help improve setup instructions. tell us your experiences!

  • hey guys, i just recently actually made an account because im not just emulating your guys' clandestine revolt, im taking part with hardware kits of my own, and acclimating my mind to the environment of yore. im retroactively taking part in your culture, your discoveries.

    anyway, there's something that always bothers me, not only on the initial setup, but patches, standalones, etc.

    2 things: 1. its not always clear the best verson of runtime, serialosc, etc. at least until someone like me specifically asks (user friendliness means everybody). if you (the veteran) runs monome jumper to see whats, up as a preliminary test for setup, MAKE US LEARN WHATS UP. i just went through and grabbed all of the utilities that are necessary to me, just to see the nefarious schemes happening underneath the buttons.

    ok, so i guess just one, but ive been obsessing over some of the sassy things you people do around here, and some of the folks who have been helping me are doing so the hard way. expecting that thorough nature this system requires. also you grid geezers wont have to wade through the bucks and give rote answers to things that are just clutter.

    but isnt the struggle to understand one of the sweetest releases? well, i guess you have to decide: jaded answers to near decade old questions while cultivating a culture of the dedicated, or let everyone in and accept that we will all be mass produced in less than ten years.

    i say let em scrape their knees, i took my training wheels off a couple weeks ago and now when i fall, i get hungry.

  • great points jay!

  • raj, please don't erase the SC tutorials, they're very good. like i said. lordy. for what it is worth, i read them start to finish and have referred others to them as a good place to get understanding. i don't think they are "concise," and i don't think they should be "concise," because learning SC from scratch is not a one-paragraph undertaking, and no-one should expect it to be. sorry to offend.

  • This sums up what I first felt back in 2010 and sometimes feel when visiting the forum:

    'the monome community consists less of expert and accomplished artists and more of folks who are dabblers who just want a dev to create a quick fix and a bunch of overnight success for them.'

    Succinctly put @karaokaze

  • Sorry to clarify:

    My experience has been I still struggle with basic stuff sometimes and much of it is over my head and I feel that in some way being able to collect the 'beginner' and noob questions that have never been appropriately answered is also a good place to start if developing a guide for people new to the whole grid and arc thang.
    Not a criticism but the tools out there are so diverse it has felt over the last year or so that there is more a niche feel to the community and I for one having been around for a while now feel a bit intimidated asking basic questions about patches.
    There is a lot to be said for jumping in the deep end and that is how I learnt and continue to learn. It just seems that we all go 'right....that's solved for x y and, move on' before any common solutions are ever reached, particularly for new inexperienced users,of which I still feel one

  • "And i will try to stay away from this community, at least until figures out a way to include more than just white-males in it. This community is actually a pretty shameful one in its myopic and non-diverse state. I'm glad to have always remained an outcast to it."

    This statement in particular (although there are others) has me completely astonished!

    Until now, I always saw you, @Karaokaze as one of the most helpful, sharing minded members of this community. You've been there on numerous occasions in posts of mine where I was stuck or curious about something. Your genuine willingness to share your knowledge never went unnoticed.

    But man, you've somehow managed to trump my previous perception.


  • The people who make the monome hardware are not the same people who make the software that makes the device functional. (That's not unusual: Dell made my computer but they didn't make the OS.) But here's the problem. Part of the monome set-up guide includes the step "Install Max" and subsequently "Install serialosc.maxpat." There is an aside that mentions Max is not required, but the way the set-up is written you need to complete this step in order to test your device to make sure it works.

    Aaaaaannnd....the new user's monome device and Max are now conflated. You wanna run that cool mlrv app you saw in a YouTube video? You need Max. Like that flin app Brian uses to demo a 256? Max again. How about those killer Stretta apps? Oh yeah, Max. And so on, and so on.

    So I guess it would be a bit disingenuous for monome to adopt Jay's stance that "I don't expect, as part of the sale of a device, that monome is responsible to fix any problems I have that are not physically related to the hardware not performing as advertised" since the device's set-up page, authored by monome, DIRECTS users to install Max.

    I am a complete computer illiterate in terms of command-line stuff and programming and all that, but I fumbled my way through, persevered through some bouts of frustration and confusion, and came out the other side able to use the device reasonably well. Maybe there should simply be a clear disclaimer on the device purchase page: "WARNING: ONLY BUY THESE PRODUCTS IF YOU ARE A COMMAND-LINE SAVVY POWER USER WITH AN INTEREST IN APP DEVELOPMENT AND/OR ARE A PERSON WITH INFINITE PATIENCE AND CALM."


    P.S. I point all this out mainly to illustrate how the set-up of a monome device is intimately tied to Max, and therefore when a new user has problems with Max (and subsequently apps that run in Max) he or she may easily--although incorrectly--see this as a problem with the device itself.

  • as i recall now, i didn't have much trouble starting out back in 2011. it was a little intimidating i remember, but at the same time extremely exciting. somehow i can't help to be very grateful that monome didn't shove a silver spoon in my a** back then. i mean the amount of stuff i've learned because of this box of buttons and the community. it's humungous.

    that said, i can understand that there might be a need for some kind of stronger clarification from official side simply to attune expectations.

  • This probably isn't very urgent because I don't think this would be for a first time user but it would be cool to see some tutorial max patches for creating max patches with the monome.

  • @raja if it makes you feel less lonesome, i'm not a white male either :)

  • thanks all for the continued stories and feedback. there's many uncomfortable truths and other questionable musings, all of which lead to a more comprehensive picture of how monome can improve the user experience. for this i am truly grateful.

    i do think it's counter-productive to make sweeping generalisations about the forum community, or the broader monome user community. specifically regarding gender & race, as it can reinforce the divide rather than remove it. stating that the monome community is a beginner oriented one could be insulting to some participants.

    it's important that we remain respectful to one another, even while airing our grievences.

  • "it's important that we remain respectful to one another, even while airing our grievences." agreed

    i find it interesting that some people felt this was more of an entry-level community

    ya'll are very welcoming but i sometimes feel/felt like the odd man out with regard to knowledge of computer music

  • @gli: Perhaps this is a common insecurity because I have absolutley felt this way too.

    After about 6 years in this community I finally feel I have been around the block barely enough to pay forward the knowledge I have accumulated, be it troubleshooting suggestions, patch modifications or just general conversation. Either way, if the community had not been there in some respect in 2008 I would have never have lasted with these devices because the documentation was even lighter then.

    I will say also, I have zero formal education in anything music, computer music. In fact zero formal education in general above 10th grade. Everything I have learned has been in the past 6 years starting from my first monome purchase. The openess of the device instantly made apparent my lack of understanding of things like MIDI messages, osc, routings, max/msp, etc. But I was interested in getting into the DEV side from the very beginning. There's a significant slice of the user community that does not have that interest.

    I think there could be some beneficial conversations to be had about writing style, particularly"tone" within documentation and tutorials. It may be important for non dev related documentation to be written from a specific perspective. IE: NOT the way DEVS and programmers usually speak.

  • @emergencyofstate
    i think your last paragraph makes a particularly important point. i started this thread thinking i had a pretty good hold on what needed to be done, only to have my views strongly challenged!

    in terms of my ability to write technically in an easily understood way, the aleph tutorials represent my most recent attempt. if those familiar think they are too technical or written with the wrong tone, then perhaps the call for community help is not because we don't have time for grid-based docs, but rather that someone else will do a much better job!?

    again, i think the best way forward is to point at particularly good examples of this. earlier the aalto manual was referenced, but personally i didn't love it (too long & simplistic for such a complicated beast). i appreciate this is due to my existing knowledge about the topics. would be great to figure a way to write a single manual that works for all knowledge levels so as not to triple the workload into 3 different docs.

    i agree that providing some resources for learning about more complicated computer music ideas / programs / techniques would be a nice (though lower priority) element to add alongside the setup docs.

  • I'm not sure if Lemur was mentioned previously, but it struck me this might be a good model to borrow some ideas from. I believe a year or so ago Lemur switched ownership/operations from Jazzmutent to Liine. I noticed a big support/documentation change for the positive when this happened.

    Anyway, visiting has a pretty friendly landing page for support. They seem to have a "video first" approach. I think the written doc is well organized as well. (

    I'll have to think a little more on the topic of tone and how that works in terms of workflow....

    1. high level monome dev provides outline or bullet list structure
    2. doc writer then creates full doc w/ tone, screenshots, links, etc. Shares back w/ devs
    3. Devs approve and send on to beta feedback in forum
    4. community accepts, publish that shiz!

  • @karaokaze that was said in jest

    i figured you'd get a kick out of it

    @eos good framework you have there

    problems may crop up but i like the flow of ideas

  • thank you for all of the responses-- just wanted to say that i've read everything here and these comments will shape our path forward. i'll comment on a few specific points when i have time.

  • "thank you for all of the responses-- just wanted to say that i've read everything here and these comments will shape our path forward. i'll comment on a few specific points when i have time."

    Hate to say this cause some really nice and helpful people here, but Tehn, you are really not helping yourself by not doing what you said you would. I know it’s tough when people tell you straight, but this thread and a lot of posts in this community do show a level of frustration by users and again I hate to say, but some arrogance from yourself.

    Not a peep from you in almost a month!

    You are clearly a clever passionate guy, but you seem to have problems following up on things. and thinking ahead. Too many delayed/botched efforts, such as the whole mess with serialosc/zeroconfig and messing people about with ever-changing protocols. I think the first guy who did the Serialosc was a total flake, and pissed off a lot of folks, the Galapagoose guy seems to be making an effort, but too little too late I think.

    Your art-school background shows I’m afraid. Nice first spark of creativity but poor at translating it for the masses to understand and use.

  • if it weren't abundantly clear i'm totally overwhelmed with far too much to work on. responding to hateful comments is hardly the top of my list and i shouldn't have made such a promise. i've instead been following up and working to remedy many of the issues brought up by the comments here. do you actually have a real suggestion of complaint? i see you didn't actually post prior on this thread.

    as for follow-up, i did actually follow up with jay gilligan, who made the most epic series of suggestions ever, in person.

    also, you may not have noticed-- we just posted the results of several months hard work that directly address many issues stated here.

    furthermore, trent (galapagoose) who thoroughly responded to comments here and started the thread to begin with is employed by monome. i feel i've made this clear several times. he's partially here to help manage the support load. he's doing a good job.

  • hey cz32u1dsa,
    tehn and plenty of others around here are always providing enabling support, insight and discussion. there's tons of joy to be had in monome-sphere without diving into the deep end of any hardware/software. if there's any specific problem that you are having, make or find a relevant thread and perhaps it will be sorted out. it's rather baffling how many ways there are to solve a given problem.

  • man.. how's this thread gonna end? :)

  • we created a forum so that people could gather and share their creations and ideas around something as simple and yet profound, as a box of buttons. (profound in that you are all here. participating.) it is amazing how many friendships we've formed with many of you who we've gone on to meet in person. we are grateful for this. inspired by the possibilities. and hopeful that these friendships continue to grow. thank you for sharing your concerns and suggestions, i am amazed at your generosity. time is precious.

    we take it all to heart, as we do with much else said here. but there comes a time when
    boundaries are really important. we create them so that we don't waste precious energy internalizing everything that people feel compelled to say about us- be it true statements or blatant presumptions. the past two years have been an eye opener in this regard. we accomplish more and remain focused on what matters most when we're not wrapped up in feeling the need to defend ourselves. we have had to re-evaluate how much time goes to monome, and how much time goes to the other things in life we value equally.

    it's too bad that some people cannot communicate grievances without making it a personal attack. without snide remarks, or generalizations, with a lack of concern for those that might take it to heart. we work hard at monome. sometimes i would argue, too hard. we have no illusions as to fame or fortune, neither are in our cards. we care about the things we make and we like to design tools that we can share with people who see a use for them. it's really that simple.

    i see no arrogance in prioritizing tasks in an effort to get the most of what we think will be valuable to others, accomplished. and we are not business people. if our art school background shows, that's because it's there. there's nothing we can hide in this regard.


    your convoluted arguments aside, this statement "brian and kelli are too secluded, busy, and sheltered, to properly create a 'culture'...). There is wayyyy more to culture and sub-culture than anything Brian or Kelli can ever accomplish focusing on these materialistic concerns of a business"

    has many presumptions and falsities. firstly, you know very very little about me. or my day to day. or what it is that i might actually do apart from monome. the fights i fight or the places i see. being a private person and being secluded are two entirely different things. my being busy is a constant engagement with what i make and the people i make it for, of my here and my often elsewhere. and as far as being sheltered, bite your fucking tongue. you have no idea.

  • A heap of mutilated corpses is my guess.

    For what it's worth I think that monome_sum goes a long way towards solving common newbie issues (and it's fun! ). I've been massively lucky as I've had no setup issues (monome and serialosc). Some individual apps can be troublesome but you've got to bear in mind that a lot of them are made by amateur programmers (amateur in the sense that the majority aren't dsp coders for a living, no offense intended) and are given away for free.

    I think that sometimes app documentation and demonstration videos can be a little obtuse / lacking in detail. I suppose this is where the community should step in and flesh out wiki pages etc although since taking on galapagoose this seems to have improved.

  • @raja

    "Do they only eat diced and cubed food?"

    i had tears in my eyes reading that was literally the last thing i was expecting to see next

    thank you for sharing your viewpoint + a few hearty lols

  • i have no direct response to the varied, strange and unexpected paths this thread has taken. but i do feel the need to throw in a vote of confidence.
    even with trying to get FTDI drivers working, delivery time issues (hello aleph :) ), the serialosc transition.. I've never felt so cared for by a 'manufacturer'.
    When I threw down the money for an Aleph last year a lot of my friends said
    'but you don't really know what it does, and they haven't even been built yet' ..
    I said
    'I know, but I trust these people, they'll make something amazing and support it like a child'

    (I never felt I really contributed much to the monome community, so I'm trying to change that with the Aleph by heavily documenting my learning so hopefully I can help when more people jump on the boat.. which they really should)

  • I knew this thread was going to be rough with that loaded question for the title.
    I have to say keep the personal stuff out of the threads.
    Kelli shouldn't have to be on the boards more for monome to work. That's a silly idea.
    Secluded, Busy and Sheltered!? I can only say they seem to be busy...I can reach them by email or PM here easily so I can't say anything about the other two accusations.
    I also got a lot of 'why not just buy a laptop' or 'It doesn't do anything yet' from my friends before the Aleph came. I've since used it in several sessions and recorded with it and enjoying it's deep system (Bees) already. I remember hearing the same questions when I first got into the monome but since artists like Daedelus rocks them out live people are more interested in it.
    I can say if this thread helped spur on the monome_sum app then it was all worth it.

  • indeed it's spurred (the completion of) monome_sum and much more to come.

    perhaps we're at the stage where this thread isn't productive any more? it seems so far off topic & personally heated that i can't see any good coming from it.

    if people want to continue here could we try and focus on actionable, fixable, improvable ideas rather than personal qualms. if you'd like to engage personal issues, i believe all of our emails are publicly available, or at the least start a specific thread addressing the specific issue for debate.

  • @raja - from my perspective as a fairly dispassionate observer, I think you've written things that are offensive and rude; specifically - your messages so far have called brian and keli
    "...too secluded, busy, and sheltered, to properly create a 'culture" and monome employees "...fucking stupid and cowardly". I think people are entitled to find that offensive and my advice to you would be to apologise. I don't want this community to be one where speaking about people in that way goes unchallenged.

    I also think that you contribute a massive amount to this community - you are generous with your time, programming ability and your wit; you are an incredibly gifted teacher - you know I think your max tutorial patches are amazing, I can't comprehend the time and attention you've put into them; and I'm sorry about the situation with your Dad; that sounds like an impossibly painful and heavy thing to be trying to deal with it.

  • this is now closed. thank you everyone who contributed.