"Cat"astrophic RT debugging (part 1)
I've moved the music gear and part of my office into the living room while I repaint. Naturally, my cat now decides that she'd rather sleep on a couple of the upper piano octaves than in a bed.
This is kind of cute for a while. I get used to the occasional trill up the keyboard. The living room is shared space, it's hers as much as mine, I don't see how I can stop her without reducing her area of the house to the laundry room
Then: One morning she blew her kibbles all over the xv-88 keyboard. I don't really want to keep it covered, so I merely bring out the second level of the keyboard stand and pile stuff on it, and put a phone and other gear in the way of other landing spots. The design of the second layer of the keyboard stand is such so she can't get comfortable on it, can't crawl underneath it well, can't jump that high.
All this really messes up her jumps - there isn't an angle on it where she can jump up from the floor to the keyboard. She tries all sorts of angles of attack, I find new stuff to put in her way - it's kind of sad, actually, seeing her jump, and look exceedingly surprised as she hits something new, scrabbles for a hold, and falls off. Still, my engineer's joy at coming up with an elegant and effective solution increases as her attempts to sleep on top of the piano keyboard cease.
She gets into the piano bench for a while. Cute, even cuddly sometimes, but this is taking shared space too far. The bench is not big enough for the both of us, and we tussle over that for a while. She paws at the keyboard during a big mixdown while I've walked away, so I get a whole messed up track... worse, I find out that she'd done it after I'd edited and automated the gain on the first 5 minutes of the 40 minute long recording....
Did I get mad? no. But I started kicking her off the piano bench any time I caught her on it. And disconnecting the keyboard for mixdowns.
So finally, she moves to sleeping on top of the music rack. This would be fine, except 1) that it sucks hair off of her faster than she can grow it. and 2) her path is now - piano seat, bottom two octaves of the keyboard, scrabble, and jump.
There's something about hearing the bass notes F,F# at 4AM that always gets me up, where a sharp trill on the higher registers I snore right through. Maybe because it's the first two notes of the "Jaws" theme, a movie that I saw at much too young an age.
And 3) she's sleeping where the tangled mess of mixer and cables is going to eventually go.
So I keep working on the latest linux kernels patched for rt, while trying to hunt down bugs I have long thought were in the kernel, but might actually be in userspace. In the time it took me to get a haircut and do some shopping, Ingo released 3 new rt kernels
. He's taken to releasing a yum based installable build, so I can just download and reboot, yea... but I remember:It's really pleasant to stroke a cat during a long compile.
Thankfully, ardour2 and hydrogen give me some kitty time. Ardour2 in particular eats 400+MB of memory while compiling certain modules....
Lessons from Studio64
I installed Studio64... and it "just worked". Not only that but the clean simplicity of the gnome interface (and a xterm selection where it belongs - in the right-click menu) gave me ideas.
Problems were it was running an old version of Ardour, and I really like ardour 2.0, and I wanted the tranzport to work.
I ripped the best ideas from Studio64, updated my FC6 laptop to 2.6.19-rt1, and with a little tuning got my laptop up to where I only got 6 xruns in 12 hours today (all but while doing heavy stuff like exiting a browser, etc). Me being me, I'm obsessing on the one (hydrogen crashed).
I hacked on the tranzport a while, and got to where it was reliable enough to actually use.
I think I have found a problem in linuxsampler where it needs to lock some stack before it goes realtime. With the crude hack in place, it has run all day.
That's one of those things that really lowers your musical stress level. Being able to sit down and KNOW something will work, the first time, and stay working, and to not have to keep worrying about it, but only the music.
...May have the same problem in rosegarden and hydrogen, too, although there are some kernel tunables that I could involve. Hmm... maybe some low memory tuning for the ethernet card...
What a relief - almost makes looking at that x86_64 rant embarrassing - I'll save it up for my next battle though. I've recorded hours of material since sunday, some of it is even pretty good
And studio64? Well... that box doesn't have a rme-audio card in it so it's going to sit a while. I'll get back to it in a bit.
The core lesson - the BIG lesson - from Studio64 - was the pursuit of simplicity. If I think about the laptop as a core piece of embedded studio gear and not my portable development environmnet, it's quite alright.