OK so here is a basic rundown of the new features and updates that are coming in the next release of NAS. i really struggled with whether or not to call this a 2.0 release or just say that the original version was just complete crap and only counted as an alpha release and this is the true version. i don't really know, im just going to continue down the 2.0 path.
as some or maybe none of you know, this whole project started as an assignment for school. it was designed originally just to get a grade, and therefore the acutal UI didn't necessarily have to work in a car environment (as i am sure those of you who tried this out have learned). the second thing is that right after starting this project, my carputer died. This made it to where i had no way to actually test the app on a 7" screen, or driving down the road. so now here at christmas i was able to resurrect my carputer to all its in-car-computing glory. well as you can imagine after over a year without a caputer, the first thing that i wanted to do was get to testing NAS. well i learned VERY quickly that the thing really kind of sucked. the UI was hard to use, the sound was inconsistent, and pretty much everything just was not that great for in-car use. After facing the harsh reality, i resigned myself to fixing as much of it as i possible could as quickly as i possibly could. i have been running this latest version in my car for several weeks now, and i must say that i am really happy with it and how it works in the car. But of course this project is very much still in the works and so i hope to better it even more. ok well now that we are past the irrelevant, let me tell you what i have coming.
first off is a completely new UI. That was th worst part of my old app was the fact that the UI just did not work well. the buttons were too small and nothing really "flowed" with anything else. well i sat down and thought through it and i believe that i have come up with something much better. as you can see from the pics above, the theme is still the same (dark for night/ white for day) but the layout is completely different.
also the UI is in charge of laying itself out on your screen. originally it was all hard-coded to absolute positions, which of course will never work across the board on different machines with different resolutions. This seems to work pretty good from what i can tell, i have done testing on many different resolutions, on my 7" lilliput, and they all seem to work pretty well. the only thing is that i only have a 7" monitor so if anybody else has something bigger/small i won't ever really know if it will look that good on your monitor. it should, but i can't guarantee it.
next is visualizations. I spent a lot of time thinking through these, as i really wanted something cool going on while you were listening to music. the main problem that i am running into is that flash is not hardware accelerated, so it makes running really complex 3d visualizations a pain. so for now i came up with some simpler animations that i think look pretty cool and run pretty decent on my 1.66 mini. these visualizations are all hand rolled, so they may not be perfect, and they are definitely not complex but they work for me, and i actually really like them so whatever. There are two different places for the visualizations. I really wanted one to pretty much to be always visible while music is playing. There is a mini visual on the main screen where you could select your music (this visual has three modes that you can cycle through by clicking on it) and then there is an actual visual view that is accessed py clicking the button with the "eye" on it. here there are a few more visualizations that you can cycle through by clicking on them.
another update is a feature that i just added last night that i am pretty excited about. it is a music auto update feature. the idea behind this feature is that in a car computer environment it can be somewhat cumbersome to keep your music library updated. you either have to have to bring the computer in to update music. or keep everything on a external drive, or rig the thing so that you can remotely turn it on and access it through wifi. the last two options will make it easier to update, but lets face it not everybody want's/can do those. so here is my solution. i have all my music stored on my hdd in my computer. and for me it is easier to just put new music on flash drive and then hook that up my computer, and then copy all the music over and update and what not. well even that can be a pain on a 7" monitor. So my app has this new feature that i call "update from disk" from here you can select an update location (ie your flash drive) and tell it what folder you have your new music stored in, and NAS will go through and figure out where it belongs in your music library, copy the new music over and then update everything for you. Once you give it your update location it will remember this location so next time you just have to insert your drive, and click "update from disk" and you are good to go! i have not done much testing on this as of yet (seeing as i just wrote it last night) but so far it is working as expected.
As for now i have removed CoverFlow from NAS. i was doing some memory profiling, and it was just using waaaay to much. i am going to rework the coverflow to make it much more cpu and memory conscious, which should translate to a much more pleasurable experience.
There is now a clock.
Now the Mouse is hidden in NAS
also in this version you can change the highlight color for the item selections and for the visualizations. this lets you match the color scheme in your car
i just added the ability to use keybindings to control NAS. for example you can use the arrow buttons (left and right) to skip forward or backward and arrow buttons ( up and down) will let you move up and down the current list you are looking at (artist, album, song) space will select the currently highlighted item. the "b" button will let you go backward through the views. the "+" and "-" buttons will control the volume and "0" will mute/unmute the volume. Primarly i put these key bindings in so that you can use something like the griffin powermate to make it easy to use NAS in the car