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StrokeIt

Yes, I'm still alive :)

Posted by jeff 
Yes, I'm still alive :)
December 10, 2007 06:27PM
As some forum members have noticed, it's been awhile since I've had a chance to read the forums or work on StrokeIt. I'm not dead, and I thank everyone for their concern.

Although StrokeIt is a very stable and feature rich program, there are two issues which affect its performance under Vista and I hope we can come up with a solution to at least one of them.

1) Line drawing is slow and choppy if you're using anything anything above Vista Basic and have Aero enabled. Obvious workaround: turn off line drawing.

2) If you have UAC enabled, Vista will not allow SI to control protected programs. This is exactly how Vista security is designed to behave. Obvious workaround: turn off UAC if you need to control protected programs.


Problem 1 arises because Microsoft redesigned the way that programs interact with the screen. The simple breakdown is that rather than having all of the windows share one "page" which they can each modify, Vista puts each window on it own individual "page" and then pastes each of them onto the visible desktop. Because Vista has each window on a separate page, it has the ability to do all of those pretty effects that we all love. Unfortunately, this means that there is no "main page" that SI can draw its lines on. There is some rough backwards compatibility for drawing lines the old way, but as all StrokeIt users have noticed, it's completely unusable.

Problem 2 is a design issue in Vista. With UAC enabled, there are different levels of programs, and a lower-level program cannot modify a higher-level program. Arguably, it would be possible to rewrite StrokeIt so that it runs in a higher level and is able to modify all programs in the system, but because StrokeIt is able to do anything to any window it would be opening up a huge security hole and making StrokeIt a vector for targeted attacks. Users who aren't concerned about security can turn off UAC, the rest of us will just have to live without being able to use SI in certain applications.


I've taken a quick look at how Aero draws windows, but I haven't had the time to come up with a way to draw lines in an efficient manner. If anyone here has experience with line drawing in Vista, I would love to hear from you.

Thanks again for all the concern,

-- Jeff
Re: Yes, I'm still alive :)
December 10, 2007 07:16PM
Hello Jeff, and let me be the first to say: welcome back!

In my opinion drawing the lines is a minor issue. I liked to use the line as a guide to my strokes, but I have managed to live without it.

As to protected-mode programs, isn't this just a matter of running StrokeIt itself "as administrator"?

In my experience using StrokeIt on Vista, of greater import is a lack of stability. StrokeIt frequently crashes (~1/day) and sometimes goes into a CPU-grabbing state and must be killed (~2/week). Also I would add anecdotally that it seems that strokes are misinterpreted more often (but this may be due to the lack of guidance from the line).

In my opinion, the first thing to do is gather data. Let's start a thread in the Bugs forum for each Vista bug, and let the users winnow it down to reproduceability. If perhaps it were possible to make available a "debug" version of StrokeIt that wrote a log file or were somehow more verbose, that might help.

I know there are many many prople in this forum who have benefitted from your work on StrokeIt and who are more than willing to contribute to its improvement.


Again, welcome back.
Tom Pester
Re: Yes, I'm still alive :)
December 11, 2007 03:52PM
Hi Jeff! Glad to see you had some time to pay a visit :D

Let me first thank you for this wonderful program since I didn't have the chance yet. THANK YOU VERY MUCH

I currently have it disabled on a Vista 64 bit machine cause it would hang the whole pc from time to time. I can reproduce it when I startup total commander with a gesture. So for the moment I am without stroke it and was waiting for a sign of life from you :)

I can't help you with the 2 issues you mention I'm afraid and I have aero and UAC off.

BTW If you made strokeit a commercial product and give it some more support Id be HAPPY to pay for it. I don't know what the other think but strokeit deserves some more exposure.
Tom Pester
Re: Yes, I'm still alive :)
December 11, 2007 03:59PM
I see that my previous message has my email in it with a light "encryption" (is it hexed?).

Modern b0t$ can easily read my email. please use some javascript to write the email (I did some research from a company and this is safe for the coming years) or notify the user when he posts the message that the email will be published. Thanks Jeff!
J.R.
Re: Yes, I'm still alive :)
December 11, 2007 04:41PM
Welcome back, Jeff! Glad to hear you're alive and well. :D

Re: #2 -- So *THAT*'s why StrokeIt doesn't work on IE. I'd been wondering -- like maybe the window changed somehow. I guess I don't *need* UAC... but I leave it on since it's what Microsoft intended. I figure "give it a shot", right? haha.

Re: #1 -- I've learned to live without the line, personally. I liked it before but then I realized that I didn't need them in Opera so why in Windows? :)
Re: Yes, I'm still alive :)
December 11, 2007 04:54PM
Glad to see you're back jeff!
mouser
Re: Yes, I'm still alive :)
December 11, 2007 06:04PM
hi jeff, great to read about th new stirrings of activity.
as a fellow coder i can only say that your reaction to vista is much calmer than mine -- i was just cursing it out till i ran out of breath. it will be nice to hear how you solve the issues.

you have quite a few fans and users on donationcoder.com so keep us updated!
-mouser
gone
Re: Yes, I'm still alive :)
December 12, 2007 06:50AM
Great news,expect new strokeit.
Welcome back,Jeff.
yoon
Re: Yes, I'm still alive :)
December 13, 2007 01:37AM
Strokeit is greatest software. Thank you so much! :)
Borgtex
Re: Yes, I'm still alive :)
December 14, 2007 08:50PM
Glad to see you're alive Jeff. Welcome back

As for the line, wouldn't it be possible to create, when activated, some kind of full screen translucent window on top of all the others and draw the line there? Maybe it's a silly idea, I don't really know how Vista works, as I'm still with XP (being Strokeit one of the main reasons I don't update)
pooyan
Re: Yes, I'm still alive :)
December 17, 2007 12:32AM
Hi jeff I

Thank God, you finally back.
If not your great software, I have been using XP until the end of the world...
Damon
Re: Yes, I'm still alive :)
December 20, 2007 04:53PM
I'm also having semi-daily crashes along with daily hangs where I have to kill the strokeit process to continue. Almost seems like strokeit is processing mousedown but not mouseup and hanging on to every mouse stroke. That's pure speculation, but a debug version would help.

Thanks for all your work; strokeit saved my life :)
Re: Yes, I'm still alive :)
December 22, 2007 03:12PM
Borgtex Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Glad to see you're alive Jeff. Welcome back
>
> As for the line, wouldn't it be possible to
> create, when activated, some kind of full screen
> translucent window on top of all the others and
> draw the line there? Maybe it's a silly idea, I
> don't really know how Vista works, as I'm still
> with XP (being Strokeit one of the main reasons I
> don't update)


It certainly is possible. You can make a form that's full screen, topmost, and completely transparent and intangible then draw your line there. It works just fine in Vista. I did it for a program I wrote so I know it's possible and very easy to do, but I don't think it's the best solution. Regardless Jeff let me know if you need the relevant api functions.
Allen
Re: Yes, I'm still alive :)
December 25, 2007 04:17PM
Jeff you are awesome! Please continue updating this great program that we all love! :D
Luke Scammell
Re: Yes, I'm still alive :)
December 27, 2007 03:53AM
Can I add a 3) please?

3) StrokeIt doesn't have built in support to be used as a portable application. Given the nature of most systems not having mouse gestures on them, this would be an incredibly useful ability for the program.

As far as I can see, all that is needed for this is for it to support relative paths in the preferences pane so you can reference the string (et al) directory without a drive letter. I'm sure there's a little bit more to it than that, but I would love to be able to use StrokeIt portably.

Thanks :)
Re: Yes, I'm still alive :)
December 28, 2007 03:59AM
I'm very happy to see you again. ^_^
Re: Yes, I'm still alive :)
December 30, 2007 11:04AM
MKairys Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Hello Jeff, and let me be the first to say:
> welcome back!
>
> In my opinion drawing the lines is a minor issue.
> I liked to use the line as a guide to my strokes,
> but I have managed to live without it.
>
> As to protected-mode programs, isn't this just a
> matter of running StrokeIt itself "as
> administrator"?
>
> In my experience using StrokeIt on Vista, of
> greater import is a lack of stability. StrokeIt
> frequently crashes (~1/day) and sometimes goes
> into a CPU-grabbing state and must be killed
> (~2/week). Also I would add anecdotally that it
> seems that strokes are misinterpreted more often
> (but this may be due to the lack of guidance from
> the line).
>
> In my opinion, the first thing to do is gather
> data. Let's start a thread in the Bugs forum for
> each Vista bug, and let the users winnow it down
> to reproduceability. If perhaps it were possible
> to make available a "debug" version of StrokeIt
> that wrote a log file or were somehow more
> verbose, that might help.
>
> I know there are many many prople in this forum
> who have benefitted from your work on StrokeIt and
> who are more than willing to contribute to its
> improvement.
>
>
> Again, welcome back.


I totally agree, both bugs you mentioned are of minor concern for me. Stability issues are driving me nuts, having to restart strokeit like twice an hour.

Strokeit is like my right arm!

Great job Jeff, glad you came back and hope you find the cure for the Vista desease!
Bruce
Re: Yes, I'm still alive :)
January 22, 2008 04:11PM
Hi Jeff,

welcome back!!
Paul
Re: Yes, I'm still alive :)
January 24, 2008 08:16PM
this is such a great program... common man get back to this project, so much stuff that could be updated/improved on now.. at least get someone else involved who can make a difference if you haven't got the time for this.
tpr
Re: Yes, I'm still alive :)
March 02, 2008 10:35AM
Yes, please continue the project, even if you decide to charge some money for it. StrokeIt surely deserves some bucks.
Sooner or later WinXP will be outdated and we badly need StrokeIt for Vista also.

Making StrokeIt portable out of the box would also be nice (although everyone can make it portable with jauntePE).
Ram
Re: Yes, I'm still alive :)
May 03, 2008 02:02PM
This is the greatest single most freeware I've ever used (Maxthon & Spybot comes a close second)

I am still constantly amazed by the things I could do with it. I can string together multiple shortcuts & assign it a single stroke - automating a whole lot of stuff - not just single commands.

I dont have a problem in Vista (used the tips posted here to turned off lines & UAC) - No crashes - No hangups. I use Vista Basic.

This is one software which I don't have a long wishlist - amazingly its perfect as it is!!! :) Considering that it came out in 2005 - thats quite something!!

But I am sure you can wow us all again. Please make next version a shareware or charge at least $25 for it!! Its worth it!!
Andy
Re: Yes, I'm still alive :)
May 08, 2008 02:04PM
I just want to join the Vista hopefulls list. I've had to start using gMote but it's not a patch on StrokeIt like I had it on XP. Sadly using it on Vista takes out pretty much everything regularly even with on screen gestures turned off, and I don't know how to do without anymore (I'd forgotton what those buttons at the top left were for)!

I'll be back from time to time and agree that you could actually make it worthwhile by charging a bit, I'd pay!

Thanks for a great app either way Jeff.
Robert
Re: Yes, I'm still alive :)
May 24, 2008 01:38PM
It would be awesome to have a commercial product that worked right under Vista.

For me personally, the UAC problems aren't a big deal under Vista and the stability seems fine on my compy.

The free product gMote does trails under Vista and seems to work fine with them, so there must be a way (and maybe the author would be willing to share??). From the readme for that software: "Either switch to the Basic theme or tick "fast trails" on the Options dialog." Although gMote's trails work correctly for me under Vista it has more usability problems and strange glitches than StrokeIt does, yet seems to be under more active development.

I'd be happily willing to pay for an updated product that worked a bit better under Vista. Sadly, neither StrokeIt nor gMote seem to completely fit the bill at the moment. It's a non-ideal state for gesture users under Vista since StrokeIt is clearly more usable, but gMote seems to be under more active development and neither quite works ideally. It's unclear to me who (if anyone) will ever enable usable mouse gestures under Vista.

Good luck with the development if you ever get the time. I know how it is with limited time, but it would sure make a lot of people happy to have a product that worked better under Vista.
matol
Re: Yes, I'm still alive :)
June 25, 2008 02:42AM
hi all,

i think ben with "gesture Magic"
http://silentdevelopment.blogspot.com/2007/09/gesture-magic-new-name-for-smoke.html
is on the right way to deliver the expectations i have in gestures under "vista".

i was a fan-user from strokeit under "xp". in vista, strokeit doesn't recognize the half of the windows, is not firm and so on...

so, give ben the motivation he needs to succeed with "gesture magic" by link: http://silentdevelopment.blogspot.com/

markus
Koogle
Re: Yes, I'm still alive :)
July 26, 2008 05:42PM
gesture magic is abit of poor effort at even coming close to strokeit features, plugins,customizing control and even the easyness of pre existing strokes for common apps.. same with the poor effort by gMote..

the fact that strokeit doesn't actually work properly on vista is just another reason why i couldn't be bothered with vista..

Microsoft should get one of there devs familar in this area to help jeff sort out strokeit on vista.. if they had any bloody sense at MS that is.
Leon
Re: Yes, I'm still alive :)
July 28, 2008 03:26AM
oh, are you really alive? good news, jeff. ;) i couldn't live without your brilliant software. hope to see lots of improvements in next release. i presume it's a major update in both interface and functionality as it's around 3 years since last version was released.

erm, lemme tell something you may find useful. IEPro is a well-known plugin for MSIE and it represents mouse gestures exactly in the way StrokeIt had expressed. IEPro is the leading plugin for MSIE and almost all users of this browser are using it. so i guess, it would be nice not to see StrokeIt interfere with IEPro.

b/r,
Leon
Freeze
Re: Yes, I'm still alive :)
July 28, 2008 12:17PM
Leon IEpro .. its a shity cheap knockoff of what Maxthon1/2 do so much better replacing the shity looking IE interface, IEPro is like a noobed version of Maxthon in that all of it features and customizability aren't even close to Maxthon, infact some of the stuff they hadn't even been copied right like the shit session manager.. utter crap in iepro. and ofc what the hell are you using the gimped IE interface for? thats shit for people at MS to use that retard browser.

as for gestures maxthon also does those(and better for its shortcuts) and you just add maxthon to the disable apps list of strokeit.
freeze
Re: Yes, I'm still alive :)
July 28, 2008 12:23PM
"is the leading plugin for MSIE and almost all users of this browser are using it."

actually thats bullshit.. IEPRO doesn't even come close to Maxthon's classic and v2 world user count. it also doesn't even have decent skins/plugins.. and its number of users are tiny compared to maxthon.. did I say it still uses IE shit interface?

you could say it might be the leading plugin for that shit browser.. but it ain't no where near the leading IE replacement :P

ie - for noobs
iepro = for noobs
maxthon = for powerusers
Leon
Re: Yes, I'm still alive :)
July 29, 2008 09:38AM
dear freeze, all browsers have their own cons and pros and it's all up to the user to choose one of them as the default browser, so flaming a tool just because you prefer another one doesn't lead to a constructive discussion.

although Maxthon is among five top browsers (along with IE, FireFox, Opera and Safari), IEPro has implemented some features such as providing a greasemonkey compatible extension which lets you use very useful scripts in IE like the way FireFox users do. i like its super drag'n'drop feature, tab history, useful plugins, etc.

anyway, it's absolutely off-topic and is not welcomed here. if you have complaints about IEPro or if there are some features you would like to see in next versions of this popular add-on, use IEPro forum instead. your comments are highly appreciated.

regards,
Leon
Freeze
Re: Yes, I'm still alive :)
July 29, 2008 12:51PM
"IEPro has implemented some features such as providing a greasemonkey compatible extension which lets you use very useful scripts in IE like the way FireFox users do. i like its super drag'n'drop feature, tab history, useful plugins, etc. "

all possible and been done either built in(at a better standard), or added via plugins for maxthon1/2 aswel, way before IEpro. And I haven't even got into talking about features Maxthon can do that Ie/iepro can't.. it had one of the best dualscreen implementations any browser has seen, detachable tabs from the UI.. proper website skins/plugins deposit, the first browser to implement a proper user account with saving of favs/rss/settings for free roaming, I could go. And yes I've checked there forums but I'd be wasting my time there as Iepro hasn't implemented anything that has been above average or even competing against maxthon features and better implementations. It also unfortunaly is stuck using IE's ugly UI and is slow(IE that is). Just another area maxthon has improved on by completly doing away with IE ui, and offering a replacement not an addon. Iepro would be wise to ditch the IE interface and implement there own customizable skinnable interface and work on from there, but thats just part of it, they'd still have much catching up to do really. I do hope they improve things as competition is good for all browsers but on the current track it doesn't look hopeful.

Anyway I drop it, it doesn't have anything to do with strokeit I know.. but strokeit seems completly void of any further development and progress :( ..
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