Big Screen Blog

Media Center, Windows Phone7 + Silverlight Goodness..

Launched (well nearly) : Big Screen Photos v2 Final Version

with 7 comments

As of this morning – Big Screen Photos v2 ‘Final Version’ (aka R10) was finished from a ‘functional’ point of view.

 

image  image

 

The current release has been fully tested with Vista 32bit, Vista 64bit and XBox360 Extenders – and works for both Widescreen (16:9, 16:10 etc) – and Letterbox displays (Widescreen is highly recommend for the optimal experience).

There’s still a couple of changes outstanding (before I will make it completely public) – namely  :

– Refining the non-english languages for the new MultiLingual UI (the English is perfect – translations are still very incomplete in some areas and being ‘looked at’ still by some very helpful folk). The language files can easily/quickly inserted into the current version once these are ready (so no code changes to be had).

– testing on new ‘PIKA’ extender devices (no – I <sob> don’t have one yet – other than a XBox360 – and aren’t completely sure when one will arrive..).  If you’ve been following some of the news about extenders – you’ll know that although they are ‘equal’ – some are ‘more equal’ in regards to how they handle things like Animations and 3D (and have a number of other differences from the XBox360). Just how ‘unequal’ they are remains to be seen – and I’ve included some new ‘device’ specific settings in the addins to try to handle this ‘in advance’ (and at least give XBox360 users the chance to make use of all the glorious 3D/Animation they have to offer – rather than ‘disabling it’ on all extenders).

 

How Much… When…

Ok – as you’ll see from a screen below – the full version of Big Screen Photos 2 will be a measly USD$24.95. how cheap is that..8).   Unless any bugs are spotted in the next few days – those who actually want to purchase a copy (and don’t have a new extender – or want perfect multilingual translations) – will be able to do so in the next couple of weeks (and of course will be able to upgrade to any new versions which address these issues). 

A 30 Day Trial period will be offered for those not yet wishing to make a purchase (and are at the ‘just checking it out – seeing if it fits their needs’ phase).

In the very short term – I will simply rig up the paypal system for payments – and in the next few weeks – will have a much better solution in place (with fully automated license activations etc – initially I may need to go in and flick a switch on my website after a purchase is made).


Can I have it now?…

Ok – one other thing of mention is that there is a whole new (sophisticated?) membership/registration system on my website (currently hidden from the public).  So this is also being given a workout over next few days (before everything launches).

So if you’re willing to be a ‘crash test dummy’ – and want to help simultaneously test the online registration/signup process (which might be wobbly too!) – and get access to the final release of Photos 2 (and the other new v2 titles very soon) – please do the following – and I’ll hopefully send you an email in next couple of days with the info/links –

–   Send me a direct email (if you have my email address) – or use the Spaces Messing system here to send me online mail.
– Please ensure you include a ‘valid reply email address’ (and the same one you want to sign up with) – so I don’t have to email you back on Spaces – and can recognize who you are when you’ve logged in (and maybe even give you some discounts, freebies if you’re well behaved).

 

Whats new for the final Release

I’ve added a bunch of new things (there was a huge amount of really great – ‘can you add feature x’ requests – which have fed into this) – and hope to continue to add some of the more complex requests in future (like local content support with full metadata/geotagging capabilities). So a big thanks to everyone who participated/contributed to this. (and hope to reward you with early access, discounts, freebies – well lets see what I can do there..)..

Some New features/fixes/enhancements that made it to the R10 release :

  • Multi Lingual Support. Currently 5 languages are supported (rather poorly right at this moment … but will be substantially improved for release). Please keep in mind that I’m only "MonoLingual" – so this is a pretty challenging task – and would appreciate patience from end users (that’s if you don’t include ‘geek’ plus the 40 or more programming dialects I’ve picked up over the years).

    Screenshots below show some different screens in different languages. The Keyboard has an alternate charset toggle (like a symbol mode) – which brings up all the latin/euro letters you could possibly need (until I add the Scandinavian languages that is)..  Of course a lot of content on flickr is in English (titles, tags, descriptions won’t be translated of course) – but there’s still lots of multilingual content (apart from your own) that you can look at.

 

          image image

          image image

 

  • 5 x Slideshow Effects. Horizontal/Vertical Slides, Fade, Continuous Zoom and 3d Flip.  I need to actually make a video (or you need to try it out) to see what they look like.  (pictured below is the options screen).

         image  image

  • Enhanced GeoBrowser and Digital Frames with 2D support (Extender Friendly). Via the new device settings menu – you can disable the 3d panning in the geobrowser (and it adjusts the UX to provide 2d zooming/scaling/panning instead).

    The screenshots below show some of this in action.  The Config page allows you to quickly set these parameters (those no way yet to auto detect this information as yet – but I’m still hunting..).   The digital photo frames below is almost identical – except you don’t get the rotating carousel (the small thumbnails) without 3D enabled (the rest is actually 2d ‘dressed’ as 3d so isn’t impacted).

 

        image image

 

When you disable 3d support – the Geo Browser uses 2d mode instead (screenshot on right).

       image image

 

  • Lots of Usability fixes.  Namely anything to do with scrollers/browsing of lists, changing sizes/groups etc has now been sorted. Before – if you were at end of a list and you made it smaller (by changing the tile size) – it would scroll of screen. I’ve now sorted out proper management – and made work a whole lot better (and not have this issue).
  • Registration/VersionCheck/Upgrade/More.. Wizards built in. Similar to new UX found in Big Screen Headlines2/Weather2 – instead of the crappy click through boxes in R9 – this provides a much nicer experience for configuration.

The screens below show off a couple of these wizards. The Reverification Wizard also allows you to instantly update the registration details on your current version (without any reinstallation). This is useful for users who are using a trial version and purchase the full release.

image image

There’s even a lovely Nag screen that will randomly appear on some loads  – to remind you to purchase the full version (while you are a trial user).  You might find this amusing the first couple of times – but trust me – it might in fact be an ‘annoying nag screen’ by the time you’ve been using the trial for a while (what better encouragement huh).

          image  

Unfortunately – I can’t yet accept any transactions via the MCE interface (and am not clear whether users would feel comfortable entering sensitive payment information in MediaCenter anyhow – and not using a trusted providor). However if you pay online- you can quickly ‘reverify’ your current install (nothing to do) – and it will transform into the full release.

  • Supports up to 5 flicker user accounts (I may even remove the limitation completely).
  • Fast Loading/Bootup time (no OK dialogs / Clickable splash screens anymore). The first time you boot you will be taken directly to language selection and the activation wizard. Once you’re done – loading the addin and getting to the main menu is very fast (a couple of seconds normally if the DLL has been preloaded). If you’re a trial user – as mentioned above the nag screen will bug you every few boots.

Nice quite/subtle Splash Screen (no more loud productions or vertigo at the start) and is only visible for a second or two.

   image

  • Faster/Easier installation. Combined with the simplicity of registration from the new mobilewares online site – things like entering the serial number are done during the MSI Setup phase (rather than the user needing to launch it afterwards in R9).  There’s also some new smarts which allow you to perform activation and other startup tasks directly from the extender (without needing to first run it on the console due to security issues).
  • Lots of other minor bug fixes. (Too many to mention)

 

I will make some more announcements over the coming days – and hopefully open up the online registration/trial system to everyone.

 

Stay tuned…

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Written by mobilewares

December 18, 2007 at 3:50 am

7 Responses

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  1. looks great!

    Ian

    December 18, 2007 at 9:51 am

  2. It does indeed look great. I’m about to ditch Foxtel and go all "Media center- all the time" as my main TV source and have been looking forward to this and the other mobilewares apps to round out the experience.
     
     

    Scott

    December 18, 2007 at 10:49 am

  3. I am looking forward to trying this out, especially the 3D flip.

    William

    December 18, 2007 at 2:00 pm

  4. It really look great. I planned since some weeks to have a media center and will really enjoy this things.I was thinking about make a donation or somthing like that because what you did is exactly what I want.25 USD is very cheap for this.Can wait to move in my new house and install my media center. Definitively going to buy it in january or february if it is availabe.Thanks again

    seb

    December 19, 2007 at 12:59 pm

  5. I’ll be buying this one regardless!  Great effort, been playing with the Beta for quite some time.  Even if I don’t use it, I’ll be buying it to try to support you in your future releases.

    Stuart

    December 19, 2007 at 8:10 pm

  6. Im a huge Vista media centre /windows home server user and this looks fantastic. Would love to give it a try when the time comes.
    Keep up the great work
     
    PC

    Phillip Gibbs

    December 29, 2007 at 8:48 am

  7. I am a keen Vista media centre/home server user and this looks teriffic. Would love to try it out when the time comes. Keep up the great work

    Phillip Gibbs

    December 29, 2007 at 8:58 am


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