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Messages - Arjen [ switch to compact view ]

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That's funny... I just thought of that too!

So, great idea!

N.A.N.Y. Challenge 2007 / Re: WorkCoach - v0.7.5 - December 24, 2006
« on: December 24, 2006, 08:47 AM »
There is a bug in version 0.7.5 that causes projects and rules not to be saved properly across sessions.

You can fix this manually by copying projects.xml from My Documents\WorkCoach to \Documents and Settings\<user>\Application Data\WorkCoach each time after you've exited WorkCoach. (Only necessary if you've actually changed projects or rules.)

Update: FIXED - see above.

N.A.N.Y. Challenge 2007 / Re: Whats Its Color - December 19, 2006
« on: December 23, 2006, 09:02 PM »

Maybe if the user chooses "discard background" you could take the second most dominant color?

481200 Total pixels in this image
481157 Pixels Have Been Evaluated

What happened to those 3 pixels?

This is a very interesting concept. Unfortunately this program isn't as easy to test as most apps, but I will give it a try when I get the chance!

N.A.N.Y. Challenge 2007 / WorkCoach - v0.8.0 - January 24, 2007
« on: December 23, 2006, 01:16 PM »
What is WorkCoach?

WorkCoach is a program that helps you keep track of how you spend your time on the pc, and coaches you in doing what you plan to do.

The program keeps track of the application you are using, and of the text in the window title of that application (the text displayed in the title bar). You can define projects and tie those to certain programs and window titles. For example, you can define a project "Work on my report" and tell WorkCoach you are working on that project if the application is "winword" (Microsoft Word) and the title bar contains "My report.doc". The program will display the time spent on each project in its status window.

What's new in this version?

WorkCoach - v0.8.0 - January 24, 2007

  • Fixed: If the window title is not set for a rule, that rule does NOT match everything for the given application, but everything that is not defined elsewhere.
  • You can now set a daily time budget for each project. If a time budget is set, the time left is shown in the status window. Projects that have a time budget set are shown in bold.
  • Added option "count idle time towards project". If this option is set for a project and the user becomes idle while the project is active, time will be counted towards that project instead of towards the "Idle" project. This is useful when for example watching a movie on the computer. (Suggested by Seriema.)
  • You can now define the time at which WorkCoach rolls over to the next day. For example, if this time is set to 3:00 (a.m.), everything you do between 0:00 and 2:59 is counted towards the previous day. Rolling over to the next day didn't work at all in the previous version; it should now. :-)
  • The time in seconds after which idle time is counted can now be configured by the user.
  • The hotkey that shows/hides the WorkCoach window can now be configured by the user.
  • There is now an option in the program to make WorkCoach start on Windows startup or not.
  • The project log is now saved to a file (projectlog-YYYYMMDD.xml, where YYYYMMDD is the date) so it can be used for reports.
  • If you click on the tray icon, the window is shown/hidden.
  • Total time spent and percentage of time spent on planned projects is now shown in the status bar.
  • You can now properly edit projects notes from the status window by selecting a project. If the status window does not have focus, the notes for the active project are shown.
  • The tray icon tooltip now shows the active project, time spent and the name of the active application. The latter is useful if you want to define a rule but don't know the name of the application.

Note: Also see this message for an overview of the new features!

For a complete change log, see the end of this message.

Installing the program

If you had already installed a previous version of WorkCoach, you do not have to uninstall it first.

If you were using version 0.7.5 or earlier and want to keep using your data, you have to copy it to <user>\Application Data\WorkCoach. See the instructions presented after installation for more information.

Simply run the installer (workcoach-x.x.x-install.exe) to install the program. The program requires the Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 to run. If it's not installed, the installer will tell you and ask you if you want to be directed to the download page.

Using the program

After you've started the program, the status window will be displayed. In this window you can see how much time you've spent on each project on that day. There are two "special projects": the projects "Unknown" and "Idle".
If an application and/or window title is active that hasn't been assigned to a project, WorkCoach will count the time towards the "Unknown" project. If you haven't been active (used the keyboard or mouse) for 1 minute, time will be added to the "Idle" project.


Defining projects and rules

The program comes with a few sample projects and rules to get you started. You can adjust them or delete them to your own wishes. Look at the rules of the sample projects and read their notes to see how the rules work. The sample project file can also be found in the WorkCoach installation folder, so it can always be restored later.

You can edit projects and rules as well as program options by right clicking on the WorkCoach icon in the Window tray and choosing "Settings". There are three tabs:


In the tab "Projects" you can define your projects and edit notes for each project.


In the tab "Rules" you can define the rules that define which applications and window titles belong to which project. Every rule can contain one ore more application names (without extension) and one or more terms that the window title should contain.

Example: the rule in the screenshot above means: I'm working on the project "Surfing" if the application name is "firefox" or "iexplore" and the title of the window contains "Donationcoder" or "Recent topics".

Note that the application names have to be exact matches, and that the window title are partial matches, i.e. the program checks if any of the terms are contained in the window title. If no window title matches are defined, the project is active anytime the given application(s) is/are active.

All matches are case insensitive.

If there are more rules for a projects, time is counted towards the project if ANY of the rules are met.

Note that the application name defined in the rules is the name of the executable of the program without the extension. If you don't know the executable name for a program, start it up and make sure it is active (i.e. has focus). Now, move the mouse over the WorkCoach icon in the Windows tray. A tooltip is shown which tells the application name between parentheses:


The last tab is the Options tab:


Here you can set various options for the program.

Current limitations / known bugs

  • If an application is not displayed in the task bar (like Find and Run Robot, for example), the application name is not detected properly.
  • Doesn't work on Windows Vista due to security issues.
  • Some users have reported that WorkCoach uses a lot of CPU; see posts below.
  • You can't plan idle time.

To be implemented

  • Display "coaching messages".
  • Nicer icon(s).
  • Add keyboard shortcuts and proper tab order in settings window.


WorkCoach - v0.7.7 - December 30, 2006
  • Solved bug where WorkCoach wouldn't exit on Windows shutdown.
  • Solved this bug that caused NullReference exception on startup.

WorkCoach - v0.7.6 - December 24, 2006
  • Fixed this bug.
  • Added the option to the installer to let WorkCoach start automatically with Windows.

WorkCoach - v0.7.5 - December 24, 2006
  • Only a single instance of the application is allowed to run.
  • The hotkey Win + W shows/hides the status window.
  • The position and size of the status window, and visibility of details panel are saved across sessions.
  • Idle time is saved across sessions.

WorkCoach - v0.7.0 - December 23, 2006
  • First public release


N.A.N.Y. Challenge 2007 / Re: TPClock - v1 - December 19, 2006
« on: December 20, 2006, 05:23 AM »
Is this a "binary clock" like this one?

Interesting - I suggest you include a training feature, in which you are presented with a random time in binary format and you have to say what time it is!

When I click "Info" I get the error message: "System Error. Code 1410. The class already exists."


I don't think there are topics that can't be discussed (like hardware, or whatever), but I think this site should not try to do everything. It should stay focussed on its "mission" (although not obsessively).

Some suggestions for improvements:

  • Better/easier navigation. For example, why are Download, Bug tracker, Chat located next to forum functions like My Profile, and not at the top of the page?
  • Cleaner layout of the site. Make a couple of sections. Don't put too many links on one page.
  • Integrate the bug tracker accounts with the forum if possible. The bug tracker might deserve some more attention; people should submit their bugs there, not on the forum.
  • Let users have their personal page (or extend profile) where they can post/list their articles, programs etc.

Living Room / Re: Tower Defence: Flash Game of the Day
« on: December 19, 2006, 04:59 AM »
i *love* the idea of this game - i'd like to see some donationcoder people try something like this starring cody.
Do you have any ideas? We're not going to shoot Cody are we?!

I have some experience with ActionScript, but have never made a game - I'd like to try it some day though. :-)

I also like games like Boulder Dash or Sokoban involving some logic / puzzles.

N.A.N.Y. Challenge 2007 / Re: Whats Its Color v1.0 - December 16, 2006
« on: December 17, 2006, 06:47 AM »
Nice! It seems to work OK for an image I uploaded.

One thing that is not clear to me is the "complementary color": the code of the complementary color is displayed, but I can't see what color it is. Or am I missing something? It would be nice if the complementary color could be displayed in a box, like the dominant color. Or is it the background color of the page?

What I think would be really great too, is if the application could suggest a color palette instead of two colors.

Something else I'd like to see is some tips on how two use these colors when designing a web site.

Hope this helps!

Find And Run Robot / Re: FARR Progress Report..
« on: December 15, 2006, 09:52 AM »
:tellme: 8) :Thmbsup: :Thmbsup: :Thmbsup: :Thmbsup: 8) :tellme:
 :up: :up: :up: :up: :up: :up: :up: :up: :up: :up: :up: :up: :up: :up: :up:

:D Farr is back in active! :D
I'm very happy :D


I'm not really good at picking up subtle hints like this, but I get the impression that you're quite pleased!


N.A.N.Y. Challenge 2007 / Re: License?
« on: December 15, 2006, 09:47 AM »

N.A.N.Y. Challenge 2007 / Re: License?
« on: December 15, 2006, 09:11 AM »
Yes I guess it will do, but that's an open source license.

Well, according to Jibz, and as described here, this license doesn't say you must distribute the source code. Since points 2 and 3 in the license (see above) only apply to the source code, I wonder if they could be omitted for a freeware closed-source application. Anyone?

How about the MIT, BSD or ISC licenses? They are also short and seem comparable to the Zlib license.

N.A.N.Y. Challenge 2007 / Re: License?
« on: December 15, 2006, 08:43 AM »
Thanks. Where did you get this? This looks like quite a restrictive license. And it's too long, in my opinion -- who is actually going to read all this? :huh:

I'd like a license that allows people to basically do whatever they want, except:

  • blame me if something goes wrong.
  • distribute (let alone sell) my program and say they wrote it, as desribed by mouser here.

The zlib license as described by Jibz looks good and short seems to cover both these points -- am I right?

I have the same problem with the "Key" combobox under the Hotkey tab, so all comboboxes in your application have the problem here.

Did you do anything "weird" to the comboboxes like setting a custom color etc.?

If you say that fonts do work, do you mean that when you click an empty entry is does update the font with another font, but you cannot see which font?

Yes, you can't see which font you are selecting, but it does show up once you're back in the command box.

N.A.N.Y. Challenge 2007 / Re: License?
« on: December 15, 2006, 06:14 AM »
Sounds good.

    2. Altered source versions [..]

Does this mean this license is only meant/usable for open source software? Not for free but closed source software (freeware/donationware)?

N.A.N.Y. Challenge 2007 / Re: License?
« on: December 15, 2006, 05:34 AM »
Well, if you ask me, it's a "necessary evil", so the shorter the better.

There used to be shareware/freeware that said: "This program is only guaranteed to take up hard disk space". I liked that. :)

The problem with the fonts is rather awkward. I use a .NET framework managed library to get all installed fonts on a system. I'll look into this and see what might be wrong.

The fonts do work, but it appears the combo boxes are filled with blanks. Also, the textbox displaying  the current font is not updated when I change the font.

N.A.N.Y. Challenge 2007 / License?
« on: December 15, 2006, 05:26 AM »
Does anyone have a suggestion for a simple, short, no BS license for my N.A.N.Y. freeware/donationware application?

Looks nice!

A few things I've noticed:

Font family, style and size combo boxes are empty:


The program installs itself in Program Files\Startup without telling me!

It would be nice to be able to add/edit user commands through the GUI. (Altough I understand this is a keyboard utility.)

Keep up the good work!


I'm afraid I've been doubting too long about this, but here it goes: I'm in too, with a productivity app.

[..] it's not clear (to this non-Dutch speaker) what the author is saying about what I presume to be Vista's new searching capabilities and SearchSpy... Can you enlighten us about the reviewer's comments on those? SearchSpy looks interesting (if unfortunately named!).
The author doesn't say very much about those two really...:

About searching in Vista: The Start menu in Vista gets a search window that allows you to search for applications fast. "Those who don't want to wait can try any of the applications discussed in this article."

About SearchSpy: SearchSpy is a clone of the search tool Spotlight on MacOS X. SearchSpy sorts the results by category. The program works with its own database, but can also use the Google Desktop index. To bad the search window can't be brought up with a hotkey.

Hope this helps.

My comments: sounds like a good idea to use one index for launcher and desktop search. Although they are two different programs that require a different user interface, they can use the same underlying data. I'm using Find and Run Robot for the first, Copernic Desktop Search for the second.

Living Room / Re: wanted: free web-mail + forwarding
« on: December 11, 2006, 05:15 AM »
GMX stopped offering their services in English a few years ago, so only German. It's quite good though.

Another option might be FastMail, also great. They have paid services but also offer a free guest account.

Find And Run Robot / Re: Links to Review and Comments - Add yours!
« on: December 08, 2006, 04:44 AM »
Find and Run Robot is featured in this month's issue of PCM, a large PC magazine in The Netherlands! I thought it was worth a separate topic so I posted it here!

This month, Find and Run Robot is featured in PCM, a large PC magazine in The Netherlands. In an article titled "Kickstart" they compare five application launchers / find utilities, and Find and Run Robot comes out as the winner!

This is what they have to say about Find and Run Robot:

Don't be misled by the oldfashioned name of this program, because it is an excellent application launcher with a lot of options, but also some confusing features. To start with the latter: the program works with scores to determine which file it has to show first after a search. For example: say you have a hundred files with the word "rabbit hole" in it. Every time you search for that word, you'll be after the same file nine out of ten times. When you open that particular file, Find and Run Robot gives it the highest score and will put it at the top of the list the next time. Without a doubt a good system, but why bother us with that...? To conclude, for real geeks it's a nice feature, and it's also possible to configure the search window to not show the scores at all.

The program is extremely speedy and very configurable. It might look a bit less polished than Launchy, but can do much more. At a glance you can see where the found files and folders are located on your hard disk. And maybe the best feature: every new file (only files, not folders) is found by Find and Run Robot instantly. There is no need to update an index. Impressive.

  + very configurable
  + manipulation of search results possible
  + fast
  + shows location of the result
  + new files are found instantly (no index)
  - no "smart search" *
  - options might be overwhelming for a new user

* By this they mean things like "fuzzy search"; as an example they give that "vsita" would give the same results as "vista".

Their conclusion at the end of the article:

Without a doubt, we choose Find and Run Robot. Especially the fact that the program finds new files instantly impresses us. A good runner-up is Launchy; it may not have as many features, but can be configured enough to be comfortable to work with.

Congratulations, mouser, on this great and well deserved recognition of Find and Run Robot!

A PDF version of the article (in Dutch) can be found here.

If I've made any spelling, grammar or translation errors above, or if you have other comments, please let me know.

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