Mobile phone as a dashcam

We – the collective “we” – are documenting our lives using mobile phones by now, all around the globe, using them for photos, videos, everything. And lately I saw some videos where people used mobile phones instead of action cams, like on bicycles, motorcycles, and in cars. So I thought “Why not?”, and since we all have these devices already, we might as well use them.

So I bought a car holder, an adapter for power, and tried it today. We were driving from one of the big supermarkets in Germany (Aldi) to another (Rewe), which took about 8 minutes, and I’ve used two recent tracks from Wikiloops on which I’ve played the double bass, “Colours“, and “Going down” for the video:

Got another holder for the bicycle as well – and maybe I’ll try that one tomorrow…

As always, thanks for reading, viewing, and listening. And of course thanks to my friends over at the ‘loops as well πŸ™‚

Didn’t know that I’m on Reverbnation as well…

Just found myself on Tom’s pages there:

Listen to Aaron’s beautiful guitar solo there. So this seems to be my Wikiloops track 146415, together with Haffast’s guitar from #147068 – but without Titus’ keys… and Aaron also had a video of himself playing, also featuring his cat:

Lovely… <3

I’m on more of Tom’s tracks there, here’s one from an album where he featured Shi obviously:

As always, thanks for listening.

Both visitors

Yesterday we’ve had both neighbours’ cats visiting us at the same time, Mitchie calls them “Cookie”, and “Milka”, and they’re both tomcats (I think, haven’t really looked that closely). She took a few snapshots using her mobile phone, a Google Pixel 4a 5G, and then sent them to me via Signal:


Still missing “our” Tuna each day… couldn’t think of a better and more loyal chief mouser

Oh, and by the way – have a look at today’s album of the day on Wikiloops, from our friend Christophe:

Guitar For Hugs 3, by Tof & Mates


Yesterday I’ve found and then later installed Ventoy (see its Wikipedia page), an open source multiboot tool to create bootable media with – looks like the picture on its Wikipedia page:

In my case, I’ve put four different operating systems on my cheap 32GB stick, see them here on my file browser on Linux:

That’s the current Arch Linux and Windows 10 from this half year (21H1), plus live iso images of both the currently stable Debian 10.9 “Buster”, and the 20.04 LTS version of UbuntuStudio. Plus I have an own folder on it which I cleaned up a bit as well, so now the stick is less than half full.

This is cool – I’ve tried it on my own machine after work, and booted into UbuntuStudio to verify that it works. And if you want to change any of these operating systems to newer versions, simply swap out their iso files, and that’s it, which makes upgrading and staying current really easy.

Look at the Ventoy webpage in case you’re interested. And it will format your stick with the exFAT file system so that even images with more than 4GB (like the Windows you see above which has some 5.3 or so Gigabytes) can be stored – FAT32 can’t do that.

RRS (Really recommended stuff), and thanks to “longpanda” and the Ventoy team πŸ™‚

Update, from June 2nd: just added Fedora Workstation 34 to the images on my USB key. This is a live image like Debian and Ubuntu so it’s bootable without changing anything on your machine. And while it’s not as current as the rolling release Arch distribution, it still comes with Gnome 40. It also invents Pipewire as the default audio system which is supposed to replace both Alsa *and* Jack one day, so playing around with that (as a musician) could also be interesting. Fedora is the development testbed and free version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, and like it comes with free software only (by default). So it’s well worth having a look at in case you don’t mind using RPM and dnf (or yum) instead of apt (Debian/Ubuntu) or pacman (Arch).

About an upcoming virtual meeting

Later today, we’ll have another one of these virtual meetings where everyone sits at home in front of their work notebooks with built-in webcams, speaking into headsets, well I guess most of you will know the experience of that, it has become pretty normal since the last 14 and a half months or so.

What’s not normal about today’s upcoming meeting is that it’s about saying goodbye to 5 colleagues with whom I’ve been working since the last 13 years or so.

Very sad to see everyone go, and the rest of us will follow 3 months later, so all I can do for now is to wish them all luck and all the best for their future.

I’ll miss you, ladies & gents, and it has been an honour and a pleasure working with you all. Thanks for the good time.

Integration of mobile phones with Linux

On the KDE Plasma site I’ve seen this:

KDE Connect

And after reading about it a bit, I’ve found that you can have the same for Gnome, as a shell extension which can be installed and configured from your browser, like in my case, Firefox. It’s called GSConnect, see here:

Of course I had to try that, so I installed KDE Connect onto my Android phone, and GSConnect onto my Debian/Gnome desktop. And indeed, I can move my mouse on the big screen with my phone, transfer files like music or photos between both devices, receive notifications and/or SMS, the possibilities are seemingly endless… oh, and in case you forgot where you’ve put your phone, let it ring from your computer.

Very nice. Works only with Android phones, for iOS and Apple devices or for other operating systems than Linux you’ll have to search for alternatives. Shouldn’t be too hard to find, since we’re talking free and open source software here, as always.

Fun! πŸ™‚

Thanks for reading. And thanks to the developers who make stuff like that! πŸ™‚

Tried Arch Linux yesterday

Yesterday my work notebook got an upgrade from RHEL (Red Hat Enterprise Linux) 8.3 to 8.4 – normally not a big deal you would assume, but when dealing with internal IBM images, you’ll also download a complete Win10 virtual machine (more than 80% of the 8.8GB download), and while more or less everything is being drawn out of a VPN it all trickles down with about 5 MBit/s maximum speed – takes all day, although my cable network line could have handled 135 MBit/s… oh well…

“Well”, I thought after work, my son Jeremy advised me to try out Arch Linux years ago, and because that’s what they call a “rolling distribution”, it’s always current and comes with the latest and greatest packages, so let’s have a try. And so I installed that into a (kernel-based) KVM machine on my computer, giving it just 4GB of RAM, a 20GB part of my hard disk, and 2 CPUs.

And yes, it is what it says on its homepage – a “simple, lightweight distribution”. I installed the Gnome desktop environment, and so for the first time I saw the upcoming Gnome 40 (only rolling release distros like Arch plus the new Fedora have that one). It even came with the default background(s) from the Gnome guys, so it more or less looked identical to their image:

Gnome 40 desktop view

So if you’re curious how Arch looks, and like me you prefer the Gnome desktop to others, have a look at the Gnome site.

Other than that it’s really pretty minimal, so I see Jeremy’s point – you more or less build (or install) what you need, nothing else, nothing less – the default environment even doesn’t have a printer. So sleek, minimalistic, yes it is. And sexy somehow.

So I tried and installed tools like Firefox, Thunderbird, and Ardour using Arch’s internal ‘pacman’ tool, and yes, all the latest versions including Ardour 6.7 which is only a few days old while I’m typing this. So this is a very easy and convenient way to getting the latest of everything indeed.

Would I need or even recommend it? Well about recommendations: for beginners, no – it’s much easier to recommend a standard Ubuntu or even Linux Mint (based upon Debian/Ubuntu but with more non-free stuff) to beginners than this – this is more for tinkerers who know exactly what they’ll want and/or need, and what not.

For me? Well having the latest and greatest does have its charm, but then there’s also not that much difference to, say, a Debian ‘Sid’ (unstable), and this. Both will give the latest stuff, and both will be managable by users who know their way around Linux, and how to react should things break or not work out immediately (think of greater transitions like from Gnome 2.x to 3.x) – but do I need this in my day-to-day usage of my own machine? I think not. I’m not that much interested in the system(s) per se, but want a reliable and configurable environment on which I can run my photo and music apps, handle mail and basic web browsing, all that day-to-day stuff. It’s not that sexy if you first have to deal with and fix your latest updates/upgrades rather than beginning whatever you wanted to do right away. So for me, a current Debian stable is just the way to go. Or, if you want something more recent, take Ubuntu (although the upcoming Debian 11 ‘Bullseye’ will be newer than the 20.04 LTS of Ubuntu of course), or any of its derivates (a friend from Paris takes ElementaryOS, a strikingly beautiful descendant of Ubuntu which looks a bit like MacOS).

To each their own as they say. Anyway, very cool and interesting to look over the proverbial fence, and to try out Arch. Somehow I still love its simplicity, and the idea behind it. So, if you want to see it, try it – recommended indeed. At least you’d never have to install a new version anymore… πŸ™‚

Philosophically, Arch is a bit more lax compared to Debian concerning the ‘free’ (in free and open source), but both are more or less the opposite of ‘Enterprise’, which I like a lot. Both Arch and Debian are even a lot less commercial than Ubuntu, and unlike that (which is built by the staff from Canonical) they’re not companies, so they can’t be bought, sold, and ruined in any way, and I love just that. It’s a thing called ‘freedom’, and that has values far beyond monetary ones. Think about it.

As always, thanks for reading.

P.S.: While I’ve been at it, I could of course also have had a look at KDE Plasma – but ok, there are more rainy days to come, so… πŸ˜‰

Upgraded to Mixbus v7

Yesterday I decided to upgrade my version 6 of Harrison Mixbus to their new version 7 – and just like my purchase of v6 I’ve got it at a discount, so until now I’ve spent 19€ for the first version and also 19€ for the upgrade – still cheap when considering the normal price of 90€ (plus 29€ for the upgrade) if you don’t get the discount. See their homepage, and also the Mixbus manual for more info.

I was quite happy with v6 already, but v7 seems to be even snappier. Like the latest versions of Ardour (6.7 at the time of writing) on which it is built, it has some quite nice features which you won’t find elsewhere, at least not built-in – take the targeted mastering approach for instance:

Mixbus/Ardour with a loudness target ‘Apple Music’ which translates to -16 LUFS and to -1dB true peak. A simple click with your mouse could change that to ‘Youtube’ which would be 2dB “hotter”, or to EBU R128 broadcasting standards (-23 LUFS and -1dBTP)

You can also save the master loudness analysis and the mixer settings automatically with each mixdown in ‘preferences’, so you’ll get something like this with your exported file(s):

Output analysis
Mixer settings

Most of that stuff can be done with Ardour which is a fantastic program of and by itself. It’s open source, but for a readily compiled version for Windows or MacOS you’ll have to spend an amount of your own choice (starting at $1).

The reason for me to also get/purchase Mixbus was first my curiosity about it, but in the end I’ve kept it because of its sound – *and* because the workflow is about the same as in Ardour which I knew and loved since years already, and which I’ll keep using anyway.

My latest mix and export with Mixbus v6 was ‘Colours’:

And people seem to love the sound of my upright in that one…

As always, thanks for reading.