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Latest News about Alastria Software

7stacks v1.5 beta 1

For a while, I wasn’t sure I’d get to this point, but, here it is! Version 1.5 beta 1 will be the new foundation for 7stacks, at least for a while. If you see this update, and think “Not much has changed”, then I’m sorry to disappoint, but there’s a reason. Story time: Because Microsoft made some last minute changes to Windows 7, a sizable portion of users found that v1.2 wouldn’t work with the final Win7 release version. When you’d launch a stack, 7stacks would just sit there, never displaying a window. The reason for this is still unknown. When I upgrade to the final release Win 7 this weekend, I’ll see if I can investigate more. Meanwhile, when reports of this error started surfacing, I was already in the middle of this v1.5 rewrite. However, this rewrite was meant to be a long-term replacement to v1.2. I figured it probably wouldn’t be ready for at least several more months. Then, when everyone’s 7stacks started crapping out, and tests showed that an early alpha release of v1.5 worked, I had to put my chips “all in” on v1.5. And since Windows 7 was coming out Oct. 22, I had to publish v1.5 by then. However, I had many features planned for v1.5, including many great suggestions from y’all. But, there was simply no way to implement them in the time allotted. So, about 2 weeks ago, staring at a deadline I hadn’t sweated so much over since my Senior Thesis back in college, I decided that my goal should be to release a beta of v1.5 that could at least do the same things v1.2 can do. This way, those of you who were having problems, can now use 7stacks again. And, although not much has changed on the surface, many changes have been made on the inside. First, you should notice that beta 1 loads faster than v1.2. Speed is a big priority for v1.5, and I will be making many enhancements to try to get it going as fast as possible. Improving the look is also a huge priority. For a list of complete changes coming to v1.5, click here. So, download the beta, and tell me what you think....

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7stacks update :(

I apologize for the lack of updates. I’ve just been busy beating my head against the wall. The development of 7stacks has hit a series of major snags, that will force me to regroup and rethink. Most of it revolves around 64-bit incompatibilites. 64-bit is now becoming more mainstream, and the development environment that I use to create my apps, Delphi, still compiles 32-bit apps only. For 95% of the apps out there, like Speedy Shopper, this isn’t a problem. However, when your 32-bit app tries to interface with the Windows shell, like 7stacks does, very odd things begin happening. 64-bit Windows essentially “lies” to 32-bit apps (regarding things like file locations and administrator access), essentially sandboxing the app. So basically, 7stacks 1.5 will not be able to access “virtual” folders, like the Control Panel, Games Explorer, Recycle Bin, etc. I’ve tried everything I can to “hack” around this, but it is just not possible. For the first time in years, I’ve hit a wall with zero chance of getting over it. So, instead of doing further damage to my head, I will be forced to cut that feature out for now. I will finish what I have, and release a beta this weekend. That way, new Win7 users can at least have a working version. Future enhancements will have to wait, until I can translate 7stacks into something more modern, like Visual C#. The sad thing is, I used to be a big Delphi (and Pascal) fan. But Delphi has been left to stagnate for years and years, now leaving developers like me in the lurch. I want to develop modern apps, and you all want modern apps, but I just can’t make them in Delphi any...

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Warning: 7stacks on the Windows 7 RTM

If you’re using the Windows 7 RTM (build 7600), then please be aware that 7stacks v1.2 may not work. Microsoft has changed something between the RC (build 7100) and the RTM that has broken 7stacks. The good news is that the upcoming version, 1.5, does work on the RTM w/ no problems. Because v1.2 is so broken for RTM users, I will make v1.5 a public beta. I am furiously trying to complete it, and I hope to have a beta ready within a week or two. I apologize if you’ve had any problems with v1.2. Rest assured that I would not knowingly release software so broken. Microsoft does have the right to change their product prior to release. But, I just wish they hadn’t changed something so fundamental at the last minute. Oh well. Thank you for your...

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Follow me on Twitter!

If you’d like to keep informed about the latest releases for our software, either follow me on Twitter, or do a hash search, like #7stacks.

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7stacks is a hit!

By now, you’ve seen that we’ve released a new app called 7stacks. I’m quite pleased in the overwhelmingly positive reaction it’s gotten. It has so far gotten writeups on LifeHacker, DownloadSquad, and IntoWindows. Both Lifehacker and DownloadSquad are sites that I (and millions of others) read daily. It’s funny how much it’s spread like wildfire. In total, my announcement of 7stacks was one, single, solitary message board post I made here on the forums at SevenForums.com (a Windows 7 board). From there, it was picked up on a couple of blogs, and from there, DownloadSquad and Lifehacker saw it. That’s pretty amazing, IMO. The people at SevenForums have been great in helping be quash the initial bugs, and I released v1.1 just a few days after 1.0. I will also be releasing v1.2 by the end of this week. It will include several fixes, including: Fixing Stacks pointing to a drive (i.e. “C:”) not working correctly Fixing Stacks of network devices not sorting file/folder names alphabetically Adding multiple monitor support Fixing “Browse subfolders within the stack” option being ignored in Menus Fixing large menus not appearing in the correct location if the mouse is moving Fixing very large menus (i.e. 5000+ items) causing program to freeze. So, if you’re having one of the above problems, please know that I will fix the problem ASAP. And if you’re having a problem that’s not listed above, feel free to contact us and let us know what’s happening. And, by the way .. if you like and use 7stacks, it would mean a great deal if you could donate $5 USD. David and I have been working hard to bring this software to you, and a small donation would really go a long way to help us make more stuff like 7stacks. And, speaking of that .. we’ve got another free app “Windows 7” app coming out ASAP (maybe in a week or two). Stay tuned! Note added 7/2: Several people had complained about some unusual slowdowns when displaying items. Yea, my bad. One out of place letter can really ruin your day. Stack display times should nearly instantaneous...

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Coming up for air

I’ve been busy hunkered down in Casa de Alastria, clacking away on the keyboard like a madman. And the fruits of my labor are about to be revealed. I’m about to release 3 apps .. 2 new apps and 1 update. First, the update is to Speedy Shopper 2.0. Circumstances beyond my control have caused me to have a severe delay in the development of this. But Beta 1 has been used by about a dozen beta testers for a while now, and no one seems to be having problems. So I plan on releasing a final beta within the next 2 weeks. The final version still has to have documentation written for it (and yes, that’s taking a lot longer than expected). And since a couple people have asked .. No, I won’t release a final version without proper documentation (help files, tutorials, etc.), because its unprofessional, IMO. If you take the time to use my software, the least I should do is help you learn about it. The 2 new apps will be not be shareware apps .. they will be free, donationware apps. They are not complex enough to warrant registration codes and locking everything down. Instead, I am trying an experiment. If you like either app, and use it, you can PayPal a donation to us. If you don’t want to donate, feel free to use the app anyway. I can’t really say much about these apps, other than they are Windows 7-specific, and are inspired by OS X. They come from my own experience with using the 7 beta and RC. They take advantage of 7’s new features to further the user interface of 7. I use them both every day, and they make using 7 much easier. The first app will be out within a day or so. The release schedule for it has been bumped up a few days, since LifeHacker has shown a series of similar apps to mine recently (I thought I was the only one working on this, but I guess I was wrong). Mine has been in development for only about 6 weeks, and is still (brag mode on) superior to them in many ways (brag mode off). I also expect a Hive Five of these apps to appear at any time, and my name needs to be in that hat. The second app will be out within...

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