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Location: GUIs > DeskMate > Tandy WinMate

Tandy WinMate
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Tandy Sensation

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.

WinMate Desktop
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".

WinMate In Touch
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 this includes:

  • "Program Manager"- launches the Windows Program Manager.
  • "Design" - enters design mode.
  • "Home" - returns to the main desktop view.
Each WinMate application has its own unique set of "Task" buttons.

WinMate Navigation Bar
The bar at the bottom of the screen is called the "Navigation Bar".

The Navigation Bar typically contains:

  • "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)
A Task Bar and Navigation Bar are built in to each application that is part of the WinMate suite.

Existing Windows applications do not benefit from these.

WinMate Change Desktop
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.

WinMate Design Mode
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:

  • 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 else.
  • Text, line, ellipse, and rectangle objects.
An interesting feature is that you can assign a bitmap or a scalable WMF vector graphic to a program instead of an icon.

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 Manager.

WinMate Clipart Manager
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.

WinMate Users
In WinMate you can set up multiple users with different preferences. This only affects the WinMate desktop and WinMate applications.