Saturday, July 15, 2017

Copying files from a VLC xspf playlist into a new directory

Problem:  You have a nicely curated VLC playlist in xpsf format, and you want to copy those files (and only those files) to a new destination.  Like, your phone or portable device, for a trip or something.

There is a tool called "XSPF Export Tool" out there, done by Gerald at Dragonzero.  It did not work for me.

There is another tool called AmoK Playlist Copy.  It does not support .xspf playlist format.

So what worked for me was:

-  In VLC, save the playlist into *.m3u format, and

-  Use AmoK Playlist Copy to copy the playlist files to a new directory.

Worked perfect for me.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

P.I. Engineering Macroworks 3.1 for X-Keys running impossibly slow under Windows 7

Update Jan 2018:  I had problems with Acrobat so I restored my PC from a backup and had to reinstall Macroworks 3.1.  The latest version  (v., Dec 2017) >appears< to have fixed issues with speed and the X-Keys programming key not working correctly.  Time will tell.

However, I do still recommend running Macroworks  in admin mode, as described below.  Setting the Windows "Run this program as an administrator" flag the Compatibility tab >seems< to do the job.

Problem:  Macroworks 3.1 starts to run / respond slower and slower until it pretty much hangs completely.

Note this is for "MacroWorks3g.exe", which is the GUI interface.  MacroWorks3r.exe, which is the system tray utility, doesn't seem to have any problems.

One possible solution:

-  Exit the GUI (kill it if you have to)
-  Optional:  Exit the system tray utility.
-  Go to where these files are (likely C:\Program Files (x86)\PI Engineering\MacroWorks 3.1)
-  If necessary, right-click MacroWorks3r.exe, and choose "Run as administrator".

OK, here's the trick: when you want to access to GUI:

You >must< go to  C:\Program Files (x86)\PI Engineering\MacroWorks 3.1\MacroWorks3g.exe, right-click, and "Run as administrator".  Do this EVERY time you want the GUI.

What will not work:

-  If you access the GUI from an elevated system tray program, it will NOT behave.
-  If you check the "Run this program as an administrator" in the Compatibility tab, it will NOT behave.
-  If you use the programming switch on the Xkeys to invoke the GUI, it will NOT behave.
-  If you run it from any ordinary shortcut, it will NOT behave.

Again, you have to manually run the GUI as admin EVERY time.

For some reason, this works differently than the "Run this program as an administrator" in the Compatibility tab. I had that checked but it didn't help.  Running the program manually in admin mode using the right-click menu did work.  Don't ask me why, but it cleared up all the hesitation on my machine.

If that doesn't work on it's own, try going to the Compatibility tab for both programs and setting Compatibility Mode to "Windows XP (Service Pack 3".  I did both and I don't know if it made a difference.

Note you can avoid much of the inconvenience of having to run the GUI as admin by minimizing the GUI when you don't need it, rather than closing it.  Then it will stay running properly all the time.

Note this may cause the programming switch on your Xkeys to stop working.  Also, you will no longer be able to press an Xkeys button to get it to program - you have to double-click the key in the GUI.

These effects are probably because the stick hardware can no longer control the MacroWorks program when it is running as admin.  This is because admin programs direct other programs, not the other way around.  But these are a small price to pay to have a properly programmable X-Keys system again.

[Edit Dec 2017]:  The GUI frequently crashes if it's left sit for a long time.  I plan to try plugging the Stick directly into a proper USB hub instead of the keyboard USB port, to see if that fixes anything.