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We provide some handy utilities for free, in the form of Java Applets. Currently a metronome, a tuner which listens to your notes, and a "tuning fork" which plays notes for you. You can run these online right now, or you can download them for subsequent use offline.

If you have any problems

About Java, and problems running it

The first thing to be aware of is that Java is not at all the same thing as JavaScript, it's a mystery to me why they gave them such similar names. These utilities do not require JavaScript.

These utilities are Java applets so if they aren't working properly, or aren't displayed at all, then this is most likely to be a problem with running Java in your browser. This applet requires the Java Runtime Environment JRE 1.4 or later. Statistics on the web say that 94% of browsers currently have Java enabled - possibly you are one of the 6% who haven't.

You need to have the Java plugin for your browser installed and enabled. First check your browser preferences and make sure you have Java enabled. Note that if you select "High" security settings, this may prevent Java from running. Then close all browser windows you have open, then relaunch your browser and then visit the page again. This is to ensure that both the web page and the Java applet it contains, are the correct current version.

If that doesn't fix it, or if you encounter any problems running these utilities, then you should make sure you have the latest JRE version from Sun (the inventors of Java). Visit Sun at www.java.com and click the "Free Java Download" button to install the JRE on your machine.

Ubuntu 10.04 & 10.10 by default use the "IcedTea" Java plugin which doesn't work (applets are displayed as grey rectangles). You need to switch to the Sun Java plugin.

  • Enable repository: Click System -> Administration -> Synaptic Package Manager, Settings - Repositories - Other Software and tick the first two entries ("partner" & "partner (source)"). Close and click Reload like it tells you to.
  • In Applications - Ubuntu Software Centre uninstall the IcedTea Java plugin.
  • In Applications - Ubuntu Software Centre search for "sun java" and install the "Sun Java 6.0 Plugin" (sun-java6-plugin).

Java is configured on Windows by Control Panel - Java, on the Mac with Applications - Utilities - Java, and on Ubuntu Linux I find Sun Java tools on the System - Preferences menu. Java security policy is ultimately controlled by the files java.policy and java.security but you shouldn't need to mess with these.

Another thing you can try is to enable the Java "Console" which is a separate window displayed by the browser, in which you may see error messages which can help to diagnose problems. The option to enable the Java Console is in the Java configuration settings just mentioned, and once you have enabled it you may need restart your browser and look for an option which will now have appeared on the browser menus, to show the Java Console.

It works online, but not when I download it and run locally

Instead of seeing the applet when you try to run it locally, you get a message saying "Error. Click for details". Apparently this is a bug introduced in certain versions of Java. It is said to be fixed in Java 8 build 111.

Strange noises on a Mac

I have had a report of the metronome and tuning fork sort-of-working on a Mac but with extraneous noises. Apparently this problem can also affect other applications and may be fixable by closing all browser windows you have open, running Garage Band and playing a few notes, then try the metronome again. I have no idea why.

Vista & Internet Explorer

Some people report that the metronome & tuning fork run ok on Vista but the tuner does not run at all. This is probably related to security issues, and the fact that the tuner is signed - it has to be because it inputs sound. If you search the web for "vista signed java applets" without the quotes, you will find discussion of the issue.

The most important thing is to make sure you have the latest Java, at least "Version 6 Update 10" (released October 2008). You can check what version you have, in the Java Control Panel (found in Windows Control Panel).

Note that you can also fix the problem by using a different browser such as Firefox.

Chrome

Chrome is not considered to be very Java friendly, but it can be done. Search the web for "chrome java" and you will find discussion. It is said that you will need the latest Java, at least "Version 6 Update 10" (released October 2008).

I haven't tried it myself, but if it doesn't work for you, here is a report from one of my users who made the tuner work on Chrome on Windows:

  • On Vista, you'll have to enable viewing hidden files in order to see the appdata folder.
  • Download the flash player for windows xpi file: http://fpdownload.macromedia.com/get/flashplayer/xpi/current/flashplayer-win.xpi
  • Change the xpi extension to zip
  • Extract the content of the zip file into a folder.
  • Copy the files flashplayer.xpt and NPSWF32.dll to the directory C:\Users\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\Application\Plugins (there's not actually a directory called plugins, but just drag it in the Application folder where you see the other plugin file, or you can just create a plugins folder if one doesn't exist already.)
  • And for XP users, the path is C:\Documents and Settings\Local Settings\Application Data\Google\Chrome\Application\Plugins

About downloading and running locally

If you download the zip file to run the utility locally, you may find that your file browser (e.g. Windows Explorer) may show you the zip file contents as if they were a folder, and you can double-click the html file and it displays, but the utility applet itself does not. That's because the applet cannot be run from within a zip file. You must extract the folder from out of the zip - for instance you can drag the folder to a new location so it gets copied and the copy is no longer in a zip file.

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