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Interactive Wallpaper: at32 FirePaper

at32 FirePaper

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at32 FirePaper Help

> Installation and Setup
> Getting Started
  > Right Click to stuff!
  > View the Example Scheme
> Entities
  > General Settings
      > Entity Type
      > Width and Height
      > Rotation
      > Alpha Blend Sliders
      > Reload Frequency
      > to Front / Back
      > Crop
  > Webpages Tab
      > Url
      > Page Height and Width
      > Block Scripts, Java and Popups
      > Status Pane
  > Remote Images Tab
      > Url
      > Try to avoid cached resources
  > Local Images Tab
      > Path
      > Randomly Choose Other Files
      > Include Sub Folders
  > Notes Tab
> Background
  > Simple Background
      > Randomly Choose Other Files
      > Include Sub Folders
  > Composite Background
      > Maximum Rotation Angle
      > Max Size
      > Add "Photo" Borders
      > Max/Min Transparency
      > Add New Image Every X Minutes
      > "Remove All" Every X Images
      > Remove All
      > Add Now
> Processing
> Other Stuff
  > Loading and Saving Schemes
  > Disabling at32 FirePaper via the Tray
  > Reset Timers
  > Getting to a Website on Your Wallpaper
Installation and Setup (Contents)

Installation is automatic, and will install shortcut links into your Windows Startup folder. at32 FirePaper is a background application, and sits quite happily in your tray until you are ready to use it. Once you have it configured, many users will find they can simply leave it there to get on with it's jobs without user intervention.

Getting Started (Contents)

When you first run at32 FIrePaper it will place itself in your system's tray. Right click on it and select EDIT to begin setup. Note that your previous wallpaper will have disappeared when you first start the program, but this can quickly be reinstated via the BACKGROUND menu.

Right-Click to do stuff! (Contents)

at32 FirePaper's editing area is controlled almost exclusivly by right clicking within it to select options. There are a few exceptions when you can move, rotate and resize entities without having to use a menu thus saving time.

View the example scheme... (Contents)

Select CONFIG and LOAD SCHEME, then choose the Example scheme. This is a quick way to see how the program works and how you can setup schemes of your own. Double click entities to see options, and try adjusting things.

Entities (Contents)

An entity is any object you add to your wallpaper, and can be made to be "live" and update your wallpaper on the fly. Example content includes webpages, new stories, webcams, weather maps, etc.

To access entity setup, you either double click an existing entity with your left mouse button or right click and select NEW ENTITY.

General Settings (Contents)

The main entity tab contains settings that apply to all entities (with a few exceptions). The options are as follows:
  • Entity Type. Select from None, Webpage, Remote JPEG, Local JPEG or Note. The entity "None" actually has no function.
  • Width and Height. These sliders control the size of the entity. For Webpage, Remote JPEG and Local Image entities, width automatically controls the height because the aspect ratio is fixed so that the entity is not distorted. For the Note entity, the width setting automatically adjusts the height so that the note text can fit.
  • Rotation. Simply allows the entity to be rotated. Dragging it to full left is 0 degrees rotation, but the rotation code is not executed - as a result the image does not suffer from a slight blur which is a result of the "smooth rotate" algorithm, and should be used when absolute definition for this entity is paramount.
  • Alpha Blend Sliders. Two sliders control alpha blend, one for the bottom of the entity and one for the top (this is after rotation has been taken into account, so "bottom" is still towards the bottom of the screen even if you have rotated the entity 180 degrees). Use Alpha blend so you can move entities closer together, see other entities partially behind or simply for aesthetic reasons. Because there are separate sliders for top/bottom you can blend out less important areas of an entity this way. Alpha blend is a computationally expensive routine so beware of using it with large or too many entities. With both sliders positioned full to the right there is no CPU penalty.
  • Reload Frequency. A reload is when a webcam or webpage entity is refreshed/updated. Choose from a drop down seconds/minutes/hours/days, and enter the frequency. You can also disable updating/reloading by selecting "never". If you are wondering why an entity has not updated check this setting, it may be that you have simply forgotten to enable it!
  • to Front / Back. Simply moves an entity to the rear most or fore most relative to other entities when they are placed on top of or near each other.
  • Crop. Click this and you can select an area of a webpage or image which you want to specifically see, thus say, cutting out navigation menus of a webpage when you just want to see the headlines.
  • Webpages Tab (Contents)

  • URL. Enter the URL of the webpage you want to appear in the entity. You will have to click "Load Now" if it's a new entity. You can also use this button to force a fresh of this entity.
  • Page Width and Height. This is the page width and height of the virtual web browser which you are using to download the page. It has no relevance to your screen resolution! Make the page wider if it does not fit within the standard 800 pixels wide (e.g. when undesirable horizontal scrollbars start to appear). Make a page taller if you want to show content which you would normally have to scroll down to get to. You can usually make quite tall pages this way, and you can also combine this with crop to show only information from further down the page.
  • Block Scripts, Java and Popups. This blocks script languages such as Javascript, JAVA applets, and as a consequence of blocking scripts, it should also stop pop-ups. Because at32 FirePaper uses a virtual browser to download it's pages, any pop-ups which would normally appear with the page spawn new windows - which can be quite disconcerting if this happens when the program is running in the background! Enabling this option should stop pop-ups, and is the default setting. You may wish to disable it if a page does not display correctly (some webpages require scripts to work).
  • Status Pane. This shows the download status from the virtual web browser. It is for all the entities, not just the one selected, and is useful for finding out why a webpage has not updated (e.g. the site may be down, in which case you should see an appropriate error message in the log).
  • Remote Images Tab (Contents)

  • URL. The URL of the remote image.
  • Try to Avoid Cached Resources. This will attempt to bypass caching issues of web servers and proxies by appending a random HTTP query string to the URL for each request. Some servers reject this however, in which case you should try disabling the option if for some reason an image is not downloading.
  • Local Images Tab (Contents)

  • Path. The path to the image. JPEG's and BMP's are supported.
  • Randomly Choose Other Files From This Folder. This is similar to the option in the Background settings and will change the local image according to the refresh frequency. You must enable the refresh frequency option in the main Entity tab.
  • Include Sub Folders. With this option enabled, the software will also search sub folders when looking for a new image. Note that if there are a large number of sub folders or files to search through, computer performance may be impaired.
  • Notes Tab (Contents)

    Simply choose font and size and enter your note. As you type, the wallpaper will be updated and the entity will automatically resize according to the volume of text. Adjust the width according to preference and the height of the entity will expand or contract accordingly.

    Background (Contents)

    The background dialog is accessed by right clicking on the main at32 FirePaper editing space and selecting "Background...". You have a choice of a regular Simple background (essentially like conventional Wallpaper) or a more advanced composite background which is in addition to the simple background.

    Simple Background (Contents)

    This works like normally selecting wallpaper - choose a file and how it should be sized. In addition, there are additional options:
  • Randomly Choose Other Files From This Folder Every X Minutes. This will change your wallpaper randomly to any other files in the same folder. Note that this will also clear the composite background, so don't make this too frequent (if enabled at all) if you are also using a composite background.
  • Include Sub Folders. With this option enabled, the software will also search sub folders when looking for a new image. Note that if there are a large number of sub folders or files to search through, computer performance may be impaired.
  • Composite Background (Contents)

    Composite Background essentiallys adds extra images to your wallpaper, as if photos were scattered on your desktop.

    There are a number of options to this, but to get the show on the road you simply need to enable "Add to Background at Random" then choose the folder of the source files. The other options are:
  • Maximum Rotation Angle. This is the maximum angle (either clockwise or anti-clockwise) the wallpaper addition will be rotated.
  • Max Size. This is the maximum size of the wallpaper addition. This is necessary if your source images are say, taken from a digital camera, because the resolution is often many times larger than your screen resolution.
  • Add "Photo" Borders. Simple adds photo-style borders around the wallpaper addition, creating an effective simulation of scattered photos on a desktop. This may be to intensive on the eye, so you could try disabling this and adjusting some of the Transparency options (or try selecting Processing from at32 FirePaper's main menu for options which help with this issue).
  • Max/Min Transparency. Allow you to control transparency of the wallpaper addition as it is pasted into the main wallpaper. Useful for creating a softer scene.
  • Add New Image Every X Minutes. Controls frequency of how often a wallpaper addition is added.
  • "Remove All" Every X Images. After X images have been added to the wallpaper, you can have them cleared and the wallpaper building starts again.
  • Remove All. Clears all the wallpaper additions of the composite background, leaving behind the simple background if there was one.
  • Add Now. Adds a wallpaper addition immediatly, without having to wait for it to build up on it's own.
  • Processing (Contents)

    The processing dialog allows you to achieve two things:
    i) Dull (or make stand out) the background
    ii) Dull (or make stand out) the entities
    This is achieved with sliders. Experiement to see what effect they have - make sure you have a background and some entities in your scheme though otherwise you won't see much difference.

    The sliders actually adjust the contrast of the various parts of the wallpaper, but you can also adjust sliders for individual RGB channels. This relates to the Red Green and Blue parts of the image. Adjusted independantly by turning off the "lock" option, you can introduce a colour tint to the scene.

    The original purpose of the processing dialog was to give you the option to dull the background relative to the entities.

    Other Stuff (Contents)

    Loading and Saving Schemes (Contents)

    If you have loaded the "example" scheme, you should already have experience of this. at32 FirePaper allows you to setup several schemes, so you may have different themes according to your work or mood. You may even wish to setup a special scheme for watching a dozen or more webpages, which you would load and refresh to get an overall picture of these sites. When you are done, you would then switch back to your regular scheme.

    Disabling at32 FirePaper Via The Tray (Contents)

    With at32 FirePaper minimized in the tray, you can enable or disable the updating of entities by right clicking on the FirePaper icon and selecting either Enable or Disable. This maybe of use if you are on a low bandwidth connection (e.g. dialup) and want maximum bandwidth for another task such as downloading a file (if your entities only update every few days however this may not be a problem).

    Reset Timers (Contents)

    This will reset all the refresh timers for all your entities, thus ensuring that all your entities become up to date. It may take several minutes for this process to complete if you have a lot of Webpage Entities because they operate in a queue and require time to finalize.

    Getting to a Website on your Wallpaper Quickly (Contents)

    With webpages on your desktop, it's sometimes frustrating that you cannot simply click on them. As they are simply static images integrated into your wallpaper however, this is not directly possible. The quickest way to get to the webpage you are interested in however is simply to double click the at32 FirePaper tray icon and then click on the webpage with your middle mouse button. This will open up the relevant webpage in your browser with no further action required, and automatically minimize FirePaper again.