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97325Re: [N1MM] Re: fast op change - saving customized macro files by user?

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  • Jim Smith
    Jul 21, 2014
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      Nice summary Jeff.

      I have tried and tried and tried to standardize the macros at the VE7UF M/M.

      Well, standardizing them was easy, getting the ops to stop dicking with
      them is the hard part.

      I do believe that some macro settings work better than others (more Qs).
      RTTY macros in particular need a lot of thought to get right -
      locations of spaces are critical and not at all obvious at first glance.

      1) Everybody who doesn't want to use the station standard macros brings
      their own on a USB stick and is responsible for loading them himself and
      ALSO for reloading the standard ones at the end of his shift. I haven't
      had much (if any) success in getting this to happen.

      2) This wastes time, even if the op knows what he's doing. Plus, in my
      experience, they never restore the standard macro set, leading to the
      next item.

      3) This is even worse. It's like reassigning the keyboard keys and
      leaving the next poor sucker to try to figure out which key to hit to
      get what he wants. For a touch typist this is as close to hell on earth
      that you're going to get. It is a truly awful experience to start your
      2nd shift with not enough sleep since the first and find that every time
      you hit a function key it sends something other than what you expect.
      It really messes up the rate, makes you feel like a lid and wonder if
      there's somewhere else you'd rather be.

      Well, I'm getting old. The younger ops (oh to be 60 again) don't appear
      to be nearly as bothered by this as I am.

      4) In my discussion of this topic with other M/Ms some time ago at least
      one said this is what they do - everyone uses the same macros no changes
      allowed and, implied, "Lots of ops would love to have your seat."

      The standardized macros I set up were based on several requirements.
      One was that the same key should, to the extent possible, always do the
      same thing no matter what mode or contest. So a particular key or its
      shifted version will always ask for or send the first element of the
      exchange. Another will do the same for the 2nd element if there is one.

      The idea being that every time a particular op sits down he knows what
      each key does.

      The hoped for result is that only the most efficient macros are used and
      that the ops can sit down and start operating without wasting time
      trying to come to terms with an unfamiliar macro setup.

      Of course, you'll get lots of arguments about the relative efficiency of
      different macros.

      In my case, while I'm not a touch typist, if I want to send AGN my
      finger stabs the F8 key without my having to look at it. If someone has
      reassigned F8 to something else it will be an endless source of time
      wasting frustration for me until I change it back.

      However, this doesn't actually happen to me any more as my standard
      macro files are on all 6 computers and I just reload them if necessary.
      The point is that if all the ops get used to a standard macro set they
      won't spend as much time trying to figure out which key to hit and
      muscle memory can take over, with consequent rate increase.

      4) is my preferred choice and I am able to impose it at my own station,
      at my club's newbie contest op training stations and on Field Day.
      However, the situation is quite different at VE7UF. Initially it was
      quite difficult to get competent ops for two op positions as UF is on
      Vancouver Island and, with rare exceptions, skilled ops who have the
      time aren't. So, to get there and back from, say, Vancouver an op
      (including me) is faced with well over $100 in ferry fare and gas plus
      about 10 hours travel time, including getting to the ferry early enough
      that you get on.

      So, I would explain the benefits of using the standard macros and hope
      for the best, not wanting to alienate the few ops we could attract. My
      hopes were never realized.

      Still, we gradually attracted more ops thereby encouraging Duane, VE7UF,
      to put up another 150 ft rotating tower with 3 stacked TH6s etc and to
      add an op position. We're now starting to post some better scores and
      to attract the attention of some pretty competent ops.

      So, I would explain the benefits of using the standard macros and hope
      for the best, not wanting to alienate these competent ops. My hopes
      were never realized.

      UF now has 6 op positions and we're pretty competitive, given our
      latitude. Of course, this requires more ops.

      So, I now explain the benefits of using the standard macros and hope for
      the best, not wanting to see a thousand Qs walk out the door. My hopes
      are never realized.

      In addition, the more competent the op the less interest there seems to
      be in hearing about any macro setup that isn't his! I'm also starting
      to think that the more competent the op the less important macros are
      and that I'm viewing the whole scene from my fair but not exceptional
      level of competence.

      It's also true, of course, that minor changes to the macros ought to be
      made to suit cndx. Things like increasing the number of times your call
      is repeated when cndx are poor.

      Actually, I gave up trying a while back. I keep hoping to get some
      discussion going among our regular ops with a view to coming up with a
      mutually acceptable set of macros but this takes a lot of time which I
      never seem to have.

      I have a proposal for 5)

      Seems to me the following scenario is realizable.
      * VE7XYZ sits down at the start of his shift, sees the CTRL-O window
      sitting on top of the entry window and enters his call.
      * AutoHotKey or Macro Express or similar intercepts this activity and
      prompts for a .mc file. Choices are VE7UF Standard or VE7XYZ standard
      or VE7XYZ last used.
      * AHK (or M E or ?) loads the chosen .mc file
      * VE7XYZ signifies the end of his shift by hitting CTRL-O (and positions
      the CTRL-O window on top of the entry window)
      * AHK (or ?) asks whether or not to save the current version of XYZ's
      macros as last used. Saving changes to VE7UF Standard is not an option.

      If no response, the entry of another call into CTRL-O aborts the save

      Well, the fact that there might be 6 computers involved suggests that
      the .mc files should all be stored on the Master computer. I seem to
      recall that this is a no-no but see no reason why the appropriate file
      couldn't be downloaded to the op position computer by AHK and any
      changes uploaded to the Master.

      This is somewhat rough but should describe the idea reasonably well.

      This is something I've been trying to get the time to do for something
      like 3 years. My latest project is to upgrade my home station from SOLP
      to M/2 QRO on a 33 x 120 ft city lot while I still can. I have almost
      all the gear but this is going to take a while.

      So, I'm looking for a volunteer to take on this M/M macro project.

      Any takers?

      73, Jim VE7FO

      On 2014-07-16 08:50, 'Jeff AC0C' keepwalking188@... [N1MMLogger] wrote:
      > I’m sure the “+” team has plenty of challenges to get N1MM+ out the
      > door; I can respect the no-plan to include.
      > So how do the big boys handle these changes then?
      > It seems there are 4 options:
      > 1) manually load a prespecified macro file for guys who are
      > particular (maybe named by op call or something)
      > 2) let the individual ops fiddle with the macro each time they set
      > down
      > 3) just use whatever the last guy was using
      > 4) the guy in charge of the log stuff for the team guy says “we all
      > use this macro – no changes allowed.”
      > I guess I’m asking what the “best practice” is for how the long
      > seasoned multi stations address this issue?
      > 73/jeff/ac0c www.ac0c.com alpha-charlie-zero-charlie
      > From: mailto:N1MMLogger@yahoogroups.com Sent: Wednesday, July 16,
      > 2014 8:57 AM To: N1MMLogger@yahoogroups.com Subject: Re: [N1MM] Re:
      > fast op change - saving customized macro files by user?
      > Jeff,
      > N1MM+ supports operator customization of skins (fonts and colors) and
      > screen layouts (windows positions) when changing operators with
      > ctrl+O (“OPON”). N1MM+’s initial roll-out includes no plan to extend
      > that customization to include swapping-out the .MC FunctionKey
      > files.
      > -larry (K8UT)
      > From: mailto:N1MMLogger@yahoogroups.com Sent: Tuesday, July 15, 2014
      > 12:33 PM To: N1MMLogger@yahoogroups.com Subject: [N1MM] Re: fast op
      > change - saving customized macro files by user?
      > One thing that keeps coming up here with multi ops is each guy wants
      > to have a different variant of the macro files. I do not believe
      > that N1MM presently has a facility for automatically loading the
      > macro file with an op change (/O).
      > I know loading a macro file works – but many of the more seasoned ops
      > already struggle with the /O to flip their callsign – so adding that
      > sequence into the op swap is something I am looking for a way to
      > automate.
      > Perhaps there is a work-around for this that one of you have come
      > across? Or perhaps this may be in the offering down the road for
      > N1MM+?
      > 73/jeff/ac0c www.ac0c.com alpha-charlie-zero-charlie
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