roadmap of the chime feature in the analog clock

Steven Sroka sroka.steven at
Tue Feb 1 18:18:30 CET 2011

On 1 February 2011 07:50, John Layt <johnlayt at> wrote:
> On Saturday 15 January 2011 19:29:29 sunny sharma wrote:
>> To make things clear for me i would reguest you guys to tell me the further
>> steps that i should take.
>> So that i can clear up my mind and come up with a clear algorithm of what
>> should be done.
> [Catching up on my email now that I'm back from holiday]
> The problem here is the old one of balancing features for the power users
> against ease of use for the majority of users, it just means we have to make
> the code do more of the work instead of the user, or rather just be smarter
> about it.
> The most common features of chiming clocks are:
>  * Quarters, i.e. different chimes at 00, 15, 30 and 45
>  * Striking the hour, i.e. 12 strikes at midnight
>  * The hour chime plays before the hour, with the first hour strike playing
> exactly on the hour
> Combined with the "Speak Time" feature, we would obviously want to allow
> slightly more options, such as only chiming/speaking on the hour, turning off
> striking the hours (which can get very annoying and is meaningless for speak
> time), or chiming/speaking every x minutes.  I'm sure people can think of
> plenty more "nice-to-have-but-rarely-used" options that we don't want to
> expose most users to.

I don't know if this falls under the category of
"nice-to-have-but-rarely-used" but could there be an option available
that allows chimes to be disabled if the computer is actively being
used (eg. there are mouse clicks or keyboard button presses or a movie
is being played, etc).

I myself would like my computer to chime every hour as if I had my own
Big Ben in my living room. Big Ben being the large clock tower in
London, England :)

But, of course, having my computer chime in the middle of watching a
movie or something along the lines of that would sooo annoying.

> Expecting a user to configure a ui for all that is just not on.
> The key to keeping it simple is to NOT allow the user to configure the sounds
> and when they play in the ui as most users will never need to do this, and
> catering for all the options is just too complex.  Instead we would define a
> Chime Theme file format that we and power users can use to configure how a
> Chime Theme works and what sound files to use, and provide the user with a
> simple list of available themes to choose from.  We could even allow
> downloading new themes from GHNS, in which case we would ship KDE with just a
> very simple theme.
> Here's how a single ui section for "Audible Feedback" in the "General" tab
> would look like:
> A combo for "Feedback Type" with options for:
>  * None
>  * Speak Time
>  * Play Chimes
> A combo for "Frequency" that is activated only if "Feedback Type" is not
> "None", with options for:
>  * Chime Theme Defaults (only show if "Play Chimes" chosen)
>  * Hourly
>  * Quarters
>  * Every x Minutes (better wording needed)
> (Note that Hourly and Quarters are just synonyms for every 60 or 15 minutes.)
> Next to this combo is a minutes input spin box activated when "Every x
> Minutes" is chosen.  Alternatively we do "Frequency" as a radio button with
> the spinbox inline in the "Every x minutes" text.
> A combo for "Chime Theme" which is only activated if "Play Chimes" is
> selected, with a list of the currently available themes:
>  * Beep
>  * Time Pips
>  * Westminster
>  * Cuckoo
>  * ...
> Next to this could be a GHNS button to download more themes.
> Optionally under this could be a tick-box for "Strike Hours" which is only
> activated if "Play Chimes" is activated, to turn off striking hours which
> could get annoying.  Alternatively it could be integrated into the "Feedback
> Type" combo as separate options for "Play Chimes and Strikes" "Play Chimes
> Only" and "Play Strikes Only".
> I think 3 or 4 lines of simple config options is not too bad.  The "Feedback
> Type" and "Chime Theme" could even be merged for an even simpler interface.
> The Chime Theme would actually be a self-contained folder holding a config
> file and all required sound files, and would look something like this:
>  sounds/chimes/themename/
>    themename.desktop - Holds name of theme and default config options
>    default.ogg       - Default sound to play if no specific sound
>    strike.ogg
>    hour.ogg
>    quarterpast.ogg
>    half.ogg
>    quarterto.ogg
> In the .desktop file itself, the config options would allow you to point to
> other sound files in other locations and set default frequency, e.g.:
>    [Sounds]
>    hour=/media/data/audio/sounds/doh.wav
> There's lots of options that could be set here, but I won't detail them now.
> Some possible Chime Themes:
> Beep:         A simple beep with slightly different ones for hours, quarters,
>              and minutes. Ship with KDE, download the rest.
> Time Pips:
> Westminster:
> Whittington:
> Ships Bells:
> At first glance it may seem a fairly complex solution, but I think the
> implementation will actually be fairly simple and not add much overhead, the
> hardest part is designing the config file to be flexible enough.
> John.
> P.S. This is what you get from staring at the ceiling at 4am in the morning
> thanks to jet-lag :-)
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