Friday, 23 November 2007

Reflections on the release of noatikl V1 and liptikl V1…

Well, it has been quite some year for Tim and me! The year of intermorphic. :)

Since our previous employer went down the pan, we’ve taken the opportunity to kick-off intermorphic, accepting the challenge we set ourselves to “do it all again, only better”. Its funny how life turns out, losing our jobs was the catalyst to “go for it” with intermorphic…

Looking back, we’ve taken on an almighty task. We’ve created two completely new products from scratch. They are cross-platform, Windows and Mac. We created them in double-quick time. They’re solid, good looking. Innovative. Different. And powerful! We’ve created a new site, with a fresh new style, written masses of documentation, and have even created a load of video tutorials. I think we’ve got a lot to be proud of.

Why did we create liptikl first? Well, this was partly because we thought it *could* be done and because I figured it’d be nice (ha!) to get started on something very new to us, and that we could cut our teeth on with the new development frameworks and design principles we’d adopted. I hope you can imagine how exciting it was for me when Tim sent me the first lyric he’d created with liptikl, I figured it was a verse from Shakespeare… and then he told me he’d created it in a few seconds with liptikl by mangling-together some words he’d found on the net :) . We knew we were really on to something, and once we’d got liptikl sorted we felt ready to start on noatikl…

noatikl was an unbelieveably challenging piece of software to create. We had the advantage of knowing exactly what we wanted to create, having learned our lessons in past lives (!) about exactly how users wanted a generative music tool to work and integrate with their own tools. But… that made it hugely daunting … how could a small company like us create such a thing totally from zilch, and include a standalone version, as well as a raft of plug-in variants, all focused on MIDI, and working wherever our users wanted within the vast range of Mac and Windows sequencers? Big challenge - the key was not to be daunted, but to start with the right tools (the exact same ones that we used for liptikl, we’d looked ahead very carefully!), and just plug-away without looking down off the tightrope. The past few months have been a blur, but here we are, we’ve done it and frankly it works beautifully, just like we wanted. Maybe even better! Our Beta users spotted very soon how solid the software was. Our decision to focus on pure MIDI was totally vindicated. The UI approach we’d adopted worked a treat. And with some massaging of the software, we suddenly integrated beautifully with Logic. Then with Cubase and Sonar. Bliss - it works!

Actually, getting noatikl working well with the various plug-in formats, and standalone mode, isn’t something I’d want to have to go through again :) but here we are, we’ve done it. The future now lets us focus on concentrating on the guts of noatikl and liptikl, making them as powerful and easy to use as possible, without our having to worrry any more about integration or cross-platform issues. And hopefully to bring-out new generative tools like optikl, where we can leverage yet more of the experience we’ve built-up.

A big “thank you” to our Beta testers to helping us find the way through the product development maze. An especially big thanks to Mark Harrop, who has been *immense*. Big ups too to Tim Didymus (generative music master!) and Ken Mistove for his top VSTi tips.

I can’t wait ’til you all start using the software, and hope you’re as excited as Tim and me to be at the start of what will be hopefully a huge generative tools success.

Have fun!


Monday, 13 August 2007

Getting Mac OS X 10.4.9 on to my old iMac G3 350...

I thought I'd save some of you time and tell you how I got Mac OS X 10.4.9 installed on my old iMac G3 350 (which we're using for testing noatikl and liptikl, as a low-end Mac platform).

The problem is that the old Mac only ran Mac OS 10.3.x, and I wanted to install Mac OS X 10.4.x ... and upgrade the memory and the hard drive.

However, Mac OS 10.4.x comes on a DVD, but this old Mac only has a slot-loading CD-ROM drive that cannot read the Mac OS install DVD! Also, the Mac has very little memory to start with (64 MB!) and, to crown it all, only had a puny 8 GB hard drive!

The steps I followed are given here. Note that you *could* instead return your DVD media to Apple and exchange for CD-ROM copy, but that would cost you around 10 pounds and that is money which would be better spent IMO towards a DVD-ROM drive that you can use from more than one computer. But that is just my opinion!


  1. Get yourself a larger replacement IDE drive! An old Mac like this can't read *really* big drives, so I got an 80 GB IDE/ATA drive for around 25 pounds from ebuyer.

  2. Get yourself a USB-2 IDE/USB adaptor! I got mine for around ... guess what... 25 pounds from the local Maplin. We use this to connect to both our new hard drive (if you want to back-up your data via another Mac, for example) and the DVD-ROM drive.

  3. Get yourself a basic ***INTERNAL*** IDE/ATA DVD-ROM drive! (Yes, INTERNAL!) I got mine for around 25 pounds from the local PC world, going relatively cheap. Internal drives are a lot cheaper than external drives, and I use the IDE/USB adaptor to connect this drive temporarily *externally* to the Mac via the USB/IDE adaptor (see later!)

  4. Get yourself some more RAM! I got two 128 MB memory chips from a couple of old PCs, or you could buy what you need from e.g. ...

Install the RAM upgrade

  1. Take-out your old RAM, and upgrade it!

  2. Verify your Mac reboots with the upgraded RAM!

Upgrade your Hard Disk

If you have a spare Mac with enough disk-space (!)

  1. Take-out your old hard drive from your iMac. You'll find-out how to do this through google.

  2. Plug-in your old drive Mac to the IDE/USB adaptor, to your other Mac...

  3. Use the wonderful "Super-Duper" program to copy the contents of your old drive to space on your other Mac

  4. Plug-in your new drive, formated it with a suitable partition using Disk Utility, and use SuperDuper to copy the backup data on to the new drive ... again, using the USB/IDE adaptor.

  5. Plug-in your new drive back into your old Mac, and verify that it still boots up!

  6. Plug-in the "internal" DVD drive to your old Mac, using the IDE/USB adaptor. :) It'll make sense when you try it. Insert your Mac OS DVD. Hold down the "option" key when rebooting as the start-up bong plays, and you will soon be given the option to boot-up from the DVD drive. Install Mac OS!

If you do NOT have a spare Mac...! ...

  1. Take-out your old hard drive from your iMac. You'll find-out how to do this through google.

  2. Plug-in your new drive back into your old Mac

  3. Plug-in the DVD drive to your old Mac, using the IDE/USB adaptor. Insert your Mac OS DVD. Hold down the "option" key when booting as the start-up bong plays, and you will soon be given the option to boot-up from the DVD drive. Install Mac OS!

  4. Turn-off your Mac. Plug-in your old drive to your Mac via the IDE/USB adaptor. Restart your Mac. You'll see the your old drive appear on the desktop as an icon. Copy-across whatever data you want to restore form your old Mac drive to your new Mac drive... being careful not to overwrite anything you shouldn't!

That is "all" there is to it! Don't blame me if this steps don't work! ;)

Good luck,


Wednesday, 20 June 2007

noatikl and Plug-in formats

Our biggest challenge with noatikl is that there are so many plug-in formats, each of which behaves differently on different platforms. noatikl is a MIDI-based generative music engine, and therefore needs to emit (and respond to) MIDI events. However, each sequencer requires a slightly different variant of plug-in!

Just as well that the Juce toolkit isolates us from a lot of this craziness!

Cubase SE - noatikl is deployed as a VSTi, or as a MIDI Effect written using the VST Module Architecture SDK. The output from this is fed-in to your favourite VSTi to render the MIDI events using the sounds you want.

Cakewalk Sonar Home Studio - noatikl is deployed as a VSTi, or as a MIDI Effect written using the DXi/MFX format. The output from this is fed-in to your favourite VSTi to render the MIDI events using the sounds you want.

Reaper - noatikl is deployed as a VSTi plugin, as Reaper does not support MIDI effects, but can instead route MIDI events generated from the noatikl VSTi plugin into other VSTi synthesizers.

Logic (for Mac) - now I know this might sound odd, but Logic simply doesn't support MIDI event generation by any Audio Unit plug-in. This is apparently addressed in Mac OS 10.5 ... Even the intent Sound System (that I wrote for the now-defunct Tao Group, as a fully-featured integrated audio platform for mobile phones running the intent platform) supported both MIDI and audio plug-ins. On mobile phones! So to use Logic with noatikl, you need to use the standalone version of noatikl and route the data via the IAC ports. This solution actually works very nicely, we've put some nice tutorial videos our our site showing how to do it.

intermorphic - creating a new family of tools

We've been very busy recently, starting to create a whole new range of tools for intermorphic...

Our site is

The biggest buzz is having a completely clean slate to dream-up a new set of tools that we'd really like to use ourselves!

The first one, liptikl, came out of a conversation I had with Tim, where he'd been complaining how difficult he finds to write lyrics for his songs. I said "Tim, you do realise that we could create a generative tool to help you do that?". After a furious round of prototyping and experimenation, we knew we were on to something!

The second one, noatikl, is a totally obvious one for us to do; a new generative music system for a world where the Koan Music Engine (created by Tim and me) is no longer available. With noatikl, we're starting again from a completely blank slate, focused on creating a range of generative music tools in plug-in form that can be used the desktop tool sequencers that everybody in music uses these days. Generative music is here to stay!

The third one, optikl, is something we've been aching to do for a very long time now, which is a very interesting (and entertaining!) light synthesizer...

One thing that is making this a whole lot easier than back in the days of SSEYO, is that we're writing all the user interfaces using the wonderful Juce application development framework. This lets us write an application GUI once, and then have them run on any supported platform simply by recompiling! Yes, all our new tools will run on a range of platforms including Windows XP/Vista and Mac OS X. And even Linux if we want!

Not only does Juce let us write cross-platform applications with a beautiful look-and-feel, but it lets us write them five times faster than any other toolkit we've used for either Mac or Windows. Not only that, but it lets us write cross-platform audio plug-ins using the same framework. And more: all of the user interface components that we create (like sliders and what have you) can be re-used across our entire tool range!

It is really liberating to have this opportunity to create a vibrant, exciting range of tools, using novel generative technology, in a cross-platform way with a totally up-to-date look and feel. Marvellous!

Sunday, 11 February 2007

MacBook hard drive and memory upgrade

Boy, that was fun. Upgrading a Mac Book memory - and the hard drive - yech!

I wanted more memory so I can run the excellent Parallels Desktop for Mac, as well as play with various music tools on the Mac.

Yes folks, just the one, small Intel x86 MacBook with its awesome battery life, and running both Mac OS X and Windows XP at the same time, debugging code on both without any problems whatsoever. Apart, that is, from the strange keyboard mapping when in Windows XP on Mac OS (all sorts of keys useful for programming aren't mapped properly - which gets confusing!)...

Anyways, here are some upgrade tips:

Before you start, take a look at how to take the back off your Mac Book, through this video of taking the memory and hard drive out of your MacBook... excellent!

Before you start to install your memory upgrade (or the hard drive upgrade), you'll first need a Phillips No. 0 screwdriver. Don't bother even getting started without one of these! I upgraded the RAM in my MacBook from the measly 512KB (made up of two 256KB units ... why do Apple provide such a pathetically small amount of memory on a standard MacBook?) to the maximum 2GB (made up of two 1GB units).

If you want to upgrade the hard drive, you'll also need the right size of Torx screwdriver (get a set of the small ones!) or you won't be able to take the hard drive out of its mounting bracket (and fit the replacement into the bracket... before putting the thing back in!).

Oh, and the SuperDuper! software is fabulous/essential for first backing-up your hard drive. I found that I in addition to my new Seagate Momentus 120GB drive (to replace the Seagate Momentus 60GB that was pre-installed in the MacBook), I also needed a SATA to USB adaptor so that I could copy-across the data from the drive in the Mac to the new drive ... I got this one which seemed to do the trick. Oh, and as this was a MacBook upgrade, I was very careful to get a 2.5" SATA drive... and why don't Apple fit a bigger drive as standard so I didn't have to upgrade the drive in the first place?!

Basically, in order to do the upgrade, I first plugged the new drive into the SATA to USB adaptor, then plugged this into my Mac Book. I used SuperDuper to copy the data (after a couple of attempts... the first try hung-up!) from the hard disk in my MacBook to the new disk. Next, I restarted my Mac pressing Opt when restarting to give me the option of which drive to boot from (the internal one, or the newly copied external one). Note: the Opt key on my MacBook is the one between the ctrl key and the key with the Apple logo on it... why Opt isn't written on the key is a good question! Anyways, that allowed me to do a test boot from the external hard drive before replacing the internal one with the new drive.


I hope this info is of some use!

Sharing a Mac OS X external USB hard drive with Windows XP

I've been looking for a way to have easy-to-use add-on hard drive storage that could be shared easily across my home network between both Mac and Windows machines.

And the good news is that if, like me, you want to share your Mac OSX external USB Hard Drive with your Windows XP computer (and, for that matter, any other Macs on the network), it is pretty easy ... once you know what to do!

First, you need to get SharePoints and install it to your Mac. When you configure SharePoints, add your USB drive and give it a name like "My USB Drive". Remember to enable SMB file sharing (this is the Samba protocol that allows your PC to see the software; your other Macs can use it too).

Right, now that is done, how do you actually see the drive ? Easy!

Mac: Finder: Network ->; Workgroup -> (your Mac computer name) -> press the Connect button.

You'll be presented with this message "Select the SMB/CIFS shared volume you want to connect to". Select the one called "My USB Drive". You will need to enter your user name / password. An icon representing the drive then appears on your Mac desktop! You can drag this icon to your Trash to Disconnect the drive.

Windows XP: Windows Explorer -> My Network Places -> Entire Network -> Microsoft Windows Network -> Workgroup -> (your Mac name!) ->My USB Drive. You will need to enter your *Mac* user name / password. Sorted!

There you go, as easy as you like. Follow this advice and you should be able to get a cheap USB hard drive, plug it in to e.g. a Mac mini, and use that as a cheap, shared file storage device in your local network for e.g. backing-up photos (or code!) or as a common place for storing/streaming your MP3 files and what have you.

Certainly a lot cheaper than buying an AirPort Extreme with AirDisk!

Now, can somebody please tell me why the functionality in SharePoints isn't built-in to Mac OS X?

One more comment: I strongly recommend that you connect two USB drives, and configure them as a RAID array (in a RAID 1 mirrored configuration - see for more information). This is really easy on a Mac, as it has software RAID built-in. Having such a RAID array has already saved my bacon once, when one of my cheap USB drives failed on me a few weeks ago. Have a look at the USB Floppy Disk Striped RAID for a fabulous example of how easy it is to build RAID arrays on any Mac!

miniMIXA mixing grooves live (who needs a mixing deck?!)

Folks, here is a video of miniMIXA being used to lay down some cool grooves at SYPC!!

... and here is the link!

Welcome to my blog!

Hi folks.

If you're wondering who I am, I'm Pete Cole, one of the co-founders of SSEYO (which I founded with my brother Tim Cole - AKA Colartz).

We founded SSEYO to create the Koan generative music software. SSEYO got acquired by Tao Group, to develop for them the amazing intent Sound System (iSS) audio framework for Tao Group's intent operating system.

These days, we're focused on creating the most amazing media creation software for mobile devices - something we call miniMIXA.

We're also going to be building new generative software at Intermorphic ... so for those of you wondering about the power of generative art and generative music, check-out the Intermorphic website at!