Recent blog entries for TheMuso

Life

I am quite lazy at the moment. There a lot of things that I could do, but when one has too much time, things tend to get put off. I find that I can get things started during the morning, as my mind is fresh and I am ready to think. I am a morning person, and am most productive during this time. I can get things done in the afternoon, but it all depends on what work I have to do.

One of my TAFE courses is boring me to death. Not only is it on Windows, but there are several assignments that require writing documentation. What is just as annoying, is they give you these pathetic scenarios to try and paint a picture of what you have to do. All I want is the questions.

There is a good side to doing Windows stuff though I guess, but everything we have done so far I know very well. It also doesn't help when they lump people from different levels into the one class which means that it takes ages to move through something that I know in 20 minutes.

Internet access

If you are aware of Australian internet access, it is quite different to the rest of the world, particularly broadband. I am sitting here on a 512/128K ADSL internet connection, and have just been given a download increase as of this month, from 8GB, to 28GB. I do not know what I will do with the extra 20GB, but I certainly won't have to watch my usage for a while at least, which is a relief.

Linux on my laptop

Linux has been running quite nicely on my ThinkPad R50. I am able to use cpufreqd to control my CPU speed when on battery, and ACPI seems to work beautifully, especially when it comes to changing from power to battery and back again. I haven't set up suspend of any kind yet, as I don't usually use it, and I don't think ACPI works very well with it.

I am considering changing over to apm however, as I know apm suspend is supposed to work well. I will also be able to get a battery read-out in a percentage. I probably would be able to with ACPI as well, but I couldn't find any console-based monitor program at all. So I relied on catting /proc/acpi/battery/BAT0/state to have a look at what the battery had left. The other reason for changing is that in the console with my laptop screen, setterm doesn't seem to blank the screen properly with ACPI, whereas apm works without any problems. Before I do this however, I need to check that I can use the software suspend patches with apm.
Accessibility is the word.

Spent some time this afternoon playing around with Sylpheed-gtk2. I am interested in this email client as since it uses GTK2, Gnopernicus can theoretically work with it. Well as I found out, not quite yet.

It is good to see that the developer of Sylpheed-gtk2 is keeping pace with normal Sylpheed development. Had this not been the case, I would have very likely not worried about the GTK2 port, but since they are in sync, except for the GTK differences, it provides a real alternative to Balsa, which depends on GNOME, and for some reason, crashes on my Slackware installation, and has done so on several other installations as well.

There seem to be two problems that I have identified with Sylpheed-gtk2. Firstly, the mailbox list does not get read by Gnopernicus. This is Probably a matter of implementing some ATK calls due to some different widgets being used. It seems that the email list is being read, but this is still not clear.

The second problem was the fact that one could not use the arrow keys to move around in the message viewing window to read the text. I could see the cursor blinking at the top of the text view area. I could also re-position the cursor with the mouse, but the arrow keys did not respond. A dive into the Sylpheed-gtk2 source firstly found the appropriate C file, and then the appropriate function that handles keypress events.

After commenting out code that prevented the arrow keys from being used, and after changing one line of code to a line of code that I found in the equivelant Balsa source file, I re-compiled Sylpheed, and fired it up. Sure enough, the arrow keys moved around, and I could select text, as well as other shortcuts for navigating text fields.

I think I will make a preferences option for this, so the user can set the behavior they want. I am actually quite stoked with this find, as I am not a coder as such, but I understand enough C to get by.

SLUG

Attended the SLUG monthly meeting last night, which turned out to have some very good info on security. You can find a rundown of what was covered on the SLUG webpage linked to above. Accessibility issues were also raised, and I was glad to chime in with my bit. I guess this is what got me interested in trying to get Sylpheed to be more accessible... That and finding out that Sylpheed in fact did have a GTK2 port. :)

There also seems to be a few current and former musos amongst the sluggers. At dinner after the meeting, several of us got talking about synthesis, pitch, and several other topics to do with music. I would really like to have a jam with them one day. We would very likely learn heaps from each other.

Music to my ears.

It seems that a lot of things have happened today, as a direct result of what discussions I was involved in last night. I am not complaining. It makes me feel great about myself, and my abilities.

So I sat down at the piano this morning, and mucked around, as I usually do. I played through several pieces I know well, to see what twist I would put on them this time, as the renditions are often different. Oh the power of chord substitution is incredible. Some of these were popular music such as Billy Joel's New York State of Mind, and a few jazz standards such as take the A train, Green Dolphin Street, and Blue Bosser. I am not into jazz nearly as much as I used to be, but I do enjoy playing these few pieces every so often. Makes me feel great.

AudioSlack

I haven't really done much in the way of the AudioSlack project lately. I do have a couple of pressing issues to deal with though, which I have started working on. First, the fact that the allotted bandwidth per month has been used for two consecutive months. I am seeking mirrors, and have already received an offer. Unfortunately, the owner of the webspace doesn't have the ability to make cron jobs, so I have to keep things in sync from my end. The PHP script is planned, and a little of it is written. Since this is important, I will probably work on it at great length in the next few days.

I also intend to make a set of 2.6 kernels available in testing soon, so that Ingo's Voluntary Preempt patches get more testing. I also need to remove ZynAddSubFX 2.0_pre2 from testing, and make the final release available. I am not the package maintainer, but I will do it anyway, and send the updates onto the actual maintainer.
22 Aug 2004 (updated 22 Aug 2004 at 14:42 UTC) »
Birthday

It turned out to be a great day. My mother, father, sister and her boy friend, my grandparents from Mum's side, and my grandfather from Dad's side were all there, to enjoy a birthday lunch of roast lamb with vegetables. A very nice meal indeed, thanks Mum. A birthday is never a birthday without a cake, in this case a mud cake, my favourite! I played a bit of harmonica for everybody as well, which they enjoyed, even though I currently suck at it. (must practice more.)

Went with Dad to take his father home, and returned just as Mum's parents were preparing to leave on their trip back to Cowra, which is about three and a half hours drive from Sydney. They had been down for a few days, and it was lovely to see them, as always. I really do enjoy their company. My sister and her boy friend were heading out, so it was just Mum and myself once again. Poor Mum, still got a cold, which is not pleasant, but still put on the lunch for everybody. Oh and thanks heaps for the new shirt Jess, you have great taste. I decided to wear it for the rest of the day. :)

Linux matters

I have been playing with Ingo Molder's Voluntary Preemption Patches for the 2.6 kernel. As you may or may not know, 2.6 vanilla is not very usable for real-time low latency audio work for software synthesis, multitrack recording, etc. 2.4 vanilla isn't low latency capable, but there are patches that are available for 2.4 that allow such work to be undertaken, thanks to Andrew Morton and Robert Love.

Ingo's patch has the same overall goal as the combined patches of the previously mentioned kernel developers. it seems that Ingo's patches are achieving lower latency than what is possible with the 2.4 kernel, however there are still issues to be sorted.

At the time of this writing, P7 is Ingo's latest patch against 2.6.8.1. While I can't notice any difference between each patch, I am sure there are things that are being fixed with every new patch that is released.

Distros

I have decided to mirror a few distros on my gateway/file server. I don't really know why, but I think it would be cool to have them there, if I ever need them. I will have ISOs as well as the distro source trees, so network installs are possible. It will not be available on the net however, just my LAN via HTTP, FTP and NFS. I don't see any need to make it available via SMB.

This plan was going great, until I discovered that the 20GB drive I was going to use for the job is not working properly. It is connected via a hard disk rack, and seems to be running, but is giving errors. This drive has been threatening to die for a while now, so I took it out of critical operation, and it seems like it has decided to bite the dust. I won't know until I connect it to another machine, and I don't want to shut down the server just to remove a rack caddy.

Installfest

The SLUG installfest went quite well yesterday. There were a few people from the public who came in to get linux onto their machines, or get Linux help. There were also a few of us on hand to help them. I mainly pitched in with advice and recommendations for partitioning, and mirrored a few distros on my laptop, and had a burner handy, although the burner didn't get much use. Maybe next time.
Long time, no post

Well, I haven't blogged since March. I guess I forgot all about it, and partly due to the fact that advogato was down for a bit. I would actually like to move my blog over to my own (as yet non-existent) homepage, but I need to read a little more about this whole RSS thing, and how it is used. I would rather write my own PHP back-end for my site, and integrate RSS support into that. I guess I need to go and read the RSS specification.

AudioSlack

This project has moved in some great directions since my previous mention of it here. Support for both Slackware 10.0 and 9.1, as well as dependancy support with slapt-get and swaret, and a few other things... Can't remember them all right now.

The move to Linux

Well it has actually happened, and I am very glad that I did it. I have to stick to the console for most things, however this doesn't bother me. The only thing I really need Mozilla for is some sites that are too hard to navigate with a screen reader. (Well I think they are.) Internet banking is one of these tasks that must be done in Mozilla with my eyes. The text-based browsers don't have very good encryption anyway, as far as I know.

Mutt is my email client of choice, and now I have it working just the way I want it, which is fantastic. I don't see myself changing any time soon.

Other linux musings

(Shameless plug) The Sydney Linux User's Group are holding an installfest this Saturday, 21 August. Go to the homepage linked previously to find out more. (/Shameless plug) I am going to it, and helping out with various things, and taking as much hardware as I can carry in a big backpack on the train. Should be a lot of fun, I must say I can't wait.

The SLUG Audio and Multi-media Special Interest Group are also holding a meeting on the 4th of September, again a Saturday. I have been to one of these as well, and people just sit around and talk, work on their own projects, whether it be music or code, and a good day is had by all.

Birthday

Yes, I may as well mention it, as it is on Sunday, 22 August. I am having lunch with all my family, and my grandparents from my mother's side. It should be a good day, but I hope Mum can get over her cold soon. I feel sorry for anybody who gets colds that leave your head blocked up, and a sore throat.

As for what I am getting/have received, I received a paid for enrollment to a harmonica course, and of course, a harmonica. I must say I have always liked the sound of the harmonica, and this one is no exception. It is a chromatic harmonica, with a range of 3 octaves. The only thing I don't like about it, is that one can only play major chords with it. Anyway, I shouldn't complain. It is a great birthday present, I must practice though. The tongue blocking technique for playing single notes is quite hard.
26 Mar 2004 (updated 26 Mar 2004 at 09:07 UTC) »
AudioSlack packaging continues

I managed to get Ardour packaged and uploaded last night, with all of it's dependancies, yes there are a fair few. One of these was LADSPA, which doesn't use autoconf/automake to compile sample plugins. This quite annoys me as I have to hack and patch to build it with optimizations, and place everything where I want it to go for the package build. Thank god for bash scripting, which saves the day for this problem, as well as for all other packages I now build.

Music Matters

Well I sat down at the piano today and went through those music ideas mentioned earlier. There is certainly something possible there, but I need to let my unconcious brain work more stuff out yet. Amazing what the mind does.

TAFE

TAFE is quite enjoyable at the moment. I have a bit of work to do for it, but nothing I can't handle at this stage. The subject matter thus far has been quite simple for me at least.

We were examining Windows 2000 and simple networking this week, which was an absolute bore. I look forward to the day when we are setting up DHCP servers with domains etc. Of course we will be learning 2000 Server, but I am quite tempted to prepare my laptop with Samba 3 and wack it on the network, and show that things can be done with free software.

Unfortunately, only my TAFE teacher knows anything about Linux in the class it seems. I know there is another student learning it, but I don't think he is as far on as my teacher. Even then I think I am way ahead of both of them. I am not getting a big head over this at all, because I want to try and show them all that free software can do the same things as proprietory software.

The move to Linux

As also stated earlier, I am using windows for my day-to-day tasks, because I am vision impaired, and thus far, none of the screen reading packages, except Gnopernicus (which is still under heavy development), on Linux apeal to me. However I am quite sure I know what email client I will use, after playing with it a bit. I eagerly await the GNOME 2.6 release.

25 Mar 2004 (updated 25 Mar 2004 at 03:08 UTC) »
25 March here in Australia

This blogging is new to me

Well I just discovered http://www.advogato.org after finishing up some long-overdue work for AudioSlack, my little piece of contribution to the Linux Audio arena. I actually found it while browsing some GNOME related stuff and blogs on Planet GNOME.

Want to prepare and update more packages this afternoon, particularly the kernel and other really neat apps.

Music matters

I have some ideas for what I think would make a deacent song that I may eventually write. I must sit down at the piano and play them through to see whether they in fact do work.

GNOME accessibility

Glad to say that Gnopernicus is really coming along well, particularly since version 0.7.1. I am really keen on jumping to Linux for all my day-to-day tasks, particularly web browsing, but since I can't seem to get Mozilla 1.6 running, I may have to wait a bit.

I used Garnome to build GNOME 2.6 RC1, and Mozilla crashes before it gets started. Maybe a rebuild of garnome tonight may be a possibility.

Windows and JAWS never co-operate

JAWS, the screen reader that I currently use for Windows is always being a pain. Even now while writing this blog, it doesn't always want to read the text in the text field. Come on Gnopernicus and GNOME, give me access to Mozilla damn it!!

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