I have terrible luck with computers and if I click on anything
I'll probably wipe out the whole thing (it's happened before).
So I'm afraid to touch anything until I know what I'm supposed to do.
It should not be possible to easily wipe out things in CSDS.
CSDS asks for confirmation whenever you try to delete anything
of value. In some cases, CSDS will give you a stern warning and
ask twice, just to be sure.
CSDS is meant to be experimented with. Go ahead and try things.
If you have a specific question, or have a specific task you'd
like to do, send me an e-mail and I'll assist you.
Do you have any plans to include animation and timing to
the Ceder Square Dance System in the near future?
Dancer Animation and Timing (counting beats per call) will not be added in the near future.
Animation is a major step, and although many parts have already been worked out (e.g., http://www.ceder.net/animation/movdan4.php).
Implementing animation would involve a lot of work, and would be feasible for perhaps only the standard versions of the calls. It would be very difficult to instruct the program how to animate calls when concepts are applied.
Timing would be easier to do, but again, would only be feasible to add it to the calls.
Do you provide an API or limited source code access or licensing for personal use. Although I haven't played with your product yet, there are a few things I like about a program that I wrote that I may want to integrate some how. Just curious. Being a programmer myself I always have to ask.
The CSDS program code isn't yet sophisticated enough to have an API. In the future, I intend to breakup the program into one or more DLLs and possibly into two or more processes. When I get around to doing this, I could use one of the DLLs as an API.
I do not supply source code at this time. In the past, for special requests, I have supplied a listing or two and definitions for file/database formats. The CSDS program does not use a 'real' database system, but instead uses random access files. One caller wrote a program to 'count beats' for a sequence.
I call only Mainstream and Plus. Could I benefit from on screen
calling in these programs from your choreography data base? Is the choreography database transferrable to the screen? I am mostly a sight caller, but as you know it's nice to have notes for cute get in's and outs. But can that be done without spending alot of time during a dance?
You can benefit from calling from the screen. When I call Plus, I usually sight-call most of the dance. The CSDS program assists by displaying a list of the Plus calls, some singing call sequences, stir the bucket routines, and other special sequences that I might want to call. CSDS has a search function that allows you to find a particular figure that you've been workshopping so that you can include it in your singing call.
Sequences from our web-based Choreo Database can be downloaded into CSDS via the 'Import sequences into CSDS' link.
I have a question about the screens that allow you to call dances using a notebook computer. I'm trying to envision how you work the computer and call at the same time. Is this difficult to do? Or is it something you get good at with a little bit of practice?
It's easy to call with a notebook computer using CSDS. Most
functions (music play|pause|rewind|etc., timer on/off/increment/decrement, viewing list of calls or sequences, navigating thru sequences) are single keystroke functions. The 'hard' part for a novice CSDS user is setting up the dance. Using the dance is reasonably straightforward.
I sent a check for your CSDS database over a week ago and
it hasn't cleared the bank as of yet. I was wondering if
you've received it yet. If not, please let me know so that
I can stop payment on that one and issue you another check.
I have received your check.
I don't cash a check until I've mailed off the installation CD.
This can take a couple of weeks since I usually wait until
either the next release of CSDS, or until I have a couple
of orders. For each order, I also have to create the CD,
test it, package it, and mail it. Depending upon my schedule, this may also take a few days.
I've noticed that a good deal of the records that I already have are part of your collection and although I TOTALLY agree with your stance on copyrighted music I don't see anything wrong with distributing the Cue sheets.
This is a text file that can be 'imported' into the CSDS Music Database.
For each song in the cue sheet file, the CSDS program searches it's Music
Database for corresponding record_label and label_number. If a match is found,
it generates the corresponding cue sheet (in HTML format), and
updates the Music Database.
I saw that you offer a lot of cue sheets on your homepage. It takes a while to download them, so my second question is:
Could I get these cue sheets from you on a CD when I buy your program? That would really save a lot of time for me...
The cue sheet database is included as part of CSDS on the installation CD.
The database currently holds over 9000 square dance cue sheets.
No, but you can. It's inefficient to do so. It is better
to type them into a document (i.e., RTF, HTML, TXT, or even DOC).
Our web site currently contains over 9000 square dance cue sheets. Therefore,
the most efficient and preferable way to add cue sheets to
CSDS is to download them from our website and have CSDS
'import' them. See http://www.ceder.net/recorddb/csds_download.php
If some of your cue sheets are not found on our site,
please send us the necessary information, and we will
add it to our web-based database.
How much of the screen is used when displaying singing call
and round dance cue sheets? Can I select a playlist and have
a pause between records? (Unlike the other players).
The majority of the screen can be used to display the cue sheet.
CSDS does not yet implement 'play lists' (it will within a few weeks). Currently, you select a piece of music via the CSDS music database, the CSDS quick list (a pre-selected subset of the CSDS music database), the CSDS music history list (the 50 most recently played selections), or browsing for a music selection from disk.
CSDS uses single key-stroke functions to hide/show the music player and to navigate to the cue sheet.
The thing that I really feel would be of benefit to me that CSDS allows you to enter calls and then move the formation to whatever you feel it should be. How flexible is that feature?
Dancers can be positioned at 1/2 matrix spots (e.g., 1/2 Press Ahead, Back, Right, Left).
This feature is very flexible and should be able to do practically anything you want.
It does have a few limitations:
Maximum matrix size is 16 x 16.
Although dancers may be facing at 45 degree angles, you may not have some dancers facing at 45 degree angles from other dancers (e.g., all dancers must be at 45 degree angles, or all must be at normal angles).
A large portion of the window is used for the 'primary' frame.
The 'secondary' frames are located on the right-hand side.
The 'Call from Screen' windows of CSDS uses single-keystrokes to
switch which frame is the 'primary' frame. For instance, while
you are calling, press 'C' to view the cuesheet, then press 'F3'
to view the third sequence frame. Or press 'L' to view the lyrics,
'M' to display the music player, 'P' to play the music, etc.
When displaying choreographic sequence notes, will CSDS keep the display of notes in time sequence with the music? Are there timing flags embedded with the music data, such as SMPTE Time Code could provide, that are used to scroll the patter notes or singing call verses.
I'm looking for a music data base management system, but need to
have this question answered before I purchase yours.
The answer to your question is 'no'. CSDS does not do timing data.
The closest that CSDS comes in this regard is that when a singing call
is loaded in the music player, CSDS displays an approximation to the
7 sections (opener, seq1, seq2, middle-break, seq3, seq4, closer)
immediately below the music position bar.
Can CSDS play music (MP3 Files) and display
some Get Outs, Modules or Singing Call at the same time?
How does this work out with the different windows? I have a
laptop computer with a 14" TFT Display. Will I be able to open
and operate all the windows (music and e.g. get outs) at the same time?
In the 'Call from Screen' portion of the program,
CSDS can play music, while displaying up to 10 frames of sequences, 3 documents, a cue sheet file, and a lyrics file.
Another program I have used does not find single isolated
formations very easily. E.G. in assymetrical setups it won't find things like a nearside diamond however many different ways you try to explain that diamond. If there is a left handed tandem based triangle of girls you are trying to tell it to find it won't find it ( I've tried things like 'ignore the # 4 girl, the other girls triangle circulate' and other ploys to try
to get it to understand, and it is still no use).
CSDS can do Near/Far <formation>/<N> (you can say things like 'Near Diamond
Flip The Diamond', 'Near 2 Hinge', 'Far 6 Circulate', etc.)
Other asymmetric terms such as 'Those Facing The Caller' and 'Couple #1 and #2' can be used.
CSDS can not locate things such as left-hand tandem based triangles (this may change in the future). However, a record for the given instance of a call can always be added (e.g., if you say left-hand tandem-based triangles reshape, CSDS may say 'I do not know how to do this, show me how to do this'
at which point the mouse can be used to drag the dancers to their ending positions, and the program will remember this instance of the call).
Can a computer illiterate person like me learn this program? :-)
That's a loaded question!
The CSDS program is complex and powerful. However, basic features such as writing choreography, playing music, etc. are generally fairly straightforward. I strive to make the program both jam-packed full of features and easy to use, but these two concepts are often mutually exclusive.
I have over 100 callers using the program now, and (believe me!) they let me know when something doesn't work as expected.
So, the answer to your questions is "Yes, computer illiterate people can learn the program, but there will be a learning curve".
I'll be glad to provide user support via E-mail (preferred) or phone -- and you can also browse the CSDS FAQ section of our website).
If you were recommending a Windows laptop for Square dance calling usage, which one would you recommend, what are the criteria you regard as most important?
What about Software recommendations to go with that, as for handling music and co-ordinating the music and calling? Does CSDS do that?
The #1 thing I'd look for in a laptop is reliability. The laptop must work, problem-free, while you are calling. You don't want to have to worry about it. You don't want the laptop to experience problems such as stuck keys, an errant mousepad, memory glitches, etc. As such, I recommend sticking to
well-known brands. I have had two Dell laptops. The first was fine, so when it was time to retire it, I bought another Dell. This second Dell had problems. I now have a Sony Vaio, which seems to be more reliable than the Dell.
If you plan on creating your own MP3s from your record collection, you will need music editing software. I currently use Adobe Audition. It's pricey, but it's loaded with features.
Other music editors may be found on our Digital Music page.
CSDS takes care of playing the music, keeping the selections
organized, looping for patter music, etc.
The CSDS music player allows you to play, rewind, fade out,
count beats per minute, change the tempo, etc.
Besides playing the MP3 files, I understand that the major task
of your program is to create choreography. I assume that all definitions for the figures from MS to e.g. A2 are already input in the program. Is that correct?
CSDS has calls and concepts through C4. However, some concepts above the C3A level aren't fully implemented. This isn't a problem, as specific instances of calls may be entered as desired -- CSDS has a learning feature that allows you to drag the dancers to their ending spot, set a few parameters, and voila!, you have created a new instance of a call.
CSDS sounds wonderful and the copy I saw at a dance is very impressive. Is there any chance in the future that it may be ported to Linux / Unix or that it will run under Windows emulation on Linux? If so I could be quite interested in buying a copy.
CSDS will not be ported to Linux / Unix anytime soon.
I do not know how it might run under a Windows emulation, but my guess is that it won't run very well, especially the music portion.
I know of one caller who has successfully run CSDS on the Mac platform under an emulation package (after resolving a lot of problems). Unfortunately, the music portion didn't work well at all and had distortions and skips.
Am I to assume that if I buy the CSDS program, it is the actual MP3 player?
CSDS can play music via the Microsoft Media Player, Winamp, or via an internal player.
The Microsoft Media Player is (partially) imbedded in the CSDS program. This player is probably already on your system, since it is included with Internet Explorer 4 or beyond. If not, the latest version can be downloaded for free from the Microsoft website.
The Winamp player must first be downloaded and installed before it can be used by CSDS. It is available for free from the Winamp web site. Be sure to download version 5.x. The PaceMaker 1.32 plug-in is highly recommended, especially if you would like to independently change the tempo and pitch.
I noticed that if I want to have the cue sheets and music
'tied together' -- I need the record label and number entered?
I ask because over the past two years I have converted my 800+ records to MP3 as back up and for mini disc use... but I never added the label or number in the file name.....
Does this mean I need to dig out all the boxes???
The answer is "Yes".
For the computer to match up cue sheets and lyrics
with the appropriate music, the title is not enough.
In fact, the title is so untrustworthy that CSDS
does not even look at it.
An extra space or punctuation mark in the title could
cause a mismatch. For example,
Quadrille 855 is "Just Lovin' You", and
TNT 274 is "Just Loving You".
One has a quote, one doesn't. The computer might catch one,
but not the other, or it might give the TNT cue sheet to
the Quadrille version.
Also, many tunes on several different labels. For example,
"Oh Lonesome Me" is on at least 10 different labels! How
can the computer know by looking only at the name which
cue sheet goes with the music?
I've been looking at your Square Dance System here on the Internet, and there is one thing missing I think. A reliable "pitch control" that can change Pitch without changing speed. Would it not be a relatively easy thing to put into the system???
CSDS can play music via either the Microsoft Media Player or the WinAmp 5.xx player. If you use the WinAmp player, you can use a WinAmp plug-in to change pitch without changing speed.
CSDS can control either the PaceMaker 1.32 plug-in or the Chronotron II plug-in. PaceMaker is the recommended plug-in.
How is the loop of the patter record generated? Do I have to set
some marking externally, or do I have to "cut" the MP3 file in 3 parts? I have done that with the patter songs which I use on Mini Disc, but I have no idea how to do this with a MP3 file....
Maybe this can be done with your program?
CSDS uses software to loop the music. For each music selection that you want to loop, you specify a start and end time for the loop. To specify the loop, start playing the music, then press a button at the start time; then fast-forward to a position near the end of the music and play the music again, then press another button to set the end time. A 'Test Loop' button allows you to test your loop. To finetune the loop, you can then repeat the process, or use edit boxes or up/down controls to edit the start and end times.
If I want to play music and call sequences, I assume I need CSDS.
Technically, of course, you don't absolutely need CSDS, since you
can load a music file into a player and play it, and you can load
a text file into a viewer and view it. CSDS just makes it a heckuva lot nicer and easier to do. (once you get over the 'learning curve') :-)
I have a German friend who would like to have your computer program for MP3's for Laptops. I would like one myself. Please send me some info.
On our website, there is a large section devoted to the 'Ceder Square Dance System (CSDS)'. You can find a description of the program, sample screen shots, ordering information, online help, FAQs, and upgrade files for downloading.
I've been using musicmatch jukebox. Can I transfer my mp3 files over easily?
It's no problem. You just go to the Music Database portion of the program and select the 'Add new MP3 files from Folder' option, and the program will add all MP3 files from a specified folder to the database.
I'm a dancer who would sometimes like to try out
sequences that have been called and I have a question about.
Does the demo version of CSDS allow me to do that?
The answer is basically "yes". The only problem is that the program will sometimes not know how to do a particular call from a particular formation, or may not know how to apply a particular concept to a particular call. In cases like these, a caller writing the sequence would "teach" the program how to do that particular instance of the call.
The demo version of CSDS has a few functions disabled, but primarily limits the user by restricting how much information can be saved.