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1  Other Software / Found Deals and Discounts / Surfulater at BdJ today ($39.50) on: November 23, 2012, 09:14:34 AM
Seems to be a long-time favorite among DU regulars.

Surfulater PC Software with a 50% off Discount Coupon Code
http://www.bitsdujour.com/software/surfulater/

You may want to read the comments section though. Upcoming release of Surfulater is going into the cloud.
2  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Quo vadis Microsoft? on: November 06, 2012, 04:39:10 PM
OK, having read both articles, I can't make sense out of the latter one (Cringely). First, predicting the future as a mere extrapolation of today has always been a failure. Second, he talks a lot but it's neither here nor there:

Quote
Death of the desktop is clear not because Windows desktop sales are declining but because Macintosh desktop sales are declining. When Mercedes (Apple) begins to suffer declining unit sales, what does it mean for GM (Microsoft)? Not good.

Nonsense, I say. Mercedes sales depend on a completely different set of market and social conditions than the sales of your mid-size family car. Only some factors overlap, like the price of gas, but then they affect the two segments to very different degrees. Nobody needs a Mercedes (Apple), but a lot of people do need a car (some form of a personal, desktop computer).

Then he says

Quote
Microsoft didn’t invent the PC but benefited from its invention. Microsoft didn’t invent BASIC, they didn’t invent the PC operating system, they didn’t invent word processor, spreadsheet, or presentation applications, they didn’t invent PC games, they didn’t invent the graphical user interface, they didn’t invent the notebook or the tablet, they didn’t invent the Internet, they didn’t invent the music player or the video game, but they benefited from all these things.

...and I can't understand how that relates to anything. Apple didn't invent any of these, either. Samsung didn't invent the smartphone, but they're already selling more units than Apple. And it's much, much easier to switch a cell phone brand than to change your OS, all your apps and all your habits along with them.

Touch interface is a joke. It's inconvenient even on a smartphone, it's only become so common because it was the only way to grow the screen size without up-sizing the entire device. Can you touch-type on a touch keyboard? Only in Star Trek, and you had to be Data. Does anyone seriously think that everyone in the world whose work involves a lot of typing, down to the last humble clerk, will willingly switch to a touch-screen? POS terminals are one thing, writing in complete sentences and paragraphs is totally different. And, seriously, for how long can you keep your arm extended forward and carefully pecking at the on-screen keyboard? Our bodies are not even built for that kind of task.

Quote
Like Blanche DuBois, Microsoft has relied on the kindness of strangers.

More nonsense, do I even have to spell it out? Kindness?

And of course, the survival of Microsoft and the survival of your classic desktop PC are two entirely separate issues. Cringely starts with the Napier/RR engine analogy, but of course the lesson from that analogy is that that particular kind of engine did not disappear or even substantially change. Someone just made an incrementally better one. (And the jet engine did not displace the turbine, either.)

Yeah, so maybe they can live off their patents - if so, who cares? Do we really care about what happens to MS, or do we care about what technology we will be using in the days to come? That article doesn't even seem to know what it's on about. I certainly don't.
3  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Quo vadis Microsoft? on: November 06, 2012, 02:54:13 PM
At the risk of beating a dead horse (at least among DC folk), I submit the following opinion piece from PC magazine calling Windows 8 a "Desktop Disaster" along with Robert X Cringely's guess as to what Microsoft may actually be up to.


I'm only in the middle of the first article, but I just have to say -

Only one app at a time? Cannot resize application windows? On a Full-HD screen?! Shut down (and probably a lot more) only from the Metro UI?

And we are supposed to buy it and into it... why?
4  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Now this is a Windows 8 review I heartily applaud on: November 04, 2012, 01:04:19 PM
From the Make Use Of blog. Warning: dripping sarcasm ahead!

Get Great Windows 8 Features Without the Upgrade [Opinion]

[attachimg=1]
5  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / Re: Neowin reviews Windows 8 - Leave your pre-conceived notions at the door on: October 24, 2012, 02:57:37 PM
Quote
It’s time to reinvent the desktop OS

Says who? Seriously, whoever pronounces such a grand ex-cathedra statement better do some heavy lifting first to support this argument.


Quote
Like Neowin says, take Windows 8 for what it is. Do not try and compare it to the past versions of Windows.

Why not? It's not a new Clint Eastwood movie. It's not a work of art. It is a tool which I expect to make my life and work easier. If I buy a new hammer, it is perfectly reasonable to compare it to the one I had before.

Anyway, how's that touch UI on a screen positioned some three feet away from the user? :-)

While I'm ranting, who came up with that infinitely lame and untranslatable name, "charms"? In Polish version of 8 this thing is now simply called a "panel". We do have a word for a "charm", of course, but used for anything other than a physical artifact such as an amulet or a talisman, it just sounds too weird and nonsensical. As a software translator, I am thankful I was not the one who had to figure this one out. Next, why not call folders "teepees" and files, "gems"? That would be really modern and really hipster-like, oh my!
6  Main Area and Open Discussion / General Software Discussion / I may be the last one to learn about this, but... on: October 05, 2012, 06:39:39 PM
http://www.ghacks.net/201...s-in-windows-8-apps-work/

Like ads in the "free" apps on your smartphone or tablet? Now you'll have them on the desktop, too.

If anyone, like me, wondered what on earth Microsoft was doing replacing the convenient traditional desktop with a dumb, dysfunctional mobile-device interface, here's your answer: New environment, new rules.

We pretty much won the war against adware on the desktop years ago, but we totally dropped the ball on smartphones and tablets. They were so new and shiny, after all! Well, now your computer is going to be just like your phone.

O, M, G.


7  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Western Digital playing kinda loose with your privacy on: September 23, 2012, 10:19:57 PM
So I'm all into the DIY thing now.  I don't care if it's more expensive, or more work, or whatever.

I totally understand your approach, though myself, as I get older, I seem to be going in the opposite direction: no tinkering for me, just let me buy and use the packaged thing that works. (Though I still do and will continue to build my own computers from parts.)

Plus, could you DIY your way to a NAS drive? I really like/need (not sure which :-) having access to all my files from any computer at home, and my phone or laptop when I'm away, plus a media player in the room with the TV, which happens to be the room with no computer in it. I like it better than any cloud service that could replace the NAS, anyway.

8  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Western Digital playing kinda loose with your privacy on: September 23, 2012, 10:14:23 PM
That's pretty rough, and from a pretty wild angle. "Hard Drive makers? Since when do they play the privacy shenanigans?!" Even worse, "how much do I trust Western Digital to have good data practices?!"   I don't even KNOW how to answer that one, HD companies are so far off the radar of the usual privacy infringing suspects, I don't even know what to say.

First, it would seem that today pretty much everyone who's selling you anything is participating in the (no-)privacy game. Second, I do not trust anyone to have good data practices unless their profit is directly and proportionately related to them taking a good care of their clients' privacy. It's my personal experience that even those who require and store your credit card data (i.e., various online stores) do not have adequate protection against theft of that data.

In this case, how much profit would WD stand to lose if someone hacked in and copied the support logs? Not much at all, I think. There would be a story on Slashdot, one in a thousand similar security breach stories, but WD is not a bank and as you rightly noticed, there is no association between a drive maker and  privacy issues, so - no biggie for them, I assume.
9  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Re: Western Digital playing kinda loose with your privacy on: September 23, 2012, 08:21:15 PM
Just to add one thing: with the list of filenames, they don't only know what music I listen to and what movies I watch. They also know who I have ever worked for, what projects I did for my clients, or when and to whom I sent my invoices. They know what software I use and have installed. They know my games. They know the names of some of my friends. And since I registered the drive, they also know my name, email and location. Oh, and the log report also contains a complete traceroute from my system to some WD server somewhere, so they have more than enough to identify me. And an unscrupulous person would know more than enough to steal my identity, without ever seeing the contents of all those files.

I really think it's a bad thing. Doubly bad for no obvious warning to the user that this is going to happen.

Sigh!

10  Main Area and Open Discussion / Living Room / Western Digital playing kinda loose with your privacy on: September 23, 2012, 08:14:27 PM
Been away for quite some time, my excuse is that I have meanwhile multiplied, which always puts a damp on your facultative activities, so don't repeat my mistake! There are times though I just can't stay away from my favorite pastime, i.e. grumbling about software and hardware makers alike. When they give me anguish. Which is often.

Today, Western Digital. My favorite hard drive maker has just about made my mortal enemies list, if only I could find the 5 1/4 floppy I saved the list on!

I've recently replaced my old D-Link NAS drive with a new My Book Live Duo 6 TB model from WD. Very nice hardware overall, with a good set of features, including the ability to access your drive contents from the Internet just about anywhere. Watch out for the brittle included software though - the SmartWare setup wizard would quit on me every time, giving only an error code that's nowhere to be found on the net, and WD support doesn't appear to be forthcoming with an answer. Interestingly, when I downloaded the same installer directly from WD website, it worked, so go figure. But that's not what this post is about.

This post is about what happens when you intend to submit a support request (like I did when the software wouldn't install). As part of the process, the drive generates a log file with all sorts of narcissistic insights into itself.  When you do that, you may notice that generating this log file takes a suspiciously long time, so much so you think it's hung. Well, it isn't. It is busy creating an SQLite database that contains all the filenames on your drive and then gets zipped up into the log file. Then you can send your support ticket along with the log.

Let me repeat that: the log contains a complete list of all the names of all the files on your drive. How's that for a privacy poison candy? Nowhere in the process are you told this is going to happen - perhaps they inform you in the EULA, I couldn't be bothered to check.

I got suspicious when I saw how huge the log file was - and it was huge, because in my case the database is 166 megabytes in size (uncompressed) and contains records for over 370 thousand files on my drive, each with a full path, filename, modified date and size. The database table even contains a column named "is_deleted", and when you run a SELECT on that, you will see that the table also contains records for files that you had put on the disk and then deleted. Way to go, WD!

Inside the zip file, the database is stored in a folder called ".mediacrawler" (yep, with a leading dot - maybe on a Linux system I wouldn't even see it was there :-) so I thought maybe the db only contained the multimedia files. But no - it actually holds all the files, and they all go to WD, because apparently the filenames will help them resolve a problem you have with the drive not working correctly.

This is where I should say I will never buy a WD drive again and I recommend that you don't either. Well, no such luck, because WD is the only HDD maker that I trust to make reasonably reliable and reasonably fast HDDs. I had a Seagate once, that thing ran hot like a furnace and loud like one too! Then it died a screeching death. In all fairness, a WD Velociraptor drive once died on me too after 3 years of workig almost 24/7, but at 10,000 rpm its short lifespan was to be expected, and SMART alerted me early enough to make a full backup. Other than that, I've never had a WD drive that failed or gave any kind of trouble at all. So, in my experience, WD makes solid drives and I will continue buying them, albeit with a small inward sigh when I do.

I just won't be sending any support requests to WD, that's for sure.
11  Other Software / DC Gamer Club / Re: Microsoft Flight Simulator - Free! on: July 27, 2012, 10:04:12 AM
Here's a post-mortem by someone who used to be on the Flight team. Things don't look good, particularly with respect to whether MS might sell the franchise to a third party. Wonder if they'll keep the servers on, because Flight mostly refuses to work without logging you in.
12  Other Software / DC Gamer Club / Re: Microsoft Flight Simulator - Free! on: July 27, 2012, 05:54:34 AM

Yep, both. They released the last DLC aircraft and announced the shutdown a day later (it may have even been the same day for some). A great shame, too. I was this close to upgrading my system with a new i7 CPU, board and graphics to match, just for Flight. It is / was pretty amazing, even with all the blanks not yet filled in.
13  Special User Sections / N.A.N.Y. 2012 / Re: NANY 2012 Release: Ethervane Echo on: July 09, 2012, 01:04:14 PM
What I meant was, what works for the Goose (VB6), should work for the Gander (Delphi)

Ah, yes, sorry smiley

It should work, but it would do little to help with the tray icon issue, if indeed the problem is somehow related to the 64-bitness.
14  Special User Sections / N.A.N.Y. 2012 / Re: NANY 2012 Release: Ethervane Echo on: July 09, 2012, 12:26:03 PM
People are using the VB6 IDE in Win 7 64 bit.
VB6 only comes in a 32 bit version.

I don't use VB, sorry :-)

Delphi now has a 64-bit version, and I could upgrade to it, but in order to continue development I'd also have to upgrade several third-party libraries. That last thing is a joy-killer, as the cost of upgrading them all is way too high for me.
15  Special User Sections / N.A.N.Y. 2012 / Re: NANY 2012 Release: Ethervane Echo on: July 09, 2012, 11:29:53 AM
Like the previous poster, I joined this site primarily to express my admiration for Echo. It's a fabulous piece of software, head and shoulders above the other clipboard extenders out there. The level of thought that went into the design is really impressive.

Thank you kindly! I apologize for the late reply, I'm just back from vacation.

Quote
I do however want to note that I have the same problem posted by Hangdog on January 7th and Silat on April 6th: in Windows 7 x64, for some reason, the status of the tray icon is not saved between sessions. In other words, when the tray icon is set to "Show icon and notifications", it appears, but it will not persist once the user has logged off. On the next login, the icon is hidden again and needs to be reset to "Show". The settings for the tray icons of every other application I'm using persist between sessions; Echo is the only exception. From earlier comments by Tranglos and others I gather this is not a problem in 32-bit versions of Windows, but there does seem to be something about Echo that makes it problematic for the 64-bit version to retain this particular setting, although I can't imagine what it is.

This behavior is governed entirely by Windows. I can try replacing the tray icon library that I'm using with a different one, but I've no idea if this will help.

What would be more likely to help is me switching to 64-bit Windows and the latest 64-bit version of Delphi. I'll move on to Win64 eventually, but the cost of upgrading Delphi and all the third party libraries would go into thousands of dollars, so I'm afraid this is very unlikely. In fact, a move to Win64 will probably mean the end of all development on my side, unless I can continue using the 32-bit version of Delphi.
16  Special User Sections / N.A.N.Y. 2012 / Re: NANY 2012 Release: Ethervane Echo on: May 21, 2012, 10:42:04 AM
Using the hotkey to open the echo window always opens it in the same position regardless of where it was when I minimized/closed it.

This does NOT occur if I open the window by clicking the tray icon.  I use a dual monitor setup so I want echo on my 2nd mon while I work on my main one.

I like to close windows that aren't used at the moment, but I always have to drag the window over if I use the hotkey.

First, check this setting:

Tools -> Preferences -> Display -> PopupPosition.

By default this option is set to ppAtCaret, so Echo tries to position itself as close as possible to where the caret (text insertion point) is. If this is not possible, e.g. because the currently focused window does not have a caret (a message box, for instance), then Echo pops up at its most recent position.

If this option it set to anything else, change it to ppAtCaret.

This behavior does not depend on how you activate Echo (hotkey, mouse click, etc), but Echo will ONLY reposition itself if it was hidden (minimized) when you activated it. On the same preferences screen there is an option called RepositionOnlyFromIconic, which you can set to False if you prefer.

Please check both settings and see if they help.
17  Special User Sections / N.A.N.Y. 2012 / Re: NANY 2012 Release: Ethervane Echo on: May 16, 2012, 10:03:25 AM
Doing that, your program is quite happily doing the following -
- Pasting into FF URL textbox
- Pasting into Notepad, EditPadLite
- Pasting into Wordpad, Jarte

So it appears to me that you have solved, what I have not solved.
Could you list the steps that you are taking, between a user leaving their active application, to double clicking a clip.

As I explained in my previous message - Echo does absolutely nothing with regard to other apps and their windows. No matter how you bring up Echo, Echo will lose focus and minimize when you paste a clip. When that happens, Windows gives focus back to whatever application was active at the time you clicked the icon in the SysTray. Echo doesn't know what app that it, but Windows knows it and does the right thing. Echo just waits a short moment to give Windows time to do its work, and then sends a kepyress (Ctrl+V or Ctrl+Ins). Windows is responsible for delivering that keypress to whatever application is now active.

Quote
PS Any chance of the single click option ?

I'll have to think about it. It could be very annoying, I imagine.
18  Special User Sections / N.A.N.Y. 2012 / Re: NANY 2012 Release: Ethervane Echo on: May 16, 2012, 08:55:39 AM
I notice that your program, has the ability to paste directly into the Active application.
That takes a bit of doing, as the clicking of the systray, steals the focus (Active'ness), and Windows does not place the focus (Active'ness) back to the previously Active Window, when the clicked systray program hides itself.
No doubt some API's are involved, to accomplish that feat.
Could you list those for me.

The problem you describe totally applies. There are many ways of activating the app - via the hotkey, click on the task bar icon, click on the "tray" (notification area) icon, alt-tab or mouse click in the program window. AFAIK, there is no solution that can handle all these cases. At least in Delphi, the earliest notifications the app receives about being activated come too late, when the previously active app is already inactive. As you found out, the best you can get in some cases is the tray window, not the previously focused application.

My idea was to give up. I don't try to detect what app was active, since it is doomed to failure most of the time. Instead, I let Windows figure it out, since this is what Windows does anyway. When user pastes a clip in Echo, Echo de-activates and hides itself, then sends a sequence of keypresses. These keypresses go to whatever window becomes active after Echo disappears. This happens to be the application that was active at the time Echo was invoked.

Now, I realize that *theoretically* this may not always be the case. Another app might pop up a window while user is working in Echo. However, I have not experienced this even once in over a year of using Echo myself, and I've had no bug reports to that effect. It helps that in recent versions of Windows inactive applications are not permitted to grab focus.

So far I've only had one issue with my non-solution: applications that actively refuse to regain focus. One such app was reported earlier in this thread. What happens is:

1. App X has focus
2. User invokes Echo and pastes a clip.
3. Echo minimizes...
4. ...but app X does not regain focus, even though it is again the foreground app.

It's important to realize that the problem in (4) happens because app X is specifically designed not to grab focus (and you can't switch to it via alt+tab, for example). Such apps are thankfully rare.

The only thing I could do in this case was to give up again and add a check for the active application, the check that doesn't really work. Well, in Echo it does work if user activates Echo using the global hotkey, but not when Echo gets activated in any other way. So Echo doesn't rely on this value. If Echo is activated via hotkey *and* it can get a window handle that is not the desktop, then it will try to make that handle foreground before pasting the clip. It seems to be working with "Stickies" (the problem app in this case) and doesn't hurt anything, as far as I can tell.

Other than such odd-behaving apps, my non-solution seems satisfactory.

On edit, forgot to add: I know that some similar apps try to monitor the focused window changes as they happen. I haven't even explored this possibility, because my personal "prime directive" is to do as little as necessary to get the desired result. When Echo sits idly in the tray, it is really idle; I don't like the idea of constantly monitoring what other windows are doing. It would require either a very frequently firing timer (which would often miss, anyway) or installing a system hook. Either way is too intrusive for my liking.
19  Special User Sections / N.A.N.Y. 2012 / Re: NANY 2012 Release: Ethervane Echo on: May 09, 2012, 09:43:38 AM
New release May 9 (Version 1.1.3)

See the top post in this thread for download links.

New in this release:

FIXED: A bug that would cause clip use count to be unnecessarily incremented in some situations,. e.g. when capturing duplicate clips.

No idea how I missed this one for so long. I must be getting old! Use count for all clips should now be maintained correctly.

20  Special User Sections / N.A.N.Y. 2012 / Re: NANY 2012 Release: Ethervane Echo on: April 18, 2012, 01:57:18 PM
Please help me.
I copy a few words from the webpage, then select them in the Echo and insert in a web form, but the word order is wrong. How do I get when inserting the words they have been allocated in the order in which I copied them?

Hi Adam. I'm not sure I understand. Can you please describe what you are trying to do in more detail? Are you selecting more than 1 item in Echo?

If you are, then by default Echo copies items in chronological order (newest first), even if they are displayed in some other other, e.g. alphabetically. You can change this so that Echo will copy multiple items in the order in which they are displayed: click Tools -> Preferences -> Pasting clips. Change the option called MultiPasteOrder to mpoAsDisplayed.

This only applies in case you are copying multiple items at a time. (Otherwise I can't see how Echo could change the order of words - it is not possible inside a clip).

However, if you are trying to fill out a web form, Echo will not help you fill out several fields at a time (e.g put the username in one field and the password in another field ine one go). All Echo does is put text on the clipboard.

21  Other Software / Found Deals and Discounts / Re: Swift To-Do List 7 Standard FREE today 2012-03-26 Only on BDJ on: April 17, 2012, 11:52:11 AM
Hi,

Got an announcement about a calendar feature being added.  Didn't download, but it sounds like it is in the Pro.  Which would mean, so far, Jiri is getting the msg.

The email reads in part:

Quote
(description of the calendar feature, ending with...)

The calendar panel is collapsible and located below the to-do list tree. It is
dead-simple and joy to use.

It truly brings Swift To-Do List to whole new level.

And by the way, our records indicate that you are currently using the
Professional edition.

Have you considered upgrading to the Ultimate edition?

I took it to mean the calendar is in the Ultimate version only - it does give that impression, doesn't it? But indeed, it's available in Professional:

http://www.dextronet.com/...do-list-software/editions


22  Other Software / DC Gamer Club / Re: Microsoft Flight Simulator - Free! on: April 16, 2012, 12:48:27 PM
Found some good tips for tweaking configuration files for Flight, especially stuff that cannot be modified inside the app. Includes advice on how to tame the out-of-control trimming.

And AvSim has a few useful tutorials that fill the significant gaps, such as navigating by VOR and ILS. (Older tutorials for FSX and other sims will likewise work, since the principle is the same and the controls are always similar.)
23  Other Software / DC Gamer Club / Re: Microsoft Flight Simulator - Free! on: April 15, 2012, 07:40:29 PM
MSFlight = Shitty Flying Game - No user created addons - Must pay out your ass for a single airplane - NOT a simulator.

I don't know about the shitty game part. It *is* a game, with points, missions, achievements and so on. When you make a bad landing, at least you'll know by the reaction of your passengers. (Though sometimes the way they react has no bearing on whether you are awarded points for "happy passengers").

The ease with which you can get into it and start flying without hours of reading and memorizing acronyms, speeds, approaches etc. makes it pretty good as a game for me. As a simulator, I really cannot judge. On flightsim forums I have seen very respectful comments on its flight model though, even from people who despise it for all its limitations.

Quote
Flight Simulator X = Pretty Decent Simulator, Huge Community, nice amount of aircraft as default, map = WHOLE WORLD

True, but it's a poor quality world. I'll have to check more thoroughly, but from what I've seen so far, my country (Poland) does not have a single landmark in FSX, except the rivers, lakes and mountains. In FSX there's a mission set in Hawaii... full of empty, uniform green hills. In Flight, you are really there. And I imagine recreating the whole world at this level of detail would take considerable time and investment.

For FSX there are add-ons which are much more expensive than either sim. $70 for "Northern Rockies" from ORBX? (The sad thing is, I'm thinking of buying it anyway, they have a sale during April.) And even at this price all you get is limited areas (kind of like Hawaii in Flight, really), not the whole world.

Quote
X-Plane = Incredible, although difficult. (And not all that expensive) - Only downfall = Requires insane Graphics capabilities to run in anywhere near "Top" GFX mode

This I can totally believe, but I will need to seriously upgrade my machine before I can run it.


Quote

Tranglos, do you fly online (FSX)? - If so, PM me, I am looking for some flying buddies smiley - I only fly single/dual prop, no Jets, Jets are no fun for me...(Take off, hit AP, wait till you get close, disable AP, land...)

Same here on jets, but I''ll have to learn to fly them first, before I make up my mind :-)

I've never used multiplayer since I tried that in Quake all those years ago and couldn't last 10 seconds. I don't really know yet how it works in FSX or if my system can take the additional load. Besides, no-one wants to see me fly at this stage :-)

24  Other Software / DC Gamer Club / Re: Microsoft Flight Simulator - Free! on: April 15, 2012, 07:07:05 PM
A quick update to say Flight is now available on Steam - the full Hawaii package. Now, before steam, you had to open a MS Games account (which is a Live account plus Game Points that you buy), and during the game/sim Flight connects to that account. Since you can now buy it through steam, I wonder what happens to that. If you buy it on steam, can you buy new DLC later directly from MS? Not sure that I'd want to mix the two!

There's a good, fair write-up of Flight here. Though this is written by an experienced simmer, and I am a total novice, I'd say pretty much what he says, about the good parts and the bad parts. His impression is spot-on:

Quote
my first impression was: Wow. This is awesome. And terrible. And beautiful. And ugly. And compelling. And boring

(Well, almost spot-on - I can't say I've seen the "ugly".)


I've been switching between Flight and FSX. Since FSX has a lot of tutorials, I use it to learn, then try it all out in Flight, where the flying environment is more fun. Then I go back to FSX, because it lets you plan longer trips, use the autopilot, ATC, all that. My main impression is that flying and (particularly) landing is significantly easier in FSX!

Now, I'm only flying single and twin-prop aircraft (since I realized I can't even level out a jet in flight :-) in fair weather, with realism settings at about medium, increasing them gradually. I have no idea which of the two has a more realistic flight model and aircraft response, but the difference is surprisingly large.

Flying the tutorials in FSX, when I am instructed to maintain 55 knots in the Cessna 172, no problem. Climb or descend at an assigned rate, comes after a few tries. Maintain an altitude - that takes me more time to get right than I think it should, but I can get there. Trying to do the same in Flight is way harder, sometimes next to impossible.

I like the Maule 7 a lot, and it's the only aircraft available in both Flight and FSX, so there should be some comparison. In Flight, this thing knows only two settings: climb uncontrollably or drop like a rock. Above 56% or so throttle, it will continue climbing until it stalls, regains airspeed, then climb again, in a huge flattened sinusoid. Below that, and it will descend at much more than the 500 feet per minute you're supposed to keep (more or less) during descent. There is nothing in-between.

(The intriguing thing is that when you switch to "flying with the mouse", everything becomes child's play - just point the mouse level and the aircraft will fly level. No fun, and certainly no realism. But with throttle+joystick, the same tasks become a near impossibility.)

That same aircraft becomes completely tame in FSX. Level flight - easy. Reduce throttle to 25%, and it will glide down nicely they way you want it to. In Flight, at 25% it's a paperweight.

Oh, there's trimming, but the controls are way oversensitive in Flight, with no settings to make them less so. A single press of a button will trim by 5, 7 or 9 percent, and the amount varies, so you can't bring the trim back to neutral at all. The only way to trim by 1% is to use the mouse wheel over the trim control in the virtual cockpit, which almost always requires panning the view, which prevents you from controlling the aircraft properly... and even the 1% changes seem to have an exaggerated effect.  Exaggerated in comparison with FSX, that is - not sure which is closer to reality.

In FSX, flying the simpler aircraft, I can grease the landings fairly easily, even make the recommended three-wheel touchdown in Maule is not that hard. In Flight, after over 80 hours flying time and over 700 landings (it keeps these stats for you), I can't make consistently soft landings. What's worse, at 100 or so feet above ground I still don't know what the touchdown is going to be like or if/how I can assure a soft one. It's unpredictable, and the aircraft just doesn't like to stay in the air very much.

Of the four aircraft available in Flight (excluding the external-view-only Mustang and Zero, which I'm not buying), the Stearman and the RV-6 behave very much like the Maule. Only the lowly Icon is more manageable. The RV-6 is the opposite of Maule in that it will climb happily even at 15% throttle or less, which makes it impossibly hard (for me, the greenhorn in the room) to properly slow it down to 60 kts or less for landing. With full flaps, I'm finding that I have to reduce the throttle to idle long before the touchdown point in order to slow down sufficiently, and then be very careful not to increase it above 6-8% if I don't want to overshoot the runway.

Somehow I have none of these problems in FSX, even when flying the more powerful twin-engines. They behave much more predictably to me, while I am really in no position to "predict" aircraft behavior in the first place.

Both FSX and Flight are great fun, both have tons of annoyances. FSX has all kinds of navigation (having ATC direct you to the runway is kinda cool), but I get off at the stop where you're supposed to start calculating fuel and landing weight (in your head, too). It crashes way too often, which is awfully frustrating during a training session or a mission, since they tend to be long (20, 40 minutes or more) and you can't skip to waypoints, like you can in Flight. And, I just have to say it, the UI in FSX is murder. Starting with the map, which you cannot resize beyond the tiny rectangle, or the spin controls in which you cannot type or which tend to reset to zero out of their own will when you set their values. Or how you cannot load a flight into the flight editor (e.g. to reuse the aircraft and airport but change the weather, etc.). It's hard to believe this UI passed quality checks in 2006. (I won't even mention usability tests.)

Flight, OTOH, is smooth as silk and has truly wonderful graphics, but as I switch between it and FSX, the lack of ATC, GPS, autopilot, a real map and other navigation aids takes away much of the initial fun. (Though flying an ILS approach in zero visibility without those helpers is as hard as it probably should be. Haven't cracked that one yet.)

I have no complaints yet about the limited range of aircraft in Flight - after all, the idea of taking a 7?7 from Maui to Oahu seems somewhat... out there. The limited area is more of an issue of course, but with the very limited navigation facilities, you would be hard pressed to navigate longer distances. (VOR does work, as long as you have FSX to learn how to use it in the first place!)

The much harder landings are more satisfying when you get them right. The frustrating part is, it's hard to know why you did or did not get them right. There's no recording, no replay and no flight analysis, so you are left to your imagination trying to figure out what you did wrong on approach. To me, learning, this is as bad as - maybe even worse than - all the other limitations in Flight, as it really adds to frustration. Trial and error works only as long as you can diagnose the error, which flight makes that much harder.

The appeal of Flight does seem to wane with time. What's keeping me with it is the challenges I haven't successfully completed, the varied weather patterns you can play with, and the overall ease of use and non-crashing. But I'm learning more from FSX, and in the long run FSX is probably the one to stay, if only I can keep it from crashing. In the end the only real advantage of Flight is in the beauty and detail of its graphics.
25  Special User Sections / N.A.N.Y. 2012 / Re: NANY 2012 Release: Ethervane Echo on: April 06, 2012, 04:47:39 PM
Win 7 64

Ethervane will not show in systray at restart.
I have set it to show "icon and notification".
If I manually do that then it shows.
But at system restart it is hidden again.

This (what shows up in the system tray) is entirely controlled by Windows, not by applications. All Echo does is instruct Windows to show its icon in the system tray, but it has no control over how it is displayed (icon, notifications only etc).

I'm not seeing the problem you describe on Windows 7 32-bit. Perhaps the 64-bit Windows treats 32-b it apps in this way, I'm afraid I have no idea.
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