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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone!


Been a while since my last update!


I was originally hoping to post the first batch of screen shots by this week, but got a little delayed as I was integrating the different pieces of the project.


DTP uses extremely aggressive memory and information management to ensure the lowest possible amount of CPU and RAM usage... the delay was caused by a couple of old routines that were made before the final memory enhancements so I had to go digging through all the code to bring all the parts up to spec...


This has turned out to be a surprisingly complex project (it's been in developement for about 2 months now!), but should be worth the wait in the end... DTP has been designed to be completely open in what it can support (which is what makes programming it so hard)!


So... where's DTP at now?


I'm proud to announce that the integration of parts is almost complete and that I'm now working on the final rendering, creation, and management routines!


At this very moment, I'm working on the most important part of DTP - the Window Maker system. This is very important because it allows you to create your own windows where you can insert buttons and images that have the capability to run any command that DTP can execute.


Ofcourse there will also be application plugins that are geared to give you indepth control over applications, but the Window Maker allows you to control your HTPC until a app plugin for your favorite program is released so you're not left in the dark waiting!


I'm designing the window maker to work in a manner very similar to that of the Pronto devices.


The developement stages for DTP are:

1. DTP GUI program

2. DTP Server Program

3. DTP Plugins (first batch)


I'm expecting to have (1) done in about a week now that system integration is almost done. (2) & (3) combined will probably take 1-2 weeks... 3 at the most.


SCREENSHOTS!


Hehe, I know I've been trying to get those out for a while, but couldn't because parts of the system were in developement dissarray... well... within a week that will no longer be a problem...


I'm working about 15 hours a day now on DTP and expect to have those screen shots in about a week when developement stage (1) is complete.


This next part is extra, but in case you were wondering what I was up to all this time, here' s a list of what's been completed:


DTP COMPLETED ITEMS (unordered)

* Graphics rendering subsystem

* Button, Window, & Image abstractions

* Control abstractions to represent any controllable object

* Memory management subsystem

* Mouse monitoring system

* Virtual input devices plugins

* Dynamic plugin loading system

* Program multi-tasking control subsystem

* Cross plugin communication subsystem

* Non-linear program execution subsystem

* 3-D layer organization subsystem

* Program, global, plugin data query subsystem

* DTP configuration plugin

* Invisible mouse support

* "Teleporting" mouse support

* GUI object protection system

* Application pre-emption system

* 16-bit & 8-bit graphics support

* Windowed and full-screen operation modes

* Basic font rendering system

* Advanced font rendering system

* Plugin->DTP communication subsystem

* Plus many many more items


At this point, 13,000-14,000 lines of code have been written... that's larger than a 300 page book!


I'm expecting the final product (DTP + server) to be around 20,000 lines of code... but don't let that scare you! As it is, DTP only uses about 6 MB of memory when running!


Well, hope I didn't bore you all to death!


As always, please feel free to post or email ([email protected]) if you have any ideas, questions, concerns, or if you just want to chat about upcoming technologies!


I have a number of projects that I'll be starting once DTP is finished (these projects build off of DTP to expand HTPCs)... I forsee some interesting times ahead!


Thanks again for all your help, ideas, support, and patience... lots and lots of patience,


Stan
 

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Stan,


You evil man, you! (make us wait for the screenshots;) )


I just wanted to let you know that I've just sent you my pre-order, and I have two "UIRT2" units on their way. When I receive them and build them, one will be sent to you for dev. work to integrate into DTP.


I must say thanks again for working so hard to make this dream nearly a reality.


-PGPfan
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hehe, hi PGPFan,


Didn't mean to "torture" anyone, but I just wanted to make sure everything with DTP was stabilized & finalized (remember what happenned to the first version of DTP) before releasing some screenshots! :)


At this point, I can safely say that DTP has stabilized (I terminated the original project after only 1,000 lines because it's structure was advanced enough for the task at hand), now I'm working on the finalized part which should be over within a week!


Thanks again for your support and thanks to your gracious UIRT2 donation, I think I can safely say that IR support will be one of the first second-wave DTP control plugins! :)


Thanks yet again!


Stan
 

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Waiting impatiently ;) !!! I just hope that I dont need my mensa papers to make it work...


Would DTP be able to recieve information (parseing basically) from a super simple web page ?? If the webpage was GFX free and came in a 100% consistent format is there a way I could configure DTP to extract info based on that ??? I am not trying to dustract you or get you to add an extra line of code but I have a really nice idea and am way over my head with it in technical side..
 

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I would love to get this when it's available but unless I can get my hands on an affordable touchpad/tablet with infared LAN connectivity I can't use it.


The tablets I have been seeing on Ebay usually are lacking the LAN card.
 

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Whats your budget ?? If you look here there are still many going in the 150 - 200 range...


Add some wireless LAN equip and you are away...
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Phat Phreddy!!!!


Haven't heard from you in a while! :)


I know what you mean about the browser, but I'm still exploring the possibilities on that one...


My help system is based on html to it easier for plugin developers to write.


I've been having some major problems with the html though, so I decided to worry about it last when the rest of DTP is complete. My original version used a simplified IE abstraction from Microsoft, but the problem is that it seems that the person who designed it had a few screws loose. The browser component used 10 MB of RAM by itself (which isn't a problem for since the files aren't going to be used for a long time)... but I can't figure out how to reclaim the resources when it's done! Unlike traditional objects this one won't let me destroy it when I'm done with it!


So now it seems that I'm left with 2 alternatives...

1. Find a more efficient alternative

2. Make my own simple html parser


(1) isn't going very well... I've found some alternatives, but it seems that the people who make components don't think it's important to be able to reclaim the application memory... I can't use anything designed that way because I don't want the users of low mem systems to have to shut DTP down every time they view a help file!


(2) is something that I'm seriously considering doing... but is a last resort.


Writing a simple text only browser is absolutely no problem, but I also want to be able to have some basic graphics support... and that's where things get nasty.


I'd really like a brower component that's fully HTML 1.0 compliant but I don't want to write one because something of that magnitude can be close to 3000 functions long in size!


If any of you know of a good brower component (.dll or .ocx) I would be very greatful... so far anything that I've found that might be decent is going for $349+ for a developers license!!!


I'll keep you all posted as to the status of DTP HTML support... there has to be decent package for it out there somewhere! :)


Stan
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Hi Shawn,


Tablets like the P510 are pretty cheap and have a built in IR port... but I'm personally planning on using other IR devices to handle IR...


Why? Because the IR port is on the bottom! I can almost envision the scary thought of people having to physically pick up and point the P510 at their HTPCs! LOL :)


Seriously though, I would almost consider some kind of fast LAN conncector a must for these kinds of computers...


There are 2 main (there are many more) LAN options:

1. Wireless: this comes in 2 flavors

Simple-

These are really cheap... basically you get a wireless LAN card for your tablet and another one for your HTPC... then the 2 talk to each other over the mini-lan. These are really cheap with kits going for around $75 on Ebay


Complex-

These are for direct integration into an existing LAN. This is what I do, but is a bit more expensive. This requres that you have an ethernet card in the HTPC ($7-$30), a wireless ethernet card in the tablet ($25+$100), and a wireless access point ($100-$300) and an ethernet hub ($25-$200). If all your computers are hooked together on a LAN, I really recommend going with the simple (and cheaper) route... the simple route is also much easier to set up.


2. Wired: This option is really really cheap and is much faster if you don't mind having an ethernet cord hanging off the back of your tablet. All you need for this is an ethernet card ($7-$30) for your HTPC and a PCMCIA (PC Card) 10Mb or 100Mb ethernet card ($15-$70) for your tablet. Then you connect the 2 via ethernet cable. This was my original plan, but I went wireless because my tablet was on the other side of the room and I didn't feel like running ethernet wire across the sides of the room (and I already had the wireless LAN card sitting around collecting dust).


Also, please note that you don't need a tablet PC to run DTP. DTP will work just as well on:


1. Another computer anywhere in the house as long as it is connected to a LAN


2. A second monitor on the HTPC (dual monitor mode)


3. A laptop computer


The only things that DTP doesn't support are:

1. running on the same monitor as the applications

2. non-Win95 and higher PCs

3. 16:9 displays (the client which runs on another display must be 4:3, but the server component which runs on the main display can do BOTH 4:3 and 16:9)

4. computers without a mouse or mouse-type device (can be a mouse, touchscreen, trackball, pointer, touchpad, etc, etc...) - you need something that can move a cursor


That's basically it... as long as you meet these 4 basic requirements, you're all set and ready to use DTP!


Hope this helped,


Stan
 

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Just a couple of things...


One the Tablet comes with an IRDA port like a laptop... This is not the same as consumer IR... IR out devices (like a UIRT) could be added to run of the serial port... I am seriously thinking about an UIRT built into my 510 by ripping the serial connector from the case to an internal header and putting a UIRT inside the wireless option space that is unused... I have cracked it open and this does not look too hard...


Two remember that XP supports bridging in the OS so to get comands from a wireless webpad to HTPC you dont have to have a wireless NIC in the HTPC as long as you have another (XP) machine on the net that the HTPC is connected to... Saves on the access point costs and still keeps the HTPc free of wireless cards etc...
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Hi Phat Phreddy,


Nope, didn't forget! :)


I thought I read somewhere that IR could support TCP connections... but this would be bad with DTP because I don't think it would be able to transfer the data fast enough (DTP has a lot of crosstalk going on).


XP bridging will probably do the trick (although don't the wireless webpads work on some kind of RF frequency?) but leaves 2 main concerns for me:

1. The computer running the DTP Client must be able to get the data in a timely manner...


2. I can't test it because I can't afford a wireless webpad yet! lol :)


I have a feeling that people will be trying to use DTP on all kinds of crazy things (which is a good thing) and trying out many wacky schemes (also good) when it's released.


I'm very excited to hear about what works and what doesn't... if something doesn't there is always room for updates to make it work later!!! :)


Windows CE isn't directly supported but, theoretically, you can have the DTP Client running on an XP machine then bridge the control over to one of those CE Webpad tablets (that are coming out) and control DTP from there.


Personally, I can't wait until those new tablets come out... they're pretty cheap, have awesome graphics quality, and look really cool... I'll be in line for one of those! :) The question is, "are they really going to be around $499"... I'm afraid that they'll decide to jack the price up when they comes out... if they are $499 I'm grabbing mine before they DO decide to raise the price!


Stan
 
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