Task Till Dawn 2.0

I'm very excited to announce that Task Till Dawn 2.0 is finally here! It took me almost two years of development, but I think it was worth the work. I refactored a lot of the already existing functionality to make it more stable and easily extensible in the future. I also added many of the features users demanded in the past. And the best of all (at least I think it is): it now features a visual workflow editor!

With the workflow editor it is no longer necessary to create shell and command line scripts or Automator applications to do certain things (of course, you can still use these if you want). A lot of actions are now built right into Task Till Dawn so you can use them in your Tasks. Of course the list of available actions will be extended in the future, but I think the initial list already contains most of the basic stuff needed.

Task Till Dawn
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Windows Defender

Windows Defender complaining about that there is no malicious software on my PC...

Windows Defender

Anki Cozmo order cancelled

Expectedly my order of the Anki Cozmo did not go through. They detected my german address and an Anki support guy wrote me an email stating that Cozmo was not yet available in Germany and that they were going to cancel the order. As he wrote other markets will be evaluated in 2017. I just wonder why they even put up a german advertisement website for Cozmo...

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OS X split screen

The first time since Apple introduced the split screen mode in OS X that it really comes in handy for me. Here I have Parallels running, on the left side with Windows 10 in the standard and on the right in HiDPI mode. This way, while programming, I can test how Task Till Dawn gets rendered in the particular display mode. Pretty neat!

Apart from that I find the split screen implementation rather quirky. I have to admit that Windows is one step ahead of OS X here. Apple only allows to have two windows side by side. Additionally, if one deactivates the system preference "Displays have separate spaces", the split screen mode is no longer usable. Completely illogical and inefficient – because if I am working with multiple monitors I want all monitors to synchronously switch spaces. But unfortunately, on OS X one can either use the split screen mode or the synchronous space switching. Not both at the same time.

OS X Split Screen

SteamVR supersampling

SteamVR has a hidden configuration parameter which allows to enable supersampling for VR applications. With supersampling graphics are rendered in a higher resolution than the native one of the screen in the headset. Afterwards the image is down-sampled and antialiased. This generates a sharper image because – for example – small lines and other details have to be rendered completely before antialiasing. The downside is that this really raises the burden on the graphics card. Additionally, not all VR games support supersampling. Valve probably had a good reason to keep this configuration parameter hidden, so setting it manually might have negative consequences.

To enable supersampling in SteamVR, one has to edit a JSON formatted configuration file. It's a good idea to create a backup before doing so.

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Anki Cozmo

The company Anki, known for the Anki Overdrive series, brings something new to the market in October 2016. Namely Cozmo, a small moving robot. What it will be capable of is yet unknown. Currently there only exist some promotional videos and texts which are not very meaningful. But the little bot looks funny and can be controlled using an Android or iOS app. It has an integrated camera which can be used to recognize faces. Its own "face" consists of a display which shows various emotions. Instead of arms and hands the robot features some sort of gripper, with which it can knock over or lift stuff.

Preorders are already possible on Anki.com, unfortunately only for US residents. When Cozmo will be available in Germany is yet unclear.

However, the order form can be easily adjusted using Firebug to also accept addresses in Germany, and it is even possible to finish the checkout. So, yesterday I received my order confirmation with a valid German address. Now I am curious what will happen when shipment begins in October...

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CoConnect 1.0

CoConnect is an application which makes it possible to send requests to Cobas Integra 400, 700 and 800 devices. The responses of the devices will be logged and can be exported as textfiles. These textfiles can also be used to import requests and / or responses again into the application. Additionaly, there exists a rudimentary import functionality for Megalab hardcopies.

The connection to the device is handled using serial communication (RS232) using COM-ports. There exists a free tool named hub4com which allows the usage of COM-ports over a network, which might be handy if you want to connect to a device on a remote computer.

CoConnect is freeware and provided under the GPL. The latest binary version for Windows can be downloaded in the downloads-section. The application is multilingual (English and German).