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Messages - lifespurpose [ switch to compact view ]

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I was returning to the first post of the thread. I don't know anything about Splinter, went to their page and it looks complicated, far more than I need. As for fences, correct me if I'm wrong, but it appears to leave all your program icons showing, it just corrals them into groups set apart by shading. I want ONLY the group icons to show. Then when one is clicked, a compact pick list of PROGRAM (or document) icons and/or labelled buttons appears. Not an entire window of icons spaced far apart on a white background, as Windows explorer does. Really not a radical idea.

From the original poster, lifespurpose: I was hoping for something dead simple to use and very clean/compact in appearance, with a desktop not entirely empty (it would still have the icons/buttons to invoke the grouped launch buttons/icons) but uncluttered. Unlike a task bar, the group icons/buttons could be positioned anywhere, like program icons.
I could do a crude version, I think, using Stickies (which can be rolled up to just a title bar), with each stickie having a list of links to the programs in it. But the links would be ugly text-only and likely quite long. If Stickies allowed links to be a descriptive short name (hiding the actual address) that would come closer.

N.A.N.Y. 2013 / Re: NANY 2013: Please post requests!
« on: November 29, 2012, 05:13 PM »
What I'd like to see: a simple map-creating program. Map as in real map, roads and bridges. Why: paper maps can sometimes be inaccurate, so I need to make corrections, or I may need to annotate, such as add buildings, with notes about them. (The notes should be hideable, so they don't cover everything up, or insertable at odd angles so they fit between roads.)
Method: scan an existing map to create a picture file. Set it as a background. Draw features on top of it, adding/correcting as you go. The background of course would have copyright issues, but your hand-copy should not, especially since the entire purpose is to create something different. Obviously it would take too long to hand-make an entire city, but that is not my need. Typically all I need is a neighborhood. Print the custom part, leaving the scanned part behind.
Drawing features: It is important that the "pen" be able to draw with standard map symbols. For instance, an unpaved road should be two lines running parallel, not a single black line. A paved road, two lines, with black bars between them, spaced. You know, you've seen maps. (Freebie maps lately are useless, as roads and rivers are all single lines, the only way to tell them apart is the roads are completely covered over in numbers, which hides any other possible useful detail. This is a big reason I'd like to make my own local maps.) Building symbols built-in (resizable squares, rectangles, etc.) And of course thin-line drawing, and new symbol creation.
You may say, just use GPS. OK, but I want something I can keep for later, complete with notes, and go back and add to it later. And print out to give to others, say with driving directions on it. How do you do that on a GPS?
Don't recommend SmartDraw, as that is not the KIND of maps I mean, and it is huge.
Creating/editing a road should be simple and intuitive, for example: connect two endpoints using the "unpaved road" pen, then using a "pusher" or "bulldozer" cursor, nudge the road into curves. Sort of like putting a bead chain down on a table-top and pushing it around with your finger. Not infinitely segmented, but finely enough that the end result is reasonable. (Alternately, click along the road to create hinges, then select each in turn and pull it to the place needed. Probably easier to code. In fact this is what the circuit-board program ExpressPCB does. If that program permitted picture background and road-line drawing, plus more simultaneous color choices, it would already do what I need.)
Since no one on planet earth is offering this kind of map-specific drawing program (and even if a massive graphics program could do this, I'd prefer something easier to learn and use and compact; but I don't think they can do this) this is an opportunity for some enterprising coder.

Idea for desktop menu
I had too many icons on my desktop so I created folders with names like "Writing" "Design" "Graphics" "Explore" etc, and threw the relevant icons into the folders. So now to open a program I open the folder and double-click on the app icon. (My most-used apps are on the QuickLaunch bar; these are less often used.) Still, double-clicking twice is more than I'd rather do, and the explorer windows are white background and spaced-out icons and a toolbar, and if I add anything I have to resize the folder window. Not very elegant. Therefore, if anyone can design the following, I would appreciate it: (or if it already exists, let me know)

The proposed app would allow, by rightclicking on the desktop, creation of "New App Group." This would place a new default App Group icon on the desktop (among those already there, if any), and open a box for defining the first app for the new group. An new group would just show a text box, an App... button, an Icon... button, and a Done button. Enter the group name in the box and browse for an app's exe file or a document associated with an app. Once selected, a new app button would appear above the edit box, with the app icon on the left and the app or file name on the right. Keep adding buttons until you have all you want, new ones pushing the stack up. Use the Icon... button to give the group a different icon if you want, then click Done. (Create your own icons in a different program.) The group icon will appear on the desktop with its name below it like a regular desktop item.

While in edit mode, if you want a different button appearance, right-click it and select "edit" (or "delete" if removing) which will open a screen with a text box, font selection, switch and background parameter areas, and a 'browse for icon' button. Put the new button name in the text box. Names can be at least 20 characters width and two lines height (perhaps automatically broken at the delimiter nearest to 20 characters). Button width would fit to the text plus the icon. The default button would have a white or gray background, but it can be made any color available and at least three levels of transparency: opaque, 50%, and transparent (=only the icon and the name will show above the desktop background). The text default would be whatever the standard desktop icons are using, but you can select a bigger or smaller font: whatever is available on the machine. If no icon is specified, only the text will show. Perhaps the background could use an image file, crammed into the button shape if not created to fit beforehand. If the background is an image then even the text could be omitted, but the button would not be allowed past a limited size, and the program would not allow blank transparent (invisible) buttons. Default to no border, but a sculpted border as an option.

The width of the buttons in a group would all be the same, fitted to the one with the most text. The height would be set by the icon size (usually all the same as well). Most groups should not contain more than 10 buttons for practical reasons, but if there are too many to fit on the screen vertically, they will roll over to another column. You could also specify a column break, so as to have say a 4x2 grid of buttons instead of a single column of 8. To move a button, drag it up or down; to send to another group, drag it to the other group icon. If the other group is open, you can drag it to the place in the stack you want, otherwise it adds to the bottom.

To use: at the desktop, double-click a group icon. A vertical stack of buttons will appear in the last position assigned (to reposition, grab a handle or corner and drag it, limited to visible desktop). Single click a button to invoke the app. The button stack will remain up behind the open app. To close the group click the small red X on the top button (there would be no border area outside the buttons). Right-click a button to edit it.

Since this resembles standard Windows menus in some ways, surely this can be done. I am not a programmer, so have no clue how. Also, I'd rather not have a huge and complex launch system with many features, just the simple one-purpose app-organizing system. Anybody like this idea?

I found that FolderMatch (about $30) has the easiest to understand interface, well worth it just for that. (

Mobysaurus / Suggestion for Mobysaurus
« on: September 12, 2008, 03:46 PM »
Just got Mobysaurus today, one suggestion (besides updating the link in Help>Discussion Forum, which is broken):

Since the search results are massive and contains many odd and some foreign words, add one button to the toolbar, with 4 functions depending on previous action.
1, in standard mode, it would say Simple Mode. Clicking the button would hide all the words previously marked by the user for hiding, leaving "standard" words showing (user's decision).
2, in hiding-words mode, it would say Show All. Clicking would reveal all the hidden words. They would show in a faded or colored fontface below the standard words. They would not be permanently restored to standard mode.
3, if any standard word was selected, the button would say Hide Selected. The user could hold down Control and pick off any number of words for hiding (within the current window), then click the button. The window would go to Simple mode, so the button would read Show All until another word is selected.
4, if any hidden word is selected (in Show All mode), the button would say Restore Selected. Control-select for multiple words, then click button. They would then show as standard words sorted alphabetically as before.

The user would be blocked from selecting both kinds of words at the same time.

I'm not a coder, but the button would simply tag or untag the words in the database, so that the search would display them as described. Or it could build a list of tagged words outside the database. Then a search would take the results and compare to the hide-list to control the display.

This is better than having one person go through the database and deciding what is odd/foreign for everyone. At first, there would be little benefit, but after a while users could have their copy honed to their liking.

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