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Archive for September, 2008

Ubuntu Hardy + Free Firewire Drivers + Jackd

September 21st, 2008 1 comment

Since I came back from Seattle the Saffire audio device has been firmly installed at Waterlou Studios where it works very well with the G4 OSX 10.3.9 and G5 quad-core OSX 10.4. It has been challenging to get all the applications working on this newly installed platform and I have not had much time to putter away on my home system. Paul, our friend Barry and I also spent time going to a demo of the WAVES Logic plug-ins with Eddie Kramer as the keynote speaker, which was fun. I couldn’t resist making a few comments to the Apple reps about the new Logic Studio. It is an inspiring tool for Paul and I to have in our musical hands, but I still want to pursue my own mobile recording set-up.

Supported by ffado

Remember the WordPress motto when reading this: “Code is poetry.”

The last steps I took on activating the music recording capabilities of my ASUS notebook included installing the ffado drivers and (with help from Robin B. in Seattle) making sure the “raw1394” kernel module is loaded on boot. This can be checked in terminal (sudo modprobe raw1394) and I did find that the Ubuntu Studio control that I installed was not a reliable indicator that the raw kernel module was in fact loaded. Even after checking the box in the GUI loaded from System>Administration>Ubuntu Studio, I still was asked for my password to activate the raw kernel in terminal.

There is a post on the ffado site that describes how to check if jackd is reading the ffado driver from terminal here. Unfortunately, I get the reading:

[email protected]:~$ jackd -R -d firewire -v4
jackd: unknown driver ‘firewire’

I think my problem might be with jackd rather than with the ffado driver itself. I was following the install instructions on the ffado trac site — Pieter writes encouragingly at the top “It’s very easy”, but forgets to add “…if you are a Linux programmer”. I have the latest RT (realtime) kernel installed and all of the dependencies except the python-qt.

[email protected]:~$ sudo apt-get install scons libiec61883-0 libiec61883-dev libavc1394-0 libavc1394-dev libxml++2.6c2a libxml++2.6-dev liblo0 liblo0-dev docbook-utils libexpat-dev libdbus-1-dev pyqt-tools python-dbus python-qt
Reading package lists… Done
Building dependency tree
Reading state information… Done
scons is already the newest version.
libiec61883-0 is already the newest version.
libiec61883-dev is already the newest version.
libavc1394-0 is already the newest version.
libavc1394-dev is already the newest version.
libxml++2.6c2a is already the newest version.
libxml++2.6-dev is already the newest version.
liblo0 is already the newest version.
liblo0-dev is already the newest version.
docbook-utils is already the newest version.
Note, selecting libexpat1-dev instead of libexpat-dev
libexpat1-dev is already the newest version.
libdbus-1-dev is already the newest version.
pyqt-tools is already the newest version.
python-dbus is already the newest version.
E: Couldn’t find package python-qt

Robin fixed this later and I have no idea what he did. I had already checked that I had python-qt3 installed and somehow he made Ubuntu see it. Next I downloaded the ffado sources and placed them in the directory and tried to compile using Scons. I had never tried to compile anything before so I did not realize that scons had to be run from inside the folder of the program that you wish to compile.

[email protected]:~$ scons DEBUG=yes

scons: *** No SConstruct file found.
File “/usr/lib/scons/SCons/Script/Main.py”, line 825, in _main
[email protected]:~$ scons install

Scons cannot find the SConstruct file unless it is run in the directory folder that the text file lives in. I figured this out and I was pleased to see a string of code scroll down the terminal screen.  I was less happy when the install terminated with the error message:

xdg-icon-resource install –size 64 –context apps support/xdg/hi64-apps-ffado.png
scons: *** DirNodeInfo instance has no attribute ‘csig’
scons: building terminated because of errors.

I tried to continue and received some help from the guide posted here. I decided not to try to hack the code in the SConstruct file as they suggest and looked for another method. There is now some new information posted by Pieter here, but at that time, after a bit of searching, I gave up and decided to continue with the install instructions. Later Robin came to my rescue and said something that contained the words “usr home folder”. I did not understand what he said and he types quickly into the terminal, but the result was positive and the driver is installed.

[email protected]:/usr/share/applications$ cd /usr/local
[email protected]:/usr/local$ ls
bin  etc  games  include  lib  man  sbin  share  src
[email protected]:/usr/local$ cd bin
[email protected]:/usr/local/bin$ ls
ffado-bridgeco-downloader  ffado-fireworks-downloader
ffado-dbus-server          ffadomixer
[email protected]:/usr/local/bin$ ffado
ffado-bridgeco-downloader   ffado-fireworks-downloader
ffado-dbus-server           ffadomixer
[email protected]:/usr/local/bin$ ffadomixer

——————————————————-

Another frustrating bit of business with the command:

$ sudo apt-get install subversion libtool automake

I could not get it to run, but I installed jack from the trunk in a separate folder and I think that is the source of my present problems. Jack installed very well, but now I think I am running two versions of Jacd and that is confusing to my OS. I do not have Robin B. to help me now, so I just tried running the above cmnd again. Surprised and pleased, I watched the install proceed:

[email protected]:~$ sudo apt-get install subversion libtool automake
[sudo] password for victoria:
Reading package lists… Done
Building dependency tree
Reading state information… Done
subversion is already the newest version.
libtool is already the newest version.
The following NEW packages will be installed:
automake
0 upgraded, 1 newly installed, 0 to remove and 0 not upgraded.
Need to get 519kB of archives.
After this operation, 1712kB of additional disk space will be used.
Get:1 http://ca.archive.ubuntu.com hardy/main automake 1:1.10.1-2 [519kB]
Fetched 519kB in 2s (182kB/s)
Selecting previously deselected package automake.
(Reading database … 245531 files and directories currently installed.)
Unpacking automake (from …/automake_1%3a1.10.1-2_all.deb) …
Setting up automake (1:1.10.1-2) …

Now I have the automake application installed jackd may work better or I might have to remove it from the system and reinstall. I plan to use this post to ask for help with my lack of success, but I feel I am making some progress because my terminal reads:

[email protected]:~$ cd libffado
[email protected]:~/libffado$ tests/test-ffado Discover
verbose level = 0
Using ffado library version: libffado 2.0.900-1319

06565751473: Debug (devicemanager.cpp)[ 555] discover: Discovery finished…
06565751641: Debug (devicemanager.cpp)[1045] showDeviceInfo: ===== Device Manager =====
06565751717: Debug (Element.cpp)[ 109] show: Element DeviceManager
06565751769: Debug (devicemanager.cpp)[1053] showDeviceInfo: — IEEE1394 Service  0 —
Iso handler info:
Dumping IsoHandlerManager Stream handler information…
State: 2
no message buffer overruns

————————————————————-

Thanks Robin B. for your hospitality and your help! Here are some flowers for you.

A bouquet of flowers for Robin

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WordPress Upgrade to 2.6.1

September 16th, 2008 1 comment

Using Fantastico in Bluehost I was able to smoothly upgrade my WordPress install this morning. Although WordPress urges me to upgrade to 2.6.2, Fantastico sees 2.6.1 as the latest version, so I cannot upgrade further at present. I also activated the podpress plug-in and some other multi-media tools. I look forward to exploring streaming content on my blog, both audio and video.

When I first installed WordPress, I had never administrated content management software before. The default is to install to the root folder, so that is where I put the program. Now, I am thinking about expanding the Live More Lightly Site to include a regular web site in addition to the blog, I find the root install is a problem. I have since installed and administer WordPress on other websites and it is just as easy to install to a new folder and link to the blog from the site menu. I would advise anyone installing WordPress to build a home page and put a link to the blog on that page. This will allow for easy site expansion as more links can be added to the home page and the blog will remain in the second-level folder where it was installed.

To avoid having to reinstall and reconfigure my site, I am constructing a Site Map page that will help to direct readers to the content they want to view and to the static pages that give information about the project. Many people find the three column layout confusing as there is so much information and different filtering options. The Site Map should help to demystify blog navigation and I welcome feedback when I get it published.

News Flash: The Live More Lightly Guestbook Page is now functional using the DMS Guestbook plug-in. Try it out, then I will know it works for sure.

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SLR Camera – Image Capture

September 14th, 2008 No comments

Now I have had the opportunity to look through two examples of excellent camera technology, I find myself increasingly attracted to continuing the experience. The first time I held such a camera was at the Madu Sari gamelan performance, “New Javanese Shadows“when a friend of mine asked me to hold his camera. My first impression can only be described by referring to a Hindu myth often told about the young Krishna. For those not familiar with Hindu mythology, the incarnations of the god Vishnu are many, but this story is about his time as the human Krishna.

On one occasion, when Krishna was still a child, he revealed his true god-self to his mother by asking her to look in his mouth. When she complied, she was astonished to see the entire universe inside the mouth of her child. When I looked into that camera, I saw a glimpse of the infinite — I was astonished. The photographer who owned the magic box enthusiastically started informing me of the technical details in a language full of numbers that I did not understand. This machine may be described by numbers, as the universe can be modeled mathematically, but the impact of the revelation I had experienced created a bookmark in my mind that I return to in wonder.

My next reaction was more practical, as the Virgo reasserted her presence. If everyone had a camera like that, my opportunities for employment as a graphic artist would be seriously reduced. There was no noise in the image, it was balanced and in sharp focus. If the capture mechanism was as pristine as the view, the images would reflect a hyper-realism that would need few adjustments. My daughter later comforted me by pointing out that many of these cameras are owned by individuals who can cause them to malfunction and that composition skills are still required. Even the best images can benefit from layout, design and story, so my production skills will still be needed.

The term “multi-media artist” has often been applied to my skill sets in production. I know that if I am not being paid, I do music, music technology and saving the world. Some practical part of me knows that my time will not allow any more addictions. I am already being drawn away from my “Live More Lightly Project” too much by other musical entanglements. I have to complete a book prototype this month. Move on. Read more…

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Air-cooled Bike in a Water-cooled World

September 11th, 2008 No comments

The cooler weather has arrived, but the sun is shining as Vancouver sees the last cloudless days for a while. This weather is the prime season for my motorcycle as I no longer have to worry so much about over-heating my air-cooled engine. In the heat of summer, a traffic jam caused by the endless road work or skytrain construction that we are blessed with, can cause immediate concern for the temperature of the two middle cylinders. With four heat producing cylinders, the temperature of the engine rises quickly and I am wise to kill the engine and push the big machine as much as I can through inching traffic. The armor that I wear starts to stick to my skin and my patience starts to erode.

Post-Labour Day September, the cooler air and reduced traffic on the highways made the idea of a weekend trip to Seattle with my daughter seem like a wonderful diversion. I still don’t have the video camera or hard luggage, but we were only going for a weekend. This was the longest trip I had ever taken with a passenger, but my daughter knows how to become part of the bike. I felt confident that it would be safer than her last trip in August on the bus shuttle service from Vancouver to Seattle. The bus was tied up in a four hour border wait and then was hit by a semi-trailer truck in Seattle. I had a premonition of danger when I dropped her off at the bus, but I had thought it was related to the helmet I was lending her. She told me that she was going to be a passenger with a young man who had recently started riding. I was worried about this idea, but at least she had an approved helmet. After the bus incident, I have to say that I am going when my time comes and I guess my daughter is too. I was worried about the motorcycle as statistically, most accidents happen to new riders, but sometimes I have to let go and say, despite my considerable investment, “It is your life”.

I don’t push my luck though, and I was careful to purchase additional medical insurance for us both before we left. Given my daughter’s proclivity for dangerous episodes, I bought it for a year. I departed from work earlier than usual, but I wanted to wait until the worst of rush hour was over before facing the suburban traffic snarls. We were packed and mobile by 6:30pm taking the South Granville bridge and driving though Richmond to avoid the Oak St line-up. Even though it would take the same amount of time, it is time with air over the cylinders. It was windy on the Highway 99 stretch between Richmond and the border, with nothing but open farm fields and suburban developments to block the wind off the ocean. I was glad to have the extra weight on the back as we passed a few semi-trucks. With the Yamaha FJ 1200, there is always plenty of power, but I am so light I often get blown around by the wind. There were some darker clouds ahead and was a bit concerned about rain in the small mountainous region near Bellingham. We were being buffeted by strong cross-winds and the smell of rain was in the air.

As I crouched to try to keep my windblown hair from whipping my passenger, we passed a cushy Honda Goldwing with full fairing and a big passenger seat with backrest built into the luggage. The rider had a sense of humour as he gestured to my daughter that his back seat would be far more comfortable for her than mine. At 100km per hour (legal speed) it was pretty amusing. He turned off at White Rock and I climbed the big hill towards the border. Read more…

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Categories: 1990 Yamaha FJ 1200

Electronics Product Stewardship Canada

September 1st, 2008 No comments

The lure of High Definition is keeping me interested in purchasing a camcorder that I can mount on the motorcycle or remove for shooting the places I visit and the people I meet. Lifecycle sustainability is an important factor in my choice and it seems that the major companies are becoming aware of this. I searched for an environmental report comparing major electronics companies that manufacture camcorders I am interested in purchasing, especially Sony, Canon, JVC and Panasonic. I found some interesting information but no side-by-side comparison.

In Canada we are lucky to have non-profit societies that are working hard on the problem of electronics disposal. Electronics Product Stewardship Canada is developing an “industry led solution” to see electronic waste properly managed. Of the four companies I am interested in, only JVC is not a member of this coalition. The organization is nationwide and has influenced policy in British Columbia so that electronics can be recycled here. Unfortunately, there is a large list of items that are not accepted, so I have to keep storing my broken VCRs until the program expands.

As part of the “Live More Lightly Project” I hope to raise awareness of these programs so that more people will utilize them and keep dangerous materials out of landfill sites. There is a fee to re-cycle electronics but there are depots throughout the province and a handy map to locate a depot near you. Other provinces have similar programs and I encourage you to use them.

Re-use of working electronics is always preferred to disposal and organizations such as Free Geek will accept equipment that is not state-of-the-art, refurbish it and donate it to a needy charity or sell it in their computer thrift store.

Some companies are putting more effort into product stewardship and environmental programs and this will influence my purchasing decision. See a short description of each company’s efforts below. Read more…

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