This is impressive…

… and also a bit frightening. In the online Fedora Magazine, Marius Schwarz yesterday described how to build your own personal voice assistant on Linux, and that’s the impressive part.

The frightening one is how close professional voice generation has become. If you listen to Google’s text-to-speech examples, and switch to a British or a German voice (and give it some text of course), that’s the “Wow!” part. But for this, your text will be sent to Google’s servers to process it in realtime, so some privacy issues might occur. But it won’t be long now, so is my guess, before you can really trick us humans into believing that this would be a real person speaking… see Turing test and so on.

As always, thanks for reading.

The Register about EndeavourOS

TheReg has tested EndeavourOS Artemis 22.6 two days ago, and seemingly liked it (and here’s their report about it). I also did when I last looked at it, but although I liked it, in the end I installed pure Arch. But sure, to just play around because you might be curious, EndeavourOS could be just the ticket. So go ahead and try it, and have fun 🙂

As always, thanks for reading.

Mail on Android

Almost forgot: ca. 2 weeks ago, Thunderbird announced that they’ll go mobile, in form of the existing K-9 mail which they had bought some time ago. More about it on The Register. I’m using a GMX app at the moment, but if you have multiple email accounts, these news could be for you…

Maiden Voyage (composition)

Herbie Hancock’s favourite own composition – at least when asked in an interview in 2011 – is Maiden Voyage, from 1965. You can also read about it on Wikipedia, read an archived album review from jazz.com, or watch part of that interview here:

Herbie Hancock

And that rhythm and those four suspended chords are well worth studying. It’s one of the greatest jazz albums I know, so listen to just that composition (with Herbie Hancock (p), Freddie Hubbard (tr), George Coleman (ts), Ron Carter (b), and Tony Williams (dr)) here:

Herbie Hancock – Maiden Voyage

Wonderful. Thanks for listening.

A bit intrusive…

Now this is what I call a serious step backwards:

Thunderbird asking for money

Thunderbird had this all the time, in all black, blue, and grey, but this? Wow. This is like ‘shouting’ IN ALL CAPS, so thanks but no thanks guys… I’m supporting quite some number of free and open source projects, can’t support everything. But this definitely turns me off. Did you guys hire some marketing stuff for this? Bad idea. You have a fine email client there, thanks a lot for it, but I won’t support loud guys, sorry. This is a bit too much, seriously.

A “yes” to this, definitely

The Welsh BBC asks: “Wildflowers: Should grass cutting be stopped in summer?“, which would get a strong “Yes!” from me. It’s really a perception point only, but *not* unnecessarily cutting grass would save so many insects, which are good for pollination, birds, and so on, the list goes on… I wish we Germans were wise enough to even think about this, and ask such intelligent questions…

As always, thanks for reading.

The good thing about rolling releases

I wanted to headline this the good thing about Arch LInux, but that would have been unfair – there are other rolling release distributions, like openSUSE Tumbleweed or others (children like Manjaro, Endeavour, and the likes).

So the good thing about these rolling release distributions is that you’ll always get the latest and greatest software, automatically. You read about it, like I just did with the new Firefox 102 (which is also the new ESR release), and as soon as you log in and update, bam, you’ll have it.

Don’t get me wrong: Debian stable is still my main Linux distribution of choice, I’m using it since almost 20 years now, and that won’t change that fast. But nice and stable is one thing, curiosity or the wish to just see what’s out there is another – and for that, these rolling release distros are a godsend.

They say that Arch is difficult to install – well for me it wasn’t, but then again I’m used to using a (system) terminal window, so I’ve set up my triple boot system starting with Arch (and I wouldn’t even have known about the Windows EFI partition being too small without first reading the wonderful Arch installation Wiki). But if you don’t even need dual or triple boot systems, Arch now has an installer which is pretty helpful already, and if that’s still too much, well, there are the other ones I’ve mentioned above.

For me, running Linux isn’t only all about choice, but it’s even about daily or hourly choice – I can switch back and forth at will, as often as I like. And unlike with commercial systems, my system is *mine* – and only *I* decide if and when a machine gets too old, and should be retired (or find another home with less demanding jobs). Want to try making music using the latest pipewire and wireplumber setup? Switch to Arch. Want your well known stable workhorse? Go back to Debian. That easy.

As always, thanks for reading.