Tuesday, August 03, 2010

So I have been working on a little side project on and off for a year or two.  Basically I wanted to experiment with different BOINC User Interfaces.

Anyway to make a long story short the project name I started using awhile back is BOINC Monitor.  I didn’t announce it or advertise it.  I just wanted to sit on it and work on it until I had something to show for it.

At the time I started it the only project that was close was called boincmon on SourceForge, but it was more or less abandoned.  Since then Igor Bushin has release a few versions of an application he has named BOINC Monitor.  Congrats to Igor!

So now I need to come up with something different.

Anybody have any ideas?

----- Rom

Monday, February 23, 2009

Well I believe I have found and fixed the screen saver issue that has been plaguing the BOINC community since shortly after the 6.2 launch.

This bug wasn't easy to track down, and was something of a perfect storm as far as the code was concerned.

The prerequisites for this bug were:

  1. Single monitor
  2. Graphics application window gets created behind the screen saver curtain window
  3. Graphics application gets stuck in an infinite loop or deadlocks on startup

 

We had some backup code in the screen saver to check for keyboard and mouse activity separately from the project application but after the graphics application deadlocks that code was no longer being executed.

The reason that code was no longer being executed stems from the fact that the BroadcastSystemMessage() Windows API waits for a success/failure return value from the application to which it was sending, since the graphics application itself was deadlocked it caused the screen saver to lock up.

I didn't realize that the BroadcastSystemMessage() API would not timeout on a hung application. So I learned something new this weekend.

 

If all goes according to plan I'll be releasing a new 6.4 client as well as a 6.6 client with the screen saver fixes today.

 

----- Rom

Monday, October 06, 2008
Monday, September 15, 2008

I'm back from the workshop, it was great to see everybody again.

It looks like the big ticket items for the core client in the coming year is going to be to finish off the GPU support, BOINC RSS feed aggregation, and VM support.

:)

 

----- Rom

Friday, September 05, 2008

Well later today I will leave for the BOINC Workshop.

I also found out today that my presentation on the "BOINC Application Development Lifecycle" will be a web cast as well.

 

----- Rom

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Let us revive this practice...

To submit questions for next week just click on the comments link below and submit your question.

Thanks in advance.

 

----- Rom

:)

BOINC now has a fork.

I guess this means we are now a successful open source project. I was told about it a couple of weeks ago.

I hope they go the whole way though, huck out the BOINC Manager and start with something fresh.  Take the client into the multi-threaded realm. 

 

I wish them the best of luck.

 

----- Rom

 

Website:

Synecdoche

Wednesday, August 27, 2008
BOINC Manager

 

I've been giving some thought recently to overhauling the BOINC Manager user interface.

The original GUI was a carry over from an MFC based version of BOINC Manager that was created even before I was hired on as an employee.  The original didn't even have the buttons off on the left hand side, the user would have to have guessed that they could right-click on something to bring up a context menu.

So, here we are four years latter and we are talking about adding more tabs to an interface that is already overly complicated.

My goals were as follows:

  • Combine the simple and advanced GUIs.
  • Reduce information overload. (The less information somebody sees right off the bat the less they have to parse)
  • Use icon based buttons instead of words to describe actions. (Reduces required screen space and simplifies localization)
  • Use icons people are going to recognize. (VCR/DVD Player/CD Player/iPod)
  • Provide a way to drill down into the complicated information. (My grandmother wouldn't ever need to worry about resetting short term and long term debts for instance)
  • Include context sensitive help in the interface.

Disclaimers:

  • I haven't thought through the multi-host scenarios yet.
  • The graphics were generated in MS Paint, these would not be used in the actual manager should we ever implement this.
  • This might not go anywhere, David wasn't to keen on the idea.  He wants to get a formal usability study of a few prototypes before investing in a new user interface.
  • This by no means should be thought of as a comprehensive specification, I think of this as a scratch pad.

If there is interest in the community to see something more formal I will go ahead and spec it out and submit it for review.

 

Initial Install

After a clean install, the client area should display a quick blurb that BOINC in and of itself is just a task execution engine and needs to be attached to a project/account manager before it can actually process work. 

At the bottom of the blurb should be an attach to project and attach to account manager link.

 

Working User Interface

Clicking on magglass would bring up a dialog specific to each section. 

In the mock-up on the right hand side the 'News' section would disappear unless there are new news items.  The news section is supposed to be a summary roll-up of various RSS feeds for each of the projects.  It would also contain messages generated in the messages area for things like disk space warnings and the like.  Another possible use for it would be the number of new messages for a thread you are watching in a projects forums.

Active Tasks, when expanded, would list the active tasks on the system in the format:

<Project Name>:<Task Name>:<Percent Complete>:Suspend:Resume:Abort

Active Transfers, when expanded, would list the active transfers on the system in the format:

<Project Name>:<Transfer Name>:<Percent Complete>:Suspend:Resume:Abort

Both <Task Name> and <Transfer Name> would be truncated and an ellipse (...) added in the case where the names are to long for the display area.

Projects, when expanded, would list the projects the client is attached too.

Each project, when expanded, would have a section for the following areas:

  • Tasks
  • Transfers
  • Messages
  • Statistics
  • Resource Usage

The main window should have a vertical scroll bar for when everything is expanded, but it should not have a horizontal scroll bar.

 

----- Rom

 

[Update 28/08/2008 9:37am]Apologies to Michael Tughan, while I can't recall seeing his designs for a Mac specific GUI it doesn't mean I didn't. I don't know how much overlap there is, but I thought I had drawn my inspiration from a combination of Outlook 98, MSN Messenger, and Yahoo Messenger.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

So yesterday Candace and I were outside and noticed a little snake trying to eat a small frog. The snake wasn't actually able to swallow te frog and eventualy the frog got away. Here is a picture of Candace holding the snake before putting back in the yard.

 

I took a bunch of pictures of the snake trying to swallow the frog, they can be found in the Photo Album.

 

----- Rom

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

So, for the second time in my life I have purchased a cell phone. My first ever cell phone was a Star Tak which broke on my first trip anywhere. I'm hoping for a longer life with this phone. I wouldn't have even purchased this phone except David asked me to make sure I had a backup plan for an Internet connection when I move in December.

The specs on this Phone/PDA/GPS are pretty impressive, but had I known about the upcoming release of the HTC P3350 Polaris I might have waited a few weeks.

The feature I'm most excited about is the built in GPS, I've been wanting to get one for awhile but don't travel enough to justify a special purpose device like a GPS. I'm sure Shane and I will put it too some good use in Ft. Myers since we will both be new to the area.

The big features for me are:

  • Windows Mobile 5/6
  • Quad-Band cellular phone (world wide support for GSM)
  • Recharge off of a USB connection
  • Supports tethering
  • Supports Bluetooth
  • Supports GPS
  • Supports Direct-Push Email
    (Basically my email, calendar, contacts, and task list will stay in sync between my desktop, notebook, phone, and web app)

 

So, now I guess I'm ready to join the rest of the cell phone carrying world.

 

----- Rom

Theme design by Jelle Druyts
Header image by FreeWebPageHeaders