Future Proof Status of the Monome?

  • Today me and a DJ buddy of mine were talking about our setups and how he wanted to buy an APC20 when something occurred to me that I haven't seen discussed here.

    Is it safe to say that the monome is a little more future-proof than other more commercial pads and the like? (I.E. How long does the monome have a value into the future?)

    I would say that USB is here to stay, especially considering that USB 3.0 is still beginning to show itself. But for how long 10 years? More?

    As for the languages the apps are written in, thats a little more iffy. Max MSP seems like it will be around for quite a while. What about other languages?

    I'd love to hear what you think about this.

  • the more i think about this concept these days, the more it seems antiquated to me. i mean, RS-232 is still around and in use.. (ok, pc's do it through a usb adapter, but the point is it's been maintained)

    ableton might drop support for the apc, which will make all of it's proprietary limitations a bit of a pain in the ass.. maintenance becomes reverse engineering first, maintenance second, and reverse engineering is no small task (probably not that difficult with the right tools, but most certainly tedious)..

    with a monome, like with rs-232, there's just maintenance. if the usb connector becomes obsolete, there are enough peripherals that use usb (cameras, printers, mice, keyboards, etc) that there will probably be an adapter from usb to whatever replaces it..

    the apps are a different story entirely. this is more a question of whether max/msp or live is more future proof, and to be honest, they're probably both about as future proof as each other.. live 8 might not be, but surely they're working on live 9..

    the best we can hope for is, if one of these software companies does go under, they'll release their existing apps as open source to let the users keep using and supporting themselves.

  • monome is as future proof as the inspiration behind it.

  • i beleive monome is the les paul classic of computer music...look how long that's been going...and if computer music is the future of music, then everyones gonna want a button

  • i'd argue that open-sourcing the protocol and schematics reduces the risk of obsolescence tremendously.

    effectively the device "belongs" to you, completely. with proprietary and closed devices/software, you can own it, but they real owners are the company who can change direction at any moment.

    but that's also an exaggeration. if i'd have liked, i could've stuck with DOS 5, soundblaster, and screamtracker. if i purchased a few solar panels i wouldn't even need to worry about the power company going away.

    ok, that was an exaggeration too.

    like was said before, USB isn't going anywhere, and there will always be an adapter. given the software base is open, it will always be relatively easy to get it working.

    on the other hand, massive paradigm shift would/will make a lot of things obsolete. ie when your smartphone is actually embedded in your brain, displays on your optic nerve, etc. (i'll be hiding in the woods by this time.)

  • "i'll be hiding in the woods by this time."

    +1 (,000,000)

  • I truly doubt we are going to see surgically implanted electronics. The policy of 'don't let them cut you unless it is to save your life' grows all the more necessary. Now retroviral treatments to cause your cells to grow antenae, maybe. Personally, I just want a monitor beamed to
    my glasses, not my optic nerve...

  • @lokey - http://www.itvgoggles.com/


  • not to derail, but @lokey, [[http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/12/transcending-the-human-diy-style|some people]] might beg to differ..

    (and after reading that, yes, i kinda wanna be able to feel magnetic fields.. but perhaps only for a week, and definitely without the whole "going septic" parts...)

    also, the "longevity" argument is one of the main benefits of open source software..

    example: you bought pro tools 5.1 way back in the day, and your g3 just broke. you buy a mac pro, good luck running pt5.1 on it.. (suddenly this devolves into a business and marketing issue too: you can run pro tools, just not 5.1, and you have to buy the new version)

  • i wasn't wholly serious, sorry to derail!

  • thanks for that link, soundcyst!

  • I'm all for adding new senses (I've been following magnet mans exploits for some time now), just personally too aware of surgical incompetancies to go under the knife for them. I was just reading about how cryptochrome in the eyes of many animals becomes sensitive to magnetic fields (that's how birds navigate apparently). Anyhow, enough with the derail, carry on folks...

  • I'd like to add that even in the worst case scenario where there cease to be adapters available for obsolete USB connectors, it would be relatively straightforward to adapt the logic board design to accommodate a new external interface.

  • :D You can still...buy mainboards with ISA slots.So i doubt usb or any hardware is going to end a monomeĀ“s life.Its about the software and beeing an open device..I can see myself with 65 years still mashing it.

  • there was a japanese team about 6 or seven years ago that had worked out a way to exchange email contact info using a physical handshake, mediated by palm pdas, with data transferred using the bodies own bioelectric field. So this is possible. Keep your big broadband antennna in your bag, your processor in your cargo pocket, your keyboard run by tracking hand movements with motion sensing rings, and display fed into heads up display on your glasses, all communicating by sending data as fluctuations in your bioelectric field, and charged by pressure-to-electricity pads in your shoes. One day my friends. One day...

  • A less practical expample:


    ...which fails on a number of levels.

    The wire sticking out of it's cumbersome, he's forced to disable the camera for most of the day (with something as lo-tech as wearing a hat), it makes sleep uncomfortable, and he's not using the strengths of this idea in any regard.

    Had he used his body's electrical system to power the camera, let the images travel through his body as electrical impulses, then tried to reassemble them again from a USB port in one of his fingertips, we'd have an art project.

    In fact, let's see a hundred photos of the same subject, taken while he eats different foods, listens to different radio programs, etc. Catalog the differences, establish predictable results, and market his body as a biological photoshop plugin!

    Such a wasted opportunity...

  • http://news.cnet.com/eye-socket-camera-films-from-inside-the-head/

    hopefully not too off-topic! that NYU one is janky in comparison though, seriously, who would want to wear that? this guy is also wanting to create a real life machine-gun leg like the one that rose mcgowan was rocking in whatever tarantino flick that was.

  • I was reluctant to shell out for a monome at first for the same reason I have yet to buy a serious digital camera: fear of impending obsolescence. I still use a 1950s Rolleiflex that works as well today as it did fifty years ago. Yet I remember browsing my local camera shop in 2003 and seeing a "deal" on a 1GB Compact Flash card for $899 to go with a $6,000 Canon EOS-1D. That camera would be a doorstop now.

    In the end I decided to spring for the monome for the reasons mentioned above. I figured when USB goes away there will be an adapter, and as long as the community IS the software development resource I have enough faith in people to assume I will be using my monome long after everyone else has been absorbed by the Borg.

  • future humans ---> http://post.monome.org/comments.php?DiscussionID=10336

  • @antiphon,

    Way to bring things back on topic! I had a moment of confusion staring at your post wondering why you were talking about potential obsolescence before I realized I had forgotten what we were talking about.

    Specific apps may become obsolete as styles of music shift in and out of favor. It's unlikely, 'cause they deal in MIDI (which has been obsolete for years, but good luck getting rid of it) and arbitrary snippets of audio. Meaning, the building blocks of our music are easily replaced. For patterns of audio as a whole to fall out of favor in music would pretty much require people to lose interest in music itself.

    The music industry is dying, but the impulse to create new music and have it be heard is not. For most of us, the monome exists as a hobbyist device, and we don't expect it to ever pay for itself in revenues from the sale of our music. So, we dodged an obsolescence bullet there too.

    I do think new features are inevitable. Color is inevitable. It's cost prohibitive at larger sizes, but that will change, and how we think about app design will inevitably follow. Is that worth holding off on a monome purchase to wait for? Of course not -- it may not even happen in our lifetimes. And even when it does, there will be a full generation of app developers who insist on maintaining backwards compatibility to the earliest device because we're all heavily invested in those devices ourselves. And a generation beyond that who rejects color for no reason we can fathom, but as some of us upgrade, we release the old models back into the wild, where they continue to inspire.

    So, there's that, and now I'm late for work again.

  • @GTZ: well put (and definitely on topic!).

    Let's not forget the fetishism for outmoded gear. SP-1200 anyone? It is likely that as monome models evolve into new and improved designs the original devices will still have value both as controllers and as quaint "old school" units. Since a monome has no built-in functionality I think the future will not rapidly erode its usefulness as it will be harder for it to get left behind due to lack of app development. As @GTZ notes a greater threat might be a radical shift in prevailing musical styles, but that's something else altogether. Then again, there will probably be an app for that.