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foobar2000 safe mode ?

Hi everybody,

I was wondering if there was (or could be) a "safe mode" aka "foolproof mode" for foobar.
It would be a mode for users that have a very basic knowledge of foobar.
In this mode, users could play stuff, display properties and such, but :
- They wouldn't be able to edit nor to delete anything (no changes at all to the media library)
- They wouldn't be able to access foobar's preferences
- They wouldn't be able to edit foobar's layout
- Etc.

Short story : I am considering installing foobar on my GF's laptop, so she can access our network-shared library. But I will only do it if it's completely safe. Hence my question. Thanks in advance !

Re: foobar2000 safe mode ?

Reply #1
A "kiosk mode" for the occasional party wouldn't be the worst idea. But, cogito: what about a "remote"? Can one install and "protect" fb2k from changes?

I've never seen a girl/woman wanting to configure anything. This is the reason why so many usual apps are so dumb

a-hem ...

Memento: this is Hydrogenaudio. Do not assume good faith.

Re: foobar2000 safe mode ?

Reply #3
I see nothing wrong with Epic's post, my experience echos his. He might as well have been talking about every single non power user but it seems since he mentions females specifically (brought on from the context of the initial question) some people have their PC radar tingled a bit too much and are aching to feel insulted. Don't over-dramatize things here, but I sense drama is coming anyway....

Re: foobar2000 safe mode ?

Reply #4
@jazzthieve : you got my message perfectly right. I was referring to girls/women only because OP invoked "allowing his girlfriend to touch music library" as a use case for introduction of said limited mode in foobar. And you are perfectly right that any non power user regardless of gender acts the same. Apart of users of this particular HA subforum not much people take care of sound output method in app that they use or metadata contents of their music files.
Paraphrasing my first post:
If the only reason for introduction of limited / kiosk mode in foobar would be preventing your girlfriend from altering library or settings, then it makes no sense. Statistically it is almost impossible that she will be interested in doing so.
But @Porcus use case sounds good. Drunk / emotionally hyped people on the party can do some damage to data (tags, settings) in more invasive manner. And here the ability to only play music / read-only access metadata would be useful. But how many people use foobar on parties vs. how many use Spotify/YouTube in such scenario? Even in my home, YouTube on smart tv is king, paired with home cinema loudspeakers. And I call myself big foobar fan & supporter...

Re: foobar2000 safe mode ?

Reply #5
1) You can edit whatever skin you want yourself. Menu/toolbars/context menu can be hidden (probably requires Columns UI). Basic users are unlikely to choose the advanced settings anyway, especially if you ask what they want and build those into the main window so they never start looking elsewhere.
2) Given your files seem to be on a network share, create a read-only user without write permissions and use that when setting up her library access.
3) Maybe consider using Peter's other project, Boom (although as I recall that comes with file editing/deleting capabilities as well). But should be good enough for a simple user.
4) Don't give access if you don't trust the person not to circumvent your stuff. Does she even care about your library? A lot of users are perfectly fine with Spotify/YouTube/whatever.
5) Would be having backups, but I understand that is harder with the file sizes of your library/resources you might have.

Re: foobar2000 safe mode ?

Reply #6
Well, thanks for your numerous replies. This mere topic seems to raise more interest than I would have thought.

If foobar can't do the job, then surely a read-only user without write permissions on my network share would be the next best thing. That makes sense. And actually I tried to achieve that months ago, but for obscure reasons (windows file sharing mysteries between a W7 Ultimate and a W7 Home Premium, you know), I couldn't access my files with another user unless I gave him all kinds of permissions. It took me days to figure it out. So now it works, but if I set my secondary user permissions to "read only", it doesn't work anymore. Anyway.

Back to the subject, I think we shouldn't avoid thinking of a "safe mode / foolproof mode / party mode" only because there is only a "little chance" that another user would think about modifying metadata and such. If the risk exists, then we should take care of it, simply because the potential damage could be enormous. In real life, there is a "little chance" that anybody will set his house on fire. But that happens from time to time. That's what firemen are for, and thank God we have them.

Actually I'm not even thinking about wanting to modify anything, but about a wrong/unwanted manipulation. I'll give you two examples :

1. With masstagger we can modify thousands of tags with only one keystroke. Thankfully I can take care of it, by disabling all keyboard shortcuts and enabling the "do you really want to... " dialog when modifying more than one file. OK.

2. Let's consider somebody opens the Properties dialog for checking the tags. Then the user wrongly presses any given key that changes or erases any given tag. Then the user, instead of clicking "Cancel" clicks "OK". Bam ! There's not any way to undo that. And even worse, if that ever happens, there is no log, no trace of it. So I will never know that my precious tags may have been altered by another user. And that, on a perfectly tagged 50.000+ tracks library with dozens of custom tags, is a little hard to bear.


Re: foobar2000 safe mode ?

Reply #7
so, why not only give her a copy of your library?
Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?  ;~)

Re: foobar2000 safe mode ?

Reply #8
If foobar can't do the job, then surely a read-only user without write permissions on my network share would be the next best thing.

That is the first-best thing if you cannot tolerate changes to files. You said "laptop" and "completely safe" - then the laptop user should not have write access, and it should not be up to an application on the laptop to decide.

You can most likely tolerate changes to configuration (to be restored later). What about write-protecting configs? Dunno if it will cause other problems, though.  Although that is easy to willfully circumvent, that is where protection against WTF did I accidentally do? suffices, right?
Memento: this is Hydrogenaudio. Do not assume good faith.

Re: foobar2000 safe mode ?

Reply #9
so, why not only give her a copy of your library?
Because it weights about 6 TB total.

@Porcus : I'll have to find a way to create a read-only user. But like I said, it proved impossible when I tried it. I'm far from being a n00b computer-wise. I seeked help from several boards, it took days, and nobody could find a solution. The only way I could make it work was by disabling password access to my shared library AND having a user with total control. I wish I didn't have to resort to that, but that's the only way I can make it work at the moment.

Re: foobar2000 safe mode ?

Reply #10
I think Daeron's first solution is really good.

@wcs13 : I don't know your girlfriend so let me ask a question - is she a person who really opens file properties dialogs in any kind of audio player? Only if she do, there is any above-zero probability of your danger scenario 2). Personally I doubt she do, but I am asking you for confirmation. Even if she do, then probability of accidental entering value to tags is very very low, then even lower for accepting it. Really. Now keep in mind that final probability is multiplication of all others. Finally we get number Lower than if she cause a fire in kitchen.
It is more likely she would intentionally alter it when being in anger just to do something out of spite.

Now more in solution direction:
Does foobar have ftp capabilities? I don't know cause I don't use any network functionalities in other software than web browser and mail client... If foobar have ftp capabilities then maybe you can set up ftp server covering yor library and use it as access method for it in foobar.

Re: foobar2000 safe mode ?

Reply #11
I'll have to find a way to create a read-only user. But like I said, it proved impossible when I tried it.
What OS version do you have?

Try Properties of the drive. Do you get access to settings like the attachment?
Memento: this is Hydrogenaudio. Do not assume good faith.

Re: foobar2000 safe mode ?

Reply #12
@EpicForever : well, I'll try to display as much info as possible so she doesn't have to open the Properties dialog. But she could open it anyway, if she saw an error and she wanted to correct it. I don't know : lots of things can be done by mistake or willingly. I have accidentally modified hundreds of tags once, and I'm a power user.

That being said, other apps have a "kiosk mode", and foobar could have it too. It wouldn't be such a bad idea, y'all know...

@Porcus : I said it previously. W7 Ultimate on the main PC (library), and W7 Home Premium on the laptop. But we'd better not discuss that issue here : like I said I spent countless hours trying to make it work, with the help of several W7 boards. I'm not even sure that I'd have the energy to dive into it again, now that it works...

Re: foobar2000 safe mode ?

Reply #14
I'm still questioning if you are so worried about her messing up things, why are you going through all this trouble of trying to make her use it? Ask if she even cares about your library and if so, what features she wants, provide those in the main window, nothing else.

Open the properties dialog or anything that you think she could mess up and show what not to do. Tell her if theres a problem she has to call you instead of digging into stuff. If you don't trust her to comprehend this then there's no point in giving her access. You are basically loading a gun pointed at your feet.

You can customize foobar to your liking including making it "kiosk-like" to a decent extent. It's entirely up to you. But no amount of customization will safeguard against people who actively seek out to break your stuff. Why not give her some simpler app that can only browse (even foobar mobile can do this) or if you are so keen on sharing, a proper fileserver with corresponding accounts and services?

Re: foobar2000 safe mode ?

Reply #15
Why not share your library using an upnp server with her?
She could safely browse and play it using without the risk of modifying anything.
That's a great idea actually ! I just wonder if it's compatible with the m-TAGS component and with my current foobar theme (layout, autoplaylists, etc.). If yes, we may have a solution. :)

Daeron, I agree with you. It's just that to me it's a workaround. It's like "since foobar doesn't have a kiosk mode, let's just tell every user around the globe to spend a lot of time educating his GF / friends / etc. to minimize risks, before even considering to implement a kiosk mode that could be useful to everyone". I personally don't like much that approach (in general, not talking about you ;) ).

Re: foobar2000 safe mode ?

Reply #16
I think you haven't understood my question or you missed right answer. Tell me - is your girlfriend REALLY interested in correcting or even displaying some more advanced info about those files? Did she tell you this? Does she share similar interests in music AND metadata as you? I see your previous answer as you only suppose that she might even open Properties window. While I really doubt in her interest in such things - from statistical point of view.

Re: foobar2000 safe mode ?

Reply #17
I'm still questioning if you are so worried about her messing up things, why are you going through all this trouble of trying to make her use it?

I would [try to] do the same to my own laptop, if it could access my library from outside my door ...  The problem is still access to the files.

Of course I have an off-site backup.
Memento: this is Hydrogenaudio. Do not assume good faith.

Re: foobar2000 safe mode ?

Reply #18
Just a quick word to say that I'm sorry but I won't be addressing any questions focused around my GF's interests, abilities or whatever, based on I-don't-know-what empirical experience. That is not only off-topic but also inquisitive. If personal experience had any value, I could say "in my experience, foobar really needs this feature" and get away with it. So I'm moving on from such questions. Thank you.

Side info : I have dozens of tags and custom tags, and I can't/won't display all their contents on my main screen, so the Properties dialog is quite common use, for me or for anybody else. Say I'm listening to an audio file and I want to know not the artist but the composer. Or the source album name for a given song in case of a VA album. Or just some comments. All those things and more are accessible via Properties and nowhere else.

Actually "in my experience" (lol), it's often the same here when somebody makes a feature request : there are people trying to change the subject by not focusing on the feature itself but asking questions about the user instead : "why would you want to do that ?" / "why go through all this trouble ?" / "why don't you do this other thing instead ?" / etc.. Now I understand that good intentions may be involved, and I thank your for your interest. But just because some of you don't have any use for a given feature doesn't mean that everybody is like you. And just because some of you don't understand why somebody else would have any use for it, doesn't mean that those who would have a use for it need to justify themselves and explain to you in detail why they would.

I am only making a feature request here. I'm not really asking for help with the current foobar, nor for workarounds (I'll still make good use of some of the mentioned ideas, but only as a temporary solution).
And I'm not allowing questions about our (= me and my GF) personal life and habits, to try and dissuade me from making that - reasonable - feature request.
I didn't invent safe modes : they exist in a variety of software for a good reason. And a software as rich and powerful as foobar (with the ability to alter or delete thousands of files or tags at once) DEFINITELY deserves a safe mode.

Thanks for your understanding. :)

Re: foobar2000 safe mode ?

Reply #19
People offer alternate solutions because they try to help you. Would you prefer no replies or a simple "No" reply?

I'm pretty certain Peter has zero interest in adding a kiosk mode for foobar2000. If the kiosk mode is a setting in the program whoever has ill intentions can just as easily disable it as he can edit the settings in normal mode. If the simplification is wanted in an alternate product it already exists - Boom.

You don't want to hear this but IMO the best way to protect your files is to use access rights and give the suspicious user only read access.

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