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


    Jan 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.

    • Jan 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.
    • Jan 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.
    • Jan 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)
    • Jan 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!
    • Jan 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.
    • Jan 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
    • Jan 26 2007 | 2:04 pm
      Excellent post/thread, Gregory!
    • Jan 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 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=- www.Axiom-Crux.net -=ili!ili=-
    • Jan 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
    • Jan 26 2007 | 6:53 pm
      task and goal are two different things.
    • Jan 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. :-)
    • Jan 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.
    • Jan 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
    • Jan 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"
    • Jan 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.
    • Jan 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)
    • Jan 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.
    • Jan 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.
    • Jan 27 2007 | 12:15 pm
    • Jan 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.
    • Jan 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
    • Jan 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
    • Jan 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.
    • Feb 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.
    • Mar 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-
    • Mar 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 > www.krispenhartung.com Performance Calendar: > http://www.musi-cal.com/search?performers=Krispen%20Hartung > info@krispenhartung.com Discography: > www.krispenhartung.com/catalogue.htm > >
    • Mar 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-
    • Mar 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.
    • Mar 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-
    • Mar 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
    • Mar 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
    • Mar 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
    • Mar 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
    • Mar 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.
    • Mar 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
    • Mar 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.
      You would need the St.ools to run it as well I'm afraid...
      Stefan
      -- Stefan Tiedje------------x------- --_____-----------|-------------- --(_|_ ----|-----|-----()------- -- _|_)----|-----()-------------- ----------()--------www.ccmix.com
    • Mar 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
    • Mar 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 > > > ----------------------------------------------------
    • Mar 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. > > https://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 > > ----------------------------------------------------
    • Mar 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.
    • Mar 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
    • Mar 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
    • Apr 08 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
    • Apr 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
    • Apr 19 2007 | 9:16 pm
      How can I do that?
    • Apr 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).
    • Apr 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.
    • Apr 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
    • Apr 26 2007 | 6:26 pm
    • Apr 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.
    • Apr 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 - www.lcasserley.co.uk Colourscape Music Festivals - www.colourscape.org.uk
    • Apr 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?:
      -- 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
    • Apr 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.
    • Jun 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
    • Jun 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 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 www.maxobjects.com as a kind of thesaurus. BTW. I would like to see 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 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
    • Jun 12 2007 | 8:46 pm
      Help help. I don't know how to [get rid of this obnoxious thread]
    • Jun 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.