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WinMate is a shell and application suite for Windows 3.x bundled with
Tandy Sensation computers. It is a simplified "beginners" shell similar
in concept to Packard Bell Navigator 1.1, GeoWorks Beginner mode, Microsoft
BOB, and Windows 8 Metro. It gives users big buttons to start applications,
but has no file management ability, and does not present a desktop metaphor.
WinMate is not directly related to DeskMate, but served as a migration
path to Windows for DeskMate users.
WinMate is included on the Tandy Sensation DataDisk.
This disk is essentially a restore CD, and does not provide a standalone
installer. The included software makes extensive use of the two other included
CDs: The Sensation System CD, and the Microsoft Bookshelf CD.
Computers with WinMate boot directly to the WinMate Desktop instead
of the Program Manager.
The main screen consists of a number of tiled images. Clicking on an
image will take you to another selection screen. WinMate refers to these
images as "Doors".
Clicking once on a "door" plays a sound file that explains what the
group is for. Double clicking changes to a different "desktop view".
This is the In Touch desktop view.
The included views present applications and templates as an arrangement
of large icons.
The tool bar on right is called a "Task bar". In the WinMate Desktop
Each WinMate application has its own unique set of "Task" buttons.
"Program Manager"- launches the Windows Program Manager.
"Design" - enters design mode.
"Home" - returns to the main desktop view.
The bar at the bottom of the screen is called the "Navigation Bar".
The Navigation Bar typically contains:
A Task Bar and Navigation Bar are built in to each application that is
part of the WinMate suite.
"Finish" - Exits the current application.
"Identify" - Switches the WinMate user account for personalized settings.
"Pause" - An application task switcher. (The idea is you are "pausing"
what you are currently doing by switching to something else)
Existing Windows applications do not benefit from these.
You can either navigate the desktop views by clicking on the various
"Doors" or you can select Change from the drop-down menu. From here you
can go directly to any desktop view.
You can also design your own custom desktop view.
The design mode works kind of like a greeting card/sign editor. You
can insert, drag, remove, resize, group, and modify the properties of objects.
A desktop view can contain:
An interesting feature is that you can assign a bitmap or a scalable WMF
vector graphic to a program instead of an icon.
Illustrations - resizable metafiles or bitmaps.
Programs - launches a program
Doors - changes to a different desktop view.
Animation - an Autodesk FLI or AVI animation file. (because... multimedia!)
Calendar - a calendar that shows the current month but doesn't do much
Text, line, ellipse, and rectangle objects.
Another interesting feature is that you can set a sound file or text-to-speech
selection to play when single-clicking a program or door.
Unfortunately, the process of manually customizing the desktop views
in WinMate is relatively cumbersome. And it quickly becomes necessary as
installation of new programs will not add icons to WinMate, only Program
This is the clipart manager that appears when adding an illustration
or graphic to the desktop view.
One shortcoming is that it uses a generalized clipart library, which
includes few images one would really want to use to represent programs.
Another shortcoming is that the preconfigured large WinMate icons use
custom made bitmaps. To create a similar large icon you would have to manually
edit a bitmap yourself.
In WinMate you can set up multiple users with different preferences.
This only affects the WinMate desktop and WinMate applications.
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