a VJ’s joy of using PC – part 1

In my previous post i elaborated on my recent decision to switch from Mac to PC. Such drastic changes of course influence my work in various ways. Some things were expected, others surprised me. Of course i was aware of obvious things like suddenly having to deal with graphic card driver settings, not being able to use my beloved Mac VJ software (VDMX) anymore and losing out on technologies like syphon.

…then I got reminded of what it’s like, having to work on a Windows PC…

Using a windows machine, veejays get a completely different choice of software than in the Mac world. I decided to use Resolume, because I like the interface and the overall look and feel of it. I tried Arkaos GrandVJ and it just didn’t feel right. I tried Livid Cell and closed it after a minute.

The Resolume setup was straight forward and it works incredibly fast on my machine…until i tried mapping my MIDI controller to the software…

WTF #1: I connected my M-Audio Trigger Finger that had served me so well in the last years to the computer, expecting it to work rightaway. Error message: “the USB device cannot be recognised.” Fine – i am on Windows 8 and it’s a fairly dated controller, so the system probably just wants drivers. I found the drivers on their website, installed them – no result, same error. I started plugging the Trigger Finger to all the USB ports I have, including the one on the side of my attached USB Apple keyboard – and….what? Windows detected it and installed the drivers automatically! But i got another error message: not enough power on the USB port. I plugged it back directly into the computer – “device not detected.” Eventually i plugged a small USB hub and attached the Trigger Finger to that – and it works! WTF? On Windows 7 and 8 it doesn’t work plugged directly, but only via a hub. Does anyone have a logic explanation for that?

WTF #2: Resolume saw my MIDI controller, so i put it in MIDI mapping mode to assign my knobs and buttons to different functions. It worked on two buttons and then Resolume just froze. I tried it over and over, with several restarts, but it always froze. I even tried it with Resolume 3 and with a cracked Resolume 4 Arena version – same thing. In fact, with any kind of mapping mode enabled, Resolume dies. I was lost. I even tried to edit the XML files by hand to assign MIDI to Resolume, but I stopped, because that couldn’t be the solution. I started to think about 32bit Software vs. 64bit Operating System. Maybe that’s it! Or maybe it’s just Windows 8. I rummaged through my shelves to find a Windows 7 Ultimate installation CD and went through the whole setup process on a secondary partition. After all the painful driver installations for my ThinkPad were done, i installed Resolume 4. I entered MIDI mapping mode and YESS!!! it works……….for a minute, then it freezes. Same problem. I figured it must be my hardware. The most probable thing might be the NVIDIA Optimus switchable GPU magic. I rebooted, force switched the notebook in BIOS to only use the NVIDIA K2000M adapter, restarted twice until Windows understood that the intel onboard HD graphics adapter is gone, and tried again in Resolume. BAM! It all works fine and smoothly now. Including being able to map my MIDI…

…it just took around 7 or 8 hours to just connect a fucking MIDI controller to my computer and map it to my software. SRSLY????? It would have taken 4 to 5 minutes on my Mac……………but let’s not think about that.

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…at least i learned something about my system! priceless!

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