Modern Folk Dance Skin Design

 

This skin has been setup to prevent problems when setting up fixed playlists.  So the philosophy has been to remove or hide anything that is not needed for setting up a fixed playlist.  Any function that causes problems has been removed.  In particular the design was to insure that a playing track can not be accidentally interrupted.  This customization was designed to be used by recreational dance groups where interruping a dance is very undesirable.  In addition if the dance programmer is not very computer literate, the player should not accidentally pop up or close windows.  This was based on the Winamp Modern skin.  The intent is not to have a skin which looks better, but to have one that is user friendly for programming recreational dances, and to make important things more easily readable at a distance.  In addition a few  features have been added to make dance instruction easier.

 

The following things have been changed from the Winamp Modern Skin.

 

  1. Buttons and sliders now display their values when you hover over them.
  2. The backgrounds for text have been made a uniform color so that the text is more visible.  The patterning in the display window has been toned down.  The shadowing in the display window has been removed so that the information is more visible.  The left frame of the media library has been thickened to make opening of the device/function window easier.
  3. The text has been enlarged for the timing at the bottom of the Playlist window to improve visibility.  An extra window shows the currently playing dance number, and the number of dances for convenience.
  4. The unnecessary buttons at the bottom of the Playlist have been removed as these functions are available other ways that can be hidden.
  5. The “Manage Playlist” button no longer shows the complete menu.  It only shows “Clear Play List” and “More Advanced…”.   The “More Advanced…” option then opens the original menu.  This is because some of the options on the original menu cause problems, and the normally all you need to do is clear the playlist.
  6. The “dangerous” play button at the bottom of the Media Library has been hidden from view.  It is dangerous because it kills the playlist and interrupts the currently playing track.  Unfortunately this damaged the finished appearance of the bottom of the Media Library window.  Quel dommage.
  7. The Enter key only plays the selected track if the player is already stopped.  This prevents accidentally interrupting a track.  It is suggested that double clicks be turned off in the playlist using Dr.O’s undo.  An error message tells the user to press STOP first.
  8. The shuffle play button has been removed from the Winamp window.  This prevents accidental pushing.  The playlist is intended to be fixed and not variable.  It is still on the configuration menu.  The shuffle play indicator is retained, but it is no longer clickable.  In addition the indicator light on the repeat button, and the EQ indicator are also no longer clickable.
  9. Secondary controls are no longer clickable on the main window.  So the equalizer indicator is only an indicator.  The repeat function is only controllable by the repeat button and the second display has been removed.  Indicators for replay gain, fader usage have been added.  This prevents accidental changes of these functions and all controls are then changed by only 1 button.  Unfortunately I can not easily expunge the extra controls from the main menu.
  10. The menu buttons at the top have been removed because they duplicate other controls, and contain “dangerous” functions such as “play” which clears the playlist.
  11. Single key commands removed.  The cntrl, alt, shift key commands still work.  This is to prevent accidental single key commands.
  12. The text in the shade window has been enlarged and the font changed to improve visibility at a distance.  This also gives a uniform font when Unicode is used.
  13. The double click for the shade have been removed from all windows to prevent accidental annoying changes.
  14. Changed the Eject button so it adds files to the playlist rather than replaces all files in the playlist.  Again this prevents accidentally killing the existing playlist.
  15. Added features are:

·        Stop at next track button

·         Stop on track name ***STOP***

·        Delayed play button, allows programmer to get into a dance.

·        Save/Go to memory position in track  Good for teaching dances.

·        Pause at a selected position in the track  Good for teaching.

·        Selectable delay between tracks.  Allows time to get ready for next dance.

·        Selectable decorations for various seasons.  The holiday lights were borrowed from the Holiday 2005 skin.  Anyone who wants this functionality, must use this skin, the ability to use decorative skins is not possible.  So the ability to design decorations for this skin was added and some preset decorative overlays have been added.  The user can design a decorative motif which overlays the main window without doing any programming.  This should help satisfy the visual artists who are folk dancers and gives button pushers something to do.

·        A button on the main window for changing colors.  This gives people something to play with that is harmless and may forestall further exploration.

·         Play selection button is available at the bottom of the play window.  This only plays the selected track when Winamp is stopped.

  1. Unnecessary or redundant items removed

·         Stop buttons on playlist & library because if pushed, it may not be obvious how to get lists back.

·         Shade feature of playlist.  It may cause library to flip up to an inaccessible location.  It is not needed and is confusing.

·         The setup menu keys in the playlist & library

·         The redundant close buttons on the playlist and library windows have been removed.   If a user accidentally closes the playlist by pushing the close button, they may not have a clue how to get it back.

  1. Changed features to prevent accidental stopping of a playing dance.

·        The Enter key in the playlist editor only starts playing a new track when Winamp is stopped. 

·        The Close button on the main window only works when playing is stopped.

  1. Added displays are:

·        Pause time & remaining time for pause

·        Memory position in track

·        Pause position in track

·        Current track number shown in main window.

·        Current / Last track number shown at bottom of playlist window.

·         Next/Previous track names are displayed in former main window menu bar.

·         Last track in playlist is displayed in former playlist menu bar.  This helps the user to check if a dance has been entered at the end of the playlist.  If the user accidentally enters the same dance twice in the playlist, an error message is displayed.

·         Winamp now scrolls up the playlist when a track is added to the end of the playlist.

·         Total remaining time in the playlist.

·         A replay gain indicator has been added.

  1. The Holidays, Halloween, and a Windows Classic color scheme were added.
  2. Decorations (fun stuff)

·        The Holidays lights were added from the Holiday 2005, selected by a button.  They now properly placed even when the status bar is hidden.

·        In addition a number of other seasonal decorations are added for Halloween, Harvest (Thanksgiving), Spring, St. Patrick’s day, St. Valentine’s day.

·        The user can add a decoration.png file to the c:\Program Files\winamp\ folder.

·        Since other decorated skins will lack the safety features, it is desirable to have selectable decorations and this gives the user harmless buttons to push.

  1. Being a scientist & educator I object to the use of kHz or kBps as variables, and have accordingly moved them behind the number where units should always be located.  Students have severe difficulties because they do not distinguish between units and variables, so proper usage is desirable.  I notice this is now done in the Bento skin.
  2. To complete the security install playlist undo available in Winamp essentials

·        Turn off double click (mandatory)

·        Turn off right click (optional)

  1. Configure the library so that double click enqueues the track.  This prevents accidentally killing the playlist.
  2. You add a logo to this player by making a 44x30 png file named logo.png in c:\Program Files\winamp\
  3. You can add a picture to the left of the beat display by adding a file named picture.png to the winamp folder.
  4. The new features require expanding the main window to the right.
  5. Minimal changes were made to the shade player window because it will probably not be used while programming an evening of dancing.
  6. The speed/pitch plug-in may appear where the main window of the default classic skin is located.  So setting the classic main window to a specific location may control the location of the plug-in.  The “Take it Easy” plug in is not recommended because it crashes Winamp, but other tempo changing plug-ins are available.  Chronotron Pro is the best one available.
  7. Other useful plug-ins are KatMouse and MouseWheel Blocker.
  8. Some saved options have been changed so that the Modern Folk Dance Skin defaults to certain standard settings.  Both the ML and PL default to on.
  9. The Bento skin style is not necessarily the optimum solution for dancing because you need both a large library and playlist window.  So full screen was simulated by adding a window lock.  This locks the windows in place and prevents them accidental removal.
  10. It is often desirable to figure out what dances are popular according to the dance night, or other criteria.  While Winamp can keep the frequency of usage, more information is often desirable.  So the ability to log the actions and played dance names has been added.  This requires installation of the latest WASDP plugin as it uses the debug features.
  11. To make a less cluttered appearance the extra indicators for play, pause, stop were removed, but the indicators on the buttons should be sufficient.  Also to find out the memory or pause time hover the cursor over the button for each.  It is also possible to remove the beat, frequency, and statistics information from the main window.  This is controlled by the decorations menu.
  12. To make the skin more uniform looking the scroll bar for the playlist now has a button that looks like the one on the media library.  Some users did not recognize it as a scroll bar button!

 

 

Issues still to be resolved in Winamp:

 

  1. Right clicking on the Media Library brings up some undesirable menu items such as PLAY.  This is kludged by substituting my language files.
  2. This skin is still dependent on specifically configured menus and plug-ins.
  3. Some file types do not put the seeker in the correct position if a slow down plugin is used.  This happens with only some types of files.