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 Post subject: Re: So, what's next after v16.9?
PostPosted: Thu Nov 10, 2016 6:34 pm 
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I'm ok with either option. For me, I would be launching the Windows 10 Calendar App, so displaying either version of the popup calendar (the Windows clock version or the Desktop Module) won't be of any benefit me. Obviously, users are gonna want the most bang for their buck, so to speak, so maybe in this case you actually should include the desktop module code for the calendar module in Nexus Ultimate. Just my two cents. I was hoping someone else would give their opinion before me, LOL, but seeing as how there were no responses yet, I decided to jump in!


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 Post subject: Re: So, what's next after v16.9?
PostPosted: Thu Nov 10, 2016 7:07 pm 
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winstep wrote:
. . . display the Windows calendar under Nexus Ultimate (which obviously does not support tagging of clock alarm events) . . .

What say ye?

I say do this.

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 Post subject: Re: So, what's next after v16.9?
PostPosted: Thu Nov 10, 2016 8:43 pm 
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vectornut wrote:
winstep wrote:
. . . display the Windows calendar under Nexus Ultimate (which obviously does not support tagging of clock alarm events) . . .

What say ye?

I say do this.


And this works for me too! :)


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 Post subject: Re: So, what's next after v16.9?
PostPosted: Thu Nov 10, 2016 9:38 pm 
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Agree.


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 Post subject: Re: So, what's next after v16.9?
PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2016 4:07 am 
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Unfortunately I'll have to agree too. Doing it otherwise would quickly make a mess of the code. Besides, I *just* noticed that Windows 10 actually added Calendar/Event related stuff to their Windows clock calendar too. How's that for a coincidence, eh?

Anyway, beta of Winstep Xtreme v16.11 was released and should be picked up automatically if you have Xtreme set to notify you of beta versions.

After install you can have a look at the full change log by opening Preferences -> About tab -> Click version number -> Click 'View Change Log' button. There is a lot of stuff in there I didn't talk about here.

These last few days I felt like I was walking across quicksand: I would change a little thing (or so I thought) for the better and it would turn out that the little thing required a ton of other related changes too. Rinse and repeat for several days.

The cherry on top of the cake was (what seems to be) a buggy release of VirtualBox.

I use a couple of Windows 10 VMs to test the software, updates, etc, before committing to a public release. Turns out that the latest version of VirtualBox seems to have Winsock related issues - getting weather data from Weather.com, for instance, was impossible, the connection always failed with a 'Software caused connection abort' Winsock error. Getting weather data from NOAA, MSN and Yahoo revealed no apparent problems, though. Go figure.

This actually prompted me to add the ability to log Weather connections to the software so I could figure out what was going on (if you click the 'Get Weather' button in the Weather module Preferences dialog you now get a small Weather.log log file in C:\Users\Public Documents\Winstep\). Obviously did nothing to help me solve the problem but it might come in handy someday in the future to troubleshoot weather connection problems.

But the worst came when testing the beta update in the Windows 10 Virtual Machine: it would download the file until the end and then abort with a - you guessed it - 'Software caused connection abort' error.

I have to admit I panicked for a little bit, since an error on the Winstep Update Manager code itself would be extremely serious (you can't update/fix the Update Manager via the Update Manager if the thing is malfunctioning in the first place).

I ended up testing stuff on a real, physical, Windows 10 PC I have here (OS Build 14393.447, exactly the same build installed on the VMs). In it there were no problems, of course, connections to Weather.com were successful and the Winstep Update Manager had no troubles downloading and installing the beta. This confirms that the issues described above are indeed caused by a buggy VirtualBox release, not Windows 10 itself.

Goes without saying, feedback regarding the beta of v16.11 is not only welcomed with open arms, as it is required. Good and bad stuff. :)

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 Post subject: Re: So, what's next after v16.9?
PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2016 7:45 am 
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Besides any bugs you might run into, some other things I would like feedback on:

1. I'm pretty sure the Winsock connection errors described above are limited to the VirtualBox VMs since I did not see any on my physical Windows 7 and Windows 10 PCs, but to be on the safe side, if your weather module location has a Weather.com code (most have) please check the feed source.

You can know which feed(s) are being used in the balloon tooltip of the Weather module, and (now) also on the Weather Monitor settings dialog.

Primary feeds are NOAA (if the location has a METAR code) + Weather.com for forecasts or current conditions + forecast if there is no METAR code. The Yahoo and MSN codes are normally only used as backup feeds if the two primary feeds fail for some reason.

Needless to say, please report back ASAP if the Winstep Update Manager experiences any problems downloading the beta.


2. I have the impression that the desktop calendar module might actually be too big. What do you guys think?


3. I added a 'Annually' option to the clock alarm schedules. However, not sure if that should be 'Annually' or 'Yearly', or if the two terms are interchangeable.


4. Please check how Winstep Xtreme responds to WIN+D (Show Desktop). Anything unusual or unexpected? Does it respond faster (i.e.; less flicker) than before?

It should respond almost instantaneously now, but I noticed that while the NextSTART taskbar remains rock-solid (i.e.; it responds instantaneously), WorkShelf screen objects might still flicker occasionally - not sure why yet, perhaps some timing issue since it does not happen in the IDE.


5. Iconic window thumbnails for running tasks that appear in the dock (i.e.; NOT the live previews, the window thumbnails on the dock/shelf): I made some changes there too and now use BitBlt instead of PrintWindow to get a thumbnail of the window if the DWM (Desktop Window Manager) is enabled. Please let me know if you see any oddities.


6. Minimizing/Restoring windows: I made some changes to the way windows are restored when minimized to preserve the 'Aero snap' mode. Please let me know if you have problems restoring some windows.

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 Post subject: Re: So, what's next after v16.9?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 15, 2016 7:21 am 
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winstep wrote:
Besides any bugs you might run into, some other things I would like feedback on:

1. I'm pretty sure the Winsock connection errors described above are limited to the VirtualBox VMs since I did not see any on my physical Windows 7 and Windows 10 PCs, but to be on the safe side, if your weather module location has a Weather.com code (most have) please check the feed source.

You can know which feed(s) are being used in the balloon tooltip of the Weather module, and (now) also on the Weather Monitor settings dialog.

Primary feeds are NOAA (if the location has a METAR code) + Weather.com for forecasts or current conditions + forecast if there is no METAR code. The Yahoo and MSN codes are normally only used as backup feeds if the two primary feeds fail for some reason.

Needless to say, please report back ASAP if the Winstep Update Manager experiences any problems downloading the beta.

NOAA (although the tooltip spells it Noaa)/Weather.com is my source and update manager worked flawlessly.
winstep wrote:
2. I have the impression that the desktop calendar module might actually be too big. What do you guys think?

I agree. But if I make a theme, I can make it more compact, correct? It's not locked in to that size?
winstep wrote:
3. I added a 'Annually' option to the clock alarm schedules. However, not sure if that should be 'Annually' or 'Yearly', or if the two terms are interchangeable.

I would call it 'Yearly', although either term works. My iPhone calender's repeat gives me the option to repeat "Every Year".
winstep wrote:
4. Please check how Winstep Xtreme responds to WIN+D (Show Desktop). Anything unusual or unexpected? Does it respond faster (i.e.; less flicker) than before?

It should respond almost instantaneously now, but I noticed that while the NextSTART taskbar remains rock-solid (i.e.; it responds instantaneously), WorkShelf screen objects might still flicker occasionally - not sure why yet, perhaps some timing issue since it does not happen in the IDE.

I never purposely use Win D, so I couldn't tell you if it's better or not.
winstep wrote:
5. Iconic window thumbnails for running tasks that appear in the dock (i.e.; NOT the live previews, the window thumbnails on the dock/shelf): I made some changes there too and now use BitBlt instead of PrintWindow to get a thumbnail of the window if the DWM (Desktop Window Manager) is enabled. Please let me know if you see any oddities.

I think I need a screenshot with arrows to understand what you're talking about here.
winstep wrote:
6. Minimizing/Restoring windows: I made some changes to the way windows are restored when minimized to preserve the 'Aero snap' mode. Please let me know if you have problems restoring some windows.

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 Post subject: Re: So, what's next after v16.9?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 15, 2016 7:59 am 
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Thanks for the feedback, Paul! :)

vectornut wrote:
NOAA (although the tooltip spells it Noaa)


Fixed it.

vectornut wrote:
I agree. But if I make a theme, I can make it more compact, correct? It's not locked in to that size?


You can make it any size you want. And with the new really flexible skinning options, you can even make it look like this (complete with overlay to make it look as if the current day digits 'fold' in half):

Image

However, this is a really important question. I would appreciate feedback from others too.

As it is, the desktop calendar module is about the same size of the Windows calendar you get when you click on the clock module under Windows 7. However, the module seems huge in comparison to the normal size of all other modules - so much so that it does not fully fit in the module preview window in the Modules tab of Preferences.

I could fix this by reducing the current size to about 80% (you can see what it would look like by using the right-click scaling option available for desktop modules).

On the other hand, the current tendency is to make everything bigger because of touch screens. Making the module smaller would make things WORSE if you are using a touch interface (but then again you could always use the same Scale feature I mentioned above to scale the module UP).

vectornut wrote:
My iPhone calender's repeat gives me the option to repeat "Every Year".


Replaced 'Annually' with 'Every Year', thanks. :)

vectornut wrote:
I think I need a screenshot with arrows to understand what you're talking about here.


If you enable 'Show running applications in this dock', at first you see the icons of running applications appear at the right side of the dock, correct? After a little while, icons representing a single open window are replaced with a thumbnail of that window.

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 Post subject: Re: So, what's next after v16.9?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 15, 2016 5:43 pm 
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Hey guys, been two days now. Where's my feedback? :D :P

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 Post subject: Re: So, what's next after v16.9?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 15, 2016 6:00 pm 
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Love the new voices. You have a "snap to edge" feature for the modules?


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 Post subject: Re: So, what's next after v16.9?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 15, 2016 6:29 pm 
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Gregory2001 wrote:
Love the new voices.


Thanks, it's always good to know.

Gregory2001 wrote:
You have a "snap to edge" feature for the modules?


No.

Curiously enough, I added that feature for NextSTART hotspot buttons some time ago (you can even move them as a group if you press SHIFT while dragging), but desktop modules are normally irregularly shaped (and some have quite large 'invisible' margins because of drop shadows, etc) so I'm not sure such a feature would be truly useful.

I also don't want to encourage skinners to make, well, err, 'modular' modules, since each module should be fully independent of the others (i.e.; remember HVD, where a theme actually modified - and was heavily dependent on - the contents of the dock? Yeah, I don't want that. :) )

This said, people can always try to reason with me, of course. :)

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 Post subject: Re: So, what's next after v16.9?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 15, 2016 10:03 pm 
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winstep wrote:
Besides any bugs you might run into, some other things I would like feedback on:

1. I'm pretty sure the Winsock connection errors described above are limited to the VirtualBox VMs since I did not see any on my physical Windows 7 and Windows 10 PCs, but to be on the safe side, if your weather module location has a Weather.com code (most have) please check the feed source.

You can know which feed(s) are being used in the balloon tooltip of the Weather module, and (now) also on the Weather Monitor settings dialog.

Primary feeds are NOAA (if the location has a METAR code) + Weather.com for forecasts or current conditions + forecast if there is no METAR code. The Yahoo and MSN codes are normally only used as backup feeds if the two primary feeds fail for some reason.

*I have no problems with this feed at all.

Needless to say, please report back ASAP if the Winstep Update Manager experiences any problems downloading the beta.


2. I have the impression that the desktop calendar module might actually be too big. What do you guys think?

*When I try setting the scale to anything smaller than 100%, the arrow buttons to advance/retard the month get wonky. To look in the past, I have to click down and to the right off the circle. To look to the future, I can't find a consistent spot to click successfully.

Also, the date settings when setting a new alarm do not obey my regional date settings. The alarm is asking for DD/MM/YYYY, my settings are MM/DD/YYY. Kinda picky, but :-)

3. I added a 'Annually' option to the clock alarm schedules. However, not sure if that should be 'Annually' or 'Yearly', or if the two terms are interchangeable.

*Either would be fine.

4. Please check how Winstep Xtreme responds to WIN+D (Show Desktop). Anything unusual or unexpected? Does it respond faster (i.e.; less flicker) than before?

It should respond almost instantaneously now, but I noticed that while the NextSTART taskbar remains rock-solid (i.e.; it responds instantaneously), WorkShelf screen objects might still flicker occasionally - not sure why yet, perhaps some timing issue since it does not happen in the IDE.


*I never use Win-D, but I do use the show desktop button, which I'm guessing runs the same code. Workshelf flicks off for less than a second and pops back. That doesn't bother me at all. Nothing flickering though.


5. Iconic window thumbnails for running tasks that appear in the dock (i.e.; NOT the live previews, the window thumbnails on the dock/shelf): I made some changes there too and now use BitBlt instead of PrintWindow to get a thumbnail of the window if the DWM (Desktop Window Manager) is enabled. Please let me know if you see any oddities.

*My icons for running programs look perfect in Nexus. However, when I close the program, the little indicator ball (?) next to the icon doesn't disappear until after I have unhidden the dock and then it still takes 1/2 second for it to go away. Seems as though it's not paying attention until the dock is opened.


6. Minimizing/Restoring windows: I made some changes to the way windows are restored when minimized to preserve the 'Aero snap' mode. Please let me know if you have problems restoring some windows.

*not really sure which to which windows you are referring. Xtreme preferences windows restore just fine, as do any other window from any other program.


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 Post subject: Re: So, what's next after v16.9?
PostPosted: Tue Nov 15, 2016 10:35 pm 
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werewolf wrote:
When I try setting the scale to anything smaller than 100%, the arrow buttons to advance/retard the month get wonky. To look in the past, I have to click down and to the right off the circle. To look to the future, I can't find a consistent spot to click successfully.


Well caught!! Fixed, thanks.

werewolf wrote:
Also, the date settings when setting a new alarm do not obey my regional date settings. The alarm is asking for DD/MM/YYYY, my settings are MM/DD/YYY. Kinda picky, but :-)


Yes, unfortunately that particular date format is hard-coded. It has to be so the code can properly validate a date.

werewolf wrote:
However, when I close the program, the little indicator ball (?) next to the icon doesn't disappear until after I have unhidden the dock and then it still takes 1/2 second for it to go away. Seems as though it's not paying attention until the dock is opened.


Kind of what is actually happening... thanks for bringing this to my attention, currently working on it and should have it fixed ASAP too.

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 Post subject: Re: So, what's next after v16.9?
PostPosted: Wed Nov 16, 2016 8:47 am 
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Gregory2001 wrote:
Love the new voices.


Still fine-tuning them, by the way. Not that easy cropping the silences at the beginning and end of each word for the whole thing to sound a bit more fluid when they are pasted together. Overdo it and it just becomes a garbled mess hehe

Also, the female sound byte for '80' sounds really weird. Trying to fix it by making the text-to-speech engine say 'Eightee' instead of the numeral '80'.

Now that the Email Checker voice can count above 59 (eheh) I'm also thinking about adding the word 'and' too, e.g.; imagine you have 253 pending messages. Currently it says:

'You have two hundred fifty three new messages"

if I add the 'and' word it will say it properly:

'You have two hundred and fifty three new messages"

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 Post subject: Re: So, what's next after v16.9?
PostPosted: Wed Nov 16, 2016 9:56 am 
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Ok, done.

And talking about voices, the text-to-speech engine that I am using also has French, Spanish, German, Italian, Portuguese and Russian voices.

Now, the format and rules for how numbers are spoken is not the same for different languages.

For instance, in English the number 100 is spoken as two words, 'one' and 'hundred'. In Portuguese it's a single word: 'cem'.

In English, the number 123 is spoken/broken down into 'One' + 'Hundred' + 'And' + 'Twenty' + 'Three'. In Portuguese it would be 'Cento' + 'e' + 'vinte' + 'e' + 'três'.

Notice also how a different word is used in Portuguese for the number 100 alone ('cem') and for when that number is together with other numbers (123): 'cento e vinte e três'

So, simply replacing the English words with their equivalent in other languages is not enough, different rules to how the numbers are spoken must be applied to. This means different code for different languages.

I'm going to try to tackle this problem, at least for the above languages. If successful I can then offer the proper international voice packs for download in the Winstep themes page, but it's going to be a lot of work.

All this would be unnecessary if Microsoft had a proper text-to-speech engine built into Windows. In that case I could simply feed the text to the engine and the engine itself would take care of converting it to the correct speech format for that user's Regional settings.

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