Tactile 3D Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


QUESTIONS

1. What is Tactile 3D?
2. Who should use Tactile 3D?
3. What are Tactile 3D's system requirements?
4. Are other platforms planned for the future?
5. Is Tactile 3D practical in terms of CPU usage?
6. Is this just a gimmick?
7. Is Tactile 3D free?
8. What are those semitransparent spheres with object inside?
9. Will Tactile 3D remember where I position files for my CDs?
10. Do my files have to be registered with Tactile 3D for them to be visible?
11. What other features are planned for the future?
12. Will future releases reset the position of all my objects?
13. Can I make my own themes for Tactile 3D?
14. Tactile 3D is running really slowly. How do I fix this?
15. Can I browse the web with Tactile 3D?
16. Can I have multiple Tactile 3Ds running simultaneously?
17. Can I drag and drop files between Windows explorer and the Tactile 3D window?
18. What happens if the filesystem changes underneath Tactile 3D?
19. Does Tactile 3D give me all the functionality of my current file browser?
20. Where's the "tactile" in Tactile 3D?
21. Why doesn't Winamp remain on-top when Tactile 3D is in full-screen mode?


ANSWERS

1. What is Tactile 3D?
Tactile 3D is an application that, in its very simplest form, takes over the functionality of a file browser. It gives you access to your files, folders, and drives in a 3D environment where you see them as various models. The space you end up working in is much more visually stimulating as well as more natural for organization.


2. Who should use Tactile 3D?
Well, everyone. Tactile 3D can be used to organize your photos, music collection, documents. Whatever you want. It will even remember the positions and sorting arrangement of files you have on DVD ROMs and other read-only media.


3. What are Tactile 3D's system requirements?
Here are the System Requirements.


4. Are other platforms planned for the future?
Yes, Tactile 3D is being designed to accomodate other platforms. Cross platform APIs are being used where possible and most of the OS specific code is reasonably isolated. If all goes well only these will need to be ported to make everything work. However, due to the differences in how filesystems and shell integration work on different platforms, it is still a significant amount of work. Both MAC OSX and Linux are contenders but there are no solid plans yet.


5. Is Tactile 3D practical in terms of CPU usage?
Absolutely. When Tactile 3D doesn't have focus it goes to sleep. It basically uses 0% in this state; or you can set it to update at a slower fps. The neat thing is, it's still very responsive. It's a very light sleep. If, for example, a window is dragged over-top of Tactile 3D, it responds immediately by redrawing.


6. Is this just a gimmick?
No, this is the future. At the very least it puts a new spin on how information is, or could be, organized on todays computers. Although the novelty factor is high, we hope that it will end up being a more efficient way to organize information. Ideally we would like to see people use the spacial positioning, shape, colour, and sound of the information to identify it; as opposed to simple filenames.


7. Is Tactile 3D free?
The software may be evaluated without payment or commitment for 30 days without authorization. After that time it must be authorized (paid for) for continued use.


8. What are those semitransparent spheres with object inside?
Those are containers. A container is just the generic name for a disk drive or directory. In Tactile 3D you can get an idea of what's inside a directory without actually entering it!


9. Will Tactile 3D remember where I position files for my CDs?
Yes, it will even remember different audio CDs for you, so you can arrange your songs differently for each disc. For example, you could sort different styles of music in different sorting arrangements. Tactile 3D also implements the CDDB protocol and can retrieve album and song information over the internet.


10. Do my files have to be registered with Tactile 3D for them to be visible?
No. Nothing special need be done. Tactile 3D integrates with the shell in a natural way, and you'll be able to see all the files on your hard-drive right away. In fact, if you manipulate other files, folders, or drives while Tactile 3D is open, the changes will be noticed by Tactile 3D as they ocurr.


11. What other features are planned for the future?
Quite a few, but the list is currently not published. The forums are the best place to see what's currently going on.


12. Will future releases reset the position of all my objects?
Upgrades normally should not reset any custom positioning of any objects. However, we cannot guarantee this. In general as much information as can be kept will be kept. Newer versions will be able to read the older versions database files. The database files will always be saved in the format of the most recent version. This will happen transparently and needn't be worried about.


13. Can I make my own themes for Tactile 3D?
Not yet. But soon! Currently a theme building kit is being developed (it's September 2006 right now). The kit will include an exporter for the Blender modeller as well as the tools and scripts necessary to build a custom theme for Tactile 3D. A scripting API may also be exposed at a later date.


14. Tactile 3D is running really slowly. How do I fix this?
Do you have an AGP on your motherboard? If so get the latest drivers for it. It could make a huge difference. Additionally make sure you have recent drivers for your graphics card. You may also derive some benefit by reducing your desktop colour bitdepth from 32 (true colour) to 16 (high colour) or reducing the resolution. If none of this gives you a reasonable framerate maybe you probably need a faster graphics card.


15. Can I browse the web with Tactile 3D?
No. Maybe the next product. However, if you have any URL files that point to websites, they will display a thumbnail of the site on the model.


16. Can I have multiple Tactile 3Ds running simultaneously?
Not right now due to issues involved in concurrent database access. Perhaps in a later version. This issue has not been fully explored yet.


17. Can I drag and drop files between Windows explorer and the Tactile 3D window?
This is a feature that is not yet implemented, but is planned for.


18. What happens if the filesystem changes underneath Tactile 3D?
If windows is able to notice the change then Tactile 3D will too. Unfortunately some changes are undetectable. Changes to files on floppy drives, for example, don't trigger Windows change notification objects. Short of polling nothing can be done about this. The next time the user enters a group on one of these devices the changes are registerd.


19. Does Tactile 3D give me all the functionality of my current file browser?
Well, in some ways Tactile 3D improves upon simple file operations. For example, in Tactile 3D you can grab and copy multiple layers (a stack) of files and folders from different places. In most regular file explorers if you ctrl-c (copy) more than once the last selection will overwrite any previous selections. Tactile 3D allows multiple grabs and copies of multiple files and folders. Tactile 3D currently allows you to copy, rename, move, delete, create directories, create shortcuts, sort objects, position objects, plus a few others. There are, of course, many other behavioural and visual differences making it difficult to compare the two.


20. Where's the "tactile" in Tactile 3D?
Tactile 3D supports Immersion® TouchSense enabled devices. One such device is the Logitech® iFeel mouse that offers Tactile 3D feedback to its user. Feeling different textures and effects as you navigate through information space is fully supported.


21. Why doesn't Winamp remain on-top when Tactile 3D is in full-screen mode?
If you want Winamp to remain on-top of Tactile 3D when in full-screen mode you need to change the following Winamp setting. Goto Options->Preferences->General Preferences and make sure "Disable always on top while fullscreen applications are focused" is unchecked. Ctrl-A (always on top) will then work even for full-screen applications.


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