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This is a program in its infancy. It's not a beta, it's not an alpha even, but the Greeks don't have any letters before that, so we're stuck. It works, it's not bugged as far as we know, but it doesn't have a microbe of the functionality we have planned for it yet.

Lightman is a project that was never supposed to happen. It was the result of a prolonged Friday lunch. It was a practical joke. Radsoft, known for its lean and mean applications, would produce the ultimate bloatware extravaganza, and we would see if anyone was taken in. It was an exercise over a lunch table only, and no one took it more seriously than that.

But things change. We've seen a deluge of tweakers and configuration wizards flood the market. There's nothing wrong with them: we just wanted to go one step further, and offer not some, but all statistics found anywhere, relevant or not, useful or not.

Lightman will always suffer from this tongue in cheek, and we suspect some people will see usefulness where we see silliness (we're counting on it, we wouldn't pursue this otherwise), but we think we just might have something at last.

For starters, Lightman currently uses obnoxiously huge toolbar glyphs - four times the standard size. That should be great. They're also in 256 colours, not 16, which further adds to the bloat.

For now, Lightman has only nine categories of information, but we have at least fourteen (14) more we intend to add as soon as this 'prototype' gets off the ground.

Implementation of this program, once all the pieces of the puzzle are in place, is incredibly simple. Everything is fed through a function which collates data in the program, sends it off to a listview populator, and 'the rest is history'.

When you select anything in a listview, the path to the value you are looking at is displayed in the status window at the bottom (oh yeah we gotta have one of those status windows too of course) and if nothing is selected the status window display disappears (cute). This might seem overdone for now, but with time each category of information will contain multiple Registry roots and even sources outside the Registry, as the planned 'Runners' category which will show all places and entries where programs can be started automatically.

Listview items will have a context menu, and of course the entries will be 'editable', but beyond that each entry will hopefully offer an 'explanation' or 'Explain' context menu item where the individual selection is 'explained', i.e. in plain English or layman's terms. As such, the program will attempt to 'educate' even as it provides information. In each instance it will explain, for example, whether direct Registry changes will be felt by the system immediately, if this is possible it will offer a push button to click to make this so, if not it will explain whether you need merely log off or need to reboot to make them take effect. An additional feature, 'Key Backup', will also be offered. By clicking 'Key Backup' (or 'Backup Key' - you decide) the relevant Registry key will be exported. Another feature we're considering is 'Find in X-reg', wherewith clicking on it will fire up X-reg and navigate to the same key.

For most of these features to happen we need more time, and for some of them to happen we need more humungoid toolbar glyphs! (Actually, with a current estimate of over twenty different data categories, we might be forced to revert to the smaller and more sensible glyphs, which would be a real shame. We're already trying 'image lists', i.e. the stuff IE 5 uses!)

On a final note, the icon for Lightman comes from a poster from WarGames. Of course!

File size: 12KB.

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