New BDes(Hons) Interaction Design


Last year Joe Knapp wrote a great bit of arduino code that can send RC5-compatible codes as used in Infra Red remote controls. Using a single IR LED you can control domestic devices like TV sets.

I’m not sure whether this code has a home now, but I know it was a real life-saver when a student of mine needed it for a project this time last year, so I’m putting a copy up for download here:

If you want to use this code with a Lilypad, or another Arduino that doesn’t use a 16MHz processor clock, then you need to change the setting in the irparams.h header file:

#define SYSCLOCK 16000000 // main system clock (Hz)

For example, for an 8MHz Lilypad…

#define SYSCLOCK 8000000 // main system clock (Hz)

Max for Live

This is a pretty big deal for users of Max/MSP and Ableton Live. The two companies have just announced Max for Live, which integrates the Max visual programming environment into Live version 8. This means you can now create your own effects and instruments in Live, using Max. Clicking the new edit button opens up the Max patch that controls the insides of the device.

There’s even an API to control features of Live from inside patches, while using Jitter will enable real-time synthesis and processing of video and graphics as well as audio.

Apparently Cycling’74 and Ableton have been working together on this for over 2 years. This certainly explains the new “Live-like” GUI introduced in Max 5, which some — myself included — thought had lost some of the aesthetic charm of older versions. (On the other hand, being able to zoom in and out is a huge improvement.)

David Zicarelli from Cycling’74 writes about his perspective on Integrating Max and Live, and describes some of the Tools for Creative Devices in Live. Meanwhile Ableton’s site has a video overview of max for live presented by their CEO, Gerhard Behles.

Max for Live will be available for Live version 8, later in 2009.

New at SomeRightsReserved

The “Trend Generator” software I made for KithKin and The Future Laboratory is now in KithKin’s Online Shop, alongside Lessig’s Free Culture which is rather nice.

It’s also available in the DesignersBlock pop-up shop in Covent Garden, London 24-30 November. (See KithKin news.)

SomeRightsReserved is part of the DesignersBlock popup shop in Covent Garden from the 24th November – 30th November. We’ve tucked our little mini market stall into the shop and got a couple of new downloads on show, and available to buy.

Come down and have a browse, the shop is located in the piazza in the corner nearest to the Transport Museum (look for the red neon DesignersBlock sign in the window).

Unit 26,
The Market,
Covent Garden,
London WC2E 8RF
24th – 31st November : 11:00 – 7:00

Processing 1.0

It’s really very satisfying to see that Processing has just reached a major landmark… the release of version 1.0.

While 1.0 might sound inconsequential, consider that this is actually release v0162, and it represents more than seven years of on-going work by a particularly generous, friendly and talented community of developers, artists and educators.

I’ve been using Processing regularly since around April 2004 and I’m a big fan of — and advocate for — the software and the approach it represents. I’m looking forward to sneaking it into some of my teaching in the near future.

We all owe a huge debt to Ben and Casey and others too numerous to mention. Congratulations all, and here’s to many more years of sketches.

Command Line audio on OSX 10.4

Apparently OSX 10.5 (Leopard) includes a set of command-line tools for playing and converting audio files: afplay, afconvert etc.

I just found myself needing these on Tiger, and in the process discovered that the source is included with the Developer tools.

There’s a common Xcode project called AudioFileTools.xcodeproj, which on my installation was in /Developer/Examples/CoreAudio/Services/AudioFileTools/ … it was just a matter of double-clicking on the project file and hitting the build button. Nice. I moved the executables into /usr/local/bin.

Unlike the linux aplay, this afplay doesn’t play from standard input though.

Now we are 2.6

I’d been wanting to upgrade this WordPress blog from the ancient version 2.0.3 for months, mainly because of security holes that meant my header and footer kept getting filled with hidden but horrendous spam-links. But the thought of doing the upgrade on a live blog, or rather — the thought of it going wrong and having to restore the whole thing from backups — meant that I kept putting it off.

But this morning I discovered keithdsouza‘s truly wonderful Automatic Upgrade plugin. In just a few minutes, most of of which was spent reading instructions, I’d installed it and used it to upgrade to version 2.6.2. Just a few clicks and done.

Fantastic. Thanks keith!