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FluiDE (New Computer Interfaces Discussion)


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Description:

https://sourceforge.net/p/fluide


http://groups.google.com/group/fluide/
http://code.google.com/p/fluide/
http://code.google.com/p/fluide-attach/


This group is to discuss a new interface for Linux, and hopefully make one, based on top of Gnome or another desktop environment.

The main goal of this interface will be to create an extremely natural and "out of your way" shell. All aspects of traditional interfaces will be examined to see if they are the best implementation for today. Reinventing the wheel may not be best in all cases, but what about when the wheel becomes obsolete? For example, the traditional menu first appeared around the 1980s! Things have changed since then. Of course, ideas on how to do it other ways will be subject to the same rules. Just because it is different doesn't mean it is better.

What got me started thinking this way is when I saw this mock-up by Martin Gimpl:

http://personal.inet.fi/koti/mgimpl/stripes/

Some of the ideas are very interesting! Also, with all the new interfaces coming out (Gnome3, Unity, Windows 8) it seemed like this would be the perfect time to try to start a new project.

NOTE: Although I have the group set so I have to moderate who can join, I want everyone who wants to join to do so! I only have that as a precaution against spam.

Homepage:homepage
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Created:Jul 13 2011
Changed:Apr 27 2012
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 Ubuntu's HUD

 
 by user333 on: Jan 25 2012
 
Score 50%

http://www.markshuttleworth.com/archives/939
Seems that Ubuntu is working on a search-driven menu of their own. I don't like the current design, though. Unity seems like a lot of good ideas put together all wrong. Compared to Gnome-Shell, it takes me about 5 times longer to do ANYTHING. But, it will be interesting to see how this new feature works.


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 Re: Ubuntu's HUD

 
 by novomente on: Jan 25 2012
 
Score 50%

Interesting. But I'm unhappy. They got one of my ideas. Although the ideas is not mine. In the 80's the computer were all driven by typing a text. On the other hand I'm happy. They did not got the whole pack of ideas (HUD including) I have in my mind. I think of it and still create it. The whole pack of ideas include keyboard/(later) voice/mouse/touch/stylus etc., then includes new techniques of writing programs (we solve now in our group) and designing an Operating System etc.

But to focus on HUD. It is only the Google Search idea, nothing more. Because it searches in database the right commands and when you type it shows only the list with the learned preffered commands user uses often. I see no more actions there, although another features may come. I miss artificial intelligence (in today state of AI). Well it's a long run.

I have only one thing in my mind for now. Soon or later they meet a difficult problem. The problem is more about the user body and laziness. Try to imagine you work with GNOME-Shell. It's quick because user uses mouse and types commands only if he searches some application to start (basicly).

But imagine the drawing a picture or professional graphics. User holds mouse or stylus and draws. He must go very often to menus or buttons on toolbar to get appropriate action. He can do so without his hand to loose contact with his primary device - mouse or stylus. But if he instead of menus and toolbars must release mouse or place stylus in between fingers to go to type on keyboard (HUD)? Well its much complicated then it seems by only talking about it.

I met this problem 2 years ago. Still I think there must be something like visible way of quick toolbars or some easy menus. I dont remember to talking already about it in this group, but then I was saying there must be some quick visual way of doing things (toolbar, menus or whatever) and for the less common task there could be something like HUD, where you can type, what you want to do with the application or with the operating system.

The advantage of this is, that the application can do a huge of things which are hidden (are not in menus or toolbars and are reachable by HUD (with the option the user can add some of them to the application menu and toolbar which are fully customizable by user.

Thats is one part we are trying to solve here by discovering the ways of writing applications with fully customizable User Interface (by JavaScript or whatever). This what I was talking about and tryed to target the discussion in that direction (without noticing you the final goal).

Try to think of what I said. And I have very nice thing for you to start thinking. I just played with old MS-DOS, Windows 3.11, Windows 95, OS/2, old Macintosh and old Commodore Amiga Workbench (which was the first operating system of the World to have multitasking)

If you play with those, you find out how easy and simply the interaction with the user was. I just Note that I drive Windows 3.11 only with a keyboard. And the feeling of driving those old OSs was very surprising. It returned me to the root of pioneering the interaction of OS with user and gave me very interesting ideas and points of view. I recommend you to try it too. It's really very interesting.

BTW: Today I passed one exam, so the rest of the day I enjoyed reading our group a bit. :)


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 Re: Re: Ubuntu's HUD

 
 by MasKalamDug on: Jan 26 2012
 
Score 50%

I have my doubts about the proposed Ubuntu HUD but I have no love for menus as presently used.

I would agree that the old-fashioned drop-down menus are obsolete. But is the HUD the right cure? If well-implemented it might well be.

If I read the plans correctly the HUD is intended to be a smart search - comparable to Google. I can discover lots of useful things from Google - but it is nowhere near as smart as it should be.

As I see it a HUD might work if it was tightly integrated with the documentation. Better yet - if it is the documentation. This no trivial task given the well-known reluctance of programmers to write documentation. Of course, saying the HUD should be the documentation, I am assuming a toolbar front-end to the HUD.

Incidentally I observe that not everything gedit can do is in the menu - right click brings up things that are not in the menu (at least on the version I am using). This is a hint at how hard a good HUD is going to be to write.

But I am an enthusiast for good documentation - maybe a HUD is what we need to force developers to prepare decent documentation


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 Re: Re: Re: Ubuntu's HUD

 
 by novomente on: Jan 26 2012
 
Score 50%

Yesterday I did not think a lot what I meant by my HUD which I was thinking 2 or 1 year ago. But when you speak about tight it on documentation it reminds me, that I was thinking of it as being documentation rather than simple command tool.

For me starting point of thinking of my HUD (lets distinguish the Ubuntu 'HUD' from the thing I mean - lets call it 'TVc' text-voice-control for example) was that an application can exactly do more than it allows from menus. I was thinking of how to control it. One of the idea was the TVc. But it couldn't be a command based control. Because the application would have huge sort of commands which user would have to learn (this is also the problem of Ubuntu HUD). Then I was thinking of Documentation. In today application a user must go to read the documentation to learn how to do something in the application. User then must do 2 steps: Read the documentation and then do appropriate tasks in application (by using menus toolbars etc.) So I though the 2 steps to be merged in one. The result was the beginning phase of TVc.

How could the TVc work? I'm not sure yet about the final TVc. But it could work like this. User types in the TVc in his general language what he wants to do. TVc will analyze it and list out appropriate actions which might come in users interest. More over the TVc could ask user a question to make results more exact (if there are a lot of results or if it cannot find one or if it finds not exact results). Also the smart commentary is displayed with each result and more commentary is displayed when user hover the result or what ever.

For example lets imagine the user types a general text in Gedit. Now he wants the Gedit to find every C language source code in a text and use HTML markup language to mark the C source. He types to TVc "find c source and mark with html". TVc analyze users wish and looks for the appropriate action in Gedit. It finds out that Gedit can distinguish C language syntax and that it can find text. Moreover the TVc finds out that Gedit has 'convert to HTML' plugin. And now comes the smart part of TVc.

TVc creates a Window where it inquires the informations needed for the action. The window looks like todays dialog with drop downs, radio and check buttons etc. For example there are check buttons to find C and/or C++ and/or C#; option to format the source code (to be a nice visual source) - with 'format source plugin'; there will be buttons like Find next, Find previous etc - like in usual Search window dialog; then there is a tab with html converter with its own options: convert to HTML or XHTML (transitional etc), use this CSS, proportional etc.; buttons like 'convert' 'Convert all occurrences' etc. etc. How is the dialog window created?

How? There are NO PRE-DEFINED (PRE-PROGRAMMED) window dialogs. The documentation is not written in HTML or another language. There are no predefined menus in an application. All the dialogues are created by TVc from the programmable Documentation-UI sources.

What is Documentation-UI? It is the special format in which the description and visual UI<->User interaction LEGO blocks are written. The Documentation-UI also include an action logic - it must explain to TVc which options are possible to use with wanted actions. The Documentation-UI format looks more like a source code in some programming language. The TVc then build the window dialog by assembling the Documentation-UI LEGO blocks by using the action logic.

The window dialog can be a Usual window dialog or a Wizard (step by step) or whatever.

So the Documentation becomes UI now driven by TVc.

Moreover there must be some quick way to reach some common tasks. Again I have no final concept. But lets imagine the menu should be more like Firefox Bookmarks (with bookmarks toolbar instead of menu bar). There could be something like fully customizable UI (i.e. toolbars, windows, tabs etc.) which we already work on in our group (till now looks like the UI being something like HTML5+JavaScript).

So you can easily work with your mouse/stylus/touchscreen to do your tasks by using UI (bookmarks menu, toolbars, windows etc) and when you need a special task to do (less frequent or too complicated or task with more steps (imagine GIMPs ScriptFu)) you just type it in the TVc. Then you can easily make the result action to be a makro and place it in your bookmarks menu.

The Documentation-UI with action logic allows the user to easily create huge combination of tasks. And I did not mention yet the possibility to combine actions of more than one application together and them together with Operating System by using global TVc (being more than standard Linux Terminal) :)

So this is how do I think of the TVc. TVc means text-voice-control. 'voice' in the name means that you can also (developed later) use a voice to talk to TVc. But I don't think the computer will be always driven by voice.

note: writing Documentation-UI and action logic (programming) will be more fun for developers than writing an HTML documentation (which is hated by developers).


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 Re: Re: Re: Re: Ubuntu's HUD

 
 by MasKalamDug on: Jan 26 2012
 
Score 50%

This is only the tiniest part of a reply.

There is something I think you should know about and I suspect you do not. That is what is called "interactive fiction" (Google will give you lots of links).

Interactive fiction is computer-based text games. It was a big deal back before graphic displays were common but now almost everybody has forgotten it. But an energetic little community still exists.

You might enjoy the games - but that is not the point - the point is the tools they use to make games. IMHO they have much more practical know-how about giving computers commands than anyone else - especially than Microsoft or Apple.

Be warned - this is not a small repository of information.


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 Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Ubuntu's HUD

 
 by novomente on: Jan 27 2012
 
Score 50%

Thank you for the info. Today I have read the Wikipedia page of Interactive Fiction and realized it is also a term of text adventures (fully text based or with graphics and/or animations, but driven by typing a text). Well I remember text games. I played them on my old Commodore 64 which was my first computer I had. I loved text adventures because they could describe worlds with only borders of people imagination. Also at 80's the Operating System were text based (on Commodore 64 it was BASIC).

But back to Interactive Fiction (the IF abbreviation also mean the programming command IF, used for branching, the base of IF games). I remember writing my short IF games, when I learned BASIC programming language (I called them something like 'kidding1' 'kidding2' etc):

10 PRINT "Hello, my name is COMPUTER. Do you want to talk to me?"
20 INPUT A$
30 IF A$ = "yes" GOTO 60
40 IF A$ = "no" THEN PRINT "O.K. See you later."
50 STOP
60 PRINT "OK Lets talk. What is your name?"
70 INPUT A$
80 ........... etc.

To be honest I thought the text games (Interactive Fictions) are dead. But now you are telling me they still alive. :)

The good thing about it is (what you have said) the development of language syntax of IF games did not stop and I (We) can study it. When I was thinking of the TVc, I talked about in last comment, I got text games in my mind. But I did not mean the TVc to have the same text base control as the IF games. But rather similar. I did not think of technical issue yet. But I suppose the TVc must include the whole people language dictionary with resolved synonyms and some natural language logic because I don't want the users to learn commands like (GO NORTH, USE THING etc.) The application then includes a file where the actions, it can do, are written in a format the TVc would understand.

I suppose the TVc should solve the difference among world people languages and avoid this problem to be handled by applications. But applications must have the option to add own vocabulary of application specific words to TVc. Although I talk about adding words I also mean the natural language logic with synonyms etc. TVc also solves the natural language syntax. When I was programming on Commodore 64 I also made applications using such control - including only a part of vocabulary (pity I don't have the applications saved somewhere but I think it's easy to imagine that).

I also think the TVc would learn the user's language (I'm not sure about the problem of users privacy). At least it can learn the sentences the users uses for doing actions in an applications. I suppose the application would have its own language logic for actions defined which does not include all possible sentences the user can use to interact with the application. The problem must be solve by the TVc. The TVc talks to user (ask questions - in any way i.e. text, windows, etc. and responds to the user) and tries to understand him. And TVc learns how user communicate. Thats why it needs the vocabulary with synonyms (at least) and sentence logic with syntax. I suppose it also to have some AI (Artificial Intelligence) in today state.

I know this is a big task but very interesting to work on. But to start somewhere the first version of TVc can be exactly same as Interactive Fiction (text adventure) games' text control (with an option of using radio/check buttons, roll down menus, toolbars, windows and vice versa as control).

There is a lot of things to think about. When you talk about making some real direction of work of our group I want to let you know about further possible goals we could target at before starting to think of a beginning of some final nearby tasks. I imagine that all active guys in our group are ready for some action :) - (in some level of the feeling "OK lets do something real").


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 Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Ubuntu's HUD

 
 by MasKalamDug on: Jan 27 2012
 
Score 50%

Delighted that you know what I am talking about. I think I still have my Commodore 64 stored away somewhere. I got started on Colossal Cave on a mainframe - that would be around 1975 (I go so far back I can remember when FORTRAN was introduced.)

The Wikipedia write-up is quite good even though I disagree about few points. What I am focusing on here is the TADS and INFORM languages. And there was at least one more. There is a lot to learn here that the computing community as a whole has forgotten.

Now the down side - the task of getting computers to even come close to human speech is almost certainly still hopeless. Addressing computers in human language was intensively studied in the 1950's and 60's and abandoned as hopeless around 1970.

I am, professionally, about half a linguist and I can assure you that human language is still not well enough understood (and the trend toward better understanding is close to zero).

I looked hard at interactive fiction a few years ago and was very impressed. These people were doing some really effective interaction. But I drifted away. I could be lured back.

When you come right down to it "Go North" is not that different than "Open File".

As nearly as I can tell the information passing aspects of Siri and Microsoft's competitor are inferior to what IF was using in the 1990's. The voice recognition aspect is new - at least to me.

I could go on and on but I must stop now.



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 Re: Re: Re: Re: Ubuntu's HUD

 
 by user333 on: Jan 28 2012
 
Score 63%

Sounds interesting :) So what you are saying is that "menus" as we know it wouldn't exist all all. Instead, the application would have a database of commands which would then be interpreted by a front-end. Did I get that all straight?

I would, however have "sticky" commands, like you said, Maybe some sort of sidebar? A Blender-type menu with a mini UI for each menu item seems like it might work for that. It would be much more flexible than a toolbar.

Another thing I would say would make your idea more complete would be to still have a hiarchy in the commands; so related things are grouped together, even if not visible to the user. That way the computer can make smarter choices.

I see a problem with a purely conversation driven program, like the old computer games that were mentioned below. Your method would work great for speach, but for power users it would be a pain. Often when I try to use those old games, I'll type something that makes sense to ME but not to the computer. Then I get frustrated trying 5 minutes of different words until the computer figures it out. But, with the system you described, the great thing is that it could work in all situations; depending on what was needed. For speach input, use a AI interpreter, for touch use another, and for keyboard a third.

We have to be sure that everything is consistant, but we'll address this problem once we come to it.

Once we get the theory of this sorted out, the tricky part is how to create a good UI for it. I have some ideas, but I'll have to see how they turn out :)

What were talking about here is getting exiting :) I'm itching to see some of this stuff become reality.


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 Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Ubuntu's HUD

 
 by novomente on: Jan 28 2012
 
Score 50%

You understand it correctly. But menus will not go away. I describe the user will work with the UI (toolbars, windows, panes etc.). The menus are replaced by bookmarks hierarchy similar to Firefox's Bookmarks Toolbar. The hierarchy is folders within there are bookmarks and subfolders within each are another bookmarks and another subfolders ... etc. One bookmark represents one menu item (one action for example "Open File..."). Folders and subfolders are menus and submenus. Both the today applications' menu and the Bookmarks Toolbar are exactly the same. They only differ in that the Bookmarks Toolbar is fully customizable by user.

I suggest that there will be something like Bookmarks Toolbar profiles where the whole Bookmarks hierarchy will be defined. Then changing a profile will completely (or not completely - it depends on our development) change the Bookmarks Toolbar hierarchy. When you imagine the Bookmarks Toolbar replacing today applications' menu then changing a profile will completely change the application menu (in today application point of view). There could be some profiles predefined by application developers, there could be profiles created by user, there could be profiles which behaves like a bookmarks history (i.e. used bookmarks in the last session of application etc.) We can just imagine what all can we do with it.

When working with menu (Bookmarks Toolbar) you can easily reach your tasks, such as Open File... etc by browsing it (same as you do it today). But application can do more task then there are in bookmarks. And these task are reached over TVc (I just note that over TVc are reached all tasks - i.e. also those already present in a menu (bookmarks toolbar). User then have the option to make a bookmark in bookmarks toolbar (menu) for the task reached by using TVc, so he need not next time to search task with TVc again but rather go to the menu (bookmarks toolbar) hierarchy to look for it. So the user have the option to create his own specific menu (bookmarks toolbar) with tasks the application is possible to handle. I just note that user can manage the menu hierarchy (i.e. move, create and delete bookmarks and folders) and user can create countless profiles.


Quote:
Another thing I would say would make your idea more complete would be to still have a hiarchy in the commands; so related things are grouped together, even if not visible to the user. That way the computer can make smarter choices.

Well this problem is solved by the thing which I called the "action logic" 2 comments back. Imagine the application task to be similar to programming language commands or functions or procedures. Then the application has its own specific language to write "action logic" i.e. to write "programs" to assemble more complex tasks. We just need to standardize the way the application tells TVc what tasks it can handle. In this standard there should be included also the logic of usage of the tasks for the user easily find the task he wants (i.e. that what you were talking in the quote above).

I must tell that TVc IS NOT the tool for only searching predefined tasks. More it is also the tool to allow user to assemble for example new tasks the application can handle but has not defined in the action logic. When I was talking about the action logic programming language I had in my mind the option the user can "program" (write or assemble) new tasks (from the commands, functions, procedures). One of the TVc feature is the AI using for communicating to user, search for predefined tasks intelligently and ALSO offer to assemble new tasks (in some easy way), which are not defined in the application tasks database.

You can imagine that as if you work with GIMP and when you need some new special effect the GIMP cannot handle, you can use TVc to write a completely new effect (by ScriptFu or python). But in an easier way than writing a program because the application's "action logic" will describe the possibilities of what application is capable of rather what tasks it can solve (i.e. what task has predefined).

And thats very interesting and thats why the Interactive Fictions are helpful on one hand but insufficient on the other hand. What makes our thinking more creative. :)


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 Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Ubuntu's HUD

 
 by MasKalamDug on: Jan 28 2012
 
Score 50%

I wasn't advocating IF per se. What I was trying to do was get us pointed at what I think is the best successful interface using more-or-less natural language. As I see it - if we try to go further than IF we are pioneering and, what's worse,
pioneering in an area, AI, where a lot of good people have failed ahead of us.

There must always be a "menu" for each application somewhere in some form. Looking at the documentation problem I don't think it belongs in the documentation. The difficulty is that a menu says everything in exactly the same tone of voice - what is unimportant looks exactly like what really matters. Good documentation presents things in more context.

There is another problem in that most applications can do things that a user isn't, or shouldn't be, interested in. We want to expose these things for the plug-in writer but not the user. This problem led to the creation of multiple object interfaces - public, protected, private - even though the language of plug-ins was not used. However these days I see customization being to merge with plug-ins.

We don't really know what the preferred method of computer control in the future will be. Apple, and others, have sold millions of tablet computers that I think are virtually useless. Of course, they are virtually useless for what I do - but not everybody does what I do.

I would be eager to get decent voice input to my computer - but not for giving commands - for text entry.

Back to HUD and TVc. The way I see it is that a "power user" can almost certainly interact faster using their fingers on something like a keyboard than any other way. Hence at least part of our thinking should be devoted to optimizing the "keyboard" experience. The mouse is a clever device but it go away - it optimizes nothing much and requires a hand. The foot operated mouse may yet have a future. I don't see that voice-based interaction will ever satisfy anyone except casual users. Of course, even power users are casual users back in the corners of the application.



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 Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Ubuntu's HUD

 
 by user333 on: Jan 28 2012
 
Score 50%

Ok, I think I'm understanding this more. The point you made about predefined solutions vs. capabily is interesting, but could you give me another example on how that would work? I can't quite wrap my head around it. The idea of expanding a program as you use it is exiting, though!

I thought I would mention another good feature of the Blender interface. It has an exellect searchable list of commands, so if I don't know how to do somthing, I just search for it; similar to Ubuntu's HUD. The difference is that it allows you to learn to do things even more quickly by displaying keyboard shortcuts, so next time it will take you 1 second instead of 10. I think it would be a good idea to use a searchable menu for discovery, and then let the user learn as they go. The program's menu should be smart enough to interpret what they user tried to say, then optimize itself, and also teach the user a faster way of doing things.

With all this talk about a new menu concept, I started to wonder how relavent "applications" are anymore. I alluded to this previously (where I suggested that files were the focus rather than the app), but what if apps simply "extentions" of the OS, all accessed from a single UI? For example you would type or say "email joe" and it would then customize the UI to better fit the task, but remain essestially unchanged. So basically, I'm saying there sould be little or no difference between lauching a program and using it. An application would then be nothing more that a collection of capabilities for a library, with some instructions on how the OS should present those ablilties. The OS would do everything else.

This idea wouldn't work well in all cases, but perhaps if I work on some mockups things will become more clear on what is practical.


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 Ideas & Thoughts

 
 by novomente on: Jan 28 2012
 
Score 50%

Quote:
With all this talk about a new menu concept, I started to wonder how relevant "applications" are anymore. I alluded to this previously (where I suggested that files were the focus rather than the app), but what if apps simply "extensions" of the OS, all accessed from a single UI? For example you would type or say "email joe" and it would then customize the UI to better fit the task, but remain essentially unchanged. So basically, I'm saying there should be little or no difference between lauching a program and using it. An application would then be nothing more that a collection of capabilities for a library, with some instructions on how the OS should present those ablilties. The OS would do everything else.


Exactly. I had this idea too. I imagined every application be a plugin into the OS with single (or multiple types) of user control. The whole OS will then be nothing more than a single application extensible by plugins (the app plugins - libraries etc.). I was also thinking of technical issue little bit and talk about some technical things of this idea when we were talking about today application plugins (in previous comments some time ago). But it has one problem. It is the OS itself. It would be a lot of work to do and maybe even to redesign the OS. Well thats a deal like whole computer world. :) - redesign Linux from the root :D

OK nice ideas. But we are still only 3 here most active in our group. Although this group can start a UI interface revolution from XEROX era still we must concentrate on reachable goals (as David said). To define some nearby task of our work would require a balance between the imagination and thinking with feet on the ground. Both points of view are correct (I think) at least few days or weeks (maybe months) before thinking in real tasks.

But it all is so exciting that I have the same feeling: start some pre-work, think on technical issues, determine some final goals. Make some thing which will do something we are talking about here.

OK but without a hurry I will speak for a few days about the whole pack of ideas I got in my mind 2 years ago. Surely you will have another ideas and thoughts from many points of view. When we discuss the ideas coming up in our minds next days we can realize that we can lay down some real reachable goals and maybe a good start of some tries and real work. It seems that it depends on us whether we provide something what will attract another guys to join this group (at least).


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 Re: Ideas & Thoughts

 
 by user333 on: Jan 28 2012
 
Score 50%

I agree 100% with everything you said :)

Of course, rebuilding Linux from the ground up isn't all that practical. I would do something like Windows 8 does. It has the new program types avalable to developers, but still keeps the trational desktop as an "app".


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 Re: Re: Ideas & Thoughts

 
 by novomente on: Feb 6 2012
 
Score 50%

Hello again guys. Last week I have passed all exams on University, so I can continue my study in next half year. And of course continue adding comments in our group. Before I start to talk about I promised to talk, I would like to react on your last comment, Mike.

I think you are absolutely right about building something on top of Linux like Windows 8 does with the new apps keeping the old desktop as an app. What I would like to mention are new apps themselves. I'm not sure how they work, but depending on what I heard and saw, it seems that Metro apps (if you meant them) are built for Metro desktop and do not function somewhere else. Again I'm not sure about it. So I think that we should make only new apps or even new versions of old apps to have our desktop (TVc etc.) abilities, while keeping their old desktop functionalities. It means that when used in other desktops (GNOME, KDE) they will function well there without TVc and other abilities. I mean that the apps will function well without our new technologies and abilities.

If the Metro apps function this way, then I apologize for this comment and say that You are absolutely right Mike.

Now the promised ideas talking.

The TVc (to be honest the name I made when I started my comment about it, what took me about 2 minutes and I've chosen it as well remember-able as "colored TV = TeleVision color" ;) , but of course the meaning is exactly "Text Voice control" which is exactly a name created for the reason of distinguishing it from the HUD, nothing more :).

OK so TVc means Text Voice control. Although I made some comments previously I would like to write it again. I don't think the voice control will be the primary control of a computer. At least till the computer will have the ability to understand human language 100% correctly. I remember the first mobile phones to have voice dialing. You could say a name of a person and the phone dialed the number. But that feature was a terrible implementation and nobody used it (a lot of jokes and funny videos were made about it). So I agree absolutely with David in that to have good voice recognition for the reason of dictating a text into the text editor instead of typing it with a keyboard. Thus the TVc should be at first a text control.

David said that mouse is a clever device but should go away off a common computer control. I think that this could be a near future but the mouse would not go away completely. There is still many devices sold without the possibility of touching it with finger or stylus. Also when using a notebook or touchscreen in a vehicle or a sea ship (where the desk is unstable) the control with a stylus or with a common desk mouse is not as it should be. Still there are some human tasks to do in such environments. Keyboard is good, touch-pad is also good, but better to use keyboard with arrow keys.

There is one disadvantage of a keyboard. It is the ability of drawing a distance on a desktop. This is exactly the perfect task for mouse or stylus, which are more sharp than finger touch which is the third today common control able to do it. Applications like CAD, 3D design or 2D drawing are perfect for mouse or stylus. But both devices lack the ability of writing letters. Stylus has this ability but keyboard is faster.

I was thinking of it to drive TVc with a keyboard. I realized that we can have something, what I call a scroll-pad. It looks exactly as touch-pad on a notebook. But the draw with a finger across the touch-pad doesn't move a pointer on windowed screen. Instead it scrolls something (text, menu etc.). This scrolling is similar to a mouse wheel simulated on a touch-pad. When scrolling a text or a highlight over menu items on a keyboard you have to relocate your fingers on arrow keys or PageUp/PageDown keys. But they haven't the ability of touch-pad. If we have a touch-pad on a keyboard, we could relocate the fingers on a touch-pad and scroll with a draw. The draw could be similar rather to mouse draw than mouse wheel scroll. Such device could be used to better control of our new Desktop Environment.

There is one advantage of a touch-pad (or scroll-pad). It is gestures and multi touch. Lets say you have a window with some preferences. In today mouse windowing DEs you have radio buttons, check boxes, drop down menus, buttons etc. But imagine a radio buttons to look like an examination test:

Type in a number of your choice: |___|
1. search files/folders
2. search images
3. search documents
4. search music
5. search movies
6. etc.

This all is one item in a menu. Now you can move to that menu item with keyboard arrows. When the menu item is highlighted you have the option to type a number of your choice or type a text of your choice (the typed text will be quickly searched among the choices) - this is a keyboard way. Or you can use scroll-pad to highlight the menu item and then you have the option to draw a number of your choice with a finger on a scroll-pad (gesture).

Now imagine you have a window full of similar menu items and you wish to end setting the choices in a window. With today mouse and windowed DE you have something like "OK" button and "Cancel" button etc. With keyboard you can move from button to button with arrow keys and press some accept key. Or for an "OK" button you can press "Enter" key or similar. But with scroll-pad you have the option to draw a gesture (which could be same for "OK" in all applications and same for "Cancel" in all applications etc.) without scrolling to or selecting the "OK" or "Cancel" button.

And now little bit more. There is one great computer, not well sold, but perfect for this idea. It is the "Asus Eee Keyboard" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ASUS_Eee_Keyboard). The perfect idea is the small touchscreen on the right side of it. It has the ability to show some controls on the screen which you can touch with a finger tip. Such touch is equivalent to a button press, or menu choice. Now imagine you have such touchscreen with all the ability of a scroll-pad I described above.

With such device you have the possibility to scroll, draw a line, draw a gesture AND choose one or more of displayed choices. It could be good for example to make a choice of the above described radio buttons (which look like an examination test) by touching a finger on a button displayed on the touchscreen-scroll-pad. This could be very good for kids. I can also imagine special desktop environment without any text and with only icons and images for kids which cannot read or write.

This is an idea I got few days ago. It is an initial version of the idea and I suggest to imagine it and little play with it to find other ideas.


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 Re: Re: Re: Ideas & Thoughts

 
 by user333 on: Feb 11 2012
 
Score 50%

Metro apps aren't compatible with pre-Windows 8, but I agree with what you said about needing to be compatable with other desktop enviroments. I just didn't make it clear ;)

On your touch strip idea, do you think you could make some sort of sketch of the idea and how it would work? When you were describing how it worked, I couldn't help thinking of an iPod's thumb wheel. Would it be similar to one?


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 Re: Re: Re: Re: Ideas & Thoughts

 
 by novomente on: Feb 12 2012
 
Score 50%

I have never seen iPod control in action until yesterday when I read your replay and saw some videos on youtube. And I say YES, the scroll-pad is exactly as iPod Thumb Wheel. Although there is a difference. iPod Thumb Wheel is 1 dimensional - you can move your finger round the circle forward and backward which moves the highlighter through the menu items (up/down) etc. The scroll-pad is 2 dimensional - you can move your finger up/down what moves the highlighter through the menu items (up/down) AND you can move your finger left/right what opens/closes submenu etc.

The "etc." means other highlighting, selecting and vice versa. So I understand why scroll-pad reminds you iPod :)

BTW I make some mockup to show some action with TVc and scroll-pad (as I think about it recently).


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 Stripes + Windows Metro apps

 
 by novomente on: Feb 20 2012
 
Score 50%

Is it possible to merge Martin Gimpl's Stripes with Windows 8 Metro apps? I made an image to show the merge. I think it breaks the beauty of Stripes Philosophy, but it is only for our thoughts about new things.

http://novomente-activities.blogspot.com/2012/02/stripes-windows-metro.html


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 Re: Stripes + Windows Metro apps

 
 by MasKalamDug on: Feb 21 2012
 
Score 50%

Thank you for calling Martin Gimpl's thesis to my attention. I propose doing exactly what you implied - basing our consideration of new GUI's on Stripes.

What do you consider you had to change to make Stripes like Windows 8 ?

I haven't really absorbed Gimpl yet - more when I do.


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 Re: Re: Stripes + Windows Metro apps

 
 by novomente on: Feb 22 2012
 
Score 50%

Do you know what I like on Stripes the best? It's the verticality. Although the idea is not original (I saw verticality in OS/2 etc. already), Windows for example somehow always forget to implement verticality and uses horizontality instead.

What I really dislike on Windows File Manager is that there are lot of views made in horizontal organization. The default view - icon view - where there are icons side by side with file name below icon, was good in old Operating Systems because there were not too many files and folders. But today, this view is a pain. For example to search an application in GNOME Shell by listing their icons (icon view) is horrible when there is a lot of applications. The good on GNOME Shell is the search bar to search application.

Windows has another views. But always, when there is some implementation of icon view (with the file name beside icon), icons are arranged side by side. :( Thus I use always the list view, where icons are small as the file names and the icons with the file name beside the icon are organized vertically. In Linux (GNOME or KDE) there is an option to make icons organized vertically with any icon size and with the name beside the icon (Nautilus Icon view with names beside icons, List view and Compact view).

The quickest way to search among icons with file names on some side of icon in left-to-right direction languages is when icons are organized vertically with file names beside icons. This is the default view in OS/2 version 1.x Desktop Manager's group view as seen on this image:

http://fluide-attach.googlecode.com/files/os2_desktop_manager.gif
btw...first time I use FluiDE-attach google code page, Mike ;)

You can see that the verticality is very old idea (and implemented by Microsoft! - but only once :( )

I have also the practice in searching among image thumbnails. For example when I search some image to make it a wallpaper in a folder of many images, the quickest way for me is to have 2 thumbnails side by side and this organized vertically. You can imagine this by viewing the OS/2 1.x Desktop Manager's group view (image linked above), where in the group view window there are 2 images side by side (left and right) below which there are next 2 images side by side, below which there are next 2 images side by side etc. This is the quickest way for me to search image by watching the thumbnails (not their (file) names which are below the thumbnails and of which the best search is the Nautilus compact view (or Windows List view)).

The thumbnail search, described in the previous paragraph (for me) is the best view of Windows Metro app tiles in group, what I used in the Stripes + Windows Metro apps comment. Just imagine you have Metro apps tiles with very similar colors organized in 4 or 5 tiles side by side in a vertical view. Imagine the GNOME Shell application list (icon view) with many applications there. I think this is not good. But Windows Metro "Start" page is good, because there is only one category (group) - the metro apps. In the Stripes there are more categories - Applications, Files, Webpages etc. So I think good view is exactly the vertical view of one group (Applications) where there are 2 (or at maximum 3) Metro apps' tiles side by side (consider large and small screen) organized verticaly.

I just note the Asian pictography (Chinese, Japanese, Korean). Organization of symbols is vertical (they write from top to bottom, next "line" is aside the previous (vertical organisation in columns). The symbol represents an icon. Asians found out the best way to read symbols (from top to bottom) with history of thousand years (Egyptian hieroglyphs were also organized vertically - as far as I know).

In the end I would like to ask "What is the best way to represent something graphically - Image tile, icon, some symbol?" - also consider other representations like some text article, shell command, financial information, mathematical equation, chemical representation, etc.


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 Re: Re: Re: Stripes + Windows Metro apps

 
 by MasKalamDug on: Feb 22 2012
 
Score 50%

How to represent things is a good question - and I have no casual answer. I think that the fastest way to present data to me would be as a long vertical scroll with five icons on each row.

Gimpl mentions the fact that different people move their eyes differently across a row of symbols. It seems as I prefer to handle five-seven icons in one glance. The lesson seems to be that the number of icons per row should be customizable. I want to move my eye focus down rather than across but I can handle several icons in each row.

In that respect Chinese vertical writing is less efficient than necessary because it only presents one icon per line.

The down side is the icons. The human mind can carry a lot of icons at one time - Chinese writing proves that - but there is a learning time required for each icon. Thumbnails are not the answer. I have folders with more than a hundred text files in them. All one hundred thumbnails look alike to me.

Nautilus is, in my opinion, an inferior way to handle files. I am forced to use the compact view and Nautilis does not even have the good grace to expand the abbreviated file names when I dwell on an entry.

The best way to find something is by its name. Names have been part of human speech ever since.

Now I am capable of calling an icon a kind of name. There is no a priori reason why a name must be a word. A name could be a ring-tone - but I am too deaf to advocate that.

So if we give everything a name we have an awful lot of names - too many in fact. Hence hierarchy. We have names and sub-names and sub-sub-names.

For some reason we have three or more different notations for hierarchy. If we are talking files we use / or \ to separate name levels. If we are talking OOPS objects we use . to separate. I think we need to standardize on one - but that is a different story.

Consider files. Somewhere deep down in the system each file has a unique identifier that tells the system where it is in the hardware. The name the user knows it by is almost surely very different and the file manager brings them together.

Suppose I limit myself to 37 members at each level and identify each member by a single alphanumeric character. Then I can name 37 to the n-th power (roughly 2 to 5n-th) with n alphanumeric symbols (over a million with four symbols). But I have just re-invented writing.

If we squashed the file system down to one level and gave each file a unique name we would introduce hierarchy - we know this because it happens over and over (most recently in XML name spaces).

So we live with a hierarchy of names. The most natural system for English speakers would be a series of words (for example - California Interstate Commerce Commission). German speakers might have a different opinion. A detail - but we must agree on something.

Drilling down the hierarchy to find a specific name is the obvious default. But we can use nicknames. We can use icons as nicknames.

I don't think I reached any conclusion here. I am, essentially, agreeing that vertical is the way to go.


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 Re: Re: Re: Re: Stripes + Windows Metro apps

 
 by MasKalamDug on: Feb 23 2012
 
Score 50%

Gimpl makes the point that the most valuable real estate on the screen is the four corners. I observe that none of the corners are being used significantly on the screen I am looking at. Hm.

After that the edges are the most important. I think he has something here.

My proposal is to have a facility whereby we can make windows act the screen. I would imagine a nice dark frame around the window and trapping the mouse within the frame. Then the window is no different than the screen (assuming I also trap the keyboard).

The use I have in mind here is split screen. I would have two screens which might have been on two different hardware screens sharing one screen as left and right halves. The focus can be one half or the other and I need an easy way to get across from one half to the other. Click some obscure key and you change screens.

Now each screen has four corners and four edges and lots of edge real estate. I am especially interested in edges. I don't know where this is going - but it's fun getting there.


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 Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Stripes + Windows Metro apps

 
 by user333 on: Feb 24 2012
 
Score 50%

I had a similar idea to this with my panel system, where each frame would be a seperate screen. Your idea takes it a step further, and I think it is very good. Rather than just a keyboard shortcut, what about a mouse "exit"? To enter the window, the mouse could come from any direction, but would be locked into place unless it went to a special corner (like the bottom-right corner).

Your idea is very good because it allows fitt's law to be applied in ways it never has been before.


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 Re: Re: Re: Re: Stripes + Windows Metro apps

 
 by novomente on: Feb 23 2012
 
Score 50%

Your reply is very interesting.

It gave me an idea. It's obvious that each file in Windows has an extension (.exe .txt). But folders don't have one. When I see many folders in a File Manager, it's a list of the same icons. Only special folders (Music, Photos, Documents, Home) have special icon (folder icon with some symbol on it). What if a folder name include an extension (.home .text .photos .cpp)? Then we can have special icons for the folder type and display such icon as a folder icon. Then the list of folders in the File Manager will look more lucid.

This idea can be simply implemented to the Linux. It's only a question of a folder naming (by user) and File Manager (and relevant applications) implementation. Special folder can be then displayed as standard folder icon with a small symbol type image overlaying the standard folder icon.


Another idea is tags. Well it's not tags itself because tags is very old idea. But let me think. Many people would like to use tags for searching and organizing some database. BUT almost all common users hate attaching tags to an item. Typical usage is Firefox with its bookmark tags. The tagging is already well implemented but its a user who must attach tags to bookmarks. I think that huge portion of users don't use this feature, including me. Unless the tagging system is automatic.

Many times I was thinking of automatic tagging add-on for Firefox. I have almost final specification but I have no time to make the add-on. Seems that now it's good time to talk about tagging the files and folders. I hope You know that Nautilus implements an "Emblems" feature. Emblem is a small symbol image which can be attached to the file or folder. Well I don't use it but you can find it in the Nautilus's sidebar where Bookmarks or Folder tree are (and on an Emblems tab in the Properties of the file/folder window in GNOME 2).

There are some automatic emblems attaching like: file only for reading, unreachable folder etc. I think that implementing tagging to the file system must have automatic characteristics. I'm not sure how to create tags of a file automatically. But one solution would be to create tags from a name of a file, its mime type, name of folders in the file's path (including folder extension described above) and maybe file content (text, dominant color of an icon, picture properties - large, big, small, mp3 details, shell script, XML, HTML etc.)

With tags we have better way to present things graphically and textually. Tagging system could be implemented in the Linux kernel or somewhere higher (as a service ?).


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 Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Stripes + Windows Metro apps

 
 by MasKalamDug on: Feb 24 2012
 
Score 50%

I personally don't find tags (thinking in terms of Nautilis emblems) very helpful. All I ever use them for is to mark ready-only files and then the lock is supplied automatically when I set my own permission to read-only.

First - a sort of a side issue. I observe that downloading many (most?) web pages will cause a new FOLDER to be created containing pictures and style pages and probably still more things. This new folder is created in the folder that receives the actual document. This is wrong The new folder is clearly subordinate to the downloaded page. The solution seems to be to make the downloaded page into a folder and, so to speak, accessing the folder. This seems to translate into executable folders. Not really a hard idea -just add an anonymous file the folder which is what is really executes when you execute the folder. This essentially erases the difference between files and folders. I will call them both files.

Thus a file A may contain further files. It may or may not also contain file data of its own. Then the full name of the file is the path. If you try to open or execute a file by name you may not be able to because the file has no content of its own - just sub-files.

I have been watching what I do and what I want to do and, today, my thinking goes like this:

What I really want is automatic completion. Suppose I start at the root and start typing in a name. As soon as initial segment of the name is unique the name jumps to its end I can try to work with that but mostly I will fail so I start typing the next "word" in the full name. Meanwhile the greatest part of the screen is filled with a list of what I might type next.


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 Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Stripes + Windows Metro ap

 
 by novomente on: Feb 25 2012
 
Score 50%

Maybe I described the folder type in a wrong way. Everything I wanted to solve with the folder types was a different folder icon image of a folder with different content, nothing more. So when naming a folder like this (for example) "My text files.docs", the File Manager will recognise the extension ".docs" and instead of a default folder icon image it will display a special icon image for Documents. In Gnome you can change default icon in a properties window. But the solution with naming folder with extension is more fast.

Yesterday I realised that folder type extension is not good way to go. Reason shows this name for example "Photos.images". Name like this looks not lucid. Moreover the dot "." in the folder name may conflict with JAVA (and other) programming language guidelines. So I find out better solution. It's to recognise the folder type from last or first word (or substring of word for some languages) of a folder name. Thus folder with "Photos" name can File Manager represent as Images icon and "My text documents" may be presented with Documents icon and vice versa. This is a feature of a File Manager application. So it can be implemented in a different ways in different File Managers. In our File Manager case it could be a plug-in.

What I like is the idea of an executable folder you were talking. To access a web page folder will open the index.html file or to open an application installation folder would start an install shell script etc. It could be also a feature of a File Manager (as plug-in).

Seems that new ideas are coming up more frequently.



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 Re: Re: Re: Stripes + Windows Metro apps

 
 by novomente on: Apr 12 2012
 
Score 50%

This is only an image showing OS/2 verticality. It repairs possible broken link from above:

link: http://novomente-activities.blogspot.com/2012/04/os2-v1x-desktop-managers-group-view.html


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 Re: Stripes + Windows Metro apps

 
 by user333 on: Feb 24 2012
 
Score 50%

This does bring up some new ideas :) But as far as copying Stripes, here is what M. Gimple has said to me by email (I hope you don't mind if I share this, Martin):

Quote:
For me professionally, Stripes is more or less a work of reference, not something I feel like I should be controlling, so releasing the ideas to the open community seems like a fine idea. I'm not quite sure how that would work in practice, though, because Stripes is really just an idea and not code (well, the flash demo is done in actionscript but that was really just for testing and prototyping purposes). My work itself (the thesis) will obviously have to remain "mine", but the concept of Stripes and future code that is created to make something "real" out of it could most certainly be covered by a GPL licence (or something similar). Again, the practicalities are a bit unclear to me, but it might make more sense to spin something off rather than building a 1:1 copy of the thesis; if I were to think of a project like this as "the" Stripes interface, I would start feeling ownership (and control) over it. I'd rather see myself as an influence than an owner of any open source, community-based project.


Quote:
I'd be greatly appreciative if my ideas end up inspiring an actual working OS. Feel free to look at Stripes or its individual components as something to build upon.


So keep this in mind while you brainstorm ;) Personally, I like the functionality of Stripes but I think the interface would be dificult to use. In other words, Stripes is GREAT, but it can be improved more :)

While I'm on this subject I thought I would mention software patents... we do need to keep them in mind :(

I don't know if I like the idea you showed, but as you said, it does make me think about new things! I'll write more about this later. Right now I'm scrambling to get the ReactOS CD cover updated for 0.3.14, so after I'm done with that I should have more time to work on this project.


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 Re: Re: Stripes + Windows Metro apps

 
 by MasKalamDug on: Feb 24 2012
 
Score 50%

One of the most important roles a forum like this can play is to prevent software patents. By pushing ideas here we establish prior practice. I once read somewhere that the greatest service Donald Knuth performed for computing was describing so many ideas in his "Art of Computer Programming" that he prevented thousands of patent applications.

On to the topic - to the software in the computer a screen is nothing but a rectangular array of pixels. So an OS should be able to handle an arbitrary number of them located in an arbitrary number of places. It should make no difference (beyond a couple of parameter settings) where any of its output "screens" are.

So splitting the screen should require exactly the same code as having two monitors. So if we make the corners and edges of the "screen" special then they are equally special no matter how they are displayed.

Things like how to move from side to side in a split screen make me wonder whether drag and drop is really a good idea.

Imagine a touch system is which, if I wanted to bring two "files" (whatever lies behind two visible icons) together, I touch one icon twice in rapid succession, watch that icon disappear, move to the other icon and touch it twice and that does the work of a drag and drop. This metaphor has been used (since at least the mid-1980's) by the clipboard. Works just fine for me.

The reason for disparaging drag-and-drop is that I want to use that control gesture for other things. I admit I could get the same result by defining the action as: put your finger down on an icon, move the finger (without lifting it) to another icon and then lift. Same metaphor except that I would leave the original icon unchanged so the clipboard version is copy-and-paste.

What happens when you bring two icons together can be defined in different ways. If one icon is for data and one for code then clearly I mean run the code with that data. I assume each data file has a default code file and each code file a default data file. So this "drag-and-drop" would be how to run them in a non-default way.

With a mouse I can't just touch and move. So I need the button. The kind of drag_and-drop I described would be: go to an icon, push the mouse button, move to the other icon, release the button. I see no reason for graphic feedback (which would be obscured by my hand in the touch version and therefore is not needed). The clipboard works just fine without feed back.


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 Re: Re: Re: Stripes + Windows Metro apps

 
 by novomente on: Feb 25 2012
 
Score 50%

First I would like to thank you Mike for the comment about software patents. It is good to have in mind that in the USA and Japan the software patents exist and this matter is here mentioned in the right place. Although I live in Europe region where software patents don't exist (happy to that :) I think that we have to keep them in mind in order not to disable our work (or creation) to be used in the USA or Japan due to software patents. But it's obvious that while creating ideas we can play with everything (including software patents) to bring ideas which are not patented and may be better than patented solutions.

BTW I dislike software patents because they inhibit software development progress. To be honest I wanted start a company to make cheap software alternatives (of Adobe, Microsoft etc.) and I was thinking of defending my intellectual property also with patents. But later I realised that to create that cheaper alternatives I must also obey software patents of others what almost makes the task impossible (to make the software cheap). That's why the software patent exist - to disallow competition prior to defend intellectual property. And these days this prior is true and active for all intellectual property. Now I don't want to start any company because I know how difficult it is for a software company to make it's way these days. Instead I would like to make "my" ideas become reality whether as an open source or as me being a company worker. I prefer open source but soon or later I have to make some money to eat, live and work.

To the icon movement drag-and-drop. I also think that there is no good reason to display the dragged icon/icons over a desktop. Still there must be some visualisation of the fact that the icon/icons are properly dragged. I also dislike to drag one or more icons over a desktop in today OS's because they display the dragged icon/icons and overlay the desktop with them what prevents seeing what's underneath. This is an Apple way but it's not good. Instead it is enough (while using mouse and arrow pointer) to display small icon close to the arrow pointer (as seen in KDE while executing an application) and a number of icons dragged. Or we can use another way or make another solution.

Also I like David's ideas and solutions with drag-and-drop and clipboard.

In the end I would like to ask you David: How Donald Knuth prevented new ideas to become software patents? He described ideas and release them to the public in a printed book? Is that the way? Is it enough to make ideas public in this website (our group) to prevent them become software patents? Although I'm not afraid of it but I still think of a Microsoft guys to go to this group, read the ideas presented here and make them software patents.


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 Re: Re: Re: Re: Stripes + Windows Metro apps

 
 by MasKalamDug on: Feb 25 2012
 
Score 50%

Strictly about software patents -

I know nothing about the Japanese situation but in the US the software patent process is almost completely degenerate. Patents are supposed to be issued to people who have new ideas and want time to develop them commercially. One of the reasons you cannot get a patent is if the idea is not new. When you apply for a patent you must include an explanation of what is called prior practice meaning what people are doing now without the help of your idea.

The water bed was never patented (In the US at least) because it was described thoroughly by Heinlein in one of his stories before any were actually made.

There is an office in Washington that looks at the patent applications and decides whether or not they should be granted. You can imagine what happens when civil servants who cannot program try to determine whether an idea is new. But they aren't stupid and they started checking "new" ideas against Knuth's book.

But, in fact, most software patents are not obtained to advance business or even suppress competition. They are defensive. They are to prevent someone else from patenting the idea.

If someone has a patent on something and you feel they have no right to it or you don't know it exists and then they come after you you can defend yourself in court on the grounds that the patent was invalid because the idea patented was not new. That is, there was prior practice.

As nearly as I can tell 99% of software patents are invalid on this basis. The big companies don't take cases to court if there is any chance of losing. The lawyers who make decisions about these matters are completely incompetent about software so they only consider legal aspects.

The practical effect is that us little guys - especially the open source movement - can simply ignore the patents.

The bright side is that patents are only valid for a few years - usually 20. That means all software patents issued before 1992 are now expired. Because many patents with very broad implications were issued in the 90's and are expiring now the situation is rapidly becoming hopeless.I expect a major overhaul of the US software patent system in the near future.

The bottom line seems be - for now ignore software patents. Worry about them only if you are so successful you are rich.


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 Folder Types

 
 by novomente on: Feb 26 2012
 
Score 50%

I'm only reprinting my comment from above - in case you didn't read it:

Maybe I described the folder type in a wrong way. Everything I wanted to solve with the folder types was a different folder icon image of a folder with different content, nothing more. So when naming a folder like this (for example) "My text files.docs", the File Manager will recognise the extension ".docs" and instead of a default folder icon image it will display a special icon image for Documents. In Gnome you can change default icon in a properties window. But the solution with naming folder with extension is more fast.

Yesterday I realised that folder type extension is not good way to go. Reason shows this name for example "Photos.images". Name like this looks not lucid. Moreover the dot "." in the folder name may conflict with JAVA (and other) programming language guidelines. So I find out better solution. It's to recognise the folder type from last or first word (or substring of word for some languages) of a folder name. Thus folder with "Photos" name can File Manager represent as Images icon and "My text documents" may be presented with Documents icon and vice versa. This is a feature of a File Manager application. So it can be implemented in a different ways in different File Managers. In our File Manager case it could be a plug-in.

What I like is the idea of an executable folder you were talking. To access a web page folder will open the index.html file or to open an application installation folder would start an install shell script etc. It could be also a feature of a File Manager (as plug-in).

Seems that new ideas are coming up more frequently.


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 Re: Folder Types

 
 by user333 on: Feb 26 2012
 
Score 50%

I like the idea of an executable folder, it kind of reminds me of how a .jar works.

Nautilus already does something like what you are describing with the icons, at least in Ubuntu. I definity think that it is important to be able to visually see the difference between folders, so I think we should include this feature.


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 Re: Re: Folder Types

 
 by MasKalamDug on: Feb 26 2012
 
Score 50%

I find the Nautilis emblem system of no use. At least I think that is what you have in mind. There are several difficulties. The most significant is that it is way too high level.

I have folders containing on the order of a hundred text documents about dozens of different matters. I think there is no hope of controlling them with icons. Not the least problem would be remembering which icon went with which file. In practice I just ignore the icons.

I should use more folders - perhaps - but Nautilis is slow and clumsy to use if one is constantly changing files. Sometimes I just open everything in gedit at once and use the gedit tabs to find the file I want.

Icons would work better if I could create a new and unique icon for each new file (or folder). This is impossible if we assume ordinary graphic art. But maybe artificial pictures would help. One idea (which fails if you are color blind) is to divide the icon into, say, nine equal boxes (three by three) assume a palette of, say, sixteen colors. Then you can make 9*16 = 144 different icons. But I would reject that idea because it is ugly - if I had no other reason.

I am convinced that for many users the name hierarchy will always be the way to go. We just need to make it easier.

But underneath all these names and icons each file has a unique identifier. Whatever file management we adopt is an interface between the user and these unique identifiers. I am arguing that to some extent the interface can be graphic but, in the end, it must be textual.

By the way the idea of executable folders isn't mine. I borrowed, I think, from Visual Basic.


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 Re: Re: Re: Folder Types

 
 by novomente on: Feb 26 2012
 
Score 50%

OK. I understand what you are talking about. The folder type is so minor idea that it is no need to devote more time to it unless someone has new idea coming from it (executable folders plugin?).


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 My experience with HUD

 
 by user333 on: Mar 4 2012
 
Score 50%

I've just downloaded Ubuntu 12.04 beta. I've been pleasantly surprised by all the small improvements, and the HUD is actually a very nice feature. It seamlessly allows you to control the current application AND the system; you can type "shut down" or "save file" through the same interface. This was kind of like what we were talking about before. I'd recommend trying it out!

I think it could be a perfect replacement for the menu, especially if it used AI. With this type of interface, modifications could be made so a blind person could use the system with a similar experience of someone who could see, since the interface is text-based rather than graphical.

However, it would be miserable to use with multi-touch. There would have to be another type of menu for that. For fast-typing power-users, though, a HUD-type menu would ideal.


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http://contenderministries.org/romanroad.php
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 Re: My experience with HUD

 
 by novomente on: Mar 9 2012
 
Score 50%

Thank you Mike for your announce of the availability of HUD. I tried it out :) I had some difficulties with the installation, but solved it out - solution is written in the end of this comment.

It was good to have experience with real HUD working. Although the HUD is only a searching tool, as we were saying some comments back, it surprised me unexpectedly. The first thing I found out is that the HUD is more difficult to understand and use - at least for the first time. But let me explain it.

In today applications and operating system we have menus and buttons and radio or check buttons and we can click on various things in the window to make settings, editing etc. When accessing such settings or buttons or menus a user can easily distinguish what the mouse click is doing. I mean when accessing a menu for example a user have to go through menus and sub-menus what makes him be well oriented what exactly the menu item does when clicking it. When clicking a button a user knows exactly what the button does.

I mean that the brain of a user must do some thinking procedure to reach a goal and he can be well oriented in the time of reaching it (while going through the menus and sub-menus and buttons etc.) and he can think well on what he is trying to do and creating. When searching with HUD user's brain process is not started. So when typing a command to HUD, user have to wait for results. And when the HUD displays the results, the user have no easy clear idea of what the options offered by HUD do.

To explain it more imagine you are in a kitchen and want to prepare some delicious meal. If you are in your own kitchen you know where are the kitchen stuff. Plates are in some cabinet, forks, knives and spoons are in some drawer, you have some meat in fridge, you have special place for potatoes, or frozen vegetables or onions and spices. When you cook you do some procedure. You get the meat from fridge, get onions, potatoes, spices etc.

While searching the necessary ingredients you can think on how you would like to prepare the meal. You can think on how you cut onions and wash the meat. You can think of what spices you will use and what vegetables will you prepare. Than you start cooking and you search and get necessary tools - knives, spoon, peeler etc. While searching and getting them, you can think on various things about how will you cook the meal and you can think creatively. I'm talking mostly about your brain thinking in the meantime while searching ingredients and tools and while cooking.

Now imagine you have only one big drawer in the kitchen. In that drawer you have everything - food (meat, onions, potatoes), tools (spoon, knives, forks, teaspoons), spices, dishes, everything. Now the big drawer is a mess. But you have one great option. You can type in the drawer what you want and the drawer will show you 5 things matching your search - it is a mix result i.e. there is food and piece of tools and piece of dishes - 5 pieces altogether. The other content is invisible. Now you can take what the drawer offered you, and when the offer doesn't show you what you need, you have to type in a better searching term.

Now imagine what the brain is doing while searching in that big drawer. You type search and drawer offer you some 5 pieces. While searching you wait because the offer of the drawer will be a little surprise (what it will find?). When it finds 5 pieces they are not categorised or organised in a logical manner. So everything you do is get the pieces you need but in your brain you can't think about your cooking. The thinking procedure is only like this: type a term -> wait what drawer offer you -> get the staff you wanted.

But if you have normal kitchen with its tables, drawers, fridges and cabinets and cupboards, the things are organised. And while searching necessary things through organised places, your brain can in the meantime easily think about cooking procedure and think on how would you prepare the meal (with some creativity).

But back to HUD. Also at the beginning of work with HUD I did not know what should I type to it. With today menu you can go through it and learn what the application can do. But I understand that it is only a problem of time to learn what to write to HUD and problem of usage habit.

Although I've written some thoughts about HUD and the thoughts are looking like criticism, I think that HUD is great feature. Of course. We also think on similar text base computer control. But let me write about a lesson I have learned.

The lesson I learned starts surprisingly. It is that Apple style (GUI + mouse clicks) is making people lazy. Just start to search menu items with the HUD. Can you remember names of menu items? If you can answer YES, you are happy person. But let me continue. I remember some CEOs (Chief Executive Officers) speaking of that they don't use computers because the work with them make their brain thinking wrong. CEO needs some way of thinking to lead the company and computers destroy that way of thinking. So working with computers destroy their abilities and capabilities.

This reminds me one idea I had some years ago. To work with computers can be very easy or hard. Easy way (apple philosophy) can help kids and some people with limited brain abilities (people born to be mongoloid or people after a car crash with head injury etc.). But also it can make clever people to be lazy or destroy their capabilities. Hard way on the other hand can be difficult for many people, although very clever people may be happy with that.

It's similar to computer games. Some games are hard to play, some are easy. Some people prefer some kind of games (adventures, strategy, shooters) because they satisfy their way of thinking and their cleverness and capabilities. To make a single game to be the good fun, a player can choose from game difficulty (easy, normal, hard). If the game did not have such option it could have only one difficulty. Now player could become bored if the game was too easy or he can be unsatisfied if the game was too hard. Similarly I thought about operating system.

Operating system could be controlled easily or hard or medium. Maybe you already know where I target this idea. I think that it could be nice feature of the operating system or our desktop environment to set difficulty of controlling it. Just set the difficulty (easy, normal, hard and vice versa) and the OS will makes appropriate changes in the Desktop Environments settings. Single settings can be then more altered.

Moreover I was talking about types of games (adventures, shooters, strategy). I think that Linux should offer more ways of controlling computer. And we can make such options possible while developing a technology or programming techniques. I was talking little bit about it already - it was to make application to look like a game for kids or to look like a comics or look like a windows or look like a Sun OS or look like a 3D space etc.

But back to the HUD. Everybody knows that HUD is at hard development and it has a beginning features. The problem with users orientation of what a HUD result item does can be solved somehow. There are many solutions including using graphics and text to display what the item does. It depends on HUD developers how they handle it. And it depends on us how we handle this in our project.

That's all for now. In the end I would like to write how to install HUD (applicable on 2012-03-08).


Installing HUD
--------------
The old way to install HUD was type to the terminal these 2 commands

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:unity-team/hud
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

Since the HUD is not in the /hud folder of the ppa, the first command doesn't work. Instead the HUD can be found in the "staging" folder so the first command should look like this:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:unity-team/staging

Both commands look like this (for installing HUD) and typing them to terminal will install the HUD:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:unity-team/staging
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

Note: to get the HUD popup just press the ALT button.


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 Re: Re: My experience with HUD

 
 by user333 on: Mar 10 2012
 
Score 50%

You brought up some amazing stuff there... I'm going to have to think about this for a while :)

I do see what you are saying the problem is with HUD. There is no way to discover what is there, and even if you do know, it may not show up. It is a great tool if you know what the menu items are, and I think Ubuntu did the right thing by supplementing the traditional menu.

What you said about how CEOs and wrong thinking made me wonder about the brain. If we really want to create a better interface, the closer it is to how the mind works, the better. I know nothing about this yet (so I'll need to learn about it), but offhand I would guess that the brain works by using signals and reactions which correspond to a particular signal. A signal either recalls a reaction or creates a new reaction, which when chained together create complex thoughts.

I think that instead of computers being a “slave” that we order what we want it to do, computers should assist our natural brain thinking patterns, and develop our brain rather than damage it.

I read once that Google has replaced long-term memory, because people know that if they forgot something, it's only a few clicks away. When the Internet is down, they aren't able to function very well. (I'll confess that I have this problem myself). While Google has allowed us to learn about an infinite amount of things, it has damaged the way our brain works to something unnatural. Obviously, somewhere in the design of Google, this was overlooked.

Just how we would help a user become smarter as they used a computer rather than damage their brain is beyond me, but perhaps we can convince an expert on the brain to join our project and help us out :)

What do you think of all this?

I have more ideas, particularity about the role of a computer, but I'll write about them another time.


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 Re: Re: Re: My experience with HUD

 
 by novomente on: Mar 11 2012
 
Score 50%

I think, Mike, that you understand it perfectly. Although my comment you react on is not perfectly written :)

I share my opinions with yours about it. An expert for human brain thinking would be a great help. I agree that this subject is very interesting and suggest you to think how you do your work - i.e. while you do something, just flashback in some time periods on how your brain was thinking while doing a things. The period need not to be sharp as every 5 minutes flashback. Just after some inaccurate portion of time doing something, go back in your mind and try to realise, how your brain was thinking. That is the best practice to learn your own brain way of thinking and through this, you can then better understand a way of thinking of other people.

I started this doing (this study) 15 years ago. While travelling in the subway/metro, while walking streets, while working or studying at school, while at home, in a cinema, in a theatre. I studied my own brain thinking and brain thinking of other people (and animals), people looking on the TV screen or people inside a TV. Just when I had time for it and I remind that I could do it, I enjoyed watching people and studied them. It was a lot of fun and a very interested study. :)

Quote:
I think that instead of computers being a “slave” that we order what we want it to do, computers should assist our natural brain thinking patterns, and develop our brain rather than damage it.

Well this sentence should be a LAW for developing computer interface. And could be a basic rule in developing the things we are trying to make here in our group. :)


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 Re: Re: Re: Re: My experience with HUD

 
 by MasKalamDug on: Mar 11 2012
 
Score 50%

The human mind and the computer are very different. The human mind excels at recognizing patterns. It is so good that it sometimes recognizes patterns that aren't there - like the canals on Mars. I think technical analysis of the stock market is in the same boat - reading patterns into a random sequence.

The computer is not very good at patterns. After all these years - and massive effort - we still cannot use computers to comprehend natural human language. [Opinions on language vary - I see it as the triumph of pattern recognition).

The trick is get man and machine to work together as a team. I don't think we have done very well on this so far - but it is a great goal


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 Re: Re: My experience with HUD

 
 by MasKalamDug on: Mar 11 2012
 
Score 50%

Not about GUI's. About the word "Mongoloid".

I understand that you may not have had contact with persons with developmental disabilities. And, yes, this is a family matter. Mongoloid is considered offensive and degrading and, to be honest, I hadn't heard it for years.

There are many causes of developmental disability and Down(s) Syndrome is only one. Many people with Down Syndrome have the characteristic facial features that led to the term Mongoloid.

There is no clear-cut dividing point where a person can be called disabled and capabilities vary widely. But, yes, there are people who will never be able to use a computer. My daughter talks but does not read or tell time - but she is great with icons. But no one is so foolish as to let her cross a street by herself.

It takes all kinds.


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 Re: Re: Re: My experience with HUD

 
 by novomente on: Mar 11 2012
 
Score 50%

I want to deeply apologise about the term I used to talk about people with mental disease. I also did not hear nor use this term for 10 maybe more years, when the term was not understood being so offensive in my country as it is now. I have a big difficulties with using English or even my natural language as, due to undertaking some medical procedures to heal my very serious disease, I sometimes (or nearly often) can't recall some words (terms and also daily used words) and the word which my brain recalls is not the good one but is only one.

At the case of mental disease I couldn't recall any of the term but the term I used. Maybe if I had a look in the dictionary I could find better term. But I was too concentrated on computer matter as I did not have a look. Maybe my apologise could be better accepted if I say that my disease is similar to mental disease but in a different way. While using the wrong term after those years and under concentration about the comment's object matter and with my problems with my memory functionality I was not aware of its offensive meaning and thus miserable wrong usage.

My English is not good and I have written this apologise with a big help of dictionary so I hope that it is said well in the terms of meaning.


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 Two way approach

 
 by novomente on: Mar 13 2012
 
Score 50%

Quote:
The trick is get man and machine to work together as a team. I don't think we have done very well on this so far - but it is a great goal

I agree. On the university I want to study Artificial Intelligence (AI). When I was at elementary school I met with AI and always wanted to create a software capable of human intelligence. Today I understand that Neumann type machines as well as other are not capable of such AI. Today my idea is to create "AI of Neumann computer type" which means to understand the machine and cerate its own "AI personality" with characteristics the machine is good at. So the quote above I understand as to make two ways approach - computer getting closer to human and human getting closer to computer to (understand each other).

BTW - I want to thank you, David, for your criticism. It is great to have you in our project as a person which thinks with feet on the ground :)


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