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Messages - cracksloth [ switch to compact view ]

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Unfinished Requests / Re: IDEA: Babies on keyboard
« on: July 18, 2005, 07:28 PM »
p.s.  there are free 3rd party tools that will launch a user selected program instead of a screensaver so this part would not need to be part of this snack (unless you just wanted to be over-ambitious)

Unfinished Requests / Re: IDEA: Babies on keyboard
« on: July 18, 2005, 07:24 PM »
you know what babies love?  audio visualizations (like the ones for windows media player, winamp, or sonique).  has the same effect as giving a grown adult acid (only without the brain damage).  what you could do, it create a fullscreen window that displays a visualization (i would suggest windows media player visualization support because they resize nice, it's a format guaranteed to be around for awhile, and it should be easy to tie into).  then when a baby hits a key, a sound plays which makes the screen dance.  depending on how you hook into the wmp visualization, it would even be posssible to send simulated bass thump to the visualization even when a sound was not attached to that key.  just an idea.  i would probably use it too.  and best of all, you could set it as your screensaver.  that way, if you leave your computer for an extended period of time, it will automatically engage and your computer would be baby safe (or secure from coworkers).  pretty clipart could always be displayed in front of the visualization.  anyway, babies would love it and it would broaden the audience a bit.  it would be a really cool project.  you could call it "baby crack" or a tamer "baby keys".


is there a way to make a huge fullscreen dimmed window that will just always have a z-order right behind the active window?  i noticed when dragging around a window that it takes a bit for the dimmed window to resize itself around the new position (or at least that is what it looks like).  also, when using an xp scheme (that have curved window corners) i can see the undimmed area as little triangles of undimmed area.  maybe i am wrong about how this script works, but if i am right, then making a fullscreen dimmed window behind the active window would solve these problems.


another feature...  the ability to remove formatting from text in the clipboard (essentially what is achieved when you paste formatted text into notepad and re-copy it).  i hate copying something from the web and having it full of tables and crap.  another problem when copying text from a browser is that images are not retained.  word seems to be one of the few programs that get around this by automatically downloading the images in the background when it is pasted.  it would be *really* useful if Clip&Spell (my vote for a name) would automatically detect web references to images and insert them appropriately.  the current solution is to paste into word and then re-copy it and paste into the program of choice.  and, finally, the option to "remove formatting except for images".  this would reduce the clipboard contents to plain text except that images are retained.  i am not sure how the clipboard handles rich text that is copied.  if it is not possible to have both plain text and images simultaneously, then Clip&Spell would have to treat it kind of like a macro where it pastes:
  - the first block of text
  - then the 1st image
  - then another block of text
  - then the 2nd image, etc.

anyway, this would be very useful to anyone who does a lot of internet research or those who archive interesting articles (html never pastes properly).


Unfinished Requests / Re: IDEA: mouse location launcher
« on: July 17, 2005, 11:10 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.

i think geektechnu is right.  the best way to implement such a program would be to recreate:

with the option to bring the active program to the front.  there could also be an option to grayscale everything below the screen, but it would be more work.  it would not be the best solution for creating custom dim settings for individual programs but are there really many who are looking for this?


Unfinished Requests / Re: IDEA: mouse location launcher
« on: July 17, 2005, 08:33 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 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.

Find And Run Robot / Re: Feature Request v2 - text replacement
« on: July 16, 2005, 04:08 AM »
kfitting, you can save 5 bucks and get a great clipboard manager with form filling functions by using memoclip, found here:
it used to be freeware and it is still floating around if you look for it.  haven't used it in awhile but it still gives me warm tinglies when i think about it.  very small and efficient with loads of customizability...  can i read you mind or what?

Unfinished Requests / IDEA: mouse location launcher
« on: July 16, 2005, 03:59 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!  :)

i'm not personally a big fan of the idea of adding a preview pane.  i would much rather limit f&r to the single simple window.  here is a new idea for integrating file browsing that wouldn't require a plugin system (not that the other one really did either - i was just thinking out loud about possibilities).  just have a general program setting that specified whether the user wants double clicks to open within the results window or to use the default file manager.  that way both users are happy and if the user changed his mind for a particular folder, he could have both options available from the right-click menu.  i do not really think it is necesssary for f&r to have any other "preview" features but like i mentioned before, if f&r were to use explorer to display folder contents, then it would automatically have the ability to display thumbnails for images and videos - in fact i encourage you to use explorer for displaying regular searches as well simply because it already has a great deal of the features requested for file manipulation (context menu, drag/drop, slow double click rename, thumbnails, different view modes, etc.).  also, it would be possible to create commands to display html in f&r.  when a folder is being displayed, it is really just specifying a very specific search criteria.  to reflect this, the search field should read "<folderpath>".  from there, you could stack even more search criteria, like "<folderpath> *.mp3" in order to just display mp3s.  anyway, this is all old news so i digress...  :)

Find And Run Robot / Re: Feature Request Thread
« on: June 29, 2005, 03:49 PM »
well, i was trying to show that two modes would not be necessary when using configurations that load plugins.  i assume the "minimalist" mode you mentioned would be the current layout and functionality of f&r?  well, that would simply mean f&r would be loading a config set to use the current find plugin.  other "modes" would just be different configurations that use different plugins.  so far, we've mentioned 3 possible plugins:
  - the traditional find plugin (which is the same interface we all know and love)
  - a minibrowser plugin (which would allow quick access to files already sorted logically in folders
  - a new type of search plugin that acts more like current search tools where the user selects the folders to be searched on the fly

the ability to switch configurations by hotkey, however, is a really good idea.  i am in favor of creating several methods of switching configurations (because everyone has a different idea of what's easiest).

Find And Run Robot / Re: Feature Request Thread
« on: June 29, 2005, 01:39 AM »
these are all great ideas.  i think that what i don't understand is which features would be unsuitable for integrating into a config file?  already, config files can designate the max number of entries displayed.  there are some types of searches where it would be beneficial to show *all* matching results, but again, to me this just means that you should be able to deselect:
"max. entries to display in results list"
so that all matches are listed.

if you don't want to include the option to specify windowsize in the config file, perhaps you could allow the user to create windowsize presets in the general program options?

also, remember how i was trying to get you to think of f&r as a plugin container?  for example, a user could create a config that would load the search plugin (and associated options).  a second config could be made that loads the minibrowser plugin.  from the way it sounds, are you looking for a way to be able to specify the folders being searched on the fly (like a traditional file search tool)?  if so, it would be conceivable to create a third plugin where the user can select the folder(s) they want to search from a dropdown list.  the benefit of treating these different "modes" as plugins, it that:
  - they are optional.  users who don't want them don't have to fuss with them
  - users who choose not to use a particular plugin will not be wasting resources running those features in the background.  they will not be forced to load any features into memory that they do not want.  f&r could remain a quick and sleek app launcher or it could be a more powerful file launcher or it could be a powerhouse of features and system management
  - plugins would not impact the existing ui for the current method of app launching
  - it would be possible for other users to create plugins (like a calendar plugin, a to-do list plugin, a cpu usage plugin, a task killer plugin, etc.)...  all optional, of course.
  - it is upgradeable.  a plugin can do virtually anything.  a simple program that houses plugins and can be pulled up at the touch of a button means that a user could do *anything* with the movement of a finger.  it's kind of like playing god without all the commandments.
  - sometimes, users become divided about how a feature should perform and react.  this would allow for users to make more than one plugin that has virtually the same task but each tailored for different preferences.  an unrealistic goal if you are the only one coding features.
  - the plugins would be reusable in any future endeavor that could use such functionality (i swear i though i heard you speak of making a sidebar one day...  perhaps i was dreaming)  :)

anyway, as always, i talk too much!  :)

Find And Run Robot / Re: Feature Request Thread
« on: June 29, 2005, 12:07 AM »
ah...  i probably misunderstood you.  what are the features of this second mode?

Find And Run Robot / Re: Feature Request Thread
« on: June 28, 2005, 04:28 PM »
what are the advantages of having a different "mode" over having different "configurations"?  to me, config files are just a way to specify a different mode in which all options are mutable.  you could add the features to a config file for number of results, window size, search within mp3 tags, etc.  i would also think that this would keep the filesize of f&r smaller and it would have less of an impact on the existing ui (for those users who only want to use f&r to search the start menu).  the only impact loading different config files would have on the ui is a means by which to switch between them.  several ways have been suggested, including possibilities as graphical as tabs and as minimal as a commandline.  to me, the method of switching config files is gravy so whatever you choose is great.

i also like the idea of "commands".  it is kind of like what many commandline apps call an "alias"  :)  a nice script for such a feature would be a commandline-based volume control.  for example:
"vol 25" would set the master volume to 25%
"vol m" would toggle the mute status

for others looking for applications for such a feature, you could create "commands" to load playlists, like:
"play playlist"

you could also create single word commands to lauch frequently accessed items.  for example:
"wp" would launch wordperfect
"wa" would launch winamp

f&r makes access to programs quick but it could always be quicker  :)


Find And Run Robot / Re: Feature Request Thread
« on: June 13, 2005, 03:53 AM »
the minibrowser would *not* be used as a file manager replacement.  it is simply so that you can have quick access to files that you deal with everyday without having to launch a file manager.  it is not designed to compete with full-fledged file managers.  just like it is nice to have quick access to files on the desktop, it is helpful to have access to files in other locations and, if necessary, perform some quick file manipulations (launch, delete, rename, etc.).  all of these functions would be available from explorer's right-click context menu.

as for configuration files...  it would be necessary to have some general program options that are separate from the configuration files (such as aliases).  aliases should be kept in the general program options so that they apply to all configurations.  one of the original emails i sent broke down what type of features would be found in a config file and which features would be found in general program options.  it is a little outdated now but should still be helpful - originally, i wanted to combine folder based navigation into the existing results window but now i believe a minibrowser would be easier to implement, easier to understand by users, and would open up more applications of f&r.


Find And Run Robot / Re: Feature Request Thread
« on: June 13, 2005, 12:34 AM »
you are correct, the minibrowser has no search functions (the normal search plugin is best suited for that).  the minibrowser is simply for displaying files that are already well organized using folders (documents, music, images, shortcuts, etc.).  this would make f&r a central location for gaining access to files of any type (either by searching by keyword or if you already know the location by using the minibrowser).  so the ideas of searching and browsing are not completely unrelated.  they both are for reaching into your harddrive and pulling something out - finding some files is best achieved by searching by keyword, other files are more easily found by directly browsing to them.  f&r would become the one stop location for accessing files.  and like i said, the minibrowser is very simple so it is easier to implement than having all those search functions built in.  however, it would be nice to be able to call an alias.


Find And Run Robot / Re: Feature Request Thread
« on: June 12, 2005, 10:04 PM »
okay, i have attached two mock screenshots.  the first one should be familiar.  it reflects how f&r could look after these changes we talked about.  there is no difference except that i took the liberty of changing the titlebar to reflect the currently loaded config file (called "Document Search.frr").  the config file is telling the f&r window to display the search "plugin" (the search plugin is good for launching programs or finding documents or listing music just depending on how it is configured).  the second mock screenshot is how f&r would look if a config file called "Minibrowser.frr" is loaded.  this config file tells f&r to load the mini browser plugin.  by virtue of being explorer, it would also be possible for the mini browser plugin to also show a website (if any users find this useful).

i think this method of displaying the minibrowser is much better than attaching it to the bottom of f&r.  by pressing home, users would visit the folder containing the config files (*.frr).  by double clicking one, the user could switch back to any other configuration.

like i said, this way would create minimal impact on f&r yet it would increase its usability.  it is important to keep in mind that f&r is *already* a search utility.  multiple configs would just allow users to search for filetypes other than shortcuts.  i really hope that it is maintained within the same tool rather than splitting it up because there is so much overlap between the functions, i would hate to have two programs loaded.

anyway, just my 2 cents... err..  buck fifty


Find And Run Robot / Re: Feature Request Thread
« on: June 12, 2005, 01:51 PM »
ahhh...  advanced wildcards.  me likey.

Find And Run Robot / Re: Feature Request Thread
« on: June 12, 2005, 12:47 PM »
okay, in a nutshell, the features that have been discussed are:
  - allowing the user to load config files by the commandline (this would require some internal changes to f&rr but would not impact the user experience)
  - allowing a right-click explorer context menu
  - allowing users to load a mini file browser as a configuration.

so these three things are all i mentioned.  most of the bulk was explaining what makes them useful and how they could be implemented.

as you mentioned, kfitting, users can already use f&r to search for other filetypes (like mp3s).  but this is problematic because if you configured f&r to look in *every* folder that you have files of interest in, it would really clutter you results.  for example, if i wanted to load miranda the great IM program, it would also return results for the "miranda child's french cookery" episodes i have recorded.  as well as mp3s of my favorite band, "Miranda's Death Scream"...  these are all fake btw but hopefully you get the point.  :)  by being able to load config files, we can custom tailor config files for different types of searching.  the "music" config will only return relevant results for music.  the documents config will only return results relevant results.  the existing config for searching for programs would also remain uncluttered with irrelevant results.  the great part about it is that no one *has* to create multiple configs if they are happy with things the way they are and f&r will completely remain as it was.

now, let's discuss the mini file browser.  it may be useful to think of configurations as plugins.  i can load a configuration with a search plugin (the traditional method).  or i can choose to load the mini file browser plugin.  who knows, eventually, it may be possible to write your own plugins for showing a simple calendar or a mail checker or whatever.  (mouser, if you made these plugins, you could more easily integrate them into your sidebar idea later on).  the point is that any new configuration plugins (like the minibrowser) do *not* impact the regular search configuration at all.  out of the box, f&r will appear the same way.  *users* create the new configurations and *they* choose whether they want the option to load a mini browser.  so, to recap, the minibrowser is optional and *does not* impact the main GUI (at least the way i have described it).  also, it is important to remember that the mini browser is just that...  mini.  it is not intended to be a full file manager replacement.  it *is* designed to get you quick access to various parts of your directory structure and will allow *some* quick and dirty file management.  but mostly it exists for displaying files that are already nicely organized so that you can load them.  it is more of a feature of file access than file manipulation.

kfittin, you mentioned:
an idea just jumped into my head: what about adding regular expression support to FindRun?  If we go The Way of the MiniBrowser, we can have multiple search "hits" and do act with all of them so this seems like a great idea... how easy it is to add, I dont know!
i am not sure i fully understand this, could you go into a little more detail?  what do you mean by "regular expression support"?


Find And Run Robot / Re: Feature Request Thread
« on: June 12, 2005, 05:06 AM »
okay, let me discuss some ideas mouser and i have been throwing around.  f&rr is great at what it does and it approaches the situation in a unique way that would be applicable to other situations.  currently, it's primary use is to search through shortcuts and provide intelligent results based on a keyword.  in actuality, there is nothing that restricts this usage to program shortcuts.  f&r could also be used to find other types of files as well with virtually no impact on its current use.  imagine wanting to play all music in your collection by Gomez.  or finding your thesis from 2 years ago about all those smoking monkeys.  or digging up your CV/resume on the spot when you need it.  or quickly starting a movie from your collection just by typing in a few letters.  or pulling up all your pictures that you took in germany.  you get the idea.  essentially anything can be found within f&r.  the best way to do this would be to be able to load different configuration files for each type of search.  for example, the mp3 config file would specify:
  - the location of your mp3 folders,
  - how you want those files rated,
  - and how you want those results displayed.
there has been a great deal of discussion as to how would be the best way to switch between these different configurations.  possibilities include:
  - tabs
  - a button bar
  - commandline
  - a drop down list
obviously, the commandline would be the most non-impact way to accomplish this.  it has the advantage of being accessible from a number of different methods (scripting, shortcuts, 3rd party programs, etc.).  the best use of the commandline is that users could setup an alias with all available configurations.  hence, no additional gui is even necessary.  i think the commandline option currently gets my vote because it is the easiest to implement and would leave more time for "serious" coding.  down the line, alternate methods of switching configurations could be implemented if users request it.

if users use f&r to find files like shortcuts, documents, music, images, videos, etc. then it would be nice to be able to do more than simply launching a single result.  in an example above, i mentioned searching for all music by "Gomez".  f&r can find files quite well but once they are found, your options are limited.  the best way around this is to implement the explorer right-click context menu.  this will allow you to:
  - select all of the results and queue them up in winamp
  - adjust their id3 tags
  - delete that song you just heard
  - open a file in a non-default program
  - rotate an image 90 degrees
honestly, you can do pretty much anything to the file.  it is limited only by the shell extensions you have installed.  this is a confirmed feature so it will be implemented.  this ability to manipulate search results will make f&r very powerful.

what has already been discussed above should be top priority before worrying about the rest of what i am going to say.

okay, as we've already mentioned, the configuration files specify what to display in the f&r window.  imagine being able to specify things other than a traditional search.  in my opinion, it would be terribly useful to be able to display a mini file browser in f&r (displaying the contents of a folder).  i am sure everyone who reads this uses directory structure to organize some file collections, whether that be music, documents, images, shortcuts, etc.  sometimes, folder organization is the best way to organize files.  for example, what if i wanted to:
  - see all new files in my "incoming" folder
  - see what was in my "recent documents"
  - access to the control panel
  - show the contents of my mp3 player
  - display my quicklaunch folder
  - organize and delete obsolete shortcuts in my start menu
  - see some photos i placed in my "2004" folder
  - or...  well, you get the idea
the mini file browser would be a great complement to f&r.  it is useful for quick file operations and to have quick access to any type of file that you have organized into folders (traditional searching by keyword would not be adequate).  it would allow users to easily and efficiently delete, rearrange, and drag files into and out
of the minibrowser (like a regular instance of explorer).  this is useful for quick and dirty management of documents, music, and shortcuts.  luckily, this mini file browser is not as difficult to implement as one might imagine because it is possible to tie into the explorer engine for file display and file operations.  the only thing that is needed is a small toolbar for back/forward, parent, and favorites.  since, the minibrowser would only be loaded if specified in a config file, then this again would not impact the traditional user interface of f&r at all.  if you do not use this feature then you will never see it.  please note that this idea is slightly different than the idea of an attached file browser panel...  and in my opinion, preferrable  :)

as an added bonus of using the explorer engine, it would be possible for users to display web pages in f&r as well.  some of you may be shaking your heads as this being unnecessary but i only mention it because the ability would be added automatically simply by virtue of using explorer.  but, if a user wanted, they could create a favorite to their webmail for quick checking.  users could check the local weather or movie listings.  you could even play a quick flash game when the boss isn't looking.  i would be most likely to use a tool like "amazing portal generator" to create a small launch portal to my most frequent sites.  the program is found here:
users could create their own html page which could accomplish virtually anything limited only by their skill.  we could even start a repository of useful html pages created and submitted by users.  even if you don't like the idea, at least it is an added bonus of using explorer to make the minibrowser.

so although this sounds like a big feature, it should not be all that difficult or time consuming to implement.

so, in short, the ideas we have been talking about will have *no* affect on the f&r user interface (except the right-click menu but i think everyone likes that idea).  so for people who like things the way they are, nothing will change but for the more adventuresome power users, there is an *incredible* increase in what you can do with f&r.  so f&r is not being torn between two purposes, it can embrace both.  you would simply be using the searching capabilities that already exist for broader purposes.

i am *king* of long posts!


p.s.  mouser, please disregard some of the advanced configuration features i explained in the email.  they are unnecessary if a minibrowser is implemented and would probably just over-complicate things.  if you want, when i have time i will re-edit it a bit to be more clear.

Find And Run Robot / Re: loading different config files
« on: June 11, 2005, 03:57 AM »
i think it would be best to be able to load separate config files.  things like pattern sorting *are* important especially when we start dealing with other filetypes like music, documents, shortcuts, images, etc.  for a quick example, in a music configuration, you would want to give *.mp3 a high score because you just want the music displayed (not album art or ather trash that may be lurking in forgotten folders).  giving *.mp3 a high score for other configurations would be a nuisance if you ever had a stray mp3 laying around.  i also think a separate config file would allow for the most upgradeability for future unforseen features.  aliases should be universal and apply to all configurations.  in other words, aliases should be customized in the general program options not the configuration options.

i can live with using a button bar rather than tabs.  in fact, that would work just fine  :)

i like the idea of loading config files by commandline.  in fact, the button bar could be a separate prog entirely that just passes on commandlines to F&RR and shows a "depressed" button for the actively loaded config file.  i think the F&RR titlebar should also show the currently loaded config name for easy identification.  the button bar may even have other possibilities if it were written to be non-specific.  for example, the options for button 1 would be:

name: programs
hotkey: F1
commandline: C:\Program Files\Find and Run Robot\FindAndRunRobot.exe -Programconfig.ini
depressed trigger:  windowname "Programconfig" (if a window exists with name "Programconfig" then the button will appear depressed)

the button bar would at least be potentially functional for another use...  and it would leave the F&RR code a little cleaner.  i guess the tradeoff is ease of use.

Find And Run Robot / loading different config files
« on: June 10, 2005, 02:31 PM »
by mouser's request, i am going to start a thread on this.  feel free to move it to feature requests if you want, administrators -- because it is a bigger issue, i thought it deserved it's own thread.  here is my original email to mouser.

i was thinking of a few ideas that would make find & run robot a bit more customizable (and would increase it's uses).  it would be ideal if i could use f&rr to find music, videos, and documents as well as a program launcher.  technically, it can already do this but so many search folders would really clutter results.  the best solution i can think of to this would be the ability to create new tabs that have separate configuration files.  so you could setup a tab tailored to finding music, programs, documents, folders, videos, images, source code, etc.  this would really expand f&rr for me (and i am sure others would benefit as well).  what do you think about this idea?

there may be many suggestions on how to switch between different configuration files.  above, i had suggested tabs.  it would be possible to do this a number of other ways (drop down lists, keyword prefixes, etc.).  ultimately, it all comes down to each user's preferences (each method is beneficial depending on circumstances).  so, eventually, it would not be a bad idea to implement multiple methods of switching config files (to be toggled in preferences).  but for a first version, i am in favor of tabs because they are the quickest visual method to select the seach type you want.  of course, i would eventually like to be able to have an option to keep tabs "on top" while the rest of the window can be hidden by other windows (or to "autohide" the main window).  that way, the window would stay out of the way until you clicked on a tab.  :)

also, i think it is important to have completely different configuration files for each type of search.  this will provide the most customizability and may become more important as features are added to f&rr.

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