Questions about synchronised page turning in Power Music are something that pop-up from time to time on our Support Desk or in the Cambron Forum.
Of course if you are using the Power Music App or Power Music Reader on iPads then this feature is built into iOS and setting it up in Power Music is a trivial matter – see this Support Article
However, setting up synchronised page turning on Windows PCs is not a trivial matter. We don’t implement it in Power Music Professional but I decided to give myself a challenge recently when a user asked the question again. And guess what? I succeeded! Read the rest of this blog if you are interested in how I did it – but be warned you need to be a bit “techie” and it’s not really a solution I would recommend people to use.
You need to understand how page turning in Power Music Professional is done. It uses a set of key presses (Page up/down or the arrow keys) to move through a song or move to the next song in the playlist. These keys get emulated by foot pedals like the AirTurn PED or any of the PageFlip pedals – Firefly, Dragonfly, Butterfly.
The first thing you might ask is why not just pair a Bluetooth pedal to all the PCs. Not possible! Bluetooth devices are by definition – PAIRED. That means one Bluetooth pedal can only be connected (for data transfer purposes) to one computer. Then, how about using a USB pedal connected to all the PCs? Again not possible! USB uses a protocol (for transferring data) between one host and one device.
So that just left the option of using a network (WiFi) to send the keypresses from a “Master” PC to the “Slave” PCs.
After a bit of Googling and trying a number of so-called “keystroke broadcasters” I came across HotkeyNet. This program lets you set up a master PC (Server) which will broadcast keypresses over WiFi to any slave PCs (Client) which must of course be running HotkeyNet as well.
There is quite extensive help on their website but it is mainly concerned with using the program to control multiple PCs running games like World of Warcraft. I didn’t need anything that sophisticated, all I wanted was to broadcast the up/down/right/left arrow keys.
So here’s what I did to set it up for 2 PCs – it’s basically the same method to add more PCs …
Before you get started you need all the PCs you want to control to be on the same Wireless network. You also need to know the IP address of each PC. (use ipconfig from the command line or use the utility in HotkeyNet which will tell you this info.)
Download, extract the files from the ZIP and run HotkeyNet on all the PCs.
On the master PC set it up to be the Server using Connection Settings.
Create a text file (using Notepad) which details
- The keypresses you want to send (Up,Down,Left,Right)
- The Client PC IP address(s) (192.168.60.142)
- The Window you want to send the key press to (“Power Music Professional – [Select Song]”)
My text file looked like this:
<Hotkey Up,Down,Left,Right> <SendPC 192.168.60.142> <SendWin "Power Music Professional - [Select Song]"> <Key %TRIGGER%> <SendPC local> <SendWin "Power Music Professional - [Select Song]"> <Key %TRIGGER%>
You also want to send the key press to the local computer – hence the last 3 lines.
The %TRIGGER% parameter just tells HotkeyNet to send the same key as was pressed on the Server.
Now go to each Client and using Connection Settings set it to Client, and type in the IP of the Server. Check on the Server that you are connected to all the Clients.
Launch Power Music on each PC and load up the same playlist on all Clients and the Server. Go Full Screen on all PCs. And that’s it if you press an arrow key on the Server or press the pedal paired to the Server it will be echoed in each of the Clients.
Here’s my video:
So the question is – should we be looking at adding a feature like this to the new version of Power Music Professional we are working on? We would make it much more user-friendly than HotkeyNet and it would be controlled from within Power Music. If you would use this feature we would like to hear from you. Your comments would be welcome!