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5.1.0 NETLab Toolkit Release Notes

December 27th, 2013, by Phil

The 5.1.0 version of the NETLab Toolkit brings some new Flash widgets as well as bug fixes and stability improvements to the Hub. Formal release notes at the end of this post.

  • Untitled-1_swfSerial Improvements – In particular, this release continues our focus on supporting a range of devices and systems with improvements in the ability to communicate by serial and OSC. You can now send and receive serial data to any device using the existing AnalogIn and AnalogOut widgets (tutorial), plus you can use the new MultiOut widget to send multiple values in a single string – this is especially useful if you have a custom sketch running on your Arduino (or any other serial or OSC device), but you want to send a set of values from your computer. MultiOut also works with HubFeed so it’s easier to pass around multiple values between multiple devices.

 

  • StepperOut.swfStepper Motors – We’ve also improved our support for stepper motors. You can now tell a stepper motor to move to a certain position with StepperOut, and track it with the new StepperIn widget, which will indicate if the motor is moving or not. For example, you could easily trigger a second motor to move, but only once the first motor has finished its move.

 

  • Untitled-1_swfLogger – Another new widget is the Logger widget, which has taken over the data logging features that used to be in the Code widget (which were unfortunately broken in the last release). And in a new feature, the Logger widget playFromFirstTime parameter┬ámakes it easier to edit the .csv file generated by recording the widget’s input. Now you can just remove logging entries from the beginning of the file, and when played back, the widget will start at the time of the first entry in the file. This way you can trim off any delays or mistakes at the beginning of the recording.

 

  • NETLabHub-2The Hub – For the Hub, we squashed several bugs that arose with the major overhaul it got last summer. On the PC, it will now correctly connect to a serial port. On the Mac, the problem with a serial connection that needed a manual fix in the terminal is now handled automatically when the Hub first runs. Also, we’re now code-signing the Mac Hub application as an official registered Apple developer to avoid problems with Mountain Lion and later OS X security checking. For both platforms, there was a problem with the XBee support that’s now fixed. Lastly, we’ve improved the interface for the Hub, include a new button that allows you to release the serial ports without having to quick the Hub (helpful if you need to use the Arduino IDE, for example).

 

  • Mavericks App Nap – If you are running Mavericks OS X on the Mac, it may put the Hub to sleep when the Hub window is hidden behind another window. The result will be that the widgets will sit and blink waiting to hear back from the sleeping Hub. Fortunately, there’s a simple fix. Select the Hub application in the Finder, and press Command-i to get info about the app. Then check the Prevent App Nap box and restart the Hub. Easy!

Formal Release Notes

Widget Enhancements

Widget fixes

  • Fixed HubFeed for AnalogIn/Out
  • AnalogIn serial now working
  • AnalogIn OSC handles string inputs with ascii of first character
  • Fixed easing bug at zero value
  • Eliminated Speed Control & Servo Speed parameter from Servo out interface (only applied to old Make Controller)

Hub Enhancements

  • Improved user interface
  • New RELEASE PORTS button to detach from serial ports to other apps can access them
  • Displays new serial ports as they are plugged in

Hub fixes

  • PC serial connection fixed
  • Serial /var/lock on Mac fixed
  • Hub app code-signed for Mac
  • XBee working again
  • Serial input now works
  • Hub code-signing

And since this summer’s release of version 5, we’re posting all the source code to GitHub.

Happy New Year!

Ewan and Phil