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Suggestions for Centralized/Network Data File Structure?


McAllister
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I am relatively new to LOR but good with computers.  I am looking for suggestions as to file structures for multiple PCs running LOR.  In my case, I have a desktop that I prefer to sequence at, then have a laptop that I need to take to the garage to run shows from.  What is the best way to save the LMS/MP3 files so that they can be easily accessed from both locations?  Here's possible solutions that I've tried and problems I've run into:

 

  • I have a NAS that automatically gets a nightly backup to an online service, so I'd prefer to put them there.  No problem at home.  I can just map a network drive on both computers and using LORPOST.exe set the program on both PCs to go to the mapped drive.  Problems: 1) when the laptop is away from the network, then it won't have the data files, as windows doesn't support cacheing local copies of network shares. 2) there seems to be lots of files that get opened/closed in the background when a sequence is opened/edited... these are different on the different computers and LORPOST seems to change the location of those "scratch" folders.
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  • Dropbox - Seems like the perfect solution - I tried it though, and again the "scratch" files seems to be a problem.  Just opening the sequence editor causes dropbox to "update" nearly a hundred files that then cascade up/down through dropbox to all my computers (some that don't even use LOR, but are on dropbox!)
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  • Problems: relative vs absolute path names.  When I open the sequences on different computers, it seems to be using absolute path names for references to external files.  Namely the MP3 and the S3 visualizer background.  Why is this a problem??? because the user names on the 2 computers are different, so the c:\user1\dropbox\LOR\... is different than c:\2nduser\dropbox\LOR... structure; furthermore, [i'm weird] and one of my PCs has a 2nd HDD named R:\, which is where that user's files are stored!

 

In writing this post, I may have come up with a solution, that I need to try... perhaps I forget about using the recommended LORPOST.exe to reassign the directory structure, and just manually copy the structure to my dropbox folders, then everytime I open/edit/save a LMS.MP3 file, make sure it goes to the dropbox directory.  At least then the local scratch files would be computer specific (on respective C or R drives) but the ultimate data save location would be centralized/backed up.  Perhaps there's a registry setting to redirect the data location?  Poking around, there's a HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Light-O-Rama\Shared node.  There are several paths defined in there but some seem a bit cryptic --- for instance AudioPath and UserDataPath seem promising, but what is CanonicalAudioPath?  Is UserDataPath the user data (i.e. registration info) or is it the file save location?  What then is the NonAudioPath?

 

That being said, I'm not sure that would solve my problem with relative vs absolute file pathways though.  It would seem that LMS files store the absolute path, so even though the audio will always be in LOR\Audio and Sequences will be in LOR\Sequences, they will be different absolute paths on the 2 PCs so opening on a different device than what was last saved will require pointing the sequencer to the 2 files again...

 

Anyone have any suggestions or experience with a setup like this?

 

Thanks!

 

Josh

 

 

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Running the show from a Dropbox folder isn't really recommended. There's a post around here somewhere, pinned to the top of whichever forum, that talks about what could happen.

 

I do sequencing on multiple computers for clients, however. For that I simply have a folder in my Dropbox for the sequencing. Since the user is the same on both machines, the absolute paths aren't a problem when it comes to loading the sequencing on another machine and working on it.

 

I can't remember if this is something I've tried, or have done in past years and don't remember. Since the audio path is absolute (within the sequence) you could (in theory here) store the audio files in the same locations on the PC's. Then when you go to run the show, simply move the LMS/LAS, files over to a local directory and run them from there during the show.

 

P.S. The dropbox application has selective sync. Use that to disable the LOR Sequences from going to machines you don't want/need them on. Would save some of the traffic. Also, if you don't have LAN Sync enabled, you'll want that for times when your at home. (Obviously wouldn't help remote.)

 

I'm sure others will chime in with other ideas. That's just off the top of my head. Back to work ....

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I am also a computer geek. I have a dedicated show computer that for the most part is used for nothing else. I do most of my sequencing on a different desktop PC. Once in a while I use a laptop for sequencing. At home I have a server that serves as a domain controller. Both computers have the L: drive mapped to a directory on the server. The server has multiple disks in RAID arrays. It gets backed up to external hard drives and stored off-site. After most sequencing sessions, I back up the file I was working on to Google Drive. If I am going to do any sequencing on the laptop, I will either pull the file off Google Drive, or move it via a USB thumb drive.

I am rather formal with file name formats so I can always tell different versions of the files. What I do is the name of the song, followed by the date and either time or a revision letter. For example: OpeningSong_2015-10-25_1430.lms or OpeningSong_2015-10-25a.lms

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I too have a domain in the house and store the main files on the server. I only move them to the show laptop 2 weeks prior to showtime. I  use a UNC (\\servername\sharename) as then no matter which system I access through, the Lor software knows the UNC. I have had challenges in the past with mapped network drives, but they will work as long as you use the same Drive letter and use LORPOST.exe to tell Lor where the files and directories exist. I only move to the laptop as the Wifi is slower to pull files. :)

Edited by kiplorenzo
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EmmienLightFan

I am running my Halloween show from Google Drive. It is saved on the PC.

 

 

I have not had a problem. It seemed like a really good idea at first, because I could edit sequences and shows and they would be changed next time that the show restarted, however I forgot that the network card would be used for E1.31. If I need to change something, I can edit it on either my Surface Pro, phone or main PC, then go out to the garage and stop all shows, just to be sure, then switch the network card to the WiFi dongle and wait for it to sync. When it is done I swap back again and it is done.

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Thanks for the feedback!  I have found two threads that relate to questions I pose.  (It took a lot of searching, because searching for "dropbox" actually turned up a lot of links to files people shared.)

 

24809-dropbox-and-running-shows

and

17096-lor-and-dropbox

 

Between what's in these 3 threads, as well as additional thinking I've been doing on the topic.  I'm thinking I'll solve the problem by creating symbolic links (or Junctions).  See HowToGeek - Complete guide to symbolic links symlinks on windows or linux

 

So, for LOR to have its local scratch data directory structure in place (and not on dropbox so that data doesn't sync between computers), I think I'm going to rerun LORPOST.exe and remap everything to the local drives (rather than having both point to DropBox\Light-O-Rama\).  If what DevMike states in Post #11 of Topic "17096-lor-and-dropbox" is still true, then relative paths will be stored, as long as LOR is storing sequences, visualizations, audio within the Light-O-Rama directory structure, eliminating the problem going between computers.

 

 

Ok Mike, sum it all up in a sentence (and this goes for the entire suite, not just the Visualizer):

If you are going to run S3 on multiple computers that have different data paths, keep ALL your files in the correct sections of the 'Light-O-Rama' directory. 

 

 

Now to get it to DropBox, automagically!  I'm thinking that I'll just have a similar directory structure in my DropBox.  I'll make sure LOR isn't running on either machine.  I'll let the DropBox sync between computers.  I'll go in and remove the actual Light-O-Rama\Audio directory and create a symbolic hard link (junction) so that when C:\Users\DesktopUser\Light-O-Rama\Audio\ is accessed, the OS redirects to my R:\Users\DesktopUser\Dropbox\Light-O-Rama\Audio\.  From my understanding, these symbolic links are handled at the OS level and not exposed to any programs using them.  I of course will have to do so for essentially all the folders inside the Light-O-Rama path, with the exception of "LORInternal."

 

This of course seems to open me to a potentially locked computer when running a show from dropbox, and also could cause corruption if I have the same sequence (or visualization, etc) open at the same time on two computers, but I don't see me doing that.

 

Has anyone tried something similar to this?  Any problems anyone can see with my logic?

 

 

 

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OK - I've created the junctions and done some basic testing.  It stored relative links for the Audio (Yay) but still stored an absolute link for the animation background image.  Not sure why, I moved the JPG into both to the Visualizations and the Sequences directories and tried it from both.  Both times the animation image gets written as the full path (using the internal LOR junction that I just created, so sort of a "win" in the sense that LOR didn't recognize that the file is actually in a different directory).

 

Anyone know how to get the animation background image path to be relative rather than absolute?  Where is it expecting the file to be?  Maybe that's the problem...

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I just use a simple file copy utility called Robocopy (you can get it from Microsoft's website). I set up a (dos) .cmd script on my sequencing computer desktop. When i'm done I run the script (easy to do since it's on my desktop). It copies the LOR folder sequences and audio folder (i suppose i could do the whole Light-O-Rama folder but this subset works for what i need) to a "backup" drive. This same drive gets copied offsite with Carbonite (cloud backup service - $55 year for unlimited backup i think).

 

Then on my "show" computer I have a similar script but it copies FROM the backup drive. I like to do it manually but you could set it up with scheduled tasks if you wanted.

 

Inside the .cmd file the script is very simple. I use the /xo parameter so that if the file on my sequencing computer is older it will not overwrite the newer version on the backup drive. The assumption is I have tweaked it on the show computer so i don't want to lose my changes. The /e copies subdirectories including empty directories.

 

robocopy "C:\Users\Tony\Documents\Light-O-Rama\Sequences" "F:\Backup\Light-O-Rama\Sequences" /e /xo
robocopy "C:\Users\Tony\Documents\Light-O-Rama\Audio" "F:\Backup\Light-O-Rama\Audio" /e /xo
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