IxD and Assistive Technology at UNSW Art & Design




I certainly don’t have an abundance of time on my hands, so exactly why I’m creating seemingly pointless MaxForLive devices is a mystery. Though maybe not entirely: I actually really enjoy playing around in Max. There’s an immediacy that you can’t get from compiled coding languages, and a real sandbox feel to being able to plug all kinds of things into each other and just hope for the best.

For the twitterSpeak device, I started out writing my own Java external to search Twitter, before finding someone else had already done it. And thankfully, someone else had also done the heavy lifting by getting OS X’s VoiceOver utility to read text in a Max patch too. So really all I did was combine them both. The tricky part was getting the sound into Live (as opposed to playing as a separate system sound), so that you can start doing fun things with the voice. Otherwise, there’s no real point, right?

Fortunately, someone else had already done the work there, too. Soundflower is a Max application that can route sound between softwares in pretty much any way you can imagine. I’d come across it before, but never really found a need for it. This opens a few doors in terms of grabbing audio from other places, like DVDs. It works like a charm.

So what did I code myself? Not much really. I just poked around and plugged things into each other until they did something interesting. I’m sure there’s a more elegant solution and I’d be very interested to see what others come up with by poking around in twitterSpeak. Download it here.

To run twitterSpeak, you’ll need OS X, the very excellent searchtweet and aka.speech Max objects and Soundflower.

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