Last Peace, by Zuleikha L

Last night, Zuleikha uploaded her newest composition “Last Peace” to Wikiloops. I had helped her a bit with getting the Addictive Keys Studio Grand into Ardour, so she mentioned me as well on her lovely track. And over the night, she got 11 thumb ups, 5 downloads and 1 remix already as you can see here or on her track:

“Last Peace” by Zuleikha L on Wikiloops

I also like her new avatar there which she drew herself:

And as you can see, she also received a first remix already, which were some jazzy drums & guitar played by João (nickname jjdf) from Portugal. Obrigado!

As always, thanks for reading.

Links to Jason, for colleagues, friends, and family

At LinuxMusicians, we have some really good producers (like for instance user ‘singforme’ and/or ‘bluebell’). And in this thread on LM, one of them pointed me to an article written by Jason Evangelho for Forbes, here.

That article is about UbuntuStudio, which Zuleikha was using until recently (she’s now running the KXStudio stuff on a ‘normal’ Ubuntu on what used to be Mitchie’s Dell notebook, now hers). The article also covers the Jack Audio Connection Kit, and Ubuntu Studio Controls, which together bring a bit of nice automation into the game, taking out some complex steps of setting up a productive audio environment on a PC. As Jason concludes in his article:

I tried Ubuntu Studio 18.04 last year in a short-lived attempt to see if it could replace my macOS + Logic Pro workflow (my last hurdle to using Linux full time), and I honestly walked away a bit disappointed. But 19.04 is shaping up to worthy of a second chance. You’ll have my thoughts when the final version releases this Spring.

But so far this is interesting for musicians and/or creative people only (which covers some of my own family, but not many other people). So if you’re in this ‘other people’ group, stay with me just a little bit longer, because the other interesting finding in his article on Forbes were links to Jason’s own site Linux For Everyone, and to his music on Soundcloud.

And while Jason’s music might be interesting to you or not, I’ve read just one article on his site called “Ditch Dropbox: Create A Personal Home Backup Server With Raspberry Pi 3” which made me write this link collection, and recommending it to colleagues and friends (who aren’t musicians or other creatives) as well.

What Jason is describing there is simply how to set up a small and low cost home server based on Linux which everyone could use, together with some useful stuff like apps for your desktop, and your Android or iOS device to make use of it all – without having to touch a command line even once. He shows how to sync your PC and your phone with that small server automatically using NextCloud, so you have basically replaced Dropbox or any other commercial service provider (you have to read some additional stuff on how to open ports on your router, or to connect to your home from outside via DynDNS-like services if you haven’t done so, but that’s stuff for another article).

So at this point, Jason concludes:

Wait A Minute….
Did we just setup a Linux-based file server without using the command line once? Yes. Yes we did.

Thanks for reading.

I know I have some colleagues who are interested in just this. And I don’t know about you, but I am interested in something like this myself. And besides, I’ll go on reading Jason’s other stuff as well, so I have set up an RSS-bookmark to his site, so that I can see new headlines when he comes up with new articles. So, in a nutshell, I consider this recommended reading for everyone who’s an admin of their own home network. You. Me. Everyone.

P.S.: Jason’s articles on Forbes are good reads as well. I’ve short-scanned only the last 2 months or so, and found these three very interesting ones:

I Can’t Believe I’m Writing This Linux Article About Loving The Xfce Desktop Environment

Warning: Internet Explorer Just Became A Silent But Serious Threat To Every Windows User

Here’s The Shocking Reality Of Completely Blocking Google From Your Life

Like I said/wrote: interesting (tho he still is new to the Linux desktop experience, but this might apply to you as well, right?). As always, thanks for your interest, and for reading.

On where to go, and what to do – in London

I’ve been to London some time ago. The first time I was fifteen (so not much older than Zuleikha is today) with my school class, which was really cool. Then I was traveling through it by train, and later just driving through some tunnel under the river Thames. Now Zuleikha and Mitchie want to see it, and what we saw on the TV already were the following videos – just linking to them here again so they can be found again.

First, there are “100 Things To Do” by some cute Koreans (of course you can’t do that all, but it’s still fun to look at if you don’t know the city or haven’t been there since a while):

100 Things To Do in London 🇬🇧

And since those girls were in the area but didn’t mention it, here’s another video about Camden Market (Shi sang about that so nicely in her “Must dash” song):

Camden Market London Travel Guide

Of course we have some own plans already – Mitchie wants to visit the Malaysian Embassy because of her passport, I’d love to see the Bike Shed (which also has a cool restaurant), and Zuleikha has lots more on her agenda – a city map alone brings out lots of ideas already…

Oh, and we’ll go by car. And ferry. And within London, we’ll take the tube. No plane, no train, and no tunnel, just the old-fashioned way of traveling. And I’m very much looking forward to that as well.

I’ll report from there once we are back – but first there will be other things to come…

As always, thanks for reading (and watching).

Approaching end of February with two photos of Tuna (our cat)

The last weekend of February is almost half over already, but we had a nice day and currently we’re having a nice sundown. Got a package with some stuff including – for me – John Goldsby’s Jazz bass book which is great. You only have to mention titles like “How high the moon”, and I have them in my ears…

Anyway, I took a few photos of Tuna, and here are two of them, in black & white, midtoned as usual, and with a white border (but I left them in the 4:3 format to represent (Micro-) Four Thirds):

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Tuna the cat, Moerfelden-Walldorf 2019
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Tuna the cat, Moerfelden-Walldorf 2019

As always, thanks for viewing and reading.

Presents

Today was my 62nd, and these were my presents:

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Studio monitors, Moerfelden-Walldorf 2019
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Das Kontrabass-Buch, Moerfelden-Walldorf 2019

This second one was interesting, because I could go and visit the author’s shop in Frankfurt to pick up my copy. And once I was there I couldn’t resist to lay my hands onto some of the instruments they had there, so I briefly played contrabasses ranging from 1500€ to about 12k€ or so. All of them were nice, some were really nice…

The two main brands in case you’re interested are Christopher (Chinese), and Gasparo (Romanian). And then there’s the stuff which is a bit more expensive, like the German Wilfer or Stoll ones… but like I wrote above, there are nice ones in each range.

Anyway – thanks for reading, as always.

Me again, from ten days ago

Here’s the photo which Zuleikha took of me ten days ago, this time in midtoned black & white film simulation, and cropped into a 3:2 format:

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Wolfgang, Moerfelden-Walldorf 2019

As always, thanks for viewing.

My weekend of week 6, 2019

Yesterday I had some “fun” (read: work) again with Mitchie’s new computer. It started with lots of slow updates of Windows 10, about which I wrote already in my last post, and it went on after I finally got a nice new external casing for her SSD which came with the machine.

As it turned out, I had forgotten or at least not considered the fact that before installing both Windows and then Linux on her new SSD I had switched off SecureBoot in the machine’s UEFI (formerly called ‘BIOS’). Tho Ubuntu could have dealt with it as well as Windows, it just didn’t seem worth the hassle. But what I hadn’t known and considered was the fact that Lenovo was so friendly as to turn on Bitlocker encryption on the drive as well, so even with jumping through several hoops to even get that key from Microsoft, I still couldn’t get Windows to de-encrypt the whole shebang again. In the end I gave up on this – there are things to do during your lifetime which are more worth of your time than dealing with stupid stuff like this. And the fact that a commercial vendor like Microsoft has keys to your machine which they don’t even tell you about seems more than questionable to me… So I formatted that old SSD and put a FAT32 partition onto it, so that it can be used as a bigger (and much faster and more reliable) USB “stick” with 128GB.

One more positive side note about Lenovo: their support pages are first class. If you allow them, they scan your machine and install all the drivers (for Windows of course) you might need. That’s almost as good as Linux which simply installs them without even bothering you with it.

Another topic:

Mike Johnston wrote a nice short article titled “Mike’s Seven Laws of Lenses” on his site The Online Photographer. And – not for the first time – he included a photo of a lens which he seems to love, and which I even have:

Panasonic Leica Summilux 25mm/1.4 on Mike’s page

This is a nice one indeed, and well worth having should you consider a Micro Four Thirds camera (or even have one already). With my copy of that lens I took the following snapshot of Mitchie’s new machine, with the additional SSD leaning against it:

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Mitchie’s new machine, with an additional SSD leaning against it, Moerfelden-Walldorf 2019

This is btw such a dark scene that I had to underexpose it in camera with -2.3EV to keep the blacks real black (pictures such as this one confuse the metering of even the best cameras, they would turn the photo into an average grey instead of mostly black). Anyway, you see her new “USB stick” (her old SSD) and its size as well. The machine with its 13.3″ screen is tiny, the drive even more so.

So that was my Saturday. My Sunday started with getting another new piano which was described in an article (in German) on Delamar – an online magazine from musicians for musicians from Darmstadt (ca. 18km from here). That virtual piano was interesting me because it’s some kind of hybrid between a sampled (=recorded), and a modeled (=computer generated) one, and because the sound sample on Delamar’s page sounded really nice (and some of its users even claimed that it’s better than the commercial modeled Pianoteq which I’ve tried (and liked) on Manjaro lately).

Of course like so many other “freebies” this piano comes as a Windows or Mac plugin only – but thanks to falkTX’s Carla the loading of an unencrypted Windows VST is no problem on Linux anymore (except of course that you’re running an additional Wine layer to emulate some Windows resources on Linux, but that’s not falkTX’s fault). So after downloading that freebie I could look at and listen to it on my Debian machine – looks like on my screenshot of it:

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the freebie “NeoPiano” from Soundmagic, a Windows VST running on Linux (thanks to falkTX and his Carla plugin rack)

And yes it sounds nice tho I haven’t tried much until now. But now that Zuleikha has Mitchie’s old Core i5 notebook from Dell, she will be able to test it as well – she’s the pianist in the family, not me. 🙂

So next time Zuleikha comes up with a new composition of hers, we can compare it against the commercial xln Audio ‘Addictive Keys’ Studio Grand (a Steinway D sampled in a studio somewhere in Sweden), and the other free ones we have already like the Salamander (Yamaha C5) or the ‘Piano in 162’ (another Steinway). The files she uploaded to Wikiloops so far were all done with the commercial xln one.

And now let’s have some more coffee, and a piece of cake 🙂 As always, thanks for reading.

Windows Updates

They last forever, really. I updated Mitchie’s new notebook to the latest version of Windows 10 which took all morning and even half of the afternoon. They seem to use some sort of throttling, because neither the CPU was busy, nor was the RAM full or the disk really the bottleneck. And if you’re used to the speed and elegance of a modern Linux machine (even with my already ‘ancient’ Debian stable), then you fall asleep when you have to wait for Windows…

Anyway, hers was finally done, and so I checked mine which updated faster (I do it more often, on Mitchie’s machine it was the first time ever, with a quite old boot image of Windows 10). Still, an out of the box Linux install *and* update is way faster – tho it also brings in much more software compared to a bare naked Windows.

So here’s a screenshot from my own machine – on which I use Windows occasionally only, when I need my camera makers’ raw converter or the control software for my audio interface and such:

updated-screenshot
Sometimes even I use Windows…

As always, thanks for reading.

A Yogi Yoga for Mitchie

Today is Mitchie’s birthday, and it was time to get her a new notebook. The challenge was to find the right one, because pretty much nothing of the machines currently on offer fitted exactly the criteria of what she wanted and needed.

So in the end it became clear that we had to go modular – or better known as finding an offer of ‘built to order’ – pretty much as you would configure a car.

Not all vendors offer that, and even of the ones who did, no one really had the machine for her. Which means that part of the build had to be done by ourselves – not a big problem, because I’ve done this professionally in the past.

So this is what she got for her birthday today:

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A Yoga for Mitchie, Moerfelden-Walldorf 2019

This is a Lenovo Thinkpad L380 Yoga, which I ordered for her with Windows 10 Pro, an Intel Core i5 8xxx (8th generation) CPU, 16GB RAM, and the smallest SSD drive on offer which has the size of 128GB. And that one (with Windows on it) I took out right away, and replaced it with a Samsung 970 EVO NVMe drive with 1TB capacity. The other SATA drive with 128GB will be put into an external USB2/3 casing.

On the blank Samsung SSD I installed Windows 10 Pro first, and then Ubuntu 18.04 LTS. For Windows I had to search for a WLAN driver, with Ubuntu everything worked out of the proverbial box – including the Wacom pen which comes with that ‘Yoga’ device with its 180 degree rotatable touchscreen, which turns the machine into an artist’s tablet, and with a touch-sensitive pen as the cherry on top.

So that is what she/we wanted: a not too big (13.3″) device with a not too fast (i5) CPU, but with enough RAM (16GB) and hard drive (1TB), topped with a touch-sensitive full HD screen and even a pen. The cost? About half of a readily-configured machine which would have had everything except one thing or the other (and definitely not two operating systems, but that’s a story for another day. I’m waiting for the first vendor to offer – legally of course – machines with Apple, Microsoft, and Debian preinstalled).

It’s a nice machine. Especially with Ubuntu instead of Windows (which we need once a year for tax declarations – and the machine itself is tax-deductible of course). It even feels nice, and in no way cheap (which it wasn’t).

For those who are interested, here are the German Lenovo product page, and the Ubuntu compatibility page.

And now Mitchie needs a prescription for bifocals to read text in FullHD on a 13.3″ display…

Thanks for reading.