Idea: Partial fullscreen

Both Microsoft (with Windows 8) and Apple (since OS X 10.7 “Lion”) are moving towards a paradigm in their desktop operating systems that encourages the use of full screen apps. Whether you love it or hate it, this seems to be the way things are moving in the near future.

Even for those that like it, there are certainly some drawbacks. Some programmes just work better when they can be used on top of others. Note-taking apps like TextEdit or Notepad can work great over the top of a full-screen web browser, and it would be nice to be able to call up an IM window without having to switch over to another space if you’re working on a full-screen document.

Apps could use a partial fullscreen API to specify that they are suitable for being used on top of fullscreen applications, and then any windows open in them would appear in a menu after opening a drawer that is on one edge of the screen (perhaps some form of gesture or keyboard shortcut could also be used, or it could auto-hide, to preserve screen real estate).

In Windows 8 this could be added to the Charms menu, in OS X, I would say a three-fingered swipe from the very edge of the touchpad, but really any method could be used if the drawer were to be hidden when not in use.

When you pull out the drawer, a menu of all installed apps that can use partial fullscreen would appear, and upon clicking on the one you want, it would appear in the place of the drawer at the edge of the screen. Perhaps there could also be a simple tabbed system to switch between different partial fullscreen apps, such as different text windows, IM windows, etc.

People could benefit from something like this in a variety of ways:

  • Note taking while browsing websites for research purposes
  • Instant Messaging/chat while browsing the web
  • Audio libraries during fullscreen production or web browsing
  • Watching video while browsing the web

Fullscreen applications are great. You get more screen real-estate, they can help to minimise unwanted distractions. The problem is there are some cases where you want to be able to see more than one window at a time, for a variety of purposes. Partial fullscreen would help get the best of both worlds.

What do you think about partial fullscreen? Leave a comment down below.

Idea: Multi-carded cameras

This is the first in an ongoing series of ideas. They are just random or interesting ideas for products or software that I have thought of at some time. It may or may not be feasible for any number of reasons. I just thought it was an interesting idea, which I decided to write down.

There are a number of different reasons that a person may want to use multiple memory cards in a single digital camera, but first, let me explain exactly what I mean:
  • The camera would have two or more slots for memory cards
  • Each slot would have a small lit button next to it
  • There would be the option to have custom settings (e.g. quality settings, whether or not to show lines for the rule of thirds, etc.) which change depending on which card is selected
  • An option to have both cards treated as one large card
It seems to me as though it’s not that difficult to implement, but it could be useful for a number of reasons.
Multiple Users
Sometimes multiple people share the same camera. This isn’t likely to happen so much for the higher end users, but other situations might mean multiple people use the same camera. If they have different ways that they like to use the camera, this could come in handy.
For example, maybe the father of the family is a good photographer, so he likes to have the lines in the viewfinder for the rule of thirds; and he wants the quality and resolution of his photos to be as high as possible, but maybe other people in the family prefer to juts take snapshots, maybe at a lower resolution, but they definitely don’t need to see the rule of third lines.
Multiple cards and settings would make this situation much simpler, not only as they are taking the photos, but afterwards as well. The father might want to take his photos and edit them in Photoshop before uploading them to his Flickr for the world to see, but others in the family just want to upload them straight to Facebook for friends to see. Each person could just take their card to their computer, and do with it what they want.
Different Types of photos
This is very similar to multiple users, but it could just be a single person who likes to take different types of photos. Maybe they like to keep their landscapes in a separate folder to their other photos, or they take photos to be later created into a panorama and want those to be easily accessible.
Maybe you’re taking photos that are so important to you you can’t take the risk of losing them. Maybe you want to give a spare copy of the raw photos straight to someone else. Whatever the reason, you want the same photos, with the same settings, on two different cards. Very simple.
Extra Storage
This one’s very simple, some people just want the extra storage space. No need for any changes in settings, no need for them to choose when to switch to the other card. Just do it.
Just my idea for a feature that would be useful to have in cameras.
All comments and suggestions are very much appreciated. Suggestions, problems, ideas, general comments, or anything you want to say.
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