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TopDesk 1.3 - Exposé Clone for Windows XP


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TopDesk is an Exposé Clone for Windows XP. Features include support for minimized windows and multiple monitors, live window updates while in Exposé mode, display of window titles while in Exposé mode, customizable mouse and keyboard shortcuts, and mouse hotspots.

What's New:

  • Multi-monitor support.
  • Improved performance and spatial window tiling.
  • Unicode font support.

To try it out, download the trial version. For more information, vist the TopDesk website.

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I just installed TopDesk 1.3 on my new amd64 machine, and it runs really really smooth. I'm almost gonna buy it.

There are some small usability issues only, I really want to see solved:

  • Windows end up on different places if I do multiple "Window Tiling" 's (F9). The problem is that it's very hard to predict where the window will end up. Sometimes I want to quickly see what Windows I have open, so I hit F9 without moving the cursor. then I undo F9 and redo it
  • The active window should appear under the mousecursor. I think this would solve the previous issue too.
  • It's too unsharp! A gaussian unblur (aka unsharp mask) will do wonders I think.
  • I cannot say which window is flashing. Considering this use-scenario:
    I am using MSN Messenger a lot, having about 10 windows open. Somebody says something to me, so the window starts flashing. I hit F9 or F10 to quickly see the window, but now I am lost: Which window is actually trying to get my attention? I cannot see it at all, I need to click the grouped taskbar button. I know this may require a hook (ouch!), but it would enhance the usability so much.
  • Drag-'n-drop into the window. Will be awfully difficult, you'll need to bypass the OLE drag-'n-drop system with some dirty hacks.
  • I wanna see my desktop icons. Are you sure there is no way to grab those?

Of course, kudos for this really smooth application!

( http://www.otakusoftware.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=49#49 )

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Hi, am also testiing this,

i use entbloess atm. so i compared it to that. The transition is really smooth, its just awesome, that's entbloess biggest problem, the first previews generated are choppy. topdesk is smooth from the beginning. that's the biggest advantage it has. I almost bought it just for that :D

The biggest downside for me, as Andreas already pointed ou,is no drag-and-drop, i use this a lot just grab something from one window and drop it in another. It's a much faster way of working.

I've also found a bug, i don't use the windowstaskbar anymore, so i've hidden it using a docklet script, when the windows are being tiled, you'll see a black stroke, where the taskbar used to be. and when you untile again the taskbar is bak, but not clickable.

The black screens i get are know as a bug, and should be addressed in my mind, cause i have a lot of firefox's open and finding the right one back is kinda anoying if you have to haver them to see the label, cause you can't see which one you need. Brings me to the point of to blurry previews, also already noticed by AndreasV, if you see a preview iets pretty blurry.

i think if al these are fixed i would even pay $20 dollars for it. But so far the transitions are really blowing me away, it makes me press f9, f10 just for the fun of it!!!

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Widi - That's two votes for drag and drop then :)

Thanks for the bug report. We're working hard to make sure that TopDesk runs on machines with various theme hacks and customizations. Would you be able to send the docklet script to us in a bug report?

The black screens are a Windows issue (the Windows API function that grabs window images has a bug in it), and although they're annoying and make it hard to pick some windows, we have no way of resolving the issue at the moment. We've tried contacting Microsoft developers about the problem, but apparently there's nothing we can do.

Would you also be able to send through a screenshot of the blurry previews you're seeing? TopDesk filters scaled images, so there will be some smoothing, but it's not excessive (and the alternative to smoothed previews is a mess of jaggy pixels :)), so if you're seeing lots of blurring I'd like to find out if it's your graphics card configuration (it might be configured to always enable anisotropic texture filtering), or if there's a problem with TopDesk on your machine.

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Vague - The problem may be that you're running TopDesk with a lot of windows open. When TopDesk first starts up, it brabs the images of all open windows. if you have a lot of windows open it will take some time to grab all their images. If TopDesk is busy doing this, you'll see it's system tray icon change to an hourglass. Once the TopDesk system tray icon goes back to normal, TopDesk will display a help bubble telling you how to activate the window tiling, and the F9, F10, and F11 hotkeys will be operational.

Another reason may be that you've got the F9, F10, and F11 hot keys mapped to another application, so TopDesk isn't receiving the hotkey activation signal.

If you're still having problems, could you please submit a bug report with more information about the issue?

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Vague - thanks for the bug report. I've found the problem: you're running a Nvidia TNT2 Model 64 Pro video card. The minimum video card requirement for TopDesk is a ATI Radeon 7200 or nVidia GeForce 2 level card. Video cards based on the nVidia TNT2, ATI Rage Pro/128, and Intel Extreme chipsets may work, but are not supported. The video card FAQ entry on the Otaku Software website has more details about which video cards can run TopDesk.

The reason older cards are not supported is because they lack some features (such as compressed textures) that are required to ensure adequate performance and to keep memory requirements down. I'd suggest users with older video cards have a look at WinGlance - it doesn't have the Exposé animation effect, but it runs well on older cards and has low memory requirements.

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Sorry, no joke :). The original TNT2 came out in 1999, which by my math is pretty close to 1998 :).

We had to make a choice between giving people with newer video cards better performance and supporting older graphics cards, and unfortunately support for older graphics cards lost out. As I mentioned before, WinGlance runs great on older video cards, so it might be worth giving that a try. You could also try either Entbloess or Winplosion to see if they support your card.

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OtakuSoftware, nice release :)

I have been an ardent supporter of Entbloess 2.7.2 and it's approach to usability and configurability. I am testing out your trial version now and see the promise in the application (I base this on the improvement delta from last release). As mentioned previously, great animation, needs some polishing to make it feel dependable in a consistent way. I like the stability of the show desktop feature.

My only comment, I really hope I get a response to this one, is: Could attention be paid to this glitch that all expose clones seem to suffer... In IE (and perhaps other browsers.. would anyone care to shed some light on this?) when the window is restored from being "exposed" it flickers before settling back. This happens with Entbloess (live preview.) and TopDesk (live preview.) But the thing is, explorer windows do not flicker in these modes. Can this be fixed as no matter how smooth the animation gets, this "bug" jerks the user right out of the "experience" of seeing their windows scale & sort themselves for ease of access. If this characteristic is unavoidable... is there a way to minimize the undesirable effect, like fade the buffered image into the live window.. or the likes?

Oh, and one more thing.... when topdesk is loaded and not in an active state (meaning that I have not exposed my desktop,) when I move (drag) my windows around, they seem to lag a bit (more so, than usual.) Looking at my taskmanager, it seems that topdesk takes cpu time during that action some times. I look at the systray icon but it remains the default one (not an hourglass.) Is this normal?

Oh, and another vote for drag & drop. But an even higher priority: fix IE flicker. & I agree with your perspective on performance requirements OtakuSoftware, best regards.

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