Thank you and questions and suggestions

Mar 4, 2009 at 3:37 AM
Edited Mar 4, 2009 at 6:10 AM
Hi Dylan,

First of all, thank you so much for starting this. Let me tell you that likely whatever you felt for Jeff  when you were using StrokeIt, that's how I am feeling right now about you: Respect and appreciation. And I pledge my support to you, let it be testing/feedback, advertising this around in online and real life, or whatever else you need to get this going and hopefully better than StrokeIt one day.

As you know, the flexibility, accuracy and versatility of StrokeIt are some of its strengths, so I strongly encourage you to implement as many features in StrokeIt as possible. You're already doing a good job in the GUI part, it looks nice and clean.

Now, on the home page, you wrote in bold "the user is not limited to a set of predefined gestures.", but I could not find a way of defining/training my own gestures. Is this feature not yet implemented, or is it there but not clear in the GUI?

StrokeIt supported double strokes (going in one direction, and then another), which I use a lot. To define the gestures, when I use a (+) sign, it is additive. For example, left+down is moving towards left and down simultaneously creating a diagonal to the lower left. When I use (-) sign, it is in successtion. For example, left-down is first go left, and then go up, creating the bottom and left sides of a square.

As examples of double strokes:
Refresh: down-up
Minimize all: (left+down)-(right+up)
Browser tab: up-right
Find: left-down

and so on. If you can include all the double strokes in StrokeIt, it'd be great.

I'll try to come here often to provide feedback and hopefully also to provide you with new ideas (which is hard, considering what Jeff did in StrokeIt, but we'll see).

Good luck...
Mar 4, 2009 at 4:27 AM

Hi there! Thanks for the kind words about High Sign. I too miss StrokeIt so much, and felt compelled to put my development abilities to good use and write an application to continue where StrokeIt left off. Also, I'd love for you to help test and promote High Sign around the internet and in person. I'd like to gain as much exposure to the project so development can move fast and we can show everyone the benefits of Mouse Gestures.

As for how to train High Sign with new gestures, I'd like to direct your attention to a wiki page (Using High Sign) I created that explains how to teach High Sign new gestures and actions. Let me know if you still have any questions after reading it. It is very easy to train High Sign to recognize the "double strokes" you're referring to. Just show it once and it will learn it. Piece of cake. That was some of the earliest funtionality built into High Sign.

Currently myself and one other developer are working on High Sign. He should be in here shortly to follow up with you as well. We both are working very hard to make High Sign great. However, the more exposure we can gain for the project the more developers may come on board and contribute to the project.

Thank you very much for your post and look forward to hearing from you soon.

Dylan Vester

P.S. Find us some bugs!
Mar 4, 2009 at 4:35 AM
Hi there GTForce!

   Thanks for your wonderful remarks and suggestions.  I'm another one of those long-time StrokeIt users and when I came across High Sign, I was delighted.  I now work with Dylan to add features and enhance High Sign, I couldn't resist offering my time after seeing what he accomplished, let me tell you, not only is it very well implemented, but the program's architecture is very efficient and actually a piece of cake to jump into and start coding.  I already created a volume plugin (Up/Down/Mute) which will be included in the next release and I'm wrapping up a disable gestures plugin/tray menu item.

   Make no mistake, High Sign will surpass StrokeIt in power and flexibility.  I've brought some ideas to the table when I started working with Dylan which will make for some very powerful gestures that I couldn't do in stroke it.  I know it looks a little basic at the moment, but as you know if you're like me and have tried every other gesture program out there, you can have all the features in the world, but without a solid core, it's worthless.  Now that I'm working on the project, Dylan can continue to focus on building up the core and my focus is on features.  

   I think Dylan plans to direct you to the Wiki regarding the gesture creation, but the skinny of it is to select New Gesture from the drop down when you train something like an Up-Down.  Because of the exceptional fault tolerance of High Sign, it will often find the closest gesture match it can when you do a gesture, this is great for general use, but I can understand how it can be perceived while in training.  Perhaps we can make it more clear in the future.

   Definitely stay tuned, this is only the beginning.


Robert Larkin
Mar 4, 2009 at 5:55 AM

Also, if you could rate the Alpha 2 release on the "Releases" tab, that would help out a bunch!


Dylan Vester
Mar 4, 2009 at 6:08 AM
Edited Mar 4, 2009 at 6:09 AM
Rating is done. After receiving your messages, I spent some more time, and I am already in love with HighSign! :)

I don't know if these are technically implementable, or not, but here are my first set of suggestions:

- Instead of modifier key tick marks, just detect and write what keys are pressed, or activate the modifier key automatically upon detection.

- "Training" sounds like "for learning how the program works" rather than "training the program, teaching it new gestures". Maybe you can rename it to "define new gestures" or something along those lines.

- Right click on the icon disables it, left click shows the menu, or vice-versa.

- In the "Available actions", when I hit the edit button, I should be able to redefine the gesture, too. Or, add two buttons for editing (edit gesture, edit action).

- In the "Available Gestures", add a button for adding a new gesture.

- Or combine the above two into one "Editing gestures and actions" menu.

- Exporting and importing gesture sets.

- Create a High Sign group in Facebook and promote it!

I'll be back. :P
Mar 4, 2009 at 4:10 PM

    I've created work items for some of the suggestions you've provided, specifically modifier ticks, Action/Gesture UI merging and import/export.  I'm holding off on the "Training" bit for now for further discussion as that can be a perception issue; I never got that impression when I started using High Sign, so it's something we can re-evaluate when we can get more feedback and identify a concensus.  Regarding the icon clicks, I've added a middle-click to disable.  Left double-clicking already toggles Training Mode and I think it goes against standard user expectations to have right-click do anything specific when a popup menu exists for a tray icon. I also tend to prefer that a single-left click do nothing in the event someone accidentally misses another icon or have their taskbar on the left/right side of screen etc and drift outside of whatever their working on; this way each action that High Sign provides via the tray requires a definite intention before doing anything.

   Thanks for your time and great suggestions! 

Robert Larkin
Mar 4, 2009 at 4:21 PM
I am glad that my suggestions are already helping in making this a better software.

I also bumped into a few things (more like bugs than feature requests). The list is back home (I am at work now), but these are what I can remember:

  •  2-3 times, it deleted a gesture/action, other than the selected one (and since there's no saving or exporting, I had to redo them from scratch, instead of just reloading the last save and continuing from there. So, it's good to hear that export is already in the works).
  •  %SYSTEMROOT% is not processed in a command-line description for running an application.

I'll get you the others when I get back home.

Thanks again, and good luck on the bugs.
Mar 4, 2009 at 4:35 PM
Edited Mar 4, 2009 at 4:47 PM
I added a work item to identify a more resilient execution method, similar to the method used by Start->Run, which will handle, for example, specifying a file and having it executed by its associated program.
Mar 9, 2009 at 3:28 AM
Here are more bugs:

- Severe mouse lag at windows start up: I set High Sign to load at windows start up. After High Sign loads into the memory and before its icon shows up in the taskbar, there's unacceptable mouse behavior. The pointer is not very responsive and there's severe lag (e.g., when you move the mouse a little in a short burst, the pointer keeps moving in that direction even after you stop moving the mouse).

- Sluggish performance in Windows Explorer when it's busy refreshing/updating folders: This may be related to the above issue.

and although this is not a bug per se,

- When I widen the Available Actions window, it does not wrap the gestures to the right, just shows more blank space instead (i.e., I still need to scroll down a lot to see what's below).

As usual, good luck.
Mar 9, 2009 at 5:11 AM

Once possible explanation for the "severe mouse lag" behavior when Windows starts up, is when High Sign installs the global mouse hook it has to access every application that captures mouse messages and inject an assembly into their memory so that High Sign can intercept the mouse message destined for that application. When Windows is starting up, everything is trying to load at once which really slows down the responsiveness of every application, and when an application like High Sign is requesting something from those applications they will be slow to respond, which I believe is what's causing the unexpected mouse behavior.

I've only noticed a very small delay on startup when High Sign is installing the mouse hook so perhaps I'm misinterpreting your issue. It may help us track this issue down if you could tell us a little more about your configuration (i.e. CPU, RAM, Monitor Count/Size/Orientation, Number of Startup Programs, etc...).

Also, for your second point regarding Windows Explorer. Can you provide more detail about when that problem occurs? Is it after a gesture? Or, just when starting up?

For your third point, I had originally added the wrapping ability to the ListView, but took it out for reasons I can no longer recall. I can tell you that screen will be changing soon, so it may be a non issue. With Robert coming on board, we're really moving fast and we have some great things coming for the next release.

Believe me, we're taking all your feedback to heart and kicking ass! Keep up the great work testing High Sign!

Dylan Vester
Mar 14, 2009 at 7:11 AM
Just thought I'd post an update.

The Hot Key screen has been changed, no more ticks (checkboxes), just one text box that captures EVERY key combination, except CTRL+ALT+DEL.  The funny thing is, I had to instruct High Sign to disregard CTRL+ALT+DEL since it would capture that too (but Windows still intercepts it anyway and takes over); yea, I went all hardcore with a low-level key hook so there are no limitations.  :-)

The "Run Command" plugin has had an internal makeover, it now supports environment variables in the file path and arguments.  It also executes using the ShellExecute method, meaning you can pick a Word Doc, for example, as the command to run and it will open with Word.  Basically, the Run Command will now act as though you double-clicked the file in Explorer.

Stay tuned, there are some major enhancements in the pipeline; we appreciate you all hanging in there.  I can tell you that by the next (and possibly last) alpha, High Sign will implement every feature of StrokeIt, except perhaps the import/export as that can't really be done until we reach a feature lock.  Then we'll be doing nothing but testing and refactoring/streamlining High Sign with the help of all you wonderful testers out there!

Robert Larkin
Mar 14, 2009 at 5:23 PM
Another update  =)

Changed the loading order of the mouse hook so it doesn't capture the mouse until after High Sign is fully loaded, this should significantly reduce, if not eliminate, the mouse lag while High Sign is first opening.

Also changed the mouse capture to elevate the process to high priority when capturing a gesture, this should aleviate sluggishness if the foreground window is busy.  Perhaps this will resolve you Windows Explorer issue, GTForce.

Robert Larkin
Mar 21, 2009 at 7:22 PM
Edited Mar 21, 2009 at 7:23 PM
My configuration:

CPU: QuadCore 6600 @2.4
RAM: 4GB DDR2 @800
Monitor Count/Size/Orientation: 1 or 2 (usually one) / 24" LCD (@1920x1200) and 19" CRT (@1280x1024) / Landscape
Number of Startup Programs: 20-something
OS: Windows Vista Ultimate 32bit (yeah yeah, I'll switch to 64 bit to use all of my 4GB when Windows7 is out :) )
Apr 2, 2009 at 6:43 PM
I would also like to express my appreciation for this project. But, there is one necessary feature that I need in order to be able to use it on all of my machines. I use a CAD program that uses the right click and drag for panning so I need to be able to disable the gestures for this one application.

Best Regards,
Apr 5, 2009 at 4:44 AM

   You can try the development release I have here, there's a menu option from the tray for disabled applications:

Robert Larkin