Talk:Proposal Timer Record Improvements Phase-2

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Proposal Comments

James 22Mar19:

I looked at working on this proposal at the start of 2.3.2. I found that it would be complex to implement if we had very specific choices of what was allowed 'during timer record' and what was not. Example: During waiting for a recording should we be allowed to change audio device, for example? Probably yes, but that takes time for some devices - and recording could attempt to start during a device change. Hard to implement that right.

I've decided the proposal needs more work, if it is me coding it. I've some suggestions:

  • Timer Record is a data entry screen. It can be opened at any time. It is modeless!
  • There is a button 'Arm' on it.
    • When Arm is down timer record is active and the normal Audacity GUI is locked out.
    • When Arm up, the normal Audacity GUI is active, and timer record will not start or stop recording.

In this way, you can arm/disarm timer record at any time, to get on with all your normal activity. Nothing is disabled when you have timer record disabled. You could, for example, after timer record has started recording, disarm timer record (recording continues), adjust levels, adjust the end time, and re-arm timer record, leaving it to finish off the recording at its new end time.

The current prohibition on timer record when there are unsaved changes would change.

  • A check box, checked by default, would enable close to current behaviour.
    • You could not arm a recording-start if there were unsaved changes. The dialog would show that 'Unsaved Changes' and 'Arm' button greyed out..
    • If in timer recording, a disarm would prompt with an 'Are you sure?' dialog.

Unchecking the check box, and you could proceed without those warnings / checks.

The current progress dialog would be integrated in the TimerRecord dialog, rather than be separate. As we can now return from the progress dialog to the timer record set up dialog, making them one is visually better.

Peter 25Mar19: this sounds like a good, workable solution to this problem (and I write as a heavy user of TR)

Relevant notes from the original forum thread that "nudged" development of this proposal

1) Loss of controls

The real problem with Timer Recording is that you lose all access to the controls particularly the levels, but also zoom level and resizing of tracks. This is a prominent Feature Request (see below).

  • Gale: "I agree it would be more optimal if you could adjust controls relevant to the recording once Timer Record had started but you can Stop or Cancel it using the buttons in the dialogue."
  • Peter: What I am asking for is to be able to do in Timer Record mode all the things I can do in normal record mode: zoom in/out, change the track size, drop markers with Ctrl+B and Ctrl+M, use the sliders to adjust the signal, change the waveform display type, rename the track etc. The underlying problem, I infer, is that whoever write the Timer Record [Vaughan Johnson] assumed it was for "unattended recording" - if that was what it was intended to be then we should have called it "Unattended Record".

Use Case: I often use Timer Record while I am active on my PC so that I do not forget to start an FM capture from the radio - and in that case I do want and need access to the tools.

  • Gale: There may be a case for not blocking any actions at all while Audacity is "waiting to start" Timer Record but it raises all manner of issues about what happens if user is in the middle of playing / exporting when recording is due to start.
  • Peter:I don't see what the problem is - you can do all these things while Audacity is recording "normally" - so it should be technically feasible to enable them while in Timer record mode surely?
  • Gale:I was considering the issue of setting a Timer Record a long way in advance to be sure you did not forget but then you are locked out of doing anything else in Audacity. Someone else remarked to me about that recently.
  • Gale: I can't think of any reason why you shouldn't adjust levels and drop labels while a scheduled recording is going on - you are not asking for any extra menu access in that case, whereas you are if you want to go from manual recording to Timer Record. OTOH we want a Timer Record Progress Dialogue and if it's to be modeless we have to be sure no more menu items are available than when during normal recording. Either this was more difficult for Vaughan to accomplish than you think, or the fact (for example) that you might want to adjust levels during the first few seconds of scheduled recording then walk away wasn't considered.

2) Ability to minimize the Timer record Window

I'd like Timer Record to behave like a proper Windows window so that I can minimize it to the Applications bar. I know I can do this by clearing the desktop of all applications - but then annoyingly it insists on making its screen presence felt as soon as I activate any other docked application.

  • Gale: Bug 104 relates to this.
  • Peter: But only part of it - it does not cover the ability to use the window minimize button to send it to the taskbar. Do we need a new bug raised for this?
  • Gale: No, I widened Bug 104 to "Timer Record prevents Audacity being minimised" - all the symptoms arise from that. As I stated in the bug comment it would be quite odd on Windows to be able to minimise an app having a modal window (though Ubuntu allows it). So making Timer Record dialogue modeless (for the current project) would be one solution.

3) Timer Stop to be available for manually initiated recording

Ability to invoke the TIMER to STOP recording after a set time for a recording process that has been manually initiated, NOT automatically by use of TIMER? As a safety measure so Audacity does not record endlessly until hard drive is full and recorded session becomes jeopardized.

  • Supported by Koz: I was playing the part of the clueless, scattered, right-brain, creative user. I know the programmers consider Using and Timing to be two completely separate operating conditions, but trust me, the users don't see it, or want it, that way.