Helium User Documentation

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I view debugging information?

You can view the Java console in a Web Start application by turning on the Web Start Java Console. In the Web Start application choose to Preferences under the file menu. Choose the Advanced tab. Under Output Options, check "Show Java Console". The next time you run any Web Start applications a console window will be displayed.

What are these Uncaught Exception messages?

Exception handling within Helium is a bit rough at the moment. In some cases the proper response to an exception has been unclear. In those cases, the caught exception is rethrown as a RuntimeException. To make sure these exceptions don't go by unnoticed they are caught and displayed to the user in a dialog box.

In most cases the console will include more information about the exception. That information may indicate if you need to do anything.

How do I quit the program?

There is a big red button that is present in a separate window. Click the big red button with the mouse and the application will quit after making sure all state has been saved.

How do I start the program after the first download?

By default, Web Start will ask if you want to put an icon on your desktop or an entry in your start menu the second time you load a Web Start application from the download site. After that, you can start the application from the icon, from the start menu (under Windows) or from within the Web Start application. If an updated version is available, it will be downloaded.

Therefore, to start the application the second time, you should go to the download page.

How do I download mail?

The first time you run Helium, you will be presented with a configuration window that asks for username, password, mail server, mail protocol, folder, email address and SMTP server. Enter this information for your mail and press "Ok". If your parameters are correct, email will be retrieved and displayed in the list view. Depending on the speed of your connection and the speed of your computer, this can be a somewhat slow process.

If you want to download mail from another source, enter new parameters and press "Ok".

The Helium persistence system will store these parameters. The next time you run the application new mail will be downloaded automatically using these stored parameters.

If you want to download new mail since the last time you downloaded mail, press the "Ok" button in the configuration window. This will download any new mail from the currently configured server and folder. If you wish to get mail from somewhere else, change the parameters and press "Ok".

How do I remove the persistence files?

Persistence files are stored in a directory called .helium in your home directory. Look for a file with a .persist extenstion. You may remove this file when Helium is not running. Any Entities (for example, email messages and configuration information) that are stored in Helium will be unavailable the next time you run the app if you remove this file.

This is currently the only way to reset Helium to a clean slate in the Web Start version.

How do I sort the email view

You may sort by From, Subject or Date in the table view by clicking on the table column headers. At this time the From and Subject views sort on the literal string in those fields. Date sorts are done using actual date represented by the string in the field.

How do I view an email message?

To view a single message, double-click on it in the list view. Double-clicking on a dot in the visualization will also cause a message to be displayed.

How do I search on a header value?

When viewing a message, double-click in the text of any of the header fields. This will initiate a search for all messages containing identical header information. For example if the From header contains "rambozo@burningchrome.com" double-clicking will return all messages in the pool from "rambozo@burningchrome.com". The results will be displayed in a new list view of emails. If there are no results an empty table will be displayed.

When searching on a date header, all the messages with a date within a window of time tweleve hours before and twelve hours after the date of the current message will be displayed.

For more information on searches see the manual.

How do I search on a text string?

Use the Text Search Simpleton to search for messages that match a string. Enter the text and hit return or press "Search". At this time the searches are case sensitive, exact matches of the body of messages and any header information.

Results, if any, are displayed in a list display of messages.

For more information on searches see the manual.

How do I respond to a message?

When viewing a single message, click the "Reply" button at the bottom of the window. Another window will be displayed containing the quoted content of the message. You may adjust the displayed headers as necessary. At this time you may only send to one To addressee and one Cc addressee. When you are ready to send, click the "Send" button. The "Cancel" button will dispose of the window.

How do I compose a new message?

Click on the "Compose New" button, fill out the presented fields, and click send.

In the future Helium will have more useful editing features.

Why are things so slow?

Helium has not yet been optimized for performance. The architecture, while lending itself to extraordinary flexibility, does incur considerable overhead. We expect performance to improve with time, especially as we develop more advanced methods for accessing and storing Entities.

Why do I get out of memory errors

These usually occur when the visualization system uses too much memory attempting to generate semantic clusters. When the error happens the system will continue to work but no clusters will be generated.

Why aren't any of my image, music, movie, word processing documents, etc. attachments showing up?

At this time only messages with a Content-Type of text/plain or text/html are supported. In the future additional content types and multipart messages will be available.

User Documentation