I Should'a Put This In a Comment…

Cross-posted from the Particls blog.

As you would expect, I read Chris’ last post probably the moment he posted it, and while this is technically a reply to his post – I felt its simply too important to bury.The point, dear bloggers, is that RSS readers are all well and good… but nothing exists to manage your feeds when your being productive – as Chris said, when you’ve got your readers (or other apps) minimised. Having all 120 of your feeds managed and given to you in a way you can actually digest, is what we’re actually talking about.By the way, the BagItAndTagItParser class is well underway

I just did something very stupid but Chris still loves me

Cross-posted from the Particls blog.

I just opened a .vb file from another project, and upon closing the window (and subsequently not saving) I realised all too late, that Visual Studio had in fact oped the file inside the Touchstone project. You can probably guess the outcome. So off I go again, recoding the complete structure of the BagItAndTagItParser class – be assured that I wont be opening any “stray” .vb files for the rest of the day! Chris is ok with this though, because we just implimented the first ticker system and its actually reasonably functional!

It’s interesting, starting this project has opened my eyes to a whole subculture of RSS, which I was previously unaware of. I think that reading the excellent intellect of Nick (from FeedDemon) and others regarding some sort of solution to the growing ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) is inspired.
With the rapid expansion of content sources, the more ways we can think of to manage this content without hindering productivity (I am a pragmatist after all) is where we need to redouble our efforts. This is the philosophy behind Touchstone – and I’m coding as fast as I can. Aside from the heavy setback today, I should have the Bag it and Tag It Parser complete before the coding marathon tonight. If you feel inspired enough to chat with us through comments on this blog, please do – we like to feel popular.

Online again…Mostly

Cross-posted from the Particls blog.

A follow-up to my last post I have to say – I was without my precious internet for only a few days and I’m a little rugged from the experience.

It also reinforced what might happen to TouchStone if a person is offline for a while and then get their feeds updated. Could be chaos – better bring the buffer back? I’m not sure. Perhaps I should pass the buck and make sure that the UI buffers content it can’t show rather than hold up the alerts by adding buffering to the core? mmm…..shit. While Chris is partying away I’m left to make the really hard choices.

Like, should I include Ninjas or not?

He leaves ALL the hardwork for me.

Names are Important!

Cross-posted from the Particls blog.

Well.. first let me re-iterate, that i still stand by my initial feelings that our names for the three distinct areas of the Touchstone Core are appropriately and awesomely named, but I have to say…damn!

“Namespace TouchStone.Core
Public Class BagItAndTagItPaser”

It is getting very annoying to type “BagItAndTagItPaser” every time Ii need to create an instance of the class…bah!

On the other hand I have perfected the rounded form code. It’s pretty cool how VS.Net 2003 allows you to bind a form’s boundary to a defined region, but i have to admit that its not really easy to use. I found a cool little site with a bunch of useful apps – in particular, one that allows you to get the coordinates of a mouse drawn window. I had to tweak the output, but it’s great for anyone interested with the idea of non-standard window.

This brings me to the reason for my post tonight, the first OFFICIAL screenshot of the TouchStone Core GUI. I admit that it needs some tweaking, but overall, I think Chris’ plans for a simple, clean and elegant GUI are a complete success.

I think the man has to go actually. I think it needs to be replaced with the TouchStone “balls”. I estimate that the “BagItAndTagIt” Passer should be complete by Monday night. Here’s hoping I guess.

Offline…..and hating it!

Cross-posted from the Particls blog.

After a fiasco resulting in the temporary disconnection of my internet connection, I am suddenly faced with the harsh reality of being disconnected from my regular (and only source) of information.

Now it’s a true statement that im not an RSS junkie (like Chris) for the simple reason that I was grossly unhappy with the delivery of RSS feeds into my machine – or is that my life. I have tried RSS in the past, and enjoyed the simplicity, but it was full of holes, and poorly (and ugly) executed.

So as I found myself feeling more and more isolated from reality without the net, I found myself appreciating more and more the power of TouchStone.

Now….”Show me the Gadget!”

v0.0.1

Cross-posted from the Particls blog.

Well, thanks to Chris and his intrepid suggestions, we have chosen to build v0.0.1 as the first client build for the project. The process has been very interesting. In this build we have elected to shelf the marquee for the time being and work on the far easier messengeresque style alert UI system – and the results are fantastic. The _event form spawns each time that an alert is received and it has built in functionality that enables each alert spawn to determine when and where it should appear on the screen.

Technically speaking the 0.0.1 build isn’t much at all, but its a valid proof of concept that has shaped the way the TouchStone UI will operate.

The Current List of Problems (what we are so cutely describing as the CLOP):We are having troubles with alerts overlapping each other if alerts are terminated as a new one are spawned. To combat this we have developed the TouchStone Alert Buffer – a subsystem that queues up Alerts that are unable to be displayed at the screen immediately.

Displaying alerts on any screen is going to be a problem, but for the time being, the screen is going to be divided up into “slots”. These slots will be defined by a member of a UI class called clrGlobal. The array will store which slots are filled and which are empty. Events will be launched into available slots or be moved to the buffer subsystem. The number of slots will be derived later to accommodate screens of any resolution.

Apart form this, things are actually moving far faster then I initially thought possible. More importantly though, things are fun – so it makes the journey all the more rewarding.

An Interesting Conversation

Cross-posted from the Particls blog.

블๑bourboN๑블* says:
yeh
블๑bourboN๑블* says:
u need publicity
블๑bourboN๑블* says:
like just curious, what is ur aim with touchstone ?

There is something very scary about being asked this question, so in the interest of being clear, I thought I would mention it here. I want it to be popular. I want it to be a synonymous with RSS. When people think Instant Messaging, they think MSN/ICQ/Yahoo – when people think alerts management system, I want them to think TouchStone. I want it to facilitate attention management and augment many of the awesome and popular news readers.

I want TouchStone to be one of those apps you simply have to install before your nice new ‘puter, or recently reformatted machine, feels right – the type of app that makes people wonder how they ever worked without it!It’s funny though, because the more I look for TouchStonesque RSS gadgets on the ‘net, the more I find things like this!

Just call me Big Kev

Cross-posted from the Particls blog.

I’m excited. System Tray Alert UI behaviors are well on their way and we have completed the alert buffer subsystem (and watched it work). I feel refreshed, tired, but refreshed. I found myself marching forward with new passion and determination.

Next: the audacious task of developing the custom event triggers.

The Bane of my Existence

Cross-posted from the Particls blog.

Interactive Scrolling Marque’s are going to be the death of me. Already i have started to dream about them. Apparently, the windows GDI device doesnt like Interactive Scrolling Marque’s . Under VB.Net when a label is given a transparent background, and then moved, it apprently takes 40-50% of my CPU grunt (constantly) and the animation is far too slow anyway. Bah! I shall have to experiment and see if i can fake the transparency with duplicate background images.

Overall the interface demos are comming along quite well. Once i nail this problem, the real fun will begin.

Hi Everybody…..

Cross-posted from the Particls blog.

This is my first (of many) official posts regarding, what we are so modestly describing as the “universal gadget”. I thought that of a way of commemorating such a momentous occasion, I would upload a screenshot of our first UI brainstorm sessions.

I am extremely excited about this project. Somehow there is something idealistic about it. It’s something that’s a piece of something far bigger (the web 2.0 evolution) and it has awoken something in me which has been dormant for a long time – I’m not sure what that is yet, but it’s like being on the edge of a large cliff face,and yet being completely unafraid of what the future holds.

To me, this is more then technology. I want Touchstone to become an experiment in sociology. I want us all to use technology to become more than what we are.

I want it to become a piece of all of us.