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Messages - Arjen [ switch to compact view ]

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Many Many Features are here:  http://www.mantisbt....hp/mantisbt:features

Wow, Mantis has a lot of interesting features I didn't know about. It even has Subversion (or CVS) integration! For those also interested, this article describes how to do it.

N.A.N.Y. Challenge 2007 / Re: WorkCoach - v0.7.7 - December 30, 2006
« on: January 10, 2007, 06:56 AM »
Hi mojomuse,

Thanks for your comments! I will add reporting functions after I've done the basic functionality I have in mind. A "pause" function might be a nice idea - thanks for the suggestion.

I'm a bit worried by the CPU issues. WorkCoach uses a few percent of CPU on my machine, and I "only" have an AMD Athlon XP 2800 CPU. I've never seen it use as much CPU as you mention. I'd like to get some more information on the issues you're having: what kind of computer are you using? Fairly recent computer? Windows XP or other Windows version? How do you measure the CPU load? Are you doing anything special when the CPU load is so high? Any idea why it's dropping when you are surfing, as you mentioned?

Are other people having these issues? Tomos, you reported high CPU load earlier, is this similar to what you are experiencing?

I'm still thinking about the messages I'd like to implement so I'm not sure how exactly they will look. In the next version, you will be able to set daily budgets for projects. The messages should for example warn you if you have exceeded the budget, or if you are spending a lot of time on projects you hadn't planned (hadn't set a budget for on that day). Any suggestions are welcome.

I still think the idea of a program to keep you motivated / smiling is really nice.

Edit: Uh... mouser posted about the same as I did simultaneously, so... me too!

Hi everybody,

My name is Arjen (pronounced "AR-yen"), I'm 33 and I live in Utrecht, a city in The Netherlands known for its canals, Dom church tower and university. I currently work for an environmental consulting company, where I develop software for the environmental field. Our software is mainly used by governmental organisations for managing their environmental data (e.g. soil data, but also environmental permits).

I learned to program on the venerable Commodore 64 and have been doing it (on and off) ever since. I program under Windows at work, but I am using Linux for my daily computing tasks at home. Unfortunately I haven't gotten around to programming under Linux yet - hopefully in the future.

I enjoy hiking in the "great outdoors" to compensate for my inactive time behind the screen.

Post New Requests Here / Typewriter 0.1.0
« on: January 08, 2007, 12:04 PM »
Here is something really simple.

You can type in the editbox at the bottom. Press enter to add it to the file. You can edit the whole line you are typing, but of course, once you've added it you can't.

Pressing Save... well uhm, saves the file.

You can paste in the editbox right now and there is no word counting or session timing (yet). Also, the program does not warn you when you exit and haven't saved the file.

The program requires the Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0.

Screenshot - 8-1-2007 , 19_01_07.png


N.A.N.Y. Challenge 2007 / Re: WorkCoach - v0.7.7 - December 30, 2006
« on: January 07, 2007, 09:09 AM »
I will think of a simple yet flexible way to rollover to the next day; that function is quite poor right now and apparently it's something people would like to see improved.

PS I am in the UK , and its 0:24 and the times have not reset from yesterday ??

That's correct, right now the application just logs for the date that was detected at startup. So in this case you would have to restart WorkCoach to roll over to the next day. Also see what I wrote in an earlier post:

In principle, the day is simply defined as the (local) date on the machine WorkCoach is running on, so midnight local time is the "roll over time". However, the program determines the date on startup and keeps using that date until shutdown, so in practice we have a "dynamic roll over time" that works fine for those overnight activities, as long as you don't restart WorkCoach. :-}

The ability to reset the project times at any time of the day would make the program more flexible ,
morning sessions , afternoon session and evening session would then be possible.

I am considering implementing logging exact times in a future version, as opposed to just logging the time spent as it is now. So then this problem would also be solved...

N.A.N.Y. Challenge 2007 / Re: WorkCoach - v0.7.7 - December 30, 2006
« on: January 05, 2007, 07:40 AM »
Anyone else having problems with WorkCoach using a lot of CPU ?

Yes.  :)

It's using around 5% CPU constantly on my machine. I don't really consider it a large problem right now, since I don't really notice it, but it does have my attention. Currently, WorkCoach checks the active window every second, so I might decrease that time, or make it user configurable. And I'll try to optimize the code that is running every second.

N.A.N.Y. Challenge 2007 / Re: WorkCoach - v0.7.7 - December 30, 2006
« on: January 05, 2007, 07:36 AM »
If I understood you correctly the program currently keeps a much simpler counter of time used per window and simply increments this and saves it in a file.

Yes, that is correct. Recording exact times instead of time spent would indeed require a different approach of the program. I will definitely keep it in mind, but I'd want to think of a good way to do it, and would like to implement some other features first. Also, it would be a departure from the philosophy I had in mind with this application: keep track of what you've done, and help you do what you want to do - but not by imposing when you do it, just by coaching you into spending the time you had planned to spend on your projects. (The time budgets is something that still has to be implemented.)

Can you think of a way I could adjust the program so it'll be useful for you, but without logging exact times? Do you really need exact times for your timesheet? I can imagine merging the XML files is possible without creating overlap if you keep in mind that when you are working on a remote computer, your RDP client is logged on the local machine. If you're working on the local machine, idle time is logged on the remote machine.

I've also used WorkPace and I agree it's a shame you can't make your own reports. I have tried WorkRave once but can't remember it had any (decent) reporting or statistics, but that might have changed since I've used it...

Seeing as you are resetting the timer each "day" it would be useful if a "day" could be defined, in some cases it might be useful to run the day so that it finishes after midnight.

In principle, the day is simply defined as the (local) date on the machine WorkCoach is running on, so midnight local time is the "roll over time". However, the program determines the date on startup and keeps using that date until shutdown, so in practice we have a "dynamic roll over time" that works fine for those overnight activities, as long as you don't restart WorkCoach. :-} So you'll probably agree with me that something better might be needed here... Your suggestion of a user definable rollover time sounds like a good idea.

Thanks again for your comments!

I've taken the liberty to reply to your message here:

First I have to identify+replicate the problem I think so I could then test the app against it. Could you send a sc of your excel (2000/2003/2007?) formula editing situation to me if possible? :)

It's hardly worth a screenshot really - just start up Excel, click a cell and start typing (*) - but here is one anyway:

Screenshot - 3-1-2007 , 15_39_46.png

(*) And then wait for someone to post on the DC forum. :-}

N.A.N.Y. Challenge 2007 / Re: WorkCoach - v0.7.7 - December 30, 2006
« on: January 03, 2007, 08:29 AM »
Hi Seriema,

Glad to hear you like it!

Your suggestion of adding the option "count idle time as project time" to projects sounds very usefull, so I I'll add it. That would mean if a project that has this option checked is active, and the user becomes idle, the program will keep counting time towards that project instead of starting to count idle time. Do we agree? :-)

Right now WorkCoach starts counting idle time after one minute of user inactivity. I plan to make this time user configurable, so that might also help a little bit towards your problem.

I agree that it's inconvenient that you have to switch between the Project and Rules tabs, and that these two had better be combined or integrated somehow. I did it this way because I was afraid to make the GUI too complicated. You're suggestion to put the Add/Modify/Remove buttons under the Projects list in the Rules tab sounds like the best option right now. If you have any other ideas on this, let me know.

With regard to resetting the timer: the timer is now reset every day. The idea is that the program records the time spent on each project per day. I plan to save the project log to XML files (see my previous post) so you will have an XML file for each day containing time spent per project. Since they are XML files you can make HTML or even PDF reports (or other formats) from them with XSLT or XSL-FO. I might add a report function to the program later that can call these transformations.

I just noticed WorkCoach prioritizes projects without a window title rule over projects with one. Example, I had 2 projects:
Working in Visual Studio (a default rule)
My specific Visual Studio project (a rule for "devenv" with my title)

While working on my project, it counts towards the "Working in Visual Studio" project instead of my specific one. If I remove "Working in Visual Studio" then the time goes correctly to "My specific Visual Studio project". It should be the other way around..?

If you have a project containing a "wildcard rule", i.e. the window title rule is empty, that project overrules another project containing a rule for the same application, but only if that other project is lower in the list than the project with the wildcard rule. (In other words: WorkCoach cycles through the projects and rules, starting at the top, and just takes the first one that matches.)

This is a known issue and described in the first post of this thread. I will definitely fix this since this is not desirable behaviour.

A workaround now is to make sure that the project with the wildcard rule is lower in the list than the project with the specific rule. Since you can't move projects up and down in the list, you'll have to do this by deleting and adding the project. We apologize for the inconvenience. :-)

Thanks for your feedback, and I'd be happy to hear about your further experiences.


N.A.N.Y. Challenge 2007 / Re: WorkCoach - v0.7.7 - December 30, 2006
« on: January 03, 2007, 08:05 AM »
Hi gottadoit,

The window log information is stored in XML files, so with a custom XSLT file it would be possible to merge two of those into one. Right now only the window log information is saved to file (i.e. how much time is spent in each application / window title). The project log (i.e. how much time is spent on each project) is calculated from the window log file and the projects and rules defined by the user. I will soon make sure the project log is also saved, so it can be used for making reports like you mention.

The XML files WorkCoach creates are saved in the folder C:\Documents and Settings\<user>\Application Data\WorkCoach

With regard to time syncing: right now the program only records how long you've been doing something, not the exact times, so this is not an issue.

I hope this helps - if you have any further questions or comments I'll be happy to hear them!


I don't experience this either, but I'm using the original version posted on 1-1.  BTW - Great app!
I might have been too hysterical. :) I think it only happens when editing a formula in Excel.

By "Really Busy Work", you meant game or other full-screen programs?  ;D  Could you tell me what program you were working with when your work got interrupted?

Excel. (Sounds really Serious isn't it?) Other apps, too.

I'll check again after I've posted this message. :)

Update: it went OK now, when I was in an editor! I got interrupted earlier when editing a formula in Excel. I'll keep an eye on it...

Oh, and another thing to keep you busy: when the notification window pops up, it gets focus, so I'm suddenly (even more) interrupted in my Really Busy Work.  >:(

Arjen, check out the new version (fresh off the compiler ;D) and my edited guide to "sliding transparent popup windows" above. ;)

Great, that's a super quick update, thanks!

So these popup window effects are mostly plain hand work; I had hoped it would have been something like:

Code: C# [Select]
  1. this.DoMagic();


Living Room / Re: What present should we get Cody for xmas?
« on: January 02, 2007, 08:49 AM »
congratulations to Arjen for thinking of such a simple but excellent idea. cody does indeed require a birdhouse of which i'll post an image of when the construction people have finished building it.

Thanks! I feel like I was just the first stating the obvious, but great! Can't wait to see the results...

N.A.N.Y. Challenge 2007 / Re: VDesktops
« on: January 02, 2007, 08:31 AM »

  • When I add a program to a group, and then later add it to another group, it seems to be included in both!
That's intended to be like that, so that a window can be in more than one desktop but not in all of them. The problem is that there's no way to remove windows from groups. I'm thinking about how to do it.
How about this: when you add it to a group it's already in, it will be removed.

You are absolutelly right, there should be a better icon. But i suck at art.. :( If anyone is available to do an icon, please step up!! :D

How about these? :-)

Did I say January 1st?
I mean on the first january newsletter (Jan 7).

Now don't come telling us next week "did I say 2007"!  ;D

N.A.N.Y. Challenge 2007 / Re: VDesktops
« on: January 02, 2007, 08:12 AM »
Really nice to have a small utility like this for managing virtual desktops, thanks!

A few issues:

  • On startup, all windows are shown on all desktops. You have to add windows to groups/desktops first for the program to become usable. I think it's a nice feature to have the option to show a window on all desktop and definitely worth keeping, but I think it's confusing the way it works now.
  • When I add a window to a group that isn't the active group, the window doesn't disappear until I change desktops.
  • When I add a program to a group, and then later add it to another group, it seems to be included in both!
  • Give us a nicer icon than the standard AHK one!

I have minor thing though: the menu for 'Show recent posts' doesn't do anything...

Just FYI: it works correctly for me...

Do you think this tool improves your daily DC forum experience?


i can see several requests coming soon after you catch your breath..

Sure, here are some! I'd like to...

  • be able to resize the notification window.
  • be able to temporarily disable the popups (preferably with a hotkey).
  • be able to customize fonts and colors.
  • see what forum users are online. (*)
  • know how you made the sliding transparent popup windows! :)


(*) Update: I see "Who's online" is in the context menu. Maybe changes in this page can be shown as popups somehow?

N.A.N.Y. Challenge 2007 / Re: A Dark and Deadly Path
« on: December 30, 2006, 08:51 AM »
Cool, you did it!  :up:

Cool!  :)

I'm using Trac at work for bug tracking and am very happy about it. It's simple and doesn't get in your way, it has a wiki, and best of all, it integrates with the Subversion version control system.

N.A.N.Y. Challenge 2007 / Re: WorkCoach - v0.7.6 - December 24, 2006
« on: December 30, 2006, 06:19 AM »
Unfortunately, version 0.7.6 had a bug that caused the following error on startup:

System.NullReferenceException: Object reference not set to an instance of an object.

It has been fixed now in version 0.7.7; see above.

Doublebogey, thanks for reporting!

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