About V4.93.05

How embarrassing! You folks have to report these problems better! Anyway, InsPhrase is no longer continuing lines. When you enter a new phrase, they'll break like they should.

About V4.93.04

It should have been pointed out that it's now easier to create Explorer Folders. Create a New button, and then Browse for an Application, until you're viewing the directory that you want the folder to open to. OK out with nothing selected, and the folder shortcut will be created.

About V4.93.03

There was an odd problem with the Shortcut Import, if a shortcut and a subdirectory had the same name. Calligrapher does this, and that was giving StarTap fits. Anyway, it's fixed. Thanks Rob!

Also, in Grab Shorts, put a check mark next to Auto Update, and StarTap'll keep an eye on the Start Menu and copy new shortcuts over on its own.

About V4.93.01

This is a very minor fix! The bigger news is just below. Since StarTap is multilingual, it has to have a dictionary that is separate from the main program. Sometimes that doesn't get updated when it should when new features are added. In this case, although V4.93 knew how to import the Start Menu shortcuts, it didn't know how to talk about it. It should be fixed in this version.

About V4.93

So, you wanna import shortcuts from the Start Menu? You got it. Select File / Grab Shorts (and if you've ever had your shorts grabbed, you know how painful that can be!). The dialog that follows allows you to import everything, or just since a certain date (which will be set to the time of the last import). Also, you can retain the folder structure, or dump all the shortcuts into a single folder. The latter is better if you're planning on rearranging them in StarTap. Once they've been imported, they can be dragged, dropped, cut, and pasted anywhere. As with all of StarTap's dialogs, just select Help (from GigaBar or the Start Menu) to get context-sensitive help.

Remember that you can use File / Buttons / Backup to make a copy of StarTap's shortcuts. It wouldn't be a bad idea before you start playing with importing from the Start Menu.

The Internet Explorer file association should be working again.

The Explorer Folder shortcuts are working again.

Finally, the background colors of Tasks, Control Panel, etc. were installing as black when StarTap was installed on a new machine. Fixed.

About V4.92.08

Ack! InsPhrase was not working!

The instructions shown below for "fixing" the image associations were producing faulty associations. Fixed. Do it again, and they'll be OK.

About V4.92.07

The StarTap icon in the TaskBox is cleaned up.

Explorer's File / Associate should create associations for Internet Explorer correctly.

If the internal Image Viewer seems not to work, try this: Go to Control Panel / StarTap / Images. If there's a check next to View Img, remove it. OK out, then go back in, put a check there, and OK out.

Finally, the buttons on the Tasks screen have been updated. Everything gets done eventually!

The little keyboard button will show in Themes, StarTap Properties, and SysInfo. This really isn't an issue if you're running GigaBar, but is needed otherwise.

These (updated) Release Notes should be installed with the StarTap Help Files. Thanks Nate!

About V4.92.06:

Edit / Localize has been excised from the menu, except when it's supposed to show.

You can now always empty Recycle. It was hanging up under certain circumstances before, and not dismissing the dialog.

It should be pointed out that if you have an older version of StarTap installed, simply install this one on top of it. There's no need to uninstall first.

Also, note that the download for StarTap Plus (STPInst.exe) is not updated yet. That'll wait until StarTap itself has settled down. If you're using Plus, just install the regular StarTap download. The executable is the same, it just runs differently with the Plus registration.

About V4.92.05:

Just a coupla little details fixed here. There were some missing dialogs in the MIPS and SH3 versions, most of them put back in V4.92.04, and those for UnZip in V4.92.05.

A few new problems have surfaced with the Tap-Hold menus, and the arbitrary placement of icons. As suggested, StarTap will no longer complain if you move an icon by a small amount. Do note that this takes a bit of "touch", though. For reasons that escape us, CE is rather sloppy about detecting a "drag": you have to drag the thing about half an inch before it's recognized. Also, if you drag slowly, the context menu will pop up. So, to move an icon by a small amount, drag it quickly away from where it is, and then you can move it back slowly to position it, in a single drag.

It should have been pointed out that this version of StarTap makes a couple of additions to the Control Panel. Drag the old Control Panel into Recycle, and then use File / Buttons / Create / Control Panel to make a new one. In there, you'll find applets for SysInfo and Themes, in addition to the old StarTap applet. Also, you'll find these same items added to the Start Menu / Settings functions.

About V4.92.03:

"Don't touch me there! I go all to pieces!"

The single best criticism of StarTap for a long time has been that it's a great hulking mass of bloatware. No longer! Rather than a single StarTap.exe file, the current download will install these executables:

  • BatWatch.exe
  • CFLaunch.exe
  • DskClock.exe
  • ImageVu.exe
  • InsPhrase.exe
  • RegEdit.exe
  • StarTap.exe
  • StarTasks.exe
  • TaskBox.exe
  • TBIcon.exe
  • UnZip.exe
  • starsi.cpl (SysInfo)
  • startap.cpl (StarTap)
  • themes.cpl (Themes)
Conspicuously missing from this list is the StarBar, which has, alas, been put to sleep. GigaBar is way more capable than the old StarBar, and is recommended instead. If you want to hold on to the StarBar, stay with StarTap V4.29 and before.

The only major new feature that you'll find here is, not coincidentally, the most requested: Arbitrarily Placeable Icons. In Control Panel / StarTap / Shortcuts, set the Icon Spacing to 0, 0. Now you can drag and drop shortcuts anywhere, and they'll stay there. Also, you can select Edit / Arrange to return them to a grid.

Also, you'll find that you can now tap-hold to get at StarTap's menu system, in both the main Desktop, and in Explorer. On the Desktop, this means that you can permanently hide the toolbar. In Explorer, we'll probably make that kind of hiding an option, too.

Beyond that, a number of little fixes and improvements have been implemented. You can (finally!) drag more than one file. Ctrl-A (and GigaBar's Select All) will now work in Explorer.

Also, if you check in the / Windows directory, you'll find a single StarTap.htm file, rather than a flood of "htp" files.

Note the ".92" version number! This will soon become V5.00, but we want your input first. Please use these new message boards to help us knock off the remaining Bugs, and add in the most attractive Features. If you can't decide if your item is a Bug or a Feature, well, join the group! But in any case, post it to the regular StarTap board. Who knows, Charles, there may even be Secure Folders in StarTap's future!

Note that the HPC versions of StarTap are not updated yet. They will be, but for the moment they're still the old style.

About V4.10:

My StarTap: Themes, Icons, SlideShow, and more.

In the StarTap applet in Control Panel, you'll find a couple of new tabs: System and Themes. The Themes tab allows you to set all of the System colors, and a few StarTap-specific colors as well. Also, here you can save and load your current settings for these items: Colors, Fonts, Sounds, Wallpaper, Slideshow, Icons, and System.

Saving your settings does just that, and creates a SomeName.thm file in the Themes directory. Loading a theme can be more interesting. Along with the settings, a collection of images, icons, fonts, and sounds can be put into a Zip file, and StarTap will unpack them to their proper places to make them available for the system to use. Load a theme, do a soft reset, and in about 30 seconds your machine has a whole new personality!

As this is written, we only have two of these pre-packaged themes available, but we'll be adding more, and will be posting user submissions as well, so check back! All current themes are available from the Themes link on the main web page.

Unfortunately, a soft reset is necessary after loading a new theme, or even just changing the color scheme. WinCE isn't bright enough, yet, to make these changes on the fly.

The System Color to change can be selected from a combo box, or by tapping on the small sample view that is shown on this page. The color you select from the sample is sensitive right down to the pixel level, so if you tap carefully, you can even select the color of text elements from this view.

Before you OK out of this page, the elements that will be updated must be selected. Tap the Opts button, and a drop down dialog allows you to specify them. By taking selected parts from pre-packaged themes, you can "mix and match" to get the look and attitude that you're after.

Before we leave the Themes subject, we'd like to put in a good word for www.freethemes.com. This TuCows service has amassed a huge collection of Win95 themes, as well as fonts, icons, and what have you. Translating one of these themes into a StarTap theme is reasonably straightforward, and many of our early themes will come from this source. Thanks to TuCows!

Note that Themes are actually a StarTap+ function, but are always activated for free until the end of the month in the current download.

The Slideshow function that was mentioned above is new to StarTap. In Control Panel / Images, there's a new Slideshow section. Browse for an image to begin the slideshow here, as well as specifying how long to display each image. On the StarBar tab, assign SlideShow to one of the StarBar icon functions. Now, when the PPC is sitting in its cradle, and not otherwise doing useful work, just select SlideShow from the StarBar and it becomes an animated picture frame! All of the images that are in the same directory as the initial image will be shown in (alphabetic) sequence. Tap the "hidden" close button in the upper right corner, or hit the exit button to go back to what you were doing before.

The Slideshow function can also be activated from the normal image viewer mode. Hit the Action button on the side of the PPC, and StarTap will start cycling through the images.

On the Image Viewer subject, there are a few other changes. On the Images tab, there are new entries for No Zoom, and Scroll. Select No Zoom, and StarTap will always display an image at 100% size. Handy for images of printed material. Select Scroll, and the function of Up / Down / Left / Right is changed. Normally, Up / Down will display different images in the directory. With Scroll enabled, these "arrow keys" will scroll the image in the desired direction. This is really only of value on Casio E10x models, which have the Left / Right functions.

StarTap finally reads those pesky Kodak DC-260 images! Sorry this has taken so long, but, better late than never! If you still have problems with images from a digital camera that we haven't fixed, please send 'em along!

The Menu / Toolbar of StarTap has been completely revamped. We're afraid this may become a love it / hate it situation, so if you really can't abide by the new method, let us know and we'll make it optional. The difference is that there's now a menu button on the ToolBar. Press it, and the familiar File / Edit / Help menu drops down. The advantage is that you no longer have the either / or problem of not being able to get to the menu functions if you have the ToolBar exposed. The downside is that those menu functions are now one more tap away. We're sold on the idea, and ask that you give it a good try before telling us how much you hate it.

Lots and Lots of the Less Important:

You can now replace StarTap's "built in" icons! Just put an icon file with one of the follwing names in the Icons directory, and StarTap will use it in preference to its own: Clock.ico, CtlPnl.ico, ExpFold.ico, Explorer.ico, Folder.ico, Parent.ico, Recycle.ico, RecyFull.ico, RegEdit.ico, Tasks.ico. Most of these should be self-explanatory, but ExpFold refers to shortcuts that lead to Explorer folders.

Similarly, the names of some of these stock items can be specified, as well. This is a little tricky, though. Using StarTap's RegEdit, create new String Values under the HKEY_CURRENT_USER / Software / Thumbs Up! / StarTap key. The new values to create are these: szRecycle, szCtlPnl, and szTasks. Whatever strings you put in for these values will be used on StarTap's main screen.

You can now select the sound that StarTap attaches to a shortcut activation. In Control Panel / StarTap / Shortcuts, just browse for the sound file to use.

You can now assign StarTap Properties to a StarBar icon function.

Wallpaper is no longer used as the background in Control Panel and Recycle. Instead, StarTap will use the color settings for Desktop (in Themes) to set a solid background color.

You can now easily tell if StarTap (or Plus) is registered. In the About Box, there's a new line at the bottom, which should have your name on it!

The Browse functions to set StarTap's shortcuts now remember what directory you went to the last time. This makes it much easier to load multiple items from a single directory.

The "disappearing icons" problem on the StarBar should be corrected.

In the "killer bug" category, we nailed a doozy. If you had a shortcut to a program on the Storage Card in the Application Tray of the StarBar, StarTap would usually freeze up when the power was turned back on. If you've had any experiences with these Power On Freeze problems, they should be gone. Sorry!

When you install V4.10, you'll note a new Install Dialog will show. If the install goes normally, it should disappear. If it doesn't, please note what it says, and let the people at Tech Support know. Thanks!

StarTap's Explorer and Tasks screens should operate a little more "independently". If you use the StarBar, TaskBox, or a button to summon them, when you leave you should be back to work, without having to go through StarTap's main screen.

If you have assigned a Custom Icon to a folder or shortcut, and want to go back to the regular "default" icon, do this: Select Properties for the folder, tap on the icon shown, to Browse for ICO files. Instead of selecting a new ico file, just enter "none" as the new name of the icon. OK out of the Browse dialog, and the default icon should be restored.

In Explorer, you can now sort files by Type. Just tap on the narrow column header over the icon field, and the files will be sorted by extension, rather than by name.

Also in Explorer, there's now a Status Bar, rather than just the blank divider line in the center. It takes up a little more space, but provides a lot more information!

Whew! Thumbs Up!
Simba, Sally, Liz, Gene, and Sid

About V4.00:

It will no doubt please at least some of you to know that we have finally been dragged (kicking and screaming!) into implementing the Close All function for the popup TaskBox. Just tap and quickly drag the normal Close button. You'll have to OK another nag screen after that, but StarTap will indeed clear the running tasks.

The actions of both the StarBar icons, and the regular TaskBar icon have been upgraded. On the StarBar icons, tap and hold on the icon. A small menu will pop up, showing the functions that are currently assigned to it. Also, just tap on one of those functions to do it.

On the TaskBar icon, we've gotten complaints on how poky the TaskBox is to pop up (the importance that you folks attach to half a second will always amaze us!). This has not been because it takes a long time to build the button bar or something! StarTap's just been waiting to see if you would actually do a double tap. If you want the TaskBox to show promptly, go into Control Panel / StarTap / TB Icon, and assign Disabled to the double tap function. It's quite sprightly with that setting.

Also, if you do a tap-and-hold on the TaskBar icon, it will pop up a menu of the available functions. Just select one to do it.

Well, Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Da! Miscellaneous little fixes (like that pesky TaskBox!), new packaging, and Zip Files!

StarTap now does Zip files, on both ends: creating and extracting. In Explorer, double tap on a zip file to open it. In the dialog that opens, you can browse through the directories inside the Zip, and select the files (use Control to select multiple files) that you want to pull out. Then hit Extract, and browse for the directory to put 'em in.

On the other end, select one or more files or folders in Explorer, and select File / Zip 'Em! Then browse for an existing Zip file to add them to, or enter the name of a new one.

You can't delete files from a Zip, or rename them yet, but we wouldn't be surprised to see those features added down the road.

StarTap now does Context-sensitive Help. The good news is that you can hardly do anything with StarTap without seeing a Help button. The bad news is that the Help Files now run to 64 pages and counting, all installed to the Windows directory. The good news is that you can get rid of all of those files, without losing access to any of the Help functions. The bad news is that you have to install another program to do it!

Starbuck has long had the ability to read linked HTML pages (which is all WinCE Help Files are) out of a Zip file, and that ability is put to use here. After installing this version of StarTap, you'll find that there are several files missing from the StarTap directory, and one added: StarTap.zip. All of the Help Files, and all of those missing files are in there, and StarTap and Starbuck can pull out just what they need, when they need it, without even creating temporary files.

To use the zipped Help Files, do this: Download and install Starbuck, and run it. When it runs, it'll leave an entry in the Registry that StarTap can find. Now, in StarTap, go to Control Panel / StarTap / StartUp, and put a check mark next to Starbuck, Help! StarTap will erase all of the StarTap Help Files from the Windows directory, and in the future will use Starbuck whenever Help is called for.

The Zip functions, and probably most future enhancements to StarTap, are only permanently available in the package that we're currently calling StarTap+. This package also includes Thumbs Up! Back Up! (TuBu), and DeathStar.

TuBu backs up your files, databases, and Registry to the Storage Card. But, different than the backup utility that you got for free, this one compresses the information to about 40 - 50% of its original size. The files that it creates are ordinary Zip files, and can be opened and browsed in StarTap. If you need to restore just a few files from your BackUp Set, just go in there and get 'em. In the help files for TuBu, you'll find a method to do a full Restore without needing access to a desktop computer.

Also, since they're standard Zip files, these BackUp files can be copied to the Desktop, and opened and manipulated with a program like WinZip.

DeathStar is the Task Manager of last resort. When your machine is locked up so tight that you can't get to StarTap or to WinCE's own Task Manager, DeathStar will still run, and allow you to shut down the program that sent your machine off the deep end.

These new features are available for free until the end of September. There will be an upgrade to the Plus Package available for US$10.

Of Lesser Note:

If you've been accustomed to tapping at the top of the screen to hide and show StarTap's toolbar, you'll have to go to Control Panel / StarTap / Shortcuts, and put a check next to Tool Hide. This behavior has been made optional, with a default of "off".

You can now (finally!) cut, copy and paste multiple files. Note that while you can include folders in a Cut operation, StarTap will not Copy folders.

You may notice that all of the Browsing dialogs (for applications, wallpaper, etc.) have gotten a facelift.

As alluded to above, the TaskBox will once again allow you to close more than one application at a time. Sorry!

About V3.51 Service Pack 2

Many fixes, and a few new features. Also, StarTap now runs on Handheld PCs! See StarTap / HPC from our main page.

First, StarTap now has a Phrase Inserter, to paste commonly used blocks of text into whatever you're working on. Go to Control Panel / StarTap / StarBar, and assign Ins Phrase to one of the StarBar Icon functions. Invoking this function will bring up a small window, initially blank, with a ToolBar at the top. These are the buttons available on the ToolBar: Insert, Delete, Properties, Cut, Paste, New Phrase, New Folder, and Close.

Select New Phrase, and a dialog opens to allow you to record the phrase, and give it a Title. Leave the Title blank, and StarTap will just use the beginning of the phrase itself.

New Folder starts creating an organized structure to place these phrases in. A folder can contain phrases, and other folders as well.

Phrases can be moved from one folder to another with Cut and Paste, but, alas, not folders. Cut and Paste have no effect on them. Phrases can be deleted, as well as folders. When a folder is deleted, it's contents (if any) are moved into the currently selected folder.

Like StarTap's main screen, this window is "single tap active". To insert a phrase, just pop it up, tap on the title of the phrase, and - boom - it's pasted into the document. To navigate the folders, just tap on a folder to open it, or on Parent to go up a level.

Conversely, to select Delete, Properties, or Cut, you have to select the action first, and then the phrase or folder to perform it on.

Speaking of Single Tap Activation, if you *don't* like this feature for StarTap's Desktop Shortcuts, you can now do things the Windows Standard way. Go to Control Panel / StarTap / Shortcuts, and put a check mark next to Dbl Tap. Now the shortcuts will only be activated by a double tap, and the Run, Delete, Properties, and Cut buttons will work in the conventional way: Select the shortcut first, and then the action.

You can now create shortcuts to Explorer folders on StarTap's Desktop, though it's a bit of a pain. Here's how: Select the folder in Explorer, and then Copy. Navigate to somewhere in Windows / Start Menu, and select Paste Shortcut. This will create a conventional directory shortcut accessible from the Start Menu. Now, go to StarTap's Desktop, and select New. From the Application combo box (which is filled from the Start Menu), select the directory shortcut that you just created. When you select that shortcut from StarTap's desktop, it will open Explorer with that directory selected. The shortcut that was created in Start Menu can be erased after StarTap's shortcut has been created. It's not used by StarTap.

You can now navigate StarTap's desktop by using the Up / Down / Action buttons. Up and Down will *generally* have the expected action, with the caveat that if it can't move in the indicated direction, it will move to the right. This allows you to select the column that the shortcut is in. It takes a little practice, but it does work! On the color Casios, the Up / Down / Left / Right selector can be used. Action will launch the application.

We'll give some more thought to this "one handed" StarTap operation, and you'll probably see some more enhancements in the next release.

There is yet another way of shutting down running applications, if you use the StarBar: hold down the Exit button on the side, and tap on one of the Task Buttons in the StarBar. Instead of switching to it, it'll kill it. Thanks Pat!

StarTap's wallpaper handling has been completely redone. You'll find that it's much more stable, and more flexible. In Control Panel / StarTap / Shortcuts, you'll find two new options that control how the labels under the icons appear. Select White to have them appear in white type, and Opaque to have a rectangle of contrasting background put behind them. We don't much care for those rectangles cutting into the picture, but they do make the labels more readable.

In Control Panel / StarTap / Images there's a new option: Auto Rotate. Put a check in this box, and StarTap's Image Viewer will rotate landscape (wide) images 90 degrees, so they'll fit on the screen better.

StarTap saves scads of information about its current state and your preferences in the Registry and elsewhere. All of this information is carefully recorded when you shut it down. Of course, if you do a soft reset without shutting StarTap down, it doesn't. When you start it up the next time, you'll see the "StarTap was not shut down correctly" message, saying that some of your recent changes may have been lost. While technically true, StarTap really does save everything that's important when it changes, rather than waiting for shut down. If you'd rather not be nagged every time you do a soft reset, you can select Skip Warning, in Control Panel / StarTap / StartUp.

As you've probably already read, StarTap's retail price is going up to US$20. Sorry! There's not much money to be made by online retailers on a $10 product, and if we want them to list and sell StarTap, we've gotta make it worth their while. If you know anyone who's putting off registering StarTap, tell 'em to buy now!

This 'n That:

The E10x Missing Icon problem should be much relieved, even with the wallpaper turned off.

The wallpaper now repaints after scrolling (no more headless women!).

StarTap's image viewer is much more tolerant of "enhanced" jpgs. Images from digital cameras and Photoshop 5.0 should not cause difficulties.

If you have B/W Calculator and Solitaire icons on your shortcuts, delete and recreate them. They'll be color now.

Next Task has been added as an additional StarBar Icon function.

All of the ToolBars in StarTap now show Tool Tips (Thanks, Al!). Just hold the button down for the Tool Tip to appear, then drag the stylus away from the button to avoid activating it. Finally, a good answer to, "What in hell is that icon supposed to be?!".

The new Casio units, the E100 and E105, seem to have the odd habit of creating many duplicate, hidden windows for the popup keyboard. These just accumulate with time, and cause a general degradation of performance. Select from StarTap's Desktop Menu, Edit / SysInfo / Memory, and then tap on Compact. As a side effect, it'll kill the little parasites.

On a similar subject, we do recommend that you do a soft reset about once a day. Close down the currently running programs, and then hit the little button in the back. Do make sure that you know how to do a soft reset! Not a hard reset, that will erase everything in your Main Memory! A soft reset is a very minor action, equivalent to restarting Windows on your desktop machine.

Microsoft has done their best, but "junk" still accumulates with time, and performance suffers. Incidentally, StarTap does keep an accounting of the resources that it's used. See Edit / SysInfo / StarTap. If you can do some series of operations with StarTap that makes these numbers grow and grow (wasting memory), let us know!

A lot of other little things, too numerous and minor to be included here, have been fixed. If you have a problem, please download this version, then bitch about it.

Thumbs Up!
Simba, Sally, Liz, Gene, & Sid

About V3.51 SP 1:

Been a long time comin'!

Outstanding image viewing, RegEdit, Internationalization, and more!

The internal changes to this version are huge, and we apologize for how long it's taken to get the darned thing out the door!

For those of you who have 256 color machines, you must do this right away: Drag your existing Control Panel into Recycle to kill it. Use File / Buttons / Create / Control Panel to make a new one. In there, you'll find the new StarTap applet. Select it, and then select the Images tab. Put check marks next to View Img and Best Color.

Now, go get a picture of your wife, or someone else's wife, or some woman who isn't even anyone's wife at all, and copy it to your PPC. Find it with Explorer, and double tap on it. It's gorgeous!

We were considerably disappointed with the color image viewing on these machines initially. Photos of people tended to look like they came from a dermatologist's file of "before" pictures. If you've plunked down your US$50 for Sierra's Image Expert, then you know that it doesn't have to be that way. Sorry we didn't get to you sooner! StarTap now shows the same image quality, and it's absolutely edge-to-edge full screen (which Image Expert ain't).

One caveat: it's possible that StarTap's viewer may have problems with some images. At the moment, it does not seem to like jpg images that come directly from digital cameras. We believe this is fixable, so if this ability is important to you, drop us a line, and we'll let you know when the fix is available. For the moment, these images work fine if they're read and then written by some Windows image program. LView Pro does a fine job of making them palatable to StarTap, and is available from CNet's download.com. Also, it's possible that for some specific images StarTap's Best Color mode will look more like Crummy Color. If you find one, send it to us, and we'll use it to fix StarTap!

The image viewer has several other neat features: Tap on the image to zoom in, double tap to zoom out. Tap and drag the image to pan over it. To Close the viewer, tap in the upper right corner of the screen, where the Close button would be (you can also use the Exit button on the side of the machine). The Up and Down buttons on the side will cycle you alphabetically through all of the images in a directory, forward and backward. All of these features are available on all PPCs, even B/W.

These next two are currently specific to 256 colors (Jornada, Aero, Nino, etc.). Beneath the invisible Close button described above, there are two invisible "thumbwheels" to control the Brightness and Contrast of the image. These controls are about 1/4" (5mm) wide, and on the extreme right edge of the screen. They're stacked, with the Contrast control on top, under the Close button.

To use the control, just tap in it's area and drag up or down to increase or decrease the setting. It doesn't matter where within the control you tap, just how far you drag it afterward. Really, it's easier to use than explain.

This is a rudimentary (and invisible!) version of a control that we have very high hopes for. When the ThumbWheel control is fully developed you can expect to see it in a number of new Thumbs Up products.

For the adventurous among you, StarTap now includes a RegEdit facility. Select File / Buttons / Create / RegEdit to produce the shortcut. The dialog that it produces, Registry Properties, may not look like the RegEdit you're familiar with, but it works! Actually, for the PPCs screen size, we think it's better and easier than the classic tree interface ('course we're biased!).

Select the Key from the upper combo box (which remains open for you to navigate the tree), then select a Value from the lower one. Strings and DWords can be created, viewed and edited, and Keys and Values of all types can be Imported, Exported, and Deleted. All Importing and Exporting is done to / from the StarTap / Reg subdirectory. Find will come along soon.

If you're not familiar with editing Registry entries, DO NOT USE REGEDIT! Do not try this at home unless you're in the company of a responsible adult who does understand the Registry (if it can be said that anyone truly does!). You can easily break your machine, and only a hard reset (with complete loss of data) will bring it back. YOU'VE BEEN WARNED!!!

We don't know if it's because they're just more honest, or more likely to register shareware, or just more numerous in the PPC world, but we have a big fraction of European and Asian users. Consquently, Native Language Support is an interest of ours. Well, StarTap is now easily translatable into darned near any Earthly tongue, from French to Chinese Big5, and it can be done by regular users with regular tools. If you'd like to make StarTap speak your language (dialog boxes, message boxes, menus, you name it), drop us a line and we'll send you the files you need.

Less earthshaking, but still important:

The instructions given above for creating a new Control Panel have to be followed by all of you. Many of the functions that used to be in the Desktop Edit menu are now in the StarTap applet in Control Panel. If you don't create a new Control Panel, you won't have it (and won't have access to those functions).

In Control Panel / StarTap / StarBar, you'll find several new functions for the StarBar icons: Cut, Copy, Paste, Hide StarBar (show it again like you would a hidden TaskBar, by tapping at the extreme bottom of the screen), Update StarBar (to get those Tray icons to show correctly), and Select Input Method (to switch keyboards) can now be assigned.

To go with those new functions, you can also (optionally) have a third icon appear there to hold 'em. What used to be called the Star actions (Star Double Tap, etc.) are now known as the Clock actions (seeing as how it is the Clock that you're actually tapping on). Assign a function to one of the new Star actions (which are intially all Disabled), and a StarTap icon will appear next to the Windows flag in the StarBar tray. The same five actions work with this new icon, for a total of 15. Pretty good utility out of 1/8 of a square inch!

Beyond that, there are miscellaneous small improvements. People say it's quicker, but we haven't a clue as to why that should be. Much functionality relating to the StarBar and the popup TaskBox has been moved to StarBar.dll which is installed to your Windows directory. The Volume Control now provides audible feedback as you change volume. The Help Files are up-to-date (imagine that!).

You may have a non-functioning Dialing applet in your Control Panel. Some machines implement this functionality, some don't. If your's brings up a weird Communications Properties dialog, you can just delete it.

Thumbs Up!
Simba, Sally, Gene, & Sid

About V3.51:

TaskBar Replacement, IR Transfers, Custom Icons, & More!

The StarBar can replace the TaskBar with a Windows '98 style Taskbar, with a little tray for frequently launched applications, and buttons for all the applications currently running.

Go to StarTap's Desktop Menu: Edit / StarBar. From the dialog, select Enable. The StarBar is divided into four sections: Fixed Buttons, Application Tray, Task Buttons, System Tray.

The Fixed buttons can be enabled from the dialog. Put a check mark next to Start and Kybd to put Start Menu and Keyboard buttons at the left side of the StarBar. These buttons have the expected effect: showing the Start Menu, and Showing / Hiding the Keyboard. There are other ways to invoke these functions with the StarBar, but this is the simplest.

The Application Tray can be filled with up to 10 frequently launched applications (though we recommend no more than 4). With StarTap's Desktop showing, just drag a shortcut down to the StarBar. Release it, and that Application / Document association will be added to the Application Tray. Just tap on the small icon to launch it. To remove an application from the tray, just drag it out. Four applications is nice because it only takes up the space of 3 Task Buttons.

The Task Buttons show, with icons, the tasks that are currently running on the machine. These are shown in the order in which they're "stacked": top-most application first, and so on.

On the right side of the StarBar is the System Tray. You'll find a Windows icon here, as well as the time and date. Both of these items have many hidden functions, so read carefully!

There are five operations that you can perform on each item: Tap, Double Tap, Tap Up, Tap Left, and Tap Right. Each operation on each element can have any one of 17 actions attached to it. Tap Up, etc. indicates a short, quick drag of the stylus, in the indicated direction, beginning on the element and ending a short distance away. In the dialog, these two elements are referred to as Sys (the Windows icon, for System functions), and Star (actually the clock, used for StarTap functions). You can actually assign any function to any action on either element, but it'll be easier to remember if you group 'em this way!

The default actions are these:

Sys Tap: TaskBar - Display the original TaskBar (hide StarBar)
Sys Double Tap: Desktop - Show the Active Desktop
Sys Tap-Up: Keyboard - Show / Hide the keyboard
Sys Tap-Left: Find - The Find function from the Start Menu
Sys Tap-Right: Help - Similarly for Help
Star Tap: Explorer
Star Double Tap: World Clock
Star Tap-Up: StarTap Desktop
Star Tap-Left: Close Task
Star Tap-Right: StarTap Taskbox

The other functions that can be selected are these:

Shift - Press Shift key (Sys icon changes to "S")
Control - Press Control key (Sys icon changes to "C")
StarTap Tasks - StarTap Tasks Folder
Capture - Screen Capture
Delay Capture - Delayed Screen Capture
SysInfo - Display SysInfo dialog
Start Menu - Display Start Menu

Sad to say that although the system recognizes the Control and Shift keys, that doesn't mean that the keyboard does. Control and Shift do have the expected effect in Explorer to make multiple selections, and they do temporarily disable the physical buttons, since the system is receiving a "Ctrl - Button" message, rather than a "Button" message. The keyboard, however, apparently lives in another world. We're working on it!

Shift and Control depress the key. The System icon changes to a "S" or "C" to indicate this. To release the key, tap the System icon again.

The TaskBar function displays the usual Windows CE Taskbar, and hides the StarBar. This gives you completely normal access to the "regular" TaskBar icons that are placed by other programs. The Tray of StarBar does display these icons, and it does it's darnedest to make them act as they do in the normal TaskBar. We recommend that you leave this assigned to a single tap on the System icon, so that you don't lose any existing functionality. To return to the StarBar, tap the StarTap icon in the TaskBar.

On the other hand, if the Tray icons that you have are just a waste of space, they can be hidden by removing the check mark next to Tray in the StarBar Properties dialog.

Since there may not be enough room to display all of the currently running tasks on the StarBar, they can be scrolled. Tap on the clock, and drag to the left. The Task Buttons will shift to the left, to expose those that are hidden.

By popular demand, StarTap now does Custom Icons and Thumbnails for Desktop Shortcuts. The caveat on the Custom Icon side is that you must have '.ico' files that contain the icons you want to use. Use an Icon Editor (CNet's download.com has several good ones) to create 32 X 32 X 16 color icons. Copy these to your PPC. Then, select Properties for the Shortcut that you want to set the icon for. In the Button Properties dialog, tap on the image of the current icon. A new dialog will appear which will allow you to browse for the '.ico' file that you want to use. Double click on the file, and the icon shown in Button Properties will be updated. OK out of that dialog, and the icon on the desktop will be updated.

Also, if you use StarTap's internal image viewer and make Desktop Shortcuts to image files, they'll now show a thumbnail image in place of an icon. Just use Button Properties to browse for the file to show, in Document or Parameters. "Internal" should show as the Application. Exit Button Properties, and a very miniature image of your picture will appear on the desktop. Finally, StarTap does IR! Go into Explorer and look in the File Menu. There are two new entries: Send and Receive. If both machines are running StarTap, then operation's pretty straightforward: Select the file you want to send, on one machine, and the directory to put it in, on the other. Select Send and Receive, respectively, line 'em up, and it oughta go off! If the other machine, doesn't run StarTap, you can still do it. On the other machine, run the program called "irsquirt.exe", in the Windows Directory, or just select Receive from the File Menu of NoteTaker. Send the file as described, and it should be there.

As a matter of fact, you can even squirt StarTap over. Set the other machine as described. Go to StarTap's Desktop Menu: Edit / SysInfo, and select the StarTap tab. Select Squirt Me! and StarTap will pack up all it's important files, and transport itself into the other machine.

On the receiving machine, just run the '.exe' file that was transferred, and StarTap should install. If a Storage Card is present, it will install to the \Storage Card \ Program Files \ StarTap directory, and if not, to the \ Program Files \ StarTap directory in Main Memory. It also works for upgrades!

Thumbs Up!
Gene Knight

About V3.40

Better Font Solution and Better Pictures!

StarTap now understands gifs and jpgs! In StarTap's Desktop Menu: Edit / Settings, you'll see that the check box that was called "View 2bp" has become "View Img". Select that box, and when you tap on a file with a 2bp, gif, jpg, or jpeg extension, StarTap will use it's own internal viewer to display it. Also, select Full Scrn in the Settings dialog, and StarTap will do it's best to show you *all* of the picture, without a title bar taking up space. To close the viewer, just tap on the image, and it'll disappear. Also, for images that are larger than the screen, the viewer now sports scroll bars.These scroll bars will not show for full screen images up to 240 X 320.

Also, if you have Desktop Shortcuts that point to image files, and have View Img selected, StarTap will use it's internal viewer for those, too. Many users have wanted to use StarTap's features to put together a Photo Album. Now, of course, we're sure that it's pictures of the wife and kids that they're lookin' at, but in any case this is a great way to do it!

Our undying gratitude to the Unknown Programmer at Unsupported Software for his information on how to access these important gif and jpg functions. Thumbs Up!

We think that we have a solution to the WIDE dialogs! In the Edit / Fonts dialog, there's a new section specifically for this odd behavior. Select Move Fonts and then select To Windows. This will move any '.fnt' files that are currently in the \ Windows \ Fonts directory to the \ Windows directory. They're still available, but they don't confuse the PPC. Our thanks to Ad Bosch for pointing out this simple solution to a darned aggravating problem!

Of course, if this moving turns out to be a bad idea for some reason, just select Move Fonts, To Fonts to move 'em back again!

The filtering of files displayed in Explorer has been cleaned up and expanded. The behavior of these filters in V3.31 was, ah, unpredictable, to say the least. Much better now, and you can select Hide Directories so they don't take up precious space in the List View. Also, there's no permanent hourglass when you view a directory that has no non-hidden files in it.

As in Startler, the Desktop Clock now covers the whole screen.

Thumbs Up!


Fonts! Fonts! Fonts!

StarTap does font management, now. You can specify any of the four System Fonts, and - count 'em - 11 StarTap specific fonts. You want your shortcuts to have one font, the Tree View in Explorer another, and the List View yet a third? You got it! Also, all of the individual controls in dialogs can have their fonts specified. Go to StarTap's Desktop Menu: Edit / Fonts and experiment to your heart's content. Don't like what you've done? You can always hit Defaults to put things back the way they were. Font Face, Size, Weight, and Italics can all be specified.

To add a font to your palmtop, just do this: Open Control Panel on your Desktop computer, and select the Fonts directory. Open Mobile Devices, too, and navigate dows \ Fonts directory. Then just drag a font from the Desktop Fonts folder to the Mobile Devices Fonts folder. A dialog will appear asking which point sizes you want to copy. Select one or more, hit OK, and you're all set. Both StarTap and Starbuck will show the new font as an available selection.

We were hoping that setting the System Fonts would cure the
"W - I - D - E" dialog problem that some of you have experienced. No dice. We'll keep at it!

StarTap can now permanently save your Registration information. As you may know, The ID that you used to register StarTap is based on the Owner Properties. What has happened in too many cases is that someone had to hard-reset his PPC, and then entered his name and address a little differently afterward. Bingo! StarTap doesn't recognize him, and probably calls him an idiot, to boot. Well, that's all in the past, now. Go to StarTap's Desktop Menu: Help / Register. Select Advanced from the dialog. From here, you can either Save or Restore a file called OwnerInfo.str. This file contains all the information that StarTap uses to determine if it's registered. Specifically, it contains the first 32 characters of Owner Properties, and the Registration Key itself. Save this file now, copy it to your Desktop computer, and if you ever have to do a hard-reset, just reinstall StarTap, copy this file to the StarTap directory, and do a Restore. StarTap should say Thank You.

There are some things on the PPC screen that are darned hard to snap a screenshot of. Ever tried to get a picture of the Start Menu? Good luck! Well, now you can. In StarTap's Desktop Menu: Edit / Preferences, the option that was devoted to hiding and showing the Toolbar has been reassigned. The new function is Delayed Capture. Assign this function to the Taskbar Icon, and when activated, it will pause 4 seconds for you to prepare the screen as you wish it to be, and then capture it. Also, all captures are now accompanied by a small sound.

The Desktop Clock now does time the way you want it, rather than however we set it up. Select your time format in Regional Properties - normal or military, and StarTap's clock should follow along. Also, it no longer adds that annoying leading zero in the afternoon, and does correctly show times during the midnight hour. Also, the "today" marker correctly advances at midnight.

Then, on to smaller issues:

Today's date in the last or next month is no longer highlighted.

The month abbreviations for last month / next month now work for November.

Battery Enabling no longer has to be turned on for the clock to show (as we've said, weird but true!).

We think we've stamped out the "two star" problem down in the Taskbar, but we thought so last time, too!

StarTap should now correctly start "minimized", as just a Taskbar Icon.

The Idle Time, or Auto Shut Off is no longer reset to zero (ie. "never") when StarTap is first installed on a machine, BUT, if you're having problems, go to StarTap's Desktop Menu: Edit / SysInfo / System, and enter some time in minutes other than 0 for Idle Time.

Very long filenames no longer give the popup TaskBox fits.

Explorer no longer hibernates after double tapping on an unregistered document.

Finally, you won't get the overpainted icons on the Tasks screen. This occurred if you were viewing Tasks, and used the Taskbar icon to open Explorer, When Explorer was closed, StarTap was a little confused as to whether it was supposed to show Tasks or Shortcuts, so it showed both. No longer!

Known Issues:

StarTap is still creating those annoying shortcuts in the Start Menu.

If you use the Filter option in Explorer's View, and try to view a directory that contains only files that have been Hidden, Explorer appears to freeze (showing the Wait Cursor). Not really, just select a different directory. Explorer's 2bp viewer still needs scroll bars.

That's It! Good Day, and Thumbs Up!
Simba, Sally, Gene, and Sid

About V3.21:

Really just a bug fix:

StarTap will no longer tell Nino users that they've been on battery power for 1193 hours (!).

Storage Cards should be recognized more accurately.

The clock will no longer read just military time. Now it just reads regular time. Don't worry! You'll have the option of either soon!

PPCs using w-i-d-e fonts will no longer have an over-wide clock to go with 'em.

StarTap.prn will no longer be an unwelcome guest in the root directory. Sorry! That was just for debugging, but it slipped through our fine-grained validation procedures.

Explorer will no longer display the screen beneath it when the keyboard is hidden.

Not of interest to you registered folks, but this is the first version of StarTap that accepts PIN registrations that can be purchased through our new association with I-Bill. New registrees can purchase the PIN, enter it into StarTap, and be all set, rather than the painful method we've been using up to this point. Progress!

As of this morning, StarTap was trailing Pocket Indy by 92 downloads (9270 to 9178) to be the all-time top Windows CE download over at CNet. We fully expect that tomorrow morning, we'll be the champs. Yay, StarTap!

Good Day, and Thumbs Up!
Gene Knight


The big news for this version is the Desk Clock. Go to the Desktop Menu: File / Buttons / Create / Clock-Calendar. Into your open shortcut folder will be dropped a new icon - a clock. Tap on the clock icon, and StarTap will display a clock and calendar suitable for use when the unit's in it's cradle. The clock itself has nice looking (Arial Narrow) digits readable from across the room, and the Calendar is active! Tap on a day of the current month, and StarTap will open the Calendar application to that day. Also, Tap on one of the days from the preceding or following month, and the calendar will shift to that month.

You'll notice that the days themselves are kinda empty. That's to leave room for the clocks that will show your appointments for that day. Coming Soon!

Beyond that, smaller things:

We crushed a killer bug that just did in Ben's shortcuts. In V3.11, it was possible to drop a folder on itself, creating an "I'm my own grandpa" situation that confused heck out of StarTap, leading to the I'm Sorry message, and a corrupted shortcut file. Ouch! Sorry, Ben! This action now triggers an error message.

Also in the killer bug department, StarTap had a tendency to freeze on power up when installed on a Storage Card. No longer. Thanks, Linda!

Those of you not using Hibernate have probably had to put up with double taskbar icons from time to time. No more!

StarTap will no longer refer to registered users as "idiots": "You lost the proverbs, Sir!" is the worst you'll see.

You have to get past another nag box before StarTap will let you reset the Used Time on batteries.

Your settings for Idle Time in SysInfo / System will now survive a soft reset.

StarStub is rebuilt! Now the Explorer link in the Start Menu works, and the Explorer button in the popup TaskBox works in Hibernate mode. Also, the numbering of the screen shots should work properly.

The new StarStub comes with a bit of a caveat: Redoing from scratch something that was done before - and worked - can lead to some odd new behaviors. It is quite possible that things that worked before may not work now, or work differently. It is also possible that some of your settings, particularly related to the Battery Monitoring, may change. We've done our best to get it right, but we know that you'll set us straight where we haven't!

Good Day, and Thumbs Up!
Sally, Simba, Gene, and Sid (Rebel flew the coop)

V3.11, SP4:

Well, I hope that little episode is behind us!

First CNet dropped the ball, then our website went down, then it turns out that SP 3 had a couple of nasty bugs. Oh, well! The motto at Thumbs Up is: Life's too short to take seriously!

Anyway, when you close a program, StarTap should no longer ask mysteriously if you want to Nuke It! instead.

Also, it should no longer curl up and die immediately after startup.

HOWEVER! The Explorer link that StarTap now places in Start Menu / Programs does not work if StarTap is installed to the Storage Card. Sorry! This is related to the Compact Flash shortcuts that StarTap uses for programs on the Storage Card, and unfortunately cannot be resolved until StarStub is resurrenddddaaaadd dcted. Next Week

Somewhat abashed, but ever Thumbs Up! Rebel, Sally, Gene, & Sid Getting Presumptious!

Whadya say you devote all of your buttons to StarTap?! Well, now you can (Well, 3, anyway. You've gotta keep one for the Voice Recorder!). After StarTap V3.11 SP 3 has started the first time, there'll be a new shortcut in Start Menu / Programs. This is Explore.lnk. Assign this shortcut to a button, and you can bring up StarTap with the Explorer display showing. Use StarTap, StarTask, and Explore, and you can bring StarTap back to the foreground with the proper display, or switch between the functions, just by using the buttons. Thanks, Tim!

Thanks to Ivar, you can now filter the files that are viewed in Explorer. In the Explorer Menu: View / Filter, there are four options: Hide Apps, Hide Docs, Hide Rom, and Hide Ram. Put a check mark next to one of these items, and files of that type will not display. If there's an outcry for adding "View only files of type xxx", we'll add that, too.

Thanks to Craig, there is now a "Yes to All" option for deleting multiple files.

Thanks to Linda, StarTap will now ask if you really want to Migrate somewhere else. We have been completely unsuccessful in duplicating the problems that some of you have had with Migration (StarTap gets halfway through, then says, "Oh, Darn!" and tries to put things back the way they were). If anybody can bring some light to the conditions under which this happens, your input would be much appreciated!

Thanks to Alan, who installed a Storage Card after StarTap, it will now properly search for and detect a Storage Card every time it's started, rather than at the time of installation.

's 'bout it! Good Day, and Thumbs Up!

V3.11 Service Pack 2:

Mostly little fixes:

The only new "feature" is in the popup TaskBox when StarTap is not in Hibernate mode. Here you'll find a new button on the little toolbar, with the Explorer icon. Tap on the button and you go straight to the Explorer screen. This will be extended to Hibernate mode when StarStub is regenerated (it's still missing in action). Thanks, Tim!

The little black line that has been irritating you folks is gone, and StarTap's Menu now appears at the same height as those of other programs. Thanks to Dennis and Tim.

Thanks to Dennis, the aggressiveness of the Desktop toolbar has been curbed (it was doing its autohide / show routine over in the Tasks folder!).

In SP 1, if you double tapped on a folder in the List View in Explorer to open it, StarTap entered Hibernate mode, instead. That's fixed. Thanks, Tim!

Per Linda, we added an accounting of StarTap's net use of Device Contexts to the StarTap tab in SysInfo, but no dice, Linda!

Thumbs Up!
Rebel, Sally, Gene, & Sid

V3.11, SP1:

Not bad for a Service Pack:

In Explorer, "broken links", shortcuts that point nowhere, or documents whose associated application has moved, now show with special exclamation mark icons.

Since it's no help to see a problem if you can't fix it, you can do that, too! Select a '.lnk' file, then select File / Edit Lnk. You can edit the lnk itself, or browse for the application to fill in. Thanks to someone, but damned if I remember whom!

Similarly, select a Document (not an '.exe' or '.lnk'), then select File / Associate. If there's currently an association for this Type of file, then it's shown. In any case, you can Browse for the application to associate with it. Odd note: Windows CE programs are very particular about whether the document name that they're handed has double quotes around it. Some love it, some hate it. In particular, bReady and the Cabfile opener require the quotes. Most others won't work if they do have 'em. Anyway, there's a check box here that determines whether or not the quotes are used. Try it both ways. Your mileage may vary! Thanks Karim!

Also, the Target of a shortcut now shows in the Properites for that shortcut.

For those of you who use full-screen handwriting recognition (Thanks Geir!), you can now prevent unintentionally dragging and dropping in Explorer. Put a check mark next to View / Warn Drop, and StarTap will always ask if really want to move that file or directory.

Similarly, you can now turn off the warnings on File Delete. Just select View / Warn Delete to remove the check mark.

Speaking of deleting files, you can now do multiple selections and Select All for deletions. To do a multiple select, you have to pop up the keyboard and select 'Ctrl', then tap on the files that you want to select. Hit Delete, and they're all history. Also, Edit / Select All will select all the files in the chosen directory. This does not work for Cut and Copy. Just for Delete. Oh, well. . .

Incidentally, StarTap seems to have put on a lot of weight (193K for the MIPS version). Hmmm. . . Maybe we'll find out by Easter!

Thanks to Linda, the GUI Guru, the Toolbar on the Desktop now has an AutoHide function. Tap at the very top of the Shortcut pane, within about 2mm or 1/8" of the top, and the Toolbar will Hide / Show.

Smaller things:

Thanks to Dennis, we do believe that the Used Time for batteries is reliable. It was resetting on a Soft Reset, but should now march merrily on.

Along that line, you can now specify the "Recharge Factor" of your machine. This is the relative rate at which the batteries charge (Casio folk need not apply!). On the Nino, the batteries seem to charge at a rate of 6 times or better. 1 minute of recharging seems to give 6 minutes of battery life. Experiment with it, and let us know! The entry is a small text box: Rech on the SysInfo / Battery tab.

Thanks to Gene (no, not me, 'nother Gene - we're developing a real Gene pool!), we will be moving the location that Captured images are placed in. They will go into a Capture directory, under the StarTap directory. Unfortunately we had a major malfunction at Thumbs Up! yesterday, and about 3% of the Source Code is gone with the wind. In particular, it was a major portion of StarStub, specifically the Battery Monitoring functions. In any case, StarStub cannot be rebuilt until the code is rewrit, so, no changes in those functions until SP 2!

Thanks to Ulf, you can now set or reset the presence of the Capture button in the popup TaskBox. Just check or uncheck the Capture box in Desktop Menu: Edit / Settings, and the changes will be reflected. This was only a problem in Hibernate mode.

Thanks to William, I think, there is now a Wait Cursor shown for time-consuming File Copies and Moves in Explorer.

You can now Copy or Move onto an existing file, after you tell the Mother Hen that you really want to.

Thanks to Ad, you won't be plagued by the repeated appearance of 'Info.txt' in the root directory. Pardon! Our slip was showing!

Also thanks to Ad, you Nino folk can now use Reset to soft reset your machine without StarTap bitching about not being shut down properly (it shuts down before the reset, even when not in Hibernate mode).

The current Display Mode of Explorer (Large Icons, etc.) is now correctly represented by check marks in the Menu.

If you're using Hibernate mode, StarTap now properly drops out after launching an application from Explorer. Also from Find Files.

If you try to Delete the whole Button File (Desktop Menu: File / Buttons / Delete), you have to confirm that you know what you're doing. Thanks, Dave!

Known Issues:

The Idle Time setting in SysInfo / System is being trashed on a soft reset.

Captured images in Hibernate mode have their numbering system fouled up. Be careful! You may overwrite an image that you want to save. Waiting for StarStub to come back to life.

Still hoping for one more major cool feature in SP2. We'll see!


This is It! No! Wait! There's More!

Well, V3.11 was supposed to be It, but the scuttlebutt around here is that there will probably be a few new cool features slipped in with bug-fixes. You folks just have way too many good ideas!

Anyway, what's new in V3.11: Fuel Gauges! In the Desktop Menu: Edit / Preferences, you can now select that a Battery and / or Memory Gauge appear in the popup TaskBox. Both show percentage remaining. Pretty Cool!

Also, StarTap gives you more convenient control over the entries made in the Windows / StartUp folder. Under StarTap StartUp? there are two boxes: Enable, and Minimized. Enable means that you want StarTap to run after a soft reset. Minimized means that it won't take over the whole screen, but the little TaskBar icon will appear. Note that if you have Battery Monitoring Enabled, and Hibernation, that both of these boxes are disabled and checked. StarTap will already run minimized after a reset. There is a little problem remaining with updating this information when Hibernate is (un)selected. Oh, well, next time! For the moment, reopening the Preferences box and hitting OK will set things right.

Also, these Release Notes now go with you! After you install V3.11, go to the Desktop Menu: Help / Rel Notes, and you'll be right back here! Also, they reside wherever StarTap is installed (Thanks Ad!), and when you're done with 'em, just delete 'em! The next time StarTap starts, it will gray out the menu selection until the next install. They're also Migratable. If you Migrate StarTap, the Release Notes will pick up and go along for the ride.

Incidentally, they are a little ugly on a PPC. At this time, there is zero reformatting done on them to make 'em look pretty. Soon!

Thanks to Ad, the Shareware functions are a little more friendly. Unregistered users now get 1 completely free week, with only the annoying proverbs. After that, they've got 150 "uses" meaning starting or switching an app. Periodically, they're asked if they intend to register someday if they continue to use the software. UNREGISTERED USERS NOTE!! Don't say no! StarTap won't hurt anything else, but it will UnInstall itself quite immediately and completely.

Thanks to Linda, StarTap now understands Directory Shortcuts, at least in the same limited way that Desktop Services does. In other words, the icons show correctly, and you can double tap on the shortcut to open the named directory. They cannot be used as Drag and Drop destinations (but neither can they in Desktop Services). Oh, well.

In SysInfo / Battery, the Available Time will no longer go screwy if the Used Time exceeds the Total Time. It just shows 0:00:00, meaning that batterywise you're basically running on fumes.

The AC Time / Charging Time is not working correctly. It will (V3.11.02)!

By popular request from several sources, you can now Delete empty directories from the Tree View in Explorer. Before you had to make the selection in the List View. Still can't delete directories with stuff in 'em, though. Someday!

Known Issues:

Thanks to Ulf, we know that the Capture icon in the TaskBox is not being updated correctly when you're in Hibernate mode. At the moment you have to do a soft reset to get it to "take".

Good Day, and Thumbs Up!
Rebel, Sally, Gene, & Sid


StarTap goes international!

Yup, we finally erased any direct reference to directory names. For our long-suffering European and Asian users, StarTap should be much more friendly. In particular, / Windows / Start Menu, / Windows / StartUp, and / Windows / Start Menu / Programs are no longer assumed to have their American English names, StarTap looks for 'em no matter what they're called. In SysInfo, on the StarTap tab, are shown the names that StarTap found for these directories. If we blew it, PLEASE LET US KNOW! This is a tricky business, and we may have run afoul. Thanks to Alberto, and Ulf!

Also note that this probably will not take care of any existing problems that you have. You may have to do some clean up work yourself. If worse comes to worse, uninstall StarTap using it's own UnInstall facility (which cleans the Registry), and then ReInstall. We don't like UnInstall's (they're a pain in the neck), and we don't recommend it. But, if all else fails . . .

The SysInfo tab for Battery has changed. There is now an Auto B (Battery reset) check box. StarTap looks for a Low Battery reading followed by a High Battery reading to detect a change of batteries. Unfortunately, these little machines rather predicatably show a Low Battery reading on a soft reset, if a Storage Card is installed. With V3.10.02, StarTap is bright enough to ignore this problem. It ignores Low Battery readings for the first few seconds of startup. Consequently we recommend that you put a check in this box, and let StarTap try to detect battery changes on its own. If you still have problems with the Used Time getting reset, then remove the check mark (and you'll have to tap the Used Time button when you change batteries). Thanks, Atle!

The About Box has gotten a facelift (and, ahem, "comentary" has been excised).

The Help / Register dialog now properly shows your current Registration Key. Sorry it took us so long! Thanks, Douglas!

If a Registration Key is entered improperly, StarTap will now complain.

Now that StarTap keeps track of battery time, you folks have wanted to run down your batteries to see how long it takes. Well, now you can. On the System tab of SysInfo, you can set the "Idle Time" to whatever you want. (The Power applet in Control Panel limits your settings.) Set it to 600 minutes, and your machine will sit there and idle all day on batteries!

The StarTap Taskbar Icon was, ah, not completely implemented for Hibernate mode in V3.10.01! It now correctly performs the StarTap main screen, Hide / Show Toolbar, and Next Task functions selected through Preferences. Sorry! Thanks Ad!

The StarTask shortcut (which you can assign to a button) now works correctly when starting StarTap and in Hibernate mode. Thanks, Linda!

The Hide / Show status of the Toolbar is now saved.

StarTap will not disappear when you run Control Panel applets. Close down the applet and you'll find StarTap waiting for you. Thanks, Ad!

Not bad for a ".01" bug fix, eh?



The big change with 3.10 is in how StarTap behaves when it goes into the "background". On the Desktop Menu: Edit / Settings, the check box for Hibernate is no longer grayed. Check this box, and the internal behavior of StarTap changes significantly. With luck (!) the obvious behavior changes hardly at all. What Hibernate does is it forces StarTap to completely shut down when another program comes to the foreground. Don't worry, the StarTap icon is still down in the Taskbar, and still has the expected behavior. StarTap itself, though, is nowhere in Program Memory. Our little StarStub (which has grown to a whopping 20K) is taking care of the popup TaskBox, and will restart StarTap if necessary. Also, the StarTap button should work as before. The StarTask button, if you've assigned one, is temporarily broke if you use Hibernate. Sorry! It'll be back in V3.10.02!

This is still a little experimental, though it's behavior seems solid to us. If you have problems, and have any kind of insight as to what might have happened, let us know! Any odd behaviors should be ironed out in a day or two.

Beyond that, little things:

The Help Files are updated, though they don't yet include the Hibernate function. Call it help for V3.09!

A couple of small changes in the SysInfo display, thanks to Atle. StarTap will now remember which tab you were looking at, and show it to you the next time. Also, on the Battery Tab, there's a new check box: Show. Leave this unchecked, and you won't have to look at all those Unknowns! Thanks Atle!

StarTap now recognizes that not all PPC's have Storage Cards. Thanks, Julian, but you really gotta get yourself a Storage Card, boy!

Chances are that V3.10.02 will have some sort of "fuel gauge" for memory and battery (by popular request!).

We're working on "internationalizing" the references to / Windows / Start Menu and / Windows / StartUp. Please bear with us!

We're still working on "autohide" for the Toolbar, Linda!

Best wishes from the programming team at Thumbs Up:
Rebel, Sally, Gene, and Sid.


StarTap does PowerTime!

Yet another clever little utility has been subsumed into the growing collection that is StarTap. In the Desktop Menu: Edit / SysInfo, under the Battery tab, you'll find some information that is actually useful, rather than just all those Unknowns (Incidentally, these Unknowns come from Windows CE. If StarTap were to be run on a machine that could report these figures, they'd show up.) What's new is in the top five lines: Used %, Used Time, Available Time, Total Time, and AC Time.

Used % is, not surprisingly, the percentage of battery time used.

Used Time shows the minutes and seconds used on battery power, and it's also a button. If you change the battery unexpectedly (without getting a Low Battery warning), then press this button to tell StarTap to reset the Used Time to 0. If you do get a Low Battery warning, and the battery level subsequently returns to High, StarTap assumes that you've put new batteries in and resets the Used Time for you (I don't think PowerTime does this).

Available Time is just the Total Time minus the Used Time.

Total Time is actually an Edit box, in which you can fill in the expected maximum time for your unit. 8 hours is filled in by default.

AC Time / Charge Time shows the amount of time the unit has been running in the cradle. This is also a button, because Palm PC's come in two flavors: with and without the ability to recharge the batteries in the cradle. If your batteries recharge, then tap the button and the AC Time designation will change to Charge Time. Also, as the time accumulates, time is deducted from the Used Time, to show the effect of recharging. We're currently using a factor of 2.1, meaning that 10 minutes in the cradle will deduct 21 minutes from the Used Time. This is a rank guess, and will be made accurate in V3.10.

Also on this page are two check boxes: Enable, and Notify. Check Enable if you want to be able to use the Battery Monitoring functions. Be advised that this loads StarStub permanently into memory, and creates a link in your / Windows / StartUp folder. Somebody has to keep an eye on them batteries!

The Notify checkbox represents what we think is the slickest feature of StarTap's Battery functions. Put a check in this box, and each hour that you're running a batteries a dialog will pop up saying, "You've been running on batteries for xxx hours." Tap on the huge OK button to make it go away.

Please be advised that the actions of the Tasks folder have been changed!!! Now StarTap itself shows up as an ordinary task, and can be closed in the ordinary way. Pressing on the Close button now simply closes the Tasks folder. Also, the Parent folder that you used to use for this purpose is gone. The only other major change was to the Nagware / Shareware functions, but you folks shouldn't have to care about that!

Beyond that, smaller things:

StarTap can now UnInstall itself, removing all the files (except StarStub), and most importantly removing all references in the Registry. If you have some persistent problem with StarTap, try it (but see the next item!)

For those who have been having problems with StarTap wanting to Migrate somewhere immediately upon installation (and then being unsuccessful in the attempt), we've added a dialog box to the process. IF YOU HAVE THIS PROBLEM, then when StarTap asks if you want it to Migrate, say No. If you haven't had the problem, just say Yes and let StarTap go about its business.

StarTap now leaves a neat screen behind if it is closed as the last task (check it out!). Thanks to Linda and Dennis!

StarTap should correctly recognize everyone's Storage Card. Some users have reported that the Memory tab of SysInfo was showing the same results for Main Memory and the Storage Card. With luck (!) those problems should be behind us. Thanks to Ulf and Julian!

StarTap no longer allows you to try to delete a Parent Folder. Thanks, William!

StarTap now correctly Refreshes the root (My Computer) directory. Thanks, Ad!

StarTap now saves it's own state when you shut it down. In other words, the directory that you had Explorer pointed at, and the Desktop folder that you were viewing will be restored when StarTap is run the next time.

If StarTap is installed to a Storage Card, it now will wait for the card to "wake up" before trying to read from its .btn file. Thanks Terry!

There was a problem with the icons getting overpainted when StarTap tried to refresh the Tasks folder view. It's fixed. Thanks to many who reported it!

The information that is stored in the Registry is updated more regularly, and StarTap will produce a warning message if it was not shut down properly (soft reset, instead). Before it was possible to unexpectedly lose the changes that you had made to Settings, etc. Thanks Ad!

The Help files should be updated in V3.10, so if something doesn't make sense, check it out then.


It's more than a bug fix!

The addition here is a new item on the Desktop Menu: Edit / Preferences. On this screen, thanks to our new GUI Guru, Linda, you can specify the behavior of the StarTap icon that lives down in the TaskBar. In V3.01, a single tap would bring up the Task Box, and a double tap would flip through the running applications. Now both actions can have a user-determined effect, chosen from the following list: 1) Bring up main StarTap screen, 2) Switch to next task, 3) Bring up the Task Box, 4) Capture the current screen image, 5) Hide / Show the Toolbar, and 6) Close the current task. Pretty Slick! Thanks, Linda!

Beyond that, just bugs:

The behavior of the Help / Register dialog should be ironed out. It's not nearly so likely to trash your Key information. Thanks, Douglas!

StarTap will now accept a Registration Key even after it has "expired". The current versions of StarTap are set to expire on 2-1-1999 for UNREGISTERED VERSIONS ONLY, after giving a week's worth of warnings. The problem occurred when StarTap lost the Key, and this perfectly friendly and well-mannered program would start saying that it had expired, and you were really an idiot. Now it is far less likely to lose the Key in the first place, and if it does, you can reenter it. Again, thanks Douglas!

It is now possible to Close the Desktop, after telling StarTap that you really, really want to. Thanks, Linda!

As I think we've been hinting for some time, StarTap development will go on hiatus soon, until V4.0 comes along in a month or two. The last version released will be V3.11, and we're making our final plans for what this version will include.

Specifically it WILL include a PowerTime-like function to keep track of the running time on batteries, recharging time, and such things. Evidentally, the folks over at Sixaac (SP?) haven't been able to find the battery information either (!) but nonetheless they've produced a very serviceable product. StarTap will duplicate its important functions.

The Hibernate mode, which is still grayed out on the Settings dialog will be implemented. Essentially, this is your way of telling StarTap that you value space more than speed. StarTap will do everything possible to minimize it's memory usage in the foreground, and especially in the background. It'll just be a little slower coming to.

We'll probably implement a Terminate Process function for those obstinate programs that refuse to Close.

Not really a feature, but we'll display the StarTap help files here on the website (for those of you with tired eyes!).

Per GUI Guru Linda, StarTap will treat itself as a normal Task in the Tasks view. You will shut StarTap down by "Deleting" it, as you do with other tasks, and the Close button on that screen will simply close Tasks, and take you back to the main Desktop. This means that the Parent link will no longer be there, or used.

There are still A LOT of really good ideas that you folks have forwarded, and those will appear here on the website soon, as a Wishlist. These will be adressed in StarTap 4.0 which looks like it's going to be a hell of a product!


Just a bug fix, but them were nasty bugs!

Turns out that every time you opened a new folder on the Desktop, StarTap was dropping a copy of the wallpaper bitmap - whether you had the wallpaper Shown or not! This was eating up about 20K of your memory EVERY TIME! Sorry! This memory was only returned when StarTap was shut down and restarted (at least Windows CE has brains enough to protect us from ourselves!). Anyway, it's fixed.

Other small memory leaks fixed, as well, and the "double directory" problem with using Locate on Find Files seems fixed.

The numbers shown in the StarTap tab of System Info are MUCH more stable (that's how we find these leaks). On startup, it should show 1 File Handle (for the btn file), 4 Image Lists (one for the Desktop Icons, one for the Explorer Large Icons for the files, one for the similar Small Icons, and one for the icons that are used in the Tree View), and 4 Memory Handles, all associated with Explorer (one for the directory info for the My Computer icon for the tree, one for the directory information for the List View, one for the names of the files in the List View, and one for the sort order of the files in the List View). This may seem like a lot of handles, but that's what makes StarTap so quick to load directory information.

There is a Memory Handle associated with each "node" of the tree that is currently displayed, so as you open the tree up, the number of memory handles in use climbs. This is normal, and the number of Memory Handles in use should drop back to 4 if the tree is closed down to just My Computer.

When we've finished looking for memory leaks, we'll ask some of you folks to keep an eye on these numbers, but NOT YET!


This was going to be V2.70, but there's just too much new stuff to talk about! As has been true recently, this version is only available to currently registered users!

System Info:
In the Desktop Menu, under Edit, you'll find SysInfo. This brings up a tabbed dialog with these headings: System, Processor, Memory, Battery, and StarTap. Each of these tabs displays information about that element of your system (probably more than you wanted to know!). Three deserve mention, and we'll start with the most negative:

Battery is still a work in progress. No, it doesn't currently show the install time and battery running time, yet. Darned if we can find where they've hidden that information! We will!

StarTap displays information that will largely be used by us, for the final debugging. This screen shows a net read on how many objects StarTap has used, minus the number that it's returned. Bitmaps, Icons, File Handles, etc. are covered here. This is extremely preliminary, and what is shown here probably has little relation to reality! With a couple of bug-fix releases, these numbers will become stable, and show the number of objects that are currently in use by StarTap.

Memory shows just about everything you'd want to know about the status of the memory in your machine. Program Memory, Storage Memory, and the Storage Card are all described here. ALSO there's a Compact button! Press this, and StarTap will squeeze your running applications to see if they can give up some free memory. Cool, huh!

StarTap now does screen capture. Go to the Desktop Menu, Edit / Settings, and put a check mark next to Capture. StarTap will ask you to restart StarTap. (Sorry! In the course of emulating Windows '98 features, we've picked up some of its worst habits! But it is necessary.) When StarTap comes up again, the little Task Box associated with the StarTap icon in the Taskbar will have a new option. Tap on the little eyeball, and an image of the screen (without the Taskbox!) will be saved to the root directory of Main Memory. Cool again.

We now have Small Icons for the Desktop. In the Desktop Menu, under Edit, remove the check mark next to Large Icons. StarTap will repaint the screen with small ones, with a default layout. You can change the spacing by using Edit / Settings. Thanks, Robert, for this one.

In Explorer, you can turn the icons off entirely. They take time to collect and display, and they take up space. If you'd be happier without 'em, just go to the Explorer Menu, View, and remove the check mark from Show Icons. You have to restart, but when StarTap comes back up, the icons are gone. The Windows directory really loads in a flash, now!

We found the missing applets from Control Panel. Owner, Stylus, and System can now be displayed along with the others. To update your Control Panel, you have to delete it and then use the Desktop Menu, File / Buttons / Create / Control Panel to make it afresh. To delete Control Panel, you first have to delete the shortucts to all the applets within it. But it's worth it!

The StarTap Taskbar Icon now has more "Flipperlike" behavior. Double tap on it, and you'll go back to the preceding application. Double tap again, and you'll go to the application before that one:

Suppose you run applications A, B, C, D, and E, in that order. In other words application E is on top, with the others underneath it. Double tap, and you'll see D. Double tap again, and it's C and so forth down to A. At this point it may seem a little confusing, because now the applications are in reverse order in the machine (E, D, C, B, and A). If you continue double tapping after you've reached application A, you'l go back in reverse: B, C, D, and E.

There is a reason for this! The applications that are near the top are those that you've used most recently, and therefore most likely to want to go back to. StarTap makes it quick to go back to a recent application. Thanks to Carl for this one.

The Tasks screen has been given a minor, cosmetic fixup (thanks, Douglas!).

Help for StarTap can now be accessed the usual way, by selecting Start Menu / Help (thanks again, Robert!)

There's probably more, that we haven't mentioned! Check back tomorrow!

Known Issues:

The missing Battery info!

When StarTap is installed on a Storage Card, the icons get overpainted sometimes on power on.

Explorer is still showing "double directories" when Find Files is used to Locate a directory.

In Explorer, Large Icons can still be selected, even if Show Icons is turned off, leading to a garbage display.

The About Box identifies this as V2.70 (last minute change of heart!).


A few little additions:

Again, this version is available only to currently registered users!

Thanks to Douglas Martheyn, the arrangement of the Explorer window panes is now completely up to you! Horizontal or vertical, with the Tree and List Views put where you wish. Douglas also finally gets his proper mention in the About box. Thanks, Douglas!

A serious bug in the Find Files dialog was repaired. V2.61 refused to search for a "string", namely a description without a period in it. I'm disappointed in you folks! Nobody reported this one! Anyway, it's gone.

StarTap has gone on a bit of a diet. The StarTap wallpaper and the annoying proverbs were stored in the executable itself. They have now been split off as separate files which you may find in the StarTap directory. If you don't want to use the StarTap wallpaper, just delete it. StarTap still has an emergency, fall-back, if everything else fails wallpaper that it can use, but it doesn't take up nearly as much space in the program.

V2.70 should be available tomorrow, and should include a new "Status" dialog. This will show a measure of battery life and memory status at a minimum. We're taking requests on this one, so send in your suggestions for system information that you'd like to see displayed. This screen is going to see many changes in the weeks ahead. We'll be using it to see how StarTap is managing it's own memory, as we work to make it a "Good Citizen" in the CE world. Right now, it's a pig when it comes to memory usage, but that will change! Stay tuned.


Sensible support for CF!

This version is only available to currently registered users.

V2.60 really should have been called V2.59. It wasn't quite there, but V2.61 should take care of those things.

First, this is the first version of StarTap that will actually install to a Storage Card! But first, this is how YOU should install:

If you have used V2.60 to Migrate StarTap somewhere else, everything should go smoothly, no matter where StarTap is, and no matter where you install it to. StarTap V2.61 will find the directory that has the current installation, and move itself over there the first time it's run.

If you have NOT Migrated, then please install V2.61 to the Default Directory (as you have in the past). But then please move StarTap off to the Storage Card! It will now automatically update it's own Windows CE shortcuts in the Start Menu, and it'll make them "CF shortcuts" so that your StarTap button will work even if the unit is turned off.

All future upgrades should go smoothly, whether you've Migrated StarTap, or not.

Incidentally, you can Migrate just about anywhere. From Main Memory to Storage Card, or back, or between different directories on the same "disk". StarTap takes care of all the little details.


V2.60 includes support for CF Storage Cards.

IMPORTANT NOTE: V2.60 will not be available directly from this site! When it's ready, the Main Page will show a link to CNet's download.com. (StarTap is being "Premiered" over there) Click on that, and you'll find your way to V2.60. While you're there, look around, and leave 'em a note about what you think about StarTap!

There's a new item on the Edit Menu in Explorer: Paste CF Shortcut creates a shortcut that waits for the Storage Card to wake up before letting Windows CE go off to try to find the file. Please note that a "CF Shortcut" waits whether its pointed at something that is actually on the Storage Card, or not. This is actually a feature, not a bug. A shortcut could be pointed at a Document that's in Main Memory that's associated with an Application that's over on the Storage Card. In any case, use 'em only if you want to associate a button with a program that's on the Storage Card (Like StarTap!). That's when they're necessary.

Yup, StarTap can run from a button, even though it's on the Storage Card. We were hoping to automate this process a little more for V2.60, but no luck. V2.61 will make things much simpler. But, if you want to clear up the space in Main Memory RIGHT NOW, this is how:

In the File Menu of Explorer there is also a new item: Migrate! Point Explorer at a directory, either in the Tree View or the List View, then select Migrate. StarTap will shut itself down, move the executable and the data files into the selected directory, and then start up again. What it doesn't do (and V2.61 will) is fixup the shortcuts that point to it from the Start Menu. You'll have to do these by hand: Erase the existing StarTap.lnk shortcut, and use Paste CF Shortcut (assuming you've moved StarTap to the Storage Card) to create a new one. Erase the StarTask.lnk shortcut, and Don't Replace It! StarTap will recreate this shortcut the next time it's started. At the moment (at least) the StarTask function is not Storage Card aware. If you press the StarTask button with the unit off (and with StarTap on the Storage Card) you'll get the same old "Can't find" message. Oh, well.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Do NOT Migrate StarTap to the directory that it's currently in!!! It will disappear entirely and take your .btn file with it!!! This will be corrected in V2.61 (needless to say!)

One more warning about moving StarTap with V2.60: The next install (V2.61 or whatever) may be a little funky. It'll work out OK, but it's odd. StarTap will go ahead and install to it's old location in Program Files / StarTap. When you run it the first time from the shortcut that it just created in Start Menu / Programs, the new version of StarTap will begin to run, it will see that an older version exists somewhere else on your machine, and so it will shut down, move itself over to the location of the older version, and start up again. This should be completely transparent, in the sense that you won't see any of this happen, but just thought you oughta know. After moving, V2.61 should be smart enough to fixup the shortcuts on its own.

Future installations should go more smoothly. StarTap will "doctor up" the install information that Windows CE keeps in its Registry, so that it will reinstall to whatever directory you Migrate it to.

V2.61 should also show a couple of new features, thanks to our users! Dear Douglas (who will probably get recognition in the About box next time) wants to be able to swap the two window panes in Explorer. It shall be done.

Robert wants to be able to show Small Icons in the main Desktop view, to have access to more shortcuts in one glance. You got it, Robert!


Just bug fixes in this one (but see below!):

Thanks to Douglas of Bear, Stearns, File Properties now shows the correct file size for Large files (before, it caused StarTap to curl up and die!).

Also thanks to Douglas, StarTap will now show the Properties for an empty directory.

Our thanks to Jim for helping us at least improve the "double directory" problem with the Tree View in Explorer. We suspect that problems remain, but we'll see!

The big news here is not about V2.51, but rather V2.60 coming tomorrow. StarTap will include big-time support for Compact Flash Storage Cards. Not only will you be able to "migrate" StarTap over to the Storage Card, but it will correctly "cold start" from there (pressing the StarTap button when the machine is turned off), AND there is a new entry in the Edit Menu: Paste CF Shortcut. When this option is used, StarTap will create a shortcut to ANY file which will take into account the problem these machines have with not recognizing the Storage Card on power-up.

In other words, if you have a program that you want to run from a button, and want to keep stored on the Storage Card, just use Paste CF Shortcut to create a shortcut to the button somewhere in the Start Menu. Then use the Button Properties to assign that shortcut to the button. Now, when you press the button, the machine will wait for the Storage Card to come to life before telling Windows to go execute the program. After a second or two, the program runs, just like it would have if it were in Main Memory. Cool, huh?

The only downside is that StarTap places a very small (6K) StarStub.exe file in your Windows directory.

If all goes as planned, StarTap will be Premiered over at CNet tomorrow, and that will affect your downloads. At least tomorrow, and perhaps for a week, you'll have to go through CNet to get the latest version of StarTap. The version available here will remain at V2.51. There will be a link to CNet's download area on the front page of this website.

Known Issues:

Something awful has happened to the loading of directories! It's really only noticeable with the huge Windows directory, but it undoubtedly affects all of them. Apparently StarTap has gotten it in mind to reread the directory 2 or more times before showing it to you. With the Windows directory this means a delay of several seconds. This will be fixed in V2.60.


We've got some pretty substantial improvements this morning, so call it V2.50.

The File Properties display has been significantly upgraded. Now, the Properties for a file includes it's precise size. For a directory (selected from either the List or the Tree Views), the changes are greater. StarTap will now count the Folders, Files, and Total Space (of the files) within the directory and all its subdirectories, AND it will give you informatiion on the "disk" that the directory is on. Select a directory in Main Memory, and StarTap shows the Used, Free, and Total space in Main Memory. Ditto for the Storage Card. Slick, huh!

Also, thanks to Douglas from Bear, Stearns, the Divider in Explorer can now run vertically or horizontally, at your choice. Go up to the Menu, View / Vertical, and select or unselect the check mark. Also, StarTap now remembers the position of the Divider, and will restore it if StarTap is shutdown and restarted.

For you folks who are too cheap to Register the darn thing, we've got good news, too! Go to the Menu, Help / Register, and enter 12345 as the Key. This will make StarTap operate as the Registered version through 1-31-1999.

Financial problems cannot be solved as easily or quickly as software! Getting our "Register Now" button for this website has proven to be signifcantly more time consuming than we (optimistically!) thought. We'll be up and running by the end of the month, and then we'll ask to be paid for our work. Until then, Enjoy!

The Known Issues have not changed. (Maybe 2.51).


Well, the Folder specific wallpaper is implemented: select Properties from the Toolbar, click on the Folder to change, and the Button Properties dialog will show. The section that is normally entitled "Document or Parameters" now shows as "Wallpaper". Browse for a 2bp file to use as the background for this folder, and select OK. The image will be Tiled or Centered as you have selected in Menu / Edit / Settings. Also, if you have not checked Show Wallpaper in Settings, you're not going to see anything! Those folders that have no specific wallpaper associated with them will show the image selected as Wallpaper in Edit / Settings.

Bug Fixes:

There were two serious bugs that can corrupt StarTap's shortcuts. One in the code that leads to the I'm Sorry dialog (If you've seen this box, what can I say - I'm Sorry!). The second in the compaction code associated with emptying the Recycle Bin. Both are fixed, and the shortcuts should be more stable (but please do use Menu / File / Buttons / Backup from time to time!).

The display of Small Icons in the Button Properties preview is fixed.

Coming Soon:

Thanks to a tip from Brad (I think!), the File Properties dialog should soon show more information. For Files, this will include the precise file size, for My Computer it will show Total and Used storage space in Main Memory, and for the Storage Card the same. Call it V2.50.


Two additions to this one: Namable wallpaper, and a 2bp viewer!

The namable wallpaper is in preparation for Folder specific wallpaper, where you'll be able to specify different backgrounds for different folders. Maybe V2.34! Go to the Menu: Edit / Settings, and then Browse in the Wallpaper section. The image can be Tiled, or Centered, or not shown at all (white background). If you currently have wallpaper as logo.2bp in the /Program Files/StarTap directory, it should already be filled in.

The 2bp viewer is thanks to Ad Bosch, who said, "If you're already reading the darn things as wallpaper, why not let us use the capability?" (Well, that's not exactly what he said, and I hope I'm not ruining his reputation by misquoting him!) So it is. Also on the Settings dialog, put a check mark next to View 2bp, and StarTap will use it's internal viewer when you double click on these files (it's fast!). Leave it unchecked, and StarTap will use whatever file association you have with 2bp's. (Incidentally, this is only available to registered users! You other folks check back on Wednesday and register your copy!)

At the moment, StarTap will NOT use it's internal viewer if you create a StarTap shortcut to a 2bp file. Maybe V2.34!

Fixed the "open a renamed directory" problem.

Known Issues:

Install remains a problem area. Not for normal installs, but for the oddball ones. StarTap still WILL NOT install to a Storage Card, and non-English users (who do not have a Program Files directory, but rather a directory with a different name) have reported odd behaviors. We're working on it!


Find Files handles normal filespecs, now. It's pretty flexible, too, with full support for ? and * wildcards. You can search for s*p.*b (any filename that begins with an 's', ends with a 'p' and has an extension that ends with a 'b'. This will turn up StarTap.btb (if you've made a backup of your Button file - File / Buttons / Backup in the Menu), and probably nothing else. In the Find Files dialog, tap on a file name to see the path to it, and click on Locate to have Explorer open the directory that it's in.

We're rather sorry to say that this is the first version of StarTap which doesn't offer full functionality to non-registered users. To make things worse, we're not accepting any new registrations until next Wednesday (maybe Tuesday)! At that time, you'll be able to obtain a Registration Key directly from this site. The only function that is affected at this time is Find Files, but other goodies added down the road will probably be handled the same. Bug fixes, of course, will apply to all users.

Beyond that, just little things:

The "synchronization" or "two-line" problem with the popup task box is fixed.

There remains a problem with Explorer reading two copies of a directory in the Tree View. Each subdirectory shows up twice. Also, occasionally, the root (My Computer) completely disappears. Until we get these behaviors ironed out, we have added a new entry to the View menu item. Under here, you'll find Refresh which causes Explorer to reload the tree and directory listing displays. Refresh SHOULD clear up the anomalies.

Cut and Paste were not updating the tree at all when directories were moved. That's been fixed.

Known Issues:

We are unable to duplicate the problem that some users have reported with moving the StarTap.lnk shortcut to the Windows/StartUp folder (StarTap doesn't run at reset). It is known that this will not work if StarTap (or any other StartUp program) is located on a Storage Card! Windows CE can't "see" the Storage Card when it first wakes up, and reports that it can't find the program. If this does not describe your problem, please email us!

A newly renamed directory cannot be opened by double tapping on it in the directory listing (V2.33!).


Well, that was quick! Our appologies if you downloaded V2.30. It moved all of your icons down the screen, didn't it! V2.31 allows you to move 'em back up again. Just go to the Menu, Edit / Settings, and enter "2" under Icon Origin / Top. Tap OK, and the little guys'll be back where they should be. Sorry!


StarTap now knows how to Find Files. At least partially! You can search for "strings" in filenames (not in files!), but not file specifications (V2.31!). If you search for "calc" it'll turn up calc.exe and Calculator.lnk and CoolCalc.exe and what have you, but if you search for "calc.*" it'll turn up nothing. Oh, well. Tomorrow!

Beyond that, bug fixes:

The "instability" of the Top Icon Origin is better. There are still problems with the scrolling of wallpaper (it disappears), but we're making progress (thanks Ad!).

The popup Task window no longer blends into the wallpaper and disappears when another task is closed on top of StarTap (thanks Douglas, and others!)

When the taskbar icon is used to select StarTap, when Explorer is showing, it correctly switches to the Shortcut screen (thanks Alberto!).

A Cab file can now be opened by double tapping in Explorer (thanks to Alberto again!).

There remain some Known Issues:

Some users are having problems getting StarTap to execute from the Windows/StartUp folder.

If a task in the popup task window takes 2 lines (System Properties does this), it throws off the association of all the tasks below (they're all off by one line). V2.31!

The tree display in Explorer still gets confused at times.

There should be a specific error message if you try to Move a folder from Main Memory to the Storage Card (it just says there was a problem). You CAN move a file.

Happy New Year, and Thumbs Up!
Gene Knight


Explorer gains drag and drop! Drag just about anything from anywhere, drop it on something else, and the expected thing should happen. Move files, directories, execute documents, you name it. There remains one subtle and seldom seen bug, which confuses the display of the directory tree. Shut down Explorer, then shut down StarTap and restart it. We're working on it! (Well, maybe not so seldom seen after all! In any case, all it's trashing is it's own display, not files! V2.21 or better for tomorrow, and this little sucker'll be history!)

Also, directories in the file list pane can now be opened by double clicking.

New support for shortcuts! Not the StarTap variety, but the good old fashioned Windows CE ".lnk" shortcuts. You can create 'em (with Paste Shortcut in the Edit Menu), their icons display correctly in Explorer, and if you double tap on one, it'll open the application.

We're still working on Find Files.


Little changes: The wallpaper is more reliable, and will correctly display odd-size (not 240 X 320) bitmaps (it had a "horizontal hold" problem!).

The sound is produced reliably now, when one of the shortcuts is pressed (if you have Sounds turned on!).

The "double vision" is fixed (you can no longer set "oddball" settings for the icon spacing and margins).

If the Explorer screen is visible, pressing the StarTap button will bring up the ShortCut screen.

If you lose your Toolbar, and can't find the Toolbar shortcut to bring it back, bring up the keyboard and tap the 't' key. The toolbar should reappear.

There remains a problem with the wallpaper overpainting the little popup task window.


Nothing much new to this one. The Help files are now up-to-date, and describe StarTap as it is today, rather than old V1.20.

Some quirks with the Install have been worked out.

It has been pointed out that StarTap WILL NOT install to the Storage Card. We're working on it!


The main change to V2.11 is a speedup of the directory loading in Explorer. Point it at the Windows directory now, and it loads in a flash! This has got to make StarTap one of the few multi-threaded applications for Windows CE.

The time-consuming part of loading the Windows directory (for StarTap) was getting all the icons that represent the files. This has now been moved to a background thread, so that control returns to the user more quickly. As soon as the directory appears, you can start scrolling down to find the file you're after. You'll see the icons appear singly and in groups as a few seconds pass. Slick, huh!

StarTap now "fills in" icons for shortcuts that are missing in the files themselves. In particular, Microsoft did not see fit to include Large icons for either Calculator or Solitaire. Many other applications simply don't have any icons at all! StarTap now fills in for those missing icons it's aware of, and fills in a default "file" icon for the others. To update your existing shortcuts, just click on Properties, then the shortcut, then click on OK. StarTap should fill in the proper icon.

The Command Band behavior doesn't seem adequately documented by Microsoft. This is the combination Toolbar / Menu that's at the top of most CE applications. You can drag the Gripper (two vertical bars) left and right to show SOME of the menu underneath. You can click on the two arrows to expose / hide the menu. You can also drag the gripper down to the next line, to show BOTH the Toolbar and the Menu. The only thing that's new here with StarTap is that it now remembers your settings for the formatting of the Command Band. When you start it up the next time, the two Command Bands (for the Shortcuts, and for Explorer) should be as you left them.

We still have a minor problem with the Install (nothing new, it's been there since the beginning!). Until it's fixed (V2.12?), unzip the installation files to the Temp directory shown as the default (usually C:\Windows\Temp on your desktop). Thanks!


There's more to talk about here than you'd think!

First, after we got the user-settable wallpaper working, we discovered that those darn shortcuts covered up some of her - its! - best features. So, if you want to keep shortcuts from being placed on parts of the wallpaper, experiment with the Icon Spacing settings. These are in Edit / Settings, and they work like this:

The Icon Origin sets the left and top margins for the shortcuts. They will not be placed above the Top, nor to the left of Left.

Icon Spacing sets the horizontal and vertical spacing of the shortcuts. Make the horizontal spacing small (say, 60), and you'll get 4 colums of shortcuts, rather than 3. Make it large (say, 168) and you'll get two columns with a large blank space in the middle.

With some settings you may suffer from "double vison," with TWO sets of icons painted on the screen. When this happens, reset to "reasonable" settings (Left = 20, Top = 2, Horizontal = 75, Vertical = 64), and then shut down StarTap and rerun it. We're working on it!

There are also two checkboxes here: Sounds, and Show Wallpaper. Check Sounds, and a default sound (Asterisk.wav) will go off when you press any of the shortcut buttons. Uncheck Show Wallpaper, and StarTap will go back to a white background. Not real exciting, but a little more sprightly.

These settings are saved in the Registry, and should remain set when you restart StarTap.

The other major change is with the handling of the "Special" shortcuts that StarTap creates when you first set it up: Tasks, Toolbar, Explorer, Control Panel, and the Recycling Bin. With a bit of luck, you should have complete control over where (and whether) these shortcuts show up. Move 'em to other folders (except the Recycling Bin), or delete 'em. If you delete something you shouldn't, just go down to File / Buttons / Create. All five of these shortcuts can be recreated from here.

Good Luck!


Finally! Everything should be functional in the Explorer area, with the exception of drag-and-drop. Maybe 2.1! The help file, though, is still V1.2. That'll get updated tomorrow (12-24, 8:00 AM PST).

New to V2.00, you can add your own wallpaper. Name a Bmp file to "logo.2bp" and put it in the StarTap directory (Program Files/StarTap). When StarTap starts the next time, it'll pick up your image file and display it behind the shortcuts.

What follows is from V1.91:

Please backup your Buttons (File / Buttons / Backup) before installing V1.91!

Well, as the version number implies, it's not quite 2.0! BUT current users of StarTap V1.30 on Ninos REJOICE! We found The Bug that was causing all those I'm Sorry messages (I'm Sorry!). Also found and repaired a serious problem with emptying the Recycle Bin (which you do, incidentally, by Deleting it).

This release includes Windows Explorer features for the first time. Not fully implemented yet, though. You can browse files, rename them (a slow double tap on the file name), and delete them. Cut, copy, paste, properties and drag-and-drop are not yet functional (but check back tomorrow 12-23 at 8:00 AM PST!).

Also, there may be many odd behaviors associated with the Explorer features. Nothing that will damage your machine (we trust!), but just odd and wrong. For example, you can delete a directory in the lower pane, but the tree display in the upper pane is not updated. Oh, well. Tomorrow!

You'll also find a Control Panel shortcut created in your root folder. This contains MOST of the controls that you find under Settings on the Start Menu. Owner, System, and Stylus are missing, but we'll find the little fellas and put 'em in there!

This is the first version that includes Wallpaper. In V1.91, it's hardwired as a StarTap logo in the background, but by V2.00 you'll be able to put in your own (I know you CAN'T WAIT for this one, Dave!).

The Wallpaper addition entailed an updating of the format for the Button file that StarTap uses to store the icons for the shortcuts. Don't worry, StarTap should handle the updating of your existing file transparently, but this is the reason for making the backup. The changes that StarTap wreaks on that file are pretty substantial, and mistakes can happen! If V1.91 makes hash of your existing buttons, you have two choices: 1) Start over (use the desktop services to delete the existing StarTap.btn file in the /Program Files/StarTap directory, and let StarTap create a new one), or 2) Reinstall V1.30, and do a Restore. In this particular case, option 1 is highly recommended. We're doing our darndest to keep you from losing your shortcuts, but this is a substantial change to the file format. Honestly, this is a one time problem. There will be no similar changes in the future!

If your shortcuts are still there when V1.91 starts for the first time, empty the Recycle Bin. If things are still OK, then you're clear. Your Button file has been completely updated.

If your shortcuts make it through the updating OK, there's still a minor problem. Each of the old shortcuts will have a little white square around it. To get rid of it, do this: click on the Properties button, then the shortcut. The Button Properties dialog comes up. Just click on OK (NOT Cancel), and you'll see that the white square is gone.

Apparently the little icon display in Button Properties has been a minor casualty of the updated icon format. It'll be back in V2.00!

Thumbs Up!
Gene Knight