Live IAC driver issues

This is just a little techy post for folks that use Ableton Live on an Intel Mac under Leopard (10.5). Just passing it on for the Google-bots – hopefully it’ll save someone a bit of grief…

I started getting major audio glitches the other night (not the good kind), and I couldn’t quite work out why.

I tracked down the problem to Apple’s IAC midi driver. I use the driver (which you can enable under Applications > Utilities > Audio & Midi Setup) to send midi notes from a track within Live to trigger a scene change.

When I enabled it on my MacBook I started getting major audio glitches in Live (6.0.10). After a bit of troubleshooting I worked out a configuration change in Live that (seems to have) resolved the conflict. A screenshot:

live-iac-config.gif

del.icio.us bookmarks (15-Jan-2008 through 10-Mar-2008)

  • DeviDoll – A UK-based fashion label with some nice mens shirts.
  • Mark Liu?s Zero-Waste Designs – "… Mark Liu, … ?zero-waste? fabric patterns and eco-designs that … waste not a scrap of fabric." This is one of the methods I see Soko Loko using design innovation to reduce costs – allowing more room for higher labour costs and organic materia
  • Luxury redefined – At a reported GBP120 – these are out of the ballpark for most folks.
  • Thinnovation: The MacBook Air – Treehugger reviews the environmentally friendliness of the new MacBook Air.
  • GM Banks on Coskata’s Cellulosic Ethanol Breakthrough – I think I’ve read about this process before – and it’s an exciting development. I was skeptical of biofuels as a solution before reading about this. “In initial [third party]tests … the ethanol generated 7.7 times the energy used to produce it”.

These links are automatically posted from my del.icio.us feed.

Leveling playing fields in the music biz

The Devoted Few recently finished their latest video-clip for their single, Don’t Listen to Us (which, incidentally, you can download from their website).

The clip captures moments from their recent touring and recording activities, and looks pretty cool. The band currently doesn’t have a label deal, despite getting high-rotation airplay on Triple J, and therefore they don’t have the budget to produce a video clip. (I still don’t get this: band that consistently gets good airplay and has done some amazing live dates supporting top-line acts like Eskimo Joe hasn’t received any bites from a major label? But I digress…)

So they turned to iMovie. Barry collated a bunch of footage captured on his personal digital video camera and pulled it into iMovie, then cut it to the track. The bridge section needed a little “something else”, so a friend helped them by pulling it into Final Cut Pro to do the 16 panel sequence that fills that spot. That’s the only sequence that wasn’t done on a basic G4 iBook and the free software that comes with it.

And the result is quite compelling. Sure, it doesn’t have fancy special effects, but it does capture the tone of the band, and is compelling enough to hold its own. Compelling enough for multiple spins on Rage, and hopefully jTV – Triple J’s digital TV channel (which also appears occasionally on free-to-air ABC).

So – let’s recap. They couldn’t get a label deal so released the single on the net and got high-rotation Triple J airplay. They didn’t have funding for a video clip, so they did it themselves using a video camcorder, an iBook (recently replaced in the Apple hardware lineup by the more powerful MacBook), and a bit of creativity – posted it on YouTube, and also had it played on free-to-air television.

As I understand it they are currently working out how they might fund their next long-player themselves also. Sure, it’s a lot of hard work. Sure, it would be nice to have the funding to get other people to do the job – more time to spend on creating music. But whereas these used to be barriers that couldn’t be overcome unless you had truckloads of cash, nowadays bands can do stuff on a shoestring and pull it off.

Anyways, enough philosophising on the power of digital and social media 😉 Give them a hand and go check out the clip, download the single, request it on Triple J’s Super Request and jTV.

Mac Office on 10.4 – font corruption issue

I just opened Word on my Mac at work (running Mac OS 10.4 aka “Tiger”) and it started complaining about a corrupt font during the font optimization process when starting up – then promptly crashed.

Google pointed me to this – but I found that using the free Linotype FontExplorer X to clear the system and application font caches (both options under the Tools menu) fixed the problem.

Just thought I’d share in case any of y’all run into the same issue…

mime_magic on Mac OS X

Propeller head alert: Most of you won’t be interested in this, but I had to get the mime_magic module working with Apache/PHP on Mac OS X 10.4 this morning, and thought I’d write up the steps.

The following steps require the XCode developer tools to be installed on your system (these are included on the Mac OS X install CDs). The steps also assume that PHP4.4.1 is installed (the default for 10.4.4+).

Apache

  1. Uncomment the following lines in /etc/httpd/httpd.conf
    LoadModule mime_magic_module libexec/httpd/mod_mime_magic.so
    AddModule mod_mime_magic.c
  2. Update the following section to reflect your system setup
    <IfModule mod_mime_magic.c>
    MIMEMagicFile /etc/httpd/magic
    </IfModule>

PHP

  1. Download the matching version of PHP for your system.
  2. Extract archive and go to the “/ext/mime_magic” in the extracted directory.
  3. Open terminal and run:
    phpize
    ./configure
    make
    make install
  4. Note down the installed directory
  5. Update extension_dir value to match installed directory – e.g.:
    extension_dir = "/usr/lib/php/extensions/no-debug-non-zts-20020429/"
  6. Add a section to PHP.ini containing:
    [mime_magic]
    extension=mime_magic.so
    mime_magic.magicfile = "/etc/httpd/magic"

    where “/etc/httpd/magic” matches your system setup
  7. Restart apache (using Sharing system preference pane)

Thanks to Andrew at RWTS for walking me through most of the above to get it running…

Update: Unfortunately this breaks when using PHP from the command line. Keeps complaining about:

NSLinkModule() error
Symbol not found: _OnUpdateString

Any thoughts much appreciated…

Update 01-Sep-2006: With some more help from Andrew I recompiled PHP (with mime_magic as a compile option) and the problem is resolved. Had issues with PEAR, but was able to resolve them using the PEAR bits of this tutorial (I had to run curl http://go-pear.org | sudo php).

It all seems to be working, but we’ll wait and see if anything else comes up…

Mac OS X 10.4.7

I eventually had to re-install 10.4.7 on the latest iMac (which works, finally) and had the same issues with Photoshop CS and the Microsoft Office suite that I mentioned previously.

I did a little digging, and this is only an issue for Intel-based machines. I also read on a forum somewhere that Apple had posted a patched version of the install. I went to the Apple website and downloaded this 10.4.7 update and reinstalled it over the previous 10.4.7 version.

Apart from a weird glitch late yesterday arvo, this seems to have fixed the problem. Just thought I’d share the solution in case someone else comes across this issue.

Mac woes continue

So – I took delivery of an iMac Intel 20″ for work, only to discover a display issue when the machine woke from sleep.

I took the machine in to be replaced and the fault magically disappeared – so I spent the next few days determining the steps to reproduce, when eventually, after a day without a machine, I received a replacement.

I think you can guess what happened next…

After a day the same fault appeared in this machine. After hours on the phone to Apple tech support, spending 2 hours re-installing the operating system, they finally threw their hands in the air and called it a hardware fault.

When I first called I sent them the discussion thread above, which was not added to their job system, so I’ve had to explain the fault about 3 or 4 times since.

This is the second machine with this fault, and yet Apple Australia can’t guarantee that they can replace the machine, or fix, without standard service center delays (which can be up to two weeks). This is because Apple’s structure in Australia means the retailers are separate companies and Apple can’t force them to replace a faulty machine or escalate support.

I’m now wasting another 30 minutes to an hour explaining things to the reseller (this is about the 6th time I’ve had to explain the fault and the steps that have been taken), then lose the machine for half a day or more while they confirm the fault again (because they have to prove the fault, even though Apple have already determined this), and then get a new one and hope that it doesn’t express the same issue…

Apple seem to think that this is acceptable from a customer service perspective. I’ve long said that Macs are great, when they work. But this is the BS that you have to jump through when something goes wrong. I estimate that I’ve lost about 3-4 days worth of productive time as a result of this.=, and every step I’ve had to fight to get a reasonable result (which usually means a day or two without a machine).

It’s absolutely ridiculous – and given I’m still having issues with .Mac synchronisation I feel like just giving up and buying a PC…

Nice to have working wifi again…

Yesterday I finally bit the bullet and updated my wireless router. Intermittent drop-outs, and a theory that my iMac wifi woes were partly related to my three year old Netgear router got the better of me.

I decided that I’d also try to get an all in one router/wifi/modem to remove the bunch of spaghetti in the lounge room where my ADSL connection is. I eventually settled on the Netcomm NB9W on the recommendation of my good friends John and Kris.

I’ve not been disappointed. Set-up was as easy as it gets. Having done a few of these kind of things before I didn’t need any assistance. If you’ve not installed and ADSL modem/router etc. you may need to check the manual first.

Once I got Ang’s iBook working on the wifi connection, I then set up my iMac. And I am happy to say that it seems that it’s all working perfectly (touch wood!).

Large downloads have been fine, and I’ve had no drop-outs or interference issues. Connecting from the iBook to the iMac for file sharing has shown no issues at all.

So, although the other macs I’ve been using have had no issues with my old router, it seems to be the culprit with the iMac. I’m just happy that I can browse again without the worry of timeouts and crashes, and that Ang and I can share files without having to connect via firewire.

Now, if only I could resolve those .Mac issues…