Confessions of a Slacker

Artist, musician, geek, intellectual, elitist, narcissist, introvert, slacker.

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More Linux recording – messin’ around

March 21st, 2009 by shuste73

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Just messin’ around today with WAAAY too much distortion. But the theme is there and I really, really struggled to keep it simply a variation on a theme, none of that “music for musicians” stuff.

You know what? Writing simple music is hard. Less is more, that’s for sure.


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JACK, VLC, Audacity, oh my!

March 7th, 2009 by shuste73

Okay, so Jaunty Jackalope (Ubuntu 9.04 alpha) has a working RT kernel! Hooray! Finally, people. Sheesh.

Today I was messing around and I ran into something I always have run into when recording myself playing guitar: I export from Ardour and then I have to quit JACK to play the resulting WAV file.

You see, I needed a JACK-aware audio application, and there just wasn’t one. There. Just. Wasn’t.

Before you go spouting off that there were several yadda yadda, lemme tell ya: I tried. Audacity would crash when I picked JACK. XMMS is dead. Audacious just plain would freak out or not play music at all.


Oh joy of joys: today, Audacity works great, exports my WAV files to variable bit-rate MP3s like a champ (listen to the one linked in this post!), and I discovered that VLC has JACK output that actually, GASP!, works!


Finally, I have a great home recording system without any annoyances. At all. I can hardly believe it. I’m so happy I could crap myself. Oops, I think that was a juicy fart. Oh, well, cie la vie.

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Jack-rack might be fixed!

January 28th, 2009 by shuste73

I think Jack-rack might be fixed! Once again, the update manager borked my “do not upgrade” status on jack-rack and upgraded it, so it now doesn’t work – again! But I got an email from the bug that says that it was fixed in the Ubuntu tree… so I’m off to play around with it to see if it really IS fixed.

Now if only someone would make a -rt kernel for Intrepid Ibex that actually works, I’d be really happy. I’m still hoping that Jaunty Jackalope will have the fix implemented. I really, really, really don’t want to downgrade to Hardy. I mean, Hardy was good, but not great like Intrepid is.

Which reminds me… don’t forget to update your software sources to your current version after upgrading! I accidentally left my Medibuntu at Hardy when I was on Intrepid because I thought it would update properly. When my DVD players started getting wonky, I checked them, on a whim, and they were still pointing to Hardy! Ack! I fixed it, found a bunch of updates, and had all kinds of DVD goodness. Ahhh…

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10 reasons just to use Wordpress

January 19th, 2009 by shuste73

I do web development at work, and I’ve done it as my primary occupation and I’ve done it as a side thing because I’ve had the need.

Many moons ago, I did some web development work for friends. Flat HTML, mixed style and content, all the wrong stuff. You know because you’ve been there. Then I learned some CSS and revamped the site to be themeable – simply change the CSS include and you’re off and running with a completely new look ‘n feel. Cool!

But the site was still manual. So I was determined to fix that and created a “loop” that dynamically built the page with include files, and dynamically highlighted the page you were on, etc. Mostly some “post” and “get” parameters with some basic PHP. Simple, easy CMS.

Ah, but you always want more. My friends wanted to edit their content themselves, so I went back to the drawing board. This was circa 2004, when blogs were exploding and web development was getting a whole lot easier (that is, if you were paying attention). So I did 2 things: first, I grabbed a Javascript-based rich-text editor, hacked it up to work properly in my site, then I set off to get mySQL installed and a basic database up and running. Voila! A simple CMS was born. I added an authentication section using HTTPS, added a few users with permissions, and my friends were able to edit the site themselves without totally borking the content.

Not that they did – they still came to me for updates, mostly, but they could if they wanted to.

Soon after, I had a growing need to automate several things and to add a lot of features to the site… and that’s when I discovered Wordpress. Now, don’t get me wrong, Wordpress isn’t a panacea, but the way it works was VERY similar to what I had engineered, only that team had already done work I was looking to do. Why reinvent the wheel?

  1. The “loop.” It’s very good, it’s easy to understand, so it’s easy to hack, as needed
  2. CSS-based themes. “Nuff said.
  3. Customizable themes. Or do your own themes from scratch. Excellent.
  4. Open source. I’m a huge advocate of open source and this will always sway me.
  5. Plugins… open plugin system means that anyone can make plugins, so Wordpress essentially becomes infinitely extensible. You can add a lot of features very quickly.
  6. Popularity. So many people are using it, you’ll have a vast community from which to draw upon for help/support
  7. The pros use it. See Wired’s webmonkey blog, for example.
  8. Responsive / quick development. My host, HostGator, does the Wordpress updates in one click. Which is great since Wordpress responds to user feedback and updates frequently.
  9. Post from anywhere – you can post from an email, you can post from Google docs, you can post from Firefox… I simply post from the Admin area of my Wordpress installation, but I have flexibility and I like that
  10. It’s easy. Really, just install it, browse around for themes and plugins and howtos, install what you like, and you’re off and running. It can take some time, but it’s worthwhile to learn how to do lots of things with Wordpress.

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