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For Software Addicts: Yes!MaybeNah!
Mars Report:

Cycling ‘74: An Amazing Non-Company And Its Amazing Creative Toolsets

Published December 2nd, 2006
Cycling '74: Max/MXP and Jitter and More I've just spent an hour or so reading through the Cycling '74 website... led there by a new $10 software product I had downloaded, which was including the Cycling '74 Pluggo runtime. I wanted to know what Pluggo was... and learned more than I expected to! Cycling '74 is also the source of the free Soundflower extension, which iShowU utilizes to let you record system audio. It turns out that Cycling '74's main products are Max/MSP and Jitter, which together form an environment for visual, interactive programming of audio, visual, and multimedia instruments, music, and art. Yes... their products appear to enable those inclined to tinker with audio and visual arts a broad set of tools to unleash their creative urges. The tools aren't cheap... a bundle of Max/MSP and Jitter costs $850... but if you're a student, you can access the entire range of Cycling '74's amazing utilities for only $59 for 9 full months, and the regular student price is about half that for everyone else. I'm going to encourage my son to give that a try and see if he can figure out how all this works. If he does, $39 of that amount can be credited towards an eventual license purchase.

I've downloaded a range of these tools but a not going to attempt to "review" them. Each can be used freely for 30 days and comes with demos and documentation. Max was originally developed for the Mac, and Cycling '74's entire product line now runs on Mac and Windows. Besides Max/MSP and Jitter, I also downloaded the full Pluggo software as well as Hipno, another set of audio effects plugins.

One of the things that intrigues me most about these products is the company itself. When asked in their FAQ's what their mission statement is, here's what they say:

Our mission is never to have, or need, a mission statement. "The software is the mission statement," is the mission statement we might have, but since we don't have a mission statement, it isn't our mission statement.
Now, that's a company that's going to make great products... you just know it!
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