Kinda Frustrated with Apps? Anyone else?

I don’t want to be a downer… but I have had my brand new monome for over a week now. I have been hitting the forums hard, researching, downloading apps from the main site, downloading old versions of Max… only to find that basically every single app out there is outdated and crashes constantly… I am actually beyond frustrated for a $700+ purchase… That basically does not work. Although I understand this is all open source… Which is cool and all, and it seems people really put their hearts into this… However, I purchased this Monome thinking I would use it for some of my modular as well… with the full intention to purchase the ism… and all the other modules as well…

However, that said, I am beyond scared to invest any more money in any of the associated modular equipment! Because I can’t even get the basic grid to work consistently… The only app I have had luck with is the monome sum…

At this moment, I can’t see investing basically 2500.00 in the modular equipment…

Sorry about the negative post… And maybe I am basically over my head here in the Monome grid…
But I can’t see to find any real help to the problems… So as of now my future purchases are basically on hold.

Just concerned,

Mark

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Oh, and I also want to say, that I do appreciate all the hard work by all the folks that have worked hard on these projects, and software… it is exciting to see… Im just frustrated, maybe more at the learning curve, and the lack of being able to find help… or solutions… without being a next level programmer…

I realize that the open source projects are put together by real people, not being paid, who have real lives to live, and real jobs, and real families!

So im not writing this as a slam or negative feedback, or criticism… just floundering here!

Thanks,

Mark

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What’s your system and where are you running into issues? Do you own max or max 4 live or are you running via runtime? I had issues at first until I used the max 4 live versions of polygome, re-mix and more. Then everything started to make sense. What program to you want to run in particular?

Hi Mark,

As a long-time user over quite a few iterations of the software suite, I kinda feel your pain. It’s a mess of versions on various ends. It’s no wonder sum works fine, as it has been developed to provide a static stable constant in the app universe (no matter what max version installled). A lot of the trouble is because of version changes (monome specific, max or OS). But monome and people in the community have been doing a lot to overcome them.

What are you trying to run though? I suggest you open a thread with your exact environment and the apps you’re trying to run. I’m pretty sure someone will hop in and be of help! Don’t worry about asking questions. It’s how we all learned.

Ironically, the trilogy modules are really plug and play right away.

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I suspect if you mentioned specific apps you were interesting in getting up an running people could point you in the right direction. For example I believe @jasonw22 has recently been collecting up applications from various sources and smoke testing them in more recent versions of Max.

If I think back to when I first got a grid (maybe 3-4 years ago) I probably did spend more time tinkering and experimenting than I anticipated I would straight out of the gate. I do think the persistence will pay off in the end.

…for me things really took off when the modules came out. They are great and as others have mentioned plug and play.

I agree it is a mess, but there’s no way it could have been different. So many years, so many apps, so many people.
Best thing is to post here the apps you’re having problems with, and hopefully we’ll sort it out.

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Thanks for the responses everyone!

Im most interested in MLRV2 as a standalone…

Here is my system…
MacBook Pro (Retina, 13-inch, Early 2015)
OSX El Capitan v10.11.3
Max 7.2.1
Ive tried back grading to 5… it won’t authorize with my account… I have not tried v6 of Max yet to see if I can authorize them on my machine. I have tried old runtimes (earlier mlrv2) and followed install instructions according to info on current mlrv2 (the one corrected for Max 7)…and earlier mlrv2…

the latest mlrv2, the one corrected for Max 7 runs for a bit. Until I add more than 3 or 4 tracks… then crashes… no ram/cpu issues that I can see…

Im using the Monome 128 varibrite… just bought from ctrl-mod of new york…

Im also using re:mix… seems to do well within latest version of Ableton…
And Im kinda confused how to use terms within Ableton… Launchd… does not seem do anything… but I’ve probably not set it up correctly…Ill post a thread about my terms issues later… and see if I can get some setup questions answered!

Thanks again everyone!

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FWIW I’ve used MLRV2 extensively, gigged with it, but have always found it a temperamental beast. If you can get re:mix working to your satisfaction it has more features than MLRV2, is more reliable, loads up nicely within your ableton set, and is generally a friendlier thing to play with. The only thing it misses is the nice coloured graphics of MLRV2.

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Ok question about remix… On the top row, I have noticed that when I strike one the left most top row buttons on the monome… It deletes my samples from remix? Do you know possibly why?

Calling @elquinto!

Post must be 20 characters

left most or right most?

Buttons 13 and 14 change presets on a quick press… If held those buttons act as modifiers. If you haven’t saved your loaded samples as a preset and accidentally press those buttons without holding them down you will lose what you have loaded in the slots as you change presets.

When I first got my grid in 2013 I realized quickly that I was going to have to play catch up. As has been said in this thread already, so many apps… So many people… Rapidly evolving systems and software. I like trying to figure things out even at the expense of music making. Whenever I was unable to do so the good folks here always seemed to be able to point me in a direction. Anyway, with this device… Patience is usually rewarded.

I mainly use these apps:
Max 4 Live -
Elquinto suite… Alll the apps are current
Raptor x
The recent ml 128 sequencer
Max/Msp -
Insanity
Control
Parc standalone

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as stated on various other threads here, mlrv2 (and even earlier mlr versions) are in a state of semi-disrepair due to the rapid creation of issues with new versions of OS X and Max. there are moments where mlrv2 works fine, mysteriously, with certain hardware/os situations, which cannot be explained.

i will possibly take down links to mlrv, so that newcomers won’t try it first-- it is absolutely frustrating, to me as well.

so you’re probably asking-- why don’t you fix it? i didn’t make mlrv, and it’s a hugely complex max patch. max patches don’t lend themselves to being handed off and maintained. i don’t have confidence that maintaining a max patch is the right way to go forward and use all of our time.

but there needs to be a new mlr that is reliable. i’ve considered commissioning a vst.

but this same issue pertains to much of the computer-based apps. while @jasonw22 has put in great efforts to maintaining the monome-community github, many of those may require some fiddly setup to get working. while the massive archive of contributed applications is an asset-- it also feels like a big liability given the frustration it can similarly generate.

regarding things that just work: i’m maintaining the max package inside of max 7.

there are several fully working apps in there.

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thanks for a current statement on the “app situation” and creating transparency yet again.
mlrv, in all its shapes and forms, is still a highly inspiring instrument and i’m sure that i’m not alone thinking that if you would commission a vst version of it, i’d happily pay for the plugin.
i’m not saying “kickstarter” but am sure that as a community we’d have enough critical mass to get this off the ground.

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Do we have any hints or hunches as to what’s going on here? A last known good version of Max that always works? Any leads of any kind? It’s software, right? Not the Loch Ness Monster or Bigfoot? We can do this?

I’m curious, why a VST, in particular?

I have two reactions to this (frankly somewhat stunning, at least to me) statement.

  1. This is a major problem that deserves discussion in the cycling74 forums
  2. It makes me wonder, what is the right way to go forward and use all of our time? Should we be putting that kind of “app” creativity into alternative firmware for monome modular modules? I can see that day approaching, but it feels like there’s some basic framework/infrustructure work in order to make it possible that is just now getting underway. (Which I am really excited about, and I can’t wait till I have some hardware I can use to join in on the fun.)

That being said, there’s something infinitely mutable/fungible with software that lends itself to the kind of creativity we’ve seen in the monome community over the years. If Max isn’t the right way for us to write software for the grid, and we aren’t ready to become firmware hackers, which of the other grid studies languages would we be wise to focus our energies on?

Here’s that link:

There is more that could be done to improve on my efforts and in turn reduce the frustration level associated with perusing the history of the monome app ecosystem.

Bitrot is a real thing, and it’s not realistic to expect every piece of flotsam and jetsam ever produced for the monome to be maintained in perpetuity. That being said, once I installed serialosc v1.4 (why does the official monome installer come with v1.2?) and sorted out a flaky USB hub that was causing me problems, I found a surprising majority of the apps still worked (to whatever degree they ever worked, which isn’t always saying much, to be painfully honest, many apps were created with a fun-time hobby mindset and aren’t exactly spectacular examples of software engineering rigor, but that’s part of the fun!)

What I think might be helpful, if we intend as a community to maintain an archive of old apps, is to add to the page some system of classification that will help a new user understand the level of polish/readiness an individual app has for use. I can think of a few categories:

serialosc support

  • Works without modification with the latest version of serialosc
  • Works without modification using specific versions of serialosc
  • Works with the addition of monomebridge to emulate monomeserial behavior

Max support

  • Works without modification with the latest version of Max, or Max For Live
  • Works without modification using a specific version of Max, or Max For Live

Operating system support

  • Works without modification with the latest version of major operating systems
  • Works without modification with specific versions of major operating systems

Hardware requirements

  • 64
  • 128
  • 256
  • arc 2
  • arc 4
  • other requirements

Bugs

  • Has no known bugs, just works
  • Has known bugs, with workarounds
  • Does not function. No known workarounds for known bugs

Adding a table to each entry in the archive summarizing this info would serve two purposes:

  1. Less frustration/unhappy surprise for new users entering the world of monome for the first time
  2. Adding serialosc support to older apps or fixing low-hanging bugs might be a nice easy way to introduce a new monome app developer to the typical tasks associated with writing monome grid apps, and this would also have the beneficial side effect of using community effort to fight bitrot.

But doing this kind of librarian/archival work takes time. When I put together the github wiki page, I was really hoping it would inspire the community to join in on my effort and start maintaining the archive as a community. This hasn’t yet come to pass. That leaves me wondering how much effort I really want to continue to put in on something that the community seems to at times regard as a lost cause.

I find this “lost cause” attitude to be pretty tragic in many ways, partially because I don’t feel we’re really all that far off from making most of these apps reliable and trouble free. Seems to me that we just need to identify what changed between major versions of Max/serialosc/operating systems that is causing problems, and then come up with fixes that adapt to those changes. I have a hunch that if we were able to fix 2 or 3 formerly working apps, we’d start to see patterns that would in turn make it easy to fix the rest of them.

Then again, maybe this whole train of thought is simply a poor use of our time. Perhaps the best course of action at this point is to cut our losses and focus on what does work. This implies cleaning a lot of cruft out of the repositories and trimming down the archive page I’ve created on github. If that’s the direction the community wants to go in, so be it, but it’s still a direction that requires effort to determine what’s worth saving. And unfortunately I’ve come across a couple of apps (Monome Notes and Monome Home are two that come to mind) that are very high quality, work perfectly with recent versions of things, and are currently only hosted in forums on archive.monome.org. These apps need to get moved into monome-community/collected/ and I’m going to take it upon myself this week to do that for a couple of them.

But I sure would appreciate any and all offers of help with these librarian/archival/QA related tasks!

Side note: It sure would be nice, when folks make new monome apps, if they’d put them up on Github. It’s not difficult, it doesn’t cost anything, and it makes the chances of your app continuing to be available regardless of changing circumstances much much higher. It also makes it about 1000x easier for multiple people to collaborate on your app (and I’m seeing that collaboration is absolutely necessary, as this community teaches itself about the vagaries of things like Max for Live autofocus, etc). A forum is not source control. The entire community would benefit from a small amount of additional effort, recognizing that even when we are engaged in a hobby coding project, a minimal amount of rigor with regard to software development best practices pays off for everyone in the long run.

Sorry for writing a bit of a novel. I’ve been an observer of the monome community from the very earliest days, and finally bit the bullet, bought a grid, and jumped in with both feet last year. I knew what I was getting into, and it has been every bit of both inspiring and frustrating as I expected. I love this crazy eclectic mess of folks and all the insane beauty we create. I think it’s worth caring for. I hope you agree.

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Thanks! And rightmost, I erroneously said left…

-M

Thank or the conversation everyone! It helps to know people are working on all of this… And to know that I just need to plug along! Im being sucked into another device hole! QWahahaha! But I love it!

I want to make one thing clear here folks, I love my Monome… It is truly an artistic piece of work, and when it does work, is simply an amazing artful example of what truly innovative and dedicated people can do with their varied talents.

And what I love most, is that it is people who do it simply for the love and freedom of open source! I hope to learn the in’s and out’s of all of this… I am also hoping to try the grid studies… and learn how to program in Max 7… or any other suggested language that would work well with monome… I want to learn more about coding… I had some basic programming in college in C+ and Visual Basic… and never developed my interest in that field because I lacked and was frustrated with Math…

However, Im trying to face those demons and learn, learn, learn on my own…

And I feel that Monome is a great platform for this very thing!

In the long run, Id love to get into app development in Max and for Apple devices (and others as I learn)!

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I felt your pain when I first joined this community 4 or 5 years ago. I bought a 40h and had problems getting applications to work and to fit into making music. When mlrv2 came out, it felt like and was a hug step for the monome. A big patch with bells and whistles and a great gui. Once that app worked its way into the way I thought about making music, other applications seemed more useful as well. It was like I had to update my brain and adapt to the grid.

I’m not saying your concern is invalid, just that with any instrument it takes time to realize and hurdle the limitations.

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OH Yeah! I can tell, Im trying to evolve now! LIVE! Hahahahahahah! Although some of this is frustrating, especially in my culture and times (I want it nowCulture!)! However, I actually do enjoy the challenge of getting stuff to work… And tackling the learning curve head on! \

Thanks,

  • M

@tehn,

Thanks for the reply! I most certainly never expected your reply!

So, since you took the time, here is my counter reply!

I just want to say this… what you, and everyone involved, has accomplished here is simply mind-blowing! This community is the bomb… and the Monome is a truly unique, in your face, rebellious, device… which I love! However, I have to admit, that I am a product of our current culture and sometimes just want want want… This is a weakness of mine! So I apologize if my initial post seemed negative… It was certainly not meant to be! Nor, would I want to take a dump on all the amazing work that has occurred and is occurring here…

Honestly, Monome is an amazing Instrument… =To me the mystique of the device that is Monome means a lot! And, I believe that what is happening here is changing the way music is made and Expressed…

This mystique…

The freedom of creation, expression, and open development is a big fuck you to more “commercialized” Walmartish equipment on the marked created through slick advertising, marketing, and profit schemes… Not that those devices are bad or evil… should I dare to say such a thing… as if a piece of equipment could be evil… hahahaha…

That is basically why I bought the monome, because it is open source… and I kinda had a moment of come apart and vented my frustration here… which I apologize for and hope I didn’t make you feel down by it… You are doing an amazing work here tehn! There is no doubt about it!

All of this that everyone has created out of this big universal creative community collective is simply very exciting indeed!

So you stated I might be asking Why don’t you fix it… nah, Im kinda asking myself that question… So, tehn, I think I will join in, learn,and help! It is what I signed up for… It was just kinda a scary moment when I thought about the dollar signs I may be spending… but, rest assured, I plan on moving forward with those purchases(modular purchases) to keep learning and expanding my knowledge… as my bankroll allows of course!

tehn, keep up the good work, and keep slugging onward! I look forward to being a part of this community and using the Monome to musically express myself…

By the way, there is no better feeling than using something you helped create to make and express music… I have made some small diy synths… and in the middle of a performance, while using the device, had a moment when I realized the power of what I had done… To make something, create it, and use it to express something new and unique in the world… Powerful indeed!

Thanks for the replies…

Mark O’Cummings

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good, i look forward to using them in the future!