MAX6: We Gettin’ Technical up in Here

Max6. Is it a person? A robot? A new dubstep song? Well, it actually could be related to the last one. Max6 is a program we learned about in our digital history class that allows you to create a page that will make different sounds, visuals, or other technological things. From our two classes, my knowledge on the program is still a little limited, but I’ll give you what I’ve got.

For those of you who watched the video, that’s what Max6 can do. It’s a program that allows you insert images, sounds, and other exciting things onto a “patch” to tell a story, play a game, make a virtual exhibit- so many possibilities!

Or so they say. But, unlike the people in the video who make it look so easy, I have to tell you, Max6 is definitely NOT what’s inside my head.

As our valiant leader, professor Bill Turkel, led us through a tutorial on the program, I felt like Neville Longbottom in a potions class. Students around me were playing with the program like it was a natural thing they’d been doing their whole lives, while I stared in wonder at my computer screen and tried not to break anything.

But before I turn you off of the program, I should add I still left the class with a feeling of immense excitement at the possibilities Max offered.

We started by learning the basics: different commands to create buttons, toggles, notations, LEDs, how to change the colour of things and where to look for help. Then we began building.

Just the beginning

This is an example of what the program can do at the very basic level. Essentially, we made it so those green lights flash when you click on the numbers above it. Sounds simple? Well can YOU make things flash green on your computer screen??! Probably.

BUT! Can you do this??!:

Oh, now we’re getting fancy.

Yes? Oh. Well. My mind was blown. With this patch, you click a button, random piano notes are played FROM THE COMPUTER! That’s right. There was no piano in the room! I know, right!? With this, you can also adjust different numbers to change the speed and pitch of the notes.

This was the final thing we learned in this enlightening class. Could I reproduce this alone? Probably not. In fact, I know I can’t because I tried later that night. The concepts of creating different commands and putting them together seems easy enough, but without Bill’s wise tutorials, I would be lost on where to go next and would most likely be found muttering into my computer, wearing a tinfoil hat.

We are learning more about the program next semester in Bill’s digital exhibits class. I can only hope I learn to conquer the Max dragon. It’s going to take a lot of patience, and even more chocolate.


The Wonderful World of Cataloguing

I know! You’ve ALL been wondering and asking and pondering this very important question: Just how DO museums keep track of all their items?!?!?!?

Well ask no more! Because I am here to save the day and bring you answers. Sighs of relief all around.

This week, at Fanshawe Pioneer Village, I took a break from data entry on PastPerfect┬áto learn how to catalogue items that are ready to go into the collection. But! Before I was allowed to go near actual items of value, I had to learn the labelling process. Read on to learn how to get crafty with YOUR historical items…

And the cataloguing begins!

Behold! My table of supplies! I was given a number of different writing tools:

So many pens!

All my writing tools… There’s even a “quill” (a fountain pen)

And was told to go crazy testing them out on different surfaces. But first! you take clear nail polish and put a little line of it somewhere relatively hidden on your object. I recommend the bottom, or under a lip, or some other tucked away area. If your item is a darker colour, you can use a white ink “Gelly Roll” pen, or white nail polish and black ink. HOWEVER. White nail polish stands out quite vibrantly, and the Gelly Roll pens were not my favourite writing tool because they were blotchy and took a while to dry.

Testing out the different pens. I haven’t tried the “quill” yet, though. I was saving that for last!

THE QUILL! It’s actually india ink and I dipped the nub into it to write.

I tested the pens on different surfaces to compare how they write and then waited for the ink to dry a bit before putting another coat of nail polish on top. The nail polish really ensure the accession number (the series of numbers used to catalogue an item) sticks to the artifact. If you get TOO excited and put the next coat on too quickly, you end up with something like this:

See how some of the numbers are a little smudged? I didn’t wait long enough before adding the top coat. Oops… Clearly I don’t paint my nails often enough.

Once I had practiced, I decided I liked the india ink the best, not just because I felt like I was at Hogwarts, doing my potions homework with a quill, but it smudged the least and allowed me to write in the smallest font.

Now I was ready to move onto real artifacts!

My first label!

And there you go!

The only problem with getting crafty…