MojoPac


#1

[size=150]This is pretty neat sh*t here. [/size]

I’ve been trying to get Code::Blocks working properly with Juce but have been failing miserably at getting any juce apps to compile. The main reason I’ve been trying to do this is to get a [size=150]portable ‘dev studio’ on a USB drive[/size], so I don’t have to stop my coding efforts just because I’m not at my own computer.

Well [size=150]blow me down[/size] if I haven’t just discovered [size=200]MojoPac[/size]. Consider this a sort of juce-developer-focused review of it.

[size=200]What (tf) is MojoPac?[/size]

You install it on a USB drive, and it basically gives you a fresh installation of windows to run straight from it, within windows on the PC it’s plugged into. It’s like a virtual pc, except it uses windows gubbins from the host pc [so it has to be used on a windows XP computer], meaning that it doesn’t take up the sort of space it normally would. Hardly any, in fact. When you insert the drive, it loads up your virtual windows desktop, and gives you another taskbar along the top to switch between the host and virtual desktops.

[size=200]What’s it like?[/size]

I’ve got a cheap-ass 2Gb USB flash drive, which means that it’s pretty damn slow when doing reading/writing, and has limited space. The speed only drops when accessing files though - i believe it uses the host’s page file stuff for virtual memory (rather than the usb drive), which is a clever touch. Also, within the virtual setup, your USB drive is mapped as C:, and you don’t have access to the host’s drives. Perhaps that might be a pain, but you can simply switch to the host desktop, copy files onto the usb drive, and switch back and they’re all there; the drive is laid out just like a normal windows system drive (complete with program files, etc).

[size=200]What can you do with it?[/size]

I’ve installed Visual C++ express (needed to install the .NET framework too and both took ages), and the platform SDK (probably took ages too but i set it going before i went to bed). Even though it takes ages, it’s not too big a problem as you can switch back to the host desktop and carry on using your computer while it goes on in the background.

I’m just building Juce on it! Again, on my drive it’s incredibly slow, but it is indeed working! Far better than I could get code::blocks running.

The major downside to this though is that you need admin privileges on the hosting pc. That cripples my main purpose for the exercise, because i wanted to take it into work and code while i’m answering the phones :frowning: and the office pc has normal restricted user access. But, it’s still useful, as I can plug it into any of my flatmates’ laptops (they all have one, so there’s always two or three kicking around in the lounge) and do a spot of programming in the lounge with them instead of holed up in my room. Also, when I go to visit my family, I can just use my setup on their computer. It’s surprising just how light it is, as long as you have a speedy drive.

In case it’s of interest: I have installed VC++e, the .NET framework (came with VC++e), and a custom install of the PSDK (i unchecked components that weren’t needed to minimise the space it takes up). On my puny 2Gb flash drive, that left 400mb space to play with.

This sort of thing is really designed for USB hard drives, I’m sure. Apart from being faster, they’re bigger too. I think I’m going to go and grab one today. I need one anyway, but I really want to see how VC++ fares on a quicker drive. It could well be exactly what I’m looking for.

[size=200]Overall?[/size]

So, in a nutshell, it’s great, and it works. A portable personal system, acting just like any other windows installation, that you can take with you and use on someone elses computer. It has a 30 day/200 boot trial, and only costs [size=150]$49.99[/size] for a single user/single device license, and you don’t need to buy a new Windows XP license to be able to use it. And it works fine for Juce development [compiling slow in the background is better than waiting to get a chance to compile when you get home!].

If I pick up a USB external HD I’ll let you know how it goes. If anyone else finds this interesting and happens to have one to play with, let us know how it goes!


#2

UPDATE:

Well, i guess my excitement was a bit premature. So far I’ve not had any luck actually getting it working properly on my friends’ laptops.

One gets as far as loading VC++e, but the app fails to load because of some configuration problem (suggesting a reinstall). That was a MacBook running XP tho - perhaps the processor makes a difference?

Another (running some version of XP MCE) won’t even let me load mojopac - the ‘login’ button is greyed out. Hmmm, perhaps a MCE related issue?

The other one is running vista, which i know mojopac is incompatible with.

And my girlfriend’s one only has USB 1 ports, so it’s far too slow to even let me try to load vc++!

So now it’s far less exciting. I want to try it out on a normal XP but it’s harder to find a pc lying about with it on than i’d expected!


#3

Hi Haydxn

Keep us updated on this please, very interested in having something that would work like this.

On an unrelated issue: whatever happened to that Midi app you were working on. I saw it on KVR and thought it looked the dogs dangly bits, very cool…


#4

:smiley: thanks for the interest.

I stopped working on that because the patch recall stuff was really getting to me. I felt that the program couldn’t exist without patch recall, because it would be missing something critical. As it went, the patch recall thing proved to be the most complex problem to solve. You can read about why, and the steps it takes to try to solve all possible issues, somewhere on KVR (it was in my dissertation too!).

Anyway, I’ve since decided that it will still be great without patch recall; if you’re using MIDI hardware, you can just be prompted to save your patch in hardware before you quit. If you’re using a VST - well, your patch is saved with that anyway. I’ll just have it so that the controls appear as ghosts until you’ve tweaked them (until then, the software won’t know what value that parameter will have) from the moment you load a panel, or reload a song project. It will still be an ace tool!

I decided this, and was set on finishing it, before someone convinced me to work on a new project for the KVR developers challenge this year. I’m going to do that first, and then make this properly; a VST and standalone app with a custom front end (drag and drop knobs/sliders/etc) for generating MIDI for external synths/fx or VSTs. Well glider.

Soon. Keep reminding me.


#5

Ah…the good old KVR challenge (well, this is it’s second year so it must be considered a classic now). I had no idea you were in the comp’.

Good luck, looking forward to what you come up with… :slight_smile:


#6