The Gimp has some incredible fonts

I was looking for some free kanji-like vector graphics to make an album cover with just using one Chinese character, namely 詩.

Copied one out of a Youtube video, but then I stopped and thought “hmmm, cannot do this, at least not without asking…” – so I asked.

To just have something to do I decided to make a template for Wikiloops album cover images (size 465×456) in The Gimp, and once inside that program I looked into the fonts, and bingo! – there was everything (and more) which I wanted and needed for my next project. Have a look:

The Chinese character 詩 which means ‘poetry’ and also ‘song’ in English, size 220px

Awesome, isn’t it? Who knew that I had all the vector graphics I needed! So I wrote another email to the friendly calligrapher on Youtube and told him/them that he/they could ignore my last message, but feel free to be invited to Wikiloops in case they also make music like we do… oh, and their character was in simplified Chinese, while this one here is traditional.

I’m happy. Best things in life are free…

And as always, thanks for reading.

What to do in times of a pandemia

Well I can hardly give any tips of what best to do in a “lockdown” kind of situation, when you can’t or at least shouldn’t really leave the house. I can only tell you what we’re doing:

  • we went shopping of Friday after my work already, so we were through with that early on. It also helps if you enter the supermarkets as a single person, not with a whole family. Better for the distances we should keep…
  • reading is always good – my current favourite fiction author is Haruki Murakami as you might know if you’re reading this blog once in a while
  • listening to music and/or watching TV is what I’ll guess what most people would do, and of course we’re also doing that. Long running series like “Doctor Who” are good tips if you like that
  • If you’re a computer geek, get involved into some free and open source project – write some code or documentation, or share some tips via an own blog or Youtube or whatever
  • We’re the lucky ones, at least Zuleikha and me – we play instruments. Plus we are both members of Wikiloops where you can play with other musicians from all around the globe for free if you like. All you need is some way to get your instrument or voice into a computer, which is usually done with some kind of audio interface – see here for some examples. And Wikiloops just lifted its time restrictions, so even as a new user you can now start down- and uploading at once, without having to wait (or to pay).
  • If you are creative in another field – I consider myself a portrait photographer for instance – then do this at home as well. Take photos of your family, or in case you’re alone, take self portraits. There’s always something new to learn, and if it’s only about lighting.

Other than that I haven’t done much this weekend, in fact I wasn’t even out of the house except to feed the birds:

7e4_3222159-bird-food
Bird food, Mörfelden-Walldorf 2020

As I’ve read, the rate of new infections with SARS-CV2 aka the Corona virus is slowing down here in Germany. So maybe (and hopefully) it helps if everyone is staying at home or at least keeping a safe distance. And while it’s still way too early to speak of or to hope for a trend, we can still carry on and wait this out, shall we?

Be safe. Stay healthy. And thank you for reading.

Having fun with our server again…

Something broke again, so instead of making music or photographs or reading I’m spending most of my evenings with our server. I can hardly complain tho, because except for the rent of this small virtual server we’re not paying anything – using free and open source software throughout, so we’re responsible for it to work.

Sometimes tho I’d love to have some time for myself, or for some friends and family and other hobbies than this one… during my daytime I’m asked to do totally different stuff, so I’m not that much of a server admin anymore like I used to be. Hard to keep up if development is accelerating and you also have less and less time to keep up.

Anyhow, as you can see the webs are currently working. Next is email.

As always, thanks for reading.

A short history of free – and commercial – operating systems

Like the English Wikipedia with its “Featured articles“, the German one also has its “Artikel des Tages” on its start page – each day a different one. I love these, you learn a lot about the world with just looking (and reading if you’re interested of course).

And today’s featured article, or “Artikel des Tages” on the German Wikipedia is about BSD, the so-called “Berkeley Software Distribution” (I’ll link to the German pages here, for English just click inside of Wikipedia if you like).

BSD and its kernel are one of the two mainline free Unix kernels, the other one was/is System V. Both are monolithic, and both stem from the AT&T (later also Bell) labs. BSD was/is used in early and recent operating system versions from Apple, but after Steve Jobs left the company, he founded another one called “NeXT“, and used a microkernel called Mach which was developed at the Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) for his operating system NeXTStep. When Apple bought NeXT in 1996, part of the deal was that Steve Jobs should come back and become Apple’s CEO. What they developed then was/is known as macOS, and that’s today’s commercially most successful Unix variant for personal computers (actual version is “macOS Catalina“). And even iPhones and iPads (did I write that correctly?) are based on this architecture, tho the end user doesn’t see much of that.

BSD itself split up into three mainline “distributions”, or “flavours”, so to speak, named NetBSD, FreeBSD, and OpenBSD, each with slightly different goals but from the kernel side pretty much identical. These can also run programs compiled for Linux.

As for the Linux side: that’s younger than its BSD siblings, but older than anything with Mac in its name. I run Debian on my systems which is developed not by a company but by a team of volunteer developers (both hobbyists and employees of big companies) world-wide. The advantage of this is that decisions are based on team votings, and that the system cannot be bought and commercialized (or even be closed down) by any big company.

In case you’re interested in Debian’s history: 13 years ago after I met him at a Linuxtag meeting in Karlsruhe I email-interviewed Ian Murdock (the “-ian” part of “Debian”), and you can read that here on my site (RIP Ian, and thanks again for everything).

So much for a short history lesson, and about free software for today. As always, thanks for reading.

How much CPU power do I need?

I was reading the latest c’t magazine and also just watched an hour long video talk they had about the finest article in it. The topic: once a year they publish suggestions of ideal machines to build for yourself, with low power consumption, which are quiet, run smoothly, give you the best bang for the buck, and so on.

I find these very useful, and all of my self-built PCs – some of which are distributed to the wider family by now – were always at least based upon their suggestions.

While discussing PCs with my brother (his doesn’t start anymore at the moment, after years of service (it also was a very good one)) and after reading that latest article with a remark that multitrack music productions would love to have many CPU cores I decided to check my own one. So I’ve made a short video about it:

resources 2019 11 16 12 24 28, from my own Youtube channel

The music I’ve used for that demonstration & check was my latest collab with Arno from Wikiloops. Merci Arno for your wonderful track!

And yes, for what I’m doing, an old 4th generation Intel Core i5 is more than enough as you can see. So a nice actual 9th generation one is the one I’d take for any new build, these integrated graphics are more important to me than any assumed or measurable advantage of AMD chips…

Thanks for watching, and for reading – as always.

Ummm no. Thanks, but no thanks.

I like the new WordPress, but the Twenty Twenty theme? Not so much… so I’m back to the old one (and looking for others if I find the time to do so).

Oh, and I decided to change both the header image of my Twenty Seventeen theme as well as the tagline. Not my bass in that photo, but it has music, photography, and thoughts… and again, thanks to Diana or to Richard – whoever of you took that one 🙂

Thanks for reading, as always.

She forgets when she dances

There was that lovely folk song from Wikiloops member “Arnosolo” which I downloaded a while ago. And first I worked on noise reduction of the track a bit, made a video about that, and messaged Arno. He allowed me to show that video (and contributed another and maybe even better one) – but before I did that I sat down and played on his track a bit, and uploaded that to the ‘loops. So here’s his lovely song, with me noodling (improvising) on it:

Oh, and the videos and the forum article about adaptive noise reduction are here, in case you’re interested.

As always, thanks for reading, and for listening. And if you’re a musician yourself, then please consider joining us at Wikiloops – it’s free, and it’s fun! 🙂

And now, the same in Debian

Firefox update to the next ESR release, the one without the built-in Live Bookmarks:

And I’ll do it right after finishing this blog post – now that I know what awaits me (some changes in the Look & Feel department, and lots of manual labour), I’ll just do it. After all, that new version of Firefox also has some advantages compared to its older sibling.

So… still no weekend for me… but thanks for reading, as always.

Update, after the update: the first thing I saw in the new browser version was an additional tab:

That’s a support page, written by volunteers for Mozilla, so thanks for that!

Thanks to you again for reading. Have a nice weekend.

Oh my… goodbye old live bookmarks…

Lost all of my live bookmarks this morning at work, when my version of Firefox there updated itself from 60ESR to 68ESR:

The dreaded first non- live bookmarks release

This was announced earlier, so kind of expected, but I still hate when something like this happened – and Mozilla got their share of comments from me about it, including some not so friendly words and threatening of leaving the browser for good.

But there aren’t any alternatives, really. Google’s Chrome? God forbid. Its more or less free basis with the name “Chromium”? Hm, why? Any other ones? The former “Galeon” is now called “Web”, and there are some forks of Firefox and others, but really, Firefox is still the best of these options, and somehow the last bastion vs the big corporate guys.

So I searched for and installed “Livemarks” – and while that works, you still lose the complete structure of your folders – so you have to manually fix everything (be prepared for some real work there if you have many live bookmarks). Anyway, thanks to Tim Nguyen, and Tom Schuster for making this – you guys rock!

To the Mozilla crew, again: shaking my head in disbelief about such bad decisions. How could you kill the one and probably most important thing which separated Firefox from the rest out there? Can’t you even imagine that with all of the information overflow these days, having the headlines is often enough? :/ But anyway, thanks for making a good free browser.

As always, thanks for reading.