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App Launcher for access with remote control

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Wolfson
Posts: 16
Joined: April 18th, 2020, 2:00 pm

App Launcher for access with remote control

Post by Wolfson »

Hi guys,

I'm right now setting up a small computer for an old man living in an elderly home and now being isolated due to Corona. He should be able to easily start Skype as well as some other applications. I have a remote control that can be used to move around with arrow keys within an application that has focus. My target would be that right after booting the PC, the old man should see nothing but a plane with huge icons for the few applications he should be able to access. This "plane" should have focus right after startup so that the remote control can be used to choose an application.

No my question to you guys:
Is this possible with Rainmeter?
If so, do you have some hints for how to achieve this in the most convenient way?
If not, do you know an alternative?

Thanks a lot in advance!
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CyberTheWorm
Posts: 688
Joined: August 22nd, 2016, 11:32 pm
Location: Surrey, B.C., Canada

Re: App Launcher for access with remote control

Post by CyberTheWorm »

Wolfson wrote:
April 18th, 2020, 2:14 pm

Is this possible with Rainmeter?
Yes
Wolfson wrote:
April 18th, 2020, 2:14 pm
If so, do you have some hints for how to achieve this in the most convenient way?
You could start with this skin and change it to suit your needs, as a starting point.

http://rainmeterhub.com/skins/honeycomb/
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Wolfson
Posts: 16
Joined: April 18th, 2020, 2:00 pm

Re: App Launcher for access with remote control

Post by Wolfson »

CyberTheWorm wrote:
April 18th, 2020, 2:42 pm
Yes

You could start with this skin and change it to suit your needs, as a starting point.

http://rainmeterhub.com/skins/honeycomb/
Cool, great that it should be possible!

Thanks for the hint with the honeycomb skins. I've already did a short try with the circle-launcher theme, but did struggle with
  • resizing the images/buttons
  • get them to be on focus after booting the PC
Any hint on how to get this?
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balala
Rainmeter Sage
Posts: 10605
Joined: October 11th, 2010, 6:27 pm
Location: Gheorgheni, Romania

Re: App Launcher for access with remote control

Post by balala »

Wolfson wrote:
April 18th, 2020, 5:27 pm
I've already did a short try with the circle-launcher theme, but did struggle with
  • resizing the images/buttons
  • get them to be on focus after booting the PC
Any hint on how to get this?
Yes, a hint to resize the icons, but there unfortunately is a problem, namely that the skins of that suite use Button meters, which can't be easily resized, like the Image meters. In order to resize such a Button meter, probably the best (only?) way is to use TransformationMatrix, but this also has a disadvantage: when using it to resize the Button meter, the resized Button meter will be clickable ONLY if you're hovering (and clicking) the mouse over the surface of the not-resized button. For instance if you're doubling the size of the meter, you'll have to click over its left upper half (quarter), where the not-resized button were placed.
If you anyway wanna give it a try, here is what I recommend: add the following section to the Circle Launcher\@Resources\Variables.inc file:

Code: Select all

[ButtonStyle]
TransformationMatrix=#Increase#;0;0;#Increase#;0;0
Also add the Increase variable to the [Variables] section of the same file:

Code: Select all

[Variables]
Increase=3
(leave untouched the existing variables).
As I suppose you've figured it out, Increase is represents the amount of the increase. So for instance the Increase=2 variable doubles the size of the icon, Increase=3 triples it and so on.
Finally there is one more thing you have to do: add the following two options to the [Rainmeter] section of all skins you want to increase (yep, unfortunately this has to be done in each of those skins, one by one):

Code: Select all

[Rainmeter]
...
SkinWidth=(70*#Increase#)
SkinHeight=(70*#Increase#)
Here 70 is the size (both width and height) of the not-resized icons. Checked for more icons (buttons) and it seems true, but might be there some icons with other sizes. Hope there is not, but I'm not entirely sure I am right.
If you did all this you can easily resize the icons: just have to replace the Increase variable. But anyway keep in mind that you have to click to the upper left corner of the buttons. Unfortunately this is a great disadvantage, but has no solution. Sorry...
element
Posts: 25
Joined: April 24th, 2019, 1:29 am

Re: App Launcher for access with remote control

Post by element »

Wolfson wrote:
April 18th, 2020, 2:14 pm
for an old man living in an elderly home
Have you looked at the "Accessibility" options in Win 10 (Winkey+U)? There's a magnifier, bigger fonts, a narrator, big cursors, high contrast color scheme, even eye/head control of the cursor with a special device.

There are 3rd party utilities that do similar adjustments:
https://winaero.com/download.php?view.1796

The small nircmd utility can set focus on a window:
https://nircmd.nirsoft.net/win.html

For more detailed, controlled automation, there's AutoHotKey:
https://www.autohotkey.com/
Wolfson
Posts: 16
Joined: April 18th, 2020, 2:00 pm

Re: App Launcher for access with remote control

Post by Wolfson »

balala wrote:
April 18th, 2020, 6:13 pm
Yes, a hint to resize the icons, but there unfortunately is a problem, namely that the skins of that suite use Button meters, which can't be easily resized, like the Image meters. In order to resize such a Button meter, probably the best (only?) way is to use TransformationMatrix, but this also has a
...
If you did all this you can easily resize the icons: just have to replace the Increase variable. But anyway keep in mind that you have to click to the upper left corner of the buttons. Unfortunately this is a great disadvantage, but has no solution. Sorry...
Hey thanks a lot! In fact, I do not really care about not being able to click at the complete part of the resized icon since my goal is to navigate the icons with a remote control. So the resizing issue is solved. How could I get now focus after booting the PC so that I could navigate the icons e.g. also with the arrow keys on the keyboard (if this works, I can also use the remote control instead)?

@element: does this work with the nircmd tool you mentioned. From what I read on the website, it requires a window that it can focus on. Not sure however if the Rainmeter skins are considered to be windows...
Wolfson
Posts: 16
Joined: April 18th, 2020, 2:00 pm

Re: App Launcher for access with remote control

Post by Wolfson »

element wrote:
April 18th, 2020, 8:49 pm
Have you looked at the "Accessibility" options in Win 10 (Winkey+U)? There's a magnifier, bigger fonts, a narrator, big cursors, high contrast color scheme, even eye/head control of the cursor with a special device.

There are 3rd party utilities that do similar adjustments:
https://winaero.com/download.php?view.1796

The small nircmd utility can set focus on a window:
https://nircmd.nirsoft.net/win.html

For more detailed, controlled automation, there's AutoHotKey:
https://www.autohotkey.com/
Thanks a lot for these tipps! I will certainly have a look at them. Wasn't aware of all the features since I'm usually only using Linux. Maybe I can get what I want with the Windows tiles and AutoHotkey..., have to check...
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balala
Rainmeter Sage
Posts: 10605
Joined: October 11th, 2010, 6:27 pm
Location: Gheorgheni, Romania

Re: App Launcher for access with remote control

Post by balala »

Wolfson wrote:
April 19th, 2020, 10:44 am
In fact, I do not really care about not being able to click at the complete part of the resized icon since my goal is to navigate the icons with a remote control. So the resizing issue is solved.
Ok, I'm glad in this case. :thumbup:
Wolfson wrote:
April 19th, 2020, 10:44 am
How could I get now focus after booting the PC so that I could navigate the icons e.g. also with the arrow keys on the keyboard (if this works, I can also use the remote control instead)?
I'd use the HotKey plugin, with the LEFT, UP, RIGHT, DOWN keywords. Do you know this plugin? Please let me know if you don't.
Wolfson
Posts: 16
Joined: April 18th, 2020, 2:00 pm

Re: App Launcher for access with remote control

Post by Wolfson »

balala wrote:
April 19th, 2020, 7:19 pm
Ok, I'm glad in this case. :thumbup:

I'd use the HotKey plugin, with the LEFT, UP, RIGHT, DOWN keywords. Do you know this plugin? Please let me know if you don't.
Wow, that looks promising, thanks a lot! I could get a short example to work to start an application with a keyboard press. Now I'm wondering how I could get a navigation between a number of shown skins, e.g. 4 skins showing icons that represent an application respectively. Then when the desired skin is highlighted (after navigating to it with the arrow keys), the Enter key press should open it.

Here is what I guess (which possibly is not correct):
  • I need 2 pictures for each skin, one to represent a non-highlighted application and on for a hightlighted one
  • I probably have to store the status of all skins somewhere to know where my current focus is
  • Dependent on the current focus, I would then based on the pressed arrow key know which one to highlight next
  • If Enter is pressed, the application represented by the currently highlighted skin is started
Is this correct? Or is there a better way? And how could that look like in code?

Thanks in advance!
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Yincognito
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Joined: February 27th, 2015, 2:38 pm
Location: Terra Yincognita

Re: App Launcher for access with remote control

Post by Yincognito »

Wolfson wrote:
April 19th, 2020, 8:56 pm
Wow, that looks promising, thanks a lot! I could get a short example to work to start an application with a keyboard press.
Quick question: are you sure you aren't able to use your remote to move the mouse, instead of simulating key press? Of course, I'm not aware of your setup, but for me, my Avermedia TV Tuner remote is able to move the mouse and simulate the ENTER key, when the TV Tuner application is not started. As you could see, there are plenty of ways to zoom in or enlarge parts of your desktop, or even make your mouse cursor bigger so that you can see it from distance, so if you can simulate mouse movement and click / ENTER using your remote, everything would be much easier, and no additional work to modify the skin would be required...