Excursion to Ammersee and Walchensee

On August I took a week for holidays after a long time working without pause. Because this holiday period was not planned before, I didn’t book any tour to travel to foreign countries. Therefore I and my wife decided to make a small tour in surrounding countryside of Munich. We would like to visit as many sight seeing as possible which are introduced in these tourist info pages http://www.muenchen.de/sehenswuerdigkeiten.html and http://www.muenchen.de/freizeit.html. We visited a lot of them but I would like to tell about Ammersee and Walchensee with some pictures of them.

Ammersee as the third largest lake in Bavaria attracts not only numerous tourists to the region but also is a local creation area at weekend for the young and the young at heart in Munich. It’s about 40km far from Munich and can be reached with the S-Bahn at Herrsching stop in 50 minutes. With help of Bavaria Seenschifffahrt, passengers can sail on the lake through resorts as Herrsching, Andechs, Inning, Dießen, Utting and Schondorf locating along the shore of Ammersee. In addition to a boat ride watersports enthusiasts are opened to further opportunities such as swimming, sailing, windsurfing, boat hire and fishing. Other highlight is Bavaria’s Holy Mountain, which became the Andechs Monastery, one of the three most famous pilgrimage destinations in Germany, a veritable magnet for tourists and locals.

In the midst of the Bavarian Alps, 75km north of Munich, the Walchensee is one of the largest alpine lakes in Germany.Because of its unique location in the surrounding mountain scenery attracts many surfers and sailors of Walchensee to the steady thermal winds. Even under water the lake has its own charm. The clear visibility of up to 40m is a paradise for divers which represent car, boat and plane wrecks, even a special charm. Walks around the Herzogstand are very often associated with a swim in Walchensee. Of course, the region offers even in winter recreational activities. Besides skiing and snowboarding, you can also explore the mountains with ski touring, winter hiking apart. The Bavarian traditions are celebrated in this region to make up what today’s unique charm and great popularity not only among tourists.

I hope you get some infos about these lakes. I think if you travel to Munich in summer, it’s worth to spend time to visit them. Below are some pictures which I took when I was there. It’s really beautiful.

Entertainment – Larva series – Korean animation/cartoon download

Theme: Last week I read a thread on vozforums about one funny series of Korean animation. This series called Larva happens underneath a gutter across from the crosswalk of 52nd Street. It is where two city loving warms reside; violent and impetuous Red and gluttonous and foolish Yellow. In this small world where people usually careless, unfolds many fun stories beyond anyone’s imagination.

Synopsis: Above the ceiling of steel bars, where people live their everyday lives, something constantly falls into the sewer; chewed up bubble gum, thrown away melted ice cream, coins, rings and whatnot.
Both Red and Yellow will have troubles, be happy and sometimes even get into arguments to take from one another. Also unexpected events arise from mosquitoes and flies which are no less of a fear to humans.

Character:
Red: A small reddish colored warm, he is violent and impetuous. He screams like Bruce Lee and throws flying kicks even though he does not have any limbs. Constantly be hard on Yellow be somehow always ends up suffering.
Yellow: A bigger yellowish warm, he is slow and gluttonous. He likes Red even though Red is always hard on him. Usually listens to Red but he loses his consciousness once he sees any food.
Violet: A mysterious giant worm always hides his huge body underneath the dirt and observers what Red and Yellow are up to with only exposing his small head. When he is threatened, he exposes his huge body as well as his scary teeth. (from http://www.tubaani.com/eng/animation/animation_5.htm#)

If you have episodes which are not here available, please share with me. I would like to make full list of them.
Episode:

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Wallpaper

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Screensaver

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Windows 8 Developer Preview in VM Ware

Yesterday morning Microsoft suddenly releases a Developer Preview version of Windows 8 at http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/home/. I’m hearing a lot about this new Windows version and curios to see how the Metro-style looks like. Is it the same as windows phone or different? So I decide to download the 32 bit version without developer tools to test on my VM Ware workstation and I would like to write some reviews for someone who has no chance to try it now. But at the beginning, may be interesting for you is how I configure VM Ware to install Windows 8 on it. When you create a new virtual machine in VM Ware, choose option “I will install the operating system later” and “Windows 7” as guest operating system as images below.

Windows 8 VMWare

Windows 8 VMWare

After creating VM (Virtual Machine), go to VM properties by right clicking on it and choose “Settings”, move to option “CD/DVD Drive” and browse its path to your .ISO file. Then turn on VMs and start install Windows 8 like usual. The installation takes about 15 minutes on my desktop with Intel Core i3 and 4 GB RAM to finish. And then I restart it to get new “fresh” start up.

Windows 8 Lock Screen

1. The lock screen looks beautiful but it takes me one minute to find out how to bypass it. I thought it was a welcome screen or logon screen. I waited and tried to find where I can enter something to enter. It takes me a while until I accidentally click on the screen and drag it up and the lock screen is away. It is exactly “gesture” behavior of tablet or smartphone and I like really it. Imagine that we sit before a computer and move the mouse as we are on tablet. It’s great isn’t it?
2. After going through the lock screen, logon screen will welcome, enter password (if necessary), then users will land on “Start screen” as below.

Windows 8 Start Screen

Windows 8 Start Screen

3. If you are using Windows Phone before or developing on it, you’ll see that Windows 8 looks exactly like Windows Phone’s Metro style. The Start screen contains a lot of rectangles (or box, or button, or whatever you would like to call) and each one represents for an application. The applications can be RSS feed, shop link, website, shortcut to system (control panel) or normal application like mail, game…etc. Until now only 3 links are working: Windows Explorer, Control Panel and Desktop. When you move your mouse to the left under corner, there will be there a Start menu for Easy Access to some popular functions as Settings, Search, and Share…

Windows 8 Start Menu

Windows 8 Start Menu Settings

Windows 8 Start Menu Search

4. IMHO, this start screen is made for tablet. Although I find it’s really cool with drifting around on start screen but it’s really waste of time to use it on computer. The monitor of desktop or laptop is much larger than tablet and the users can click exactly on small area and I think users would like to have all icons in sight. It’s not likely in tablet where the monitor is much smaller and users cannot click small area with their fingers.
5. Go back to Start Menu and click on Start entry we will land on our familiar desktop with all of our shortcuts. The Windows Explorer is now equipped with a ribbon bar. And I don’t like it, really. Windows takes a step back with this ribbon bar. Microsoft is trying to make a cross platform OS for many devices. This ribbon bar is of course necessary for tablet where users cannot “right click” and therefore they need something to easily access simple actions like: Copy, Paste, Cut… but it’s really useless for computer. Nowadays computer is even as popular as television (in my case, computer is more popular than television. I have 2 laptops and 1 desktop while I have only one television). Computer users are not stupid any more. They all uses keyboard shortcut for simple actions. Then what does ribbon bar stand here for? I hope Microsoft finds another elegant solution instead of using this ribbon bar type.

Windows 8 Desktop

Windows 8 Explorer Ribbon Bar

6. So we have a first look at Windows 8. Now we will go through some highlights of this new Windows OS version. First highlight is new Windows Task Manager with new user interface in combination with Windows Resource Monitor. Each process will be marked with color depending on how much resources they are using.

Windows 8 Task Manager Simple

Windows 8 Task Manager Details

Windows 8 Task Manager Resources

Windows 8 Task Manger App History

7. Second is Picture Passport where users can choose one of their pictures and define their gestures by drawing directly on picture to create a combination of taps, straight, lines….

Windows 8 Picture Password Introduction

Windows 8 Picture Password Sample

8. I heard a rumor that Windows 8 will provide a PDF reader. We don’t need to install a PDF reader anymore but when I try to open a PDF file he asks me which program should be used to open or go to the App Store still not opened.

Windows 8 Look apps in Windows Store

9. Refresh PC should be a great option for who always play around with his computer by installing a lot of software. This highlight will keep files and personalization settings, the apps from Windows Store too but the other apps will be removed. This Refresh PC functionality takes about 15 minutes at my VM to finish but I’m not sure if it lasts longer in real case where users install a lot of software.

Windows 8 Refresh PC Introduction

Windows 8 Refresh PC after restarting

10. Now we reach the end of this blog post. I will test and update this blog if I find something interesting. Windows 8 is pretty good at first sight. Besides new GUI, new functionalities, there is some “step back” as ribbon bar and some important things as users cannot easily access the programs they installed before. Either they have program icons on desktop or they must use Search function to find it out. And the last thing: Where is my shutdown button? Microsoft doesn’t allow us to shutdown computer anymore ^_^. No just joke, after some minutes of searching, I finally found shut down button at “Setting” area.

Windows 8 Shutdown button

UPDATE 17.09.2011: How to return to user interface of Windows 7 from Windows 8
– Press Windows+R to open Run Dialog. Enter “regedit” to open “Registry Editor”.
– Browse to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer, modify RPEnabled from 1 to 0, then restart computer. You’ll be back to the old desktop style

Windows 8 to Windows 7 Registry

RPEnabled

Windows 7 style on Windows 8

C# – AutomationElement left click and send keys

As I discussed in last post about UI Automation of .Net Framework http://hintdesk.com/c-list-all-opened-tabs-of-firefox/ , I am trying to make a shortcut of multimedia keys to any flash player in web browser, for example YouTube. At the end of last blog I mentioned about AutomationElement.Current.NativeWindowHandle but it doesn’t really help. If I try to get the Handle of ControlType.Custom, I always become an IntPtr.Zero as result. Therefore I can’t use SendMessage or something equivalent to send message to flash player.

It turns to be difficult now. When SendMessage doesn’t work, so far as I know, I can’t send keys to it without bringing it to front or rather bringing it to active window. That’s really not what I want. I would like to control the flash player with multimedia keys silently. The Firefox window should be “behind” as it was when I control it. So until now I don’t have a perfect solution for my case. However I will show you how to make the flash player to active and send keys to it. If you find a better solution (which doesn’t have to make YouTube as active windown), then share me. YouTube and Firefox again are our candidates to test.

As Firefox users, we already know that we can open many tabs in browser’s window. Our YouTube Tab can be hidden by other tabs like image below

Firefox Tab

So if we want to make flash player as active control, we must set this Tab as active tab by getting it as AutomationElement and call Invoke() function to simulate left click on control. To find the Tab in UI tree quickly, we can use the Ctrl-Mouse-Click function of UI Spy. Click on the Mouse Icon on menu and then Ctrl-Click on YouTube Tab, we’ll land on the correct node of UI tree.

UI Spy Ctrl-Mouse-Click

I just edit and expand the code of the blog post before to set YouTube as active tab. Please read that post to understand more about the variables and their meanings.

...
AutomationElement firstCustomControl = GetNextCustomControl(rootElement, condCustomControl);

Condition condToolbarControl = new AndCondition(
	new PropertyCondition(AutomationElement.ControlTypeProperty, ControlType.ToolBar),
	new PropertyCondition(AutomationElement.NameProperty, "Browser-Tabs"));

AutomationElement toolbarFF = firstCustomControl.FindFirst(TreeScope.Children, condToolbarControl);

Condition condTabItemControl =new AndCondition(
	new PropertyCondition(AutomationElement.ControlTypeProperty, ControlType.TabItem),
	new PropertyCondition(AutomationElement.NameProperty, "YouTube - Broadcast Yourself"));

AutomationElement youTubeTab = toolbarFF.FindFirst(TreeScope.Descendants, condTabItemControl);
(youTubeTab.GetCurrentPattern(InvokePattern.Pattern) as InvokePattern).Invoke();

UI Spy

As you can see, I use an AndCondition to limit the search result and use two types of wide range searching: one is Children (not recursive) and the other is Descendants (recursive). The tab YouTube can be then set as active by treating it as InvokePattern and calling its Invoke() function. To check if a control supports Invoke() function, on the window of UI Spy, right click on it, choose Control Patterns and see in the new window if there’s a Invoke function

UI Spy Control Patterns

UI Spy Invoke Function

After setting YouTube tab as active one, we move along the UI Tree again, localize the Flash Player control and set it active as following code (which bases on UI tree in UI Spy). Because I use a hardly-attached-way therefore if YouTube changes its structur we must rewrite our code. The loosely-attached-way was discussed in the blog before, you can read it again or invent one way yourself.

AutomationElement flashElement = docElement.FindAll(TreeScope.Children, condCustomControl)[1].
	FindAll(TreeScope.Children, condCustomControl)[2]
	.FindFirst(TreeScope.Children, condCustomControl)
	.FindFirst(TreeScope.Children, condCustomControl)
	.FindAll(TreeScope.Children, condCustomControl)[1]
	.FindFirst(TreeScope.Children, condCustomControl)
	.FindAll(TreeScope.Children, condCustomControl)[0];
(flashElement.GetCurrentPattern(InvokePattern.Pattern) as InvokePattern).Invoke();

UI tree

Thanks to screen reader function of YouTube http://www.google.com/support/youtube/bin/answer.py?answer=189278, we can send key to this flash player to order what he should do. This SendKeys.SendWait() function requires an active window/control. Therefore we must “prepare” a lot of things before just to be sure that this function sends key correctly to desired control. In this example, I send key “0” to rewind the current playing video.

(flashElement.GetCurrentPattern(InvokePattern.Pattern) as InvokePattern).Invoke();
Keys key = Keys.D0;
SendKeys.SendWait(key.ToString());

So I hope that after this blog post, you can automatically animate any control you want with UIAutomation. Remember to share me if you know how to send message to “hidden” tab in Firefox. I think there must be a solution that we can interact with the flash player without popping it up to be active. As usual, the complete source code can be download at the end “List all opened tabs of Firefox

C# – List all opened tabs of Firefox with UIAutomation

I use at home a keyboard with multimedia keys looks like this one of Logitech Media Keyboard K200 With One-touch Media and Internet Keys (920-002719). It’s very comfortable with this type of keyboard because when I am listening with Windows Media Player, I can start/stop/forward/backward without switching to Windows Media Player. Unfortunately these multimedia keys don’t work with Firefox. Let’s consider this case: I have multi tabs opened in Firefox. One of them is YouTube website and is playing a video. I am on chatting with my family on Yahoo Messenger and would like to make a voice chat. So I would like to pause the video of YouTube and resume it after chatting. However the multimedia key don’t work with Firefox (when Firefox is in background and YouTube is not active tab), I must browse to Firefox and then YouTube site to pause the video. It’s really uncomfortable. Therefore I would like make the multimedia keys work with Firefox so that I don’t have to jump between windows to stop the sound.

Continue reading C# – List all opened tabs of Firefox with UIAutomation