Are you patching on location in an exotic place, setting up a show, or just connecting objects in the corner of your local cafe? Is Max a part of your studio or office?
We’re excited to launch a new feature of Cycling74.com called Max Workspaces. We know that Max is used all over the world to do a big variety of things. We are hoping this new section of the website will offer a glimpse into the various studios, offices, theaters, coffeeshops, and miscellaneous spaces that the Max community touches. We also think it’s really fun to share photos of where you are, and offer peeks of work in progress. Visit the Max Workspaces page to check out other people’s photos and upload one of your own.
Our friend and co-worker, Rob Ramirez, shared some recent work with us and provided details on how he used Max. The best part is that you don’t have to be a fan of Star Trek… not that I’ve ever met someone like that.
The show was built entirely with Max from start to finish. We began by collecting clips of Shatner as Kirk from the three seasons of Star Trek, and building a database using Max’s sqlite implementation. From this, we created a dictionary of possible words to hand off to our writer. However we quickly realized that any word was possible to create by combining syllables from other words (eg interchangeable created from intercraft + change + considerable). After receiving the completed text, I created a sequencing patch that took the script as input and gave me all the possible variations for each of the words in the text. I could then adjust the starting and ending positions, and overlap between words to fine-tune the rhythm and tone of his speech. – Rob
Cycling ’74 is a completely distributed company theoretically located in San Francisco. It’s technically not located in San Francisco any more due to the fact that it no longer has an office. Its corporate records are stored in my house in Santa Cruz and we pay city business license tax there as well. The only actual office where people go to work every day outside of their places of residence is in Berlin. We (indirectly) rent a small space for three people.
So people are always asking us, how does it work out if everyone works from home?
I know this sounds like some sort of internet meme, but it’s literally true: one of the major hazards of working from home is…cats.
Earlier this week, the high-powered Cycling ’74 executive team was having its high-powered weekly conference call when one member of the team, who wishes to remain anonymous, suddenly interrupted me (I tend to talk way too much) and said, “Uh, my cat has just exploded all over me and I need to go…now.”
So, naturally, because of our cat-friendly corporate policies, we suspended the meeting until our co-worker could take a shower and remove the charming scent of feline spray.
The meeting ended without further incident an hour later. I also need to point out that I spent the entire time in bed, since I woke up right when the meeting was supposed to start. After the meeting concluded, I remained in bed to write up the action items. I had almost finished my summary when I detected telltale cat scratching a few inches away from me. Further unpleasant investigation revealed that yes, due to the dog blocking the path to the litter box, my cat had just peed all over the bed.
I subsequently sent an e-mail to the rest of the meeting participants describing the incident; subject line: “universal resonance.” It turned out that two other people at the meeting were cleaning up after their cats.
Finally, Darwin responded that he had just banished his cat to the outdoors. “I’ve seen the future.”
By way of the very talented Daito Manabe it’s come to our attention that Mira has been spotted in the wild. It has made its way across the Pacific and into a nonspeaking role in a teaser video released to promote a single by the Japanese pop supergroup Perfume.
Cycling ’74 did not pay for this product placement, but we are thrilled to be associated in some small way with this production. As you can see over Daito’s shoulder, Mira was used to control lighting on the set during rehearsal and filming.
The final music video, available here does not feature Mira, but it does have some touchscreen-inspired decor that I suppose reflects back on whatever Mira’s imagined role in the production might have been. Oh, and there’s also an extremely catchy song, if we are to judge from the 1.6 million views as of this writing.
Whew! Boy am I not exhausted from not attending CES. Via my patented investigative technique of reading other news sources I am pleased to bring you this secondhand report of Things You Just Might Want to Consider Connecting to Max, If You’re So Inclined in that Direction. Up first. Smart lighting.
So here’s the problem. You’re sitting on the floor, the way you normally do, and you have a cat on your lap and the cat just won’t get up. Normally this isn’t a problem, but the sun has gone down and you can’t see anything. Wouldn’t it be great to control the lighting in your room from your iPhone? For that cat’s sake. That’s worth $200, right? These are the difficult life decisions the Phillip’s Hue system asks of me.
Using Phillip’s excellent REST API and some clever hacking, Cycling’s David Zicarelli successfully linked Max to the Philips Hue system with disco-licious results. The system isn’t designed for low latency performance, so don’t expect beat-synced ramping of hues, but using Max to control lighting opens new and innovative ways to annoy the people you live with.
Belkin takes aim at Phillips by expanding their WeMo home automation system to include smart LED light bulbs. While the WeMo light bulbs are cheaper than Hue, they don’t offer changeable colors. Belkin’s LED light bulbs join WeMo’s expanding line of home automation products that include switch and motion sensors.
Also announced for the WeMo platform is the WeMo Maker. This device allows you to take readings from 5 volt analog sensors and switch up to 36 volts DC. Check out the WeMo local SDK for iOS and Android for developer information.
Belkin’s WeMo system has its own set of modules at, ITFFF, a popular service that allows you to create connections between dozens of services like Twitter, Instagram and your phone with a simple IF (this) THEN (that) statement. This allows you to use a WeMo sensor to phone you up if it detects motion in your house, or use a light switch to publish a blog post.
Sure, sending tweets when your dog wakes up is all jetpacky and nineteensixtyfourworldsfairy, but when is somebody going to step up to accommodate people who need to control their crock pot from Starbucks? It has been 25 years since the first internet toaster was demonstrated, surely CES 2014 will show some progress on this front?
Well put away the pitchfork and get out your actual fork because the future is now with the Belkin CrockPot WeMo Slow Cooker.
Belkin this, Belkin that. You’d think Belkin invented smart things, but put down that burrito because I’m going to tell you something that will shatter your brain’s mind. Smart Things invented Smart things. Smart Things is an open platform, meaning multiple companies like Honeywell, GE and Aeon Labs make Smart Things-compatible products. The product line up for Smart Things is a bit more extensive than Belkin. There are options for moisture sensors, pressure sensors, keychain ‘presence’ fobs and more.
Smart Things, WeMo and Hue communicate wirelessly to a dedicated hub that you connect to your home network. That’s why ‘starter packs’ of any of these products fall into the $200 range. Of course, they’re not compatible with each other, meaning you need a separate hub for each system. You can cross integrate, however, and the easiest way to accomplish that is via IFTTT. The allows you to, for example, use a SmartThings motion sensor to turn on a WeMo switch.
I have no idea how my son found out about the Sphero robotic ball. In the days leading up to Christmas, we were besieged by unusually persistent requests. It went something like this, “Can I have a Sphero robotic ball?” My wife’s position had the solidity of granite. “Have you seen this Sphero ball thing? It’s a another stupid remote control toy right? AND you need an iPhone, right? Dumb right? He’s not getting one. Right?” Remembering last year’s remote controlled spider my well-intentioned parents provided last year, I grunted agreement and didn’t research any further. Spousal dissent trumps son’s disappointment (and teaches a valuable lesson about life).
Our cheapness turned to triumph as Orbotix (Orbotix!) announced the Sphero 2B just two weeks after Christmas. The 2B is twice as fast as the original robotic ball! And cheaper too! And won’t be available for nine months. I bet all those suckers who bought the original Sphero are drowning in pools of early-adopter tears.
As my son and I reviewed the specifications for the 2B, it seemed to fit the description my wife supplied: a remote control vehicle that uses an iPhone for a remote. Except for… an SDK. You can develop for it!
Worse, I realized the original Sphero robotic ball was much more than a remote controlled vehicle. It has an accelerometer, compass, and gyroscope. You can use it as a controller. It can provide haptic feedback. Crap. Now I want a Sphero.
There was a time when one driver was enough. A simpler time. A time when frequencies under 100Hz were just as welcome as a fixed DC offset. Sure, “Time in a Bottle” sounded just fine on an AM radio, but this is 2014 and we can’t be expected to fully appreciate Dad Metal without shoving eight drivers into our skulls.
The SE846 uses a three way crossover, with two drivers dedicated to the low end. The SE846′s secret sauce is an physical maze of stainless steel plates that act as a “ground breaking low pass filter for a true subwoofer experience”. This channel adds about four inches of distance between the driver and the output canal.
If you’re ready to pay $1000, and enjoy using words like “soundstage”, “shimmer” and “space” to your friends, be sure to get a pair of these earphones. They won’t fully obliterate the shame and embarrassment of your teenage years, but they’ll help. Bonus: you can’t hear your kids crying.
Anything we missed? What was your favorite product announcement at CES?