Trillian 4.1 and Windows 7

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I’m really digging the new ideas for Trillian 4.1 to integrate better with Windows 7. If you haven’t read about it yet then take a look at this..

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Trillian 4.1 will take advantage of the new Windows 7 Taskbar in several ways that will be very beneficial. The most beneficial of these in my opinion is the new way of reflecting the total file transfer progress from the Taskbar button itself!

If you look closely (click the image to view a larger version) then you’ll notice that the background color of the Taskbar button for transfers is a progress bar all of its own. This is a very impressive approach to keeping the visual aid simple and clean (something that I have been disappointed with Trillian in the past for).

Trillian 4.1 will also take advantage of Jump Lists. This is the list you get when you right click an icon in the Taskbar. While most of these options are available by default from right clicking the system tray icon, Windows 7 has made the system tray a little less important in this round by hiding most of your icons by default. This is a very welcome change for me. In the past I always found the system tray icons to been too cluttered and wasteful of useful Taskbar space. You could then and you can still now adjust which icons to show and which icons to hide in the extras arrow, but adding this feature to the Jump Lists may be an even better approach.

In the future I can see a “Frequent” list for the buddies that you chat with most often. Not just adjusting your status and a couple other options.

Last, but not least, the Taskbar button will feature higher quality icons that can easily tell you what your current status is at a glance and look elegant doing so.

There are a few other Windows 7 improvements, but these are the ones that stood out the most to me. If you’d like to see more about Trillian becoming more Windows 7 friendly just take a look at their blog post explaining everything.

I’ve been using Trillian for several years now and I even helped with the Trillian Astra alpha builds way back when. When Digsby came around the corner and introduced frequent updates with a quality interface I nearly ditched Trillian completely. Let’s face it, Trillian’s interface can be a bit overly complex for a simple chat client that’s supposed to make your life easier…right?

Two things that I’d love to see Trillian 4.1 accomplish is to overly simplify the interface and bring those common tasks that we all need right there to the interface rather than hiding them in menus and sub-menus. The second thing which is important to me is operating system integration. They already began work on this, but I think all of us Windows Vista/7 users would like to see a little Aero in our clients so they feel like they could have come prepackaged to work with Vista/7.

If Trillian continues to make these types of improvements (simplifying the interface and making it integrate more with Aero) then I’ll highly consider spending the $25 it costs for a Pro account to support their hard work. ;)

Until then I’ll be switching heavily between Digsby and Trillian Basic until one of them wins me over.

Windows 7…

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I’ve been using Windows 7 Professional for a short time now, but I’m already very much impressed.

Not only is Windows 7 faster and more responsive than Windows Vista, it’s also a lot better looking!

Windows Vista had a sorry excuse of an update for the Taskbar, but in Windows 7 the Taskbar has been dramatically improved. The ability to re-arrange programs and icons in the Taskbar freely as well as pinning frequently used icons to the Taskbar is a major enhancement that I now won’t be able to work without!

While many past reviews from others have related and/or compared the new Taskbar to the pre-existing Mac Dock, I beg to differ. While skin deep the Taskbar and Dock appear to have a great number of similarities, they are far from the same.

One of my favorite features of the new Taskbar is the way the application icon appears to be stacked when multiple windows are opened. The thumbnail view of applications and windows is also a very nifty feature, especially when you have several multiple windows open that you can choose from.

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Windows 7 has an awesome new focus feature that basically makes every application that isn’t in question become transparent. In the image below, I’ve hovered over the Taskbar thumbnail for Opera. The effect is that only this window will appear and others will fade away, as seen by the translucent appearance of the Windows Media Player window.

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If you want to view the desktop, there’s still a button to do that. However, the button is no longer just a quick links shortcut and is now a built-in part of the (end of the) Taskbar. Clicking this button will minimize all open windows. Clicking it again will restore those windows to their original state.

The cool new feature, however, is that if you hover this button for a few seconds, the open windows will fade out so you can see through to the desktop and not actually move any windows.

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For some reason with Windows Vista I never found the Desktop Gadgets to be useful. Somehow they always managed to be, or seemed to be, in my way. With Windows 7 the Desktop Gadgets can be very useful and have thus far seemed to be completely out of my way.

There are a great number of other enhancements to Windows 7, but the updated Taskbar is by far the most useful for me. After using Ubuntu for so long and developing a pride in Linux, it’s amazing how quickly Windows 7 has won my support!

The visual effects found in Windows 7 can be implemented fairly completely in Linux using the KDE environment. I’m personally not a big fan of KDE, preferring Gnome much more instead. To me, KDE is a great environment in concept, but the icons and graphics in general seem to be off very poor taste and KDE feels overly complicated for such a shiny interface. This is where Windows 7 has done a great job with a clean and simple interface as well as a nice set of icons and graphics.

One very useful program that I highly recommend is UltraMon. Another alternative application for this is DisplayFusion, though I’ve never tested it. I’ve been using UltraMon for a few years now as a way to extend the Windows Taskbar across multiple monitors for XP, Vista and now Windows 7 (with the latest beta).

I’m still unsure as to why Microsoft refuses to implement the ability to stretch the Taskbar across multiple windows by default. This is very easily accomplished on most other platforms.

I’m sure others have found Windows 7 to be a major improvement. I’d really like to hear some opinions on Windows XP vs Windows 7 since there is still such a large group of Windows XP supporters. I’d especially like to hear some views of XP being better than 7. :D

WP-TwitterBadge v0.2 Released

After taking some time to track down a bug that seems to only affect Internet Explorer 6 (why on earth did I bother?) I’ve finally released an update that fixes the error.

After getting several comments about users experiencing errors with this plugin while using IE6 I finally gave in and patched the little bug. Why are they still using IE6?

…well, it works fine now…as far as I know. I’ve had a few people test it with no errors as well as myself, so hopefully if you couldn’t use it before it will work fine now.

To find out more about this WordPress plugin, go to it’s main page. You will find all released versions there (past and present) as well as a link to the official WordPress Plugin page. Feel free to leave feedback!

WP-UserAgent v0.9 Released

I’ve just released an update for the WordPress plugin WP-UserAgent. The update changelog is as follows:

v0.9

  • Added detection for Venenux GNU Linux and Oracle Linux.
  • Added detection for Laconica and MovableType trackbacks.
  • Cleaned some of the code for trackback detections.

You can find out more about WP-UserAgent as well as a download from the main page.

New: Netflix Watch Instantly Timer

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I’ve just posted a User Javascript file that allows you to get a quick glance at the total time that you’ve spent watching Netflix Watch Instantly programs.

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So far I haven’t had enough time to make the script Greasemonkey compatible, but it should be shortly. For now, it works great with Opera.

Thanks to @fearphage for helping me get this sorted out with Greasemonkey as well!

Head on over and grab the script so you can keep tabs on how much time you spend watching tv…online…on netflix. ;)