Notes

I think this has been discussed before. An internal messaging system to allow a remote location send/receive messages from the studio.

Although not exactly the same but we use a second playlist (having hid any players for it in the layout.ini) to display text messages.

All we do is use the event scheduler to load a text file into the playlist at the relevant time. The text file states a basic Whats Coming Up over the next few hours (which presenter is on, any guests, competitions etc).

Hope this helps.

What we would like to do now is have the playlist query the dedicated folder where we hide the notes looking for new text files (almost a messenger service) and load these into the dummy playlist.

Then the news team (from their PC) could insert text messages into the folder/directory concerned with latest news updates and the location where any attached audio file may be.

Why not just use studio 2 for news? If I can find another we could.

Or we continue to ask presenters to check themselves.

Tony, I like your idea! I am presuming here that you would actually need a ‘semaphore’ directory to store any new files, and a ‘text playout’ directory where these files would be moved to, prior to loading them into the playlist.

Perhaps the way to handle the ‘look for new files’ process would be to schedule a script to run (say) every five minutes, which would in essence do the following tasks:

  1. Check the ‘semaphore’ directory for any .TXT files.

  2. For each .TXT file found in ‘semaphore’ directory:
    move each file to the ‘text playout’ directory,
    load the .TXT file in the ‘text playout’ directory into the text playlist.

You would need to establish some housekeeping process to keep the ‘text playout’ directory tidy, and would also need unique names for the text files (probably based on the date/time?).

This method makes it easy for the remote person(s) to check whether or not mAirList has ‘picked up’ any new .TXT files which have been posted. The ‘semaphore’ directory should be empty at all times except for the few minutes between saving a new file there and mAirList’s scheduled script moving it to the ‘text playout’ directory (and into the ‘text playlist’).

I hope I’ve explained that in a sensible way: please let me know if any of it is unclear. I’ve built similar systems in the past using this technique, just for other purposes (usually update batches for SQL databases and suchlike).

Does that help?

PS: Remember that a mAirList script can internally run any external program—including a VB program of your own devising! :wink:

PPS: I think it is possible to have a playlist with zero players, isn’t it? More elegant than ‘hiding’ the attached players!

BFN
CAD

Must we really re-invent the wheel? There are things like e-mail, instant messaging, etc. Must this functionality really be included in the playout software? Or could it reside in an external application?

A really simple mAirList-internal solution would look like this: Create a .txt file in which the editor or news guy puts the latest information for the presenter. The file is never renamed nor deleted, it is just edited in case of an update. You can then define a simple event (via the “Insert file” action) which loads that .txt file into the playlist at a given time.

Torben

A really simple mAirList-internal solution would look like this: Create a .txt file in which the editor or news guy puts the latest information for the presenter. The file is never renamed nor deleted, it is just edited in case of an update. You can then define a simple event (via the "Insert file" action) which loads that .txt file into the playlist at a given time.

Torben

Hi Torben, just similar to how we are doing this. Only we load a new text file every 40 minutes or so to show any changes, each file addressing the presenter currently “On Air”. Although I do like Cad’s idea.

Cad thanks for the suggestion about playlists without players, I will check on the version we are running to see if its available. We just set the width and height to zero and then overlay this position with the dummy playlist.

Kind Regards Tony

Must we really re-invent the wheel? There are things like e-mail, instant messaging, etc.
True, Torben. And [b]all[/b] of those things (e-mail, IM, etc.) are applications which most computer tech. managers would definitely [b]not[/b] want running on the playout computer!
Must this functionality really be included in the playout software? Or could it reside in an external application?
Well, the entire point of having a playout computer from my POV is that it runs one and only one application: the playout application. So using an external application to run e-mail, IM, etc. would IMHO require a second studio PC to run them on: a luxury which not all mAirList users could afford—or would necessarily want to implement.

There is a playout application called Mixopia which is not a very good application in general, but it does have one splendid feature: a ‘bulletin’ (or mini-news desk) which is implemented as eight large buttons each showing the first line of a text file as the button caption (the eight text files being editable from elsewhere on the LAN). Clicking any button opens a Notepad-type window displaying the entire contents of that file (the files being named 1.txt, 2.txt, etc.).

The concept behind that particular feature has always been a Favourite Thing of mine since I first saw and used it.

I do of course understand, Torben, that you feel this sort of thing is not really what a playout system should be doing—but that is exactly what I thought about the additions of things like plug-ins and video playback into mAirList! :wink:

BFN
CAD

I agree that it is favorable to have multiple computers, one exclusively for playout, and one or more for the other tasks. But even if you only have one computers, you can still use a dedicated program for each task.

Regarding your final comment - what plug-ins are you referring to?

And the video playback would have been a nice addition to the feature list, because it would have turned mAirList into a full-featured video automation, just by choosing a different output driver. There have been two requests from commercial customers who would have liked to see this feature. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find a satisfying solution to gap-free video playback, and I abanoned the idea for the time being.

even if you only have one computers, you can still use a dedicated program for each task.
I for one would [b]never[/b] allow an IM application of any sort on a 'live' playout computer; nor any e-mail application, nor any application which connects to the Internet. All of those are IMHO too dangerous to run on the [i]same[/i] computer as playout, because any one of them could screw up playout. And with Internet connection, you would [b]have[/b] to run both anti-virus and firewall software on that computer—both of which softwares could again cause problems for the playout software.

Regarding your final comment - what plug-ins are you referring to?

Didn’t someone a while ago mention in the forum running things like Sound Solution as a “poor man’s output processor,” and similar Winamp plug-ins? Maybe I misunderstood, but I thought that you had ‘adapted’ mAirList to run those?

BFN
CAD

Oh, that kind of plugins … Well, there is a BASS.DLL add-on which would allow to use these. But that wouldn’t make sense, because they would affect each player separately. One could however BASS.DLL software mixing with the same sound card, and then apply the sound processing plugin to the internal master stream sent to the sound card. This would be ok for applications like unattended background music in shops or so, where no other audio sources (microphone, CD players, …) are involved.

Regarding e-mail and IM, there are many lightweight clients which wouldn’t affect your system so much. And you do not need to connect to the internet at all, mail and IM servers can also be set up within a private network, for internal communication only. Of course, it is favorable to have an extra computer for these kind of things. But including such features into the playout software won’t make the system more stable.

Here’s another idea for sharing notes with mAirList:

Create an empty playlist and save it as .mlp somewhere on the network. Then open that playlist as a “Playlist Browser”. mAirList will show the contents of the playlist in a browser tab. You can now open that playlist with mAirList on a different PC and add notes and/or files to it, then save it. On the main playout PC, click Reload, and you will see the new notes or files, and you can enter them into the playlist.

The same thing can also be achieved with a simple directory browser, although you don’t have title/duration information then.

This is where my idea which i had requested along time ago comes in. Basically the mAirlist Browser would have one of its tabs as a web browser. You specify the page path in the config, then when mAirlist loads it opens a tab with that page.

That way people can put anything they like there - can be an internal page, external website etc. Allowing people to judge there own ‘risk’ levels.

This way also means there isnt much added to mAirlist to slow it down, because the browser component is already there.

Torben, I presume the browser compnent allows you to load websites through windows? Therefore any plugins (like flash and javascript) would still work if you wanted them too?

Just an idea?

funny what you say about browsers and IM…I’m running mairlist as live assist function for my internet stream. I am using firewall and antivirus software on the playout PC, it’s using zararadio in automation, i’m still new to mairlist, so I am still figuring out how to automate it the way I want.

jazler interestingly enough has an option to surf the net within the application, but all of the commerical stations I know of or worked in, have the playout PC as dedicated, they’ll put another 1 or two PC’s in, one for internet, and cool edit pro/adobe audition is often installed on another PC to record phone calls.

I’m surprised you don’t get your talent to look on another PC as to what is coming up. maybe a word document. they’re getting spoiled. hehehehe

Found this, which we are going to try:

http://www.phoneinbuddy.com/FAM_main.htm

Never did use the app above.

Just noticed that loading a txt file into a dummy list returns an error message in the first column.txt files are not supported by default.

So another feature in the remote commands to open either a txt file or pdf (we prefer pdf, then no-one can edit it). We need to include a basic help file as we introduce more and more of the advanced options in mAirList, which until now had remained hidden.

Kind Regards tony

edit: Works fine now, wrong setting somewhere!

edit 2

Also changed our help file to an htm page (when its finished). This will run off a keystroke command even with mAirList in focus.