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There’s still more! The Macro Setup menu provides a viewing tool that lets you see all commands associated with a particular macro, complete with device changes and delays. Unfortunately you can’t do anything but look while on this screen – it would have been nice to test the macro (as during recording) or even press the individual buttons. Another command, [COPY], furnishes a way to copy an already recorded macro from one place to another. Thinking up specialized macro functions brought to mind one item missing from the Director that is nonetheless available on the lower-priced Producer series – timers. Timers are used to run macros unattended at particular times of day, say to record a TV program or shut your system down at a particular time. There’s actually no date or clock anywhere to be seen on the Director, so it seems this function has been completely omitted.
Moving things around.
The Director includes a "Key Mover" (better described as "Key Copier") function that, while not as sophisticated as some LCD remotes, still allows for some additional functionality without resorting to manual learning. If you want to copy a key from the Amplifier to DVD player, this is how it would be done. Copied keys can reside on any button, including blank ones, though the resulting button image will always be rectangular even if the original button was a different shape. However, copied keys can take on a completely different name from their parent, though the parent can never be deleted while a copy exists. Also, you are always limited to the Director’s default button layout, which is a 3 by 6 grid, so user interface customization is consequently rather limited.
Speaking of names...
After you’ve added a learned button or decided that you simply don’t like the default labels, the Director provides complete re-labeling capabilities. A full range of letters and symbols are available: there are numbers, upper and lowercase letters, transport and menu symbols, as well as a wide range of other device icons including lighting, thumbs up/down, sound and more. All told there are 132 different characters, with automatic "shift" or "caps lock" modes on the alphanumeric keypad. All letters are proportionately spaced, but can display in only one font size – small. A button can have one line of text with between 4 and 11 characters, depending on what letters you enter. I found that 5 to 7 characters was average. Be warned through – if you change the default label of a preprogrammed button, such as keypad or transport controls, you’ll lose the special button shape and/or larger font size which cannot be restored without deleting the device, even if you change the label back to the way it was.
Wait – did I say special button shapes? Yes! Although all blank user-configurable buttons come in a plain rectangular box – which can’t be changed – many of the default buttons feature unique shapes for transport, menu and keypad sections, or are bordered by a separate outline that adds pizzazz to otherwise mundane screens. Buttons are all the same basic size and fit into the same grid. Another nice feature, the Director will not display buttons that don’t have a function assigned – this keeps the screen free of unusable keys, but makes adding new ones easy since they’re always there ready to go.