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Quick PortableApps.com Status Update (2009-11-04)

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John T. Haller
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Quick PortableApps.com Status Update (2009-11-04)

Hey all,

I figured I'd do a quick status update since folks have been wondering what's up with 2.0. I'd originally planned on dropping Beta 4 as a final beta last wednesday and doing the 2.0 final this week. Unfortunately, that got sidelined by some extra legal and business work that needed doing and, moreso, by the fact that I decided to rewrite the PortableApps.com Updater.

The Updater was written by a few people over several months and mostly without logiclib, so it had gotten to the state that it was nearly unmaintainable, especially for interacting with the Platform they way we wanted it to (add apps, update apps, update the platform, work better with the installers, etc). So, I've been rewriting it using LogicLib and it's in a better state now. Adding onto it will be a much easier process and it'll be easier to translate.

As of now, I'm hoping to drop it on Friday Monday for testers and translators to have a go at it.

Also, on the freeware front, we have 5 more apps about to drop, including one of the bigger publishers (hundreds of millions of downloads of their local version) that has portable versions in zip format that now wants to get involved with PA.c. This will be another publisher producing and hosting the builds themselves, which makes things easier on us.

So, hang tight. Some more apps will be out tomorrow. The 1.0 format and installer finalization will be announced shortly. And the updater/PA.c Platform Beta 4 should be out on Friday.

Stay Portable!
John

Update: It's not quite done tonight, so it should drop Monday now that I'm back.

New Update (Nov 13): Due to non-code-related circumstances, the beta did not drop Monday (Nov 9) as planned. It will drop shortly. On a related note, if you are an animal lover, please send good thoughts my kitten's way.

OliverK
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I'm hanging! Thanks for the

I'm hanging! Thanks for the update. Don't let us get you down.

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Chris Morgan
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Thanks, John

We're right behind you Smile

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ditto

We are!

And I hope all of us will stay portable! Smile
We're all too addicted already.

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Thanks John

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digitxp
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Thank You

For a moment there, I thought you fell of the earth...

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Thanks a lot John, this are very good news!

I'm happy to see the updater getting more stable and usable Smile
We should close the beta pages in order to make clear that there is no longer any support or development for it.

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Stand alone updater also?

Will the updater be offered as a stand alone as well as integrated into the menu? I think it would be useful for people who use other menus (PStart).

Chris Morgan
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Mostly

The initial implementation of the Updater is in NSIS, meaning that it's a separate executable which you will be able to run outside the Platform (and which gets run by the Platform). There may possibly be some functionality benefits in using it from the Platform (maybe auto-detection of some things) but I doubt it (we'll see how we go though). Along with changing the Platform language from Delphi, it is planned to rewrite the Updater so that it is integrated fully into the Platform, at which time it won't be standalone.

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Gord Caswell
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Thanks for the update

We appreciate hearing from you, John.

Hopefully this will satisfy the clamor that's been happening in the 2.0B3 thread.

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Also still hanging

Hey, sorry about the impatience on our part, man. Good to hear from ya', though! Good luck with the new updater! Biggrin

-Whistle

App Guy
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Thanks

Thanks for the update John, still enjoying Beta 3. Blum

May the Shwartz be with you

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Ah... the status news which

Ah... the status news which we've all been waiting for. Acute

John T. Haller
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Friday to Sunday

Things aren't quite ready for Beta 4 and translators tonight, so I'll be finishing it up on Sunday after returning from a wedding. It looks like a couple features may miss the mark for 2.0, but since we'll be adding in the updater, we can start pushing out releases more regularly with features bit by bit as we won't have to worry about a big announcement and everyone coming to us for the patches and updates now.

Sometimes, the impossible can become possible, if you're awesome!

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THANKS Mr. Haller

Mr.Haller, thank you,always at your door!

digitxp
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Standalone

The updater is standalone, right?

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if he's recoding the NSIS,

if he's recoding the NSIS, yes, it is.

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Chris Morgan
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Yes

The initial release is an NSIS one, and we're mainly just basing it on Marko's updater, with a few new features and improvements (with the readability of the code being the biggest improvement, meaning we'll be able to maintain it much better).

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digitxp
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Yay

with the readability of the code being the biggest improvement, meaning we'll be able to maintain it much better

Yay! I hope there's more comments...
Subliminal Message: Use the LogicLib because NSIS is littered with spaghetti code.

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Chris Morgan
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Of course

We're using LogicLib with all NSIS code now. As for comments, it depends on the code; for some things comments are good, for other things they're just pointless, when the code explains itself. We'll see though.

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“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” – Proverbs 15:1

John T. Haller
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Sunday to Monday

Got back to work later than expected today. So I'll be pushing it out tomorrow.

At the moment, it looks like categories (aka folders) will be pushed to 2.1 as they aren't quite ready in our implementation. I'm still going to include all the strings for translators in the next beta so we can drop them as soon as they are ready without needing to wait (like we did with 'hiding' apps in 1.5 since that part of the translations wasn't done). Now that we have the updater, releasing platform versions more often without updating the suite (which takes a while to package) isn't as big a deal.

As for people asking about the updater, like the backup, it should work properly outside the platform, but we won't be releasing it as a separate app. The installers work with the platform and updater in certain ways and without the platform running, certain things may not work. If you're using, say, PStart, for instance, you can still have the platform in there and just fire it up when you want to check for updates, though, and it will work as expected.

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Good to know. Don't worry.

Good to know. Don't worry. I'll wait patiently as possible.

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Sounds really good :-)

I'll be happy to see the new features (like updater)when the new beta is out.

Thank You John

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I am disappointed that

I am disappointed that Categories are pushed off yet again. It being updated automatically when it is ready is not going to help those of us that will continue to use a menu fork that has supported Categories for a long time. I do not find the Portable Apps Menu usable without categories.

Paul

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A quick note...

Just to put things in perspective: you are complaining about something that is free for you to use, and more than that, free for you to change. I'm not being angry or anything... just a quick reality check. Smile Your comment seems a little harsh, taking these things into account.

-Whistle

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hehe, agreed especially

hehe, agreed especially considering...

... those of us that will continue to use a menu fork that has supported Categories for a long time.

Why complain when you have a working alternative that you already use?

It amazes me that on the internet you can be anything you want, and yet so many people still choose to be idiots.

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...

pmlabrierI am disappointed that Categories are pushed off yet again. [...] I do not find the Portable Apps Menu usable without categories.

Same here, but only at home. On my flash drive, categories are unnecessary. So I use 1.5.2 at home with the latest R34, and 2.0 beta 3 on the flash drive. 1.5.2 with R34 for 1.5.2 is the best PortableApps-based menu out there, end of story. Supposedly it has some bugs or something, though, so I use 2.0 beta 3 where it's more important (other peoples' computers) because it works for me in that environment.

WhistleJust to put things in perspective: you are complaining about something that is free for you to use, and more than that, free for you to change.

Incorrect. It is not free to change. To compile the source code, you need a program called Delphi 2006 or something with that. It costs hundreds of dollars. If you're compiling the PortableApps.com menu for free, you're using pirated software. And pirating isn't getting something for free. Changing it is free like free speech, but not free like free beer.

However, using it is free like free beer (yay!) so yes, respect to those who work on it is in order.

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In Other Words...

John, if you have a tremendous amount of time available, with your keenest of attention and best of debugging skills, could you please, pretty please, port the code to C++ or FORTRAN (or at least Assembly)? Please :P?
(BTW, it was a joke)

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Might actually happen?

I believe someone was talking a while back about porting the code to C++ or something else. If anyone who knows better can clarify...

If it gets ported to C++, the amount of forks that come out will multiply. Fast. Because you can legally edit and compile C++ for free, I am pretty sure of that.

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Probably Python

I believe that Python currently has the upper hand over any other language, but it's not happening yet.

I don't believe that forks will multiply. Productivity and offered patches will. But we'll deal with all that when we get to it, we're not there yet by a long shot.

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Python. Bah. Give me C++.

Python. Bah. Give me C++. The compiled size should be smaller.

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digitxp
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Python

It's a race: ease of coding and modifying vs. small file size.

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digitxp
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Choice

I choose ease of coding. Nobody cares about size anymore, and everybody cares about when it's done ;).

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RE: Porting to C++

Someone did actually port it to C++, I tested it. Wasn't as good, but it was a lot faster, and was based on the 1.0 version. Can't remember where it is.

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I think Ryan(McCue) did

I think Ryan(McCue) did it.

It should b e still kicking around his website somewhere.

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no ryan didn't code it, it

no ryan didn't code it, it was another user, ryan just only hosted it

your friendly neighbourhood moderator Zach Thibeau

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I stand corrected

NathanJ79 It is not free to change. To compile the source code, you need a program called Delphi 2006 or something with that. It costs hundreds of dollars.

I stand corrected. Sorry about that! Maybe I should do my research before piping up like that... Smile Even so, the need for respect still stands. Free beer is free beer. Blum

-Whistle

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RE: Delphi 2006

As has been stated many times before, there is a free version of Delphi 2006. It is called Turbo Delphi. There are two versions to the Turbo edition of Delphi 2006: Explorer and Pro. I believe John has the Pro. While there are illegal patches to make the Explorer edition work like the Pro edition, the Explorer edition is fully functional, you just can't use third-party components in the IDE. it will still compile the programs if the forms are made using code and not the IDE. While I do use a patched version for my own programs, when I eventually get to the stage where I can make commercial quality programs (ie: programs I can sell), I will pay for the real Pro edition.

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Illegal =/= free

Illegal doesn't mean free, it means stolen.

I have heard about this free version but also heard that the PortableApps.com platform code requires third-party extensions which are not supported in the free version.

If you, or anyone, can post a link to a FREE program which has the ability to compile the PortableApps.com Platform from source, I would appreciate it, and I'd download it at home, and see what I can do with it.

As I've said before, I've done some minor hacking in UnrealScript code, which is reminiscent of C++ (to my untrained eye) and I was able to do all sorts of cool stuff in Deus Ex, a commerical Unreal Tournament fork (sort of). I increased the ammo capacity by about 100,000-fold, tweaked weapon damage, made it so you could shoot underwater, made it so you could put a silencer on the pistol (kind of a stupid omission by the devs), and various other little tweaks. The one I'm most proud of is an upgrade that let your character (whose body is filled with nanotechnology) remotely interface computers and other electronic devices you can see, about as far away as the sniper rifle could shoot.

Point is, I couldn't make a game, but I could tweak a game to change the rules. Cheating is boring, but tweaking the rules is fun. And changes apply to the bad guys, too. Anyway, I couldn't make anything nearly as good as the Platform, but if I can get the hang of the language and syntax, I can probably tweak it a bit. Not as much as the R34 or geek.menu as those add features, but I can open the sources to all three in a compare program and, to some extent, mix and match. In theory, anyway, but I'd like to try.

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The site for the free version of Delphi

The site for the free version is:
http://www.turboexplorer.com/delphi
However, 2006 is no longer available.

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You can't use the free

You can't use the free version of delphi to work with the PortableApps.com Platform. This has been discussed many times, and I'd imagine it's part of the reason John is looking to change the Platform's codebase.

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Actually...

Actually, you can. Before I found the patch, I was able to compile it without problems. Then John started using a third-party component for PNG support, so I looked for the patch, I even updated the patch for Update 2. As I stated above, as long as the third-party components are created on the form in code and not through the IDE, it will still compile in the free version. Also keep in mind that I am talking about 2006 and not the latest version.

As for the PNG images on the forms, if they where stored as resources in the exe instead of on the form, there would be no problems in regards to the images. (Or even load from a relative path.)

To NathanJ79: I know that illegal does not equal free, I don't think I have ever used the two interchangeably.

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Thanks for the update John,

Thanks for the update John, it's always good to know what's going on Smile

NathanJ79
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Anyone else curious about this?

John T. HallerAlso, on the freeware front, we have 5 more apps about to drop, including one of the bigger publishers (hundreds of millions of downloads of their local version) that has portable versions in zip format that now wants to get involved with PA.c. This will be another publisher producing and hosting the builds themselves, which makes things easier on us.

Anyone else curious about this bit here? Any guesses?

My first guess was Winamp, because of the "hundreds of millions" figure. Winamp used to be one of the most popular freeware programs out there, it seemed. Then AOL came along and everything went to Hell in a hurry, Firefox came along and got big, and other media players pushed it aside... but I don't think they ever had a portable version.

Then I thought XnView, but they don't have hundreds of millions. No way. XnView is one of the five about to drop though, I do know that. SmithTech said the official PAF version is ready, it just needs to get hosted here. So that will be up any time now.

My guess is currently CCleaner. I don't think it's quite that popular, but I could be wrong. Piriform does offer portable versions in zip format, so that fits as well.

digitxp
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Care

Amount that I Care

It's likely that if it already has a zip version, it's on PortableFreeware. If it's on PortableFreeware and it's good, I probably already have it ;).

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Having a bad day?

Having a bad day? Just that this and a comment you made in the Firefox area seemed a bit out of character. Me, I'm having a pretty good day, so I hope yours gets better. Funny chart, though. Nice presentation, too.

I have CCleaner as well, first it was the zip from their site, and now with the launcher... it's been in the beta testing forum for over a year. I've actually switched to CleanAfterMe; it does more with one click.

I have a few apps that are "basically portable" from zip downloads, and they work fine (I don't use any computers with Limited accounts) but it is nice to know when they're portable in-spec. Just in case.

Another reason CCleaner is such a good guess is that Piriform doesn't like other people hosting their software. They partnered with FileHippo, who host their programs, and their site features a FileHippo ticker, but AFAIK they've declined to let PortableApps.com portablize and host it. So them wanting to host it themselves is another clue that points to Piriform as the developer. And PAF'd CCleaner means PAF'd Recuva (I think it's called) and Defraggler are on the way, and those are OK apps. It'd be better if they made a suite that included all three programs in one .exe, though.

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Yes I was

It was 10:15 and the only reason I was here was because I was waiting for two huge RapidShare downloads, so yeah, I was pretty upset.

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My guess would be Chrome

Chrome dropped a day or two ago, that's my guess... idk if they have "hundreds of millions" of downloads, but they do have a decent market share (2% or so, last time I checked)

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No

Chrome came out separate to this. You'll find out what the application is shortly when John releases it...

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Shortly?

As in... today? Biggrin

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Not sure

I'm not sure exacltly when John will release... anything Blum

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xfranView - or whatever its

xfranView - or whatever its called

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computerfreaker
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FreeCommander?

The FreeCommander alpha just dropped, and that's pretty popular... is it FreeCommander?
(Come on, give us just one little hint... :P)

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No.

FreeCommander was released in the first wave of freeware apps made official here, and it's not an alpha (the "a" usually just means small bug fixes).

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i'm just guessen' But I

i'm just guessen' Blum

But I think it might be xFranview or whatever its called. The app that smithtech released a beta of.

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Nope

No hints for you Smile

OliverK, I think you mean IrfanView.

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XnView

XnView is the app SmithTech released a beta (development test or pre-release?) version of.

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Not FreeCommander

Not FreeCommander. It'd already been released (in the first wave IIRC) and I don't think any alternate file manager can claim "hundreds of millions of downloads in its local version" although FreeCommander is hosting the PAF.EXE themselves. So that fits. Irfanview has been around long enough, but I'm not sure it's that popular.

It's CCleaner. Everything points to Winamp except the little bit about a ZIP version already available. XnView works on everything but the "hundreds of millions" figure. Piriform recently added the U3 build. They build and host that themselves, too. CCleaner stays on top of FileHippo.com's most popular downloads, and they host the best freeware and open source software. The cream of the crop. They used to show how many daily or weekly downloads a program had, I think, but I can't find those stats now.

Actually, IrfanView's site claims a million downloads a month since 2003, and they offer a zip file as well, so it could be them, too. CCleaner would be more exciting, seeing as since I've been here, it's been one of the most requested apps. Who'd make a big deal about IrfanView Portable. Yeah, great, we have an alternative to XnView. We don't have anything like CCleaner, though others, e.g. CleanAfterMe, are natively portable. CCleaner Portable would be at least as big a win as Chrome Portable was.

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Piriform.

With CCleaner being official (if that is the program to be released), it'd also make it more simple to add Piriform's other products (Defraggler, Recuva, and Speccy when that's out of beta). So in the end CCleaner would be the best choice.

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Me =/= official

Nothing I say should be considered official site/board policy, I'm just a fan and armchair analyst.

Piriform claims 350 million downloads on their site, so they qualify.

Didn't know about Speccy before. That looks promising, I'm going to have to look into that at home.

scriptdaemon
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=P

I've been here long enough to know that, I was just saying.

Yeah, I did a request for Speccy in the requests board and noted you might be the one interested in doing it since you did the others (that is if Piriform doesn't take on their own PA.c versions).

OliverK
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Chris MorganNo hints for you

Chris MorganNo hints for you Smiling

Lol.

Chris MorganOliverK, I think you mean IrfanView.

Whatever. Like I said, I wasn't sure of the name. I meant the image editor thingy Blum And, that was just my guess.

[blcokquote tags fixed by mod Chris]

Too many lonely hearts in the real world
Too many bridges you can burn
Too many tables you can't turn
Don't wanna live my life in the real world

LucheLibre
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Thank you

Thank you, Porta-Jesus!

I agree with the CCleaner guess. Piriform has been putting out a U3 build for a while now. With U3 all but dead, PA.c seems the next logical choice.

"Save us, Porta-Jesus!"

(because "Porta-John" was already taken)

tgrantt
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Porta-Jesus

Brilliantly funny. Wondered WTH until I read the tagline.

I am not my signature.

The_Cre8r
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Tick. Tock.

Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.

I cannot wait until it is finished.

reederda
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Oh halleluyah! I've been

Oh halleluyah! I've been waiting and waiting, it's good to know what's going on with the platform. Can't wait to see it!

wduncan
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Christmas Eve

Anyone else feel like they're a kid on Christmas Eve that doesn't want to go to bed because they're too excited? The longer you stay up, the longer it seems until Christmas morning. But we keep checking because we don't want to miss anything!

Just wondering.

I used to sign here, but the ink keeps smudging on my screen.

DinoBiH
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Agreed

But I'm still checking, checking, checking... And I know it will come. And when it come, it'll be GREAT. Smile

tstites
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Feels more like Charlie Brown...

When he has the football yanked out from in front of him. Each time he is wary but finally concedes and comes a running and WHAM, it ain't there!

I appreciate the work and the product these guys put out but the missed target dates are a disappointment. Maybe wduncan was closer than I thought, maybe it will be a Christmas gift! I for one am anxiously awaiting the "gifts"! Smile

Thanks for your hard work John and Team,
Tom

John T. Haller
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It's Coming

It's coming, but we wound up with a sick kitten needing the vet. Sorry Sad

Sometimes, the impossible can become possible, if you're awesome!

DinoBiH
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Sorry...

I hope your cat will get better. We are just a bunch of whiners here.
You take care of your personal life first. We can wait.
Thank you for doing this great job for all of us here.

pmasclark
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Amen

"You take care of your personal life first. We can wait.
Thank you for doing this great job for all of us here."
--- DinoBiH

Bensawsome
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D:

Is it that one on your homepage? D: I hope it gets better Biggrin

 iLike Macs, iPwn, However you put it... Apple is better ^_^ 
"Claiming that your operating system is the best in the world because more people use it is like saying McDonalds makes the best food in the world..."

John T. Haller
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Nope

We got a new kitten, also a stray, and he got sick when we got back from the wedding.

Sometimes, the impossible can become possible, if you're awesome!

OliverK
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Wasn't there a disney cartoon

Wasn't there a disney cartoon that won some award about that?

Lol. Take care of the kitten, I can wait a bit longer.

Too many lonely hearts in the real world
Too many bridges you can burn
Too many tables you can't turn
Don't wanna live my life in the real world

Synt4xError
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Kittttty!

I love cats! I hope your cat just has the snuffles. gL

PS: Instead of "save" shouldn't it be submit?

solanus
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Out of curiousity...

I see that you have posted that the Categories will have to wait until 2.1.
Since this is the most requested enhancement by far, I was wondering: what's the challenge that's is preventing this?
I mean, is it
1. that you have the code mostly correct, but there are one or two stubborn critical bugs you can't get?
2. that you have two or three possible solutions, and you can't figure out which one is best?
3. that there is an intrinsic limitation in the original coding of the menu, and you have to re-think the whole thing?

I'm not looking for a timeline, but some idea of what's causing so much trouble.

Thanks

I made this half-pony, half-monkey monster to please you.

John T. Haller
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Lower Priority / Far More Functionality

Categories are a lower priority than the updater or themes. While there is a vocal set of people that want categories, they are a minority of users when looking at the overall userbase of millions of people. Most users actually only use under 20 apps, maybe 30 tops. And even of those that have 50 or 100, they only use 10 or 20 on a regular basis, so the pin to top/favorite feature works just fine for that.

We're not implementing straight categories so the menu just shows up with categories as the default as PAM Mod has as most users don't need that. It will be showing up with your pinned apps and then a most frequently used set in the first 19 slots followed by an All Portable Apps button that, when clicked, will show your full set of apps without categories by default. Then you can show categories as an option as well as all apps by default as an option.

In addition, the categories are not manual as they are with PAM Mod. They make use of our built-in categories from the portable apps directory which are actually built into the apps themselves. These categories will show up in the menu localized in 37 languages and switch when you change menu language. In addition, users can create customizable categories and move apps between them all.

So, it's a much more functional setup and much more customizable than the current PAM Mod while still preserving the simplicity that most users will be happy with. As this full set of features doesn't exist in any other menu, we had to do it from scratch.

Sometimes, the impossible can become possible, if you're awesome!

Devo
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I like where this is going,

I like where this is going, but can users remove some of the built in categories? Or even assign multiple categories to the same app?

John T. Haller
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Yes and No

If there are no apps in one of the built-in categories, it won't show up, so you can essentially remove it. Multiple categories is a possible future enhancement, but won't be in the first implementation.

Sometimes, the impossible can become possible, if you're awesome!

J Neutron
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From Palm launcher

Back when I was using a custom launcher for my Palm, it had a feature to hide a category. Anything you put in there was hidden, and you didn't have to individually hide each app.

Have you considered hiding a category?

neutron1132 (at) usa (dot) com

John T. Haller
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No

That's not the point of hiding. Hiding is for permanently removing EXEs you don't want seen in the menu without deleting the physical file on the flash drive (usually because it's required by the program).

The arrangement we'll be using is more than sufficient for people to get their less-used apps out of the way.

Sometimes, the impossible can become possible, if you're awesome!

solanus
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Awesome!

Thanks for the quick reply.

I made this half-pony, half-monkey monster to please you.

horusofoz
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Thanks for the update.

John T. Haller
In addition, users can create customisable categories and move apps between them all.

Very much looking forward to this. Just want to check, will non-PAF apps like PDF X-Change Viewer still be able to be placed in custom categories?

PortableApps.com Advocate

John T. Haller
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Other

Non-PAF apps will appear in "Other" by default but can be moved to either built-in or custom categories like any other app.

Sometimes, the impossible can become possible, if you're awesome!

lilking02271978
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Switching from Xp to Vista

I have a question I use Windows XP pro & have had all my apps placed on my flash drive on XP but yesterday when I went to a friends who has Vista home on there laptop & most of the programs on my flash drive won't work states that writing can not be made on this flash drive and that there was also a problem with the .ini file that wouldn't allow it to work. so is there a way to integrate the .ini to work on all systems or is there something I have done wrong with the programs or platform. My flash drive is converted to NTFS if nthat is a problem also I have a sandisk cruzer micro 4gb flash drive.

Mark Sikkema
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First search the forum !

I think you canget some more info for your problem hear.....

Link: Vista cannot write to PortableAppsMenu.ini

Good luck

Formerly Gringoloco
Windows XP Pro sp3 x32

John T. Haller
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Security

NTFS has issues with Vista and Windows 7 unless you disable security on it. NTFS isn't really intended for portable devices.

Sometimes, the impossible can become possible, if you're awesome!

richo
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More on Security...

More on what John said, in XP, make sure the '/NoSecurity' option is used when you use convert. For drives that are already NTFS you have to use the security tab, or cacls.exe. To use the Security tab on XP you have to disable simple file-sharing in the 'Folder Options' controlpanel. There is also a VBS Script version of cacls that provides more options (xcacls). If you want a copy of the VBS script, send me an email. I got it from Seagate's FreeAgent Go Restore Utility.

DinoBiH
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FadeMenu=False/True in PA v2 beta3

In "PortableAppsMenu.ini" file, the "FadeMenu=False/True" part clearly works without any problems. I'm wondering why this option is not included under "Options" menu on main interface, next to "Transparency".
Maybe it will be included in beta4?

bcrockett
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Not to harp, but.....

Any update on the new beta's progress? Last that was posted was it would be Monday but we've seen nothing since then.

I appreciated your hard work, but looking for any word on a drop date.

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