Thursday, December 04, 2008

new Stellarium version

A couple of weeks ago I stumbled across the new Stellarium version, 0.10.1 (beta). At the time I didn't give it a really good look. I tried installing it on a Celeron-based computer and it was painfully slow so I yanked it pretty quickly. But I did notice the cleaner interface.

Over the last 2 days I've started looking more closely at it. And, overall, I like it. I like the new features.

The "title bar" has been relocated to the bottom edge of the screen. This is a better spot for it. It seems less cluttered. By default it does not show buttons. When you hover the mouse pointer near it, it reveals buttons. The buttons do not have borders around them. Perhaps this bar will need to be renamed the "status bar" or "menu bar?"

There's an additional bar now, popping up, when needed, on the left edge of the screen. It contains borderless iconic buttons for some of the configuration and setting panels in the program. I believe this is officially the "button bar."

Both the title and button bars can be "locked" on the screen such that they do not auto-hide or minimise.

As I installed and ran the program on a Pentium M-based laptop, I noted it launched much faster than 0.9.x version! That was pleasing. And if I understand correctly, this is despite loading more stars. Impressive.

While in the program, things seem to work well, quick response, with the new graphical interface elements, the additional stars, etc. But, when you unfocus the application, to say, check your email, visit a web site, read the Stellarium forums or FAQ, your computer will c-r-a-w-l! It's like Stellarium is sucking all the cycles. Nasty. Almost unusable. I need to look into this issue. Perhaps there's a property setting that I can adjust. I'll check the forums for complaints. Or perhaps this is just the territory with a beta version...

The other notable change in the program is keyboard shortcuts. Yep. Some of the keyboard shortcuts changed. Like the 1 (one) key. Pretty important, frequently-used, key in the old interface. Or h, for the help. Hello! All that said, it sounds like the development team won't be making more interface changes, any time soon.

So, stay tuned, I'm working a revised list of keyboard shortcuts...

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