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Welcome , Options , Alarms , Eye Protection , Colours , Note on dates , Keyboard shortcuts , Teach Activity Timer to speak your language , Splash Screen , Purchase


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Thankyou for installing Work Log & Activity Timer .

This utility keeps track of hours of work or other activities - so is ideal for those who work from home, for instance, and want to keep track of the hours they work. It is also useful for those who work on several projects at once and want to know how much time they spent on each one. It is also useful for anyone who wants to keep track of the amount of time they spend using the computer

You will see how much time you devoted to each project during the day, week, or year. It will also make databases for each project which list the hours worked on that project for each day worked. You can open the database in a database program to view or edit it - it is in the csv (comma separated values) format which is a standard format that nearly all database programs recognise..

It can also keep track of the amount of time you are active on the computer in each session worked, and can flash the screen or play a tune every twenty minutes as an eye protection reminder. Doctors recommend that you rest your eyes every twenty minutes or so as you work - look into the distance,or cover your eyes with your hands, and remind yourself to blink a few times to moisten the eyes.

Then you can set another alarm after (say) one and a half hours to remind you that it is time to take a break This is ideal for those who spend many hours working on the computer at a time, perhaps with few distractions, and need these reminders to take an occasional break now and again.

To start a new project, enter its name into the Projects field and click the New Project button. Select Active when you start work, and Not active when you stop work.

If you want to pause without starting a new session, select Pause. Then unselect it when you resume work after your short break.

When you pause and continue, the time shown in the title bar continues from where you left off. This means that you can see how long you have worked in the entire session. It will still show as Active - active but Paused.

Use Start New Session to start the timer again so that the time shown for the current session resets to 0 secs. This doesn't affect your total time worked for the day - the total for the day is the total for all the sessions worked in the day no matter how many you do, so it just keeps increasing continuously through all the sessions.

Start New Session has the same effect as Not active followed by Active again - as Not active ends your session.

Work Log & Activity Timer will pause automatically if you are inactive for over five minutes - assumption is that you are no longer working if you haven't used the computer for five minutes. You change the time out here using the Pause if inactive check box and time field.

You will see the details for the current project. To see the times for any of the other projects, select the one you are interested in from the drop list.

To see an overview click the Show summary for all projects button which you find in the Projects - summary etc... window. This button will show a summary of the times worked in the day, week, and year for each project, and the total time for all of them. It also makes a database which merges all the individual project databases into one, ordered by date, so that you can see how much time you spent each day on each project. It makes another one too which shows the total time worked in each day on all the projects put together. You can show all these databases from the Projects - summary etc... window.

The Projects - summary etc... window also has another option, preset to selected: Remove days with less than ... minutes worked (preset, less than one minute worked).

This is used to exlude entries from the database for less than a minute worked. Such entries can arise for instance if you leave the timer running as you change projects and change to a project for only a few seconds, then change your mind and switch to another one.

Normally you don't want those entries - so you will leave this selected. If any days have got into your database like this already, then you will be given an option to remove them when the summary is shown. Some users of older versions of Activity Timer may have such entries in their databases. The total times for the projects will get re-calculated accordingly when the short entries are removed.

When this option is selected, no more days will ever get saved to the project databases with less than a minute worked (or whatever time you set here)..

You could also use this option to remove any other short periods of time from the database, e.g. if you don't want to count sessions of less than ten minutes in the databases, then you can remove them permanently by showing the summary with this option selected and set to remove days with less than ten minutes worked.

If you have any questions at all, for friendly help, contact Robert Walker, support@robertinventor.com



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Start Minimized - lets you start Activity Timer minimized to the task bar. When minimized, it's title bar shows the time so far in the current session - hover the mouse over the icon to see its full title. You can set it to active or not active with a right click on its icon. You can also see what is the currently selected project, change your selection, and switch off the alarms. For anything else you need to restore it again.

Start with Windows - starts Activity Timer whenever you start up your computer.

Tray Icon This puts Activity Timer into the area next to the system clock. Click on its icon to show / hide it. Right click as usual for its menu, and to close choose Quit .

Start Active This is useful if you want the timer to start, e.g. as soon as you switch on the computer. It would be particularly useful if you wanted to use Activity Timer to keep track of all the time you spend using the computer - combine this with Start with Windows and Pause if inactive and you dont' need to remember to do anything else, just leave the program running and it will keep track of all the time you spend using the computer (with the extra five minutes at the end of each session for the Pause if inactive - you might want to reduce that time out with this way of using it, depending on your situation).



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Alarms - Here you can set the icon to flash when the time for the session is up, set it to flash the border of the screen, or set it to play a tune or sound clip..

You can also play midi files, mp3s, Sun Au files, and others for the alarms, or tunes. It can play tracks from cds too.

There is also an option to play a random tune from a folder, and if you set the folder there to your CD drive, then it will play a random track from whatever CD you have in the drive at the time. For instance you could play a CD track as a gentle reminder that it is time to stop work at the end of the session.

Then, when you hear the alarm, or at any time you choose to take a break and want to end the session, choose End Session Now. When you come back from your break, use New Session to start it running again, or just set it back to Active..

Alternatively, if you want to keep working after a short pause in the session to listen to some music, select Continue play - not active, and relax and listen to the music for a few minutes before you go back to work again.

Some example midi clips are included for the tunes - these are my own compositions so I can include them here royalty free :-). Other ideas for the alarms or tunes are:

For a conventional alarm sound try out the alarms in the Alarms folder. The telephone ring alarm may sound like a conventional alarm clock. Others are less conventional :-). In fact you can select a random alarm from that folder too for a bit of fun. Note though that the actual sound you hear will vary a lot depending on your sound card, as each has its own version of each midi instrument such as the telephone ring - they aren't actual recordings, but get played more in the way that you play a note on a synthesizer, using the sound cards on-board midi synth..

Or - how about church bell sounds? You can find some fine ones at the Sound of Bells site. Just save them to anywhere on your computer and browse to find them for the Alarms. Or - how about some ambient sounds of nature - you can get Cd's of waterfalls, seashore sounds, thunderstorms etc. Or bird songs or animal sounds. Or your favorite track on a CD. Or - play a random track from whatever CD you currently have in your drive, as already mentioned.

What though if you decide to ignore the alarm when it sounds, just work through it, and not take any break at all. That's fine - right click on the program's icon in your task bar or the tray, and select Stop Alarm instead. The alarm for the end of the session will stop, but you will still be shown as active and the count of time for the session will continue.

You can also set the screen to flash - this makes an unobtrusive flashing border around the edge of the screen. It shouldn't interrupt your work, just alert you to the alarm. You can vary the width. You can also set the colours for the flashing screen by selecting from the drop lists of colours. These show a standard list of one hundred and forty so called "Netscape colours". They were originally designed as a list of colours guaranteed to be shown as intended in most browsers in the days when most displays had only 256 colours - but nowadays they are most ueful as a standardised list of named colours so that is the reason it is used here.

To go through the colours quickly to preview them, change the selection with the down / up arrow keys rather than the mouse - and hold down the control key as you do so - then the colour will change instantly instead of only changing when you finish your selection.


Eye Protection

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Eye doctors recommend that you look away from the screen into the distance, say, through a window, several times an hour. This is to relax the focussing muscles in your eye, which is good for your vision. Also you need to blink more often when you look at a screen, as the natural reaction is to blink less often, and your eyes get dry.

So as an eye protection measure you can set the icon to flash or the screen to flash or play a short tune several times an hour. The idea then is that whenever the tune plays or the screen or icon flashes, you stop, look away into the distance, maybe listen to the tune until it finishes. Also take the opportunity to remember to blink a few times to moisten the eyes. Again the tune can be a track on a cd, or any tune you have on your hard disk - but select short ones this time, ones that only last for a minute or two, as that is all you need in the way of an eye break.

If you want to stop the flashing border once it starts, just click on it with the mouse. To stop the tune use the Stop Play button or if it is minimised, right click on the icon then you will find a Stop Play appears in the menu there.

To find out more about this look up "Computer Vision Syndrome". This is a useful site about it - it is advertising sponsored but the advertisers are unconnected to the doctors who write the information, so it should be reliable in its contents.

All About Vision | Computer Vision Syndrome

The longer tunes here are generated by Fractal Tune Smithy . You can use it to make more ones like these yourself - you only need to enter a short phrase or choose it from a drop list and vary some parameters to make a new fractal tune! There is no need to be a musician or composer to use Fractal Tune Smithy as it will make the tunes for you; you just need to vary various parameters and listen and see what it does with them.

The short tunes for the eye protection alarms are pieces I wrote in various tunings using Fractal Tune Smithy together with my favourite music notation software Note Worthy Composer . To find out details about these tunes, see my on-line page Tunes . You can find a few more there that were too long to be included - and I add to that page as I compose new ones. You are welcome to use any of those tunes as eye protection reminders in Activity Timer - though as the composer, I am copyright holder and would like to be contacted if you have any other uses of them in mind.

Fractal Tune Smithy is one of the programs often used by composers who want to write in various tunings other than the standard twelve equal. You can use this to explore harmonies wild, mysterious, exotic, or the pure harmonies of the harmonic series, also historic ones such as authentic tunings for Bach's time etc. A fair number of composers nowadays are beginning to explore these tunings, which can be a wonderful new fresh source of inspiration!

You choose when the day rolls over to the next one with the Start day at selection in the main Activity Timer window. This ensures that hours worked count as the same day even if perhaps you continue beyond midnight.

So, the preset value of 6 a.m. will be suitable for most - unless you are an early bird and typically start before 6 a.m. or a real night owl, and typically continue overnight until after 6 a.m. If so, set it accordingly e.g. to some time of the day when you are typically asleep between one day and the next.

This is also the time that marks where one day ends and the next begins for the database. When the day rolls over, then the database gets updated with the previous days hours. You can vary it at any time - it doesn't affect any previously recorded times in the databases. It only affects newly recorded times.



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To change colours click on the colour patch and then on the colour wheel. This shows the hue - pure colour - around the edge of a standard colour wheel. This consists of the rainbow colours of the spectrum, with purple added to close the circle around from blue back to red.

To make it more intense or more washed out and pale use the saturation bar, which mixes white in with the pure colour, and to make it darker or lighter use the brightness bar. Use the drop list of colour names at the top to find named colours, for instance, browns are dark reds or oranges. You get greys, white or black if you set the saturation level to zero.

You can also show a colour disk, clover or rectangle. The disk shows the colours shading to white at the centre, so saturation varies radially. The rectangle shows hue horizontally and saturation vertically - you are probably familiar with this from the conventional colour chooser dialog in windows. With all of these, you click to choose the hue and saturation, then use the brightness bar to adjust the lightness or darkness. The clover is just included for fun, with saturation again varying radially.

The colours around the colour wheel consist of the three primary colours of light for monitors - red green and blue, and the three primary colours of ink for colour printers - green, cyan and magenta. If you are interested to know a bit about this choice of primary colours for the devices, I've done a page about it: Computer Primary Colours - background info


Note on dates

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The dates in Activity Timer are valid until the end of this century. It is year 2038 compliant - see What is the Year 2038 problem?

Techy Details:

Activity Timer uses the C time format which represents times as seconds from 1st January 1970 . Normally the times would only be valid until January 2038, more precisely, until Tue Jan 19 03:14:07 2038. This is the c language equivalent of the Y2K bug - but is far more easily solved. The limitation occurs because current computers use 32 bit variables in their computations.

By 2038 all computers will surely be 64-bit which means that they can count many more seconds before they roll over. So the solution for the developer will be to make a 64 bit build of your software.

This current version of Activity Timer is still 32 bit. However I have made a library which lets it work internally using 64 bit times as is used for the system calender in windows. See T64Lib . This may be of interest to other developers too.

Note for developers:

An advantage of this libraray is that you can use existing source code with no need to rewrite anything. Just include the header and all your usual time_t routines will still work, but will be 64-bit.

You probably don't need any such library if you have MSVC 7.0 as it supports 64 bit time_t already. See Time Management . However, this library still has some advantages. It can show dates before 1970 - in fact it can represent times back to just after the start of the 17th century. The MSVC one won't accept negative time_t.


Keyboard Shortcuts

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You may notice that many of the letters in Activity Timer are underlined. If you are an old hand at windows you probably know what it means - but for newbies, here is an explanation.

Use Alt + the underlined letter to select that item. For instance Alt + V to select Acti v e , and Alt + N to select N ot Active. Alt + T to change to the Projects drop list field ready to enter the name for a new project there, or to select one of the ones from the drop list (with a down arrow).

They are also useful for the menu that pops up when you right click on the minimized program, for instance, Alt + T shows the Projects drop list, then Alt + first letter of project will select that project.. These are useful for any who like to use keyboard navigation - whether it is because you are unable to use a mouse for whatever reason, or because you are a good touch typist and find you work faster without the interruption to lift your hand to pick up the mouse.

You can also use various shortcuts to show the windows - as shown in the window title bars. E.g. the F2 function key will bring up the Alarms window. F6 will bring up the projects list. F11 will show the main window again, useful if it is hidden behind the others. You can also use Ctrl + Tab or Ctrl + shift + Tab to navigate between the Activity Timer Windows.

The Tab key, for Windows Newbies - is that key above the Caps lock to the left of the keyboard. In the old days of type writers it was used to lay out tables and indeed can still be used in that way even in Windows - but nowadays is frequently brought into service for various shortcuts. This Ctrl + Tab or Ctrl + shift + Tab navigation is a standard Windows convention that many programs follow. You can use Alt + Tab or Alt + shift + Tab to navigate from one program to another.


Teach Activity Timer to speak your language :-)

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To do this, look in your Activity Timer folder (usually c:\Program Files\Activity Timer ) and you should find a sub folder called Languages

Translate the file English.txt into your language and save it as a new text file in this folder. Use your language as its name, e.g. Gaelic.txt. Next time you start Activity Timer you will see it as an entry in the languages list - select this to see everything in your language.

If you want the tool tips to be in your language too then look for english.tool_tips.rtf in the Languages folder, and translate it to your language and save with your language name, e.g. Gaelic.tool_tips.rtf. Otherwise, the tool tips will be in English. You translate the text in the sections between IDC_... and #~END_ENTRY

If you want this page to be in your language too, then translate it into your language and save it in your Activity Timer folder as Gaelic.index.htm, or whatever your language is.

Keep the numbers at the start of each line in the English.txt file, and the colons ':' after the numbers.

You will notice that many of the letters have an '&' before them. You don't need to include any '&'s in your translation - however if you do then it lets you use the next letter after the & as a keyboard shortcut. As an example, when you place an & before the v of Acti&ve then it gets shown as Acti v e , with the v underlined, and the user can select it with the shortcut Alt + V (see previous section).

It is usually better to do keyboard shortcuts for the more important ones, rather than to have it so that the same Alt + key combination selects several different things. Users who rely on the keyboard alone, without a mouse, can get to other controls anyway by using the tab key to move from one to the other.

If you have any questions about how to do the translation or if anything here is unclear be sure to contact me and I'll be delighted to help in whatever way I can.

If you do a translation of any of these files, or parts of them, that you would like to share with others, let me know and I will add them into the release. You can add author and contact info to the language file as comments (lines starting with a semicolon ';') if you wish to do so.


Robert Walker



Splash Screen

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This program is freeware - with a six second splash screen about my other programs. When the splash screen shows up you can click on it to dismiss it. If you want to remove the splash screen you need to purchase an unlock key. The unlock key also buys the other mini utilities - so far there is one other, Text Field Echo , with more planned to follow later.

Be sure to try out my other programs at Robert Inventor's Programs .

The splash screen shows screen shots from some of my programs - Lissajous 3D which is a screen saver that shows swirly animated patterns, Virtual flower which you can use to make flowers and geometrical shapes and animations in 3D, and Fractal Tune Smithy which you can use to make new music in an effortless fashion as intricate as snowflakes - or you can use it to explore some of the wealth of interesting tunings and harmonies that have been developed in world music, or to make your own tunings. I will be adding more programs too from time to time.

For help contact Robert Walker, support@tunesmithy.co.uk


Purchase unlock keys

You buy all my mini utilities in one go. The ones included so far are:Activity Timer and Text Field Echo. Others are planned to follow.

Purchase on-line , Other order methods , Product Levels ,

See also, Will my program be hardware locked when I purchase it?

Purchase on line

Click here .

Choose the order type, then click Order Now and Continue after that. The order gets processed when you fill in your details and click the Place your Order button on the third page.

Secure order - for details - see the Privacy Statement .

You are welcome to try the process out first, as far as the order page to see how it works. If you have any questions about the order process, or any problems occur, be sure to ask :-). support@tunesmithy.co.uk .

Buy now - Secure order

You will receive an unlock key code instantly when you complete the order. It is valid for all future releases of Activity Timer

You use this key to unlock the program you already have - if you haven't downloaded it yet, see Download Now . This means you have the opportunity to evaluate it first and make sure it is suitable for your needs.

When you get the key, enter it into the Unlock window you see at the start of the session, or use Help | Unlock .

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Other order methods

You can also pay in your own currency, if you are in any of the supported countries . To do that, go to the order page , then in the next page, select either bank/wire transfer, invoice, or giro payment. Global Collect will then send you an invoice in your own currency, which you can pay by your chosen method, after which you will be sent the unlock code.

You can also pay by Telephone or Fax

Alternatively, fill in one of these forms (available on-line) Post , Purchase order

You can also pay in GB pounds and send a cheque directly: Post UK .

Be sure to contact me with any questions about the order process. support@tunesmithy.co.uk

If you aren't able to view or print out the on-line forms, then use the off-line versions of these forms. These don't include the prices as they may change, so be sure to check the current prices first - if you can't view the on-line pages, you can send me an e-mail or letter to check what they are now.

Here are the off-line versions of the forms - you don't need to be connected to the internet to view them: Telephone or Fax , Post , Purchase order , Post UK

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Product levels:

Individual user and Home Use . Removes the splash screen - for home or personal use only.

Commercial license , You need this to remove the splash screen if you are getting Activity Timer for use by an organisation. It allows use of Activity Timer on any number of computers belonging to your organisation, and any number of users.

Generally unless you are sure that it has to be a commercial license, assume that it is okay to use it as a home user. If yours is a small one person type business, especially if it is the type that you run from home, then it is okay to get the home user license to remove the splash screen.

If you have any questions about which product level is appropriate for you, just ask: Robert Walker, support@tunesmithy.co.uk .