MultiSlice RTP Environment

> MultiSlice Updates

MultiSlice is currently being upgraded continually with minor improvements before final release. The changes marked with an * are not included in either the MultiSlice website or the report. These changes and improvements will be added to the last section of the report before the official hand-in date.
The following improvements have been made to date :-

Addition 12/97 Ver.2.1.2.b Help capability :-

Help capability is now implemented in MultiSlice RTP with the addition of a simple script to allow user to invoke any web browser on their system and automatically load the Help system for MultiSlice from the MultiSlice website.

Addition 12/97 Ver.2.1.2.c Program icon change :-

The program icon has been changed to a better version from the old Slice icon. The new one, along with notes on how to change the icon have been added to the website and report.

Addition 12/97 Ver.2.1.3.b Multitasking menu icon with randomized background :-

A randomized, color shifting icon has been added to the menu bar. The multitasker now cycles the colors as well as handling the usual tasks. The icon added is the Coventry University Phoenix logo, which can be changed if required to customise MultiSlice to a particular system.

*Change 1/98 Ver.2.1.4.b Selector function change :-

The selector function has been changed significantly. It first used to be possible to simply invoke a function to operate on the first file loaded without invoking the selector. This has now been removed due to a conflict with the delete function. The user must now select the file to operate on before calling any function. A suitable addition informing the user of this has been added to the status messages to ensure that this will not cause any confusion for a novice user.

*Change 1/98 Ver.2.1.4.c System change :-

It was originally possible to invoke two (or more) copies of MultiSlice RTP from the same directory. This could lead to file overwriting problewms when invoking functions from both copies. Although this would not lead to a crash, due to the efficient file handling capability built into both Irix and MultiSlice, it was considered to be a hazard. MultiSlice will now support only one copy of itself from a single directory, self-destructing the second copy, if invoked. The command-line parameter -forceload will invoke the second copy if one of them has been accidentally killed. If the first copy shuts down normally, the second copy can also be invoked normally. This will not affect most users, but rare cases might occur where the first copy has been shut down and the second copy cannot be started. To ensure that users are aware of the command line parameter, the second copy will automatically display it, allowing users to invoke it without requiring the presence of this document.

*Improvement 1/98 Ver.2.1.4.c Netscape & machine upgrade :-

A major system upgrade has occurred with Netscape 3.0 replaced with a faster, more efficient copy of Netscape Communicator 4.03. In addition, swap file sizes have increased to 250 Megabytes from 100. This will improve performance and allow users to load more files locally.

*Addition 1/98 Ver.2.1.4.c Dumping facility :-

A dumping facility has been added where users can dump memory buffers and restart MultiSlice, wihtout loosing any data. Although capability to deallocate one file is present in MultiSlice, users did not have multi-file deallocating capability. This has now been added to the Window menu.

*Addition 1/98 Ver.2.1.4.c Negate/Inversion function:-

A Negation of Inversion function has been added to allow an inverse of a file to be seen. A relatively simple operation, but one that can prove useful if needed. It has single file processing capability and improved performance over any other function in MultiSlice.

In addition, the status bar has been enhanced with the system & OS detection now conforming to standard Unix conventions (defined in <sys/unistd.h>) & has been improved with the detection of nodename as well as MOTIF versions installed.

*Improvement 2/98 Ver.2.1.4.c Machine & OS upgrade :-

A major system upgrade has occurred with Irix 5.3 replaced by Irix 6.2. In addition, swap sizes have been increased to 500 Megabytes from 250 Megabytes giving improved performance. Phase I & II tests carried out show the results of this improvement (phase.html). In addition, a major performance improvement is expected by the Irix 5.3 executable object replaced with either a 32 or 64-bit Irix 6.2 executable. Performance tests are initiated and will determine the performance improvements (if any). In addition, 64-bit assembly optimized level III compile testing is being carried out for stability in the new (& faster) environment. Final results, after extensive debugging and repeated compile, will be noted if successful. Note that the Irix 5.3 level III optimized compile took slightly over 52 hrs and was removed due to impracticality and replaced with the standard level II optimized compile (slightly over 5 minutes as opposed to 52 hrs). Results for Irix 6.2 will be noted shortly after system stability tests are carried out. In addition, the slice file will remain an Irix 5.3 executable. However, slice_32_62 will be included as the new 32-bit Irix 6.2 executable and slice_64_62 will be the new 64-bit Irix 6.2 executable with varying levels of optimization, determined by the system stability testing.

*Performance Results 2/98 Ver.2.1.4.c MultiPlatform Testing :-

MultiSlice has now been tested on a Macintosh Quadra 650. As with the Windows 3.1 tests, only 10 files could be processed in falsecolor mode. However, test results were successful as shown below. In addition Irix ButtonFly(TM), bundled with Irix 6.2 is now under use with the MultiSlice ROM. Problems with the MIPS PRO C++/Irix 6.2/64-bit compiler have been experienced and steps taken to resolve the problem. MultiSlice has, however, been proved to be stable under the new Irix 6.2. Note the 3D buttons linking the MultiSlice CDROM & the installed environment.

MultiSlice in psuedo-falsecolor mode in the new environment.