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Circle Dock / Exciting e-mail / News today
« on: July 23, 2012, 03:02 PM »
Hello folks

I first apologize for my absence. After the incidents with our former CD savior I was left broken hearted, and also with my contracts piling on, I have had little time to answer questions, and maintain VideoInPicture's web site.
I want  to thank this great community for keeping CD and the faith alive.  :-*

Apparently there has been some sort of resurgence with CD.

I received the following e-mail a short while ago and want to share:

Hi. Rich Bowen here from SourceForge. I wanted to let you know that your project is featured on the front page of this week. You may wish to take this opportunity to brush up on your project summary page, improve the project description, or check that you've got an up-to-date project icon. Also, if you'd like to do further publicity, I'd be glad to do an interview with you - email or podcast - for the SourceForge blog.

Projects are chosen due to growth in activity over the previous weeks - perhaps due to a recent release of news story.

I know that some of you have more than one project, so I've listed the featured projects below so you know which one I'm talking about, and what company you're keeping.

Thanks for being part of the SourceForge community.
Some contact and signature information omitted for security considerations

I have returned an e-mail eager to represent Circle Dock, Eric Wong (VideoInPicture) and the DC community.

What say you folks, I would have your thoughts and opinions

Greetings folks.

I come to you humble and frustrated  :-[

Some years ago, a programmer developed a neat little piece of software (albeit needing additional work) that would show and hide desktop icons with a simple Shortcut and command line. This program worked famously in Windows XP, and failed (partially) in can imagine the headache in Windows 7.
More information on that program at How-To-Geek:

Over the years I have contact many programmers to re-create an update to this, by creating a similar program that would work in Windows Vista and higher, in both 32 and 64 bit flavors.
I have had several serious attempts to tackle this issue, to include folks that would be paid upon completion of program.
Many have outright given up or have created bloated/failed attempts.
Two have come so close.
A former programmer here (that I will not mention by name) came the closest, with Clean Desktop
Can be downloaded here:

Clean desktop will Show/Hide Desktop Icons, Side Bar Gadgets, and the Menu Bar

The problem (that seems to be at issue) is hiding the Menu Bar and then making the space available.
In Vista and 7 it is easy to hide and show the menu bar, but typically the area seems to be "reserved" and no application expanded to full screen can make use of this area.
As shown in the following image:
Screenshot - 7_28_2010 , 1_04_37 PM.png

This is the single area of frustration that apparently can not be overcome in Vista and 7!!!  :huh:

That being said; this should be do-able!
Object Dock has successfully done this for many years now, where the Menu Bar can be locked in a down position (or made to disappear) and the Menu Bar area made usable.
So, as far as I know, this goal is obtainable.

I like the structure and small program of Clean desktop, and would see that continued/re-created, so users can identify what and when "X" desktop Items Show/Hide.
The program is universal in that it works in 32 and 64 bit arenas.
The two big things to overcome is Hiding/Showing the Menu Bar, while making the Menu Bar area usable, and creating a system where the last state is remembered (?).
Doing this and wrapping it up into a small .exe controlled by Command Line through End User created shortcuts.

I would see this program posted as a DC Community program, and made available here, If Mouser approves ;)

Yes there is a way that the Desktop Icons can be hidden in all Windows Platforms. This has been available since Windows 95, and Side Bar can simply be shut off, but this does not address the Menu Bar, nor make Desktop Icons, side Bar gadgets, or the Menu Bar easily accessible to instant access. Which is where this small program comes in very handy.

If there are any programmers here willing to tackle this project, I would be very grateful.

Thanks in Advance
The Sarge

Announce Your Software/Service/Product / Rainmeter 2.0 Unleashed
« on: February 06, 2011, 02:42 PM »
Apologies folks, I know I have failed to keep you updated as I should.

But here we go  :Thmbsup:


Two years ago, an abandoned, virtually unknown piece of open-source software was suddenly embraced by a small team of designers and programmers with a vision of its potential. Since then, Rainmeter has become the premier desktop customizing platform for Windows PCs, and with over 3 million downloads*, its passionate and supportive user community is growing by the day. The result is a gallery of hundreds of creative skins, gadgets and plugins, and an app that just keeps getting better.

To commemorate the second anniversary of Rainmeter's "rebirth," we've decided to surprise our users with the big jump to 2.0. A whole-number jump may not mean much at Google anymore, but it's still a big deal for us. Here's the gist of what Rainmeter users can expect:

    [*]Adding new skins is easier than ever. Rainmeter can now recognize and install downloaded skins automatically in just a few clicks. It'll even make a backup if you're copying over an old version, while leaving your personal settings untouched.
    [*]We've added Illustro, a new set of default skins, which have been specially designed to help new users learn the basics.
    [*]You can now do a lot more with skins than just look at them. Skins now support text input, letting you tweet, search Google, jot down a quick note - and whatever else you can think of - directly from Rainmeter. This feature also reduces the need to edit code by hand, making it faster and easier to change your personal settings: colors, fonts, passwords and more.
    [*]Rainmeter itself is much lighter. There is now a single installer for both 32-bit and 64-bit systems. Users can choose which of our featured skins to download during the installing process, or later, if they prefer. Our downloads page can be opened directly from Rainmeter's context menu.
    [*]A portable install option has been added.
    [*]New plugin integrates Rainmeter with the CPU temperature monitor, CoreTemp.
    [*]We've improved support for grouping skins, making it easier to toggle skins' visibility and lock them in place to prevent accidental dragging.
    [*]Under the hood, there are plenty of new tools for skin developers. Support for the Lua scripting language is now baked in, as is a template for C# plugins. Expanded styles and modules now behave more like CSS. And we've added some powerful image manipulation tools for automatic cropping, flipping, rotating, tinting and more. We can't wait to see what creative programmers can do with these features.
    [*]We've overhauled Rainmeter's online manual, including our in-depth, hands-on tutorial series, Rainmeter 101.[/list]

    To coincide with this special occasion, we're also pushing major updates to our three flagship skin suites - Gnometer, ABP, and the well-known Enigma. These suites' new features include expanded support for web services, including Twitter, Facebook, Remember The Milk and Google Calendar; media players, including VLC, Spotify, Windows Media Player and Zune; and, as always, much more.

    Starting February 6, 2011, Rainmeter 2.0 can be downloaded at New versions of Gnometer, ABP and Enigma are expected to drop the following week. Rainmeter runs on all versions of Windows XP, Vista and 7.

    I have considered writing a review, but feel that my bias would compromise any such review.
    If someone is willing to write a review with pro's and con's, I would be grateful, and deliver the review to the rest of the Rainmeter community  :-*

    Have fun

    The Sarge

    Circle Dock / Merry Christmas | happy Solstice
    « on: December 24, 2010, 11:34 AM »
    Greetings folks.

    For many of us this is a time of good cheer and happy togetherness, for others it is a time of reflection and contemplation, and for others it is other things. This time of year is so many things to so many people, even those that do not celebrate the recognized holiday, this is still a time of togetherness and merriment.
    I recognize you all.
    I wish I had more to give than words for all that many of you have given us.

    To that end, in the spirit of this particular season; From me and mine to you and yours, the very best of all things to all of you.

    The Sarge
    Circle Dock

    Hello folks.

    Here is the question: Is there a way for Circle Dock to re/draw folder graphics/Switch folder Views faster???

    It is a continuing issue that even I am painfully aware of. Especially with those of us that are on very low end dual cores and single core processors.
    I am on the low end of the Dual core Spectrum on my laptop and waiting for Circle Dock to Draw or re-draw graphics can be a testament to an End User's patients.
    The more graphics you use on any folder, or sub-folder, level makes Circle Dock work harder and draw the graphics slower.
    One solution that many have derived is to run multiple instances of Circle Dock. I find this unacceptable due to system resource constraints.
    Most just; "Deal with it"

    So is there a way to make Circle Dock load/switch folders faster; YES  :Thmbsup:

    One of the primary slow downs of Circle Dock in drawing the graphics is in Resizing.
    Resizing is where Circle Dock takes the original image and then re-sizes it to a size defined by you as an end condition.
    As most custom Icon graphics are 256x256 or 512x512, this is a lot of work for Circle Dock.
    Say you have a folder with 30 Icons, all of these are set in the settings to be 54x54pixels.
    Well Circle Dock then has to take that huge 256 or 512 graphics and shrink it.
    This takes huge amounts of time and resources.
    Circle Dock also re-sizes all graphics and then shows them all almost at once.

    So how to help Circle Dock Draw faster?
    Reduce your graphics images to slightly larger than the size you need  8)

    For a case demonstration; Take new graphics I introduced for the Dexpot tutorial (Project).
    Each one of these graphics is 256x256 at 256k
    On just 8 graphics that I use, it can take Circle Dock almost 47 seconds to load.
    Now reduce the Graphics to 100X100, you are not going to be using anything that big anyways  :Thmbsup:
    You will find that the images size is now 100x100 at approximately 12k -/+
    That's right; You will eliminate approximately 20% of the foot print size, while shrinking the graphic before hand, this will allow Circle Dock to work less to draw/produce you graphics.
    You will also find that at 100x100 Pixels, if you use icons that are 72x72 or smaller, you should still have a really good HD Graphics displayed on Circle Dock  :-*

    All this being said; be careful which graphics you reduce and to what size.
    A Center graphic that is set to 100x100 will look fairly crappy from a 96x96 image.
    Do not even think about reducing background images. Many of these are variable and at there limit as it is  ;)

    Even Just a change of graphics at 128x128 can significantly improve Circle Dock's draw time, and get you to your folders faster.
    After having completed this experiment, I have found that Circle Dock will load my Dexpot control Graphics in about 3 to 4 seconds.
    That is a lot improved over the 17 to 40+ seconds I may have waited before.
    This test was done in a 32bit environment, so I expect a massive improvement in a 64bit environment

    Hope this helps  8)

    Have fun  :Thmbsup:

    The Sarge

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