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12Ghosts Timer FAQ

12Ghosts - Timer - Timer FAQ

 

Frequently Asked Questions

I've set a recurring timer to 1 second. How can I stop it?

If the Timer settings window is open, you should be able to press Alt+A and Alt+S within one second to deactivate the timer and save the changes.

If that doesn't help, exit 12-Timer". Open START - Run - type "regedit" - OK, move down to the appropriate Timer subkey: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\12Ghosts\Timer\Txxx and change the value StartActivated to 0.

 

When the Internet is connected to, can I start a program or several programs?

Yes, however, you don't even need 12-Timer. Set up a batch file and start that instead of dialing directly. Create a txt file, rename it to "connect.bat". Enter the following line to establish a connection, and paths to other programs after that line:

rasdial <connection-name> <user-name> <password>
c:\path\to\your\program.exe

 

How can I close a DOS box after it has finished?

There's an easier way than to change the default PIF of command.com: start command.com with parameters = '/c batchfile.bat'. This closes a DOS box when it’s finished!

See also the description of 12-WinControl on how to close windows and terminate applications automatically.

 

Can I create a new timer with a Word or Excel macro?

Yes, please see the Options section for a full Word/Excel VBA script, adding a timer.

 

Can I schedule 12-Timer to print a document?

Yes, most applications support to print a document given as a parameter at startup. However, with Word it is not as easy to answer as it should. There's no parameter to print a document in Word. But when you create a small macro, you can call that macro from within a parameter.

Following you find the macro. The first part is pretty straightforward. Open the document and print it. To close Word - if this is what you want - there's this trick necessary since otherwise Word protests that it is currently printing and cannot be closed. But after five seconds it will be closed. Copy the following lines to a new macro in Word (Tools - Macro - Macros... - enter any name like "x" - click Create, then delete everything around "x" and paste the following lines:

Sub PrintNow()
Documents.Open FileName:="D:\_temp\test.doc"
Application.PrintOut FileName:="D:\_temp\test.doc"
Application.OnTime Now + TimeValue("00:00:05"), "Quit_Word"
End Sub

Sub Quit_Word()
Application.Quit
End Sub

To call the macro enter these parameters in 12-Timer:

Start Path: "C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office\winword.exe"
Parameters: /mPrintNow

 

Is the low memory footprint important for me?

As long as you have enough main memory, it's not. However, most people don't and running a program around the clock is an additional load for the memory, which should be kept as small as possible.

What most likely is slowing down your system is the additional swapping of memory to and from the hard disk, when memory becomes short. Windows swaps automatically to have always enough main memory. You can load hundreds of megabytes of documents, although you might only have 16 MB RAM. The problem is, reading from the hard disk is much slower than accessing RAM.

Usually you will not notice 12-Timer at all because of the small memory footprint.

 

You say the "memory footprint" is 450 KB. Is that the same as "memory usage"?

The size of the executable is about 150 KB, the required 12Ghosts.dll has 180 KB, and the heap usage should be at about 100 KB. So the memory footprint, that is, the memory 12-Timer really allocates for the program code and internal variables, is about 450 KB.

What is rather confusing, if you have ever looked at the "Memory Usage" counter, for example, in the System Monitor or in the NT Task Manager, is that you actually find what usually is called the "Working Set". The size of the Working Set will change over time and is related to overall system activity.

(Quotation from Windows Help: "Working Set is the current number of bytes in the Working Set of this process. The Working Set is the set of memory pages touched recently by the threads in the process. If free memory in the computer is above a threshold, pages are left in the Working Set of a process even if they are not in use. When free memory falls below a threshold, pages are trimmed from Working Sets. If they are needed they will then be soft-faulted back into the Working Set before they leave main memory.")

In other words, 12-Timer may, for example, be assigned 3 MB of memory, but it doesn't use all of it. You have 128 MB main memory and only a few programs running. You still have free main memory left, that's why Windows decides to let 12-Timer claim the unused 2.7 MB memory for now. But if main memory becomes shorter, the 2.7 MB will be freed up and can be used by other programs. Then, and only then, the "Memory Usage" will indeed display 450 KB for 12-Timer, the memory that really is in use.

The Working Set is not the memory that the application really needs! You can verify this: in Performance Monitor add counters for Private Bytes, Virtual Bytes, and Page File Bytes for the process object, instance "12timer". These values should not change, even if you set up several timers, recurring once per second.

Then add a counter for the Working Set and observe it while there is a great deal of timer activity. The Working Set should grow a little. Now start all the programs you can find to use up memory, your office suite, browsers, editors, compilers - really big programs. Then the Working Set for 12-Timer should shrink to 450 KB because the pages not in use are suddenly needed and are therefore freed up.

With no timer activity for a long period, the Memory Usage (= Current Working Set) should gradually go down to 450 KB (= Minimal Working Set). That is what we call the memory footprint.

 

Where can I find out more about the moon?

Er - how much more? You'll find anything for example at google.com. Search for "astronomy". You'll find several observatories with rich explanations, the NASA site, the Java UTC atomic clock, astronomic software, NTP connectors, and a lot more.

The displayed counters are the age of moon in days and phase of moon in percent. 0d 0h 0m 0s equals New Moon. The average moon cycle varies between 29.2 and 29.8 days, so Full Moon is at about 14d 18h.

 

Why is New Moon in 12-Timer a few minutes off of what I looked up elsewhere?

Most calculators use an avarage moon phase duration, whereas 12-Timer calculates the exact phase of moon at a given time. If you have a different moon phase calculator that alows for entering a specific date and time, you will notice the difference.

The simplest moon phase calculators start at some known New Moon time and add 29.53058868 days ('synodic month', or avarage time from New Moon to New Moon) repeatedly. They are off by up to 7 hours which is good enough for a calender. Some calculators alow for more accuracy by using avarage values for astronomic data, for example Moon's mean anomaly, etc. This is quite accurate down to +/- 30 minutes. Arguably, the 'duration' of a Full Moon is several hours - if not days - and not a split of a second. Hence, 30 minutes is good enough for everybody but a lunar lander. (Again, we are the lunar lander, here. 12-Timer is exact to the second.)

 

 

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