Bought a Logitech C920s webcam, and I can recommend it. It has nice colours, works just “plug & play” under Linux, and here’s a “selfie” from a program called “Cheese”, in 960×720 pixel resolution (the camera is FullHD, but this is enough for me):

“Selfie” with Webcam
Logitech C920s

P.S.: here’s another one from this evening, with artificial (room) light. Not the ideal lighting, but you could work with this if needed:

Webcam”selfie” with artificial (room) light

As always, thanks for viewing.

A good balance between size and performance

In regards of space I’m a bit restricted, and so my thoughts about computers and cases to put them into lead me to Mini ITX, and to a case which was introduced last year and which immediately became one of the favourites in that size and price class, the CoolerMaster NR200P. Here’s Leo from Kitguru reviewing it:

Leo analyses Cooler Master MasterBox NR200P

You can also read their/his written review here in case you want to know more.

As you could see in the review video, my current drives – one 2,5″ SSD and one 3,5″ hard disk with 4TB – the same Leo was showing – both fit nicely. Plus modern mainboards all have space for one or two M.2 SSD drives which are even faster anyway, and the case could even take two more 2,5″ SATA SSDs behind the front plate – that’s 6 drives overall, surely more than enough storage options.

Of course one should also try to save some space with choosing components wisely, so as a power supply I’d take Corsair’s smaller SFX ones, the ‘Platinum’ specced ones have a set of nicer braided cables compared to the ‘Gold’ rated ones. Without ever planning to add a graphics card, a 450W model would be more than enough, if you want to keep the possibility to add a medium- or high powered graphics card later on, there are also models with 600 or with 750W available. Remember, the high powered system Leo was building there drew some 500 Watts from the wall socket when stressing it out, both CPU and GPU alike. For me, that would rarely to almost never happen… so what about cooling?

I’d go with air cooling with a Noctua L12S low profile top blower cooler. I’d never overclock a system, so that should be just fine for a CPU with a TDP of around 65W like the AMD Ryzen 5 5600G (6 Core / 12 Thread), the Ryzen 7 5700G (8 Core / 16 Thread) or a comparable Intel Core i5-10400 (not the “K” versions which take lots more power). Learn more about such coolers from Machines & More:

Cooler Master NR200: Low Profile Air Cooler Configuration (feat. the Noctua L12S)

In case you also take low profile (or JEDEC-compatible) RAM which isn’t higher than 31,25mm, you could even let the cooler’s fan *under* the heat sink if you so desire, although these tests showed that it’s performing a bit better if you have the fan on top of the heatsink.

So for RAM a kit of 2x8GB or 2x16GB DDR4-3200 from Corsair (“Vengeance”) would be cool and wouldn’t restrict your mounting options.

For the main board, I’d go with Asus, but Gigabyte is also a good option and maybe a bit cheaper. Even MSI has a nice board, for AMD CPUs I’d take one with a B550 chipset, for 11th gen Intel chips a Z590 one.

All of the mentioned CPUs have graphics built right in, so you won’t have to overpay for graphics cards (only gamers would want these anyway, you can cut movies or “develop” photos without a dedicated graphics card just fine).

That would be cool machines, and maybe I’ll build one of these for a relative soon.

Oh, and a propos benchmarking: my own current system which is quite old already, and still has a 4th gen Intel Core i5 was behaving quite nicely when I stressed out its CPU with the Blender render “classroom” test:

Benchmarking Blender on my machine

As you can see, CPU average temperature was 41°C, max was 52°C, and the system was drawing about 72 Watts from the wall socket while doing this. Of course this took quite a while:

Blender classroom test finished

Over 31 minutes is slow, a more modern machine and chips like the ones mentioned above should do the same in about 8-10 minutes. And while they might draw a bit more power, they’d still do it in about a third to a quarter of the time, which makes them much more efficient in case you need that power…

As always, thanks for reading.

Robin Vincent about how to build an audio PC

Just found this awesome series from Robin Vincent about how to build an audio PC. It’s a bit over 2.5 years old, so when he’s talking about chipsets etc. it’s not that current anymore, but the principle is just right – and because I think that some of my friends over at Wikiloops would possibly be thankful for such explanations, here it is:

How to build an Audio PC
Molten Music Technology

Of course I would install Linux instead – or Windows *and* Linux – or Windows and *two* instances of Linux, which is what I did with my own machine. But that’s not part of what he’s talking about here, and I found his series really interesting. So thanks to Robin, and I hope that some of you who read this might find it useful as well.

As always, thanks for reading, viewing, and/or listening.

Sound setups

The more I’m using my new Debian 11 “Bullseye”, the more I like it. The first – and big – change to something better is that thanks to Geoffrey Bennett, a friendly musician and developer there’s now a Linux driver for the Focusrite Scarlett 2nd and 3rd generation interfaces in the kernel versions 5.x – see his latest thread on Linuxmusicians about it. He’s even developing graphical tools to manage these audio interfaces, but hasn’t released anything public yet. Still they work great, and I can now switch inputs from line to instrument, or assign a -10dB pad with a simple mouse click for instance in qasmixer, which shows my interface like this:

qasmixer showing my Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 2nd generation interface

This is cool because now you won’t need any Windows- or Mac-only software just to change settings on your interface (only the smallest Focusrite interfaces have physical switches, and none comes with software for Linux).

I have also set up a new LADISH studio for the Sonarworks headphone correction in Cadence and Claudia, and Cadence bridges all of Alsa, Pulseaudio, and Jack nicely so that it all works together. The cabling for my self-built “systemwide” setup for Linux in Carla looks like this:

Carla showing my Sonarworks headphone correction sitting “systemwide” between the PulseAudio Jack Sink and the system

Of course, I also had to select the right inputs and outputs for Pulseaudio in their pavucontrol, which looks like this:

Pavucontrol in- and outputs set to Jack to make it all audible

And these settings also allow third party applications like SongRec to check if a song might be a cover of others – and if yes, it shows something like this:

testing some Wikiloops template on known “covers” or songs which sound alike (based on Shazam recognition)

All of this is very complex because the Linux sound systems are so many, from Alsa over Jack to Pulse, and so on. But it all works nicely now, better than ever I’d say.

On Arch Linux I have Pipewire which tries to replace all of the sound servers mentioned above, and that also works – tho I haven’t looked that deep into it, and it’s also not quite ready yet. But from what I have seen and heard so far, that one is also perfectly usable already, so no matter which system is up and running (except Windows), I could make some music.

Good times. I’m happy that my transition to newer operating systems worked so well. And so today I also wiped all partitions from my old 250GB system drive which will go and find a new home in my brother’s PC as soon as he has time to deal with that. I already made a Ventoy-based USB boot stick with these same systems on it (plus some others which he hasn’t seen yet) for him.

Ok, enough for today. And thanks for reading, as always.

My computer housekeeping is kind of ready

Since yesterday morning I installed the new Debian 11 with codename “Bullseye” which is now officially released. And that’s my main operating system since over 16 years, I remember that I started to use that while still living in Bremen where Zuleikha was born over 16 years ago. And if you keep something that long it has to be good, doesn’t it?

Anyway, I have everything up and running nicely by now, and even Ardour runs on both Debian (with Jack) and also on Arch (with Pipewire). The next thing I did was to take the same background image – a photo of the moon I took in 2011 using my Olympus E-520 DSLR (I didn’t have a mirrorless camera yet) – for all of my devices (2) and operating systems (4). Looks like this:


Since my Conky is using a light font, a darker background like this helped. But this is cosmetics, meaning I’m done with the most important stuff already. Cool, now I can turn my attention to some other things again.

As always, thanks for reading.

Goodbye ‘Buster’, hello ‘Bullseye’

Ok, the mirrors aren’t switched yet, but the release of Debian 11 ‘Bullseye’ is going on with full steam ahead, and I have it already. Took both the live and netinstall images from their site, and installed from the latter, and here I am:

Debian 11 codename ‘Bullseye’ on my main machine

I still have some symptoms with my old home, must be some files under .config or somewhere which lead the mouse to be strange, so for the moment I switched my /home to the new 1TB drive, taking only what I need from the much bigger one.

But well – I can write my blog, send and receive mails, the rest will follow.

As always, thanks to all Debian developers – you girls & guys rock! And thanks to you for reading.

Hardware: upgraded, and software: added

So I received my Terabyte drive yesterday, and by now I have Windows 10, Debian, and also Arch Linux running on it, so here’s a screenshot from its Gnome 40 desktop:

Gnome 40 on Arch Linux

This is cool because Arch is a rolling release distribution which always has the latest and greatest packages (like that Gnome 40 desktop above, this won’t be in the upcoming Debian yet). And so I can experiment with pipewire which is a new low level video / audio / multimedia framework with the goal to replace all of Alsa, Pulseaudio, GStreamer, and Jack at the same time. See its entry in the Arch Wiki on how to try it, and also read this blog about it.

So by now I’m thinking about what to reconfigure on my main Debian installation. Do I really need 3 different DAWs (which I paid for, but my favourite is still the open source one)? Do I still want headphone correction even for the price of a relatively high system load? Things like these…

And in two days from now the new Debian will be released, I’m looking forward to installing that one as well – I’ve tried the Release Candidate 3, but with my “productive” system I’m still a bit conservative – while I can play around in Arch, on which I’m currently writing this blog post.

Anyway, cool to have some options. And like always, thanks for reading.

Preparing my system for an upgrade

So in 5 days from now the new stable version of Debian is planned to be released, and I haven’t heard any bad news from the latest RC3 pre-release, so I guess the time plan will be met.

Looking at my system I noticed that my boot drive – a 250GB Crucial SATA SSD which holds both Windows 10, Debian 10, and some common shared space for data exchange between the two is a bit full already – had to clean up that common space not too long ago, but Debian also occupies over 75% of what I thought would suffice. Well, probably not big enough anymore – so yesterday I ordered a 1TB SSD as a replacement. A SATA drive again, although my aging mainboard has an M.2 slot I didn’t want to risk any compatibility problems, and for my purposes those SATA drives are fast enough. So this product is on its way to our home already while I’m writing this:

Samsung 870 EVO

Prices are really down on these by now, for Mitchie’s drive – also 1TB but NVMe M.2 I paid almost double of what this costs. Ok, these M.2 sticks are both smaller and faster, so I guess that’s ok…

While waiting for that drive to arrive, I updated the mainboard BIOS with the latest available firmware – now I have a version from 2016 (the mainboard itself was invented in 2014). And I am thinking about whether I should install the same dual boot configuration, only bigger, or if I could/should even take three – like Win10, Debian, and Arch? Or a ‘Hackintosh’, so Win10, Debian, and MacOS? Joking, I want to *use* a computer now instead of permanently tinkering around with them – been there, done that, long enough for a lifetime I guess…

No, two operating systems are more than enough, usually we all use Linux, occasionally (like when we need that Olympus Workspace or want to try something else) we boot into Windows. Both Mitchie and Zuleikha use Ubuntu (which is cool), I’m on Debian, kind of Ubuntu’s mummy. Or daddy. It’s Deb *and* Ian, so probably both 🙂

Just made sure that I still have all ‘enablement’ codes and such which I have for commercial stuff on my /home which is still on a 4TB disk and won’t be touched – so I can reinstall things like Sonarworks (headphone correction) or Harrison Mixbus 7 on both Linux and Windows. Or Reaper which I also bought after trying it far longer than I should have (nice that you can).

So yeah, I’m prepared, and waiting for the hard- (should arrive mid week) and software (on Saturday if everything goes well). Debian’s motto is and always was: ‘quando paratus est’ – ‘when it’s ready’. And that’s always the best of all possible times, isn’t it? 😉

16 release-critical bugs left while I’m writing this (the green line on – see the graph below):

Thanks for reading…