News about 7stacks

7stacks v1.5 beta 2 is out

I have just released 7stacks v1.5 beta 2.  As I stated in my previous post, this is simply a workaround for those who are having problems w/ 7stacks and Google Chrome.  Often, when Chrome was running (mostly when viewing Flash or Silverlight sites), 7stacks would simply not appear when clicked. If you do not use Chrome, you can still continue to use beta 1.  If you do use Chrome, I’d highly suggest immediately downloading beta 2. Many, many of you have correctly pointed out that Chrome seems to foul up 7stacks.  I could be way off, but I believe the reason is because of a bug inside Google Chrome.  Yes, I realize that given the odds-on choice of who screwed up: tiny, insect-like me, or massive, behemoth Google, usually the egregious party will be me.  But I honestly do think that Chrome is doing something wrong.  If you don’t care for highly geeky explanations, you’re under no obligation to read the following… Warning: Science Content — In the 7stacks preferences, there is an option to make the show/hide behavior to mimic OS X’s; that is: click the icon once to show the stack, click it again to hide it.  In Windows, clicking the stack icon again has the effect of running a 2nd copy of that stack.  So, in order to accomplish the trick of mimicking OSX, that stack’s 2nd copy (Stack #2) checks to see if another copy is running (Stack #1).  If it is, Stack #2 sends a message to Stack #1, telling Stack #1 to close, then Stack #2 closes itself.  Basically, when a stack pops up, it asks, “Are there any other stacks out there?” Each of these stacks are what Windows calls a “process”.  And the act of these processes communicating w/ one another is a programming technique called inter-process communication, or “IPC” for short. The easiest, and most efficient method of IPC within Windows is the use of a built-in message, WM_COPYDATA.  It allows processes to fire off a message that will be received by other processes that are looking for these messages to come along.  But, for some reason, when Chrome is running, all WM_COPYDATA messages being intercepted, and not being passed on as they should. In effect, when it asks “Are there any other stacks out there?”  It should either hear a “Yes!” from another stack, or it should receive all “No”s from the other...

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Updates coming soon

I will be posting some updates to software within the next few days.  First, on Monday (6/27), I am publishing a small update to 7stacks (v1.5 b2), which fixes a single, but serious bug when using it w/ Google Chrome (more about the bug later).  This will not add any additional features.  This is simply a fix for the Chrome error that many, many, many people have complained about (and rightly so). Second, I will be posting Speedy Shopper 2.0 later this week, about July 1.  I’ve been working hard to finish squashing the few remaining bugs, and have been testing it...

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I’m still standing

Although I haven’t posted any news in a while, I just wanted to post a quick update.  I have been doing some outside work the past few months, and it is now complete.  For reasons that I’m sure you all can understand, these outside projects must take priority over my shareware/freeware development.  Above all, I have to pay the bills. I will be posting Speedy Shopper 2.0 ASAP, as well as continuing work on 7stacks in my spare time.  I am also going to be working on some iPhone/Android apps (which is where the future is, let’s be honest). One quick note about Popup Calendar.  A recent screwup by me caused an old version of Popup Calendar (3.5) to be posted on the site, instead of the current version (3.53).  If you download Popup Calendar, you will now get the new version.  Sorry about the...

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Testimonials Needed

As I said in my previous post, I’m putting together a new site design. It’s about 75% complete; and I need you to help me! If you like and use 7stacks, Speedy Shopper, Popup Calendar, or Popup Calendar Lite, we’d love it if you sent us your testimonial about it. Whatever feature(s) you like most… Whether it saved you time, money, just looked cool, or whatever! Either send me a @ reply on twitter, or send me an email. If you send an email, we will only use your first name and last initial, and your hometown if you’d like to include it (i.e. “Derek M., Charlotte NC”). If you tweet me, I’ll use your twitter handle (with a link), and hopefully send some followers your way. And, thanks to all our loyal customers and fans out...

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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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