Archive for March, 2014

the various problems

Here’s a copy of the the problem summary I posted to Good news is the playlist switching has already been reproduced, and isn’t related to the plugins; also, the strange asterisk behaviour has been seen by someone else, too. But the other problems? Not yet. Help?

A problem I thought was project-specific isn’t project-specific after all ๐Ÿ™

I have multiple problems that all appeared at the same time, after getting MIDI going in Ardour. I don’t know that getting MIDI running caused the problems; I also did an apt-get update/upgrade that brought in newer versions of Calf plugins which does not preceed the first occurance of the problems but does seem to be involved in some way.

First: on loading many projects, I get a nontrivial pause, during which time disc space is shown to be 0h 0m 0s remaining, and the title bar project name alternates between askterisked and non-askterisked. This cycle of asterisk/non-asterisk appears to repeat the same number of times as I have Calf plugins plugged in across all tracks. So if I have an assortment of tracks N and a total of 10 Calf plugins across all tracks, it will cycle 10 times.

Pulling all the Calf plugins and plugging them back in again (same places, same setting) with LV2 versions makes this problem go away.

ALSO: projects with tracks with Calf (LADSPA) plugins don’t play, and LADSPA Calf plugins seem to be misbehaving; I get anywhere from muted to noise to distorted play. Replacing them with LV2 Calf plugins (I think – the ones not marked LADSPA) makes this go away as well. (Note: I have two copies of most of the Calf plugins (and have for some time – honestly I don’t know why, but the old ones go back to Ardour 2), some with (LADSPA) after the name, some without.)

Swapping plugins out is a bigger project than it may seem, because I have never, ever had presets load for me, despite having the subscriber version of Ardour. Checking the store, I see that the presets are _saved_, but they don’t get loaded. I don’t know why.

Now, once I do this, and have things playing and sounding right again, and no delay at startup, in these projects, I have very slow response to the record button (1.5ish seconds) and swapping playlists on tracks while playing results in that track going silent for 1.5ish seconds, and then resuming play, delayed from the rest of playback by the same amount of time.

[Video of example removed; it was resolved/won’t fix]

That video quality is pretty weak; I can record it again with a desktop video recorder. But since Ardour is running output through my external interface and everything else uses the built-in motherboard sound, it wouldn’t be as useful for this case, because of no sound.

When playing that video, note the fiddler dropping out for about a second and a half, while the other playback continues; then the fiddle comes back in, picking up immediately where it left off, delayed from the rest. I did it twice; the fallback is cumulative.

On projects not (…yet…) affected, and until a couple of weeks ago, I could change playlists more or less instantly; I would do this to audition phrases and the like during comping.

This collection of problems has rather kicked my workflow and progress on my current projects in the knees, so … anybody? Help?

never, ever upgrade things

A bunch of plug-in upgrades (not particularly wanted) that came in with some security updates (entirely wanted) may have hosed my digital audio workstation. I have earlier – and recent – whole-disk images I could revert to, but… that would be a lot of work to unwind.

Some days make me miss editing magnetic tape with razor blades. Not many days. But some.

I’ll be debugging all day, I suspect. Here, have a flower picture I took on Friday.


how vinyl LPs are made

Anybody knows the original source of this image or the sculptor, let me know? I tried, but Google Image Search didn’t know either. ^_^

eta: That was quick! @revspaced on Twitter reports that itโ€™s a piece called Cutting Records, by David Rinman. Thanks, Liam!

we are not a muse

The Victoria Folk Music Society gave me this sticker.
It’s on my zouk travel case now. ^_^

nwcMUSIC 2014 Festival Schedule at Norwescon

TA DAAAAAAAH! It’s the nwcMUSIC 2014 schedule! It’s huge! It’s tremendous! It’s a bit late but we’re pulling it together! It’ll be awesome.

Been a Long Time Coming

We have an overview writeup here, with concert details (including playable tracks!) here, and detailed information about workshops and performance opportunities here.

You’ll note we’re down from the Salon this year. YES! FRONT ROW! Or at least out of exile. Go us! Cascadia’s Got Talent is going to be in a big room this year – we’ve been filling the tiny Salon for a while, but Salon is tiny, so if only that many people show up in Evergreen, it’s gonna feel all spooky and quiet. So show up and bring people! Also, consider entering, it’s a lot of fun.

We’re like three weeks out already! Where’d the year go?! Pass this thing around like crazy OK!

just under the wire

Thank you very, very much to everybody who threw data at me during the XP-to-Windows 8.1 migration, particularly dw:dreamatdrew for all the back-and-forth on Dreamwidth, which was critical. Thank you.

A few impressions about the process:

  1. Win8.1 handles multimonitor really pretty well. It has bad data about one of my cards or monitors (not sure) which means I can’t run one at best resolution yet. I’m hoping to find a way to override that. But otherwise, it’s really good, and the whole weird-tiles-UI thing works a lot better when you have one monitor where you’re actually working, and another where you’re sometimes desktop-working and sometimes letting the tiles live there. It’s much less crazy that way.
  2. There are no circumstances under which software on the compatible list should require this kind of misadventure to install. I should not be downloading hax0r toys from GitHub to make it work. One of the other commenters on the thread called the process “Linux-like” which … is about right.
  3. Awwww, QBASIC doesn’t work anymore! XD
  4. 8.1 is convinced nothing is plugged into my front sound output jacks, so won’t play to them. I eventually figured out it would let me use the back sound output jacks, even though it specifically said to use the front ones. WHY ARE THEY EVEN DIFFERENT?
  5. Adventures in Open Source Documentation: the official support docs told me to install a package which no longer exists, and the live discs for which it does exist don’t start correctly on my machine, because who even knows. Something about my graphics cards and startx buggering off, it’s ugly. But I managed to manually boot via the grub command line and get enough installed under 12.04 LTS on my hard drive that boot-repair could run and FWOOM! We’re off.

That wasn’t so bad, now, was it? Well, okay, it was. But everything survived, and I didn’t even have to use the backup images I made earlier in the day! Any landing you can walk away from is better than an OS upgrade.

Anyway, I did indeed get it done, a new backup is running now, which means making it just under the wire for another hammer dulcimer recording session. Not the last day of that; there’ll be one more brief session in early June. Talking of, got to go get ready for that.

Don’t forget to stop running XP! Even if it leads to adventures like this, it’s better than what’ll happen with XP on the net after support ends.

a followup to that XP post

Over the weekend, I posted about still having a Windows XP partition (that boots very rarely, but not quite never), asking what to do about it. If you’re still running XP, you need to do this too, because security patches stop coming on April 8th.


It’s going to be a hax0r’s field day; as of last month, 29.53% of desktops were still on Windows XP. All of them will be active parts of botnets on April… 9th, probably. Even those which haven’t been turned on. I know this because of facts, but it’s also actually true.

Anyway, I’ve been making a backup image of my hard drive and I’m going to try what dreamatdrew said, after I run out to buy Yet More Crap because Reasons, most of which involve how I really, really wish Windows talked to ext3 filesystems, but it doesn’t, because kill everyone.

Killing everyone is an important part of a supervillain’s daily workout. That, and petting the kitty. Hi, George.

Anyway, that’s what I’ll be doing today, so wish me luck with all that, or else. Or else what? Well, I haven’t worked out today yet. That’s what.

picspam the final: hiking the hills

Before the show on Tuesday, we went hiking up in the hills around Cumberland, then came back into town and ate a late lunch, and played some because we good. Anna saw Simon getting ready for the show out the living room window – being next to the venue has advantages!

The show photos, I posted on Friday, but here, have some hiking:

Sketchy Sign is Sketchy. Also six years old.

Into the Woods

One of the effects of having been under and up against the ice shield is that the topsoil – like that of many rainforests – is thin topsoil, particularly in mountains. The rock you see here is actual bedrock. These mountains pushed back the glaciers, but everything else was pushed away:

How Thin Our Soils

There’s coal in these hills, along with other minerals;
this was not far from a mine operating into the 1960s.

Another stream; more bedrock

Lovely without exception

Further down the hill we walk past the site of the former Cumberland Chinatown – this used to be a much larger town, back in the mining days – and get down the slough. It’s a bit mosquito-heavy in the summer, I’m told – particularly for Cascadia! – but this time of year, no such problem:

The Slough

After hiking around all morning, we stopped at Tarbell’s for lunch – Anna didn’t quite buy the hot chocolate with sortilege (feeling it’s a bit early to be drinking at 2pm) but the pastries were all quite good, were the sandwiches. Anna had a breakfast biscuit with egg she quite liked, too.

Lecturing after Lunch at Tarbell’s

After that, of course, the show at the Cumberland Public House. Then next morning we headed back to Vancouver for bagels and cider and then home. Lots of fun all around.

This photo came from that trip back, but still on the island, the last time we stopped before hitting Victoria on the way to the ferry:

The Coastal Stream

I didn’t really have anywhere else to put it so it’s here. So how’ve you been? ^_^

yes, i still have an XP partition

So. I have a Windows XP partition on my digital audio workstation. It exists to run two things: imgcopy and lightscribe. The machine spends 98% of its time in Ubuntu – but XP support is ending, and 0% is about to be the right amount of time.

However, received wisdom (and every other time I’ve done this) says you have to install Windows first, in a dual-boot configuration, then install clean Linux. A fresh install of Linux is unacceptable, because of reasons. Good reasons, not bullshit/ph33r reasons. Don’t argue with me about that; if you want to, you are wrong.

Now, if I have to, I can just yank the network drivers, not even turn on the external network card YES YOU READ THAT RIGHT EXTERNAL NETWORK CARD AGAIN REASONS and keep running XP, but wow, do I not want to do that. I’d like to turn this into a gaming machine as well – it has l33t specs in many ways, and with graphics card upgrades, could be a tiny goddess.

So. First: is there a way to keep my Linux partitions and still end up with a dual-boot machine? I know I can’t upgrade WinXP in place, but I have enough room in the current XP partitions for Windows 8.1, if the spec sheet isn’t lying. I don’t mind wiping the XP partitions, If there’s a way to accomplish this, that would be awesome; how, specifically, do I do it, and if you’re proposing a method, have you done it?

Keep in mind that given that the supposed XP-and-Vista binary to check your machine for Windows 8 compatibility failed to run because it doesn’t support XP, my confidence in my former employer is not high right now.

Second: Failing that, and I think we can assume failure there, are there reasons of which I’m unaware which would make it insane to install Windows 8 to a USB drive and just boot off that when I need to run Windows? Preferably a flash drive? Obviously I’m not an Enterprise Customer ™ so I don’t have Windows To Go, so only have Windows 8.1 Pro, but does it really matter since I’d be only using it on one computer ever?

Or, again, is that crazytalk? I don’t have USB 3.0, so this might be crazytalk, and honestly, I’d prefer a regular non-USB-drive install. But as a workaround, this would be fine. I’d have a Windows partition on the drive and use that for swap and My Documents and and and.

If neither of these are options, but you have another option that does not involve reinstalling Linux, I’m all ears. Maybe some sort of VM solution, I could see that. Please, tell me. Because right now I’m looking at lol winxp 4eva, or, more accurately, winxp until it decides it really wants to register again and can’t because it has no network, and tells me to DIAF.

I’d rather avoid that outcome. Because reasons.


concert pictures from le vent du nord

Up late until 1am comping mandolin. So it’s PHOTOSPAM DAY!

The primary reason Anna and I went up island was to see Le Vent du Nord – Anna had bought tickets to the symphony show they were doing with the Victoria Symphony almost a year ago, and friends bought tickets to their more typical bar show up in Cumberland which followed.

The symphony show was a little too respectable for my tastes. The group tends to the conservative – lots of Bach in the programme this year I see, oh look, you’ve got a Beethoven show – and I was in the washroom queue before the show listening to the somewhat older regulars saying things like, “Well, it’ll be different” with a small about of disapproval.

No photos allowed during the show

They won the crowd over, in the end, which was a bit of an achievement. And it’s a nice theatre.

Anyway, after that, we headed up island. The Cumberland show was in a local pub in the actual traditional sense – they have a Dominion-era license from the 1840s and it is indeed a public house. Anna brought Jean-Claude, of course – it’s required!

Jean-Claude Mamut stands in rapt attention!

As you can see, we were front row, again. Anna is a huge fangirl and will not be denied; I’m mostly brought along for the ride. XD Camera conditions were difficult, but I got a few nice shots:

You might recognise this stage from a couple of days ago.

Dark is a supervillain’s favourite colour. Also Batman’s. Think about it.

I got this

The microphone was not actually spring-loaded and did not actually thwock Simon in the eye. It merely looks like that’s what happened. I was not involved. No, honestly, I wasn’t.

The only shot of Olivier that came out.

The energy was good in the pub and we had a lot of fun. After this we went hiking before heading home; I’ll post some nature pictures next.

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