Forums > MaxMSP

Help help. I don't know how to [insert something here]

January 24, 2007 | 2:30 am

This comes up now and then, and it’s probably a good time to
talk about it for the most recent wave of newbies in our
midst. Here are some basic problem solving skills it might
be useful to acquire:

1. If you have something you want to do, don’t automatically
assume that there is a single Max external that will accomplish
your specific goal. While that may be true, it is more likely
that the solution you seek will involve some lower-level funtionality.
The fact that you don’t automatically know what
single object or objects you need is a result of your being
ignorant – lots and lots of more experienced users don’t auto-
matically know what to look for, either.

Even more users with quite a lot of experience discover along
the way that there was another way to do something all along.
The trick is learning how to look intelligently. While
wallpapering the Max list the second you have a question at all
may seem expedient for the moment, many users have found that
the search for a solution itself will direct them to riches
they didn’t know about.

2. How might you go about hunting around for things more
intelligently? One way which is, in my experience, not
intuitively obvious to new users involves doing searches
in PDF documents. As people have said and will say again,
the help file does NOT contain everything you need to know;
merely those things most commonly used. PDf searching is quick
and may be PARTICULARLY useful to people for whom English is
not a first language. Best of all, you can put all your PDFs
in a single folder and direct Acrobat to search in the entire
folder (i.e. everywhere). New Jitter users routinely seem to
completely miss all kinds of things covered in detail in the Jitter
Tutorial, probably because they assume that the online html is
all they’ll ever need. Ain’t so. So try a few keywords for your search.

3. Doing exactly the same search in the Max archives will
quite likely also be very very useful, that those searches
may also bring up some code examples. They will also save
you one iteration on the Max list – the one where someone
answers your question by telling you it’s already in the
archives.

4. Often, new users [who are already prone to thinking that
there is a simple/secret Max object that does some incredibly
complex thing] won’t start thinking of their problem in smaller
units. A request of the form, "Hi! I want to use my computer
keyboard to randomly play frames in a movie and scrub stuff from
a buffer. How do I do that?" is actually three requests rolled
into one:

a. What do I do to get data from my keyboard? Can I do that?
b. How do I play individual frames in a movie?
c. How can I scrub audio stored in a buffer?

Whenever possible, at least make some attempt to break down
your problem. You may find that you either know something
about how to do bits and pieces of it, and it’s more likely
that posting a query that implies you’ve done already invested
a little though equity by trying to break your problem down
will get you more answers and better ones.

5. Once you get some of the answers you seek [either a piece
of code or advice on where to look for your answer], there’s
the question of joining things together so that they work. Here
is the point where almost everyone agrees that spending some
time in the tutorials REALLY matters. Almost every single
Max problem breaks down into three bits:

a. The Max code that does the work you want in the end will
expect some kind of message that tells it what to do. You
need to know what that message IS, or you’ll be staring
at the patch like a cow at a passing train.

b. At some point, there’s something someplace in your
patch that is spitting out or generating control data.
A video camera, a MIDI keyboard, your computer keyboard,
a little Max applet that calculates a Navier-Stokes
equation, whatever. You need to understand what form that
output takes. Is it a stream of numbers? Is is a bunch of
lists? Is it data from a serial port? Does it come from a
bunch of places? One of the things that you need to know
has to do with what those messages are, and how Max does
what it does. Read the Overview chapter in the Fundamentals
manual. Read "How MSP Works" and the Audio I/O chapter in
the MSP tutorial. Ditto the "What is a matrix?" and opening
tutorials in Jitter. If you don’t know that stuff, you’ll be
making all kinds of mistakes all the time you can avoid
with a little effort.

c. Finally, the question for you and every other schlub in
the Max world is: "How to I take the messages from the
start end of the chain [camera/keyboard] I am getting
and put them in a form that the Max objects at the end of
my patch chain will understand?" Not only is that THE THING
THAT EVERYONE DOES ALL THE TIME, what you wind up with as
a result will, in time, become part of another chain of
Max things that will have you asking questions a., b., and
c., all over again.

And how do you know that stuff? Max is about passing data
here and there, in the form of messages or matrices. Those
reading assignments in b. above? That’s where the stuff is
talked about. The poor drudge who actually learns how to
handle and route messages, figure out how to read a manual
pages, and those dreary things is the person who’s playing
hare to your tortoise. As Eno’s Oblique Strategies say,
"Always first steps."

If you engage in the input/transformation/output stuff
making Max patches for long enough, you’ll know for yourself
what I’m about to tell you: There is almost ALWAYS more than
one way to do anything in Max, and it’s not necessarily the
case that the way someone you know does it is the only right
way to do things. One sure sign of a beginner is that they’ll
ask how something is done in a way that implies that there’s
only one solution. Asking someone else how they would do a
task you’ve thought through enough to verbalize clearly is
a near sure way to discover all kinds of interesting approaches
that other people have. Collecting huge folders of possible
solutions to all kinds of problems won’t make you a better Max
programmer. Finding the ones that make sense to *you*, and
doing so in the midst of solving a problem [which reinforces
your learning] will.

Finally, there are as many different questions and ways of
questioning as there are questioners. Having said that, I
honestly think it’s safe to say that – in general – you’ll
have the best luck doing some amount of your own searching
about before posting questions, and you’ll also find that the
quality of the solutions you get from others will generally
be in direct proportion to the impression that you’ve already
done some of the work rather than that you’re trying to get
someone to do your work for you. Likewise, demonstrating your
commitment to a wider community by being polite enough to
ask good questions is also reinforced by sharing the
solutions your receive, or posting the ones you arrive
at. They may, in turn, lead to other refinements from
other readers, thus rewarding you again.

I meet people all the time who labor under the misapprehension
that Max is composed of a series of secret tricks that only
the cognoscenti know. The regularity of it makes me sad. If
there *is* a Max secret, it is probably that quite a few of
the people who appear to be really bright have discovered in
the course of making mistakes and poking around while solving
their own problems what the people who asked them for their
answers won’t ever figure out. The journey is as important
as you believe the destination to be.

Good luck, and happy hunting. Now that I’ve typed a bunch
of things I say in various ways in various places, I’ll be
able to refer to it as this post.


January 24, 2007 | 7:25 am

> …The fact that you don’t automatically know what
> single object or objects you need is a result of your being
> ignorant – lots and lots of more experienced user don’t auto-
> matically know what to look for, either. And even more users
> with quite a lot of experience discover along the way that
> there was another way to do something all along. The trick is
> learning how to look intelligently.

As the context implies, that should read " is NOT a result of your
being ignorant" – because it isn’t.

And isn’t it great to live in a country where you don’t
have to be able to spell the word "functionality" to
make use of functionality? Truly, this is a golden age.


January 24, 2007 | 7:43 am

Wow. Busy night.

Someone on the left coast has written to ask me if
I haven’t committed any of the errors I describe.
The answer is that I have committed every single one,
which is how I know about ‘em and how they interconnect.
You don’t even want to know how many years went by
before I realized that 60% of the Max mistakes I
made were because I thought I was too bloody clever
to read the bit about what a list was. My ears
still burn in shame just typing this.

:-)

The same soul has also taken me to task for not
trumpeting the value of the examples folder installed
with Max/MSP/Jitter more heavily in my original
comments, and more regularly in general. I am,
apparently remiss for not taking the opportunity
of bringing the many examples in the Max folder up
in the broader context of looking intelligently for
possible solutions. My sense is that they feel strongly
that said examples really DO constitute more of a guide
to how things should be done than I do, but I do return
to them with some regularity [for Jitter quite often,
in my case].

My general approach with beginning Max users has been
that, apart from situations in which someone is trying
to do something that reflects a lack of understanding
of the CPU resources required for a task [as in, "Hey. I
was wondering how I can run 42 video cameras simultaneously
on my 1.0 MHz. powerbook...."), the "This is the best way to do this" description that is really about optimization
is really a matter best taken up after one has a patch
running, and = apart from some basic patch hygeine ["Don't
use 4 metro objects in your patch if you can use a single
one and subdivide it" being one of those], saving CPU
cycles is more an intermediate question.

Finally, my colleagues Joshua or Jeremy have also
periodically made reference to this document when
matters of "How to Ask Questions" arise. Here’s the
helpful link again, although it’s aimed at a slightly
different audience.

http://www.catb.org/~esr/faqs/smart-questions.html


January 26, 2007 | 2:04 am

>
> I meet people all the time who labor under the misapprehension
> that Max is composed of a series of secret tricks that only
> the cognoscenti know.

and why do you want to destroy the dreams of
those who want to continue to think this is
the truth about maxing?

-110 (illuminated cognoscent)


January 26, 2007 | 3:58 am

I am rather impressed by the multitude of newbie posts lately. I really don’t understand how people look past the help files. Its one thing to not know what object you need to accomplish a task, but to ask if an object does something, well the help files and pdf are pretty explicit. I didn’t even start posting till last year after 4 years of maxing solo, no lessons, nothing but the tutorials, help files and examples. I really think thats the way to go, and from alot of the people that Ive talked too who have taken workshops, they said the same thing. Though in depth classes would be pretty great. I usually try to only ask the forum if its something that I cant figure out after an hour or so of digging, and even then usually only if its something I think can help other people, or that other people would know right off the bat. So many helpful people in this community.

Good luck all!


January 26, 2007 | 7:29 am

Quote: Axiom-Crux wrote on Thu, 25 January 2007 20:58
—————————————————-
> Its one thing to not know what object you need to accomplish a task….

That’s why I started this post with the "Don’t assume
a single object" and included the suggestion that
breaking down a problem into smaller units will often
suggest a way forward. While it’s not easy to know
all N-hundred standard objects, a really good grasp
of how Max handles messages and that whole

input – – output

thing nearly always helps.

The problem is that if it *seems* easier to just
fire off questions at the time, one misses all
kinds of things.

No hay camino. Se hace el camino al andar.


January 26, 2007 | 1:57 pm

In my opinion, having basic experience with programming (structuring, debugging, that sort of thing) solves half of the questions.

You can gain this experience, like any profession, by taking a course in programming. If you really don’t like programming, you’re going to get stuck in max at some point anyway. In that case you’re far better off if you ask a friend that possesses some geekness to help you.

Mattijs


January 26, 2007 | 2:04 pm

Excellent post/thread, Gregory!


January 26, 2007 | 4:54 pm

I agree fully with this post although I have certainly asked a stupid
question or two – and answered some. I’ve been using Max since about 1990.
When I get composer’s block – or bored, I go to the reference manual(s) and
scan the titles on the pages where I see the name of the object and a very
brief description of what it does. Then I skip to the see also at the
bottom to get to know its family. Takes me 15-20 minutes to go completely
through each of the Max and MSP manuals. It refreshes my memory and usually
saves me from writing an object that already exists. Frequent random visits
to the tutorial and help folds also pays off. I also download a lot of the
patches that are posted here. I always learn something and often find a new
path in work I am already doing. Last Monday, I reread the Max Fundamentals
doc and was remind of "tips" on the Extras menu. Got back a few time saving
techniques that I had forgotten.

There was another post about programming that I agree with. In the days at
Oberlin when there were "analog" and "digital" students and never the twain,
the mere mention of programming got you in trouble with the former. I sued
to have a sign on my door that said something like "Never teach a composer
to program. It forces them to organize thought, proof read, edit, plan
ahead …" and some other qualities I’ve forgotten. I am reminded that
Stavinsky started each day of composition by writing species counterpoint.

Cheers
Gary Lee Nelson
Oberlin College
http://www.timara.oberlin.edu/GaryLeeNelson

On 1/25/07 10:59 PM, "Nicholas C. Raftis III"
wrote:

>
> I am rather impressed by the multitude of newbie posts lately. I really don’t
> understand how people look past the help files. Its one thing to not know
> what object you need to accomplish a task, but to ask if an object does
> something, well the help files and pdf are pretty explicit. I didn’t even
> start posting till last year after 4 years of maxing solo, no lessons, nothing
> but the tutorials, help files and examples. I really think thats the way to
> go, and from alot of the people that Ive talked too who have taken workshops,
> they said the same thing. Though in depth classes would be pretty great. I
> usually try to only ask the forum if its something that I cant figure out
> after an hour or so of digging, and even then usually only if its something I
> think can help other people, or that other people would know right off the
> bat. So many helpful people in this community.
>
> Good luck all!
> –
> -=ili!ili=- http://www.Axiom-Crux.net -=ili!ili=-


January 26, 2007 | 6:22 pm

Read the Overview chapter in the Fundamentals
> manual. Read "How MSP Works" and the Audio I/O chapter in
> the MSP tutorial. Ditto the "What is a matrix?" and opening
> tutorials in Jitter. If you don’t know that stuff, you’ll be
> making all kinds of mistakes all the time you can avoid
> with a little effort.

Pardon my moment of cynicism. I’ve been thinking I should bundle up some of the tastier bits from the manuals and tutorials and publish them as "Max/MSP/Jitter: The Missing Manual". I’m sure I’d sell more than a few. A bonus edition could include the examples patches on CD-ROM.

Might be something for Cycling to consider…

mz


January 26, 2007 | 6:53 pm

task and goal are two different things.


January 26, 2007 | 7:40 pm

> Pardon my moment of cynicism. I’ve been thinking I should bundle up some of the tastier bits from the manuals and tutorials and publish them as "Max/MSP/Jitter: The Missing Manual".

Sorry, Michael – you’re too generally sunny to
be a good cynic. A real cynic would point out
that it’d just be one more thing no one bothered
to read. :-)


January 26, 2007 | 11:49 pm

I made a tinyurl for this thread. I should also now finally be a "member" as I think this is the post to push me over the top from being a "junior member" …which somehow seems appropriate. :) I also like that the end of the tinyurl is fuk.

http://tinyurl.com/267fuk


January 27, 2007 | 12:07 am

On 26-Jan-2007, at 20:40, Gregory Taylor wrote:

> A real cynic would point out
> that it’d just be one more thing no one bothered
> to read.

Given that a cynic knows the price of everything and the value of
nothing, consider the MRP of "Max/MSP for Dummies".

————– http://www.bek.no/~pcastine/Litter/ ————-
Peter Castine +–> Litter Power & Litter Bundle for Jitter
Universal Binaries on the way
iCE: Sequencing, Recording &
Interface Building for |home | chez nous|
Max/MSP Extremely cool |bei uns | i nostri|
http://www.dspaudio.com/ http://www.castine.de


January 27, 2007 | 12:42 am

We should change the name of this thread to RTFM. Its starting to really surprise me how many posts Im seeing on a daily basis that could so easily be answered by even looking at the table of contents in the manual.. or even going through a couple tutorials. What can you do…

Still looking forward to the thread "How do I open max"


January 27, 2007 | 1:00 am

Nicholas C. Raftis III skrev:
> We should change the name of this thread to RTFM. Its starting to really surprise me how many posts Im seeing on a daily basis that could so easily be answered by even looking at the table of contents in the manual.. or even going through a couple tutorials. What can you do…
>
> Still looking forward to the thread "How do I open max"
>
Or "How do I post to the max-list?".
We need to start making youtube vids in response to max-list questions.
That’ll give the kids what they want.

Andreas.


January 27, 2007 | 4:07 am

Quote: Gregory Taylor wrote on Fri, 26 January 2007 12:40
—————————————————-
> > Pardon my moment of cynicism. I’ve been thinking I should bundle up some of the tastier bits from the manuals and tutorials and publish them as "Max/MSP/Jitter: The Missing Manual".
>
> Sorry, Michael – you’re too generally sunny to
> be a good cynic. A real cynic would point out
> that it’d just be one more thing no one bothered
> to read. :-)

this is just one more thing no one bothers to read.

-110
(who just "voted" five stars for this thread to make it more attarctive for newbies)


January 27, 2007 | 4:10 am

I used to think it was a case of RTFM until we
came to that point there the things that one
could search were no longer easily definable as
manuals. Admittedly, the result is that there are
more places where one *might* looks, and perhaps
a world in which Max users could search everything
at once would be better, etc.

But there’s something else beneath that huge
pile of possible information sources: the faint
whiff of apprehension at the thought that the
person who just fires off a question before
bothering to examine what they have before them
is implying that their time is somehow more
valuable than the time it’ll take you to answer
them and post a patch, as opposed to the
shocked newbie who only thought that asking
questions in public was a way to meet friends.
That’s a difficult space to navigate unless
both sides of the exchange are mindful.


January 27, 2007 | 7:37 am

Gregory Taylor wrote:
> whiff of apprehension at the thought that the
> person who just fires off a question before
> bothering to examine what they have before them
> is implying that their time is somehow more
> valuable than the time it’ll take you to answer

This is a great point, but the apprehension for me is usually that too
many easy answers and fast-food patches will perpetuate the cycle… and
from the other point of view, progress will be dependent on responses
from the community. I’d rather see everyone go through a short and
difficult time, then quickly accelerate once a solid core of knowledge
is achieved. It is far easier and quicker to achieve that core if you
do the basic work yourself.

I believe Max is a rich enough environment that one must build at least
a general idea of all its capabilities before it can be used
effectively. The only way to do this is to come into contact with most
of its parts and methods. The thesaurus is a great place to start this
process. So are the help files, as they are so conveniently
cross-referenced.

While "failing" to get good results quickly is frustrating, the effort
of learning (a) the documentation and (b) Max ultimately saves a lot of
time and anguish. The beginning of the learning curve is short and
steep, but the end is very long and quite gentle. If Max is being used
for a one-off project, I have no problem with a thick series of
beginning questions. It’s serial laziness that I find irritating.

If there are any serious new users out there still reading, I invite you
to try the mailing list(s) rather than the forum. The amount of
automatic exposure you gain to useful objects and concepts is incredibly
useful, and it takes a lot less effort than paging through every post on
the forum. As a bonus, you can easily build a personal library of the
advice and patches you find most useful.

You may not think you’re interested in every topic, but the frequency of
gems – in patches or information or wisdom – popping up deep in a thread
is very high in this community. Out of the thousands and thousands of
posts I have read, perhaps two hundred have contributed to my
understanding in a really major, Max-life-changing way. I guarantee you
I would not have found 95% of those because I would not have known to
look for them.


January 27, 2007 | 12:15 pm


January 27, 2007 | 3:33 pm

I’ve asked quite a few stupid questions lately, because I’ve been
forced to use the on-site archive-search.. in a word it’s poor. I
used to use my offline archive in mail (before it screwed up on me)
and it answered at least 4 times as many questions.

it appears not to return all the results you want,
you cant sort them by date/vs rank etc.
you cant search by thread.

so I’m not complaining. I’m just saying it may help keep others from
asking stupid questions

just a note.


January 27, 2007 | 4:58 pm

On 27/1/07 07:37, "dlurk" wrote:

>
> If there are any serious new users out there still reading, I invite you
> to try the mailing list(s) rather than the forum. The amount of
> automatic exposure you gain to useful objects and concepts is incredibly
> useful, and it takes a lot less effort than paging through every post on
> the forum. As a bonus, you can easily build a personal library of the
> advice and patches you find most useful.
>
> You may not think you’re interested in every topic, but the frequency of
> gems – in patches or information or wisdom – popping up deep in a thread
> is very high in this community. Out of the thousands and thousands of
> posts I have read, perhaps two hundred have contributed to my
> understanding in a really major, Max-life-changing way. I guarantee you
> I would not have found 95% of those because I would not have known to
> look for them.
>

Some good points here.
Being a crusty old traditionalist, I’ve generally stayed with the list
rather than use the new-fangled forum thingie, but I’m glad I did for
exactly the reasons outlined above.
I have no objections to web forums per se – they have their uses – but the
downside includes the effects we’re seeing here; it’s less easy to see
bandwidth as precious when you drop in to read a forum every now and then,
than you do when you’re faced with 100 emails to read first thing in the
morning.

And as a born anal-retentive, I have amassed a shit-load of old patches and
wisdom in my inbox over the years, most of which I will probably never look
at again, but at least I can (and do!) search through them before bothering
the list.

I know I’ve said this before, and been shot down for it, but I’m sure an
awful lot of the ‘excess’ traffic is coming from students with course-work
to hand in. Maybe I’m jaded because tech support for students is what I do
for a living, but I am resigned to the fact that students as a breed prefer
to ask questions first and think later – usually at the last possible moment
- and I don’t think this will ever change. I’ve learned to grit my teeth,
smile politely, and slip in the odd ‘RTFM’ under my breath whilst I answer
the question.

(Thought – would it be considered unethical to have all college PC’s run
some kind of subliminal suggestion patch in the background flashing
something like "Reading manuals is fun, and might even get you laid
tonight"…?)

So to some extent Cycling’s gain is our loss – it’s great that Max is being
taught in so many colleges now, but this also means that some students will
be learning Max because they have to, not because they want to, and this
brings a whole different approach to using the forum – for some it’s always
going to be more a matter of convenience than of community,
My 2p
Roger


January 29, 2007 | 1:06 pm

Nicholas C. Raftis III wrote:
> task and goal are two different things.

Zen or the art of Max patching, my forthcoming book….
(Offers of publishers are welcome, to have a reason to start writing… ;-)

Stefan


Stefan Tiedje————x——-
–_____———–|————–
–(_|_ —-|—–|—–()——-
– _|_)—-|—–()————–
———-()——–www.ccmix.com


January 29, 2007 | 5:19 pm

tip: use google’s site-search INSTEAD of the c74 forums search.
works so much better.

y’know, site:cycling74.com

i’ve given up on the built-in forum search, you can hear the data
gnomes grumbling as they inch off their little aeron gnome-chairs and
totter down the hallway of archives in search of the semi-appropriate
forum data.

-ev

On Jan 27, 2007, at 3:33 PM, matthew aidekman wrote:

> I’ve asked quite a few stupid questions lately, because I’ve been
> forced to use the on-site archive-search.. in a word it’s poor. I
> used to use my offline archive in mail (before it screwed up on me)
> and it answered at least 4 times as many questions.
>
> it appears not to return all the results you want,
> you cant sort them by date/vs rank etc.
> you cant search by thread.
>
> so I’m not complaining. I’m just saying it may help keep others
> from asking stupid questions
>
>
> just a note.



baz
February 28, 2007 | 8:58 pm

>
> Zen or the art of Max patching, my forthcoming book….
> (Offers of publishers are welcome, to have a reason to start writing… ;-)
>
> Stefan

Gregory may remember reading an ol’ book I was writing. Still am. Every time I teach Max/MSP in a different environment to a different crowd there are new challenges. As my book grows sideways to try and work for everyone you should be glad you haven’t started. The software that comes out and proves to be more intuitive and flexible than Max/MSP/Jitter will make for a truly Zen moment.


March 13, 2007 | 2:39 pm

In short, Gregory, if I may interpret your post, you’re effectively asking new users to spend more time "doing the work," rather than expecting to be spoon fed the info on the list by experienced and senior users. It’s a reasonable request, though I think you’ll find that some experienced users continue to reinforce the behavior that you aim to reduce here (hence, not all experienced users are on the same page; so long as they keep posting responses to questions that could have been addressed by reading a PDF, searching the list, reviewing a help file, etc, then new users will continue to exhibit this behavior and open their mouthes like baby birds expecting regergitated nourishment (info).

I am still a new user, and I have to admit, I don’t feel comfortable posting questions on the list sometimes, because someone inevitably gives me a virtual brow beating for not searching more before I asked the question. I’m essentially afraid to ask the questions, lest someone makes me feel like an idiot (which is an interesting response, given I am a 40 year adult, hustband and father of twins, with bachelor and master’s degrees, published, working in the IT industry for 18 + years, fairly savvy and sharp on many other areas besides MAX, etc).

The idea of doing more work and search more or doing more investigation to solve a problems appears to be a relative concept…how much much time did one spend? How many sources did one investigate? It can always be considered not enough, depending on the angle of perspective from someone else who has already done the work and knows the answer. Though when a new user has done no work, then that is obviously a problem, though still reinforced behavior.

I sometimes wonder if the range of user experience on this list is too broad. For those experienced users who want to continue reinforcing "lazy" or inadequate behavior of new users, perhaps a sub-group, "MAX/MSP for Dummies" would be appropriate. That way you get all the stupid and idiotic questions seggregated into one area and experienced users post in the super group without being annoyed by such "gnats" fying in their faces.

K-


March 13, 2007 | 2:52 pm

Maybe there could be an IRC channel for really basic questions – and
those experts who want to be available to help with such questions could
listen in on it…

Yours truly,
David

Krispen Hartung wrote:
> In short, Gregory, if I may interpret your post, you’re effectively
> asking new users to spend more time "doing the work," rather than
> expecting to be spoon fed the info on the list by experienced and
> senior users. It’s a reasonable request, though I think you’ll find
> that some experienced users continue to reinforce the behavior that
> you aim to reduce here (hence, not all experienced users are on the
> same page; so long as they keep posting responses to questions that
> could have been addressed by reading a PDF, searching the list,
> reviewing a help file, etc, then new users will continue to exhibit
> this behavior and open their mouthes like baby birds expecting
> regergitated nourishment (info).
>
> I am still a new user, and I have to admit, I don’t feel comfortable
> posting questions on the list sometimes, because someone inevitably
> gives me a virtual brow beating for not searching more before I asked
> the question. I’m essentially afraid to ask the questions, lest
> someone makes me feel like an idiot (which is an interesting
> response, given I am a 40 year adult, hustband and father of twins,
> with bachelor and master’s degrees, published, working in the IT
> industry for 18 + years, fairly savvy and sharp on many other areas
> besides MAX, etc).
>
> The idea of doing more work and search more or doing more
> investigation to solve a problems appears to be a relative
> concept…how much much time did one spend? How many sources did one
> investigate? It can always be considered not enough, depending on the
> angle of perspective from someone else who has already done the work
> and knows the answer. Though when a new user has done no work, then
> that is obviously a problem, though still reinforced behavior.
>
> I sometimes wonder if the range of user experience on this list is
> too broad. For those experienced users who want to continue
> reinforcing "lazy" or inadequate behavior of new users, perhaps a
> sub-group, "MAX/MSP for Dummies" would be appropriate. That way you
> get all the stupid and idiotic questions seggregated into one area
> and experienced users post in the super group without being annoyed
> by such "gnats" fying in their faces.
>
> K- — Krispen Hartung Improvisational & Jazz Guitar
> http://www.krispenhartung.com Performance Calendar:
> http://www.musi-cal.com/search?performers=Krispen%20Hartung
> info@krispenhartung.com Discography:
> http://www.krispenhartung.com/catalogue.htm
>
>


March 13, 2007 | 8:56 pm

That would be interesting…sort of like a Intro to MAX/MSP Chat line…or even a group chat function would be fun and interactive.

K-


March 13, 2007 | 9:25 pm

Quote: info@krispenhartung.com wrote on Tue, 13 March 2007 08:39
—————————————————-
> In short, Gregory, if I may interpret your post, you’re effectively asking new users to spend more time "doing the work," rather than expecting to be spoon fed the info on the list by experienced and senior users. It’s a reasonable request, though I think you’ll find that some experienced users continue to reinforce the behavior that you aim to reduce here (hence, not all experienced users are on the same page; so long as they keep posting responses to questions that could have been addressed by reading a PDF, searching the list, reviewing a help file, etc, then new users will continue to exhibit this behavior and open their mouthes like baby birds expecting regergitated nourishment (info).

While I’d would prefer that everyone answer beginner’s questions with
advice about how or where to find the answers they seek rather than
encouraging the cycle of dependency on the part of new users, that’s not
my call to make. I have recently noticed that a number of more longtime
list persons who’ve been generous with their time [isn't it amazing how
few people who ask list persons to provide them with all kinds of complex
patches for free don't thank those who do provide them?] are doing
something like this – particularly in those cases where it’s clear that
the requesting parties have little or no understanding of the most basic
features of Max. I have also noticed – and I’d hope that the new user
would notice this also – that it’s becoming much more likely that someone
who posts an example patch that shows their specific question or problem
is going to get a better answer.

Some problems will be more difficult to deal with. I don’t think that we’ll
ever stop seeing students to magically appear at midterms or when final
term projects are due asking us, in effect, to do their projects or
homework or research or exam questions for them (unless a larger number
of them figure out that the instructors who told them that they should be
doing original work are *also* reading the Max list, that is).

Similarly, I don’t expect that everyone will necessarily figure out that
if 300 *other* people all ask *their* questions in order to save themselves
the minute or so that it’d take to type a keyword into the search window
in Acrobat or type "site:cycling74.com looper" into Google, the bandwidth
on the Max list will go down the toilet; we all believe we’re special and
that our circumstances will be unique, and the ability to see the larger
pattern or our own acts when multiplied within a community is an insight
comes to different people at different rates (and to some persons, it
never comes).

That said, I personally prefer NOT to segregate new users – I think that
they benefit from watching the larger discussion in progress, and that
once in a while, someone will post a question that demonstrates a really
innovative turn of thought when it comes to using Max (although not common,
it has happened). It also doesn’t hurt to notice that quite a few of the
persons who are clever enough to answer questions and assist with problem
solving discovered what they needed to know by doing the things one would
ask beginners to do (i.e. read, search, think). Some little part of me is also
a little afraid that a Max listlet entirely given over to questions about throbbing
technodonut patchers or loopers or drum machines – or patch grovels, in the worst of
all possible worlds – would not necessarily attract even the charitablly inclined.

There are some great initiatives by other users out there – Wikis, and –
of course – maxobjects.com. One of the things that I think you’ll see
in Max 5 is some serious thought about how one can make it easier to retrieve
and access information about using Max, whether you’re a beginner or advanced
user. In general, I think that the *way* you work to phrase a question will
often give you some feedback about the extent to which you’re asking the
"right" question. And I am pretty certain that anyone with some basic powers of
observation will eventually notice that better questions get batter answers.

About a million years ago, one of my neighbors in our little upstate New
York town joined the Peace Corps and went to west Africa. She was the
first person who ever told me the "If you give someone a fish when they’re
hungry, they’ll eat dinner. If you help them learn to fish, they’ll feed
themselves and their families ever after" thing. I spend a lot of my time
with new Max users, and honestly try to put that old story into practice
whenever I can. I’m sure I have a long way to go, but I definitely am of
the opinion that telling someone where to look to solve a problem is, in
the long run, to everyone’s advantage. I’m sure I fail at this at times,
but as Samuel Beckett says,

Try again. Fail again. Fail better.


March 13, 2007 | 9:39 pm

I definitely like the idea on getting people to fish, and I’m also a proponent of diversifying the learning "fishing pools" out there, beyond the typical sources (PDFs, help files, etc). I tend to agree with you on not seggregating basic from advanced users too, now that I give it some more thought…that would pose some challenges from archiving the good questions and responses, preserving the learnings in one respository, etc.

In any event, you mentioned that how one phrases a question is important (the lures or bait?). Lately, when I post on other groups, I try to provide folks some background on what I’ve done so far with no success. For example, I might say that I’ve searched the MAX user list and object database, plus reviewed the help files, but I still can’t find what I’m looking for, or I simply don’t understand what I did find on the the topic. These are legimiate reaons for seeking help….vs. "hey folks, I just started up MAX/MSP for the first time…can you tell me how to create a basic patch?"

K-


March 14, 2007 | 1:24 am

Long-winded post alert…

Krispen Hartung wrote:
> I am still a new user, and I have to admit, I don’t feel comfortable
> posting questions on the list sometimes, because someone inevitably
> gives me a virtual brow beating for not searching more before I asked
> the question. I’m essentially afraid to ask the questions, lest
> someone makes me feel like an idiot (which is an interesting

That’s a shame, because you clearly do put in some effort. The manner
in which questions are presented has a huge impact on the response you
get. I suggest we change the subject here: what kind of documentation
and support system would give you the confidence to ask questions after
doing an honest bit of background research?

Whatever the answer, it won’t help people who are unwilling or unable
(anyone?) to use the resources provided – those people will begin to
tune out the RTFM’s and/or give up. But how could the resources be
better for those that *try*?

I have my gripes, even with Max’s stellar documentation (exceeded in my
experience only by the manual for the Ensoniq SQ1 and perhaps the
"apropos" alias/utility). It’s fragmented into many formats: Max help
patches, examples, the collection of PDF’s (which are internally
fragmented, most egregiously with the pluggo development info)… Jitter
heads off into HTML. And that’s before we get to difficult-to-integrate
external resources like the forums/lists, C’74/share, maxobjects.com, etc.

Seems to me C’74 and the Max community would all be well served by the
development of a unified documentation system accessible with a variety
of standard tools. Two ideas… but I will argue that we need *one*
place to look.

- A browser-plugin version of the runtime, for example, could
potentially allow *all* the supplied documentation to exist in one place
as HTML with a single starting point; it would also be accessible to the
grep junkies, etc. Obviously there are other advantages.

- A greatly improved Max search function: capable of searching any patch
within the Max paths, loaded or not. Combined with expanded help
patches which include the entire definition of each object (essentially
the PDF doc info) and – fantasyland – a function to check a C’74 feed
for each object’s incremental updates… might be good. I have never
understood why the help patches and the ‘official’ documentation do not
correspond. (I can imagine reasons like lack of C’74 time, but that’s
clearly not an optimal situation or design.)

> I sometimes wonder if the range of user experience on this list is
> too broad. For those experienced users who want to continue
> reinforcing "lazy" or inadequate behavior of new users, perhaps a
> sub-group, "MAX/MSP for Dummies" would be appropriate. That way you
> get all the stupid and idiotic questions seggregated into one area
> and experienced users post in the super group without being annoyed
> by such "gnats" fying in their faces.

I think this is a terrible idea. The forums lose the advantage the
list(s) gave and give me: immersion, learning by association without the
effort of looking for study. It is important, maybe even crucial, for
people learning anything to be exposed to those ideas that apply but are
not yet understood. It gives us a sense of how much we don’t know, of
our blind spots in knowledge. At the same time, we gain the advantage
of having some idea where to look when we come up against a problem. We
might learn the terminology we need to do an effective search, we might
learn a different way to begin thinking about certain kinds of problems
(e.g. timing!); at the most extreme, we might come across a patch or
object that solves the problem with no further effort invested!

My point summarized is that it’s incredibly valuable to be aware of the
problems the "experts" face. I love reading posts from a certain
collection of people. These range from C’74 folks like Joshua and
Gregory and Jeremy to others like the various and esteemed Peters (seems
a good name if you use Max), the educators like Gary and Brad and
Nathan, and the seemingly precocious contributors like Anton and Matt
(hope that does not minimize the amount of work they’ve put in!).

I learn so much from these people on a daily basis simply because I read
posts that don’t apply to my current problems… and that reduces my
problem-load in the future. For that reason alone, the idea of
separating the experts from the beginners – even the cantankerous
experts from the wide-eyed n00bs – seems like a terrible idea.

Yes, as a set of lists it’s high-volume, but the delete key is
accessible and a good mail client (plug for Thunderbird) makes it easy
to keep everything that might be useful in the future, on- or off-line.

Now, if only all *that* info would auto-correlate to the official
documentation, I’d be in heaven. My mind might also burst, but it would
be a happy sort of bursting.

Jon


March 15, 2007 | 10:58 am

Krispen Hartung schrieb:
> In short, Gregory, if I may interpret your post, you’re effectively
> asking new users to spend more time "doing the work," rather than
> expecting to be spoon fed the info on the list by experienced and
> senior users.

I think its aimed at those who demand that the tool should do the work.
Especially, if questions like "Is Max a musicians tool or is it for
programmers" arise, there is such an explanation necessary. Of course
this question only makes sense if I define my own horizon pretty narrow.
If so, I will have difficulties with Max no matter if I am "just" a
musician or if I have degrees in audio engineering and computer science.
The most difficult step is to let go these definitions and just jump on
it, like you did by the way…
Man I’ve never seen anybody to come up with a complex very usable patch
in such a short time as you did…

> It can always be considered not enough, depending on the angle of
> perspective from someone else who has already done the work and knows
> the answer. Though when a new user has done no work, then that is
> obviously a problem, though still reinforced behavior.

I usually look at it that way: If a simple question (out of my very
subjective perspective of course) shows some basic lacks, I’d rather
point indirectly to the solution (including a hint about docs if
necessary) to encourage to follow the whole path to find it all by
yourself. If you find a solution yourself, you’ve understood something,
which is worth more than any direct answer…
Sometimes a simple example will get you going to understand, thats what
I like to do as well…

> I sometimes wonder if the range of user experience on this list is
> too broad. For those experienced users who want to continue
> reinforcing "lazy" or inadequate behavior of new users, perhaps a
> sub-group, "MAX/MSP for Dummies" would be appropriate. That way you
> get all the stupid and idiotic questions seggregated into one area
> and experienced users post in the super group without being annoyed
> by such "gnats" fying in their faces.

I am not sure about that, look at the help you got. Which was more
valid, that from the experienced users or that from the newbies (which
could be also faulty)???

I think this broad user experience, with the willingness to help
everybody no matter how experienced one is, is one of the strengths of
this community…

Stefan


Stefan Tiedje————x——-
–_____———–|————–
–(_|_ —-|—–|—–()——-
– _|_)—-|—–()————–
———-()——–www.ccmix.com


March 15, 2007 | 3:09 pm

Krispen Hartung schrieb:
> I give it some more thought…that would pose some challenges from
> archiving the good questions and responses, preserving the learnings
> in one respository, etc.

Yes, I thought about a rating system within the forum, like mark a
posting if it helped you to solve a problem, or mark those who did not
at all… Especially for those who search and find the info, it would be
helpful to have some feedback of which threads have the most valuable
information. To create a sort of ranking for threads…
Would be fun to just start reading old threads and learn…
Ranking for "good question", "most elegant solution".
To encourage users to participate, you could give prices for "free
updates" or something alike….

Stefan


Stefan Tiedje————x——-
–_____———–|————–
–(_|_ —-|—–|—–()——-
– _|_)—-|—–()————–
———-()——–www.ccmix.com


March 15, 2007 | 5:26 pm

Quote: Stefan Tiedje wrote on Thu, 15 March 2007 04:58
—————————————————-
> Krispen Hartung schrieb:

> > In short, Gregory, if I may interpret your post, you’re effectively asking new users to spend more time "doing the work," rather than expecting to be spoon fed the info on the list by experienced and senior users.

> I think its aimed at those who demand that the tool should do the work.

This an great commment I’d like to explore. You are right, and I think it is also interesting how, as was the case with me, when I started to learn MAX, I also "learned how to learn" – because at first, I was just too overwhelmed by all the new terminology and theory. I hear a lot of folks refer beginners to the help files, but it took me a while to realize that they are much more than help files. They actually work! In a way, MAX does do part of the work for users. I simply started exploring through objects and opening help files. In most cases, especially those objects that process audio, there is a noise object and a button to click to start the object…away it goes! You can start tweaking paramaters and see/hear it work in real time. I learn best by example, and these help files are perfect for that. I just recently started exploring the comb filter object. After opening the help file and blasting my ears with a painful blast of white noise (ouch!!!), I replaced the noise object with adc, turned in on, and away I went with modifying the object to suit my needs. I added some random patchwork to randomly change delay, cloned the object to make a true stereo patcher, used loadbang to automatically fix some paramaters on start up, and now I have really cool patch for my live setup. It took me 1 hour.

> Especially, if questions like "Is Max a musicians tool or is it for programmers" arise, there is such an explanation necessary. Of course this question only makes sense if I define my own horizon pretty narrow. If so, I will have difficulties with Max no matter if I am "just" a musician or if I have degrees in audio engineering and computer science.

This is probably the area of MAX I struggle with most. I do understand that MAX does much more than process audio. However, for me, that’s all I am interested in. It is difficult for me to sort and filter through all the objects and examples out there and find those relevant to the performing musician. This is why am disappointed when I find patches that process audio but they are only mono in, stereo out. I don’t know of a single peer of mine, who performes live with a laptop, who doesn’t play in true stereo. So, essentially, when I find a cool patch that someone has developed for their university course project, and it is only mono in, stereo out, I have to do a lot of work to make it work for me…sometimes success is not possible.

Sometimes I wish there were a sub-group just for MAX users who are also live performing musicians. We could share our pathches, ideas, etc.

> The most difficult step is to let go these definitions and just jump on it, like you did by the way…

> Man I’ve never seen anybody to come up with a complex very usable patch in such a short time as you did…

Thanks! You know, I faultered there for a few months! I got too involved in trying to create a MAX VST system, and got overly seduced by Reaktor…I actually stopped useing MAX for a while and gave up. I only kept the few VST plugins that I created with MAX and converted myself. I had basically reduced MAX to a tool for me to create my own VST plugins once in while, relying mostly on Reaktor and my other VST plugins.

Last week, I was talking to Jeff Kaiser on the phone, and I had an epiphany….strange how that works. I suddently decided I was fed up with my complex VST system…of 60 something VST plugins, Reaktor, the Chainer VST host, etc….blah, blah blah. The complexity of my system started to distract me from my music art. My pallet of sounds was too large to manage or internalize to put to use in a practical context.

So, I said screw it…I’m going back to MAX, and I’m going to reduce my system to just 5 or 6 of the MAX patches I created, no VST host…keep it simple, and then build from there, with MAX only. No rush, steady but certain. Granted, I still have three VST plugins: 1) Mobius for looping, because I’m not ready to move to a MAX looping patch yet, 2) Reaktor as a plugin, just to take advantage of the few ensembles I like from them, and 3) a reverb VST (because I just can’t find a pure, true stereo MAX reverb patch that sounds like I want. I can’t seem to get gigaverb to work in true stereo format.

But even this is changing. Eventually, I will replace that reverb VST with a MAX patch, and I am already replacing some of my favorite Reaktor ensemble with MAX pathes. I just created a monster MAX patch this week that emulates a preset in the "Blackbird" Reaktor ensemble…suupposed to emulate an Eventide. It sounds great, though takes up 56% CPU on my Intel Duo Core! And I created a MAX patch that emulates one of my favorite octave/delay patches in my Boss VF1…one step at a time. This week, I am working on a patch that will emulate my favorite preset on my VST program, Lexicon PSP42.

So, it does indeed take a while for a performing musician like me to get past the technical jargon of MAX and put it to practical use. I still have a long, long way to go, and much of what I do now is pure trial and error..sometimes I create pathces and use things where I have no idea what they are doing or why they are there…I just know that when I change some number, it changes my sound to how I like it. It’s like I’m using MAX inside a blackbox.

Kris


March 15, 2007 | 7:35 pm

There certainly is a category of MSP or Jitter work – one which you’re likely to encounter sooner than later if you learn by attempting to duplicate some piece of equipment you have – where you discover that you’d don’t actually understand what it is that your favorite stompbox actually *does.* You don’t need to know that stuff to use the box, and you certainly don’t need to be aware of the myriad of decisions that were made on your behalf by the person who created your piece of hardware or software [ever notice that the stuff you attempt to emulate actually uses a narrower range of input control parameter stuff that Max will let you do? QED]. But if you decide to make it, you’ll probably have to pick up some chops unless you want to tune everything by ear. Welcome to Max.

While there are situations in which various Max patches demonstrate some of those kinds of lower-level DSP things [some of the MSP tutorials included], I think that it helps to look further afield, even though there isn’t a single source where all that kind of data is contained. This is the point where I bring out and wave the giant black phonebook that is Curtis Roads’ "The Computer Music Tutorial" around in workshops, so I don’t feel at all bad recommending it here.


March 16, 2007 | 2:27 pm

Quote: dlurk wrote on Tue, 13 March 2007 19:24
—————————————————-
>
> Long-winded post alert…
>
> Krispen Hartung wrote:
> > I am still a new user, and I have to admit, I don’t feel comfortable posting questions on the list sometimes, because someone inevitably gives me a virtual brow beating for not searching more before I asked the question. I’m essentially afraid to ask the questions, lest someone makes me feel like an idiot (which is an interesting
>
> That’s a shame, because you clearly do put in some effort.

I’ve made some progress. :) So my comment isn’t as relevant as it was, perhaps 6 months ago when I was drinking from the MAX firehose.

> The manner in which questions are presented has a huge impact on the response you get. I suggest we change the subject here: what kind of documentation and support system would give you the confidence to ask questions after doing an honest bit of background research?

Agreed.

[snip]

> Seems to me C’74 and the Max community would all be well served by the development of a unified documentation system accessible with a variety of standard tools. Two ideas… but I will argue that we need *one* place to look.

I have always been a pronoent of "one stop shop" resources for info. This is a common practice in the IT industry….basically you’re suggesting a MAX/MSP Help Portal. I have a similar problem as you…there are many resources out there. We go to the MAX list for some questions, to help files for others, to PDF helpfiles for others, and then there are a variety of other sources as well, additional PDFs floating around, etc.

> – A browser-plugin version of the runtime, for example, could
> potentially allow *all* the supplied documentation to exist in one place as HTML with a single starting point; it would also be accessible to the grep junkies, etc. Obviously there are other advantages.

I like the idea.

> > I sometimes wonder if the range of user experience on this list is too broad. For those experienced users who want to continue reinforcing "lazy" or inadequate behavior of new users, perhaps a sub-group, "MAX/MSP for Dummies" would be appropriate. That way you get all the stupid and idiotic questions seggregated into one areaand experienced users post in the super group without being annoyed by such "gnats" fying in their faces.
>
> I think this is a terrible idea. [Snip]

I concede to this now…changed my view after writing more. Unified is good.

I’m still an advocate of the idea that "some day" someone will organize and host some virtual training sessions, using conference lines and desktop sharing functionlity. I just think this idea is so cool and cutting edge, if done right. I’m still willing to test out the concept with a few folks, as a pilot.

Hey Gregory, when you come to Boise for my music festival, let’s talk about this over some fine quality beverages.

Kris


March 16, 2007 | 4:26 pm

dlurk schrieb:
> Seems to me C’74 and the Max community would all be well served by the
> development of a unified documentation system accessible with a variety
> of standard tools. Two ideas… but I will argue that we need *one*
> place to look.

I started to create something like that, because I need it for my own
work, its called "Max Overview" and you can find it on the share pages.
I am not sure if it installs easily on all systems, but with basic
knowledge you should be able to set it up. If I patch, the window is
always open. If I look for an object, its the fastest way to find it,
because I can customize it for my own needs and categories.

http://www.cycling74.com/twiki/bin/view/Share/StefanTiedje

You would need the St.ools to run it as well I’m afraid…

Stefan


Stefan Tiedje————x——-
–_____———–|————–
–(_|_ —-|—–|—–()——-
– _|_)—-|—–()————–
———-()——–www.ccmix.com


March 16, 2007 | 5:19 pm

On Mar 16, 2007, at 7:27 AM, Krispen Hartung wrote:

> I have always been a pronoent of "one stop shop" resources for
> info. This is a common practice in the IT industry….basically
> you’re suggesting a MAX/MSP Help Portal. I have a similar problem
> as you…there are many resources out there. We go to the MAX list
> for some questions, to help files for others, to PDF helpfiles for
> others, and then there are a variety of other sources as well,
> additional PDFs floating around, etc.

I have to politely disagree. If the web is any indication, there is
HUGE value delivered by redundancy and variance of information. What
Jon pointed out is that the accessibility to this information is
where such diversity actually becomes navigable. This again is well
demonstrated by web "portals" such as Google. There’s no replacement
for human interaction as what happens on mailing lists such as this,
but in future versions of Max we are thinking a *lot* about this sort
of navigability. You will most likely not be disappointed.

-Joshua


March 16, 2007 | 6:16 pm

Hmmmmm….are you sure you didn’t miss the import of my comment? I’m not suggesting a portal that re-archives or stores data..only a conduit to all the sources, redundant or not, on the topic. Why the heck would any new user object to making it easier for him to find useful info? Find me a new MAX user who would prefer to have 100 separate links to sources to get help on MAX, vs. one portal that synthesizes it for them, and is maintained appropriately. You have my vote for such a portal. I’m sure I could find others. It’s not rocket science…we’re just talking about just an attempt to simply and make something easier for new users. I don’t even know why this needs justification/explanation. Why is there a MAX Objects database? Who needs it, when you can just search the web for MAX objects and wade through millions of pages, some poorly designed, which won’t necessarily even provide what you need? Why is this any different for help…

K-

Quote: jkc wrote on Fri, 16 March 2007 11:19
—————————————————-
>
> On Mar 16, 2007, at 7:27 AM, Krispen Hartung wrote:
>
> > I have always been a pronoent of "one stop shop" resources for info. This is a common practice in the IT industry….basically you’re suggesting a MAX/MSP Help Portal. I have a similar problem as you…there are many resources out there. We go to the MAX list for some questions, to help files for others, to PDF helpfiles for others, and then there are a variety of other sources as well, additional PDFs floating around, etc.
>
> I have to politely disagree. If the web is any indication, there is HUGE value delivered by redundancy and variance of information. WhatJon pointed out is that the accessibility to this information is where such diversity actually becomes navigable. This again is well demonstrated by web "portals" such as Google. There’s no replacement for human interaction as what happens on mailing lists such as this, but in future versions of Max we are thinking a *lot* about this sort
> of navigability. You will most likely not be disappointed.
>
> -Joshua
>
>
>
—————————————————-


March 16, 2007 | 6:20 pm

Looks interesting, Stefan. I will check it out. / K

Quote: Stefan Tiedje wrote on Fri, 16 March 2007 10:26
—————————————————-
> dlurk schrieb:
> > Seems to me C’74 and the Max community would all be well served by the
> > development of a unified documentation system accessible with a variety
> > of standard tools. Two ideas… but I will argue that we need *one*
> > place to look.
>
> I started to create something like that, because I need it for my own
> work, its called "Max Overview" and you can find it on the share pages.
> I am not sure if it installs easily on all systems, but with basic
> knowledge you should be able to set it up. If I patch, the window is
> always open. If I look for an object, its the fastest way to find it,
> because I can customize it for my own needs and categories.
>
> http://www.cycling74.com/twiki/bin/view/Share/StefanTiedje
>
> You would need the St.ools to run it as well I’m afraid…
>
> Stefan
>
> —
> Stefan Tiedje————x——-
> –_____———–|————–
> –(_|_ —-|—–|—–()——-
> — _|_)—-|—–()————–
> ———-()——–www.ccmix.com
>
>
—————————————————-


March 16, 2007 | 6:26 pm

> Hey Gregory, when you come to Boise for my music festival, let’s talk about this over some fine quality beverages.

I think that this particular and somewhat familiar line of discourse is best taken up one-on-one at some later time, as a general matter.


March 16, 2007 | 8:20 pm

On Mar 16, 2007, at 11:16 AM, Krispen Hartung wrote:

> Hmmmmm….are you sure you didn’t miss the import of my comment?
> I’m not suggesting a portal that re-archives or stores data..only a
> conduit to all the sources, redundant or not, on the topic. Why the
> heck would any new user object to making it easier for him to find
> useful info? Find me a new MAX user who would prefer to have 100
> separate links to sources to get help on MAX, vs. one portal that
> synthesizes it for them, and is maintained appropriately. You have
> my vote for such a portal.

There is nothing stopping you from this work. It sounds like you
would have an audience for it. I am a huge fan of there being a 100
different sources for this information. As stated we are actively
working on better exposing our help and object information, but in my
opinion there is never and nor should there be a one stop source of
information. This is a panacea.

> Why is there a MAX Objects database?

Because interested users such as yourself found the idea of it useful
and programmed it themselves. Data input by and for the use of the
community.

-Joshua


March 17, 2007 | 12:28 pm

Krispen Hartung schrieb:
> I hear a lot of folks refer beginners to the help files, but it took
> me a while to realize that they are much more than help files. They
> actually work!

Yes, that’s maybe not as obvious as oldtime maxers could imagine. Did
you know that inspectors are also just patchers? I open them up to find
more about all these messages which set an object to a certain state…
Also very handy, to copy parts out of the DSP Status window and create a
CPU-meter in your patch….

> I do understand that MAX does much more than process audio. However,
> for me, that’s all I am interested in. It is difficult for me to sort
> and filter through all the objects and examples out there and find
> those relevant to the performing musician.

Oh, there are very different beasts of performing musicians out there…
Max is a great opportunity to extend your horizon, maybe that’s the most
tricky part, to realize that there are very different ways of thinking
and thus very different kinds of approaching music making…
But once this happens, it will open your mind in a way LSD could never
do… ;-)

Maxin’ is about becoming a creator, versus being a xxx (fill in whatever
label you thought is attached to you,like musician, VJ, programmer,
Klangestalter, politician, philosopher, master, noob…)

> Sometimes I wish there were a sub-group just for MAX users who are
> also live performing musicians. We could share our pathches, ideas,
> etc.

I am sure that the majority of the list members would fit into that
sub-group. And actually I love that nice intersection between
Loopers-Delight and the Max list, maybe that sub-group already exists
(sort of)

> I had basically reduced MAX to a tool for me to create my own VST
> plugins once in while, relying mostly on Reaktor and my other VST
> plugins.

Which isn’t a bad thing at all, extending what you know already…

> I suddently decided I was fed up with my complex VST system…of 60
> something VST plugins, Reaktor, the Chainer VST host, etc….blah,
> blah blah.

LOL :-) The Max drug takes affect already…

> The complexity of my system started to distract me from my music art.
> My pallet of sounds was too large to manage or internalize to put to
> use in a practical context.

I realized after being heavy into collecting sounds in the 80s-90s, that
I stopped being interested at all in "sounds", including "effects". What
interests me much more are musical structures and the (sounding) magic
of the moment…

> Much of what I do now is pure trial and error..sometimes I create
> pathces and use things where I have no idea what they are doing or
> why they are there…I just know that when I change some number, it
> changes my sound to how I like it. It’s like I’m using MAX inside a
> blackbox.

This will change the more you create, granted…

Stefan


Stefan Tiedje————x——-
–_____———–|————–
–(_|_ —-|—–|—–()——-
– _|_)—-|—–()————–
———-()——–www.ccmix.com


April 8, 2007 | 10:03 am

I think you need to rename this thread, cause none of the newbs to whom its directed ever seem to read it, and the posts go on and on and on.

Maybe "New to Max/Msp?" or something.

NCRIII


April 13, 2007 | 4:32 pm

Nicholas C. Raftis III schrieb:
> I think you need to rename this thread, cause none of the newbs to
> whom its directed ever seem to read it, and the posts go on and on
> and on.

Why should I rename the thread? If you keep it going you can rename it
yourself… ;-)

Stefan


Stefan Tiedje————x——-
–_____———–|————–
–(_|_ —-|—–|—–()——-
– _|_)—-|—–()————–
———-()——–www.ccmix.com


April 19, 2007 | 9:16 pm

How can I do that?


April 26, 2007 | 5:16 pm

Ok, I’ll try using this thread for it’s intended purpose. Is there a simple way to detect user interaction on a controller? I’ll be more specific:

Lets’ say I have a slider which set randomly every X seconds using metro. It continues happily on it’s way until a user comes along and fiddles with the slider– it then ‘pauses’ it’s random settings, and then waits a given amount of time before resuming it’s randomness.

I have the knowledge to create the slider/timer/etc; what I can’t quite wrap my head around is how I’d figure out that someone had messed with the slider. This is my first attempt at a ‘complicated’ MAX patch– and if the solution is overly complicated, I can live without it (I’d perhaps just add a switch that shuts off the randomness).


April 26, 2007 | 6:00 pm

Don’t randomly set the slider, randomly set a variable that is also
interfered with by the slider – that way it’s simple to distinguish
between user activity and otherwise. You could use the delay object to
have the random process wait a given amount after interaction has stopped.


Owen

toddbert wrote:
> Lets’ say I have a slider which set randomly every X seconds using
> metro. It continues happily on it’s way until a user comes along and
> fiddles with the slider– it then ‘pauses’ it’s random settings, and
> then waits a given amount of time before resuming it’s randomness.
>
> I have the knowledge to create the slider/timer/etc; what I can’t
> quite wrap my head around is how I’d figure out that someone had
> messed with the slider.


April 26, 2007 | 6:09 pm

On 26 Apr 2007, at 18:16, toddbert wrote:

>
> I have the knowledge to create the slider/timer/etc; what I can’t
> quite wrap my head around is how I’d figure out that someone had
> messed with the slider.

Would it work with what you’re doing to use [mousestate] to detect
clicks, and use that to close the gate? Then re-open the gate by
using delay (ie delaying the same bang that closes the gate, only
triggering a [1] to re-open it).

David


April 26, 2007 | 6:17 pm


April 26, 2007 | 6:26 pm


April 26, 2007 | 6:36 pm

Quote: jeanfrancois.charles wrote on Thu, 26 April 2007 12:17
—————————————————-
> My advice: live without until you have done more tutorials (in your case,
> that would be the Max tutorials, pdf + patches, really reading the pdf and
> understanding it).

Well, I’ve done a largeish number of the tutorials (I confess to skipping some of the scripting and UI stuff– I’ll do those when I need it)– I have, after all, managed to create a slider that sets itself randomly, controls paramaters in Reason using rewire~, and a lot of other things I didn’t include in my question as they were not germane to it.

I thought the purpose of this thread was to collect more ‘basic’ questions in one place, so as to avoid cluttering the main forums with 50,000 individual threads. :-(.

In any case, I have two decent suggestions to give a shot. It’s not my intent to come up with questions for every little problem I encounter, and I *did* spend a lot of time fiddling with my slider problem before asking here. Gee, now I feel awful for asking. Thanks.


April 26, 2007 | 7:41 pm

On 26 Apr 2007, at 18:16, toddbert wrote:

> Lets’ say I have a slider which set randomly every X seconds using
> metro. It continues happily on it’s way until a user comes along
> and fiddles with the slider– it then ‘pauses’ it’s random
> settings, and then waits a given amount of time before resuming
> it’s randomness.

Take the output of your random generator _before_ the fader and
compare it with the output of the fader. If a user moves the fader it
will be different, so you can use that state to initiate the delay of
random events.

HINT – you will probably need to be very careful about the order in
which things happen – ‘trigger’ is your friend – its use is so vital
that it can be shortened to ‘t’!

hope that helps

L

Lawrence Casserley – lawrence@lcasserley.co.uk
Lawrence Electronic Operations – http://www.lcasserley.co.uk
Colourscape Music Festivals – http://www.colourscape.org.uk


April 27, 2007 | 1:03 am

At 11:16 AM -0600 4/26/07, toddbert wrote:
>Ok, I’ll try using this thread for it’s intended purpose. Is there a simple way to detect user interaction on a controller? I’ll be more specific:

Good. (and a sample patch would have helped, too)

Something like this?:

#P window setfont "Sans Serif" 9.;
#P window linecount 1;
#P message 98 37 14 196617 1;
#P newex 81 349 61 196617 delay 3333;
#P message 112 37 14 196617 0;
#P newex 81 322 46 196617 select 1;
#P toggle 98 58 15 0;
#P newex 81 301 27 196617 !=;
#P newex 98 118 27 196617 int;
#P newex 98 98 64 196617 random 127;
#P user uslider 81 151 18 128 128 1 0 0;
#P newex 98 77 64 196617 metro 1000;
#P window linecount 3;
#P comment 22 345 59 196617 time before restarting random;
#P window linecount 1;
#P comment 114 58 44 196617 Random;
#P connect 8 0 10 0;
#P fasten 8 0 9 0 86 344 171 344 171 31 117 31;
#P connect 5 0 3 0;
#P connect 5 0 6 1;
#P fasten 10 0 11 0 86 371 184 371 184 25 103 25;
#P connect 3 0 6 0;
#P connect 11 0 7 0;
#P connect 2 0 4 0;
#P connect 7 0 2 0;
#P connect 9 0 7 0;
#P connect 6 0 8 0;
#P connect 4 0 5 0;
#P window clipboard copycount 12;


Chris Muir | "There are many futures and only one status quo.
cbm@well.com | This is why conservatives mostly agree,
http://www.xfade.com | and radicals always argue." – Brian Eno


April 27, 2007 | 1:36 am


April 27, 2007 | 6:54 am

Quote: Chris Muir wrote on Thu, 26 April 2007 19:03
—————————————————-
> At 11:16 AM -0600 4/26/07, toddbert wrote:
> >Ok, I’ll try using this thread for it’s intended purpose. Is there a simple way to detect user interaction on a controller? I’ll be more specific:
>
> Good. (and a sample patch would have helped, too)
>
> Something like this?…

Thanks! Not only is this better than what I coughed up, it gives me a solid example to work from–

The patch is coming along swimmingly, by the way.


June 11, 2007 | 11:05 am

I’ve been using Max/MSP for the last 5 years. I can’t say I’m an expert but I’m pretty good in building patches depending on my needs. My only ‘official’ education in Max/MSP is only in the university where I did MSP for a year, but that was after being a max/msp user for three years so you can’t really say that I learned a lot (although it was pretty useful).

Correct me if I’m wrong but the last few years Cycling74 has been putting a big effort in making Max/Msp/Jitter widely known to anyone whos into music (no matter if he has any skills in programming or not). And when I’m saying ‘programming skills’ I don’t necessary mean to be a genius in C, Java, or whatever. I just mean to have a vey basic knowledge of what a ‘for loop’ can do, what a ‘function’ is and in general to be able to realise the logic of programming.

I really agree with c74s’ policy and I believe that max/msp should be used by as many users as possible, not only because it’s a very creative software but also because it makes you think in a more ‘sofisticated’ way, which many times is useful for your personal life as well.

However, probably one of the most obvious side effects of this new ‘generation’ Max users (which I belong too), is the fact that people can’t be bothered to spend a little more time to understand Max. Rather they prefer fast and ‘unique’ solutions without spending time (thus, full of ‘silly’ questions in the forum). Of course this not the case for everyone, but I can tell for sure that is the case for many users.

One example that comes to my mind is a friend of mine who is DJ, with a quite good knowledge of C/C++, electronics and all the Music Tech part.
Although I was trying to conviece him to start using Max/MSP for the last 2 years, his first contact with Max was a couple months ago. The reason was he wanted to use a turntable for some kind of MIDI controller. We worked together and the main patch was made in pretty much 2 weeks.. After that he admitted to me that he doesn’t really want to learn Max/MSP. He just wanted to build his thingie and nothing more..
Of course you can’t blame him cause it’s his own choice and I only mentioned this example because there are many users think that way.

Finally, I don’t know what the solution would be, but I think c74 should (at least) create a new forum category called ‘beginners’ or something similar.

PS. apologize for my broken English

thanks,
Mike


June 11, 2007 | 12:45 pm

Although I agree with most of what you say, I don’t favor a separate list
for beginners. I am a very experienced max user (almost 20 years) and a
teacher of max for most of that time. Personally, I would not subscribe to
a separate list. However, I often respond to beginners’ question on this
list. In doing so, I feel I am thanking the many people who helped me (not
just with max) when I was a beginner. In addition, a beginner’s question
often points to a hole in my own experience and sometimes leads me to a new
path. And more, max is so deep (and getting deeper) that I no longer think
that a single user can know everything.

Having said that, I will tell you that I seldom respond to a beginner who
has obviously made little or no effort to read the manual or do the
tutorials. From my own teaching I know the value of struggle and diligence.
Whenever you learn something, who are also learning how to learn. If I just
give my students the answer, they learn almost nothing.

Some here are some things I suggest…

These can be interleaved:
Read the getting started doc
Do the tutorials with the accompanying doc nearby
Get help on objects that come up in the tutorials
(I usually give my students 2 weeks to do this)

Later:
Scan the reference manual and the max object thesaurus to get the lay of the
land then read thoroughly those sections that you think apply immediately to
planned projects. If you have done the tutorials, this reading will go
quickly. Do feel you have to know everything to begin. This will save you
writing objects that already exist.

Periodically (once a month):
Scan the reference manual page headers and thesaurus to remind yourself of
the objects you read about earlier. This takes me 15-20 minutes while I am
having breakfast. I can generally multiply this by hours of saved time
later.

Frequently:
Search http://www.maxobjects.com for objects that you may need. I’m a packrat so I
download and test almost everything that is offered on this list. I file it
carefully but I can’t always find it when I finally need it so I use
http://www.maxobjects.com as a kind of thesaurus. BTW. I would like to see
http://www.maxobjects.com expand its keyword search to include terms that are in
general use in music or audio but may not be part of max’ jargon.

Cheers
Gary Lee Nelson
Oberlin College
http://www.timara.oberlin.edu/GaryLeeNelson

On 6/11/07 7:05 AM, "Michael Gounelas" wrote:

>
> I’ve been using Max/MSP for the last 5 years. I can’t say I’m an expert but
> I’m pretty good in building patches depending on my needs. My only ‘official’
> education in Max/MSP is only in the university where I did MSP for a year, but
> that was after being a max/msp user for three years so you can’t really say
> that I learned a lot (although it was pretty useful).
>
> Correct me if I’m wrong but the last few years Cycling74 has been putting a
> big effort in making Max/Msp/Jitter widely known to anyone whos into music (no
> matter if he has any skills in programming or not). And when I’m saying
> ‘programming skills’ I don’t necessary mean to be a genius in C, Java, or
> whatever. I just mean to have a vey basic knowledge of what a ‘for loop’ can
> do, what a ‘function’ is and in general to be able to realise the logic of
> programming.
>
> I really agree with c74s’ policy and I believe that max/msp should be used by
> as many users as possible, not only because it’s a very creative software but
> also because it makes you think in a more ‘sofisticated’ way, which many times
> is useful for your personal life as well.
>
> However, probably one of the most obvious side effects of this new
> ‘generation’ Max users (which I belong too), is the fact that people can’t be
> bothered to spend a little more time to understand Max. Rather they prefer
> fast and ‘unique’ solutions without spending time (thus, full of ‘silly’
> questions in the forum). Of course this not the case for everyone, but I can
> tell for sure that is the case for many users.
>
> One example that comes to my mind is a friend of mine who is DJ, with a quite
> good knowledge of C/C++, electronics and all the Music Tech part.
> Although I was trying to conviece him to start using Max/MSP for the last 2
> years, his first contact with Max was a couple months ago. The reason was he
> wanted to use a turntable for some kind of MIDI controller. We worked together
> and the main patch was made in pretty much 2 weeks.. After that he admitted to
> me that he doesn’t really want to learn Max/MSP. He just wanted to build his
> thingie and nothing more..
> Of course you can’t blame him cause it’s his own choice and I only mentioned
> this example because there are many users think that way.
>
> Finally, I don’t know what the solution would be, but I think c74 should (at
> least) create a new forum category called ‘beginners’ or something similar.
>
> PS. apologize for my broken English
>
> thanks,
> Mike
>
>
> –
> dconstrukta.com


June 12, 2007 | 8:46 pm

Help help. I don’t know how to [get rid of this obnoxious thread]


June 18, 2007 | 9:32 pm

As I newbie with Max/MSP/Jitter myself (been using for a few months.) I could not agree more with Gregory. I see all the time someone post something that has obviously not been researched at all. I feel it takes away from myself and others who legitimately put a lot of time into research.

I thank all of you who spend time here helping others. I hate to see your time wasted by an impatient person who wants everything delivered to him/her without any effort on their part.

Chad E. Fletcher
Bowling Green State University


May 22, 2011 | 7:18 pm

Allow me to awake this thread.


May 22, 2011 | 7:30 pm

That’s actually the purpose of the "Common Max Arcana" sticky at the top of this page. Although, as we are finding, many do not seem to read that thread either.


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