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sonorem Manual page

Section: User Commands (1)


sonorem - Sound recording GUI tool.  


sonorem [OPTION]...



-V --version
                  Prints version.

-h --help
                  Prints this message.

-v --verbose
                  Logs more information.

-a --auto
                  Start recording automatically when launched.

-t --top
                  Each two seconds raises window to the top, so that it
                  keeps the input focus.

-H --hours HOURS
                  Max duration for one recorded sound file (default: '1').

-M --minutes MINUTES
                  Max duration for one recorded sound file (default: '0').
                  Value is added to that of --hours.

-m --max-file-size FILESIZE
                  Maximum file size (default: '1GB').
                  Number can be followed by B, KB, MB, GB (no spaces inbetween).
                  Examples: '200MB', '1GB', '50000KB'.

-f --min-free-space MINSIZE
                  Minimum free space needed to record (default: 2GB).
                  Must be at least as big as --max-file-size.
                  Number can be followed by B, KB, MB, GB (no spaces inbetween).

-r --rec-path DIRPATH
                  Recording directory path (default: '/home/$USER/Downloads').
                  Example: '/home/pi/sonorem'.

-s --sound-format FMTEXT
                  The recording`s sound format defined with its file extension.
                  The default is 'ogg'.
                  The sound format must be supported by the 'rec' program.
                  Examples: 'wav', 'aiff'.

--pre STRING
                  String to prepend to name of generated recordings (default is nothing).
                  The string can only contain letters (A-Za-z), numbers (0-9), dashes (-).
                  The un-prepended format of a file is for example: '20200724-085905.ogg'.

-x --exclude-mount NAME
                  Exclude mount name. Repeat this option to exclude more than one name.
                  Example: 'SETTINGS'.

-p --speech-app CMD
                  Speech app to use (default: 'espeak').
                  Examples: 'spd-say', '"espeak -v en-uk"'.

-l --log-dir DIRPATH
                  Directory path where log files should be stored.
                  If the directory doesn't exist, it is created. If not defined, no log file is created.
                  Example: '/home/pi/logs'.

                  Turn on wifi. Has precedence over --wifi-off.

                  Shutdown wifi, unless a file named 'sonorem.wifi' is found
                  on a mounted stick when the program is started (see below) or --wifi-on is set.

                  Turn on bluetooth. Has precedence over --bluetooth-off.

                  Shutdown bluetooth, unless a file named 'sonorem.bluetooth' is found
                  on a mounted stick when the program is started (see below) or --bluetooth-on is set.



Simple (GUI) tool to record sound without interruption (24/7) with 'sox'. Recording switches to a new file after a fixed amount of time (--hours and --minutes options) or if the file exceeds a certain size (--max-file-size option). The finished recordings are then moved to automatically mounted usb sticks if space is available. The sticks can then be unmounted (see key '3' command below), removed, emptied, and then reinserted without having to access the device directly or via ssh or RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol).

While it can be used on a PC, this program was created to be run on a Raspberry Pi device (or similar), possibly without a display.

The program can be controlled by a keyboard (for example a number pad), a virtual bluetooth keyboard on another computer (stmm-input-btkb) or a joystick, and gives status feedback with 'espeak' (through inserted earphones).

Key commands:
   '1' or 'BTN_A': start recording (using sox)
   '2' or 'BTN_B': stop recording
   '3' or 'BTN_X': unmount non busy usb sticks with freshly stored recordings
   '4' or 'BTN_Y': tell a piece of the current status (using espeak)

The current status is told incrementally (key '4'). If you press the status key (or button) within 5 seconds from the previous press, you get the next piece of information. Among these information pieces are the mounts used to store recordings. Since the operating system gives them generic names such as '64 GB Volume', which can be ambiguous, you can name the usb sticks by creating a file 'sonorem.name' in their base directory. The file must contain exactly one line with your assigned name. The name cannot be too long or contain spaces or weird characters. Valid name example: 'asleep-2'.

The automatically mounted usb sticks can be excluded as a target for storing recordings; just create an empty file in their base directory named 'sonorem.excl'. Read-only devices can be excluded with option --exclude-mount.

The finished recordings are usually stored on the base directory of the mounted usb sticks. You can change this behavior by creating a file 'sonorem.folder' in their base directory containing the name of a direct sub-folder to which recordings should be moved to, instead.

Suggestion: create an "application autostart" entry with the command set to 'sonorem --auto', so that the program will restart recording automatically in case of a reboot caused by a power outage (Raspberry Pi doesn't require to login). If your desktop environment, like Gnome, doesn't let you add options, create a 'sonorem-auto.desktop' file in your Pi's '~/.config/autostart/' directory, with the following contents:

    [Desktop Entry]
    Comment=Autostart sonorem and recording
    Exec=sonorem --auto --top
Of course you can add other options, if you wish (like --top in this example).

You might want to temporarily disable the --auto option when sonorem is auto-started (see suggestion above). To do so, insert a usb stick with a file named 'sonorem.stop' in its base directory, before the device is turned on (booted). The recording can also be stopped if the usb stick is inserted after boot.

After the recording is stopped, give sonorem some time to move the files to the usb sticks (if any) before turning off the device. If recordings couldn't be moved to the connected usb sticks, they will be picked up (as long as the --pre and --rec-path options remain the same) the next time sonorem starts, and copying will be retried.

If you want to enable wifi or bluetooth and inhibit the --wifi-off or --bluetooth-off options, when sonorem is started, make sure an inserted usb stick (even an excluded one) has a file named 'sonorem.wifi' or 'sonorem.bluetooth', respectively, in its base directory. Example: if your usb stick is mounted to '/media/23CF-76C4' just execute the command 'touch /media/23CF-76C4/sonorem.wifi' (use sudo if necessary).

Note 1: on the Raspberry Pi OS and on Debian, rfkill (the program that software-enables and -disables wifi and bluetooth, also known as airplane mode) can be run by any user (no need for sudo). Other distributions, like Manjaro, provide a rfkill group to which you can add your user. You can do it from your desktop environment's settings or from the command line with
    $ sudo usermod -a -G rfkill pi
where pi is the user name (use 'cat /etc/group | grep rfkill' to find out whether there is such a group, if there isn't, see next).
On other distributions still, like Ubuntu, you might have to add a udev rule with a command like
    $ sudo echo "KERNEL==\"rfkill\", MODE=\"0666\"" | sudo tee /etc/udev/rules.d/89-my-rfkill.rules
which creates a file with a priority (here 89) higher than that of file '/usr/lib/udev/50-udev-default.rules' (50), which usually contains the default rfkill udev rule. For the rule to take effect you have to restart the device.

Note 2: Setting --bluetooth-on only software-enables bluetooth, it doesn't start the bluetooth service. To start it you can use your desktop environment or a program such as 'bluetoother' or by running command
    $ sudo systemctl --now enable bluetooth
You also want to make sure that connecting devices are already paired when sonorem is used without a display, to avoid the loss of focus (see warning below).

Warning: the window created by this program must retain focus while running, otherwise the key and joystick commands can't work. On the Raspberry Pi OS (Raspbian), by default, LXDE's file manager (PCManFM) pops up a widget each time a usb stick is inserted in the device. To avoid this, access the device, for example from a PC via RDP (using remmina), open an instance of the file manager, go to menu item 'Edit', click on 'Preferences' and choose the 'Volume Management' tab, where you have to deactivate the option 'Show available options for removable media when they are inserted'. This is needed even if the --top option is passed to sonorem. Luckily, most other desktop environments don't have a similar behavior. If they do, try to find the solutions to avoid the loss of focus.

Note 3: the Raspberry Pi, to date, doesn't include a hardware clock. The time is set to the last use, until the time can be retrieved from the network with NTP. When sonorem is auto-started (see suggestion), the time might not yet be accurate. This means that the created log file (--log-dir option), which contains the current date and time, might have an unexpected name.

Note 4: this program expects the 'rec' (sox) and 'espeak' commands to be present on your device in order to work. Make sure the corresponding packages are installed.



Written by Stefano Marsili <efanomars@gmx.ch>.



Copyright © 2020 Stefano Marsili.

This program is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.




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