Postcards from the Bleeding Edge
Monday, November 20, 2006

  Personal catch-up

Well, it's been a long time since I blogged. I've had a couple personal disasters hit me pretty hard, and haven't much felt like writing.

While at Astricon, I came down with the worst case of food poisoning I've ever had. I barely made it through my presentation and spent the next week ejecting everything I ate at high velocity through every orifice (yuck!). I haven't been that ill in years, I mean, not even the flu compares, the only thing I can think of that came close to that level of agony came after eating a zillion hot dogs and drinking most of a bottle of Jeramiah Weed when I was 18 or so, and even then that my prayers to the porcelain god only lasted a day and didn't include razor blades migrating through my intestines. I think (after researching heavily on wikipedia) that if I ever get poisoned again that I will recover faster (keep those electrolyte levels up, purge yourself as soon as you feel ill, etc).

A couple days after I'd “recovered”, I had a secondary illness which knocked me out another week.

Then, after ramping down on my current contract, my next contract fell through at the very last second (24 hours before I was to get on the plane), leaving me without work for the rest of the year, it looks like. I had had a very good year business-wise already, but I wasn't exactly planning on taking 2 months off right now. (I am looking hard, though, my resume is off on the right of this blog, I'm best at asterisk and postgres at the moment).

All that said, this unexpected timeout has been pretty good for me. I was working hard from May through October, and had let a lot of things slide, notably exercise, and paperwork and maintenence.

I've spent the last two weeks catching up on old paperwork, and fixing up the house somewhat. I'm ready to paint the big room and replace the carpet in the living room. I should have control of my own domain again (taht.net) shortly. I rebuilt my music studio where I had always intended to put it (where the woodstove used to be), and it's pretty awesome – I could use to upgrade the computer I run it on to 2GB of RAM and a new sound card, but that's about it. Right now there's dual displays, a terabyte of storage, 3 physical midi ports (running a XV88, S6000, Korg 05/W, PodXTLive, Linuxsampler), 16 tracks of rme-audio multiface, ADAT, a tranzport, and other goodies)

I assembled a fairly decent CD of some newer material. (No way I'm going to publish it, I gave the sole copy to my gf for her b-day, but I have a grip on where to go with the material (lots more midi, lots more linuxsampler)).

Then I tore the studio down because apparently my cat had been using just the spot where I setup my chair - as her personal urinal for 4 years. I had tears in my eyes the whole time I worked on that disk, and it wasn't just because the songs were sad. I'm replacing that stinkin carpet this week!

I also had a chance to install Fedora Core 6 on x86_64. I'm very impressed. The fixes to the linker in particular seem to improve program start by a large amount. (And OpenOffice is finally 64 bit!). Getting FC6 to where it could run low latency audio apps like ardour and rosegarden was about a day's work – still too much, but way lower than it used to be). Amusingly, the new tickless realtime kernel patches on my particular box (an emachines laptop) don't enable enough interrupts at boot to complete booting and I have to stroke the mousepad for a while to generate enough interrupts to get to where it inits the wifi card (at which point the system starts behaving normally)

Udev and the desktop are working much better to find and correctly mount usb and firewire devices. I do wish that they were better at unmounting the darn things....

Although FC6 comes with a primitive compositing window manager (compviz), the Beryl fork is much cooler. In particular, although the wobbly windows are sexy, the mac-like “move the mouse to the upper right corner and shrink all the windows so they can be seen” mode is useful. Beryl (which is not a standard part of FC6) leaks memory like a sieve, however.

(but to sum up, as a basic desktop and server FC6 has come a long way, (my complaints above are not about FC6's native features) and I'm going to upgrade the rest of my boxes to it this week, though I'm sore tempted to try gentoo again and maybe ubuntu or studio64)

And I've been taking walks and bike rides to get in better shape again. After sitting out the Santa Cruz summer flat no wave season, I was shocked to find I no longer fit well into my wetsuit and my board sank completely under my weight. Agggh! I bought a scale. Aggh! no wonder I snore so much right now...

Saturday Greg helped me put new brakes on the car. (I had planned on retiring the car and buying a truck for christmas, but that's out now). For the first time in a while I feel secure driving, dem brakes were bad, shouldn't have waited so long.

This week I've got to get all this paperwork and packages mailed out, and then hack on asterisk's voice recognition code and maybe do some postgres stuff and run some audio cables under some replacement carpet...

... and get in a bike ride.
 
Comments:
I can confirm Mike's agony at Astricon - I was his roomie and it wasn't pretty. There was also collatoral damage - Mike being sick curtailed my beer drinking!

- David
 
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David Täht writes about politics, space, copyright, the internet, audio software, operating systems and surfing.


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