Welcome to the beginner's corner. I will be your designated beginner for the duration of this journey. At the conclusion of your journey, I will be telling you really boring things you already know.
    I have been carefully selected for this task because um...well, there are a couple of reasons. First, I have a lousy memory, so I tend to forget the things that clever people know as easily as you know your own phone number. Secondly, I've been involved in documentattion stuff for Cycling '74 for a while. As you may know, the skills required to document something and the skills necessary to use it are often very different. So I tend to know where things are rather than knowing what they are. If you're a beginner, then knowing where things are is the best place to start.
    Finally, although I have forgotten a lot about using Max/MSP (stuff I'll have to figure out again in order to talk to you about, incidentally), I have a pretty clear memory of what it felt like to be staring at the big white space in a new patcher window and wondering what to do first/next, to stare at someone else's Max patch like a cow at a passing train, or to wonder if I would ever spend any of my Maxing life making something of my own rather than cadging patches from other people and feeling like I only knew enough to add one patch cord here or there.
    I hope I can be of some assistance to you in overcoming that fear of white space, in learning how to "read" the work of others, and in helping you to escape a lifetime of dreary dependence on the work of other Max/MSP/Jitter programmers (you know, that old saw about giving someone a fish (so they've got a meal) versus teaching them how to fish (thusguaranteeing the promise of dinners to come)).
    As a beginner, you can comfort yourself with the thought that everyone stood where you now stand (although they didn't have this set of articles to read). What is it that those whizzy power user types have that you don't?
    A little good advice, some hours of experience, and the knowledge of where to look or who to ask.
    Some of that good advice takes the form of a patch. Some of it appears as a list of URLs, and some of it is plain old text. I hope that what's to come will take all of those forms, and be of some assistance.
    If you've got any questions you'd like me to consider discussing, you can email me and ask. It'd be easiest if you labeled your email so that I can spot it (e.g., Beginner's question) so that I can spot it easily--often, despite my overzealous spam filter. HINT: do not include the words, Rolex, Viagra, Teens, or Refinance in your email title.
    Well... so much for introductions. I think that I'll start next time by telling you the things I wish people had told me when I started. See you then.