Star Trek: LCARS Interface app

Discussion in 'Microsoft Surface Apps' started by oion, Sep 13, 2013.

  1. oion

    oion Well-Known Member

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    This is unofficial (not endorsed by CBS/Paramount), but it's been around since January 2013 and hasn't been pulled, which is a good sign... though maybe it'd be best to get it ASAP just in case it does get more interest from CBS/Paramount, who have been pulling LCARS apps from the Apple store regularly, apparently. Maybe the WinRT/8 ecosystem is small enough right now to escape their notice. :p The dev has several other LCARS-type apps for Windows phone and such: Davstar Apps - News and Support Blog

    LCARS Interface app for Windows in the Windows Store

    Surprise! LCARS Interface is currently the top paid Windows 8 app - Neowin

    I just discovered this tonight and have been feverishly poking around in it to see what I can do. I'm uploading a video to my Skydrive right now just to see how the media player works with it. The best part--I'm not even a hardcore Star Trek fan, but this was just too cool to pass up, even though I don't understand any of the "aesthetic technobabble" screens. It even makes little beeps when you interact. The app will reflow when you snap to the 3/4 width (I'm not sure how it'll work with 8.1's fluid width snapping). There is a built-in Star Trek game of some kind that I can't figure out and probably never will, judging by the instructions on the guy's website.

    I do experience lag when typing in the text log on my 1st gen Surface RT, unfortunately, but perhaps Pro users and the 2nd gen devices won't see this problem. (Edit: clarification later. Lag is avoidable on the Surface RT)

    110iwk7.png

    Edit: Huh, I don't know what happened. But now when I'm typing in the text log (and tried with background audio recording again), there's no more lag. No idea.
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2013
  2. oion

    oion Well-Known Member

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    Clarification:

    I've been in contact with the author of this app, and we narrowed down the lag issue when I reported an app restart fixed it. This is a complex app with lots of "modules"--Windows RT devices like the Surface RT (especially first gen) have limited memory resources, and each module that is opened in the app continues to take up memory even if you switch to a different function, like going between the file manager and media player. The reason for this behavior is so that anything you were doing on one screen stays there if you switch to something else and switch back. He'll be looking into further optimizations.

    So to avoid lag in WinRT systems with low resources, don't open too many of the modules; if it does start to lag (the way it did for me--I literally opened every single module to see what it did), just restart the app. Easy.

    Other systems with more resources aren't likely to see this issue.
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2013
  3. machistmo

    machistmo Active Member

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    Is he saying the APP is a resource hog or that the design of WOA or the RT device itself is to blame? I am not sure I follow here...
     
  4. oion

    oion Well-Known Member

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    Windows RT devices categorically have lower specs than full OS machines, thus they have less memory and CPU power to share. That's just the way it is, like subcompacts having less horsepower than SUVs. I can't assess if the app is a resource hog or not--it could be a programming limitation or design choices, but I'm not a programmer (that has a negative connotation, I'm just saying apps like this could be more along the lines of Photoshop being a resource hog rather than implied bad programming, who knows).
     
  5. machistmo

    machistmo Active Member

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    I was honestly curious as to what you meant, not RT bashing. I like Star Trek and like to support developers that make cool stuff.
     
  6. oion

    oion Well-Known Member

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    Given how he described it, I'm visualizing it like this:

    Imagine a web browser with 12 bookmarks (that's about how many "modules" this thing has). The browser lets you open the bookmarked pages into tabs, but you can't close them--when you open other bookmarks into tabs, you can switch back freely between the tabs to where you left off. But as you open more bookmarked pages (that can't be closed), it takes up more resources. If your device can't handle all 12 websites open at the same time, it will get bogged down (this is why my copy of the app started to lag in RT, since I actually opened every single module). The only fix is to close the web browser and start over.

    Design limitation, programming limitations? No idea. But it's cool enough that I'll just remember not to open every dang thing. ;)

    Edit to add: When I was playing around with this app, I already had Word and three IE tabs open, possibly something else in the background.
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2013
  7. machistmo

    machistmo Active Member

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    on the RT right? I wonder if this is even a problem with other stuff like the Pro or my almost identical Asus ZenBook Prime. I will make a note and grab it later today.. I want to build a desktop but I keep asking myself why.. I think its habit. I have been building a new PC every 3 or 4 years since I was 20. Even before that I was building AT machines for law offices and dentists and stuff back in the good ole Days of the DOS boot disks. Still, I have the itch to build.

    This makes me want to build one more than ever and stick that on the Dell S2340T as a touch desktop.... It appeals to the true geek in me... But Bitfenix ProdigyM is not available until the middle of OCT. Meh, want to build....
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2013
  8. oion

    oion Well-Known Member

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    Since the app is designed for WinRT/8, it stands to reason that any device with higher specs than the baseline first gen Windows RT devices won't see this problem (all first gen WinRT have no more than 2GB RAM, IIRC). But the dev was very cool and said he'd look into optimizations for the threshold devices in an update.

    Everyone I know still requires a desktop, mainly because they're more ergonomic for long periods of usage and desktops will always blow away laptops for proper gaming. Easier and cheaper to fix and maintain, to boot; not sure that's going to change anytime soon. I can't imagine a touchscreen desktop, though. My monitor is placed farther than arm's length.
     
  9. oion

    oion Well-Known Member

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    Revisiting. The LCARS app has gone through quite a lot of improvements since I last posted and is still being developed, which is great. For example--font style was changed to something more legible in large doses. The weather icons were changed to something that matches the themes better. Clock settings (12H/24H) are remembered across the module screens. And so on. This is still my favorite app in the store, multifunctional and a bit geeky. It seems too cheap...

    lcars-newfont.jpg

    I'm still conversing with the app author about bugs and suggestions as well. Love that.
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2013
  10. WillysJeepMan

    WillysJeepMan Member

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    How does the Windows App Store work in regard to apps that have been pulled?

    With Apple's app store, if I pay for and download an app to my computer (and then sync it to my iOS device via iTunes) and Apple subsequently pulls it from the app store, I still have the local copy on my computer and can continue to sync it to my devices (if I delete from the device and choose to reinstall it later).
     
  11. oion

    oion Well-Known Member

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    From what I understand, anyone who downloaded a previously pulled LCARS app from other ecosystems could keep their local copy. For Win8/RT, I see people still using that Surface Forums app to post even though it was pulled a while back, but maybe it can't be synced (no idea?). I wonder if it's possible to backup the installation files somehow. But when I posed the IP question to the dev for this app, this is what he said back in September (snipped):

     

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