Sunday, May 30, 2010

Supreme Commander 2 - My Epic Battle 1 vs ENTIRE ARMY

....and I won.

That was my Saturday night... nice.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

New Software Thoughts

I don't have much free time to spend on programming but when I do it's usually fixing or improving existing software. I'm at a point now where I can see the end of my current list of projects (Vampire Castle DS still to go) and have been thinking about some other new cool software to write.

Here's a few ideas:

Javais (Windows/Linux):
A virtual butler with a British accent. Ever wanted your own butler to notify you, tell you the time, start programs, do web searches or generally be a dumbed down Tony Stark Jarvis prototype? Voice recognition is obviously going to be a key factor.

Local on the 8s (Nintendo DS):
A Nintendo DS weather program that simulates the Weather Channel with some truly unique features that cannot be found in similar DS software (I'm keeping quiet about features in this one).

Squashie (Windows/Linux):
A drag and drop media converter to convert your flacs/oggs etc suitable for your media player and pull in meta data (such as photos, videos, text) from the web during conversion, which will be copied to your player. Originally I intended this to convert my oggs to low (128kbps) bitrate mp3s so I could fit them on a low memory player, but obviously this program can be so much more.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Aerofoil 1.5.1 Released (64 and 32 bit builds available)

The award winning Aerofoil has now been updated to 1.5.1!

Aerofoil extends Vista and Windows 7 notebook battery life by:
  • Allowing you to manually disable Aero Glass.
  • Optionally managing Aero Glass user interface.
  • Optionally managing sound muting.
  • Optionally managing your chosen power plans.
  • Optionally managing Windows Sidebar.
  • Optionally showing a quick hibernate button.
  • Changing icon colour to show whether on battery or AC.

Benefits over earlier versions and similar software:
  • Much more efficient - Aerofoil is 100% unmanaged C++ (no .Net Framework!).
  • Available in both 64 bit (x64) and regular 32 bit (x86) builds.
  • Much smaller memory use (about 25%-30% of the size of similar software).
  • Unlike other apps, Aerofoil doesn't poll battery level continuously allowing the CPU save power by being idle more often.
  • No configuration file - everything is customised with the installer.
  • Open source and free - no expiry date, adware, spyware or malware, download and compile it for yourself if you prefer*!

What reviewers of Aerofoil have had to say:

"Aerofoil Extends Your Battery Life Approximately 25%", "you really should download"
( Disclaimer: Aerofoil's author's (my) personal best has been (only) 10-15%, or ~10 minutes, on a 2 hour battery 17 inch HP notebook (DV9233EU) with power saver mode using the lowest screen brightness.

"Why couldn't Microsoft just make power switching part of the "Designed for Windows 8" spec or buy Aerofoil?"
(Woody Leonhard, Infoworld)

"This is definitely a worth-while little app for road warriors"
(Metro Area Personal Computer Club, Iowa, USA)

"great for gaming and notebook applications alike"
(Official Windows Magazine - 47th of top 100, 37th of top 40 Hot Apps / TechRadar)

"Aerofoil, though, is far, far smaller and more efficient"
(Dave Johnson, Bnet)

The great advantage of AeroFoil is little resource consumption..... works perfectly with Windows 7"
(Kavya, Techno360)

"a must for every Vista laptop user."
(Wim Van Acoleyen, ZDNet)

"Great utility for gamers and laptop users."
(The Glitch)

"simple yet amazingly effective software that the corporate bigwigs couldn't figure out"
(Umar, Techtites)

Changes in 1.5.1:
  • Available as a 64 bit (x64) executable.
  • Source code updated for the wxWidgets 2.9.0 framework.
  • Project updated for Visual Studio 2010.
  • Multibyte strings have been removed in favour of Unicode.
  • UPX compression has been removed due to lack of a 64 bit Windows packer (memory usage remains the same).

Downloads (please read the important note below too):

Download from Softpedia (external site) (note Softpedia don't host the source code).
Download Aerofoil 1.5.1 (64 bit) Installer
Download Aerofoil 1.5.1 (32 bit) Installer

Download Aerofoil 1.5.1 (64 bit) Source Code (C++)*
Download Aerofoil 1.5.1 (32 bit) Source Code (C++)*

IMPORTANT: If you receive an error message regarding the msvcp100.dll being missing you may also need a Windows update - the Microsoft Visual C++ 2010 Redistributable. You can get this from Microsoft - links below - please choose the correct version:

Redistributable for 64 bit (x64)
Redistributable for 32 bit (x86)

* The source code has dependencies on the wxWidgets framework (2.9.0) and the project is for Visual Studio 2010. For 64 bit compilation wxWidgets will also need building with the WIN64 flag (instead of WIN32) and the project build platform targets set to x64. Additionally an environment variable $(WindowsSdkDirx64) needs to point to the relevant Windows 7.1 SDK.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Aerofoil update and 64 bit

I've recently updated Aerofoil to use a newer version of the GUI toolkit, WxWidgets 2.90, and got it building in Visual C++ 2010 Express Edition which has led me to idea of doing a native 64 bit build. Technically this will be no more efficient than the existing 32 bit but purists out there (myself included) would like to see a 64 bit build. Unfortunately as I'm no longer using VS 2008 Express I'm waiting on an integrated 64 bit compiler due in June and Microsoft say...

From the Windows SDK blog
I want to use Visual C++ 2010 Express. Should I install the Windows SDK v7.1?

If you install Visual C++ 2010 Express.... the Windows SDK v7.1 includes more tools than are delivered with Visual C++2010. If you want to install .... 64-bit native compilers/CRT, you may wish to download and install WinSDK v7.1....
This SDK will be released soon after the RTM version of Visual Studio 2010 is released

I haven't decided whether to add any new features.