We got a new lighting controller, a ChamSys MagicQ Maxi Wing. It's pretty sweet.
The device itself is basically a box full of faders, with a USB port and DMX output. All of the heavy lifting is software, which we have running on a Mac Mini with a touch-screen. (Which is as it should be: there's no reason for devices like this to be embedded systems. Let the custom hardware do what it's good at -- physical knobs and sliders -- and use real software on real computers for the rest.)
Also, it has an iPhone/iPad/Android interface, so you can control the lights while wandering around in the club!
I think it's a little cheesy that their "Mac port" of the software is really just the Linux version running under X11 instead of using native Mac controls, but it seems to get the job done.
Here's a goodbye message that Jeremy wrote for our outgoing Flying Pig Whole Hog 500 controller:
Good night sweet hog, for tonight is the last show I will use you on. Over the years, I've fingered your faders, pushed your buttons, and shared you with numerous traveling men and more than a few women, but that ends tonight, for I have found another, with more encoders, and a touch screen. Don't worry though, I will work hard to find you a new home, with someone who can caress you like I did in the beginning.
Personally, I have hated the Hog since the day we bought it. Apparently it was considered "the shit" at the time, but I found it impossible to use. I'd read the manual, figure out how to do what I wanted to do, and without fail that information was no longer in my brain 24 hours later. I just couldn't retain that knowledge. Its interface was so modal and so obscure, with completely unclear feedback as to what it expected and what was going on, that eventually I just gave up trying. So I say good riddance!
Oh, and it's for sale. Want it?
Supplies are limited...