Getting started with beta testing

If You Are Currently at v1.07 of the Missing Link Software

The first thing you will need to do is update to the latest version of The Missing Link software. At v1.08 and later there is a new feature in the web control panel for installing beta software that you will need in order to help beta test.

Note: Due to a change in the software updater scripts after v1.07, you will need to run the software update twice to be fully upgraded to the latest software. You shouldn’t have to do this if you are at v1.08 or later.

  1. Make sure your Missing Link is connected to WiFi that has access to the Internet
  2. Point your web browser at the Missing Link web control panel.
    The URL should look something like this: http://missinglink-xxxx.local
  3. Click on the Software Update link
  4. Click that big ol’ button to download and install the latest update
  5. Your Missing Link will automatically reboot
  6. Once Missing Link is back on the network, repeat steps 3-5 again
  7. After it reboots again your software version should be 1.1, system: 1.1

Installing Beta Software

  1. Navigate your browser to the Missing Link Software Update page
  2. You will now see a “beta code” box just above the updater button
  3. Enter one of the beta codes listed below and then click that update button
  4. Missing Link will now download and install the dinsync beta then it will reboot your Missing Link.

Reverting Back to the Main Release

  1. Back in the Software Update page, delete the text in the “beta code” box
  2. Press the updater button, Missing Link will swap back to the 1.1 release and reboot

Available Beta Releases

                Beta Code: midi

This code installs a beta build for supporting MIDI clock output via a USB MIDI interface.

You will need a Micro USB to USB A female plug, like this that I’ve been using. You will also need a class-compliant USB MIDI interface. I’ve been using this one from Amazon as well as my Arturia BeatStep.

NOTE: If this is your first time installing the midi beta code the installer will have to install a number of libraries to support MIDI. This can take 1-2 minutes of time (you will see a little spinning icon next to the “Install Update” button. If your Missing Link does not automatically reboot after 2 minutes it probably means the installer lost its connection to the web server (trying to figure out why!). Wait another 2-3 minutes and if it still hasn’t automatically rebooted it should be safe to unplug The Missing Link and re-plug it to force a reboot. Your Missing Link should be fine (I haven’t bricked one yet when I’ve hit this issue) and it should now have the midi beta installed. You can confirm this by going to the software update page in the web control panel and checking what the current softare version is (something like “midi_b1”. Please let me know if you encounter this issue.

We are getting close to done with the MIDI beta! Things seem to be pretty stable for most people. Please hammer on this one as much as you can!

Testing Instructions Once You Have The Beta Installed

  1. Plug in The Missing Link to a USB power supply to boot it up
  2. Plug in the micro USB to USB A dongle
  3. Plug in the USB MIDI interface to the dongle
  4. Plug the “Out” MIDI plug in to the “In” MIDI port of your first MIDI device. You can chain other MIDI devices to this first MIDI device to receive the Missing Link MIDI clock messages.

Features

  • Remove stored WiFi network credentials via the Web Control Panel.
  • General button and encoder input detection improvements
  • The Circuit Happy face logo to the right of the text display now blinks to the tempo!
  • Updated the LED ring animations:
    • Any time you send a MIDI Start Transport the LED ring flashes
    • Adjusted “Play” animation, “Queued” animation, and “Queued Stop” animations
    • Added a “Stopped” animation to show you the current loop phase; this does not display if there are no other Link peers.
  • Two new commands accessed by pushing and holding the encoder knob and then pressing another button:
    • Push and hold Encoder knob then press Play: This will trigger another MIDI Start Transport on the next Loop Start. This is handy for when you want to reset your MIDI device’s sequence if it has fallen out of sync and you want to re-align the sequencer to Link
    • Push and hold Encoder knob then press Tap Tempo: This will trigger a reset of the Link timeline to start immediately. This is handy if you wish to reset the “grid” to start right now. For example you are playing with a live drummer and need to reset your Link devices to start a new song at an arbitrary time.
  • The MIDI clock should start outputting immediately after The Missing Link has booted up. Any gear you have plugged in to the MIDI port should not start playing until you press the Play button.
  • When you press the Play button The Missing Link will transmit a MIDI Start Transport at the start of the first loop. Your MIDI devices should start running now.
  • When you press the Play button again to stop, a MIDI Stop Transport message is sent at the end of the final loop. You can also stop the Missing Link immediately by pressing the Play button twice.
  • Hot plugging USB MIDI interface is now supported. You may freely unplug and plug your USB MIDI interface while The Missing Link is powered on and running.

Things To Test

  • Delete a saved WiFi Network Open up the Web Control Panel (http://missinglink-xxxx.local/ then click on the Edit WiFi Networks button. Click Remove on one or more networks. A “Save Changes” button should appear. Click this and your Missing Link will reboot.
  • Try those new “Encoder + Button” commands Do these work as expected? Are you seeing any funny behavior like some of your devices falling out of sync after triggering a Start Transport or resetting the timeline? Does the Encoder + button paradigm work for you? Is it too cumbersome? Please give me feedback positive or negative on this one
  • Are you seeing any tempo drift on your MIDI devices that causes them to fall out of sync with anything synced via the 5V Clock output? Do you see anything strange like occasional short slowdowns and then everything is back up to speed again?
  • Does the Offset value keep your MIDI and analog devices aligned with Live or other Link clients? Try using the “Offset” feature in Missing Link to set delay compensation to time align with other Link clients like Ableton Live. Triggering short sounds like 8th note hi-hats on every device is a great way to test if things are lining up. 
  • Is Missing Link sending Start Transport and Stop Transport messages consistently to your MIDI devices? Are your MIDI devices starting at the start of the first loop or do you ever experience your MIDI devices not starting with the first loop, causing you to have to stop the Missing Link and start it again.
  • Can you unplug and plug your MIDI interface while The Missing Link is on? Your Missing Link should not miss a beat when you plug and unplug your USB MIDI device (obviously your MIDI devices will stop when you unplug the MIDI interface, and you will have to send a Start Transport message to get the devices to start again once the MIDI interface is plugged back in). The Missingn Link scans for a change in available MIDI ports every second.
  • I think all the UI freeze issues have been stamped out, but do let me know if your Missing Link ever crashes or the UI freezes (you can’t press the buttons or use the knob, but if the clock was running while it froze, the output lights keep blinking)

Known Issues

  • Installing the midi beta for the first time can cause the installer to lose connection to the web control panel. Install should be otherwise successful and you will have to do a forced reboot (If you suspect this has happened, wait five minutes to ensure any installation has completed, then unplug, plug power to The Missing Link).