[PD] segmented patchcords (was Re: PD & MAX)

Hans-Christoph Steiner hans at eds.org
Thu Dec 6 17:36:59 CET 2007

On Dec 5, 2007, at 12:45 PM, B. Bogart wrote:

> Ah segmented patch coords again.
> How about a real solution to the problem of routing objects in  
> diagrams?
>  In PD this could mean a few things:
> 1. Best patching practise!!! Often you can choose not to overlap  
> objects
> and connections just by arranging objects as the connections force you
> to, which gives you the valuable side-effect of having the position of
> object show the flow of the patch more clearly.
> 2. Empirical tests have shown that curved (spline) connections between
> nodes are actually the best way to make them easier to follow, so yay
> for spline/curved connections and nay for segments! (See p193, figure
> 6.8 in "Information Visualization: Perception for Design" by Colin  
> Ware.)

This is the kind of stuff I am trying to get at.  I think that there  
is a lot that we can do with Pd to make it feel a lot more natural.   
I really want to get into how humans are wired to perceive the world,  
and try to reuse some of that existing circuitry to communicate  
aspects of Pd on a really low level, like unconscious.

For example, you don't need to think about it to know that you see  
something moving.  You can actually get substantial amount of data  
about a moving object without even being conscious that you paying  
attention to it.  There is a ton of circuitry in the brain that is  
constantly processing the input from all of the senses, and only a  
minute fraction of that information is ever brought forth to your  
conscious mind.  The key part is that you are not ignoring that data,  
but processing it in the background.  You don't need to be  
consciously listening to all sounds to hear your name being called.

I'm going to get that book from the library now, if anyone else knows  
some good materials on applying knowledge of persception to design,  
please let me know!  I haven't found many good resources.  Lots of  
ideas and attempts, but very few clear concepts or even examples.


> 3. I noticed the new inkscape has some very fancy graph drawing
> features, one of which is the ability to tell connections to
> automatically route around nodes. They are not curved, but the idea  
> of a
>  PD where connections simply avoid objects themselves has a lot of
> potential.
> Of course I'm not saying adding the choice is necessarily a bad thing,
> but the real question is what nurtures best practise? That remains  
> to be
> seen, but I'd be very surprised if segmented connections were it.
> .b.
> marius schebella wrote:
>> segmented patchcords can make patches less readable, but most of the
>> time they make patches more readable, and that is when you use so  
>> many
>> unsegmented cords that they hide the objects. also when you want to
>> connect an object at the bottom of the patch to an object at the top,
>> then you can lay the cord at the outside of the patch to make the
>> ~feed-back.
>> you don't want patchcords in situations where it is not clear anymore
>> which cord is going where.
>> a big problem in max is that there is no undo for segmented  
>> patchcords.
>> once segmented, you can only delete them and redraw to make them not
>> segmented. that might be one of the new features of max 5... as  
>> well as
>> the infinite number of undos. (true?)
>> marius.
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