2004 News

So much news I just haven't been updating the news section. The IRC channel logs from #wgs are full of discussion about recent developments however. For complete details of what has been happening the past 2 months I encourage people to browse through them.

World of Commodore Expo in Toronto Canada is less than 2 weeks away. There will be a new distribution of WiNGs available at the end of that weekend. Both on 1581 diskette and available for download, 1581 distribution disks will be free for everyone in attendance at the show. Look for a sneak preview of a new WiNGs GUI-based application currently under development. Plus a number of exciting new features, functionality and bug fixes in the newest distribution.

A short synopsis of updates:

A more detailed summary will be available here on WiNGs.webhop.org shortly after the World Of Commodore Expo in December.

The taskbar can now be moved to whereever you want it. Top, bottom, left or right side of the screen. When the taskbar starts up, it reports to the window manager where it is, and the window manager changes accordingly the size and position windows will take when maximized. So, for example, if you start the taskbar up on the left side of the screen, it will start in the middle left of the screen, the task icons stack on top of each other so the bar grows taller when new apps are started. And when you maximize a window, the window height will stretch the full 200 pixel height of the screen, but it's width will only be 304 leaving a space for the left side bar. If you kill the task bar and restart it up on the right side, the currently maximized windows remain where they were, however if they are restored and then maximized again, they will then move into the new maximize position according to where the taskbar is most recently positioned.

Been concentrating heavily on developing the window manager. Each window has (had) a pointer called "Icon", which was not being used. I reworked this pointer to be a "metadata" pointer. And created a window metadata struct which can be used to move window and application meta-data between the application and the window manager via the window's region id. The meta data struct is extensible allowing for future data to be set for a window without changing how the window manager accesses the current data.

At the moment the only meta data that I could think of that would be useful are the icon, the apppath, the full app name, and the "parent region id." The parent region id is what is being focused on most right now. By setting a parent region id of a window as the region id of another window the window manager has an understanding of the relationship between multiple windows in a single application. The parent or master window, (the one which quits the application if you close it with the 'X') has a parentregid = -1. I'm currently working on getting the window manager to hide child windows when any parent window that doesn't belong to them comes into focus. So an app may have a master window, with a series of child (palette) windows. But when you switch to a different app, all the palettes auto-hide leaving only the master window of that app visible. When the master window comes back into focus, the palettes reappear automatically.

Another use for the parentregid is that the Taskbar knows to only create an Icon for the master window. Therefore, an app with a main window and 6 palettes only gets 1 taskbar icon, not 7!!

One more screenshot of the taskbar. It now centers and automatically resizes itself to be the correct width for the number of icons it holds. Taskbar looking like the Dock So the background picture is visible around it. I've got there 5 Apps open, the first 3 are minimized, the 4th is in focus, the 5th is blurred. I think the nice crisp icons look pretty good. From left to right, there they are, "Minesweeper,Search,Ajirc,Movie Player,and HBM Viewer." That AJirc icon is a tip of the hat to IRCle. Which shows a little planet earth and a wire coming down and connecting to a mac classic. So I changed the mac classic to a Commodore Symbol.

Oh, btw, that background image, it comes from GoDot's "plasma explorer." Saved out as an uncompressed Koala. Thanks goes out to Terry Raymond for experimenting with GoDot savers to figure out which one saves proper HiRes bitmaps. With GoDot, we can convert and create all sorts of great WiNGs desktop pics.

Excellent! Great progress has been made on a Taskbar for the WiNGs GUI. And sweet it looks. Instead of showing buttons with borders and text, I opted to represent a task with its 16x16 pixel Icon. Since each icon is unique and easily identifies the application, you can fit 20 of these icons horizontally across the screen.

Taskbar I updated the window manager so that windows can minimize, and when maximized they do not cover over the taskbar. The icons have a changing background colour to indicate the state of the process. In focus, not in focus, or minimized. Check out the screenshot. Yes, that icon on the far left looks a lot like Quicktime ;) and it is for the WiNGs movie player, which is playing a movie with a .mov ending. I hope Apple doesn't sue me.

The SWRAP Expo was a blast! Too Short, but still a great success. Kudos to the team involved in organizing the event once again.

Two ETH64's were placed into the hands of eager developers this weekend, which is good news all around. Watson's work on the ETH64 driver for WiNGs is underway. The Ethernet Card is now being properly detected when it is present.

My work on a taskbar progresses. Clicking the icons in the taskbar now properly changes the focus of the open windows. I discovered that the JWnd "Icon" property is not implemented.

IDE64's still in stock and available for purchase through paypal on WiNGs.webhop.org

The SWRAP 2004 Commodore Expo in Chicago is coming up in just over a week.
Modernity Grp. will be there. And will have IDE64s, DUARTs, and ETH64s available for purchase.

For fun, and inspiration, added a random C64 Image viewer to the programming and technical resources section of this site.

The images come off of a server hosted by DMagic I believe. I hope I haven't broken any copyrights. But the img src just points to their server anyway. The idea came from www.c64.sk. All I needed was a little javascript randomizer.

Modernity Grp. has placed its first order for DUART (HighSpeed RS232) cards, as well as ETH64 (Ethernet adaptor) cards, for the IDE64. Availablility, detailed explanation and online ordering of these will be available in the coming weeks.

Great Commodore Party Success!

Modernity Grp. gave a Combination WiNGs/SuperCPU/IDE64 Demo at the latest TPUG commodore get together in Toronto Canada. It blew some minds as expected.

The IDE64 was tested in conjunction with the 64HDD, and the following compatibility and comparison summary has been written up by Schema


I've done some work on the digi.drv. Tried my hand again at ASM. I'm finally starting to get the hang of it. At least I feel I can follow the code properly, and make some modifications that work.

After playing around with some BASIC code trying to get noise to come out of each of the 4 DACs on the Digimax, independently, I finally got it figured out. There are 2 bits, at $dd00 which in combination specify the 4 separate DACs. The end result of my work on the digi.drv is getting stereo .wav files to play in stereo!

There is still a significant amount of work and thought to be put into making the digi.drv more powerful, but it was a good experiment in which I feel I learned a lot.

Added 5 more bulletted entries to the IRC Log Indices. It's a lot of work. But hopefully it will pay off as people will be able to scan or seach for keywords in the indices to direct themselves to a useful Log File.

Divided the "News" page by year. The 2003 and 2002 news pages can be accessed via links at the bottom of the current year's news page. I don't think anyone is actually going to read the old news. But it's still there for anyone who might be interested for historical curiousity.

In the process of Setting up a New PayPal account with a Canadian Bank Account. Currently the only item in the "Modernity Grp." which has a buy now button is the WiNGs distro on Disk. Stock for IDE64's, and Duarts should be available within a couple of weeks. When Stock is available the buy now button will be there to click. If the buy now button is not present it should be assumed that stock of that item is not presently available.

Applications Section and Main page updated with screenshots and a description and discussion of MovieTools v1.1

Work on Eth64 drivers is underway. Thanks goes out to Watson for his efforts on that project.

Added new screenshots for Mail v2.5, Fileman v1.4, and Ned. The screenshots up there before were somewhat out of date.

WiNGs Spring 2004 distribution is now available for download.

A few bugs were found in the version of Mail which made it onto the 1581 distro disks. The downloadable version has these bugs crushed. Work is being done currently to figure out the best way to upgrade those people who got the distro disks at the Spring Expo 2004.

Modernity Grp.'s introductory was a complete success! We sold everything we brought, which ensures a forward path to more great stuff! We're currently in the process of acquiring more stock, and are looking at a variety of possibilities for other hardware offerings in the future.

Many thanks to all those who helped support us!

LUCKI Spring Commodore Expo 2004 - Modernity Grp. Speech

I've got so much to talk about today. The hardest part has been deciding what to talk about first.

This is probably the 5th Commodore Expo where I've given a demo. And I've had a great time giving them. -- Showing off WiNGs, and whatever I've been able to do with it. After last expo in Chicago I realized that while I have a lot to offer the Commodore Community, there is really a lot more that I could be doing. So my first step down the path of "Doing More" was to officially become a group. So in the Spring of 2004 I introduce "Modernity Grp."

My Plan for Modernity Grp. is to something like Protovision. -- Focused on a few particular goals. The details of those goals I'm not going to give away now. They will hopefully be the tasty treats for future expos as they develop.

But I can tell you what Modernity Grp. is all about. I'm going to continue working on great new software, trying to get the C64 doing stuff it's never done before. But more than that, some of this software is going to and already does, require Modern Hardware. And part of our goal is to make that hardware available. And that's starting This Expo. For my first time ever, I'm going to be reselling some pretty cool hardware which I've imported from Europe. So I'm going to demo the first two peices of hardware I'm making available:

The first is the Micromys PS/2 mouse adaptor. (Hold it up) So this is it. It's a little logic board inside the connector. We plug this end into the controller port, and we can connect any PS/2 mouse to this side. The adaptor translates the signals sent from the mouse and gives them to the commodore the exact same way a 1351 mouse does. This makes all ps/2 mice immediately compatible with lots of standard software like Godot, Wheels and WiNGs.

It's so compatible with the 1351 that it even supports joystick mode. Power up with the right mouse button held down and it acts like a joystick. (Bruce Thomas tells us that the scroll wheel when clicked is compatible with the CMD SmartMouse's middle button).

It has the additional feature of making the mouse wheel programmable. Many PS/2 mice have a scroll wheel. When you roll up a series of joystick up signals are sent. Scroll down, joystick down signals are sent. The frequency of the signals is related to how quickly you scroll. So you can program it for the scroll speed to be proportional. The instruction manual included with the adaptor has the details of the programming information.

I've had a couple of questions about these. mainly "Does it work with optical mice?" I have been told that some optical mice require more power than the control port can provide. Those mice will fail to work. However the optical mice I've tested both worked. And secondly, what about USB mice? USB mice which come with a USB->ps/2 adaptor in the package are also compatible with the Micromys.

The big piece of hardware I'm making available today has been my secret weapon for several years. The IDE64. I'd give a demo and I'd be whizzing through WiNGs, opening programs, play digital music or showing off a movie file or something and it would look really impressive and fast. But then you guys would go home and try it out... and it would be dissappointingly slow.

Of course my secret weapon was that I was loading all the data off a really quick IDE64. So today I'm selling IDE64's. The newest version just became available about 6 weeks ago. Version 3.4. (hold it up). The newest feature is compact flash storage.

Compact flash is a very small storage technology that is in wide use right now. Mainly in digital cameras. You can pick up a CF card at any store that sells computers or digital cameras (Geoff sullivan notes that you can buy them at the drugstore). The card is only an inch by an inch and about this thick (fraction of an inch). And they are available in capacities from 8megs all the way up to a gigabyte. The primary features:
If you thought your RamLink was cool in the early-mid 90's, the IDE64 with Compact Flash is like a RamLink on steroids for the 2000's.

RamLinkIDE64 v3.4
Expansion port deviceExpansion port device
Max 16 megs storageMax 1gigabyte storage
30 pin ram simms (old, hard to find these daysCF Cards (Easy to find and buy)
Semi non volatile (needs a bulky backup battery)non-volatile. (doesn't need power to retain it's memory)
Requires External PSUPowered by the Expansion port
Auto boot fileAuto boot file
RTC chipRTC chip
 CF Cards are easy to swap
 Expansion port for more peripherals

The IDE64 can be connected to CD-rom drives, and has built in wedge commands for managing the drive as well as reading PC formatted (ISO9660) CDs. ISO9660 CD's can be accessed and read directly from the READY. prompt or from any program that is compatible with the commodore kernel. ATAPI CD-rom drives are readily available, much easier to acquire than SCSI CD-rom drives. Music CD player software is also available.

IDE64 firmware and features:
The IDE64 has a shortbus connector for additional peripherals. Two of which currently exist. The duart is a dual rs232 serial port cart. 115Kbps each. Can be used for PC-Link serial mode. And has modem interface drivers for WiNGs and Novaterm. The second shortbus device card available is the ETH64. A 10 megabit Ethernet adaptor. Currently Contiki drivers exist, and WiNGs drivers are under development.

The Second half of my demo was showing off some of the newest work I've done for WiNGs apps.

Mail v2.5 - New features
A New application has been written to make dialing up to an ISP much easier. The dialer program is called "TurboDialer"

Turbodialer v1.1 - Features
Fileman v1.4 - Newest Features
WaveStream - This is a program I started writing something over a year ago. Finally I have added a GUI interface to it, and given it some really useful features.
So as if that's not all. ' months ago I introduced my first attempt at a movie player for WiNGs. Today we've got something much more refined. Movie Tools Version 1.1. Movie Tools v1.1 includes 4 distinct programs.
The new features in this latest version of the movie player include:
My latest tests have shown that I was able to play 6 120x120 movie files simultaineously.

Check http://wings.webhop.org for the latest WiNGs and Modernity Grp. News!
	- Greg
	- Modernity Grp.

The LUCKI Spring Commodore Expo 2004 went exceptionally well. Modernity Grp. was given two demos. The first Showed off the Micromys PS/2 Mouse adaptor, and the IDE64. Including a CD-rom native access demonstration, and a raw speed demo for transfering a 980 block .mod file from a CD to a Compact Flash card.

The Second demo, which happened after dinner on Saturday showed the latest developments in the Fileman, Wavestream, and Movie Tools for WiNGs.

The full transcript of the two demos, combined, should appear in the News over the next few days. Check back to read it all.

Added the 2002 and 2003 IRC log file archives to WiNGs.webhop.org. These files were originally hosted by Vanessa Dannenberg on starbase.org. If someone is interested in indexing these logs, it would be a big help. Find the logs under 2002 and 2003 directories in the IRC Log Files section.

New WiNGs.webhop.org is online! WiNGs.webhop.org has never undergone such a massive update and overhaul as it has today. WiNGs.webhop.org is now easier to navigated, clearer for finding new information and brings everything needed together into one concise interface. Come and explore the new WiNGs.webhop.org, and feel welcomed! Check out the new Modernity Grp. hardware distribution section, for how to acquire the best supported WiNGs hardware in the Commodore World.

Modernity Grp. makes its debut! Modernity Grp. is a new hardware distribution, and application development group specifically for the advancement of WiNGs and related technologies. See the Modernity Grp. hardware distribution section for product availability.

Modernity Grp.'s First and most substantial product offering is the latest IDE64 v3.4 with Compact Flash interface, created by the IDE64 team. WiNGs absolutely flies when it has the speed and capacity of the IDE64 to fuel it. So it is with great joy that we bring the newest and the best IDE64 to North America. As this great product has come into maturity, it's time that everyone gets the opportunity to use the sheer power of this fantastic Commodore peripheral.

Look for Modernity Grp. at the LUCKI Spring Expo May 28th to see a live demo of the IDE64 v3.4 with Compact Flash. And to see the latest software developments in available for WiNGs.

Announcements to be made April 28th

Jolz has done some work on LCC, as it was producing some bad comparison code for certain signed number comparisons. Groepaz has made a nice test suite for testing compilers with various tests, and now lcc passes every test that matters (a few don't apply).

Finally got IRC fixed. I upgraded its line editor to use a 256 byte scrolling fully editable input field. However, for a week now since I upgraded it, it's been crashing like mad. I finally got it figured out last night. My custom line editor uses more stack than the original, and the userinput function is a newThread, which had a particularly small stack size specified, 256 bytes. When I brought it up to the STACK_DFL, 512 bytes, it solved the crashing problem.

Started implementing DCC file receiving into IRC.

Console based, Internet Dialer/ISP Account manager, is in second beta phase. Allows upto 5 ISP accounts to be configured. Supports shell and pap authentication methods. Very user friendly. Simple menu driven just like mail and fileman. Add/Edit/Delete ISP Accounts. Dialog boxes prompt you for the username,password,phone number,(p)ap or (s)hell authentication and a name for the Profile. Simply run the dialer, cursor to the preconfigured account and press return. Within moments, you're online. Also provides a connection status, Current IP, and a Disconnect option. Still a little buggy, needs more work, but is coming along quickly.

We here at wings.webhop.org are hard at work preparing for the upcoming Spring Commodore Expo (LUCKI 2004). 'Tis the time for many sleepless nights as we tinker late into the night getting new utilities and applications ready for demonstration.

The Fileman sees a number of new updates, including built in File Zipping, Option for creating a new blank .d64 disk image, and a built in Help Text display. Resized Panel sizes and panel directory paths are now stored when fileman quits, and restored when it's opened again.

Early work has been done on a PPP Dialer and Account manager, this is currently in Beta Testing.

Mail v2.3 is now in beta testing. Improvements across the board, duplicate attachments bug fixed, unreadable text bug fixed, interface cleaned up significantly, all text fields enhanced to allow full editing, raw source view added, delete from server after downloading now working as it should. This latest version is currently being tested by a third party.

If you use Mail v2.x do not turn on the "delete mail after download" feature. I haven't had a chance to test it myself, and have been informed that it deletes messages it shouldn't. I am working on a fix for this, and will post here when it's working.

New screenshot up on the screenshots page of my latest work on the Console File Manager v1.38. While working on the new addressbook utility I was doing a lot of work on dynamically resizable panels and such. And I realized how easy it would be to let you resize the panels in the Fileman! So now you can. The menu has changed slightly, instead of "D" for delete, I just made it the delete key on the keyboard. And indicated that +/- can be used. These move the divider bar between the two panels up and down.

Also, since modifying "ls" to ignore hidden files unless you have the -a option, I have added that into the fileman as well. A hidden file is any file whose filename begins with a ".". Since you sometimes need to be able to view, or open a hidden file, pressing "h" in the fileman toggles between showing and hiding hidden files. Some of the other commands not on the menu bar are, Control-o when you have an Application selected. This lets you open the .app folder and poke around inside. And "T" will try to force opening a file in Ned as a text file. This is handy when you know a file is text, but it doesn't have a file extension.

FTP for WiNGs now has a working batch download command. getm file1 file2 file3 file4... up to 50 filenames can be specified. FTP will get each file one after the next without user intervention. This is great for downloading several large files which you can let download during the night. So that you don't have to keep coming back every half hour to see if it is ready to get the next file.

Talks are in progress with Dale Sidebottom about the possibility of me giving some "Programming WiNGs in C" programming sessions/lessons at the upcoming Spring Commdore Expo.