Free and open-source screen capture and record tool

CamStudio is able to record all screen and audio activity on your computer and create industry-standard AVI video files and using its built-in SWF Producer can turn those AVIs into lean, mean, bandwidth-friendly Streaming Flash videos (SWFs)

Here are just a few ways you can use this software:

  • You can use it to create demonstration videos for any software program
  • Or how about creating a set of videos answering your most frequently asked questions?
  • You can create video tutorials for school or college class
  • You can use it to record a recurring problem with your computer so you can show technical support people
  • You can use it to create video-based information products you can┬ásell
  • You can even use it to record new tricks and techniques you discover on your favourite software program, before you forget them

How to send 100.000 emails weekly?

The following question: How to send 100.000 emails weekly, on Stack Overflow got me tingling a bit. How to send thousands of e-mails (commercially or on your own), without being blacklisted.

I have implemented two solutions for this, one in PHP, and one in .NET. Sending e-mail in bulk can indeed be A LOT of work with many frustrations and dangers — particularly when you realize you have just hit SEND on a batch of thousands of e-mails and there was something wrong with all of them. That’s why you need throttling, a way to stop the sending should you spot anything wrong AFTER sending the mail.

I don’t know of a free .NET solution for this. For PHP, I have used phpList quite successfully in the past but the looks and a few of the features are starting to get old.

Just a few tips, if you’re developing your own solution:

  • Use throttling by all means. What this means is, sending mails gradually, a few per minute, using a script or scheduled task.
  • Create a way to halt the sending should you spot anything wrong.
  • Try shuffling the domains you’re sending to.. don’t send to the same domain all at once. Typically, depending on your list, a large percentage of your subscribers will be on the same domains. Over 75% of my subscribers on various businesses were on Yahoo.com.
  • Make sure you have proper PTR, SPF records for your domain.
  • Make sure that the host name/IP (machine) you’re sending from is the same as the one you add in the SPF. Some servers do reverse DNS look-ups and block your e-mail if the records don’t match.
  • Make absolutely sure that the unsubscribe methods WORK for all users. People will mark you as spam if they get annoyed that they can’t unsubscribe.
  • If you manage multiple mailing lists, give them a way to manage their subscriptions, either using logins or a hash for uniquely identifying the users.
  • Setup a test list with addresses you own, on as many domains and e-mail services as you can and first send a test run for every message you send — to check if it gets marked as spam, and how the e-mail looks (specially if you send as HTML).
  • Further, check your e-mail (when you’ve finished it), using a free spam checking service such as this one. These can give you a rough idea of how your e-mail is interpreted by the spam checking programs (such as SpamAssassin) and point a few things you could fix.

My new CMS (CCIDESQ3) has a mail queue and mail sender with throttling, batches, actions on batches and some of the features above.

I would be curious what other readers are doing. Do you go to the commercial solutions or try to do your own and hope for the best? If on your own, what solutions do you use?

Song and Bible verse projection software updated with even more sweet features

SundayWorship LogoSundayWorship, recently updated to version 1.2, is a Bible verse and song projection software for church services or other events, developed by Gary Sims and his friend, Matthew Steed. I know there are plenty of programs of this kind, some of them free and/or open-source, but in spite of that, many times I see our churches use various improvisations, such as PowerPoint slides and funny look-up strategires. Maybe this is because existing programs fall into two categories: they are either too expensive, or more expensive than a worship leader or church committee is willing to spend, or is free but is trying to achieve so much that it’s full of menus and features that simply scare you away.

SundayWorship is, I think, somewhere in the middle: it’s very easy to use, has practically no learning curve and the price is, very good. Below are some of the program’s features:

  • Ability to add a large number of songs in the database
  • Very fast start-up time, super-fast search in songs or the Bible (new in version 1.2, searching within the song contents, not just title)
  • Bible translations included: KJV, ASV and Romanian Cornilescu (more can be installed)
  • Project one verse or an entire passage at once.
  • Two displays, one for previewing, privately and one LIVE
  • Ability to display announcements, notifications, on top or bottom, along with existing projections (songs, verses)
  • My favorite: ability to create schedules with pre-selected songs or verses, for use in worship programs.

New in 1.2 are, among others:

  • Specify preferences regarding the display of Bible verse references.
  • Video playback
  • Live webcam or camera playback
  • Searching contents of songs

Other features:

  • Importing/Exporting of the entire database to XML.
  • Ability to specify authors or song copyright information and searching through it

See more at www.sundayworship.net – here you can obtain a 30-day trial version or buy a license via PayPal.

Partition Manager for Free from Eeaseus

EASEUS is giving away version 4.1.1 of its professional partition manager software until February 1st. This edition supports 64-big operating systems as well, as opposed to the free version.

Easeus Partition Manager Professional for Free Giveaway

Here are some of the features:

  • Windows 7 32 bit and 64 bit compatible.
  • Extend system partition to maximize computer performance.
  • Resize/move/delete/format/create partition and lots of useful features.
  • Backup all data or copy entire hard disk to another without Windows reinstallation.
  • Operate directly on the disk map with the drag-and-drop and preview the changes.
  • Create bootable CD/DVD in case of system boot failure.

I know you may think: I don’t really need this NOW, but what about when you DO need it? Head over to their site and get it.

jQuery Slideshow like on Apple’s website

I know this kind of slideshow is pretty comon stuff in the jQuery world as well as other frameworks but I thought the Apple-like Slideshow gallery presented by Tutorialzine was pretty slick and managed to very closely resemble the one used on Apple’s website.

jQuery Slideshow Gallery

Of course you will customize it if you are going to use it on your site, aren’t you? View the demo here and the original tutorial here.

Free CSS Drop-Down Menu Framework

I recently came across a very slick (and free) menu framework. It’s very customizable, the authors even showcase a few popular menu imitations using their framework (see Nvidia imitation, Adobe or Vimeo).

Free Drop-Down Menu Framework

Here are some of the features from the site:

  • Modular, with themes. Not only HTML is separated from CSS, but even CSS definitions are categorized into structural and thematic types. Thus creating a new css drop-down menu means creating only a new theme since structure is permanent. What is more, creating a new theme is easy with available templates and takes 10-15 mins.
  • Easily deployable. The code and files are well organized. Available channels to hook up to your CMS or other tools as well as existing websites in XHTML format.
  • Easily transformable. Can be transformed by changing class name only. Available transformations: horizontal, vertical left-to-right, vertical right-to-left, horizontal linear, horizontal upwards.
  • Cross browser. Configurations available for Windows Internet Explorer 5 or later, Mozilla Firefox 1.5 or later, Opera 7 or later, Apple Safari 2 or later, Google Chrome 1 or later, etc.
  • JavaScript only for IE. Minimal JavaScript code only for IE 6 or earlier. Can be used with popular JavaScript libraries Jquery or Scriptaculous. Everything else is pure CSS.
  • Super Fast. Having the above mentioned features it is not affected by any disturbances whatsoever.
  • Continuous development. The project is constantly revised and improved.

via Free CSS Drop-Down Menu Framework – LWIS.NET.

jCarousel – jQuery horizontal or vertical carousel for list items

jCarousel is a jQuery plugin for controlling lists of items in horizontal or vertical order. The items can be either static HTML or loaded via various methods (including AJAX). The elements in the carousel can be scrolled back and forth, with or without animation.

jCarousel

jCarousel – Riding carousels with jQuery.

Slick and tiny AutoSuggest with jQuery

Wish I had found this thing a while ago when I was developing my own auto-complete functionality. This extremely small jQuery plug-in (about 7 Kb) looks and works brilliantly. The plug-in takes advantage of jQuery more than other plug-ins that do the same thing, is styled ONLY with CSS (and uses no images) and is very responsive. It creates all the necessary elements dynamically and only needs a regular INPUT box.

It is a very customisable plug-in, the data can be supplied to it in either an object on the page or loaded in JSON format from a URL. And of course, it’s free.