Tag Archives: graph

Custom Paper Deployment Tool Updated

Since my last release of my Custom Paper Deployment Tool (now hosted on Amazon’s S3 Platform), I have made a series of changes to the tool as I have been preparing for the next major release (available now). These changes include new features, cosmetic fixes, as well as major changes to the tool’s code to increase reliability and stability as well as increase performance while running the tool. I’ll go more in-depth about these changes below.

New Features

  • Today I am happy to announce that using the “File” –> “Open” menu options, users can manually select .afd files and deploy them using my Custom Paper Deployment Tool. Under the “Open” menu there are two options “File” and “Folder”. “File” allows users to deploy .afd files one at a time. However, if you have a directory full of files and want to install all of the .afd inside it at once, you can use the “Folder” option to select the directory with the files in it, and it will install all of them at once.
  • The “Tools” –> “Smartpen” –> “List Installed Packages” function has been enabled and is now functioning. This allows users to connect their smartpen and view a complete list of all installed packages on their smartpen. This includes all Livescribe packages as well as all custom packages.
Cosmetic Fixes
  • The bottom of the main screen now shows the current status of deployment as the tool is deploying the .afd files. Previously, it only displayed the last file deployed.
  • I noticed several minor visual issues with the interface of the spawned windows when a user selects an option under “Tools” –> “Smartpen” including button and text field placement. Basically, the text field continued on underneath the button which led to a problem when large amounts of text were placed in the field and the user was unable to scroll all the way down to view it. Those errors have been corrected.
  • I found that the check boxes required selecting the text and then selecting the check mark itself (a full two step process). This has been replaced with a single click to either the check mark or the box itself to select it, significantly decreasing the number of clicks when deploying all of the notepads.
  • I have replaced modified the “Tools” –> “Smartpen” –> “View Smartpen Data” screen to format the user set time in a human readable format. Previously, it simply provided the number of milliseconds that had passed since Unix Epoch Time (Midnight on 1/1/1970 UTC). This number is now formatted correctly to show both date and time in a way that human-readable text. I have also removed the RTC (Real Time Clock) displayed on the same screen. This shows the milliseconds that have elapsed from the smartpen’s creation. I removed this because it provided no useful information. As far as I know, it is only used to calculate the user set time.
Performance & Reliability Tweaks
  • I’ve enabled multi-threading to allow the tool to process multiple actions simultaenously which increases it’s efficiency and stability. Each window now uses it’s own thread to allow background windows to continue processing while another window is open in the foreground. This also allows the main screen to display the current status at all times, even while deploying .afd files.
  • My main reasoning for not enabling the “List Installed Packages” function in version 1.0.x.x was that it took an insanely long time to list the data (over 10 minutes) and was constantly polling the smartpen while doing so. I’ve reworked that code so that it pulls the data from the smartpen once and then parses it quickly, while displaying the results in the window. This function is now enabled.
  • Previously, Custom Paper Deployment Tool required that users connect their smartpens after starting the program though it should have found any connected smartpens as it started up. I found a bug within the initialization routine that ran that part of the program in the wrong order resulting in the bug. This has been fixed and from now on, Custom Paper Deployment Tool correctly detects smartpens that have been connected before it starts up.
  • If there are no boxes checked, the deploy button will disable itself to prevent crashing the program by attempting to deploy nonexistent notepads.
All in all, this is a very major release with a couple of new features, as well as many cosmetic and non-cosmetic bug fixes. It’s a rather hectic time for me so I’m thrilled that I was able to get this update out as quickly as I did. I’m looking forward to seeing your thoughts on the update!

Release: Printable Graphpads for Livescribe!

Several months ago, I received Livescribe’s Pulse Smartpen as a birthday present. At the time, I was amazed by the features and the concept of such a device. It soon began to play an integral role in my technological life and now I really would be lost without it. You can see my full review (after months of using it) here. As I have mentioned on the official Livescribe Forums several times, the only thing that the Pulse Smartpen lacks is graph paper. Now I’m not the only one that has noticed this and Livescribe has been promising to release dot paper with grid lines on it at some point. Unfortunately, they’ve been saying that for a little over a year now. As I’m sure most of you know already, when Livescribe says something, it usually takes them some time to actually do it. Personally, I’m not a big fan of waiting for someone else to do something when it’s relatively easy (though inconvenient) to do it on my own. Of course, Livescribe has an SDK. However, the SDK is only downloadable to developers. No problem, to become an “official developer,” you just need to fill out a registration form and then download the SDK. Using the SDK, I eventually managed to create my first paper project for the smartpen. I of course dubbed it: Quarter Inch Printable Graphpad 1. However, the only problem with the current SDK is that it’s not currently possible to script page number generation. This is supposedly a feature that will be released in the long awaited Desktop SDK. Coincidently, Livescribe plans to release this by the end of quarter 2, 2010. To the end user this simply means that it will take a slightly longer time to input the pages to Livescribe Desktop. I should add that uploading custom pages currently only works with Livescribe Desktop for Windows. It is currently incompatible with Livescribe Desktop for Macintosh.

I’ve successfully created four of these graphpads (all with quarter inch graph paper as a template) and all of them have basic paper replay controls. Each of these graphpads is 25 pages long, leaving you with 100 unique pages total. However, I haven’t licensed the fourth graphpad as I haven’t had a need for it (yet) myself. I would be willing to license and release it if people request it because they need it. Chances are, at some point I will end up needing it myself and will release it at that time.

If you are interested in downloading and deploying these graphpads, I recommend that you head over to the download page, where you can find all of the necessary links and instructions.