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Install the current version of Simple Timer + Clocks (from AMO)
Install older versions of Simple Timer + Clocks (from AMO)

Notes for November 8, 2010:

Notes for
August 20, 2010:

Notes for August 16, 2010:

What can Simple Timer + Clocks do?

Various clock and timer functions, including:

Detailed description

Downloading this extension places a blue alarm clock icon in your statusbar. You can drag and drop the icon anywhere upon the statusbar. When dragging the icon, you will see a little vertical red line between other icons in the statusbar, which indicates where the clock icon will end up if you drop at that time (some themes won't display the red line).
Features are available via a context menu (right-click on icon).
You can also choose to instead use a toolbar display.
First use the context menu and select Options... and click the Positioning tab. Choose toolbar.
Next, you need to move the SimpleClocks toolbar button from the toolbar palette to the toolbar. To access the palette, right-click your toolbar and select Customize... which displays the Customize Toolbar dialog. Locate the SimpleClocks button and drag it to wherever you want on your toolbar.


Context menu

Lets examine each menu item in detail


Clock

Displays the local time and/or date, on your statusbar/toolbar, in the format and language (ie. AM/PM) of your locale. Or you can totally customize how the time/date will appear (see Options->Clock). Middle-click displays the icon again. Why would you want a clock when Windows, for example, displays a clock in the taskbar?  Some people like to hide their taskbar!


Other locations...

This will display the Other Locations dialog where you can choose which locations around the world for which you want to track local time.

Other Locations dialog


When the dialog first displays, a list of countries is displayed in the Countries listbox. Note that it make take a few moments for them to appear, as the timezone data file is retrieved from the mozdev server. As a shortcut to show the country you are interested in, click on the Countries listbox and type the starting letter(s) of the country name; it will scroll there.

Click the country you want, and a list of timezones for the country appears in the Timezones tree. Most countries have only one timezone, but some, like Indonesia above, have more. You may not be familiar with these timezones. This program uses the tz (a/k/a/ zoneinfo a/k/a Olson) database, which has become the de facto standard for timezone and daylight savings time information. (In fact, I don't use the database but rather a small file I generate from the tz datafiles) .

Starting with tz data version 2010j (June 2010), the first entry in the Countries listbox is not a country at all, but GMT/UTC
(Greenwich Mean Time/Coordinated Universal Time). You can select and track this entry just like any of the others. The world's timezones are expressed as an offset (in hours) to UTC, eg. Toronto standard time is UTC -5, but during daylight savings time (DST) it is UTC -4.

View tz data versions here.

You need to select one of these timezones from the Timezones tree. Great if you live in New York, you will find an "America/New York" timezone. But what if you live in Tupelo, Mississippi? Which timezone should you select? There is no Tupelo timezone. You may get some hint from the Comments column of the tree, or you could take an educated guess, but if you want to be sure, enter your city name into the "Optional - Enter city to find timezone:" textbox and click Enter. This will take you to a nice website http://worldtimeengine.com/ (this link shows Tupelo). I am not affiliated in any way with this site. You will see a Google map, and if you scroll down you see an item "Timezone Reference Point" which lists Tupelo's timezone as "America/Chicago". Voila! After you finish checking out this website, maximize the Other Locations dialog (it got minimized along the way) and now either select "America/Chicago" and then click Add (beside the Selected tree), or just double-click "America/Chicago" to enter it directly into the Selected tree. You now have an entry for Chicago. If you like, double-click the Location column and change the name to whatever you like. If daylight savings time (DST) is observed, and currently in effect, for this location, the UTC Offset entry is adjusted, and a double asterisk will appear (see Toronto entry above), and the current DST rules are shown. If DST is not in effect, the upcoming DST rules are shown.
If DST is not observed, or in rare cases when a rule hasn't been determined, you will see N/A (see Jakarta above). The more familiar Local timezone is also shown (eg. EST, EDT etc).  (An oddity: Australia uses the same abbreviation for standard and DST times).

Editing locations in the Selected table:

Repeat for as many locations as you like, and click OK. So now you are tracking the local time for other locations, but where do I see their times? They are displayed in a tooltip when hovering over your statusbar/toolbar display. If we peek ahead to Options... there are two different tooltips you can choose that will display your clocks (including the default tooltip).

Notes: 

  1. When you enter this dialog, any locations you are currently tracking are displayed in the Selected tree.
  2. Above and to the right of the Selected tree shows the current tz data file version, year appended with letter.
  3. There can be several tz data updates in a year. If an update is not relevant to this add-on, I may not push it through.
  4. You can change the dimensions of the dialog by dragging its edges. You can also change the width of the tree columns by dragging the little seperators between the column headings. In the upper-right position of the column headings is a small image, which is a column picker. Click on it to display a drop-down list of the tree columns. Use this to hide/show individual tree columns. All of this is "remembered" the next time you open the dialog.

 Notify Me At...

This will display the Notify Me At This Time dialog where you can set a specific time of day to receive a notification. Lets see what it looks like

Notify Me At dialog

As you can see, the upper half "Enter Notification" is where you supply the notification info, while the lower half is a table of existing notifications. You can enter as many notifications as you like.
The fields are:

Description -- an optional field which is displayed when your notification completes (assuming you have enabled a visual alert in the Options dialog), and in the "Full" or "Notifications" statusbar/toolbar tooltip (also enabled in Options dialog).

URL -- an optional field. Click on Bookmark (to the right of the textbox) to copy your browsers current webpage URL into the textbox. This little bookmarking feature allows you to display a webpage upon completion of the notification. If you have enabled dialog alert in Options dialog, this URL is displayed in the Notification Completed dialog, and clicking on the "Open URL" button will open the associated webpage in a new tab. If instead you have enabled audio and/or popup alert in Options dialog, the webpage is opened in a new tab automatically. In the image above, at 12:00 PM a couple of my favorite pages open while I enjoy lunch..

Time -- a mandatory field which indicates when the notification is issued. This field will originally show the time when you opened the dialog, in the language and format of your locale. Click on the hours, minutes (and AM/PM if shown) subfields to edit them, using the spin buttons or your keyboard's up and down arrows.
You can set multiple notifications for the same time (for instance, have them open different web pages via Bookmark), but a warning dialog is displayed, and the duplicate entries are highlighted in the table.
You can also set notifications for the same time, but different days (no warning dialog in this case).

To the right of the Time entry field is a drop-down with a list containing all locations you are tracking , if any (as well the default value Local).
If you set a non-local value, you will receive an alert when it is the specified time in that location. In the above image, I will get an alert when it is 7:00 PM in Buenos Aires. If you mouse over the locations in the list, a tooltip will appear showing the difference in time between your local time and that location's time.

Recurring -- an optional field. If left unchecked, this notification is one-time only. If checked, this notification will repeat, as indicated by the value of the dropdown box to the immediate right. You can set a value of Daily, Weekdays (Monday-Friday), Weekends (Saturday-Sunday) or a specific day of the week. Note that for non-local times, this refers to the day in that location, which may be different (+/- one day) from your local day. As an example, Saturday 1:00 AM Toronto = Friday, 10:00 PM Vancouver (usually).

Now you are ready to enter your notification. If you are just entering one notification and don't care to see it entered in the Notifications table, you can click Add/OK button, which adds the notification and dismisses the dialog. If you are going to enter another notification, or just want to see it in the table, click the Add button to the left of the table.

Editing notifications in the Notifications table:

Notes:

  1. When you enter this dialog, any existing notifications are displayed in the Notifications table.
  2. Mouse over any non-local notification in the table and a tooltip will appear showing the difference in time between your local time and that location's time.
  3. You can change the dimensions of the dialog by dragging its edges. You can also change the width of the tree columns by dragging the little seperators between the column headings. In the upper-right position of the column headings is a small image, which is a column picker. Click on it to display a drop-down list of the tree columns. Use this to hide/show individual tree columns. All of this is "remembered" the next time you open the dialog.
  4. Notifications are displayed in a tooltip when hovering over your statusbar/toolbar display if you have chosen to display the "Full" or "Notifications" tooltip (see Options... below).
  5. When a notification is set and pending, the alarm clock icon in the statusbar/toolbar (when displayed) will be red instead of blue.
  6. Notifications are retained between browser sessions. If a non-recurring notification expires while your browser is closed, a notification is issued when you reopen your browser, informing you of this.
  7. The alert you receive when the notification time is reached is set by you in Options.
  8. "The Missing Hour": On the day DST first comes into effect, the clock is adjusted ahead (almost always 1 hour) and an hour is skipped, eg. suppose DST for some location starts at 2:00 on some date, so we can imagine the clocks moving as such: 1:59:58, 1:59:59, 3:00:00. The hour 2:00:00-2:59:59 does not exist. What if we have a notification scheduled to trigger during that hour for that location? Windows will not allow a time to be set for that hour, and in fact will set such a time for 1 hour earlier. So a 2:30 notification gets set for 1:30. This is not something unique to Simple Timer + Clocks, for example ReminderFox exhibits the same behaviour. This problem only exists for the first hour of DST.
  9. "The Repeated Hour": On the final day of DST, the clock is adjusted backwards (almost always 1 hour) and an hour is repeated, eg. suppose DST for some location ends at 2:00 on some date, so we can imagine the clocks moving as such: 1:59:58, 1:59:59, 1:00:00. An extra hour to sleep! What if we have a notification scheduled to trigger during that repeated hour for that location? Normally you will only receive the notification once, but depending on various conditions, you may receive the notification twice! Hopefully that is not a problem for you.

Calendar...

This will display the Calendar Events dialog where you can set a specific day to receive an alert. Lets see what it looks like

Calendar Events dialog

As you can see, the upper half "Enter Event" is where you supply the event info, while the lower half is a table of existing events. You can enter as many events as you like.
The fields are:

Description -- a mandatory field which is displayed in the slider alert, and in the "Full" or "Calendar events (today and upcoming)" statusbar/toolbar tooltips (enabled in Options dialog).

Append - tick this checkbox to append an ordinal number (optional) and category (birthday or anniversary) to the description. In the image above, "6th birthday" will be appended to "Fred" to create an event with description "Fred 6th birthday". This saves some typing. Also, assuming this event is set as recurring with a frequency of yearly, the ordinal number is incremented each year, so next year the description will read "Fred 7th birthday". The default value of the ordinal number is 0. If you leave it at 0, then a number is not appended, but the category still is, eg. "Fred birthday".

Start date -- this datepicker is a mandatory field which indicates the date the event starts. There are different ways to edit this field:

Clicking the Today button will set the value of all 3 datepickers in this dialog to today's date.
Do not try and enter a past date, or an alert box will scold you when you try to add the event.

Start time -- this timepicker allows you to set the event time, or you can tick the All day checkbox if there is no specific time for the event. Remember that this time is for your reference only. Alerts you receive for events are based on date only. More about that later.
This field will originally show the time when you opened the dialog, in the language and format of your locale. Click on the hours, minutes (and AM/PM if shown) subfields to edit them, using the spin buttons or your keyboard's up and down arrows.

End date -- another datepicker, which indicates the date the event ends. Most events start and end on the same date, so these dates will be the same. But if you have an event that spans multiple days, set the end date here. Note when editing the start date, the end date is also changed to match it. If you enter an end date which is earlier than the start date, the end date will be adjusted forward to match the start date.

The next two rows are specific to recurring, or repeating events.

Recurring -- tick this checkbox if the event repeats. To the right of this checkbox is a dropdown which allows you to specify the frequency of the repeating event. When a recurring event completes, the start (and end) dates are updated according to the frequency option selected:

Repeat until -- another datepicker, which indicates the date the event stops repeating, and is removed from the system. When an event completes and the new start/end dates are calculated, if new start date > repeat until date, event removed. Or, you can tick the Forever checkbox. I'll let you figure that one out yourself.

Alert -- select the number of days prior to the start date to start alerting for this event. For example, if an event is due to start in 3 days, and you had set this value to, say, 5 days, then this event is classed as Upcoming, and will appear now in alerts and in the "Full" or "Calendar events (today and upcoming)" statusbar/toolbar tooltips (enabled in Options dialog).
So here is the definition of a word you may see elsewhere in this program:

An "alertable" event is an event due today, or classed as Upcoming.

An alert value of 0 means only alert on the day the event is due.

Now you are ready to enter your event. If you are just entering one event and don't care to see it entered in the Events table, you can click Add/OK button, which adds the event and dismisses the dialog. If you are going to enter another event, or just want to see it in the table, click the Add button to the left of the table.

Editing events in the Events table:

Notes:

  1. When you enter this dialog, any existing events are displayed in the Events table.
  2. An event file calEvents.txt is created in the SimpleTimerClocks folder within your Firefox profile folder. A backup file calEvents-bkup.txt is also created.
  3. An "alertable" event is an event due today, or classed as Upcoming (see Alert field above).
  4. Alerts are issued when there are "alertable" events to show . Alerts occur at browser startup, and every n hours during your browser session (n is set in in Options dialog).
  5. Alerts are issued through slider popup only. Unlike Notifications, there is no dialog alert, and audio alert cannot be selected.
  6. "Alertable" events are shown in the "Full" or "Calendar events (today and upcoming)" statusbar/toolbar tooltips (enabled in Options dialog).
  7. You can change the dimensions of the dialog by dragging its edges. You can also change the width of the tree columns by dragging the little seperators between the column headings. In the upper-right position of the column headings is a small image, which is a column picker. Click on it to display a drop-down list of the tree columns. Use this to hide/show individual tree columns. All of this is "remembered" the next time you open the dialog.
  8. For Windows users, the format of the date displayed in the datepickers is taken from "Short date format". This format can be changed, for example in Win XP, through "Regional and Language Options". However, do not try to use a month format of MMMM (text month) datepicker will not like that!
Browser Timing

Browser timing is turned off by default, so this item is disabled until you have enabled browser timing (see Options->Browser Timing)
. Clicking this menu item will display a submenu of activities:

Project Timing

This displays the Projects dialog, lets look...

Projects

When you open this dialog,  a table of any existing projects is displayed. You can add, delete or edit (description) your projects, as well as start or switch project timing. Only one project is timed at any one time.
If a project timing is in progress when the dialog is opened, the timing is paused until you close the dialog.
This dialog is also displayed via middle-click on your statusbar/toolbar display (while a project timing is in progress).

The fields are:

Description -- a mandatory field which is displayed in the event log (assuming you have enabled event logging), and in the "Full" or "Projects" tooltip.

Click the Add button to the left of the table to add your new project.

Editing projects in the Projects table:

To begin timing a project, select it in the table (not necessary if there is only one project) and click Time/OK. This displays the daily project time for that project in the statusbar/toolbar, and starts counting up. If you have made changes (add, delete, edit) to the project table but do not want to start a timing now, just click OK.
Notes:
  1. When you enter this dialog, any existing projects are displayed in the Projects table.
  2. When hovering over your statusbar/toolbar display, you can see all projects listed if the appropriate tooltip option was selected. If a project timing is in progress, that project is listed first.
  3. Left-click the statusbar/toolbar display to pause the timing (text displays in red), another left-click resumes the timing (this can be disabled in Options to avoid accidental clicks), while middle-click displays this dialog again.
  4. While a timing is in progress, its status is saved every 1 minute, so in the event of a browser crash your project time will be accurate to within 1 minute.
  5. You can change the dimensions of the dialog by dragging its edges. You can also change the width of the tree columns by dragging the little seperators between the column headings.  All of this is "remembered" the next time you open the dialog.
  6. The daily time for all projects is reset to zero when the 24 hour period defined by you in  Options has expired. This can occur while your browser is open, or when you start up your browser. An entry will be written to the event log (assuming you have enabled event logging) for each of your projects, recording the daily time.
  7. There is an option to append a clock to your timing display.
  8. A "P:" (for project) is appended to the timing display, to distinguish it from Current Browser Session timing ("C:"),  Total Daily Browsing timing ("D:") or a regular count up.

Count Up

Starts a count up from zero in the statusbar/toolbar. Hours, minutes and seconds are displayed. If you left-click the display, the count is paused. Another left-click resumes the count. Middle-click stops the count and displays the alarm clock icon in the statusbar/toolbar. If you are using the Full tooltip (see Options) the completed time of the last count up is displayed.

Count Down...

This displays the Countdown Time Entry dialog, lets look...

Countdown dialog


As you can see, the upper half "Enter Countdown" is where you supply the countdown info, while the lower half is a table of existing countdown timers. You can set as many timers as you like.

Note the checkboxes for Background/Foreground. Running timer(s) in the background will free up your statusbar/toolbar display for other activity (project timing etc) while your countdown timers are in progress. You can still see the timers in your statusbar/toolbar tooltip if you have enabled the appropriate tooltip option.
There is also an option to display a clock next to the countdown timer.

The other fields are:

Description -- an optional field which is displayed when your countdown completes (assuming you have enabled a visual alert in the Options dialog), and in the "Full" tooltip (also enabled in Options dialog).

hrs, mins, and secs - enter your countdown time (less than 24 hours). Use the spin buttons or your keyboard's up/down arrows to set the values.

Recurring - if this checkbox is ticked, the countdown will continually restart immediately upon completion.

Now you are ready to enter your countdown timer. If you are just entering one timer and don't care to see it entered in the Countdown Timers table, you can click Add/OK button, which adds the timer and dismisses the dialog. If you are going to enter another timer, or just want to see it in the table, click the Add button to the left of the table.

Editing timers in the Countdown Timers table:

If you have a frequently used list of timers, you can save the list (shown in the Countdown Timers table) by clicking the Save List button. You can then load the list at a later time using the Load List button.

Clicking OK or Add/Ok starts the countdown in the statusbar/toolbar. The timer which will expire the soonest is displayed in the statusbar/toolbar. If you have set multiple timers, you can see the current time remaining for them if the appropriate tooltip option was selected (see Options below).

Notes:
  1. When you enter this dialog, any existing timers are displayed in the Countdown Timers table.
  2. If you have set multiple timers, you can see the current time remaining for them if the appropriate tooltip option was selected (see Options... below).
  3. Left-click the statusbar/toolbar display to pause the countdown, another left-click resumes the countdown (this can be disabled in Options), while middle-click stops the countdown. This only affects the timer that is displayed in the statusbar/toolbar. If you have other timers set, they are not affected.
  4. Incomplete timers are retained between browser sessions, and are restarted when you reopen your browser. It will seem as if the timer was running while your browser was closed. A notification is issued when you reopen, reporting on status of such timers.
  5. You can change the dimensions of the dialog by dragging its edges. You can also change the width of the tree columns by dragging the little seperators between the column headings.  All of this is "remembered" the next time you open the dialog.
  6. The alert you receive when the countdown is completed is set by you in Options.

Pause/Resume

Pauses or resumes a count up or countdown. Same as left-clicking the time in the statusbar/toolbar. Note that disabling the pause/resume function via left-click on statusbar/toolbar display (in Options) does not affect this menu item.   

Stop/Reset

Stops a count up, countdown or clock and displays the alarm clock icon in the statusbar/toolbar. Same as middle-clicking the time in the statusbar/toolbar.

Options...

Displays the Preferences dialog, where you have plenty of options to customize how Simple Timer + Clocks looks and operates.

The dialog has eight tabs, click links for more detail:


Event log...

Displays the Event log dialog, lets see...

Event log dialog

The event log contains data about your completed count ups, count downs, notifications, calendar events and daily browser and project times. You can change the dimensions of the dialog by dragging its edges. You can also change the width of the tree columns by dragging the little seperators between the column headings. In the upper-right position of the column headings is a small image, which is a column picker. Click on it to display a drop-down list of the tree columns. Use this to hide/show individual tree columns. All of this is "remembered" the next time you open the dialog. If you have set a non-zero value for"Delete log entries after n days" (see Options... above) , entries that meet this criteria are automatically deleted from your log file (this clean up processing occurs when you open the event log dialog). You can also clear the entire log by clicking  the "Clear log" button.
A Status value of "Expired" indicates that this one-time notification or count down "completed" while your browser was closed.
Values of "N/A" means this column is not applicable to this event type.

Visit Home Page

Links to this webpage.

Documentation

Displays a submenu with links to documentation on this webpage.

About

The About menu item has two tabs, a Credits tab and a Changelog tab (where you can quickly see the changes made to the latest version).

Contact me at grbradt@gmail.com with any comments

The simpletimerclocks project can be contacted through the mailing list or the member list.
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