Earlier today we were able to deploy the latest updates to the Merger Zoo. These include Polish language support for both the website and the applet. Thank you again to the great group of volunteers who did the translations.
We've also used our official code-signing certificate. Now when you download the new applet, your browser and Java plug-in will say that the applet was signed by George Mason University. If you see that name on the applet, know that it is correct.
In the applet's preferences, we have added a few tabs. The first one, Settings, contains the previously available options. The last one, Language, allows you to manually set the language in the applet. The middle tab is the Advanced tab. For now we've put two options there: "Outline Sims" and "Use Two Sliders".
Checking "Outline Sims" will cause the applet to draw a white outline around all sims that were selected from the Explore screen. That outline will remain until you click the simulation in the list of Selected Sims and choose to Enhance it. Now, you don't need to Enhance all or even any of the sims you pick on the Explore screen. Some users have requested the ability to distinguish which ones have been Enhanced from those who haven't, so that's why this is an available option.
Checking "Use Two Sliders" will give you two separate sliders on the Enhance tab instead of the cross-hair cursor. This will allow you to adjust each of the two current parameters independently. I think using the Enhance screen in this mode can be very enlightening. It reveals the interdependent nature of all the parameters. With two individual sliders, say for the masses, you can be certain that you are only changing the value for the mass of the secondary. However, you may see significant changes to the final shapes of both galaxies.
Below is a list of some of additional enhancements and fixes we're working on. I don't know for sure when any of these will be ready, but I wanted to let you know what items we're trying to address. Feel free to reply to this post to suggest additional items you'd like to see. If you've suggested similar changes before and don't see them listed here, my apologies. This list is not meant to be comprehensive.
- An undo option on the Enhance tab. If after adjusting the slider you want to go back to the previous value, even if you pick the exact same pixel, the value is not exactly the same. The undo button would fix this.
- A zoom feature on the Enhance sliders. Some parameters are very sensitive where small changes lead to big differences in the output. This is where interesting points in the phase space occur, so it would be nice to be able to make changes in the region that behave in a more stable manner.
- Improved reliability on the Favourites applet. Sometimes when you load the My Mergers page, the favourites applet doesn't show any favourites. Additionally the Merger Count number does not seem to be incremented sometimes.
- Improved scaling on the Favourites applet. Some of the saved mergers do not look similar at all to what they were in the Mergers applet.
Thank you for all the great feedback on the interface. We hope to incorporate as many of your suggestions as we can. For now these features are only documented here. If people like them, we'll update the website to describe these features. If the updates are horrible, then we will remove them from the applet and pretend they never happened.