BC Manager 4.0.0 Release Candidate 1 available now

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Mark van den Berg
Mark van den Berg's picture
BC Manager 4.0.0 Release Candidate 1 available now

The first (and hopefully last) Release Candidate of BC Manager 4.0.0 for both macOS and Windows can now be downloaded from the BC Manager page at this site.

This version has only a few changes compared to the Beta 1 (which was announced in this topic).

  • The "Send firmware" operation now works again. (This got broken in 3.2.0 Alpha 1.)
  • A few additions and changes to the manual, particularly in the list of known problems (section 31).

I intend to publish the Release version in about three weeks.

Please report any problem in a comment to this forum topic.

Mark.

macrodx
macrodx's picture

Hello Mark, thank you for the new version! I played around with the overlay print feature yesterday and found a bug (if you will): When I select both panels of the lower section then the button cutouts of the right panel end up about 1mm too high relativ to the encoders.

Will check the upper section later...

Mark van den Berg
Mark van den Berg's picture

Thanks very much for reporting this.
This is one of the reasons I went for an extended release cycle (with Beta and RC) this time: I wasn't 100% sure the complicated overlay printing routine was fully correct - clearly it wasn't sad

The alignment of the four panels was one of the last aspects I tackled:
Specifically, I corrected the horizontal distance between the left and right panels, so the relative horizontal positions of the button cutouts on the upper right and lower right panels should be OK.
The vertical positions of the upper right button cutouts should be correct as well, since these are simply the same as of the button cutouts on the upper left panel.
However, I missed the misalignment between the BCR's encoder and button cutouts on the lower panels you're reporting here.

You say that on the lower section "the button cutouts of the right panel end up about 1mm too high relativ to the encoders".
You're right that these cutouts don't align correctly. However, on my BCR these cutouts end up about 1.5 mm too low relative to the encoder cutouts. So either I'm misunderstanding you, or you "reversed" the situation, or your BCR has a different layout than mine (which seems very unlikely, but who knows). Or our cutout techniques differ...
Anyway, I've now moved the lower right cutouts (and labels) 1.5 mm higher, which gives the desired result on my BCR.
I'm not sure whether it's worthwhile to bother everyone with a second Release Candidate, so I think I'll simply put the fix in the Release version.
If you're willing to test this fix (which I would greatly appreciate), I can provide you (and anybody else who's interested) with a quick, non-official test version. If so, please let me know which edition of BC Manager you're using, 32-bit Windows, 64-bit Windows or macOS. (Windows would be much easier for me, since it only requires a new executable (exe) file, whereas macOS requires a complete package.)

Thanks!
   Mark.

macrodx
macrodx's picture

Ah okay, I've just realized that the border height corresponds with the selections on the Labels tab. I think it might be better if you set the space between the encoders and the upper border to a fixed value, regardles of the settings. I think for the resulting overlays it is best if all the panels have fixed dimensions.

As a sidenote: reply #5 would actually have to come first, sorry frown

macrodx
macrodx's picture

...and yes, the alignment of the upper right cutouts should be fine. But I just noticed on the preview tab that the upper borders of the upper panels do not align. The right panel upper border is too low by maybe just those 1.5mm smiley

macrodx
macrodx's picture

You are absolutely right, I got this the wrong way round. Sorry for the confusion that caused! Yes I would be willing to test this on Windows 64 bit. And thanks for including this feature anyway!

Mark van den Berg
Mark van den Berg's picture

It's intentional that the upper right panel's top is lower than the upper left panel's top:
The upper left and right panels aren't aligned at their tops but at their bottoms, because the height of the upper left panel is variable: the number of used encoder groups varies, and the user can show or hide the Foot controls.

Here is BC Manager 4.0.0 Release Candidate 2 for Windows 64-bit.
I forgot to ask whether you're using the installed or the portable edition.
If you're using the installed edition, first rename the old BCMan.exe in (typically) "C:\Program Files\Mountain Utilities\BC Manager" to e.g. BCMan-4.0.0c1-x64.exe (or simply delete it), then copy BCMan-4.0.0c2-x64.exe to the same folder and rename it to BCMan.exe. (You'll be asked to provide admin credentials to make these changes.)
For the portable edition the procedure is basically the same: replace BCMan.exe. However, you won't have to provide admin credentials.
In fact, you could even copy the new exe file to a new (empty) folder and run it from there (you don't even have to rename it), although you'll then have set up its environment (MIDI devices etc.) from scratch.

The only change in this RC 2 is the position of the button cutouts and labels on the lower right panel.
To avoid confusion: do make sure you're actually running RC 2 by checking the About-box: it should say "BC Manager 4.0.0c2".

Thanks!
   Mark.

macrodx
macrodx's picture

Okay, tested and the cutouts align perfectly now!

You have a point in that the height of the upper left panel can be / is variable as it can overlap the physical boundaries of the device. Maybe I was fooled by my own expectation that the upper borders of both panels should always align. But it is not to be considered a bug. But maybe for the sher visual appearance of the final printout it would be nice if the right panels upper border would adjust to the height of the right panel, especially if the panel background color is applied. But I can well understand if that has little to no priority wink

Mark van den Berg
Mark van den Berg's picture

Thanks for testing the new version!

But maybe for the sher visual appearance of the final printout it would be nice if the right panels upper border would adjust to the height of the right panel, especially if the panel background color is applied.

My intuition was that having the upper left panel stick out is bad enough. (How practical this stick-out section is may even depend on the printing material: you wouldn't want this section to flop down immediately...)
Therefore it never occurred to me to make the upper right panel higher in order to match the left panel.

And if the background color is printed, a higher upper right panel would increase the required amount of ink/toner. Particularly with these infamously expensive small inkjet cartridges, people might want to use as little ink as possible.

Another argument: on A4 it's touch and go whether the left and right panels can be printed in one go. (The body of a BCF/R is exactly A4-format: 297 mm; however, printers tend to have unprintable margins several mm wide.)
And for anyone who prints the left and right panels separately, it is probably more practical to print the right panel "normally", rather than have it follow the variable height of the left panel.

But I agree that it may be aesthetically more pleasant if the panels match in height.
Perhaps it's also an advantage to have fewer corners.
Then again, an upper right panel that sticks out probably makes the power button harder to reach.

So there are many arguments for and against.
During the last year I've had lots of these discussions with myself about many aspects of these overlays. Sometimes I've simply had to make a decision and move on, to arrive at a working system in the first place.
So let's just say that you've made a feature request and that I'm considering it for the next version of BC Manager smiley

   Mark.

macrodx
macrodx's picture

Thank you for the insights! Yes, there are a lot of arguments for and against certain features, like you said. And thank you for keeping an open mind and regarding my input as a feature request!

I don´t if you are familiar with my contributions to the whole overlay matter. If not then maybe you want to check it out here.
I had never considered splitting the upper and lower panels into left and right, maybe because my 80€ consumer printer I bought 6 years ago already supported borderless printing. Regarding the labels for the four encoder groups, my approach was that the first group is labeled atop the encoders, and the rest of the labels use the space below button row 2. Of course my solution is different as it is based on a GUI designer app, which gives you alot more flexibility. But I am more than willing to give this up in favour of your feature, because it saves so much time and provides enough flexibility already yes !

Mark van den Berg
Mark van den Berg's picture

I had never considered splitting the upper and lower panels into left and right, maybe because my 80€ consumer printer I bought 6 years ago already supported borderless printing

Don't forget that the long side of the Letter format (prevalent in the USA and several other countries) is only 279 mm (whereas A4 is 297 mm), so Letter simply doesn't allow the full width of the BCF/R. This was one of the reasons for implementing split-side printing.

Another reason was that my own printer doesn't allow borderless printing.
In fact, I didn't know about the whole concept of "borderless printing" until now, but from googling a bit I gather that at least for HP it's only available on its inkjet printers, not on its laserjets.
Sadly this rules out my own HP Laserjet, which I bought about 6 years ago too, for €79. So "thanks" for pointing out that I could have had a printer allowing borderless printing too if I had been prepared to spend just 1 euro more crying.
Then again, assuming that yours is an inkjet printer: ink cartridges are a lot more expensive than toner, particularly long-term, so I'm not that sad...

Concerning the four encoder groups: yes, it's a big problem where to put all these labels.
I have toyed with putting groups 2-4 below button row 2 as well, but ultimately I didn't really like the split (although BC Manager's current solution has rather big drawbacks too). But I may offer this alternative location in a future version.

Related to this: the white bar at the bottom of the upper panel on the BCF and BCR has always puzzled me:
On the BCF you can think it's meant for fader labels, but then what's it for on the BCR? Because the BCR's three encoder rows each have their own white bars below.
That's why I have thought of using the white bar at the bottom of the upper panel for user-defined column labels. E.g. for a drum device you could have "Kick", "Snare", "Hihat" etc.
Or it could be used for a long single text line, or perhaps even the preset name in big letters.
So there are at least five possible uses of the area of this white bar: encoder groups 2-4, faders, "columns", a single text line or the preset name.
Since I couldn't decide, I've left this question open for now, awaiting user input to determine what's most useful.

Mark.