Some feedback

2005-07-24
2012-09-15
  • I'm an assistant dancing instructor so I have to play music in the dancing lessons. I've tried many MP3/Ogg player programs and settled on MoreAmp.

    The requierements in the dancing lessons are somewhat special. First, unlike when DJing at a party, one mostly plays one song only and wants playback to stop after because the teacher mostly gives some tips or shows some steps after each song. Also, it's often necessary to make songs a bit slower or faster (ideally without affecting the pitch) so people who are struggling with the steps can easier follow the music.

    For these reasons, MoreAmp works very well in this setting. I use it on two notebooks (one is a P2/500, the other P3/800) with Linux (Kubuntu and Debian testing). The screen resolution is 800x600 and 1024x768, both are quite usable.
    Here is a screenshot: http://tud.at/programm/moreamp-screenshot.png

    I created separate playlists for "standard" (waltz, Viennese waltz, tango, quickstep, slow foxtrot), "latin" (samba, rumba, cha-cha, jive, paso doble) and "special" (mambo, salsa, merengue etc.) dances and open them in separate MoreAmp instances (it's very useful that the instances remember they playlists and open them automatically). To play songs, I mostly double-click on the desired song or use the keyboard arrow keys and Enter to start it. When changing the tempo is required, I change it with the mouse in the Effects window. (The equalizer is not needed in this setting so it's switched off. The settings I use are visible in the screenshot.) The buffering system of MoreAmp ensures that I can rip CDs in the background even during playback without skips or other problems.

    So, for my needs, MoreAmp works very well. I have a few simple ideas for enhancements which would make it even more user-friendly.

    • (Configurable) keyboard shortcuts for important functions like Open playlist, Make playlist, Change to the list window (with focus in the list widget!), Change tempo up/down, Reset tempo to default, Quit etc.

    • Some way to change the song name display (e.g. show only the filename without the path, or surpress the first N directory names). My files are in /media/audio/Tnc/$dance/$song and the /media/audio... part took unnecessary screen space and made even the "measures per minute" information (very important in the dance lessons) invisible when it was at the end of the filename. I solved this for now by creating a /T symlink to the directory where the music is. The five-digit number at the begin of the list is also unnecessary for me, it would be nice to be able disable it.

    PS: If you need Debian Testing or Kubuntu .deb packages, feel free to contact me.

     
    • Hello,
      the new release works very well. The default keyboard shortcuts are easy to remember and all the old settings were correctly loaded. The old Makefile problems are history.

      I'll be using this version in the dancing lessons.

      I'd like to give back something; I could for example a simple web page for the project, with a list of features, screenshots, parts of the README, etc. so the project has a homepage, not just the empty Apache directory listing? I could send it to you in a .zip or .tar.gz.

       
      • Your feedback is already a contribution, but, yes, it would be nice to have a homepage.

        If you need something for the homepage, start a new thread here or email me at pmisteli@users.sourceforge.net.

        Thanks,
        pmisteli

         
    • pmisteli
      pmisteli
      2005-08-03

      Thanks for the useful feedback.

      Some keyboard shortcuts and songlist display changes are implemented in MoreAmp-0.1.13b-src.tar.gz. This is an intermediate release for testing and does not contain the libs dir, which has not changed from release 0.1.13.

      The keyboard shortcuts as implemented work osx/wx-2.6.1 and linux/wx-2.6.1/wx-2.4.2.
      On os9/wx-2.4.2 or win/wx-2.6.1/wx-2.4.2 we only seem to get key events from text widgets...

      As implemented, MoreAmp first creates a text file that assigns keys to MoreAmp buttons, menus and checkboxes. You can then edit the file to change key assignments to suit you.

      I would like feedback so I can add or remove functions and assign reasonable defaults. The current defaults arbitrarily map 55 functions to keys a b c .... X Y Z 0 1 2.

      The shortcuts are application-wide, not specific to particular windows, they work the same no matter which MoreAmp window has keyboard focus.

      However, the songlist does need focus so that the up/down arrow keys and the enter key (which are not used as shortcuts) can select and play a song. On startup MoreAmp opens the list window last, so it generally has focus. If you need to you can return focus to it (without using the mouse) with desktop shortcuts (Alt-Tab or whatever) or by toggling it closed then open again with the MoreAmp shortcut for that (currently 'l', lower-case L ).

      The song name display was changed as suggested.
      Also, a horiz scrollbar now appears when expected, although it may need setting up as follows :
      widen the songlist window, then widen the list header (by dragging its right edge) until the longest text fits, then resize the window back to its normal (narrower) size. The hscrollbar pops up as soon as the window gets narrower than the list. This setting is saved the same as the window sizes and positions, i.e. two alternate sets per song list, so you may want to do this twice if the defaults don't suit you.

      You will get factory settings when you start up this version because settings files from the previous version are not compatible. My apologies. Future releases will be able to recover old settings.

      Thanks for the offer of Debian Testing or Kubuntu .deb, but I have hardware restrictions (a 56k connection and a 400MHz G3 iMac). I have RedHat 9 installed for linux builds, and I just run xinit/mwm for testing, I don't run a desktop. That's why I appreciate feedback.

       
    • Hello,

      thanks for the new version. The list display works well.

      I've tried using keyboard shortcuts but had only partial success. (This is on KUbuntu, wx/gtk 2.4.2. with KDE as the desktop environment.)

      I set x to play, c to pause, v to stop etc., just like in XMMS. That seems to work, however x doesn't start the currently selected file but the first one in the list, on the second keypress the second, and so forth.

      'Q' for quit works.

      I tried to set shortcuts for changing and resetting the tempo but that didn't work, the slider and the music didn't react. Also '1' for switching SinglePlay on/off didn't work.

      My changes in the shortcut file (with comments):

      main window pushbuttons
      'Q' Quit
      'v' Stop
      'c' Pause
      'y' Previous # doesn't seem to do anything at my setup
      'x' Play # plays the first, second etc. file instead of my selection
      'b' Next # doesn't seem to do anything at my setup

      main window checkboxes
      '1' SinglePlay # doesn't work

      effects window checkboxes # they don't work
      'T' Tempo
      '0' Reset Tempo
      '9' Tempo Up
      '8' Tempo Down

      The tempo-up and tempo-down shortcuts have one effect: after trying to use them, only the slider can be used to set the tempo, the up-down component doesn't react anymore.

      You are on the right way, the software is getting better. Thanks again for the implemented features; maybe you can look into the bugs I've found.

       
    • pmisteli
      pmisteli
      2005-09-08

      Hello and thanks for your feedback.

      I had similar problems when I started implementing shortcuts on the other platforms, due mainly to interactions from the desktop/window manager, which tries to impose its own focus policy, accelerators, etc.

      For example, on win, typing in 'x' for Play didn't start Play, instead it scrolled the list to the first line that started with 'x', which is normal behavior on some platforms, and probably should not be overridden.

      Also there are some differences between wx-2.6.1 and wx-2.4.2, wx-gtk, wx-x11, wx-mac and wx-win, etc.

      So, shortcuts are implemented differently in release 0.1.14 : they are now accepted only in a small text widget in the main window, and you have to keep the keyboard focus on that widget, even for shortcuts that work in other windows (list, effects, eq, etc).

      Moreamp does its best to keep the keyboard focus on that small text widget.
      If the keyboard focus moves to another widget or window, you lose the use of shortcuts, but in that case you are probably using the mouse anyway, and you can put the focus back on the shortcut widget (by clicking in it).

      Some window managers, e.g. those with a 'hot mouse' keyboard policy that automatically puts the keyboard focus in whatever window has the mouse cursor, may require that you keep the mouse cursor positioned over that small widget (or maybe anywhere in the moreamp main window is enough) even if you don't use the mouse.

      Release 0.1.14 also shows the shortcuts in the menus, shows the last shortcut function pressed in the title of the main window, and allows editing shortcuts from within the moreamp application, warns of duplicate shortcuts and shows unused shortcuts (within the range ascii decimal 33 "!" to ascii decimal 126 "~", see 'man ascii'). Keys outside this range may work (e.g " " space) but are not recommended.

      Editing the shortcuts via the moreamp 'Edit Key Bindings' tool menu avoids problems that may come from external editors, such as rich-text format, unicode, etc., and performs some simple checks (missing quotes, duplicate shortcuts).

      The 64 functions need to stay in the default order, i.e. the first "" entry must be for Quit, then the next "" for Stop, etc, and the last "" for PlayFile, but any other change, maybe indent, spacing or case to make the text more legible, depending on your font, is ok.

      For example you can edit the default line
      TEMPO "T" Down"8" Up"9" Reset"0"
      to
      TEMPO "T"
      Down "8"
      Up "9"
      Reset "0"
      or to
      "T" Beat "8" slower "9" faster "0" saved value

      To disable a shortcut, move it outside the double-quotes, e.g. change
      ZeroList"Z"
      to
      ZeroList""Z
      You just could delete the Z but keeping the Z around reminds you that the shortcut was Z in case you want to enable it with the Z again.

      The defaults are the shortcuts suggested and the xmms shortcuts where possible, otherwise they are in the order a-z A-Z 0-9 (almost).

      If the defaults shortcuts are too far off for you, you can start with a blank template from the 'Blank Key Bindings' Tools menu.

      To see unused keys, force an error by duplicating a key and Saving.

      Note that the single-quote delimiter in the masettings/makeybindings.txt file was changed to double-quotes to make it more visible in the editor, and the order of some functions was changed, so a makeybindings.txt file from version 0.1.13b is not compatible and will be overwritten with default values when moreamp is started.

      Note also that shortcuts to scroll the songlist are provided in case the up/down arrows don't work from the shortcut text widget on your platform.

      Note finally that not all functions have a shortcut. Post a message here if you need to implement one that is missing.

      ---> To play a file currently selected in the list, press Enter, not the Play button or its shortcut (x). The Play button starts a play process that doesn't look at list selection, but looks instead at various settings (Random, ReptPlayed, LoopLoaded, etc) to decide which files to play.

      About your 0.1.13b build, if you still want to use it, you might want to try this :
      - delete your masettings/makeybindings.txt file and restart moreamp to create a new one, then see which default shortcut values work before any editing.
      - don't disable any shortcuts (no '' nothing between quotes).
      - try swapping keys that work for those that don't, e.g. set 'v' for SinglePlay and '1' for Stop, to see if anything changes.
      - try shortcuts when the keyboard focus is in various windows : the 'View Key Bindings' window, the main window, the list window, the effects window.
      - try another window manager; I test with mwm.
      - check the moreamp log; it will report gross errors such as quotes missing from the makeybindings.txt file.