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Author Topic: anything better than Object Dock 2 Plus?  (Read 11406 times)

nudone

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anything better than Object Dock 2 Plus?
« on: February 17, 2011, 08:15:20 AM »
For years I've been looking for a way to display my Desktop files in a sidebar or side panel "thing". A kind of quick show/hide side panel that I can easily access when I have a program running in full screen view. I can't remember what I've tried in the past, nothing worked how I needed, but I recently discovered that Object Dock 2 Plus http://www.stardock....information_plus.asp does come very, very close to what I've always hoped for. (The free version of Object Dock doesn't have "folder tabs", which is what I required.)

The image below is showing my Desktop files in an Object Dock "Tab". You'll see that I've collapsed some of the groups. The tab works just like a regular Windows Explorer Folder, in that you can drag and drop files, delete them, copy them, etc. There is no need to setup which files are displayed like a static toolbar; the tab shows a "realtime" view of the desktop's (or any other folder) contents.

objecdock01.jpg

Now, this would be perfect except for a few issues:

1) The "tab" doesn't appear to remember the file display icon size, i.e. I set it to "small icons", next time I restart the machine, the files will be in "medium icons" size. Obviously, I'd prefer it to remember what I set.

2) It would be better if I could filter out some files permanently. This isn't such a big deal as I could just set the tab to view something other than my Desktop, a folder with only certain files types inside. But, I'm lazy, and I'd like to keep throwing loads of stuff on my desktop whilst I'm working with them - so filters would be handy.

3) I know I'll find more to complain about as I keep working with the Object Dock Tabs. I've only had the program a day.

Now, the reason for posting: This is the best tool I've tried that does what I want and it's not too bad a price (about £11 with 10% discount I found online). But, it's not PERFECT.

I would not be surprised to learn that there is a better tool (probably free) that does this auto hide tab function display. The important bit, though, is that it is NOT a "toolbar"; there is no need to configure which shortcuts or files/folders to display before it starts working - it just shows everyting in the set folder, i.e. it updates in real-time.

Now, I'm wondering, maybe something like autohotkey could just make a modified folder appear like a side panel - AND make it autohide until triggered by the cursor hitting the side of the screen.

Or, maybe there's something already better at the job than Object Dock 2 Plus.

I tried to do something similar with Directory Opus but, as far as I can understand, you can't have different toolbar layouts saved in Directory Opus. You can have different "Lister" layouts but they don't remember specific toolbar arrangements - if they did then I could simply have a Lister that hid all menus and toolbars and just showed folder contents.

Aare there any suggestions, other than just use a "toolbar" or add a new drop-down menu like "toolbar" to my Taskbar. I'm on Windows 7 so I can't even drag system "toolbars" away from the main Taskbar like you could years ago.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2011, 08:19:09 AM by nudone »

nudone

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Re: anything better than Object Dock 2 Plus?
« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2011, 09:17:04 AM »
As I mentioned above in item 3)...

I've now found that Object Dock doesn't really do a good job of hiding itself. No problem if you only have a single monitor, you won't realise that the toolbar/tab is only moving off screen - it isn't collapsing.

So, now I've enabled my other monitors, the "hidden" Object Dock bars are simply moved off my main screen and onto the peripheral monitors.

And, quite frankly, that makes the program ABSOLUTE TOTAL RUBBISH.

mouser

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Re: anything better than Object Dock 2 Plus?
« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2011, 09:44:57 AM »
Interesting.. I could take my Launchbar Commander code (which has auto hiding features that i think work pretty well now, and on multi-monitors), and instead of showing a docking bar, show the contents of a standard file explorer view..

However, note that this would be a standard file explorer panel -- not the nice organization of files you show in your screenshot.  Or two panels, one showing folders and one showing contents of selected folder.

Wouldn't be too hard to add some filtering options based on date or extension, but im not keen on writing a whole custom file explorer display interface.

timns

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Re: anything better than Object Dock 2 Plus?
« Reply #3 on: February 17, 2011, 10:10:10 AM »
I've used ObjectDock for years, but in a more limited way. I have one tab bar at the top left of my left monitor, which rolls up. That works nicely for me.

I also use it to show only very important system tray icons, large in the lower corner. That way I can very easily see, at a glance: PC temperature, and if I have any email.

I used to also use it for quaint stuff like world clock, weather etc. but I subsequently moved to rainmeter which is spiffing.

superboyac

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Re: anything better than Object Dock 2 Plus?
« Reply #4 on: February 17, 2011, 11:37:22 AM »
This is a cool idea, nudone.  I was just about to suggest LBC.  I love LBC, so I'll welcome any of the mentioned additional features.

nudone

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Re: anything better than Object Dock 2 Plus?
« Reply #5 on: February 17, 2011, 11:54:42 AM »
Launchbar Commander does have better/proper autohiding - the kind you'd expect any autohide app to have.

I would be very keen to see Launchbar Commander do something similar to what I'd been trying to do. If it was possible to display a list of folder contents in small icon or "details" layout would be very good. And if the list could be sorted by specifying by type or by name (or by date), then that is what I'd need - to make it easy to find files quickly.

I'll have another look at directory opus and maybe even just Windows Explorer, perhaps there's a workaround before modifying Launchbar Commander.

As for RainMeter, I've just had another quick go with it and it doesn't appear to do what I need (it's nice but it's not the right tool).

Essentially, I just want a standard Windows Explorer folder window to autohide at the edge of my screen...

...there must be a tool (or script) out there that does that already.

wraith808

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Re: anything better than Object Dock 2 Plus?
« Reply #6 on: February 17, 2011, 12:06:28 PM »
I used OD2 Plus for a while, but a better one IMO if you're willing to pay is WinStep.  It includes 3 different ways of setting up your apps.

1. NextStart - It can either be a bar to replace the start menu and task bar, or a right click menu (or both)
http://www.winstep.n..._thumb_nextstart.jpg
2. Workshelf - This is a dock that has shelves (which are the folders that you ask for)
http://www.winstep.n..._thumb_workshelf.jpg
3. Nexus - A separate dock that's more like the NeXT type of dock that can have fly out folders.
http://www.winstep.n..._thumb_nextstart.jpg

All of them allow you to display either the content of folders, manually generated content, or even special folders.

I'd say give it a look.  It's not cheap ($29.95), but it does everything that you asked for, and I like it.  I'll post a screenshot of my desktop when I get home.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2011, 12:08:35 PM by wraith808 »

superboyac

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Re: anything better than Object Dock 2 Plus?
« Reply #7 on: February 17, 2011, 12:07:32 PM »
re: the icon thing
If mouser decides to implement it for LBC, I would hope it would also be compatible to add to CHS, as I mentioned in this thread:
http://www.donationc...ex.php?topic=23426.0

superboyac

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Re: anything better than Object Dock 2 Plus?
« Reply #8 on: February 17, 2011, 12:22:36 PM »
I used OD2 Plus for a while, but a better one IMO if you're willing to pay is WinStep.  It includes 3 different ways of setting up your apps.

1. NextStart - It can either be a bar to replace the start menu and task bar, or a right click menu (or both)
http://www.winstep.n..._thumb_nextstart.jpg
2. Workshelf - This is a dock that has shelves (which are the folders that you ask for)
http://www.winstep.n..._thumb_workshelf.jpg
3. Nexus - A separate dock that's more like the NeXT type of dock that can have fly out folders.
http://www.winstep.n..._thumb_nextstart.jpg

All of them allow you to display either the content of folders, manually generated content, or even special folders.

I'd say give it a look.  It's not cheap ($29.95), but it does everything that you asked for, and I like it.  I'll post a screenshot of my desktop when I get home.
That is one nifty program.  Nice suggestion.  It has a Start Menu Organizer!
screenshot_20110217101129.png
I have NEVER found a good start menu organizer.  A few years ago, mouser was considering it when he mentioned merging FARR and LBC.

nudone

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Re: anything better than Object Dock 2 Plus?
« Reply #9 on: February 17, 2011, 12:36:43 PM »
(Downloading Winstep Nexus now.)

I think I'm just going to use Directory Opus. I've already got buttons set up inside it for quickly filtering files types. It won't be a pop-out taskbar "panel" but it does everything else I need so I'll just stop being so demanding and live with it.

Or maybe Winstep will be the answer.

superboyac

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Re: anything better than Object Dock 2 Plus?
« Reply #10 on: February 17, 2011, 12:41:46 PM »
i agree with that also.  There's a lot you can do with Dopus once you start messing around with collections.  Then you have your folder formats, file type customizations, flat-file settings, folder coloring.  DOpus is extremely powerful.  Worth the price, even though I know a lot of people complain about how expensive it is.  I once tried to setup a saved layout specifically for start menu organizing, but I didn't spend enough time on it.

nudone

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Re: anything better than Object Dock 2 Plus?
« Reply #11 on: February 17, 2011, 12:47:41 PM »
Winstep Nexus is of no use, once it autohides I can't get it to show again (I'm sure it will work fine on a single monitor setup).

As for Directory Opus - when I read the help it gives the impression that specific Toolbars can be saved with specific Listers, but I've been though all the options and tried over and over and cannot do this. Perhaps I'm misinterpreting the help.

I thinking maybe another File Manger type Explorer could be used for this one task - or I could just shut-up and get on with using Dopus.

superboyac

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Re: anything better than Object Dock 2 Plus?
« Reply #12 on: February 17, 2011, 01:00:47 PM »
yeah, i don't think the toolbars can be dynamic in DOpus.

wraith808

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Re: anything better than Object Dock 2 Plus?
« Reply #13 on: February 17, 2011, 01:11:30 PM »
Winstep Nexus is of no use, once it autohides I can't get it to show again (I'm sure it will work fine on a single monitor setup).

As for Directory Opus - when I read the help it gives the impression that specific Toolbars can be saved with specific Listers, but I've been though all the options and tried over and over and cannot do this. Perhaps I'm misinterpreting the help.

I thinking maybe another File Manger type Explorer could be used for this one task - or I could just shut-up and get on with using Dopus.

It might be b/c of where the hotspot is.  I use it on a multi-monitor setup, and have no problem getting it to show again.  It has a *lot* of options related to that.  Also try workshelf- that was more of what I was thinking of for you.

superboyac

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Re: anything better than Object Dock 2 Plus?
« Reply #14 on: February 17, 2011, 01:14:27 PM »
I have never liked autohide in my years with computing.  I'm too picky about the settings, and most programmers put autohide in without any ability to configure it.  For me to use autohide, not only does it need to be stable and responsive, but I need to have settings for popout delay, popin delay.  And i would set it to zero so it's instant.  And when I set it to instant, it should really be instant...not buggy, where there's still a delay.

cranioscopical

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Re: anything better than Object Dock 2 Plus?
« Reply #15 on: February 17, 2011, 01:18:11 PM »
Perhaps I'm misinterpreting the help.

It's easy enough to misinterpret at times, at least for one of my limited intelligence.

Have you tried posting a question into the DOPUS forums?

Can you do anything with collections?
Spoiler
Quote
There is an option in Preferences - Miscellaneous - Windows Integration that lets you add a File Collections icon to the Desktop. If this is enabled an icon appears on the Desktop that lets you quickly open a Lister showing the File Collections root. Also when this is enabled File Collections will appear under the Desktop in the Folder Tree rather than in its own branch.
I wonder if you can dump one or more collections into a hide/show toolbar? Or hot-key to collection(s) ?

 
I don't use W7 so I'm unsure of what you can and can't do with its desktop.


timns

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Re: anything better than Object Dock 2 Plus?
« Reply #16 on: February 17, 2011, 01:37:14 PM »
WinStep looks nice - but perhaps does not offer enough above ObjectDock to make me want to switch.

A combination of FARR and DOpus really takes care of everything else for me.

Something superboyac said just sparked something though: what IS expensive, for software?

Personally I have no problem paying a reasonable chunk of change for something that I am going to get a lot of use out of. The example of DOpus is a really good one. God knows how much I have used that software, and how many hours it has saved me both at work and at home. So is 80+ bucks a lot for that?

I think: no. I wouldn't blink at paying that for a decent pair of boots, say. Or a warm jacket. Or even a decent bottle of plonk. Hell, how about filling the car with petrol?

So I still struggle to understand why there's a very strange attitude to paying for software compared to just about anything else.

wraith808

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Re: anything better than Object Dock 2 Plus?
« Reply #17 on: February 17, 2011, 01:48:48 PM »
Some people won't pay for certain things.  I paid for the Winstep Xtreme suite, and it saves me a lot of time.  Nexus doesn't offer that much above Object Dock Plus.  But Winstep Xtreme at $10 more gives you Nexus + a lot more, so it's a no-brainer for me.

timns

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Re: anything better than Object Dock 2 Plus?
« Reply #18 on: February 17, 2011, 01:53:06 PM »
It's the sort of software I wished I'd found before getting too used to OD and setting it all up 'just so'

I like your suggestion of comparing desktops. I may kick off a thread about that and see who's got the ergnomic edge here  :Thmbsup:

superboyac

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Re: anything better than Object Dock 2 Plus?
« Reply #19 on: February 17, 2011, 02:41:24 PM »
For software price psychology, my theory is this:
If it's between $0-10, nobody should complain.  I'd consider it extremely ungrateful if someone said $10 is to expensive for something they use with any regularity.  Of course, nobody can say anything about freeware, I just don't think the model is sustainable.

$10-20
Some people think this is expensive.  I used to before my career matured.  But now I don't blink at anything under $20.  I'll get it sometimes just because I like the way it's been programmed, even if I don't use it.

$20-50
People start calling these "expensive".  I don't think they are expensive, but the price is high enough for me to actually need justification before purchasing. Like, i really should need it for something now.

$50-100
This is what most people largely consider expensive for software.  Most people will never buy anything in this range.  This range really makes people think twice.  I still don't think it's expensive, but if I need it, I'll get it and it won't really hurt me much.

>$100
This is just too much for most people.  They won't even entertain the thought.  Most people would consider this kind of software as business type, like it's not even meant for home use.

timns

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Re: anything better than Object Dock 2 Plus?
« Reply #20 on: February 17, 2011, 02:46:15 PM »
Very interesting - and maybe worthy of a poll.

Thank you, superboyac!

nudone

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Re: anything better than Object Dock 2 Plus?
« Reply #21 on: February 17, 2011, 05:01:45 PM »
i'm away from my main machine at the moment so can't try out some of the suggestions made.

regarding price of software, i'm in superboys camp really. my income has gone up so if a program is < $20 i'll buy it on a whim. that being the crucial point as i'm buying something i'm not convinced i'll even use. Object Dock 2 Plus being the perfect example. i tried the free version and saw its potential, i then saw that the Plus version did something with "folder tabs". i've now bought and tried the Plus version and believe i shall never use it again.

maybe that's why a lot of people think anything above $10 is not worth it. because they are simply throwing money away on a program they'll not be using in a few weeks from now - especially when someone asks them why they aren't using the freeware equivalent that does just the same.

software authors really need to provide free trials to the full version.

wraith808

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Re: anything better than Object Dock 2 Plus?
« Reply #22 on: February 17, 2011, 08:45:23 PM »
My Chart

$0-25I'll buy on a whimYeah, I buy a lot of software.
$26-50I'll buy with very little justificationI lied.  I buy a hell of a lot of software.
$51-100I'll buy with a little more justificationI have software that I've never used.
$101-250It will take some time to justifyOffice, Windows, SlickEdit, ReSharper
$250+Very few software packages will I buy in this rangeDelphi, Visual Studio
« Last Edit: February 17, 2011, 08:53:53 PM by wraith808 »

superboyac

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Re: anything better than Object Dock 2 Plus?
« Reply #23 on: February 17, 2011, 08:53:34 PM »
That sounds about right to me!