A Poor Man's Optimus Mini
December 7, 2006 10:56 AM   Subscribe

I want to use a cheap MIDI controller—for launching programs, not playing music.

For example, I'd like to buy an AKAI MPD16 and map each button to an action: launch E-mail, start an SSH session, etc. I just need some software that listens to MIDI messages and performs actions as configured. Willing to get creative with this. Looking primarily for Windows solutions, but am interested in Mac and Linux as well.
posted by rossmeissl to Computers & Internet (9 answers total)
PS, I know about the CO2 MIDI Launcher. It's unfortunately Mac-only.
posted by rossmeissl at 10:57 AM on December 7, 2006

Not midi, but this sounds like what you want.
posted by terpia at 11:08 AM on December 7, 2006

I've been using Quicksilver (Mac only), which is the most useful program I have on my machine. It allows you to invoke actions or series of actions with the keyboard, which sounds a bit obtuse, but is actually amazing in practice; one of the chief functions for which I use it is launching programs. It is not at all a MIDI controller, but with it you can set keyboard triggers to do pretty much anything that Quicksilver can do. I have reconfigured my F-keys so now F1 focuses on Finder, F2 -> Mail, F3 opens weatherchannel.com to my zip code, etc. It's incredible, and has the added benefit of being right on the keyboard so I don't need a second set of controls.
posted by The Michael The at 11:08 AM on December 7, 2006

I'm guessing you can get something for quite a bit cheaper than $100 for a glorified number pad. See if you can get a USB number pad and map actions to those keys.
posted by devilsbrigade at 11:39 AM on December 7, 2006

I was thinking the same thing as terpia. Here are some more. Unless there's a specific reason that you're thinking of using midi, perhaps?
posted by GeekAnimator at 11:42 AM on December 7, 2006

I have access to a bunch of old MIDI controllers and thinking about making holiday gifts out of them. These programmable keypads are great, though. Thanks!
posted by rossmeissl at 11:49 AM on December 7, 2006

Along the programmable keyboard lines, this is interesting.
posted by rossmeissl at 11:58 AM on December 7, 2006

Some options are bomes, midi ox, or midipipe (warning, embedded audio). The first two are windows, the third os x. Also, there is always max and pd.
posted by advil at 12:02 PM on December 7, 2006

I just found this, and I think it might have what you're looking for.

From the article:
"Midi Translator is a powerful addition to your midi kit, allowing you to translate midi messages into different midi messages, qwerty key presses (control non-music apps with midi controllers), or to stop them completely.

(emphasis mine)

It looks like both the classic and the have the functionality you're looking for. Unfortunately neither are free.

I have to say, though, that I haven't used this software so I'm not sure how well it will work, but it seems to do what you're looking for.

posted by lekvar at 8:35 PM on December 7, 2006

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