Awasu » 2005 » November
Monday 21st November 2005 3:40 PM [Awasu News]

One of the channel hooks that is installed as standard with Awasu is the Channel Monitor Window. It opens up a small window that you can leave floating on your desktop, independently of the main Awasu window, that shows you the latest content from your favorite channels. The plan has always been to extend this to also run as a scrolling ticker but this has always been pushed aside by other, more important stuff :-( :whip:

However, David Edwards has just released something that he's been working on that does exactly this. People, this is a seriously cool extension to Awasu! You can see it in action in the screenshot: the ticker is running across the top of the desktop, the window in the bottom-right is the configuration dialog for the third-party tool he is using to manage the ticker.

Comprehensive documentation is included in the zip file. Don't be put off by the installation instructions; they're long but it's not as complicated as it might look. What it basically boils down to is this:

  • install Windows Script 5.6
  • install CoolTicker .90a
  • install the CoolTicker 03-16-04 upgrade
  • copy a bunch of config files to the CoolTicker installation directory
  • test the CoolTicker installation
  • copy the channel hook files to Awasu's ChannelHooks directory
  • test the Awasu channel hook

And yer done! All of this only needs to be done once and you can then attach the hook to as many channels as you want to see in the ticker.

The thing that really gives me a buzz about this is that we had no idea this project was being done :-). It was done without any technical input from us, no knowledge of hidden API's or anything like that, just a lot of determination (since the help file has only just recently been updated to cover channel hooks :oops:). It really is a testament to the power of Awasu's extensible architecture that things like this can be done.

And to David's generosity in sharing it with the rest of us. Thanks, mate! :clap:

Thursday 17th November 2005 12:18 PM [Awasu News]

It's an unfortunate fact of life that feed publishers sometimes put out XML that is invalid and doesn't get accepted by feed readers. For fast-moving feeds, even if users report the problem to the publisher, the offending item might have dropped off the end of the feed by the time somebody gets around to looking into it.

A new channel hook is now available to help with this situation. The SaveChannelFeeds hook can be attached to any channel and it saves a copy of the channel's feed XML every time it changes.

It's a very simple script, less than 70 lines of Python code, and a good example of the power that Awasu's extensible architecture offers you. Instead of being knocked back on feature requests or having to wait for the next release, you can just extend Awasu to do what you want. And while there will always be some things that plugins and hooks aren't going to be able to do, there's still heaps of scope for doing your own thing.

The guiding principle behind Awasu's design has always been letting you manage your information in the way that you want. What can Awasu's plugin channels and channel hooks do for you?

Wednesday 16th November 2005 9:42 AM [General]

To continue riffing on a theme, Scott Adams (the author of Dilbert) makes a wry observation:

I’m just wondering, how many women heard that story [about the bombing in Jordan] on the news and thought “Crap. Why did it have to be the woman who couldn’t blow herself up?”

His blog is just as funny and bent as his comic strip, more so in fact since he doesn't have to worry about getting stuff past his editors :-D

Tuesday 15th November 2005 5:14 PM [Awasu News]

If you are publishing feeds, one of the biggest hurdles you face is not only getting your customers up and running with a feed reader, but also getting your feeds into it. And now that RSS is really starting to take off with the less geekier members of the population, more and more companies are going to be facing exactly this problem.

One of the services we've offered for a while is branded and customized versions of Awasu, although it's not something we've pushed terribly hard in the past. But we've just finished putting together a sample branded version of Awasu Personal Edition 2.2 and a walk-through of some of the features it offers, to give you an idea of what the <insert-your-company-name-here> Feed Reader would look like.

Check it out here. The screenshots look really nice :cool:

Tuesday 15th November 2005 4:29 PM [General], of course, through his stomach. Definitely true, at least in my case :oops:

I've often said that the real reason I spend so much time travelling, especially in S.E.Asia, is so that I can find new things to eat :-). And now I can get it via RSS!

Good grief. It's bad enough I get distracted by all the tech news flowing in from Awasu, I have to get megabytes of pictures of the most amazingly delicious-looking food as well?! :mad: It's kinda ironic though, that the biggest thing that stops me from working on Awasu is, erm, Awasu :roll:

I wonder what it must be like working at Valve... :?

Monday 14th November 2005 3:45 PM [Awasu News]

One thing that has always been a bit of a thorn in our side is having to maintain two versions of Awasu, one for Windows 98/Me and one for NT/2000/XP. The reason for this is explained here.

Around 10-15% of the downloads of the free version are for Windows 98/Me (:eek:) but there are virtually no paying customers (I think there's just the one - a big hello to you, whoever you are! :-)). There are a number of small issues in the 98/Me that, while not show-stoppers, are not something that we like to release in something that people are paying for. All of these issues are caused by bugs in third-party products for which it's basically impossible to get fixes for because Windows 98 and Me are just a distant memory for most companies.

So, from 2.2, we are dropping the paid versions of Awasu for 98/Me but will continue to provide the free version (here's the reason why). If you really want a copy of the Advanced or Professional Editions that will run on Windows 98/Me, please drop us a line and we'll sort out a special version for you.

Monday 14th November 2005 3:27 PM [Awasu News]

Awasu 2.2 is now available here. This is a proper general release so if you've not been keeping up with the beta releases, this one's for you! It comes with an installer that you just have to download and run that will take care of all the installation requirements.

While the last release focused on implementing hard-core features like archiving and search, this one delivers the goods on the user interface :clap:

By popular demand, folders in My Channels were added by extending the old concept of categories. Combined with channel filters, Awasu now has an extremely powerful system for managing your channels.

The entire UI also now sports a completely revamped and improved UI, with a whole bunch of additional windows to manage everything that Awasu does for you now, multiple workpads, Print and Print preview functionality and support for the middle mouse button. And that's just the highlight reel :-). Check out the full feature list in the online help.

We're immensely proud of where Awasu stands now. We have an extremely powerful information management engine under the hood and now we have a great user interface to match. Many thanks to everyone who helped get us here, from the beta testers, to people who contributed plugins and other extensions, to everyone who has supported us financially by buying Awasu and yes, even those of you who sent in (gulp) crash logs :oops:

2.2 ain't over yet, either. There will be a few more things coming out over the next few weeks so stay tuned :-)

And in a strange twist of fate, a few Half-Life related items have shown up in my Awasu over the past few days talking about some new mods and so, as happened after the release of 2.1, I might quietly retire to a cave for a short while for an extended fragging session... :cool:

Friday 11th November 2005 4:11 PM [Awasu News]

A pre-release of Awasu 2.2 is now available here.

This is a proper general release so if you haven't been keeping up with the beta releases, this one's for you! Download and run the installer and it'll take care of all the installation and upgrade issues for you. Just make sure you're sitting down when you run the new version for the first time 'cos it'll knock you off your feet :-D

As long as we don't receive any reports of anyone's hard disk being wiped clean or anything like that (*), we'll formally release it next week :clap:

Have fun, y'all!

(*) I'm kidding, people!

Friday 11th November 2005 8:54 AM [General]

I've never been a big fan of personality tests nor, generally speaking, the people who believe in their value. But this article, "How to communicate with INTJs" was so accurate, I didn't know whether to laugh or cry.

Sigh... :roll:

Wednesday 9th November 2005 1:56 PM [Awasu News]

The first draft of the updated help for 2.2 is now available. Please check it out and, as always, feedback is most welcome. The new UI looks great in the screenshots (and yes, there were indeed a brazillion of them :roll:).

One big change was that the layout now assumes at least 1024 pixels of screen width. Does anyone really use anything less than that these days...?