Thursday, December 17, 2009

On The Mark 1.1 for the holidays

Knowing good and well that all our holiday video and images will fast out-pace out ability to track them, I've posted a small update to On The Mark. Version 1.1 sports a few new goodies aimed at making score tracking and uploading faster. Video and images can be fast-forwarded/rewound in 10 second or 10 image increments, respectively, for quicker navigation. This is key if you're, say, scoring every 10th image, or have carpel tunnel from mouse clicking. Video viewing performance has also been improved on machines with lower-powered graphics by cutting down on user-interface updates.

For the impatient, I have good news: the new double-headed arrows are for faster-forward/rewind than the single-headed arrows.

If you're wondering where the timer went, fear not. It turns out that timer updates—both the slider and even the number label—were causing playback to stutter on slower machines (e.g. my laptop) playing heavy-duty videos (e.g. the Windows 7 sample nature scene). Now the timer updates are postponed until you hover your mouse over them, at which point they'll magically appear and become mobile.

One interface behavior that's been plaguing me is how the program becomes completely unresponsive during login and data import/export. What's happening is that On The Mark is waiting for web transactions to complete, sometimes taking on the order of minutes while uploading many score marks, and all status updates are deferred until the transaction is done. Fortunately, there's a way around this in the form of asynchronous operations via JavaTaskBase for JavaFX. It involves no fewer than three separate classes for each operation, but at least it gets the job done. Now once you've marked your media, you can upload them through a much more responsive data import/export interface—no more lock-down during long operations over the web.

It took awhile to figure out how to get it to show you that it would take awhile, but now at least we're not left hanging.

So fill your free download stockings and mark your holiday videos with On The Mark. Merry Christmas!
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