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 ...a mere black speck to the eagle soaring above it*... This item is of little merit, in view of this morning's events. But as long as I've got my posting app open, and there's news to post, I may as well have at it...

I got a note from Ravi at the Shell-Shocked web-zine last night...

Just thought I'd drop you a line and let you know about the latest issue of Shell-Shocked.

I think I mentioned to you that there's a review of tinsplash therein.

Folks that frequent the Shells Community, are no doubt already aware of Shell-Shocked (which you should note now has a new url: For folks new to the scene, 'Shell-Shocked' is a community newsletter that covers the range of replacement shell interests: new shells, modules, shell use, shell-themeing, add-on applications and materials, and highly-useful tutorials.

The material covered in No.4 includes:

  • an Editorial by Ravi (new url, new hosting)
  • a news-aggregation page of 'Shell and Customisation Newsfeeds'
  • a news-letter by az (shell site changes, new shells, shell updates & new ancillary apps)
  • an interview with 'theme-meister' Maestr0
  • a review of starfire's Amiga HLE v1.0 theme for Litestep
  • a review of my (yea I'm the perpetrator<g>) 'tinSplash' splashscreen addon-app
  • the first piece of a three-parter on optimizing replacement shell-usage on older hardware and OS's
  • an article on multiple email-account management using a local mailserver
  • a review of Maestr0's tenebrae theme for Litestep
  • an interview with jesus_mjjg (his web site, his themes, and his mods for Litestep)
  • an interesting little piece on Real-Mode� meetings with folks you've 'known' in Virtual-Mode� for years. Yea, it's a piece about Ravi getting together for a beer with jessus_mjjg... even includes a pic!:D
  • and Brian Wolven's usual humor collection

Actually, I'd gotten a note from Ravi several weeks ago, about the upcoming review article, along with a request for some comments from my end to post with the review. That, and a new feature request from Scott Martin gave me the motivation to put together tinSplash v0.0.6. Ok, it was only a few lines of tweakage, so much for extensive effort.<g>. But I do have to admit that I definitely get a kick out of the idea that my stuff merits a write up.:)

Henry David Thoreau (1817�1862), �The Allegash and East Branch�* 

[ tin_omen 02/01/03@757/17:09gmt]

newsitem 020103699

 The shell must break before the bird can fly*... I got up at 8:15 this morning and turned on the tv to news that the Shuttle Columbia had been out of contact for 15 minutes and was then five minutes overdue for landing.

It's now pretty clear that it broke up on reentry...

*profound sadness*

There's really nothing else to say.



Alfred Tennyson Tennyson (1809�1892), "The Ancient Sage"

[ tin_omen 02/01/03@720/16:16gmt]

newsitem 012703290

 They're here... I see from a post over at Shellfront, that the fine folk at have trundled a new'n improved version into the sunlight!

The site's been through a variety of hands over the years: I had the pleasure of operating one of the early incarnations myself, under the url ''. That abortive run in late July of 98 was quickly superceded by Damaja's successful community-run, '' project. Which was followed by Guy's somewhat stormy period of stewardship for a year or so. And of course that period led to what was probably's highest-profile era, under first c0merade, and then his brother cccp.

It's been, "nearly a year", since the site suddenly contracted completely for a redesign, and then expanded into a fairly simple information page for the remainder of the interval. But after the year's worth of effort, the new edition appears to include an extensive variety of material. Included are new sections for 'News', 'Themes', 'Links', 'Forums', 'Docs', and 'LSDev'.

One proviso though: You'll quickly find that you will not be able to navigate beyond the first page, unless you register for an account and login. I'm not sure myself, exactly what lies behind the 'curtain' at the moment, because I haven't taken the time to register, but I'm sure there's quite a bit in there to examine and explore. Head over and take an extended look around

[ tin_omen 01/27/03@300/06:12gmt]

newsitem 012703282

 Sound-off... Boy the Blackbox for Win32 material just keeps on rolling out. Today's release came from Msr. Qwilk...

I have just released an update to my BBSoundFX plugin:

BBSoundFX v2 (2003-01-26) / qwilk
- Added hour (hour.wav), half-hour (halfhour.wav) and windowshade (winshade.wav) sound effects
- Added @bbsfxToggle broadcast message to enable/disable sound effects
- Added @bbsfxAbout broadcast message to show version information

BBSoundFX is a Blackbox for Windows plugin that plays sound effects (.wav) for Blackbox events such as task switching, menu actions and reconfigure. It does this by subscribing to the applicable Blackbox messages, and then it lurks in the dark until it receives one of them... :) As of version 2, it can also play a sound each hour/half-hour, which is really useful during those pre-release coding sessions when time seems to stand still, but actually doesn't... <g>

Please note that BBSoundFX v2 requires Blackbox for Windows 0.0.70 or later.

As always, head on over to ! :D


The new release is available as either a 115k 'full' release, containing all of the necessary .wav files, .dll and docs, or as an 'upgrade' release, which includes only the new docs, .dll and added wave files. If for some reason you'd prefer different sounds, changing them is as simple as tossing your preferred sounds into the plugin's dir, using the same file names.

Excellant stuff. I remember the first time that a chimes mod came out for Litestep, several years ago. We all wandered out onto the net to dig up a variety of cool chimes. Qwilk delivers the whole package, from clock sounds to system sounds, all in one simple .dll! Hook it up!

[ tin_omen 01/27/03@289/05:56gmt]

newsitem 012203234

 How about a little background?... Ironhead has turned out yet another update for the Blackbox for Windows replacement shell. This outing, it's a new revision of the 'bsetbg' utility bundled with the shell. For folks unfamiliar with blackbox (for *nix or windows), bsetbg is one of the two standard bb for *nix utils (bsetroot being the other) that are used to set the root window display to either a graphic, a rendered gradient, or a combo of both.

Here's ironhead's comments on the release...

Seeing as how BB4Win is aiming to be more compatible (visually anyway ) to BBnix, I figured I'd release a new bsetbg that more closely emulated it's *nix equivalent. Here's the changes:

[changed bsetbg.cpp 01/21/2003 ironhead]
- switched to the CxImage image manipulation library
- modified the command line to allow for greater compatibility with bsetbg for *nix
- made the default behavior to load the file in "-full" mode (like bsetbg for *nix )

As always, you can grab it from the 'download' link....

[ tin_omen 01/22/03@248/04:56gmt]

newsitem 012203207

 Equal oppurtunity... Well, I may be slow to post, but at least I'm an equal oppurtunity procrastinator... Seems I did some tweaking to my tinSplash splashscreen app last week. I added the new feature (singular), actually wrote up an html doc for the app and got as far as packaging it all up as 'tinSplash v0.0.6'. Unfortunately, at the end of the day, and most of the last week, my available time was somewhat at odds with the time necessary to get the the actual post done.

But today we're going to change all that!<g> Today tinSplash v0.0.6 will actually walk out of the darkness.:D So what do these sheer minutes of effort on my part, offer for you? Well, that would be where this very short changes list comes in...

tinSplash v0.0.6

[changed frmSplash.frm 01/14/03 tin_omen]
- Added support for a new user-configurable 'holdtime' .ini setting. This defines the length of time (in milleseconds) that the splash screen 'peaks' at full visibility. Default is one 'splashtime' interval (255 / the 'splashtime' ini setting). Use <#secs to 'hold'>*1000 to nail it up visible for multiple seconds.

*Gasp!* Stunnin' ain't it? Yes, all that change was a product of one lone vb coder. It's true! And giving credit where it's due, the idea for adding that fabulous new addition to the mix came via email by Scott Martin. Believe me, it was pretty much the least I could do.<g>.

[ tin_omen 01/22/03@232/04:34gmt]

newsitem 011203343

 Wide open... I also recently got an update from Alain Deschenes on his Pascal/PasScript-based OpenVision2 shell. Seems he's completed an initial dev release, and also has a new homepage for the project...

Well as you can see OpenVision is not dead and more alive than ever. I am currently working a new version that is a complete rewrite from scratch and a total new design with different core. I post to let you know that there is a website for it at: and that there is a first development version available to the public as of today.

Checking the above site, you also will find the following release-details...

Today OpenVision2 can celebrate it�s first development release. Yes, we make the development version available to the public. Of course this version is stable enough for a public release but it is still a development version. So there is still some options that are not implemented yet. The (New...) in the barfs popup does not work yet. It a very simple release with early unoptimized barfs codes. This version reflects the direction we are taking for the final release but will improve considerably throughout the development. So please have some fun and experiment with what is going to change the desktop enhancement world! (Well we hope! :))

The release is a 234k zip file containing all the components. Chceck it out.

[ tin_omen 01/12/03@354/07:29gmt]

newsitem 011203339

 The perfect compliment... The second item ironhead sent a note regarding was a new release, v1.62, of the BBKeys hot-key handler plugin for Blackbox for win32. Here ya go...

Yes, yet another release.... :D

Our good friend NC-17 updated BBKeys to take advantage of one of the new features, namely the updated window cycling. The new release includes:


See the included documentation for more details. The new release can be found in the downloads section.

Said 'downloads section' would be the Download page over at the bb4win sourceforge devsite. Those extra details spell out the following changes:

Version 1.62 (2003-01-09)
+ New WithAction commands: PrevWindow, NextWindow, PrevWindowAllWorkspaces, NextWindowAllWorkspaces as supported in *nix. Suggested by Dr_Jazz. Please note these actions require Blackbox for Windows 0.0.80 or later in order to work

Just what you need to round out that new 0.0.80 BB4win release.

[ tin_omen 01/12/03@339/07:08gmt]

newsitem 011203297

 Hotcha!... You ever have one of those days? Like, where you get a release notice from a dev, and then fall asleep on the couch before getting it posted? And in the morning you get emmersed in wrestling old furniture out to the dumpster and off to Goodwill, and again forget to post about the new release. And then you remember that you even forget the barber appointment you've had set for the last five weeks? Yup, it's been one of those days.

But back to the release: I got two separage notes from ironhead last night. The first addressed a new v0.0.80 release of the Blackbox for Win32 replacement shell, and the release of a new 'segmented' system tray plug-in, called 'BBSystemBar' v1.0. Heeeerrre's ironhead!...

I've got a couple of BB4Win releases. Here's the scoop:

The new Blackbox for Windows (0.0.80) is available for download. This release includes:

- a separated system tray (BBSystemBar) with a lot of additional functionality
- window cycling through all windows or just the ones on the current workspace
- temporary movement of the toolbar, with the ability to snap it back to it's original location
- fixed a condition in which bb4win would crash on a resolution change - the introduction of extensions.rc (with additional figuration parameters)
- definable default editor
- fixed toolbar "always on top" issue
- added the ability to specify "StickyWindows" (windows that stay on all workspaces)
- BB4win can now simulate "true" Blackbox type appearance
- many more additional bug fixes....

With the release of Blackbox for Window 0.0.80, the system tray is now a separate plugin. BBSystemBar includes:

- enabling/disabling the displaying of the system tray
- enabling/disabling the displaying of the tasks b - blend the icons into the bar with hue and saturation
- temporary moving of the bar, and snapping it back to its original location
- separate the bar from the toolbar or link it to the toolbar - configurable via a menu

That's one whole mess 'o changes! As usual the Secretary will disavow any knowledge of your actions, and you can find the latest release of both Blackbox and BBSystemBar over at the bb4win development page at This time, you've got three separate BB4Win packages: a full shell distribution, a source distribution, and an upgarde distribution. While BBSystemBar v1.0 comes as the usual win32 binary. Get some and see how it spins.

[ tin_omen 01/12/03@299/06:10gmt]

recent news
Shell-Shocked No. 4 and tinSplash write-up
(02/01/03 17:09gmt)
Loss of the Columbia...
(02/01/03 16:16gmt) resurfaces
(01/27/03 06:12gmt)
qwilk's BBSoundFX v2
(01/26/03 05:56gmt)
BSetBG v1.2 for BB4Win
(01/21/03 04:56gmt)
tinSplash v0.0.6
(01/21/03 04:34gmt)
OpenVision2 dev release
(01/12/03 07:29gmt)
BBKeys v1.62
(01/12/03 07:08gmt)
Blackbox for Win32 v0.0.8 and BBSystemBar v1.0
(01/12/03 06:10gmt)
ShellWM beta 0.3
(12/29/02 23:23gmt)
ilmcut's XProp 1.26 release
(12/27/02 01:43gmt)
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