Awasu Personal Edition v2.1.3 (beta)

This is a beta release (what's this?). Some features may not be complete and the software may be unstable. Install at your own risk! You may need to do some basic computer maintenance tasks to get this release to run.

If you are already running 2.1.3.alpha4, there is no need to install this release (they're the same).

 

Installation

  • You must already be running 2.1.2. As always, exit Awasu and back up your installation first!

  • Unpack one of following zip files on top of your existing files:
    Personal Edition: NT/2K/XP 98/Me
    Advanced Edition: NT/2K/XP
    Professional Edition: NT/2K/XP

  • It is recommended (but not necessary) that you run ResetUi.exe (in the Awasu installation directory) to reset your UI settings. If you have customized your toolbars or keyboard shortcuts, you may want to try skipping this step. However, if you see any problems (e.g. icons that don't match their apparent function), you should reset your UI (toolbars and docking windows).

 

New Look and Feel

The first thing you will notice when you run this new version is the great new look of Awasu. All icons and other images are now drawn using full colour, alpha-blended images, giving a really good look regardless of what visual style you are using.

If you are using Windows XP, Awasu now also supports XP Themes. This is a new feature that Microsoft introduced with Windows XP that lets you change the look-and-feel of your desktop and applications you use.

Awasu's dialogs have also been completely re-organized. Somebody once commented that the Awasu user interface was "very powerful, but daunting" so we've taken steps to address this. Less important options have been tucked out of the away in their own mini-dialogs while liberal use of bold text and other visual cues will guide you through the process of configuring and using Awasu. Many of the hint dialogs have also been taken out and replaced with hints embedded directly in the dialog they are referring to.

 

Task Pane, Downloaded Files and Sidebar

Awasu now has a Task Pane (left) that brings together the most-commonly used features into a single place. The second page provides immediate access to Awasu's productivity tools. For example, those of you who use reports extensively will like being able to dock the Task Pane to one side of the main window and having immediate access to all of your reports.

This release also introduces the Downloaded Files window (right) that tracks all the podcasts and other files that Awasu has downloaded for you. From here, you can simply play them by clicking on them or save them by dragging them off to an Awasu workpad or Explorer window.

Finally, the Sidebar is a special window that can be docked to one side of your desktop that shows the latest items from your favorite channels. The sidebar can be turned on in the Display page of the Program Options dialog and individual channels added to it from the main page of the Channel Properties dialog.

 

Search channels

This release introduces a new type of channel, the search channel, that runs a search query against your archived content and return the results as a feed. This means that you can now monitor your content as it comes in for topics of interest and be alerted whenever something is found. Cool!

 

Middle mouse button

Also by popular demand, Awasu now provides support for the middle mouse button. I have to admit to never being a middle mouse button kind of guy but since I've started using this new feature, I'm a convert . We pride ourselves on how configurable Awasu is and we definitely haven't dropped the ball when it comes to this new feature. Check out the configuration dialog (available from the General page in the Program Options dialog) and set things up the way you like.

 

Other major new features

  • Clarified the licenses with respect to installing Awasu on more than one machine
    This is permitted as long as Awasu is not running on more than one machine at any given time.

  • Changed the way Awasu uses Mozilla as the embedded browser.
    Previously, Awasu gave you the option of using the ActiveX control that came with Mozilla or the stand-alone one provided by the Mozilla ActiveX Project. However, the latest release of the latter now appears to be the better choice and simpler for the user to set up and so this is the one that Awasu now suggests that you use. Its installer also registers the ActiveX control so there is no longer any need to do this from within Awasu.

  • Added print and print preview functionality.
    These can be accessed from the File menu or the new Print toolbar.

  • Edit controls that are used to specify a file, directory or web location now have an embedded button that will let you browse for the file/directory or open the URL.
    The keyboard interface to activate the embedded button is Alt-Left or Alt-Down.

  • Feed items can now be opened in a new background browser tab.
    This can be done either from the item pane right-click menu or by a middle mouse button click.

  • Workpad items can now have their descriptions changed. Both these descriptions and your attached notes can also be previewed as HTML by clicking on the small arrow buttons.

  • Improved support for drag-and-drop.
    Files and other links can now be dragged into workpads from Explorer and other Explorer-compatible sources. Links can also be dragged into Awasu to start the Channel Wizard.

  • Added an option to the My Channels context menu to open all channels in a folder. The My Channels Mark all as read context menu item now also works for folders as well as channels.
    Both of these features only affect channels that are directly in the currently-selected folder. Hold down the SHIFT key if you want to also include channels contained in sub-folders.

  • The old Show brief channel summaries setting has been split into two new settings, Show brief channel summary header and Show brief channel summary feed items.
    This change allows channel summaries to be displayed as most people will probably want: a brief header but verbose feed items.

  • Improved the way the system tray menu looks.

  • Modified the ResetUi utility to give you finer control over what UI elements get reset.

  • Toolbars can now be locked to their current positions.
    This can be turned on from the Display page in the Program Options dialog or from the toolbar context menu.

  • Implemented many optimizations to speed up all aspects of Awasu's operation.
    You should see a noticable improvement in the performance of Awasu, especially relating to the responsiveness of the UI. If you had previously been seeing the main window blank out for a few seconds, this should no longer happen (or at least happen much less frequently ).

 

Other changes and bug fixes

  • Fixed the ArchiveMaintenance and ChannelMaintenance tools to honor DEBUG.INI settings that cause users' home directories to move.

  • Awasu is now smarter about detecting if it is being run for the first time for a given user.

  • Tweaked the appearance of the default channel summary templates.
    A smaller watermark is now shown, in the bottom-right corner of each page.

  • Newly-created channels now automatically open their summary window in the background once their initial feed has been downloaded.

  • Fixed the problem where Awasu would occasionally de-maximize when you clicked on an item in a channel's item pane.
    This was a real heisenbug so please let us know if you still see this happening.

  • The Search Agent dialog now automatically generates a name for the search agent if one is not already specified.

  • Channel expiry times can now be changed from the UI (Advanced tab of the Channel Properties dialog).

  • Added the ability to easily not synchronize search index update restrictions.

  • Added a new configuration switch that controls whether or not tabbed browser windows are drawn using different colors (Display tab of the Program Options dialog).

  • Always force feeds to be downloaded afresh from the remote web server (instead of from possibly stale copies in the internet cache).

  • Always send feed items to the search engine for indexing, even if they have no content (so that the titles can be indexed).

  • Improved the way Awasu preserves the positioning of toolbars and docking windows across sessions.

  • Fixed a bug in the way Awasu checks if a directory is valid and present.
    Awasu now handles top-level directories correctly.

  • Awasu now handles {%ITEM-NOTES%} correctly for channel filter-based reports.

  • The maximum number of items that will be shown for a channel in the system tray menu can now be set in the channel's Properties dialog.

  • Made the subject line of emails sent out by the SendEmail channel hook configurable.
    Two parameters are available: {%DEFAULT-SUBJECT-LINE%} and {%CHANNEL-NAME%}.

  • Fixed some bugs if Consolidate multiple new items into a single balloon is turned on for a channel.
    The channel's sound will now be played and the system tray icon will start animating.

  • Fixed a bug where deleted channels would sometimes come back to life the next time Awasu was run.
    This happened mainly when the user had deleted the channels at the start of a session because they had expired.

  • External scripts and plugins are now passed the short version of the config file's path as their command-line argument.

  • The directory that Awasu uses to store temporary files in can now be configured via the user's DEBUG.INI file (instead of having to set the TMP environment variable).

  • The Delete channel? confirmation dialog now dynamically updates its UI as the selected action changes.

  • Removed the Apply to channels button from the Channel Properties dialog.
    A new feature will be added soon to allow configuration settings to be changed for multiple channels.

  • Channel summaries are now shown correctly if they are configured to show new feed items only.
    This bug has been around since 2.1 . I guess no-one's using it...

 

Even more changes and bug fixes

  • If an HTTP authentication password is provided, ensure that a user name is also given.
  • Don't save the load/save sync data external commands if the main dialog is cancelled.
  • Don't show a warning message if auto-discovery fails during the creation of a new channel.
  • Update all toolbar icons correctly when enabling/disabling large icons in the Options page of the Customization dialog.
  • Update the My Channels caption correctly if the Always show channels with update errors or Show unread item counts settings are changed.
  • Fixed a problem in the XML parser that sometimes caused node data to be parsed incorrectly.
  • Protected against a possible crash when changing a channel window's presentation options.
  • Protected against a possible crash when the Channel Wizard downloads the initial feed for a new channel.
  • Use a fixed caption bar colour for certain visual styles.
  • Trim whitespace from the contents of the clipboard when looking for URL's to preload into the Channel Wizard.
  • Fixed incorrect captions on some of the New Channel Report Wizard pages.
  • All file browser dialogs now have an All files (*.*) option.
  • Removed the buttons used to reset error sounds (to revert back to the default sound, just clear the filename in the edit box).
  • Modified the LogChannelActivity hook to register for the ConsolidatedNewFeedItems event.
  • Fixed incorrect email addresses in some of the application plugin config files.
  • Fixed a possible crash at startup on multi-CPU (or hyper-threaded) machines.
  • Show the source for workpad items correctly.
  • Track the last time a channel window was opened.
  • Don't show an error balloon if the latest channel packs couldn't be saved (typically because Awasu is being run from a limited user account and doesn't have permissions to modify the main file).
  • Awasu no longer installs itself as the feed:// protocol handler by default.
  • Changed the default amount of time back Awasu will show feed content from (from 7 days to 1 month).
  • If a new channel is created using the Channel Wizard and has an XSLT specified, the XSLT is now always applied to the initial download of the feed.
  • Automatically select the first item in property lists.
  • Awasu is now much stricter about letting the Channel Wizard or Program Options dialog be opened if there is another dialog box already open.
  • Standardized the layout of the final page of each of the wizards.
  • Ensured that something is always selected when opening one of the "Organize ..." dialogs.
  • Channels that used to be in the Favorites list but have since been deleted are no longer saved in CONFIG.INI.
  • The Cleanup channels dialog now updates its UI correctly if no channels are selected.
  • A file browser dialog is no longer automatically opened if sounds are turned on.
  • The auto-discovery configuration mini-dialog is no longer automatically opened if auto-discovery is turned on.
  • If a user has only one channel subscription, ChannelMaintenance now correctly auto-selects it.
  • Provide better user feedback when the ArchiveMaintenance tool has finished upgrading databases.
  • Removed the Rebuild hashes feature from the ArchiveMaintenance tool.

 

Known issues

  • The full-screen toolbar button in the channel windows is broken (pressing F11 still works).
  • There are some rare cases where the Channel Wizard may not allow you finish subscribing to a channel.
    This happens if you enter a URL that is not a feed but Awasu auto-discovers some other valid URL's. Awasu will then show you these URL's but while you can start the Channel Wizard, it won't let you go past the first page. The workaround is to copy the feed URL out of the first page of the wizard, close all the dialog boxes and then restart the Channel Wizard.