before I buy a new MacBook Pro (or Air)

General user help and bug reports for Playground Sessions for Mac
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pavel
Posts: 13
Joined: Mon Dec 03, 2018 3:43 am

before I buy a new MacBook Pro (or Air)

Post by pavel » Wed Dec 05, 2018 7:21 am

hello, I would like to buy a new notebook, switching from PC (Sony Vaio 2009) :) more specifically I'd like to buy a new MacBook pro with Touch bar. Before I do so I have a couple of questions:
  1. on PC makes me mad I cannot run sw automatically after PC starts, which partially works but not full screen, I would like to run full screen automatically
  2. will PGS use the touchbar?
  3. how to connect piano+MB+headphones? on PC I have sound from PC and only piano thru headphones. I want to be completely silent for anybody else in the room
  4. do I have to buy Pro? what about Air 2018 only. Will it be powerful enough? Again on PC make me mad when windows are being updated or some program is running on background and full notebook become so slow than even PGS is interrupted (for a 1 second or so) hard to keep tempo :(
  5. number of registered devices is limited to 2, already have iPad and 1xPC, how can I check for example on friends NB behavior?
  6. automatic login do not work on PC, will it on macbook? a bit annoying every morning click login, living alone, I am the only one user...
  7. nice feature on PC is auto play using extremities from piano (very far left and very far right keys) will it work the same on macbook?
  8. will be mouse auto hidden during playing, on PC is not :shock:
  9. can I zoom notes? on PC there is a slider but completely useless. I zoom it till fit screen but then expand left section and didnt see right part of notes, really annoying
  10. relates to previous, I am wearing glasses, is 13inch enough? how it works when I plug external monitor?
  11. on PC flat Symbols are showing as a box, same sw BUG on macbook?
thank you very much for any feedback
Pavel

pavel
Posts: 13
Joined: Mon Dec 03, 2018 3:43 am

Re: before I buy a new MacBook Pro (or Air)

Post by pavel » Tue Dec 11, 2018 2:06 pm

andrewwegierski , can you answer please? there are a lot of questions for you directly

Laurensss
Posts: 79
Joined: Tue Feb 28, 2017 5:20 am

Re: before I buy a new MacBook Pro (or Air)

Post by Laurensss » Tue Dec 11, 2018 4:11 pm

Can't answer all, but
pavel wrote:
Wed Dec 05, 2018 7:21 am
  1. on PC makes me mad I cannot run sw automatically after PC starts, which partially works but not full screen, I would like to run full screen automatically
Here (MBP 2015-ish) it starts full screen
[*]how to connect piano+MB+headphones? on PC I have sound from PC and only piano thru headphones. I want to be completely silent for anybody else in the room
Depends on your piano.
If your piano has audio in it's perfect, connect macbook to this port and use piano headphone out.
Mine has only Midi and Headphones out so I have a small passive mixer ('Djoclate') combining headphone signals from MPB and piano, into my headphones. Works well, but you need to use rather sensitive headphones (attenuation).
Some ppl wear earbuds under their headphones, thus combining signals :D
You could try pulling the piano sound in through a USB sound card, then use MacBook headphone jack but there may be lag.
[*]do I have to buy Pro? what about Air 2018 only. Will it be powerful enough? Again on PC make me mad when windows are being updated or some program is running on background and full notebook become so slow than even PGS is interrupted (for a 1 second or so) hard to keep tempo :(
Should be fine. 2.4GHz i5 / 8GB here without trouble.
[*]automatic login do not work on PC, will it on macbook? a bit annoying every morning click login, living alone, I am the only one user...
Just press enter at the prompt.
[*]nice feature on PC is auto play using extremities from piano (very far left and very far right keys) will it work the same on macbook?
Yes. Spacebar also.
[*]will be mouse auto hidden during playing, on PC is not :shock:
No.
[*]can I zoom notes? on PC there is a slider but completely useless. I zoom it till fit screen but then expand left section and didnt see right part of notes, really annoying
No, whole score is zoomed.
[*]relates to previous, I am wearing glasses, is 13inch enough? how it works when I plug external monitor?
We can't know what you mean by "wearing glasses". Of course external monitor works fine.
[*]on PC flat Symbols are showing as a box, same sw BUG on macbook?[/list]
Not an issue on the Mac. These machines are great for PGS as far as I'm concerned.

Good luck.

andrewwegierski
Posts: 378
Joined: Fri Apr 06, 2018 4:37 pm

Re: before I buy a new MacBook Pro (or Air)

Post by andrewwegierski » Tue Dec 11, 2018 6:00 pm

Sorry for the delay. Lots of good questions.

1) I'm not sure how to get any software to automatically launch upon starting up your PC. You'll have to click the Playground desktop icon to launch it, then from there you can go into full screen mode. However, the window that it launches in should be pretty much full screen anyway, minus the top of the window that says "Playground"

2) I'm not a Mac user so I don't know anything about the touchbar - however, generally speaking, I would say no. This would be a good question for Thomas on the support desk. My thought is that the current desktop/laptop Platform dates back to 2012, and while it's been updated a bunch, we haven't fully upgraded to a new "platform." This is on the table, but won't happen for at least another 12 months because these things take time. The short answer is, I don't really know.

3) The best way for all the sounds to be silent is to connect your headphones to the computer, and turn down the volume on your physical keyboard. This way, all sounds will come through your headphones - all PGS sounds, plus the in-app MIDI piano, as opposed to your keyboard's volume. If you want to use your keyboard's sounds, that's a bit more complicated. You would need to connect the piano and computer to an audio mixer, then put headphones into that.

4) The system requirements are as follows: OSX 10.8+, Intel Core Duo or better, decent screen resolution, 2GB ram, and a USB port. I used to run Playground on an old Dell laptop from 2015 and it worked fine. Generally speaking, all computers and laptops will work with Playground. For the older ones, make sure you don't have other programs open in the background. You can check this by going to the task manager and seeing how much CPU data is being used. There's often lots of background processes running that we don't realize are, and those eat up a lot of the computer's memory, causing demanding programs like PGS to run slowly.

5) You are only allowed to authorize two devices "at a time." Theoretically, you can install Playground on an infinite number of computers, but you must de-activate them between uses. So if you wanted to check in on a 3rd device, just temporarily de-activate one of your other devices from our website.

6) The software should remember your log in credentials (auto fill) but you will have to click log in every time you launch the app. I don't know if this is going to be fixed because it only takes a second or two to do this.

7) The keyboard shortcuts that work on PC will also work on Macs.

8) I don't think the cursor is hidden on any device - just move it to the top where it's not obtrusive.

9) Unfortunately you can only zoom as much as your screen fits. I can't do anything about part of the music on the right side not being visible. You can also try adjusting your computer's screen resolution.

10) 13 inches is a bit small for me - my laptop was 17.1 inches and that was perfect. However, if you can get a 15 inch one, that's probably good enough. When you plug in an external monitor, it should work fine - this is independent of the Playground app. The HDMI cable will just transfer your display to another monitor. I remember doing this when I worked with a dual monitor set up.

11) No, actually. The flat symbols is an error with the Windows 10 system font. This is not an issue on Macs.
Andrew Wegierski

Support Tech & Music Arranger
andrew@playgroundsessions.com

sw1tch73ch
Posts: 298
Joined: Tue Oct 18, 2016 1:23 pm

Re: before I buy a new MacBook Pro (or Air)

Post by sw1tch73ch » Tue Dec 11, 2018 7:48 pm

1 - Windows 10: There is a folder where you can drop shortcuts to the programs you want to run when you login: C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\StartUp

2 - I'm going to go out on a limb and predict this will be a low priority but cool if they do it feature. Few people have computers with the touch bar (and none of the Windows users) so there might not be a lot of incentive to add this. That'd be a nice bonus for TouchBar Mac users.

3 - Personally, if you can afford it, get a small mixer (they'll be probably $50 USD) - you'll need at least 2 pairs of inputs and the appropriate cables. Then you can run the output of the mixer to headphones or a small amplifier. That's what I did. A digital piano with an Aux Input will work, too. but if you don't already have one, will be much more than $50.00 USD. My new piano has an Aux Input and that does work fine.

4 - The macBook Air should have no trouble with the program. The screen might be a tiny bit small - but I'm using a Windows Surface Pro tablet with only a 12.3" screen. It's small, but workable. There is a setting in windows to control the bandwidth used for these automatic downloads - set it to the minimum. That might not be good enough but would be worth trying. They really need a setting for amount of CPU to use, and Idle activity for updates.

5 - Registered devices is manageable from the website Your Account page. Sign into the Playground Sessions page. Where you see your name at the top right, you can pull down the menu with "Your Account" in it. There is a navigation box with "Download / Installs" which you can then manage the two devices (just unregister one and log in to Playground Sessions on your friends laptop - it should register there. Then unregister your friends laptop when you are done testing and log back in on yours).

6 - Automatic Login would have to be "configurable" since some people share the computer and piano with family members, and they will want to sign in with their individual accounts. But I like this idea if you're the only one using the computer for Piano Practice.

7 - Yes, it should work the same on a Mac Book.

8 - I move the mouse "out of the way" when I'm using the app. If you use the mouse to click the start and stop, that will keep the mouse out of the way. But if you use the extreme keys to start, the mouse could be anywhere. You might have to just keep an eye on the mouse location.

9 - Zooming is a challenge. The software isn't set to dynamically arrange the music - so that when you zoom in the measures that "fall off" the screen edges would be mapped to the next set of measures and flow down the music. ePub readers often can do this with their native text, but PDF files tend to be fixed so that you can only zoom so far. This would be a large, though I think worthwhile, change to the basic program. But having dynamic sheet music is a big challenge.

10- You can definitely benefit using a separate large monitor. I used to do this on my big screen here (it has multiple inputs - gaming PC on one connection and my Playground Sessions dedicated PC on the other. I found that the location of the monitor is as important as the size. So I usually just look at the Surface Pro screen and not the one to the side (which is positioned more for the benefit of the gaming computer).

11- That is one of the strange bugs, because it isn't happening on my Surface Pro. But then maybe I haven't reached the songs where it is more common. There is a font package you can probably install to fix the boxes, but the support@playgroundsessions.com folks will have to guide you which font has gone missing. It's a Windows bug, not a PGS bug, as Andrew noted.
== Just keep playing. Just keep playing. Just keep playing, playing, playing! ==

-- jbs --

pavel
Posts: 13
Joined: Mon Dec 03, 2018 3:43 am

Re: before I buy a new MacBook Pro (or Air)

Post by pavel » Wed Dec 12, 2018 2:35 am

guys thank you very much, some points are clear to me, some not :) but that's the life, seems I have to live with the sw like it is

sw1tch73ch
Posts: 298
Joined: Tue Oct 18, 2016 1:23 pm

Re: before I buy a new MacBook Pro (or Air)

Post by sw1tch73ch » Wed Dec 12, 2018 2:54 am

pavel wrote:
Wed Dec 12, 2018 2:35 am
guys thank you very much, some points are clear to me, some not :) but that's the life, seems I have to live with the sw like it is
The good thing is the developers recognize some limitations, even flaws, and places where new features would be useful. Which means when the new version of the desktop app is released, it should fix at least some of the challenges.
== Just keep playing. Just keep playing. Just keep playing, playing, playing! ==

-- jbs --

pavel
Posts: 13
Joined: Mon Dec 03, 2018 3:43 am

Re: before I buy a new MacBook Pro (or Air)

Post by pavel » Wed Dec 12, 2018 4:14 am

sw1tch73ch wrote:
Tue Dec 11, 2018 7:48 pm
1 - Windows 10: There is a folder where you can drop shortcuts to the programs you want to run when you login: C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\StartUp
to sw1tch73ch: it doesnt work :( actually it does with any software except PGS, maybe it is due to login window. I will make a printscreen though.

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