OBSIDIANLAKE

Writing down my thoughts once ince a while

Multiple audio outputs in MPD

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Today a Sound Blaster Live 5.1 PCI audio board dropped onto my lap. Don’t ask me how that happened because the only thing that matters to me now is how I will use this now in conjuction with my onboard Realtek ALC883 (on a Intel HDA bus). I now have 7.1 and 5.1 sound cards. The most amazing thing I could do with that setup is to run 14 speakers(!!). Not amazing? Well, only if you don’t use your computer as a playback system for live concerts (or small “parties” in my case, even weddings :P) or something like that. What I can do now is to playback a track on “stage speakers” (or two tracks, or three!) while I listen to another track on my headphones just like a DJ! and I think I can also record from multiple inputs (all 5.1?) because ALSA installs the card as 3 devices, ADC Capture/Standard PCM Playback, Multichannel Capture/PT Playback and just Multichannel Playback. That would be just awesome for such a cheap sound card. Read the rest of this entry »

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Written by brokenthorn

November 29, 2008 at 21:22

Posted in hardware, Linux, music

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How to play Real Media in Ubuntu Hardy

with 8 comments

I use Gentoo and Ubuntu systems generally. While playing .rmvb files on Gentoo was just a matter of emerging the win32codecs or the win64codecs (w32/64codecs on Ubuntu), w64codecs aren’t available for you to apt-get install. Fortunately all you have to do to play .rmvb files with mplayer is to get the binary codecs package from mplayerhq for your specific architecture and platform. In my case AMD64/EMT64 Linux. Go to the download section on the mplayerhq web site and download your codec package. Create the /usr/lib/codecs/ folder if it doesn’t exist already and extract the .so files from the archive you download to that folder. Change the folder permission to a+rx and the .so files permissions to 0644. Be sure to use mplayer or gmplayer to play your .rm or .rmvb files.

Example:

sudo -i
cd
mkdir temp1
cd temp1
wget http://www8.mplayerhq.hu/MPlayer/releases/codecs/essential-amd64-20071007.tar.bz2
tar xjf essential-amd64-20071007.tar.bz2
ls
# if after running ls you don’t see a lot of .so files but instead you see a folder, run:
# cd that_folder
mkdir /usr/lib/codecs
mv *.so /usr/lib/codecs
chmod 0755 /usr/lib/codecs
chmod 0644 /usr/lib/codecs/*
cd
rm -R temp1
exit

EDIT: In the 64bit version of Arch Linux, this was very easy to install just by doing “pacman -S extra/codecs” (Non-linux native codec pack. (Win32, Real9, QuickTime)).

EDIT: The above instructions should work on all systems, but there’s even an easier way to get w32/w64/codecs and keep them up to date: go to the medibuntu site and read the Repository HowTo.

Written by brokenthorn

May 11, 2008 at 12:41

Posted in Ubuntu

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Yes I finally tuned it!

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I was feeling so satisfied after I realized that I managed to tune my guitar in standard EADGBe tunning… I’ll upload a sound sample sometime soon. 😀

Written by brokenthorn

May 3, 2008 at 02:00

Posted in guitar

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How do I know I tuned my guitar correctly?

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That is not a question I’m going to answer for you. Actually it’s a question I’m asking you.
I only just bought my first guitar and I’m still without a teacher. I’ve read some people learned how to play the guitar completely off the Internet. I don’t know whether to believe that or not but for the time being I will “investigate” that possibility. The first thing I’ve learned is absolutely necessary to do and be able to do correctly, is to tune the guitar.

Some people don’t have a well developed musical ear early in the process of learning so tuning their guitars solely by ear might be impossible. I didn’t buy an electronic tuner for my guitar. Using one might be the answer to the question title, but what if you don’t have one or you don’t want to buy one? Or what if you can’t use an electronic tuner? Wouldn’t it be great to develop your ear by learning how to listen to those notes first? Of course it would but without anyone, like a teacher for example, to correct your errors you would probably be wrong on many aspects of things involved in guitar playing while thinking you’re doing it right.

I know what I’m getting myself into by not getting a teacher and I hope everyone else like me also realizes the risk. Some people recommend using the Internet to learn how to play the guitar and that’s what I’m doing for the time being. I’ve learned how to tune my guitar in at least two different ways: relative tuning and harmonics tuning. But still that’s just procedure. How do I know I’ve got he correct notes and that I’m not missing anything or misinterpreting some notes?

Well, I don’t know. I’ll think about it, I’ll continue to learn and hope that along the way the secret will reveal itself, unknowingly. I know this is probably just me wishing for too much from the start, being over enthusiastic, ready to dive in but things aren’t as easy as you picture them before you start. More on this some other time.

EDIT: I actually didn’t know about clips like this one (call me ignorant) but it’s the same thing I’ve learned from other text sources and it’s exactly how I’ve done it so far. It’s a relative tuning method. You get the 6th string, the lowest pitch string, in tune by listening to a piano (of course that has to be in tune also) or a tuning fork, then you tune the other strings relative to that. There’s some musical theory one needs to understand when tuning a guitar. Wikipedia provides useful information on guitar tuning. There’s also the harmonic tuning, also relative tuning. Personally I found that easier to do. Here’s a random (but good) video. I guess now I’m more sure about my tuning. 😀

Written by brokenthorn

April 27, 2008 at 12:48

Posted in guitar

Tagged with , , ,

First guitar

with 6 comments

First of all, I’d like to tell you that I’ve always liked music and a couple of musical instruments best, the piano and the guitar. I also like the violin for its sad tune but it’s nothing compared to how much I like the guitar. I haven’t been a fan of guitar players and guitar music playing bands in particular, maybe because I had other preocupations… Thus I know too few names that made history with the guitar and its music (I know Pink Floyd and I love the music. Not much comes into mind right now.).

On the other hand I do listen to a lot of guitar music, especially rock music: alternative, classic, goth, some hard metal. Although it’s mostly about electric guitars these days, I like the acoustic guitar for its clearer sound and I would choose the acoustic guitar over the electric one any time. That’s not only because I like the sound of the acoustic better, but because acoustic melodies are also much better sounding. Try picturing a world of acoustic guitar melodies and a world of electric guitar melodies, which world would be more colourful?

I would have stated that learning to play the acoustic guitar for the first time is easier than learning to play the electric guitar for the first time, but that statement wouldn’t have been founded on facts because I haven’t learned how to play any of those instruments, yet. But I still think that.
As you might have guessed, my first guitar is an acoustic guitar. Actually, it’s an electro-acoustic: an acoustic guitar with a pick-up. And it sounds quite nice! I can even add distorsion and get that electric guitar feel. So now I’m left with (little money in my pockets and) learning how to play it.

I couldn’t decide, or rather I didn’t have the time to search for a guitar teacher, so for now I decided to learn some things on my own. Considering how the Internet is such a wonderful thing from where you can learn a lot of things, why should learning the guitar be excluded? I’ve started out learning some musical theory and it’s not so boring because I look forward to playing some songs and even composing, which is a thought that really keeps me going.

Right now I’m looking for some friends that might be learning the guitar for the first time themselves. Learning something new is always easier when you’re doing it with some friends. That’s something I realized after finishing school. So if you want to share your knowledge, ideas, questions, doubts, anything else about this subject, let me know about it. I hope we might help eachother learn faster and maybe play together.

Now I’ll leave you with some pictures of my first guitar, Cort EARTH 70E NAT.

Written by brokenthorn

April 25, 2008 at 22:25

Posted in guitar

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What is so special about Lenovo laptops?

with 7 comments

If that’s the question you are going to ask me when you finish reading this, I should answer it now: I’ve never seen higher quality for the price – 1k bucks in my case – in any laptop I’ve had so far. I’ve had Fujitsu-Siemens, Toshiba models, worked with Acer, Asus models, got a feeling of Vaio laptops and I’ve also used an IBM ThinkPad a very long time ago. Getting this Lenovo reminded me of the old ThinkPad and I realized there’s nothing compared to it. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by brokenthorn

February 9, 2008 at 23:08

Posted in hardware

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New LCD: ASUS VW202S

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I couldn’t get the one I ordered. It seemed like they were out of that item but I got another. It was much more expensive than the Samsung I wanted, but I figured I ain’t gonna find anything cheaper. Low offers always seem to pass me by or end right when I wake up to them. So I got an ASUS VW202S.

  • Size: 20.1 inch
  • Contrast: 2000:1
  • Response: 5 ms
  • Point size: 0.258 mm
  • Native resolution: 1680×1050
  • Luminance: 300 cd/mp
  • Visible angle: 160°/160°

You can find a lot of images of the LCD using Google if you want.

The LCD has a great response time. No more visible ghosting like the SONY SDM-S93 used to have. It has 5 built in presets for viewing mode: Scenery, Standard, Theater, Game and Nigh View Mode. While the other seem to introduce some digital vibrance, enhanced sharpness and contrast to the image, the Standard Mode seems to reproduce the best colour feeling for me.

Game mode introduces too much sharpness so text doesn’t look ok with it. Night View Mode enhances colors and whites so greys might look too light. Scenery Mode has a medium level of sharpness and deep colours. Theater Mode seems the most bearable even for reading and gaming.

Any of the modes push up the brightness of the LCD close to the maximum and I must say that the brightness level is very good on this LCD.
It has a wide viewing angle, though looking from the sides slightly reduces brightness as well as from the bottom. Looking from the top is ok up to an angle.

My model only has a VGA input and a stereo jack for the top speakers. I like how the speakers were designed. They’re not inserted on the front of the LCD like most others have. Instead they are built on the top, right under the heat dissipation grating. They don’t reproduce too much bass but mid and high frequencies are very good. The power is also acceptable for an office room.

All in all I think it’s a good LCD for the price, though I’ve heard better of the Samsung I wanted. The other view modes don’t seem too useful so as long as it’s in Standard Mode, it’s great.

I got it for about $330 converted from local currency. If you think your LCD has to be worth it to pay that much money, get something else. 😛 (Just kidding!)

Written by brokenthorn

January 24, 2008 at 12:00

Posted in hardware

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