helmet and flack jacket shortly before shouting, "Incoming!"



05-05-2006, 01:33 PM
Irony can be funny, ore it's not
in a smelting pot
Of machinists who want to be
Nomex suggested
efforts detested
By some who like it not


05-05-2006, 01:39 PM
cool little program, I am going load it on the lathe's DRO so it is available in the shop.

05-05-2006, 05:31 PM
Well said Bob.

Nice program Evan.

05-05-2006, 05:58 PM
I agree, on both counts.

Allan Dimmock
05-05-2006, 06:42 PM
Yes, well said Bob.

Evan, thank you.

I had two ideas that may be useful to some of us. Tell me if they are stupid. Both ideas require the reading of one or more mouse inputs, and the display of position on the PC display.

Idea 1. Now that we can buy high resolution optical mice cheaply, could we rip the insides out of a couple and make a really cheap, rough and ready, DRO from them. If two mice where connected to two USB channels, could a software driver differentiate between the two input sources, thus giving us an X and Y reading ? One mouse button on each axis could be a zero or home position, the others being up for grabs (perhaps one could zero the read-out, for relative positioning). I'm not thinking of a high accuracy system, just something to give an approximate position ( something to keep me in the ball park as I'm winding the handles). I'm thinking that an etched aluminium surface might provide a reasonable surface for the "mice" to read from.

Idea 2. If an optical mouse was connected to a holder (built in or glued on) that had a guide for a centre punch, could the mouse be used as a tool for marking out on (unpolished) sheet material? I'm thinking that the position of the punch relative to the centre of the mouse could be found by holding the punch in one position (held in a punch mark) and turning the mouse through an arc, so allowing the calculation of the "offset" of the punch from the centre of the mouse. To mark out, the mouse would be moved so that the punch is at the required X,Y position, and the point marked with the punch.

Forgive me please if these things have been done before, or if the ideas are BS.

05-05-2006, 07:01 PM
Idea 1: Good idea and I will be looking into it as I would like something like that too.

Idea 2: There is no way to tell if the mouse has been rotated on the Z axis. That would mess with the positioning.

05-05-2006, 07:09 PM
Other folks have played with this concept. Google on "mouse dro" (without the quotes) and you'll find several pages that address the topic.

Allan Dimmock
05-05-2006, 07:13 PM
Idea 2. My thinking is that the user would hold the punch in the punch mark, and keep the mouse body in contact with the sheet as they turned it through an arc. If the punch is a good sliding fit in the holder/guide, it would be easy to ensure that the mouse didn't lose contact with the sheet.

05-05-2006, 07:19 PM
A mouse doesn't work that way. Try it yourself by sweeping the mouse in an arc at the end of your arm. The cursor will move in a straight line as it has no Z axis rotation information.

05-05-2006, 08:04 PM
Here is another simple one. I know this is a trivial calculation but this tool updates in real time as you change the values, metric or inch. It makes it easy to try different settings.



Oh yeah, it tops out at one million sfm. Let me know if you can find any bugs, mainly in dealing with invalid inputs and error conditions.


I didn't bother using metric RPM as it would cause too much confusion.

Mike Burdick
05-05-2006, 08:23 PM
What's the next "program" you're going to copyright...area of a circle?:rolleyes:

05-05-2006, 09:59 PM
Heh. Try it, it's fun to play with. Just how fast does a .005 end mill have to turn to get a respectable sfm anyway?

These little programs are trivial in what they do but not in the event handling and error checking which is what I am really figuring out here. As I said, I haven't programmed in this sort of environment before and it's not always obvious what the system is doing behind your back.

Visual basic is supposed to catch various errors for you but I assure you it is far from perfect. So far I have figured out several ways to make a simple program stop responding and also cause a stack overflow. I shouldn't be able to overflow the stack, that should be prevented by the runtime environment.

05-06-2006, 12:13 AM
Keep up the work Evan.

Soon you will have a well rounded program like "machinist toolbox". I tried the program on demo and used the heck out of it so I splurged and bought the license. Very useful and packed full of apps. JRouche

No, notta connection with the owners, justa happy customer...


05-06-2006, 09:05 AM
You mean when you downloaded it, and clicked on it, it worked without going through any gyrations?

Now there's a concept.

05-06-2006, 10:58 AM
You mean when you downloaded it, and clicked on it, it worked without going through any gyrations?

That's the hard part to do. In the SFM tool above although the calculation it performs is dead simple the program has a lot to deal with in the user interface. There is much more going on than meets the eye, and that is how it should be. Instead of imposing obvious restrictions on the user the programmer should deal with them in a transparent way.

The SFM program has to accept input but it must follow certain logic. Because of the way it automatically updates the values the diameter must be entered first or a divide by zero error will result. Once a diameter is set then the other values may be entered.

But, when the user changes one value, say the RPM, then the program must update the SFM. However, since the system doesn't distinguish between changes to the SFM values caused by the user or the system the program must not allow a system change to the SFM caused by a user changing the RPM to also cause a system change to the RPM which would then cause a change to the SFM in turn. That will cause a logic race condition. But, if the user changes the SFM then the RPM must be changed without that change causing another change to the SFM.

Also, limits must be placed to prevent over or underflows in the math. The metric conversion portion can also cause problems with overflows as the value in mm is a much larger number than the value in inches.

Catching all the ways that errors can occur is the hard part of programming. Programming the portion that deals with the actual calculation is simple, or in this case trivial. The rest isn't and is what makes the difference between a good program and a poor or unusable one.

05-06-2006, 02:59 PM
Integrating one of these little programs with some of the stuff Art Fenerty does for CNC (Mach 3 and LazyCAM) would be cool. Keep 'em coming. I know the math and can work it out on paper, but it's so much easier if there is a ready made calculator program.



05-06-2006, 03:20 PM
Ummm, actually what I meant was that not only are mklotz's, but the ones you have done are....., just speaking for myself....., a little clumbsy.

I would like to play with them but I find that when I have to go through certain unfamilar manouvers to get them to work, it just isn't worth it.

If mklotz could possibly use winzip instead of pkzip, or put the thing on there in a way that they would open up in a dos window?

And if it is possible to put that missing DLL thing in yours?

I have downloaded a bunch of shareware, freeware, and most of it runs just fine without having to become so computor detail oriented.

I am a computer putz, and like stuff like this to be as "plug and play" as possible.

I don't think I am alone.

05-06-2006, 06:29 PM
The Visual Express series of languages from MS, including Visual Basic Express, require the .NET framework to be installed for anything written in these environments to work. The .NET framework supplies the runtime package for the programs which is the background component that contains all the pre-canned routines that the programmer doesn't have to implement, like buttons and spin selectors etc.

It can be downloaded as an optional update from Windows Update. It isn't "spyware" although it does have definite online functionality included but it doesn't need to be online to work. It isn't usual to include the .NET runtime with the package (although possible) as it is large typical Microsoft bloatware. Microsoft developers don't seem to have ever worked in a restricted ram and storage environment.

I wrote a complete Hockey office pool management system once that implemented a database of all players in the NHL with the ability to generate sorted reports and allowed up to 22 teams with managers and complex rules. The entire package ran in just 40k of ram with all data in ram.

05-06-2006, 07:08 PM
...The .NET framework supplies the runtime package for the programs which is the background component that contains all the pre-canned routines that the programmer doesn't have to implement, like buttons and spin selectors etc.
Hi Evan,

It was the .NET framework that I was objecting to in my original post. There's no reason for it to exist, except so M$oft can snoop your PC. Previous versions of VB had all of this functionality in a DLL which was a standard part of the OS. And it allowed other vendors to create Active-X controls which could be used in VB programs. I doubt that this is possible any more.

I wasn't being critical of the program. It's probably a handy utility. I looked into the algorithms (exact, not approximated), and it appears to be a non-trivial exercise.

05-07-2006, 08:53 AM
I approximated the belt length with an algorithm that is very accurate except in extreme cases. If one pulley is ten times larger than the other and the separation is almost nil then it gives about a 3% error on the short side. For any reasonable pair of pulleys the error is negligible. I may go back and rewrite it with the exact algorithm. The reason for the error is that it is much simpler to calculate the chord length rather than the arc length on the pulley and the difference in most cases is virtually nil. With more than a pair of pulleys such as in Marv's program then it becomes necessary to use the exact algorithm, which he does.

Yes, earlier VB versions had the Visual Basic runtime as a stand alone DLL. It was still rather large to incorporate in a utility program and still required a separate download in most cases.

05-07-2006, 09:11 AM
There's no reason for it to exist, except so M$oft can snoop your PC.

If you have windows XP then you have already agreed to that with or without the .NET framework. In fact, it goes further than that since you have agreed to allow Microsoft to install updates from third parties without notifying you.

From the End User Licence Agreement (EULA) for Windows XP:


And especially this part, this applies anytime you deal with Microsoft including Windows update or automatic updates:

Consent to Use of Data. You agree that MS and Microsoft
Corporation and their affiliates may collect and use
technical information gathered in any manner as part
of the product support services provided to you, if any,
related to the SOFTWARE. MS, Microsoft Corporation and
their affiliates may use this information solely to
improve their products or to provide customized services
or technologies to you. MS, Microsoft Corporation and
their affiliates may disclose this information to others,
but not in a form that personally identifies you.

Note that they did not say that it doesn't personally identify you, just that they would not disclose that information. As it happens I know of a simple way for Microsoft to use the information to actually personally identify you even if there is no such information on your computer. They need only audit the distributor who sold the computer to the retailer and then demand that the retailer disclose who bought the computer, with the penalty for non-compliance being a loss of the right to sell any product containing Microsoft software.

Further clause:

Internet-Based Services Components. The SOFTWARE contains
components that enable and facilitate the use of certain
Internet-based services. You acknowledge and agree that
MS, Microsoft Corporation or their subsidiaries may
automatically check the version of the SOFTWARE and/or
its components that you are utilizing and may provide
upgrades or supplements to the SOFTWARE that may be
automatically downloaded to your COMPUTER.

Also, this will be modified and has been by additional EULAs included during the installation of various updates. This doesn't just apply to Windows XP but to all versions of Windows as the additional EULAs are included with updates to separate components such as Internet Explorer.

So far, I am the only person I have met that actually reads the EULAs when installing something.

Note again that the above clauses are NOT from the .NET framework but are the standard EULA for Windows XP.

05-07-2006, 01:41 PM
Addressing Gene's (topct) post above.

If other freeware works better for you, given your self-admitted "putziness"
with computers, then, by all means, use what works for you.

The difficulty with that approach is that metalworking is a niche hobby and you
may encounter some difficulty finding programs that address some of the more
obscure topics addressed by some of my programs.

If I were charging a fee for my programs, I would feel obligated to address
your concerns. In fact, the reason that all my stuff is freeware is
to free me from such concerns.

I wrote most of those programs for my personal use and thought it might be a
nice gesture, sort of a thank you for help I've received in the past, to make
them available for others who might find them useful. I have neither the
time, the expertise nor the inclination to 'polish' them for everyone who has
difficulty operating a computer. The source code for all the programs written
by me is available with the program. Folks who want to put the code into a
form more compatible with the way their minds work are welcome to do so.

Don't take this the wrong way. I'm not slamming you for your criticisms - just
trying to make clear what my outlook on the issue is.

05-07-2006, 02:24 PM
This doesn't just apply to Windows XP but to all versions of Windows as the additional EULAs are included with updates to separate components such as Internet Explorer.
Hi Evan,

The argument fails on several points:

1) I don't use XP or anything newer, and never will.

2) I don't download anything from M$oft, and never will.

3) I build my own PCs from components, purchased for cash, with no identification provided to the seller.

4) Your comments about the EULA are probably accurate... nobody reads it, because nobody cares. This is the most monumental fraud that's ever been committed in the history of mankind. What would happen if an auto manufacturer tried this scam. "You can buy a car, but we can replace parts of it whenever we want, with whatever we want, without telling you!" See how ridiculous it is?

M$oft has managed to lower the expectations of the consuming public to the point where we've become nothing more than cattle at the slaughter house. "Give us your money, and we might give you something in return. Of course it's littered with bugs, spyware, and bloat... so what? You should be glad we're giving you anything at all."

What other consumer product can break frequently, repeatedly, in the same way, causing hundreds of millions of dollars in real losses, without any effort by the manufacturer to repair it, and yet escape prosecution by the consumer protection offices of the various states? Goes to show you we have the best politicians money can buy.

05-07-2006, 02:50 PM
Goes to show you we have the best politicians money can buy.

Apparently so does China. They recently announced that they will ban the sale of computers without operating system. They didn't say what operating systems will qualify but I can make a guess.

As for your point 1 2 and 3, that doesn't describe most people. The reality is that most people have already consented, know it or not, to have Microsoft snoop their computer. Installing the .NET framework changes nothing.

As for freeware, I tend along the same lines as Marv. If I don't sell it I don't have to worry about refunds. I like programming and intend to make some more tools available including some non-trivial tools. It's a way of giving back to the community and it only cost me my time. Beats spending it playing Unreal Tournament.

05-07-2006, 08:22 PM
Apparently so does China. They recently announced that they will ban the sale of computers without operating system. They didn't say what operating systems will qualify but I can make a guess.
I don't know how that would play out. They have their own version of Linux (Red Star linux IIRC). It may be they were just holding out for a large enough bribe from guess who.

I too greatly favor freeware. I've done a number of programs which go out for free. One of them even has its own website http://www.mayadate.org