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Sound installation automatic startup

December 13, 2011


I’ve just “unstalled” the sound installation Lines converging at a distance that has been running at Håkon’s Hall since early July this year.

Before handing the mac mini used for running it back to BEK, I want to make some notes to myself about how I set it up to have the installation run automatically when the Mac was booted in the morning (this was on a Mac running OSX 10.6, so location of settings might vary somewhat in later versions of the OS):

  • From System Preferences > Accounts > Login Options the Mac is set to automatic login at my account.
  • In System Preferences > Energy Saver computer sleep and display sleep isa set to “never” (instead the museum hosts were instructed to turn the monitor itself of after having booted successfully). The hard disk was set to sleep when possible. This setting might be checked or unchecked depending on whether files are played from disk or loaded into memory.
  • In System Preferences >Desktop and Screen Saver “Start Screen Saver” is set to “Never”.
  • Earlier on, in System Preferences > Accounts > My account > Login items I have added the Max patch used to run the installation. This time I got occational problems with the drivers for the external sound card not being finished loaded by the time Max started, and hence becoming unavailable to Max. For this reason I made an AppleScript, and loaded that instead. The AppleScript would wait for 30 seconds, and then open the Max patch. The script can be downloaded here. If you want to use it, you’ll have to modify it to fit the location of files on your Mac.
  • Finally the Max patch is set up to automatically instantiate itself and start running audio. Using Jamoma makes this so much easier, as all settings can be controlled using a cue script, providing complete control of the sequence of execution, with possibilities for pauses on the way to make sure that one task has been completed before the next one starts.
  • One additional issue deserves to be mentioned: In Max 5, if the sound card fails to load at some point, preferences gets overwritten and it will no longer be the default sound card in future boots. In my case instead the non-real-time renderer would be chosen, resulting in no sound. To prevent this, I added instantiation stuff to the patch to ensure that the external sound card was chosen.