Re: I think it's time to think about an add-on for Zara

Bob Cavanaugh

Brian, Sara and all,
This is the same program I wrote to the list about on Christmas eve.
The list of issues remains the same as I wrote then, with a few
updates and clarifications. The issues are as follows:
1. There are buttons at the bottom of the window for
scheduling events, adding jingles, changing the playlist mode, and
checking/unchecking the talk-over box. None of these buttons are
accessible with the keyboard. The playlist mode is not a huge issue,
but its default appears to be repeat when I would like it in normal
mode. I can get around this by putting a stop command at the end of
the playlist, but I'd rather not have to remember to do this every
time I create a playlist. The talk-over option is accessible in the
tools menu, but if you're in a live situation, it would sound much
better to have a one-keystroke combination to uncheck the talk-over
box. My friend also discovered by accident that control+P plays only
the item currently selected in the playlist, making this a workaround
for not being able to add jingles to the section dedicated for that
purpose, but it could also mean that you can't call up a sound bite on
the fly. As for event scheduling, I discovered after reading the
manual again that Zara does have the ability to do some things either
via EXE program or bat file at the command line, but there doesn't
appear to be any documentation on what commands are supported or how
to use them. I have no idea whether scheduling events is something
that could be written into a batch file, but this is the one thing I
can't find any sort of workaround for.
2. When the playing Zara window has focus, NVDA speaks an endless
series of percentages, which Joseph and I theorized was a volume
meter. In any case, this makes Zara very difficult to work with when
it is playing.
3. In playlists, NVDA doesn't read what the playlists are for. Joseph
indicated that table commands could be used to navigate tracks in
these lists, which I will have to review and see what I can get out of
them. The problem I have with NVDA is that it reads each individual
track just fine, but I have to switch to System Access in order to get
the length of the playlist or that the other list is for upcoming
events. Joseph, in your testing, did you try adding audio, then using
table commands to determine total playlist length or that the other
list was for events? NVDA does read each track's name and length, but
does not read the total length of the playlist that I can determine.
4. This is something I hadn't tested when I wrote my original message,
but decided to test it the other night and is why in my first reply I
asked about break notes in Station Playlist. With Zara, you can add a
text file to the list, and when it gets to that point in the list, a
window is supposed to pop up with the contents of that file. If I had
not read the manual though, I would have no clue what the purpose of
adding a text file to a playlist would be. In Station Playlist and
presumably more expensive systems, break notes can be inserted. These
are text notes, that are supposed to do what I described with Zara so
that the DJ can read them live. I suspect that with the type of
broadcasting many on this list do that wouldn't be used much anyway,
but it's worth an ask.
5. Another thing I hadn't thought to test yet but I have since, is
that the DTMF detector doesn't show up when navigating the options
tree view with NVDA. I was hoping to try and simulate a satellite feed
using multiple sound devices on my computer but was running into a
bunch of other issues that are way off topic for this list as well.
My friend Jake seemed to think that Zara wasn't being developed
anymore. I have no proof one way or the other, but with the exceptions
of product manuals, they've taken down all support documentation and
so far do not respond to contact requests. I hope this answers any

On 1/31/21, Brian Vogel <britechguy@...> wrote:
On Sun, Jan 31, 2021 at 04:30 PM, Sarah k Alawami wrote:

Can you give a valid use case as to why such an add on might be needed if
the app is hardly ever used?
And there is is, and legitimately is.

There is finite man/woman power out there, and a very great many add-ons
come into existence as personal projects.

They seldom come into existence in response to requests for same from single
users (unless they write them) or very small groups using obscure software.

Still, Sarah nails it with, " Your message is not specific enough for us to
help troubleshoot. "  There at least exists the potential that a number of
things that you believe are not accessible might be, or there might be
workarounds to make them kinda-sorta accessible.  Details about what you're
trying to do, how you're trying to do it, what you expect to happen, and
what is happening is absolutely necessary.  It would have to be provided to
an add-on writer, too, if things are actually inaccessible that an add-on
could make so.


Brian - Windows 10 Pro, 64-Bit, Version 20H2, Build 19042

The depths of denial one can be pushed to by outside forces of disapproval
can make you not even recognize yourself to yourself.

~ Brian Vogel

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