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After having a go with the MYOs in our lab and compiling some C++ code for Atau and Miguel for the Metagesture project, and, having been involved on the 24h hackthon in Sonar 2015, which had “Wearables” for its main topic, all this brought all the motivation that I had around 2007 to do some serious hacking in this field. At the time I had just beginning to write my master thesis in mobile and ubiquitous computing, and one of the ideas that I had was to develop a bracelet that connected through Bluetooth, was localisable and had big array of sensors that I could measure and do some data mining on. So, more that seven years passed, here we stand now with the Smart Watch from Apple and the Band from Microsoft, amidst others. So I decided to give myself a treat for my birthday and buy one Microsoft Band to hack.

The initial setup wasn’t as trivial as I expected… I was doing it late in the night, was tired, my Windows 8.1 phone was almost out of battery, and only charged the Band for about half-an-hour. I got it to pair with my phone but connection didn’t last. And the Health app seemed to do nothing about that. Spend almost 30m trying to work it out without success. Being both a Microsoft and Apple consumer and developer, I must confess that the recurrent thought that builds on frustration came to my mind “Why doesn’t this work? If it was an Apple product this would have been a flawless process…”. Some reflections on this later on. But now in the morning, after devices were recharged during the night, restarting my smartphone, removing the previous Bluetooth pairing entry, everything seemed to work well. I would say it was all about the order of the steps in the pairing process, Health app initialization and connection. I am still not sure about what failed in the initial process, but I suspect you mustn’t pair the bracelet before launching the app.

Now everything is setup and about to do some more testing. Leaving for a bike ride and testing the tracking features ;)

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This week we had Kelly Snook, Tom Mitchell and Adam Stark visiting our research group and lab at Goldsmiths University of London. They are the team who made Imogen Heap‘s glove instrument, and they have brought a set gloves to show us. I had the pleasure to have a go with a pair of them, set up with Ableton Live, and controlling a fat synth bass with it! Amazing precision!

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My Apogee Duet finally arrived! I decided to take a chance in a second hand but apparently very well cared firewire version of this popular Apogee interface. Yesterday evening I arrived home from work, eager to give it a try out. Everything installed without any noticeable problem, I took a peek at the maestro software and raced towards iTunes and my favorite DAW software. Hooked up my headphones, it sounded very nice, indeed!

Today I was setting up my reference monitors and everything else to give it a second try, and… Surprise! The Maestro software no longer recognized the duet. Well, this must have been a bad installation, I thought. I decided to uninstall, and make a new fresh installation of the driver. After a couple of restarts, I faced the exact same problem.. Maestro wasn’t recognizing my Duet! It was working fine, I could change settings using the big Encoder button, but I could not access half of the functions provided by software. After this point I started to read every forum I could regarding this problem… which I wasn’t aware before buying it! Lot’s of stuff on the web, but no clear solution.

Apogee Duet (1st gen) on Lion 10.7 – **2 workarounds for devs/early adopters
Apogee Duet (firewire) on 10.7 Lion
Does Duet Still Function with Mountain Lion?
Apogee Duet (firewire) on 10.7 Lion
Duet troubleshooting….

After a few uninstall/install rounds, some of them with older driver versions, others with Duet 2 installation package, after checking all the installation bits in filesystem, console reports, killing the Apogee daemon service with Activity monitor, etc….  I decided to install the official and correct driver. But this time, based on some bits that I read, I decided to start the Maestro software from shell, with root privileges. Guess what.. Problem solved! I created an Apple Script app to set it up in a click. In case you find the same problem I’ll be providing the walkthrough soon.