Mixed Colorspace

Colors are important, having the correct one can make or break a design. That is why professionals and even some enthusiasts spend copious amounts of money (well maybe not quite that much) on devices to ensure that when a color is picked, it looks the same on print and on the screen. Even with these devices, there are many pitfalls on the computer side.

Case in point: what looks like a rich crimson in improperly color managed FireFox, The Gimp, and Windows Paint is actually a rusty maroon in color managed Windows Explorer, and FireFox (when set to manage CSS colors in conjunction with profiled images). While this is better than in Windows XP, it is still annoying.

When Microsoft redid the graphics driver framework for Vista, they should have forced color correction onto the graphics drivers. That way, all applications would use the same color translation LUT and individual applications would not have to be aware of color profiles. Maybe they could do this for Windows 8 (then one could be in one of those “Windows 8 feature was my idea” commercials).

-John Havlik

[end of transmission, stay tuned]

Force Feedback with the Logitech WingMan RumblePad and Windows 7

Since Windows XP, Microsoft has provided a generic driver for the Logitech WingMan RumblePad. This eliminated the need to install Logitech’s software to use the gamepad. Generally, one looks favorably upon such things. However, this driver has always lacked support for force feedback. While the WingMan may be a DirectInput force feedback device in a world moving towards the XInput force feedback model, many games still use DirectInput force feedback.

While Logitech does not provide a standalone driver for the WingMan, it does include a DirectInput force feedback driver for the WingMan in its Logitech Gaming Software. To download LGS, go to Logitech’s website and click support. In the search form enter “G-UA4” (the model number for the closest device to the WingMan RumblePad). Under the downloads tab, select Windows Vista as your OS, then select Logitech Gaming Software from the download dropdown. Install Logitech Gaming Software and your WingMan should now have working force feedback.

-John Havlik

[end of transmission, stay tuned]

Product Coherency

One of the leading reasons, other than it’s the de facto standard, to use Microsoft Office is its coherency between member products. Work, Excel, Powerpoint, etc. all have a similar look and feel. When Microsoft released Office 2007 with the ribbon interface, they chose not to migrate to this interface for all of the member products. In particular Visio, which makes it feel like an outsider. In a way it is, Visio 2007 is not included in any of the Office 2007 packages. However, the old interface makes it look dated in a Windows 7 environment, where all of the included applications use ribbon. If Microsoft seriously want’s everyone to migrate to the ribbon interface, they should use it on all of their new products (well, maybe where it works, Visual Studio may not be a good candidate for it, but who knows).

Notice the lack of content in the peek view?

Notice the lack of content in the peek view?

Powerpoint 2007 seems to have a few bugs in Windows 7. The first is that if there are two documents open, it will not open two concurrently open windows. Thus, it’s impossible to do a “two up” with two different presentations, which is possible in Word and Excel. The second bug, illustrated in the above image, is Powerpoint does not render a scene for the Windows Taskbar peek feature. This makes it a royal pain for switching between two open presentations. Again, the other Office products exhibit the correct behavior.

-John Havlik

[end of transmission, stay tuned]

Window 7 Media Center Weather Alerts

The past few days have been quite rainy for the Twin Cities, around four inches of rain have fell in the past 48 hours. Tonight, a storm popped up north of Lake Minnetonka which produced a few tornadoes as it has made it’s way east. Before one actually knew a weather event was going on in the area, the cable internet dropped out. However, Windows Media Center was able to get a National Weather Service Tornado Warning message, and display it over playing video.WMC warning system

When in this “Warning Overlay” mode Windows Media Center will not record live TV, or allow the guide to show up with the arrow keys. Once the warning expires, Windows Media Center removes the overlay and restores normal functionality. It is not clear if this is the intended behavior or not. The apparent intent is to keep the user at the current channel. However, this does hinder the ability of the user to tune to a channel with more weather information if not already on one.

-John Havlik

[end of transmission, stay tuned]

Windows 7 PunkBuster Revisit

Well, well, well, look what we have here. Looks like Even Balance finally got their act together. Anyone taking part in the Battlefield Heroes Beta will know that DICE now has PunkBuster enabled for it. Amazingly, Battlefield Heroes still works in Windows 7, no false-positive PunkBuster related kicks. Even better, the PunkBuster client for Battlefield 2142 now works correctly on Windows 7 64Bit now as well. One was able to play on four different Battlefield 2142 servers for more than 30 minutes each today without a single kick, therefore the PunkBuster related issues appear to be solved. No hacks, no compatibility mode, no running as administrator, it just works. Hurray for silent updates! Oh wait, they are still a major security risk.

-John Havlik

[end of transmission, stay tuned]