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Watchdog card for Max patches

2004-11-10

Last fall I was participating in a workshop on sound installations in Oslo. Tim Place wrote a summary of what was going on. One of the presentations was by Sigurd Saue of the Norwegian company Soundscape. Soundscape has been involved in the technical development of a number of permanent sound installations and interactive sound solutions for museums around Norway during the last years. Most of them depends on Csound running on either a Windows system or Linux.

During his presentation Sigurd emphasized the need for stability in this kind of long-duration installations and how to improve stability and reduce the need for maintenance. One of the solutions he particularly recommended was the use of watchdog cards for monitoring the computer and force a restart if the computer or the application froze or crashed.

I’ve never seen this topic touched on the Max mailing list so I asked for recommendations a while ago. I don’t get any recommendations back then and searching the net I didn’t immediately find any relevant products supporting Mac OSX (non-server) but I didn’t try that hard. Today Michael Zbyszynski is asking at the list if anyone has tried Kick Off. It sure looks interesting. Sophisticated Circuits also have a more advanced solution the PowerKey Pro Model 650.

It should be pretty straight forward to implement Max support for Kick Off. Kick Off can be controlled by means of a simple Apple Script. TapTools provides support for Apple Script in Max so this should be really easy.

If I can get it in time it would be interesting to test for the upcoming Electrohype exhibition. The installation is going to run for 8 weeks so stability will be an important issue.

Update: It’s expensive though. In Norway it’s available through Officeline and the price is close to NOK 2500 -.

:-(

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