MonthJanuary 2012

Removing the annoying Windows language hotkeys “Ctrl+Space”, “Shift+Space” etc. that toggles the full-width/half-width characters on the Chinese IME

There is a bug in Windows that prevents switching the hotkey of some of the language bar features (documented here).  The user is unable to change any of the hotkeys in the Advanced Key Settings page.  Some of the changed hotkeys revert to what they were before when the user tries to apply the changes.  Two keys in particular, the “Ctrl+Space” and the “Shift+Space” key combinations are the most annoying.

These two keys toggle the full-width (double-byte), and the half-width (single-byte”) character sets when typing with the Chinese IME.  Full-width characters look like “this “ while half-width is what people are normally used to.  The default key combinations are easy to press by accident in situations such as capitalizing a title.  Therefore, it is beneficial to remove this hotkey.

Solution

Because changing the key settings manually through Windows does not work, one must go through the registry.  The following fix applies to the current user that is logged in.  Apply the following registry keys and then restart the computer.

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Input Method\Hot Keys] [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Input Method\Hot Keys\00000010] "Virtual Key"=hex:ff,00,00,00
"Key Modifiers"=hex:00,c0,00,00
"Target IME"=hex:00,00,00,00

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Input Method\Hot Keys\00000011] "Virtual Key"=hex:ff,00,00,00
"Key Modifiers"=hex:00,c0,00,00
"Target IME"=hex:00,00,00,00

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Input Method\Hot Keys\00000012] "Virtual Key"=hex:ff,00,00,00
"Key Modifiers"=hex:00,c0,00,00
"Target IME"=hex:00,00,00,00

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Input Method\Hot Keys\00000070] "Virtual Key"=hex:ff,00,00,00
"Key Modifiers"=hex:00,c0,00,00
"Target IME"=hex:00,00,00,00

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Input Method\Hot Keys\00000071] "Virtual Key"=hex:ff,00,00,00
"Key Modifiers"=hex:00,c0,00,00
"Target IME"=hex:00,00,00,00

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Input Method\Hot Keys\00000072] "Virtual Key"=hex:ff,00,00,00
"Key Modifiers"=hex:00,c0,00,00
"Target IME"=hex:00,00,00,00

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Input Method\Hot Keys\00000201] "Virtual Key"=hex:ff,00,00,00
"Key Modifiers"=hex:00,c0,00,00
"Target IME"=hex:00,00,00,00

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Input Method\Hot Keys\00000202] "Virtual Key"=hex:ff,00,00,00
"Key Modifiers"=hex:00,c0,00,00
"Target IME"=hex:00,00,00,00

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Input Method\Hot Keys\00000203] "Virtual Key"=hex:ff,00,00,00
"Key Modifiers"=hex:00,c0,00,00
"Target IME"=hex:00,00,00,00

In the registry, one can also navigate to “HKEY_CURRENT_USERControl PanelInput MethodHot Keys” and see a list of folders with names that have eight numbers in them with leading zeroes.  Each folder here represents a particular hotkey related to an IME.  Clicking on one of these folders will show data for these keys.

Setting “Key Modifiers” to “00 c0 00 00” removes the use of the Ctrl and Alt key for the hotkey.
Setting “Virtual Key” to “ff 00 00 00” sets the key to nothing.
The key “Target IME” can be left as is.

In the case of the “Shift+Space” hotkey, “Shift” is the key modifier and “Space” is the virtual key.

It is unclear which folder corresponds to the key that toggles the character shape, therefore this fix is a blanket approach.

If the Above Still Fails

Try combining the fix with an installation of Microsoft Office IME 2010, which can be downloaded here: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/zh-tw/details.aspx?FamilyID=60984ecd-9575-411a-bd38-2294f17c4131&displaylang=zh-tw.  Despite the name, it does not require Microsoft Office to be installed. After installing, apply the registry keys and restart.

Setting up Karaoke (KTV) like an actual Karaoke place at home using JetKTV

As many people are aware, Karaoke is popular among Asian people.  Generally, people go to a Karaoke establishment to enjoy it, but it can also be done at home.  Current methods involve juggling a bunch of VCD’s, DVD’s, or even LD’s to get the wanted song.  Karaoke establishments have all set up systems for people to use a computer to choose a song from a database (by artist, name, gender, etc.) that will be played on the TV.  This set up can be replicated at home.

This guide presents how to mimic the system used in professional karaoke establishments at home.  The software this system uses revolves around a Taiwanese program called JetKTV.  Much of the content from this guide was drawn from Chinese language websites discussing the usage of this program (scroll all the way down for References).    There is little literature on this subject in English and so this guide presents basically an English version of the reference sites plus a few added notes.

The program used is in Chinese, so people who are not fluent in Chinese may have a hard time navigating through the software.  Those who are brave enough to continue or have a basic knowledge of Chinese with better English fluency may find it helpful to see English instructions.  The Chinese sites on this subject are also written for older versions, and the setup procedure for those older versions are slightly different.

jetktv

Contents

Proposed Setup

The proposed setup of all the hardware (TV’s, amps, computer, etc.) is in the diagram below.

ksetup

The computer will play the chosen Karaoke videos and transmit the video signal to the TV (via extended display like in a dual monitor set up).  The computer’s audio will go to an amplifier or a mixer, which is then transmitted to a set of speakers.  Microphones are plugged into the amplifier/mixer is well so that the speakers can also play the sound picked up by the microphones.  Depending on the hardware, the cables could be different (some TV’s may not have HD output etc.)The  computer is the source of all the signals transmitted to the other devices and must be set up with the Karaoke software.

Setting up JetKTV2010

The PC will use the following software:

  • JetKTV2010 (link)
  • SongMgr (link – optional – not helpful on English language PC’s – more on that topic later)

It is helpful to set up the software using a dual monitor setup.  That way, it is easier to test without having to go and plug the computer to the TV each time.

Unzip the contents of the JetKTV2010 program in a folder and open JetKTV2010.exe.  The GUI buttons are for searching through the database (by looking for the artist, song name, etc.) to find the wanted song. Once a song is selected, it will be added to the list of songs to play just like the software at actual Karaoke establishments. The video will play in full screen on one monitor and the song picker GUI will say on another monitor.  To close the program, click on the top left corner of the GUI (hidden button).

Some of the software features in addition to searching and adding songs:

  • Skipping songs
  • Fast forwarding, pausing, etc.
  • Switching from one audio channel to both audio channels (alternating between vocal on/off)

This program reads from a database that contains the song names, artists, language, etc.   Therefore, it does not come with songs.  Songs must be downloaded separately and added on.  These can come from existing DVD’s or YouTube.  The next section will explain how to populate the database.

Populating the Database

The SongMgr program mentioned above can add/remove contents from the database, but there are problems with it when using it on English language PC’s due to problems in encoding some of the Chinese characters.  Even Microsoft AppLocale fails to rectify the problems.  The solution is to use Microsoft Access to open up the database file directly and make changes.

Adding one song can seem like a lengthy process at the first try, but it will get easier as one becomes more familiar with the system.

Inserting A New Song

To insert a new song, one must navigate to the table where the songs are stored and then add an entry to it.

  1. Open Song.mdbin the JetKTV program directory
  2. When prompted for a password, input “tmwcmgumbonqd” without quotes
  3. Navigate to the table Tbl_Song.  This is the table that records all the song entries.

Below is an explanation of each column:

  • Song_ID: numerical identifier for each song (the program lists them as 5 digit numbers starting at 10000)
  • Song_Title: song title
  • Song_Singer: each singer has a unique number associated with them (see next section)
  • Song_Singer (2nd one): the name of the artist in text
  • Song_Word: number of characters in the song name
  • Song_Type: a number representing a language (Mandarin,Taiwanese,Cantonese,Hakka Chinese,English,Japanese,Movies,Cartoons,Other  in that order starting from 1)
  • Song_Volume: song volume, but not sure what units they are in.  Default value is 70.
  • Song_Channel: the audio channel that does not have the vocal track. (1-Left, 2-Right, 3-Both)
  • Song_FileName: filename of the video without the directory
  • Song_Path: the directory to the file (could use absolute pathing only, but unsure of whether relative paths work)
  • Song_Create: the time that the song was added in
  • Song_Count: the play count of a song
  • Song_Juyin: the Zhuyin characters representing the song title
  • Song_Stroke: number of strokes in the first character of the song name

Some of the columns can be left out, but that means that it will not be possible to find a particular song using the omitted information.  For example, Song_Juyin can be left out for those who dont use the Zhuyin system, and that feature won’t be used for song searching anyway.

To add a song, fill out the following information at the minimum on one row:

  • Song_ID (must be a unique number and should have five digits)
  • Song_Title
  • Song_Singer
  • Song_Volume (70 is the default)
  • Song_Channel
  • Song_FileName
  • Song_Path

For the Song_Singer information, refer to the next section.

Inserting A New Artist

Artist information is stored on a different table called Tbl_Singer

  1. Open the table called Tbl_Singer
  2. Fill out an entire row to add a new singer (see below for the reference for each information column)

Below is an explanation of each column:

  • Singer_ID: unique identifier for each singer (this is the unique ID that is to put inserted in the Song_Singer column in Tbl_Song)
  • Singer_Sex: singer gender (0-Female, 1-Male, 2-Group/Band)
  • Singer_Name: artist name in text
  • Singer_Juyin: the Zhuyin characters representing the artist name
  • Singer_Stroke: number of strokes in the first character of the artist’s name

Testing

One a song or two has been entered into the database, one can test it by opening up the JetKTV program and trying to pick a song.  It is working when one screen shows the video playing and another screen showing the JetKTV GUI.

One can also try clicking the button labeled “導唱” to test if the audio channels are set up properly (toggling it turns on and off the vocals).

The next step would be to plug in the computer with all the television components and then trying it again.  Once everything works, the system is ready.

References

All reference sites are in Chinese

[1] 動手打造窮人 KTV <http://www.jetktv.ktvdiy.com/>

[2] [影音相關] JetKTV 輕鬆打造免費 KTV 點唱機 (進階設定篇) <http://www.soft4fun.net/video-related/%E5%BD%B1%E9%9F%B3%E7%9B%B8%E9%97%9C-jetktv-%E8%BC%95%E9%AC%86%E6%89%93%E9%80%A0%E5%85%8D%E8%B2%BB-ktv-%E9%BB%9E%E5%94%B1%E6%A9%9F-%E9%80%B2%E9%9A%8E%E8%A8%AD%E5%AE%9A%E7%AF%87.htm#doublescr>

[3] 峰網誌 JetKTV-DIY電腦點歌機..軟體篇 <http://www.wretch.cc/blog/Linpy/4853370>

2011 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Syndey Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 35,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 13 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

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