My solution/workaround to the lack of GPS in OS X
this isn't a new, mind blowing idea but i have never seen it done before so i thought i would add it to NAS. the idea is that first off there is no good native GPS solution available for mac. so for most of us we have to turn to a vm running windows which then runs the gps software of choice. from here you can use spaces to switch back and forth between your music and your gps. this is nothing new. this does pose a few problems though. first off is what if you aren't running leopard and therefore do not have spaces? also what if you do not have some sort of rotary device to which you can map key commands to switch between spaces? what if you are trying to run your vm in fullscreen with the gps in fullscreen and for whatever reason, you cannot get your rotary device to send the correct key command to switch between spaces? Also what if you are running vm/gps in full screen and you get a phone call or for whatever reason need to quickly silence your music? if you cannot tell i have run into each one of these scenarios at one point in time or another, and they all left me wanting a better solution.
all that being said, i think i have come up with one that solves most (but prob not all) of the problems associated with the scenario's mentioned above.
at the bottom of the post is an image of what i have come up with.
what i came up with was the ability for NAS to go into a transparent mode. in this mode all of the system chrome (the window around an app the OS adds, to let you do things like close,minimize,maximize the app) has been removed and the entire app has been shrunk to just the most needed buttons. so essentially the app goes from full screen to less than 1/4 of the screen and becomes transparent. this way you can leave both NAS and your vm/gps setup in the same space ( or just open at the same time if you are using tiger) you can then launch NAS and then launch your vm/gps both into fullscreen mode. while NAS is in full screen mode it would (obviously) cover your vm/gps, but would allow you to select your music and do everything you normally be able to do. from here you can click the "transparent" button and the app will shrink and become, well, transparent. of course NAS doesn't become 100% transparent, but more to about 40%. This is so you can still see the buttons, but you can also see the portion of the map behind the buttons. While in transparent mode, NAS will remain on top of all other windows. NAS is able to be moved by clicking anywhere on the app and dragging it to its new position.
in the transparent mode you have the prev/next buttons, pause/play button, volume up/down buttons, and a "return" button to return you back to full screen mode. when returning to the full screen mode and then back to the transparent mode, NAS will remember where it was placed while in transparent mode and then return to that position.
i have been using this in my car for the last week, and i must say it works very well (at least to my standards). it makes it nice for when you don't need gps such as driving to and from work (hopefully you don't need gps to drive to work every day :) ) and can therefore have the music visualizations running and what not. but then of course when you do need gps to find your way, you can switch to transparent mode, be able to see where you are going, while remaining in control of your music. As i said before it works well for me but is not a perfect solution. the perfect solution would be iguidance being ported to mac and then being released as open source so that i could fully integrate it into NAS (one can only hope and dream :pray: ).
anyway here is how i have my setup configured:
os: OS X 10.5.6
front end: NASair
vm: Virtual Box (its free!)
gps: iguidance ( not so free :( )
rotary: griffin powermate
i use the powermate to control the selection of music and volume while NAS is in full screen, and then control the volume while in gps. i am also using a script that i wrote in apple script to launch both NAS and virtual box and then make sure that they re-open if they were to somehow crash. i then put virtual box in fullscreen along with iguidance. i can then switch back and forth from gps to NAS seamlessly. also, when in transparent mode, when you click on NAS the dock will appear, which lets you launch/quit any app you want. I like this since when virtual box is in full screen, it is very difficult to get out of that with only a touch screen.
here is the image. keep in mind this is a very early release and i have made some changes (mostly made the buttons easier to distinguish and click). also this image was taken with my iphone in my car so the quality may not be that great. ok for real this time, here is the image: