2020 – The year of the face masks

Published the 11th album with collaborations with my friends from Wikiloops, and the front cover looks like this:

wjl_xi_cover_x4

As usual, if you click on that image you’ll end up at Flickr where it is hosted – but I’ll put another smaller cover/inlet picture in the widget area where you can also find the other 10 albums.

Thanks to my friends for all the fun I’ve had – and thanks to you for listening and/or downloading. Hope you’ll like it.

Miss Anne, the teacher

Wonderful dreamy track from Andri, so I couldn’t resist to add a few low notes to the crush:

Gracias Andri for all the fun, and thank you to you for listening to us 🙂

Dreaming

Wikiloops user Mike_66 uploaded a wonderful piano template which I downloaded right away. I thought that a double bass would fit, but since I still don’t have one I played a bowed Karoryfer Meatbass sampled double bass on my Akai MPK mini Mk2 keyboard instead, and added a few accents with my fretless:

Thanks to Mike_66 for all the fun, and thanks to you for listening.

Let’s enjoy it while we can…

Thinking about Olympus selling off their camera business branch to another Japanese company, we’ll have to consider the fact that the brand could be gone soon without a real replacement, and without anyone doing service and repair jobs perhaps.

So what are the alternatives? Panasonic? Well they claim to support Micro Four Thirds, but they still invented a so-called “full frame” (24x36mm) mirrorless camera or two. And even if they do still support their Micro Four Thirds mount, that’s probably more interesting for video than for stills guys (and girls of course).

APS-C? Or “full frame”? Well yes – if you consider that a modern Canon RP or Nikon Z6 or Sony Alpha 7 (1,2,3) aren’t bigger and heavier than an Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mk2 (or Mk3), and that some of them are at the same price even, then…

… well, each of these systems have their advantages and disadvantages, and none really could replace Olympus, who were always innovators without any real comparison. Ok, with “full frame” you’ll get a better image quality (about 2 stops), and also a shallower depth of field (also about two stops), but the latter one is also both an advantage as it is a disadvantage – sometimes you need more depth of field rather than less. Consider this image I just took a few minutes ago:

7e4_6272607-bird-feeder-sunset
Bird feeder at sunset, Mörfelden-Walldorf 2020

I cropped this image into a 3:2 format to make it comparable to one taken with either an APS-C- or a “full frame”-sized camera. This was taken with the widest lens I have, a Panasonic Lumix G 14mm f/2.5.

I stepped down the aperture to f/5.6 to get halfway enough depth of field for the whole bird feeder, and it’s still not really sharp front to back – should have used f/8 instead. Which means that when using an APS-C camera you’d have to use f/11, and with that so-called “full frame” one, f/16. I was at 2 seconds, so multiply that accordingly.

There is no such thing as “equivalence” – these systems are too different to really compare them.

And so I’ll enjoy the Olympus camera and system as long as it works – and get another one when I really need it.

As always, thanks for reading.

Edit: this is interesting. And thanks to Kirk for the link…

Ubuntu Studio 20.04 LTS

Current home page of Ubuntu Studio

Yesterday I’ve tried and downloaded Ubuntu Studio 20.04 LTS “Focal Fossa” (with its standard XFCE desktop), wrote the Live image to a USB stick, and booted my work notebook from it after work.

That’s quite a nice release, and everything I tried worked right out of the proverbial box, even from that “Live” USB stick. There were some packages I’ve never even seen before, like for instance OBS Studio with which you could make training videos or even live stream some computer games to Youtube if you’re into that kind of thing.

Ardour is still in version 5 on it, and the reasons for that are explained in their news section.

Otherwise, it’s what the home page says: a free and open operating system for creative people, very nice, and everything which is difficult when using ‘normal’ distributions like my Debian (on which Ubuntu is based of course), or which would require some extra work like the audio and/or realtime stuff is preconfigured already, so you can simply start making music, or developing your photographs, make movies or drawings, whatever creative people might want to do.

Documentation including some really nice books is/are here.

Very nice, and highly recommended – that one costs nothing, makes things really easy, and brings the fun back into computing.

As always, thanks for reading.

Rest in peace, Clayton

Another good one left us – and one of ‘BigDaddyCee’s’ last reactions on Wikiloops was a nice comment on this remix on one of his tracks:

Thank you my friend – jamming with you has been an honour and a pleasure.

His friend for over 40 years, David Knight, can tell you more about Clay

Edit: according to David, Clayton died on June 15th, just four days before his 58th birthday.

Thoughts about switching to Linux

Marko Saric wrote an interesting article on opensource.com with the title ‘How to know if you’re ready to switch from Mac to Linux‘.

Just yesterday I was complaining about everything non-Mac or non-iOS in an email to my brother, and the reason for that were the audio system, the general focus on arts like music, photos, and videos, which no other system except those out of Cupertino handle as well in my opinion. Now comes someone and goes back from there, as did others before…

For me, I’m on Linux like forever now. I was some 20 or more years younger than now when I decided to switch from an OS which couldn’t in my opinion be supported anymore because it was deliberately a ‘black box’ (Windows) to something open source. My team lead at work during that time suggested to concentrate on Solaris instead of Linux, so I did both, and learned about both.

Like many here in Germany, I started with Suse, then later switched to Red Hat for a while, and decided sooner or later that I had enough of its ‘RPM hell’, so with a brief side-step over the BSDs to learn about proper package management and Gentoo (make it all yourself, a bit like Arch now) I ended up with Debian due to a tip of a younger colleague in the healthcare IT company I was working for by then.

Marko, in his very nice and recommended article above, recommends Fedora – and although he’s right about the Gnome desktop environment and many other things, please keep in mind that opensource.com is sponsored by Red Hat (which were by now bought by my current employers), while Debian is strictly non-commercial which I prefer by far. The fact that it’s no company at all means that it can’t be bought or sold or otherwise ruined by bad management and/or shareholder or other interest than the interest of those who actually make it. The best model of all IMNSHO.

So why was I complaining about not being on a Mac or on iOS in that email to my brother? It was mainly because of this article (in German) on gearnews, about Steinberg’s Cubasis 3 now also being available for the Android operating system (formerly iOS only).

Of course that’s a clever and bold move from Steinberg (who belong to Yamaha, the world’s biggest vendor of musical intruments in case you didn’t know that). But it’s the underlying Android OS (by Google mostly) which neglected audio during the last years, and which – in opposite to its Apple counterparts – still isn’t really fit for multitasking at all. Plus Apple makes (or has someone make) their own processors, and their A13 chip in the new iPhone SE is pretty much without any real competition (look at benchmarks if you don’t believe me) – even if the current Google Pixel 3a is still the best value per Dollar (or Euro) for the general public and user(s), for artists there’s still nothing better than an iPhone, an iPad, or a Mac, no matter the cost.

So there you have it. Why am I still on Linux then? Well, first because of the costs (can’t afford a MacBook Pro and an iPad Pro and whatever), but mostly because of the freedom. The freedom of choice, the freedom to build my own hardware, or to tinker with my OS and system as much as I like, the freedom to recommend or even give it all to friends if I like to, and, last not least, on Linux we’re having some real ‘badass’ stuff as well, and it’s getting better day by day. Try Ardour as an example, yes it also exists for Windows or a Mac, but it’s native on Linux – and that makes all the difference. Or Blender, or Gimp, or RawTherapee – we’re getting there, people, even the so-called ‘creatives’ amongst us.

So go and read that article of Marko’s, even if you’re currently not on a Mac. And substitute ‘Fedora’ with either ‘Arch’ (or ‘Manjaro’ if you want an Arch which is a bit easier to install), or with ‘Debian’ (or ‘Ubuntu’ or ‘Mint’ or whatever) if you want the best package management (which is pretty much irrelevant for a rolling release distro like Arch or Manjaro & Co).

Recommended reading.

Jah Pon Dis

A collaboration with Rastafari and Shi this time:

You can also watch a compressor in my DAW working on my bass while the track plays:

Thanks to my friends again for all the fun, and thanks to you for reading, listening, watching, … 🙂

SmunkySjam

Got a nice remix first from Marceys and then from FrankieJ onto one of my recent ones:

Thanks Marc & Frank for making it sound so great, thanks to the rest of you for listening. Join us for something like this on Wikiloops, it’s fun and it’s free 🙂