Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Converting to the Barre from the Huddles - 2

Converting to the Barre from the Huddles - 2 (120822)

This is post 2 of my experience in converting my main dance HUD from the Huddles to the Barre. Please read post 1 first. This post picks up during the testing of the Barre with 2117 copy dances and two Huddles notecards.


After posting the first part of my conversion from the Huddles to the Barre, I had a nice conversation with Racheal Young, the creator of the Barre. She offered to give me one-on-one assistance, which I thought was very positive and I think is something she currently offers to all users. I decided not to go that route since I wanted to try to figure it out for myself from the published help, because I think that is what most users will do. Rach did say one thing to me about using the COMPATIBILITY option for notecards.

I went to the Barre HUD website and read that the COMPATIBILITY option is for people like me with large Huddles notecards. It breaks up the large notecard and places it into four notecards and slots in the Barre. I had already been thinking about my notecards and how I should reorganize them. Two features of the Barre are significant improvements over the Huddles in dealing with notecards. The first is the rapid access to a notecard when you select it with the Barre, and the second is that you continue to dance with the Barre when you select a different notecard. What all this means is that you can rapidly access all of your sequences or dances and continue to dance sexily while doing it. You have to add more storage slots for notecards, which adds scripts, but for really large dance and sequence collections this is really nice.

So, instead of using the COMPATIBILITY option to convert my existing Huddles notecards that are organized to fit the Huddles, I decided to rethink how I organize my dances and sequences and make new notecards.

In thinking about this, another improvement in the Barre over the Huddles comes into play. It is the capability to access a notecard or dance list at the beginning, 25% of the way through, 50%, 75% and the end using a marker feature (Picture 01). The Huddles gives you the beginning or end only.

This is a nice improvement over the Huddles. I could even envision replacing the marker scale with 8 or 10 little buttons that are linked to coded places in my notecard so I could customize access to my notecards, but having five entry places to a notecard is a good step.

So, I began to think about how can I have rapid access to all of my dance sequences, all of my dances that are not yet in sequences and maybe even make a list of dances that I could use for freestyle dancing. Princess Diawa sometimes chides me for using sequences instead of freestyle, so I thought maybe it would be fun again to enjoy the creativity that freestyle affords. I decided to estimate what is the capacity of a Barre notecard and how many clicks would be required to go from one dance or sequence to any other dance or sequence. If I could get the number of clicks down to just a few, I would have a way to get to all of my dances and sequences quickly. That would let me dance a hiphop sequence, switch to the macarena, then slide into a ballet as fast as the DJ switched songs.

I already had data on how many sequences the Barre could handle in one notecard. Rach estimates four Barre notecards for one FULL Huddles notecard. When I looked at how many sequences were in my truncated Barre notecard I saw that about one-third of the sequences had been transferred from the FULL Huddles notecard of 330 dance sequences. So, to be conservative I decided to limit one Barre notecard to 80 sequences.

Next, I wanted to see how many individual dances I could squeeze into a Barre notecard. So, I took my Huddles notecard (called Ordered) that contained individual dances (2920 listed dances) and loaded it into the Barre, then counted the number of dances in the truncated Barre notecard. The Ordered notecard truncated at 712 lines. In doing this experiment I also found that the way to put a blank line in the Huddles, which is to put a space-bar space on the line, also works for the Barre. I realized that more recently made dances tend to have longer names, for example Henmations adding the time as part of the dance name, so I conservatively estimated 600 individual dances maximum per Barre notecard.

All of this let me estimate now many notecards I needed to gain access to everything I wanted: all 400 sequences, all 2920 individual dances and maybe 600 dances for freestyling. I could also estimate how many clicks I needed to access anything.

With 400 sequences and 80 sequences per notecard I needed 5 notecards for my sequences. For my individual dances that I had not used in sequences I needed 2920 divided by 600 or five notecards, and for the freestyle dances one notecard.

To estimate the maximum number of clicks to go from a dance or sequence to any other dance or sequence I thought first about the process I would use for sequences:
  1. One click on the notecard icon (Oreo icon) to access the list of notecards.
  2. One click to open the selected notecard.
  3. Once I had a notecard loaded I had to figure out how many clicks it would take me to get to any sequence. With the sequences I planned to put 7 sequences per page leaving three spaces for Sultry Down Body, Rhythm6 and the classification of the sequences on this page. Dividing 84 sequences by 7 gave 12 pages. With four marker divisions of the notecard (0, 25, 50, 75%) that means that all sequences on the notecard are accessible with a maximum of one click for the marker (e.g. 50% marker), a max of two clicks to get to the right page and one click on the sequence.
In six clicks I could in theory go from anywhere in my HUD to starting a desired sequence.

I didn't worry about rapidly accessing my individual dances that I keep for making sequences. There is no need for speed there. So next I concentrated on figuring out how many clicks max it would take to go to any dance in a freestyle notecard of 600 dances from anywhere in the Barre HUD.

When I did freestyle dancing, I organized my HUD according to speed then I placed dances that I knew fit together on the same or nearby pages. That way I could watch the current dance and click quickly at a good transition point to go to the next dance. I kept my transition dance (Sultry Down Body) on each page so I could use it if needed. I put my waiting dance on the first page and would go there at the end of the song. All this is described in Freestyle Choreography. With 600 dances or lines max for a notecard, it is easy to calculate the number of clicks needed to get to any dance once the notecard is open. Ten dances per page means that there are 60 pages for the entire notecard with markers at page 1, 15, 30, 45 and 60. To get to any page a maximum of eight clicks are required. If you start on a different notecard there are two additional clicks to get to the freestyle notecard for a grand total of 10 clicks. If I chose to put only 300 dances in a notecard and use two notecards for freestyle, the max number of clicks drops to six.

WOW, I had figured out how to set up my Barre HUD so I could get to every dance I wanted in only six clicks (this is if it works). Remember I am still in the testing phase, but at this point I feel pretty good about it.

So, now I am preparing the notecards for the Barre. In a few days I will have them ready, then I will put them in the test Barre and see what happens.

Before I stop for now, an important point is the that every notecard requires a script. I will have a lot of notecards thus a lot of scripts for managing them. There is a good description of what all this means in the Toolbox section of the Barre website.


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