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Author Topic: IDEA: mouse location launcher  (Read 8264 times)
cracksloth
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« on: July 16, 2005, 03:59:36 AM »

a prog that will allow you to specify a command or hotkey to execute when:
   - the mouse cursor is in X screen corner
      ( ) for x seconds
      ( ) with right button click
      ( ) with left button click
      ( ) with left double-click
      ( ) with keypress
   - the mouse cursor is at a screen side for x seconds
      ( ) for x seconds
      ( ) with right button click
      ( ) with left button click
      ( ) with left double-click
      ( ) with keypress
   - a hotkey is pressed

such features can be found in some toolbar applications but you are pretty much screwed if you don't like their launcher.  you could also use this tool to bring f&r to the top when you put your mouse in the corner of the screen.  since you're named mouser, you should love this idea!  smiley
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mouser
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« Reply #1 on: July 16, 2005, 09:40:52 AM »

i think i can write this as a snack this weekend if there isn't already a free tool to do this.

what if instead of X corner or X seconds it worked like this:
it allowed you to draw arbitrary regions on your screen as the regions.
im thinking it would be most useful for things like people using a wall paper as a clickable control thing.

ie imagine you have a wallpaper image of air plane cockpit.  then you could use this program to draw regions of the various controls and assign actions to them.

seems like it might be a nice way to really customize your desktop.

i think i have most of the components needed to make this if it sounds like something useful.

ps.
cracksloth what is your background that you have such a logical and precise way of laying out diagrams and mock screenshots and stuff?

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kfitting
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« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2005, 10:11:42 AM »

Now this idea seems pretty cool... would you be able to specify different regions for different windows?  Maybe you could have one set of regions for the desktop (as you alluded to mouser) and then a different set depending on what program has focus.   Don't know how hard this would be to do, but I think at the very least, you should be able to have one set for desktop, one set for everything else.  Just my one and a half sense!

Kevin
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mouser
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« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2005, 10:30:41 AM »

that's a good point, i hadnt even thought about working with other windows, just the desktop.

i'm not sure how one would want this to work with specific applications - i'm guessing you would really just want it to ignore you when you are inside an application mainly.
« Last Edit: July 16, 2005, 10:43:37 AM by mouser » Logged
mouser
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« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2005, 10:42:39 AM »

not unusually, the hard part about this idea is not the main code, but figuring out a way for the user to tell the program what areas of the screen should trigger stuff.

if we just use corners and sides of screen its pretty easy.. if we use arbitrary regions of desktop we need some way of user to be able to "paint" regions of the screen and associate them with actions.

maybe there is an existing tool already, like a skinning tool, that will let you edit a bitmap and color different regions with different colors.  preferably a 256 color editor that lets you clearly colorize an image by painting regions of colors from this small pallette, so that each "button" or "region" is its own color..

i know such tools are sometimes used as skin editors.. and/or maybe there is another existing skin editing tool that works differently but can be used similarly to edit regions.  or i guess i could use an html region marking tool.. but i think for this task, having an 8bit (256color) color mask might be most efficient.

anyone know any existing tools or willing to help find some? (must be free since the end user will be using it to region-ize their desktop).
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mouser
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« Reply #5 on: July 16, 2005, 10:49:22 AM »

maybe my idea is better suited for custom desktop tools like objectdock or whatever and i should stick to the orig idea, but i wonder if the original idea doesnt already exist as freeware.

http://www.stardock.com/products/objectdock/
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kfitting
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« Reply #6 on: July 16, 2005, 10:49:52 AM »

yeah, as far as working with other windows you would need to be able to allow the user to customize that.  Also, what different triggers would be available?  

-Mousetime
-Mousehover
-Mouseclick?

Any others?

Kevin
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cracksloth
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« Reply #7 on: July 17, 2005, 08:33:26 PM »

sorry it took so long to get back with you.  i had friends over this weekend for fun and punishment.

my original intent was only for screen edges and corners because i want them active even when other applications are active.  that way i can call up a menu, f&r, execute a new browser window, etc regardless of what is active.  i have never been a big fan of the desktop because it is always covered with the things i really use.  i *do* like the idea about having different actions depending on the active application.  for example, slamming your mouse to the bottom of the screen will bring your internet browser to its home page, but it would go to parent directory when your file manager was active.  in fact, would it be possible to require a certain mouse velocity for "slams"?  that way, accidentally brushing against it will not trigger an action?

-cracksloth

p.s
>>cracksloth what is your background that you have such a logical and precise way of laying out diagrams and mock screenshots and stuff?
i am in dental school.  a profession driven by anal retentiveness.
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kfitting
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« Reply #8 on: July 17, 2005, 08:46:02 PM »

Your idea is intriguing cracksloth... I would question whether it could be put into FindRun.  Both concepts are for launching programs or actions.  mouser, would it be possible to have hotkeys, a hotkey, and mouse actions initiate responses from FindRun??  The idea about different actions for different programs is pretty cool too... customizability is awesome!

Kevin

cracksloth:  Dental school??  The bane of all four year olds!!
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mouser
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« Reply #9 on: July 17, 2005, 09:05:47 PM »

well at least we know that your skills with charts mean you won't be extracting the wrong teeth..
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cracksloth
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« Reply #10 on: July 17, 2005, 11:10:53 PM »

the rumors are true i'm afraid...  all fear me!

i do not like the idea of integrating this into f&r.  i think this is one example of a feature set that doesn't really fit well within the confines of f&r.  it is very much a separate tool.  one of the reasons that such a tool is necessary is that people always bundle these features rather than making it a separate program.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2005, 07:03:39 PM by cracksloth » Logged
cracksloth
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« Reply #11 on: July 31, 2005, 01:00:13 PM »

maybe it could be called "Fitt's Machine" (based on the ideas proposed by the now-famous "Fitt's Law").  if anyone is interested in good interface design, check out:
http://www.symphonyos.com/desktop.html

"Jason's Laws of Interface Design" are very true.  personally, i am not as opposed to nested menus as he is (at least menus that i can customize myself) but i understand what he is trying to say (that nested menus created by others have a steeper learning curve and are more difficult to navigate in a mouse-world).  anyway, not that this was officially approved as a snack, but another interesting snack that could be created to complement the "Fitt's machine" are some fullscreen menus similar to those i linked to (for computer, tasks, documents, quicklaunch, music, etc.)  the user could customize a menu however he/she wanted.  it would be a very great way of managing your computer.  especially if you could automatically dock a program to a menu.  for example, i would "attach" winamp to my music menu so that i would have access to all of my frequent playlists and the player and shortcuts to all music related tools all at once.  similarly, on a "programs" menu, i would dock f&r, insert all of the shortcuts found in the quicklaunch folder, put some shortpopup links to my start menu, and a link to "add/remove programs".  this sort of "task-based" computing is the future and this would be a really great method of embracing it.  in retrospect, the "fitt's machine" would be a nice coding snack but the menus would probably be advanced enough to be a featured program.  i've got more ideas about this but i will gauge your reaction first.

i've got more ideas than sense.

-cracksloth
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mouser
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« Reply #12 on: July 31, 2005, 01:09:27 PM »

i really like your ideas of combining big giant menus with applications docked inside them.
i would like to hear more ideas..
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kfitting
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« Reply #13 on: July 31, 2005, 05:39:04 PM »

I too would like to hear more.  I don't quite have a full fledged idea of what you're talking about (I HAVE to be able to see something before I understand it!!) but from what I do understand, this is a powerful concept.  The only major caveat I see is what happens to those of us who use 90% of our windows maximized (like myself!).  Also, how would this apply to say a word processor, internet browser, or file manager (some of my most used programs).  Interesting concept though... definitely worth looking into.

Kevin
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cracksloth
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« Reply #14 on: July 31, 2005, 11:47:06 PM »

okay, well, the menus would actually be more like virtual desktops.  so the applications would not even really need to be "docked" to the menu as much as "visible" in that specific desktop.  i will assume everyone is familiar with virtual desktop tools but, if not, let me know.  using virtual desktops is not absolutely necessary but it is probably the easiest way to explain the concepts and it is perhaps the easiest way to implement program "docking".  basically, you would be able to specify certain programs to always be visible on a certain desktop (these "desktops" would be visually equivalent to a fullscreen menu).  so you would create a desktop for music and you would have all music related programs setup to display in that desktop.  similarly, you could create a desktop for documents, videos, internet browsing, file browsing, etc.  programs that are not specified to be docked in a specific desktop will open in the "main" desktop (as you would expect).  now, i also mentioned that there would be other fancy widgets located in these menus/desktops.  one widget type would display files found in a particular location - for example, the music desktop could have 3 of these widgets:
 - "C:\Documents and Settings\cracksloth\Start Menu\Programs\music\"
 - "C:\Music\Playlists\"
 - "C:\mp3\"
this widget would also be useful for displaying items in internet favorites, recent documents, recycle bin, or even shutdown options like: shutdown, hibernate, standby, logout, lock screen, etc.
there could also be a widget for displaying open tasks (grouped by desktop).  clicking on a task would switch to that desktop.
another widget could display a clock.
another widget would display all of the drives mapped on your system.
you get the idea (and i am sure others will have some great ideas as well).  you could quickly access these desktops using "Fitt's Machine" just by slamming your mouse into the corner of the screen, by clicking in a corner or side, or by pressing a hotkey.  you would have a unique environment tailored specifically to each kind of computer task that you do.  it also cleans up the clutter of having a lot of programs open at one time.  like i mentioned before, i think task oriented computing is the future of interface design and this would be a really great way of pooling common resources together without having to redesign Windows.

there are many ways to address task switching (maybe we can all state our preference and why we think it is best):
  - when selecting a window in the taskbar, the parent desktop would automatically be selected
  - each desktop would have its own taskbar and the tasks docked to a virtual desktop would be hidden from the taskbar of the main desktop
  - each desktop would have its own taskbar but the tasks would still be accessible from the main desktop taskbar (docked tasks are available in both the virtual desktop and the main desktop)
  - each desktop would have its own alt-tab menu
  - etc.

like i mentioned above, it is not necessary to think of these as desktops - visually they would appear as fullscreen menus that you can turn on or off at will.  i guess it just depends on how your mind works.  smiley  in retrospect, i think we should just call them fullscreen menus because it is easier to explain (but in the background they behave like virtual desktops).  i hope i didn't confuse anyone with the talk of "main desktop" and "virtual desktop".  to recap, the main desktop is what we see everyday.  the virtual desktops are the other "menus" that we add that have widgets and docked programs.

@kfitting:
Quote
what happens to those of us who use 90% of our windows maximized (like myself!)
well, the maximized windows that you don't dock to a desktop/menu would remain as normal in the main desktop.  if you docked a window to a desktop, you could still maximize/move/resize the window.  no change.  it is just the underlying desktop that is tailored to a specific task and you could also dock those windows that are related to that task so that they are quickly available.

i am not sure if this description is adequate but if anyone has any concerns, let me know.
« Last Edit: August 01, 2005, 12:09:54 AM by cracksloth » Logged
cracksloth
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« Reply #15 on: August 13, 2005, 11:15:24 AM »

so did i just freak you guys out by mentioning multiple desktops?  this is just the method i thought would be the easiest to implement because i assumed program docking would be the most difficult feature.  anyway, it is not necessary and would be a more confusing paradigm for users to follow.  when i was rolling the idea around in my head, i just realized that fullscreen menus are kinda like transient desktops and i was hoping that desktop widget software (like konfabulator or anything similar) would work with them.  honestly any implementation would be fine as long as the core functionality would be the same.  so what are the thoughts on this project or "Fitt's machine"?
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mouser
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« Reply #16 on: August 13, 2005, 11:58:09 AM »

you know i really like this idea -
it's more of a way of working than a new application, as you say.
the existing virtual desktops can already do most of this.

its definitely appealing idea, you switch to "music" desktop and it automatically has your music program opened and any helper programs opened, and arranged where you like them.  i think it makes a lot of sense.

maybe it does call for a slightly customized virtual desktop tool.. that is more like a list of "active" virtual desktops, wish easy way to shut off the programs running on them, and describe the programs you want running on each, along with a custom launch bar on each one.

its interesting to think about what a program would look like that would be combine these purposes.  most of the software already exists.

i'm thinking maybe like a launch bar with different "modes"
each mode would represent a different virtual desktop.
so by selecting a mode you select which apps are available on the launch bar and switch to the different virtual desktop and launch all the apps with the checkmarks enabled in the launch bar.  something like that.
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« Reply #17 on: August 15, 2005, 05:38:08 PM »

Reading through these posts, I can't help but suggest that PowerPro will do all that and more. Virtual desktop management, program launching by mouse position, hotkey, toolbar or upon window opening. Very powerful utility. Lots of plug-ins. Strong user group for help. It has a scripting language, though not as powerful as AHK it will do a lot of things. It's free, as well.

http://powerpro.webeddie.com/
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« Reply #18 on: August 16, 2005, 07:20:17 PM »

I was just gonna say that!

I can't remember (my hd is toast so I'm posting this from Slax, so no poking around Powerpro) but I think you can define "hotspots" (which would do for 'mouse position launching')and if you use your Powerpro as a launcher bar, you can set it to switch bar configs on switch of virtual desktop. Configing Powerpro is a bit of a bear, but go ahead, read the help file and good luck.
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cracksloth
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« Reply #19 on: August 16, 2005, 10:20:59 PM »

i had always glazed over powerpro based on the ugly screenshots and website.  i thought it was some kind of skinnable toolbar.  anyway, thanks.  i would say this fits the bill for the "fitt's machine" (although it is not quite the simple small tool that i had in mind).  but it does *not* fill the role of the desktop manager (or whatever you want to call it) that i was talking about.  so let's spell out the requirements of such a program (and feel free to tell me if a similar program exists):

- creation of multiple desktops with a way of switching between them (nothing special here - any desktop manager would do)
- the option to have certain windows always open in a specific desktop
- individual taskbars (or other task management device) for each desktop
- some keyboard navigated windows to display useful shortcuts similar to the displays found in the screenshots here:
http://www.symphonyos.com/desktop.html
these windows would display things like drives, recent documents, favorite folders, program shortcuts, a music folder, etc.  technically, these windows could be a separate snack *or* (even better) you could give f&r the commandline option to launch a new instance that *only* displays the content with a specific search (no toolbar or search field).  that way, all these cool features would be found in f&r, it would save coding time, and it would allow people to have often used searches open all the time (which is obviously useful in instances like this).  it would be nice, however, if f&r had a view style that was bigger and more menu-like than details (again, reference the screenshots to get an idea of what i am talking about).  what does everyone think?
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cracksloth
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« Reply #20 on: August 16, 2005, 11:22:04 PM »

so, in summary, this has turned into a 3 program solution:

 - a desktop manager (vwm) that will automatically place certain windows on a specific desktop and each desktop has its own taskbar (maybe this already exists so if anyone here knows of a vwm with a taskbar or if anyone knows how to modify powerpro, let me know.)
 - powerpro (optional) for switching between these desktops via the mouse.¬† obviously, other methods (like hotkeys) could be used instead.¬† at any rate, methods for this already exist.
 - a modification of f&r that would display search content in a window without toolbars or other buttons (mouser, this might be a good project to use that lite skinnable window design that you were talking about).¬† in my little world, this would mean a commandline that specifies 1) a config file and 2) the search criteria to use (like an alias, or a command, or whatever).
« Last Edit: August 17, 2005, 12:17:36 AM by cracksloth » Logged
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« Reply #21 on: August 17, 2005, 10:09:05 AM »

I would be very surprised if you could not do what you want with PowerPro. It is very powerful. Some of the users have already built scripts for maintaining desktops with applications associated and located in desired places. The scripting has evolved past my puny abilites, but there is a very active communty of users who will help you figure out what needs to be done.

It is a bear to to learn, as it has evolved over the years and was not coded from scratch. The originator is active in helping out and troubleshooting. He responds very quickly to feature requests and bug fixes. The stuff some of the 'pros' can do with it just amazes me. If you truly want to become a 'power user' and do some crazy cool stuff, you will not be disappointed.
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cracksloth
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« Reply #22 on: August 17, 2005, 04:24:57 PM »

it does look very powerful...  i guess i'm just turned off by having to learn the specific syntax for powerpro.  it is not exactly a tool of ease (especially for the advanced stuff i am talking about).  you have to have a lot of time that you can dedicate to it (which many people don't).  to me, it's kind of like tossing me a book on programming and telling me to have a go at making it myself.  i'd *love* to make the tool but i do not have the expertise and gaining the expertise would require time that i do not have (trust me, this would take me a *long* time!).  smiley  a lot of useful tools can be created using scripting languages but that does not mean that everyone should make his/her own tools (more people would benefit if someone who knew what they were doing took a crack at it).  anyway, in short, i guess i'm just dumb like that!  tongue
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