LCDC - Drive it to the edge baby!

What is LCDC?

LCDC is an application that displays information on your LCD or VFD screen. At present it is geared towards powering the Matrix Orbital products as these have some great features like GPO (General purpose outputs, that can be use to turn things on and off!) and Keypad connectivity.The number of things that LCDC can do is expandable by Plugins that add functionality to the application and hopefully new plugins will be added at various intervals to add even more functionality. Also the Delphi 5 source code for a blank plugin is available, so for the brave of heart you can add and write your own plugins!

What's a plugin?

A plugin is a small program that adds a whole new range of events, actions and variables to LCDC (for a better explanation see here). Currently the plugins that are available are:-

  • HOT - Hotkeys : Use keyboard combinations to perform any action availble withing LCDC.
  • MM5 - Motherboard Monitor 5 : A fantastic utility to report back all sorts of information about your pc including CPU temps, fan speed, voltages etc. This plugin lets you see all this information on your LCD/FVD screen.
  • WA2 - Winamp 2 : An MP3 player and more, easy to use and this plugin can also change tracks, pause / stop and report back Winamp status as well.
  • RRS - Rich Site Summary : More and more sites are introducing RSS information about there sites, this means that you can get for example the latest headlines from a site direct to your LCD screen.
  • MUL - Multimedia : Basic control of the windows volume level, and the ability to play sounds.
  • STI - Seti@Home : Reports back basic details of current progress and other information.
  • SQT - Stock Quote Ticker : Watch stocks from all over the world direct on your LCD screen.
  • WEA - Weather reports and forecasting.
  • ZOO - Zoom Player

Additional plugins that I will add (probaly not before version 1 is ready) :-

  • PFM - Perfromance monitoring : Baisc interface to most, if not all Performance counters (For NT4/Win 2k/Win XP)
  • GAM - Gamestats... not sure how yet though!
  • IRT - Text file interfacing/regisrt/ini files.

Third party modules in the works or all ready available :-

  • GPH - Custom graphing unit : Takes any LCDC variable availqble and turn it into a graph of anysize with any high/low parameters.
  • MRC - mIRC plugin : By Ikonis, grabs information such as, mirc version, your current nickname, current server, and current screen that is focused (such as a channel, private message, or status screen)

What screens do you support?

LCDC has recently been changed to work exclusivly woth Matrix Orbital screens, however knowing that previous customers have other screens working using LCDC, Matrix Orbital has allowed me to sign those screens as well as a guesture of good will.

Why is this better than other apps, and why are you charging for it?

When this started I did it for a bit of fun, however as I expanded it I begin to realize how much these LCD/VFD's where capable of and wanted to exploit that. I have now put a lot of time and effort in to designing and building a full application that can do a lot more than others and one of my main priorities is stability. We decided that rather than have this a small sideline product we would spend some effort on it to make a complete package that will give support and upgrades. I like others have a wife and two kids to support, I wish I could spend all my time doing stuff for free, but that's just not the way I work... having said that, there is some great free software out there!

Thanks go to...

  • Rob Young aka CheeseMan for a LOT of input and testing.
  • Henry Jakl at Matrix Orbital for testing and ideas and the help with support additional screens.
  • Luke Hamberg for a lot of testing feedback and input into the SQT plugin.
  • Norbert Riedel for the ICM idea, and for also providing the translation file.
  • Geoff Nusbaum for writing the first plugin (GPH) while in beta and living with my changes!
  • All beta testers who provided feedback!!

Copyright DPS Ltd. 2005