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MSP for string quartet/small ensembles
Hi Petra and otnt,
Thanks for the heads up on the cheaper page turners. I did a bit of reading on the Donner and it looks like it's supposed to sleep after 25 minutes but some units sleep much more quickly. I guess when I do buy a proper pedal turner I should make sure I can return it if necessary. That was one reason I decided to buy the Max 3 direct from Onyx in China - it was available from resellers here in Australia and overseas (including the Padmu from Italy which is a rebranded Boox with dual boot in case you want to use the Padmu OS) but I figured that buying it direct should make it easier to sort out any problems. The local resellers looked a bit iffy and didn't seem to have local stock. Luckily there are some shops here that carry the page turners and tablet stands. Shame the Max 3 isn't available here in shops yet. Speaking of which, I had a look for the Slate and it looks like the google store never made them available in Australia and shops don't carry them so I wouldn't be able to try one out and if I bought one from overseas then warranty could be a problem. I'll keep an eye out for non-eInk tablets though. Still keen to see how they compare outdoors.
Cheers, Guy
(06-01-2020, 09:49 AM)otnt Wrote: DONNER is prime example of unauthorised industrial design copying in Gina.

Well, I do not see what anyone creating a BT foot pedal with a very limited and absolutely obvious functionality would need an authorization for. Maybe some meta-functions (like going into sleep mode somewhat soon) are treated in an unexpected/unliked manner, but this is just a design decision (maybe targeting a simpler and less costly design).

I take it that you are presumably a music professional defining other requirements of your hardware than I do, being a pure hobby player. Apart from the described behaviour, that is overcome with the rather simple described handling trick, I didn't find any other negative properties.

I guess that there is/was/will be a larger number of BT pedal users considering the Donner brand (or whatever else) as I did, and by describing both the issue and an effective counter measure I'd say I have done a service to them and the readers of this board by discussing it.

If the sleep mode actuation timing would be so short that you might hit it unintentionally if playing a dense-set Largo score page then I would completely agree to your demeaning, but it isn't.

You are right that you usually get what you pay for. But if you can do with a less featured product, knowing that it behaves this way, why turn to the more costly design? You wouldn't seriously suggest a Tesla to a family who only wants to do locally emission free weekend shopping tours into the town, or would you?

Playing classical music on a wind controller hobby-wise - and tired of carrying around tons of paper sheets.  Wink
I ended up ordering three more of the Boox Max3 so that my group has a quartet set and they arrived today. I got them set up pretty quickly and installed the e-Ink version of MSP on each of them. The hardest part is getting the screen protector on without getting dust under it - some always gets in. I tried out the MSP functions for sharing control across devices and sharing libraries etc and it all works really nicely.

I've been trying to work out how best to set up MSP for the quartet and I've got to say that I am really looking forward to the versioning update. Mike pointed out a workaround which I haven't tried yet but I think the versioning system is what the quartet set up really needs so I hope it happens. I ended up using a different workaround which seems to have worked so far. I've set up a separate library for each instrument (each library has all the pieces but just the parts for that one instrument - the instruments are attributed using the custom group). The titles and file names all match and that seems to mean that when a setlist is shared it doesn't matter which instrument is sending the setlist, it still ends up with the right part and the right piece on the receiving tablet. Does that rely on the title and file name matching or does it just match from the title? Also just wondering, does it use the title in the title field or the whole custom formatted title?

There were a couple of things that didn't work as I expected them to when I was trying out the features for connecting tablets and backing up so I wanted to check whether I'm doing it right.

At first I just had one library which had all the parts for all the pieces and I had that same library on all the tablets. When I connected them with loading of songs/setlists controlled by the master it all worked as expected - opening a song on the master opened it on the others too. The different parts for a given piece all have the same title but it always opens the same part as in the master (e.g. opening the cello part in the master opens the cello part in the others). I then tried sharing a setlist via bluetooth or via export though and with that method if I share a setlist which has different parts with the same title (e.g. the viola and cello part for a piece) then the receiving tablet won't have the right parts - items on the list with the same title and same file name will bring up the same part (e.g. all cello parts). Does the mss file just use the title field and file name but ditch the other attributes?

When I linked the tablets I changed the name of the tablets in the settings dialogue under the 'connect tablets' dialogue so that they wouldn't all have the same name but the name change doesn't seem to persist - it reverts back to the automatic name quite quickly which means that the connected slave devices all show up on the master with the same name. Is there a way of changing the name so that it doesn't revert back?

When I connect the tablets via wi-fi I put in a group name on the master and that name shows up on the other tablets. But when I use bluetooth even though I put in a group name on the master what shows up on the slaves is the device name for the master. The device names that show up on the master are the ones that can be set (briefly) in the 'connect tablets' settings dialogue but the one that shows up on the slave tablets is the device name that I set through the native bluetooth settings on the master tablet. Connecting the tablets through bluetooth works just as well as connecting with wi-fi but I was wondering whether the group name should be showing up during bluetooth connection instead of the device name.

When I was setting up separate libraries for individual instruments I backed up the library with all the parts for all the pieces, then created a new library, then tried to restore the backup to this new library (so that I could then delete the songs that didn't belong to that instrument from the new library) but it didn't restore them to the new library. When the restore was finished I exited and it had switched the first library back to being the active one (and presumably restored the data to that library). When I changed to the new library there was nothing in it. I ended up syncing the original library to the cloud then synced the cloud to the new library (then deleted the unneeded songs) and that worked but should I be able to restore the data from one library into another library on the same device?

Apart from those questions it all seems to be working really well.
The versioning changes are definitely going to happen. It's not a matter of "if", just "when", and it's all about how fast I can get the major changes done this year. How are you sharing the setlist? Through a .msf file or a .mss file? Either way, it matches on title and file, but will use song ID instead if you've entered values into that field. It uses the non-formatted title of the song (what is shown in the song editor).

mss matches on song title and file. It also uses song ID for matching if that field has been filled, but other fields are ignored.

I'll take a look at the tablet name reverting. That definitely should not be happening. The name is saved in the configuration files so it should be used for WiFi connections even after restarting the app. 

As far as bluetooth, I have no control over the naming. The master broadcasts itself as a bluetooth device that can be paired with and the name is assigned automatically. The connected clients should show up under the assigned name though, as I send that over bluetooth once the connection is established. I'll have to double-check that though.

Bug fixes are coming for restoring backups to libraries other than the default. That isn't currently working correctly the way it should.

Mike, thanks again for the reply.

I was using mss files to share the setlists and I haven't entered any SongID values anywhere. Thanks for explaining how it works. Having the instruments in separate libraries solves the problem for me for now (until the versioning update).

Looking forward to the bug fixes for the non-default libraries and any info on the tablet naming - might be a glitch with the Max 3 I guess.

One other thing to mention. Most of my files are pdfs with all the parts for one piece in each pdf. To divide them up I import the pdf, create a song with just the part for one instrument (by narrowing the page range), saving that 'song', then copying it for each of the other instruments' parts. I spent a chunk of time loading up files that way through the companion today and noticed a couple of things. When I drag and drop a bunch of files in at once it opens a new song dialogue for each then I go through and create a song out of each of them but when I get to the last one it often says that it can't access the file and crashes the wi-fi connection to the tablet. Also, when I copy a song to make a part for one of the other instruments in the file it often takes a while to load the display of the page in the files tab and sometimes it says that it can't access the file and then closes the dialogue. I can avoid that by either making the changes in the first tab (I.e. changing the instrument group) then saving it and opening it again (the page display on the files tab then opens instantly), or by opening the page range dialogue before it's had a chance to tell me it can't access the file - once I've changed the page range and closed that dialogue the page display back on the files tab again opens instantly. The page display always opens instantly if I'm just editing a song too, the issue only seems to arise when I'm copying a song and then go to the files tab before saving. Hope that all makes sense.

Keep up the good work. Cheers, Guy
Just a couple of other things I noticed. I've got it set to auto-crop on import and it works great, but it doesn't auto-crop when you copy a song. If the auto-crop could work for the copy function as well then I think that would be useful (to me at least).

The back-up I used to load my library into the new tablets included the settings from the first tablet. When I loaded the back-up into the default library the settings loaded as well but I think the settings didn't load when I recovered the back-up into a new library (i.e. not the default).
When you drag a pdf into the companion, it displays the pdf on the "Files" tab.

At the bottom of this "Files" tab is an Auto-crop button (this is just for the current song).

Clicking the Settings button on the same tab allows you to enable it for all imports (I'm assuming this is what it does).
If you are using "Batch Import", instead of "Drag and Drop", you can set the AutoCrop in the top "options" section.

Even though I have AutoCrop set, I still have to go in and crop each import manually. This is because I have the metronome enabled on each song and the LEDs obliterate the song title (this really annoys me that there is no way to tweak the position of the LEDs)

Of course, you may know this already - in which case it is possibly a bug.

Samsung Galaxy Tab A6
Hi Geoff. I have to crop some of mine manually too because of copyright notices that are the only thing in the bottom half of the page but otherwise the auto-crop works well for me (I have it turned on in the settings as you describe). It's just when I'm using the 'copy song' function to make a new song from the file of an old one that the auto-crop doesn't kick in when it seems like it would be useful if it did . Cheers, Guy
I'm having an issue with the sync to cloud feature. I do a back-up first and that works fine and is very quick. Then I sync the files to the cloud and that takes a lot longer but also works fine the first time around. When I re-sync there are a number of files from previous syncs where it asks me to select the song to use. My files all have multiple songs associated with the same file and the songs associated with a particular file have the same title. For most files that doesn't cause any problems with the sync but for some of them the sync feature can't work out which file is the right one so it tells me that multiple songs have been found with matching titles and files and asks me to choose which is which. The options that it gives me don't have any other group attributes listed (e.g. which instrument is which song) so I just choose them from the top and that seems to work fine but it will ask me to choose for these songs every time I sync which slows down the sync process a lot. Is there anything I can do which will stop this from happening?

I also had a question about the advanced formatting. I have three genres - classical, nonclassical, and hymns. Is there a way I can have the formatted title show as composer/title when the genre is classical (Bach Air, Handel Air), title/composer when the genre is nonclassical (I'm Gonna Be The Proclaimers, I'm Gonna Be Sleeping at Last), and just title when the genre is hymn? I figured that if I ditched the hymn genre and just had classical pieces tagged with the genre and nonclassical ones untagged then I could at least get the order I want for those two but wanted to see if there was a way of doing it without ditching the tags.
I found a workaround for syncing the library to the cloud so that I could load it into a library with a different name. If I re-name the target library to have the same name as the original then that seems to work.

To make the tablets work for the quartet (different parts for each piece) I'm now saving each piece as four songs (one for each instrument) with the same title, and backing the whole library up as a single backup file. I then create a new library for each instrument in all the tablets, restore the backup to each library (by temporarily changing the name of the library to the name of the library the backup came from), then delete the parts for the other three instruments from that library, and change the name back to the instrument name. When the tablets are synced setlists and songs can be sent from the master to the slave tablets and each tablet will show the parts for the right instrument, and any tablet can be used for any instrument. Using the backup feature instead of the sync feature means that it's much faster and also means I avoid the problem I was having with syncing where the app would sometimes seem to lose track of songs which have the same title and file as other songs - that problem doesn't seem to arise when I use the backup/restore function instead of the sync function.

Not sure if any of this is useful to anyone else but thought I'd mention it. Still keen to find out about the advanced formatting if anyone has any ideas.
For the advanced formatting I ended up using the composer field for classical music only and for non-classical music I put the performer or composer in the artist field. For hymns I put neither. I then set up formatting which shows composer and title if there's an entry in the composer field, but shows title and artist if there's nothing in the composer field. For hymns I don't enter a composer nor an artist usually. Took a bit of data entry to move the composer field to the artist field for non-classical pieces but it seems to give the results I was after.
%COMPOSER:${VALUE} ${TITLE}|${TITLE}    (${ARTISTS})% is what I've got for the title format. At some point I might set up a conditional for the ARTISTS bit so that it doesn't show empty brackets when there is no artist entry but it's all good for now. Awesome software.
Excellent work! I'm glad you found a solution that worked for both the library sync and the formatting. I do plan on supporting isolated storage for each library (i.e. all song files for a given library will be under a different subdirectory under the storage location). That will help a great deal in the future to eliminate conflicts.

Sorry I wasn't able to provide feedback sooner on the formatting. I've had my hands full with trying to get the annotations redesign finished and managing the beta. Your solution is great though - my formatting doesn't provide more complicated logical comparisons, so you needed to do something like that to achieve what you wanted. Perhaps in the future I can add support for things like matching values (so if a certain field such as Genre matches a given value, use the first part, else use the second).

Hey Mike, all good, I'm sure the beta is a huge job. Didn't take me too long to sort out the syncing and formatting once I started playing around with it. Very impressive that the app has enough functionality to do all those things. Matching values and isolated library storage would be great but I imagine the iOS version and other planned upgrades will keep you busy for a while. Looking forward to seeing any changes that make it to the e-Ink version. Cheers, Guy
Hi Mike. I left a couple of the tablets off for a while and when I turned them back on there was the message about the the second licence check. I connected them both to the wi-fi and re-started the app and the message went away but there was a bit of a glitch. Both of them were in a non-default library when I had switched them off before the second licence check. When I turned them back on they were still in the non-default library but when I went to settings to change libraries only the default library was listed even though all the pieces in the non-default library were showing up. When I changed to the default library it was empty and then there was no way of getting back to the non-default library because the page for changing libraries was still only listing the default library. I didn't think to check whether the files were still in storage on the tablet before I restored them from the backup but it was all fine because I had backups of the default library and the other library. Just thought I'd mention it in case it wasn't intentional behaviour.
That is extremely strange. The warning about the license check should have had no impact on the library that is used. Additionally, the library information is stored in a configuration file, so for you not to be able to switch back to the correct library means that it couldn't find the library information in the config file. Having said that, I do have some fixes coming for the switch library functionality as part of the next major update. I fixed some of the issues related to backup/restore with non-default libraries as well.


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