What's the smallest known platform for Max/MSP?
Apologies if this has been asked before – but I couldn’t find a reference to it in the archives:
I’m wondering what the smallest item I can buy off-the-peg, or adapt in some way, to run a complete Max patch. And what about a patch incorporating Jitter objects? I’m not thinking of using the device as a receiver of a signal from a remote computer. I’m thinking of something that runs entirely on its own.
It would be great to find something smaller than a palmtop computer – something small enough to stuff in a shrew (don’t take this literally). Something that runs on batteries but could execute a little Max collective. Is this still in the realms of fantasy?
Is there at least a palmtop-sized device out there that can do the job?
Any recommendations? So far, the smallest I’ve managed is a rather clunky Mac Mini.
I am also interested in this.
I found this pda, not sure if it’s good enough but someone else might?
I am very interested in this as well. I
would love to be able to travel and work
on patches. I did find this…
Looks like it is still a work in progress.
—– Original Message —–
From: Chris Hipgrave
Date: Friday, October 12, 2007 2:03 pm
Subject: [maxmsp] Re: What’s the smallest known platform for Max/MSP?
> I am also interested in this.
> I found this pda, not sure if it’s good enough but someone else might?
I would investigate pure data a bit further. PD runs on Linux, and there
are some incredibly microscopic Linux boxes out there.
Last time I saw him perform, Bradford Reed was running Max on a small embedded PC for MSP processing. Perhaps he says what he uses on his site or will chime in on the list.
Hans-Christoph Steiner showed me a Linux PDA running PureData. Processing apps will run on many phones. If I were you I’d check out what they can do. Good luck!
Thanks for all this – very useful and intriguing. I think the only option is to buy something cheap and cheerful, as a first attempt at making something tiny, and have a go. I hadn’t thought about the Pure Data + Linux route. The smallness makes that very tempting but I’m slightly concerned I’ll then be delving into three things that I haven’t tried before, instead of just one.
For those of you interested in this issue: I’d like a small computer so I can embed Max/MSP-based systems inside objects that I perform with live, without having to worry about hooking things up to external computers, finding time to setup on stage and so on. Just to give you an idea of what I mean, one example is Clara 2.0, my theremin playing robot doll, about the size of a human baby.I’d love to get Clara 2.0 working as a stand-alone device – like an old-school (i.e. 18th-century) automata where everything is contained in the body – or tucked into the automata’s box.
Anyway, I don’t know if any of this makes sense to other people or you now think I’m completely potty. But I’m definitely going to take the plunge and buy…I’m not sure what yet but one of the suggestions here.
Well this is kind of the same idea i’ve had. However, i still wrestling with the idea that you will end up paying a lot for what essentially could be achieved with connecting a MIDI controller to a laptop. Is it worth paying a good few hundred for a box which only hosts one patch?
Quote: Sarah Angliss wrote on Sat, 13 October 2007 03:49
> For those of you interested in this issue: I’d like a small computer so I can embed Max/MSP-based systems inside objects that I perform with live, without having to worry about hooking things up to external computers, finding time to setup on stage and so on. Just to give you an idea of what I mean, one example is Clara 2.0, my theremin playing robot doll, about the size of a human baby.I’d love to get Clara 2.0 working as a stand-alone device – like an old-school (i.e. 18th-century) automata where everything is contained in the body – or tucked into the automata’s box.
> Anyway, I don’t know if any of this makes sense to other people or you now think I’m completely potty. But I’m definitely going to take the plunge and buy…I’m not sure what yet but one of the suggestions here.
> Thanks again
Well, those are some very good points. But to be honest, as a player of theremins and other analogue instruments, I’m not a great fan of midi. I know it’s an obvious thing to say – but I don’t like my music quantised up into neat little pitch or temporal chunks. I enjoy all the sloppiness in between two disparate sounds – in my mind, that’s a huge part of what makes the music I’m into seem interesting. And that’s something I try to replicate with my automata and installations, at least some of the time.
Anyway, sorry if this is now veering off-topic but in my mind this seems relevant to the issue of how to deploy Max/MSP. Chris – I wonder if this chimes with what you were thinking:
Personally, I’d love to be able to hand over a complete, tangeable musical artefact to someone and say ‘there you go – play this’, rather than, ‘there you go, plug this into an external Mac, PC or whatever and then you can start playing’. And I’d love to perform with such an artefact myself. I think it might be easier to encourage some non-techy musicians to work with such a device. It’s closer to the old paradigm of a musical instrument as a stand-alone machine, with a limited range of functions, which has been designed, ergonomically, to enable the user to perform a certain expressive tasks (e.g. strumming at different intensities).
I also have a hunch that interactive artefacts seem more magical if we can at least half-convince the user that the actions aren’t all down to computers. That’s because computers are so familiar now. At the very least, I want to dump the screen and the big box that everything is connected to so people don’t fix on the familiar. Of course I’m not savvy enough to make really interesting things that do ditch the computer entirely – and I really enjoy working with the functions that software like Max/MSP have to offer. So getting a small Max/MSP-capable computer, that I can embed in a tangeable artefact, incorporating physical sensors and actuators, is an attempt to have my cake and eat it.
In hiding the computer, I suppose I’m stepping into the realms of deception here – but then I’ve been talking quite a bit to magicians recently and have come to realise a little bit of deception and/or misdirection can be a wonderful thing. I made a creepy little Max/MSP controlled puppet show recently where I (semi) hid the computer. The strangest and most satisfying thing was how curious people of all ages were about ‘who was working it’. The kids would look up and see if they could see some people hidden in the box. You don’t get that so much when users interact with sounds and graphics, delivered on a computer, even if they are far more sophisticated.
…anyway, I realise that none of these ideas are new. But I suppose I was hoping that recent advances in miniature computers might enable me to have my little go at reinventing the wheel. I completely take your point though that it’s a big hit on the wallet, just to make a one-off machine!
in this case it sounds like you need to look into pd (which can be embedded on a chip, as mentioned) or something like the arduino device.
max needs a full-fledged computer w/ either os x or xp to run.
Wow, check this out…
I bet it could run Max as well.
This is nice but still, it’s a computer. For me, there isn’t much point in buying this just to hide it in some kind of interface.
Quote: Anthony Palomba wrote on Tue, 16 October 2007 07:20
> Wow, check this out…
> I bet it could run Max as well.
i’ve seen pd running on an ipod
The best option for Max/MSP users would be to use Pure Data as programming Pure Data is similar to Max/MSP. Indeed Pure Data is fairly easy to run on a PDA. This described in detail on http://gige.xdv.org/pda/index.php. You can even run PD headless (without a user interface) when supplying the patch filename with pd -nogui patch_file.pd. There are a few problems when running Pure Data on for example an embedded ARM board:
1. You need to have a fair amount of hardware and electronics knowledge (installing and compiling PD).
2. If you want to edit your patch remotely you cannot use the nogui option. Unfortunately the standard PD version does not allow you the remotely connect to it once it has been started. The only option left is to install a complete X window system on the platform.
3. On a PDA you generally do not have the IO options to access external sensors.
During workshops we saw how easy people started working with Max/MSP and Pure Data. When compared with Wiring for Arduino I think Pure Data would be much more accessible for users who are not into embedded programming. We have just released BluePD (http://www.blue-sense.com), an embedded version of Pure Data with a few enhancements (remote editing, IO ports).
Quote: Dan wrote on Fri, 12 October 2007 18:38
> Last time I saw him perform, Bradford Reed was running Max on a small embedded PC for MSP processing. Perhaps he says what he uses on his site or will chime in on the list.
I used a p4 based mini itx system running XP in a custom case with a numeric keypad for control and a RF connected little lcd monitor with the LCD object made full screen so I could see what preset I was on. The system was set up for my own special auto accompaniment patches. It was a disaster. Mysterious bad things kept happening and it eventually blew up- seriously. I switched to a small ‘doze laptop a friend gave me and haven’t looked back. I think Sony makes some tiny palm sized computers but I’m not sure if they’re available in the US.
BTW, trying to make my complex patches in PD with easy state saving and recall and simple UIs is what eventually made me switch to MAX because there were so things about it that annoyed the hell out of me. Max has great documentation and resources plus if you get stuck or something doesn’t work properly in max the nice folks at C74 generally work things out. BTW, I love the concept of linux and am usually a happy troubleshooter but I think life is too short to spend days getting something to work that pops right up in OSX or XP. I’m not trying to piss anyone off- this is my personal opinion based on my musical objectives and technical skillset.
some years passed… asked the question to myself today.
have there been any developments? what is the smallest device you could run the runtime on?
i would like to use max patches for photography. timelapse, tracking or whatever. right now i would have to carry my macbook with my small usb hd cam. i would like to have a device which is nearly similiar in size and weight.