"My keyboard seems a bit loose on the lower left side, is that something that could be fixed?"
"We'll take a look at it, should be no problem."
So I paid a visit to BTO again, had to be at a Horus meeting anyway, and within 15 minutes the tech guy returned with my notebook from the workshop.
"Could you try it out?"
"It's perfect, no loose spots anymore, what did you do?"
"Oh, I just replaced the keyboard with a new one."
He just replaced the keyboard with a new one. Now that's what I call service. With any mainstream brand you will have to do without your notebook for at least 3 weeks and in the worst case they'll start nagging the faulty keyboard is not a warranty case. Not at BTO. Fixed within 15 minutes, ready while you wait.
At the Horus meeting one of the items on the agenda was "Jeremy's new monster notebook". Did I really have to show off my notebook? Yes I had and soon 2 or 3 people were like I'm going to get a BTO too and told me I should become a sales rep. More on the Horus meeting in a separate blog post.
I did find out the card reader doesn't work. But fortunately System76 apparently uses Clevo parts too so after installing their dkms package the reader immediately started working as the udisks package already contains the needed udev rule for this card reader.
Lucky me. Brought the Android TV stick with me to work after I got it in the mail. Showed it to my boss and he immediately ordered one too, not a UG802 though but a RK3188 based device. The RK3188 is a quad core ARM CPU while the UG802 comes with a RK3066 dual core CPU. The goal is to hack this RK3188 based device to see if it can be used for one of the projects we're working on. Only very recently (about two weeks ago) the kernel source has been released and people managed to run Linux on it just a few days ago. Can't wait to hack it. During working hours. Awesome.
Unlucky me. Apparently the TV stick I purchased is some kind of UG802 revision or clone. Very confusing. But I can boot Linux on it as it's a RK3066 based device so I'm ok. I think I'll order another TV stick but then one with better community support, like the MK808.
Unlike the RK3188 based devices the RK3066 based devices have been available a while longer so there is quite some useful information available on how to get Linux running on it. First thing is to get a Linux kernel on it that allows you to boot into a Linux rootfs that resides on a MicroSD card. For the Linux rootfs I've chosen to use Debian Wheezy. For the kernel I used Galland's concise yet effective howto. All the details on how I set up the TV stick in order to boot it with Linux can be found on the Installing Linux on a RK3066 based device page.
Got so absorbed hacking my UG802 that I completely missed this: https://community.ardour.org/node/7219
So not only can you add video to your Ardour project but now it's also possible to chain multiple LV2 plugins that accept MIDI. The video support is the great work of Robin Gareus and it was actually a presentation on this functionality that got me acquainted with the Linux Audio meetings at the HKU almost 3 years ago. So yes, he's been working on it quite a while so I assume it works well.
I have actually never worked with Ardour, I've always used Qtractor. But maybe it's getting time to check out Ardour too, especially now that the MIDI part is stabilizing.
Just in, a Beitai SNT-D06 mini PC which set me back a whopping €33,-! What do you get for this price:
1 x USB host, 1 x Mini USB port, 1 x TF card slot
Let's see if we can get Picuntu running on it and turn this baby into a Raspberry Pi killer.
Edit: I could've just bought an UG802 but at least I got it with an EU adapter. Other than that the device seems exactly the same. Debian Wheezy runs like a charm on it. More on that later.
Somehow I managed to arrive just in time to set everything up for my workshop, like always. I'm very good at stumbling in at the very last moment. The Nvidia binary blob didn't like a beamer attached to it so I couldn't properly display my slides. The well-filled room didn't seem to care, they were more interested in what I had to say and the equipment I brought with me. I talked and talked and only briefly demonstrated the Raspberry Pi I brought with me. Guess I could've done a whole workshop about the RPi because apparently that little device caught most of the attention.
Right after my workshop I rushed to Rui's intercalated workshop about the software he develops. I missed his first workshop which took place on Thursday. But since Rui had so much more to show after that initial workshop the LAC2013 organization decided to allot him more time for an extra workshop. But I also didn't want to miss Jörn's workshop so I decided I also wanted to see part of that workshop too. Even though I've been using Rui's software for years (I'm a QA, Qtractor Afficionado) he showed things I had never seen before. And I probably attended one of the best parts of Jörn's workshop where he showed and made us listen to what he did with a live recording. An ear opener, really, amazing what you can do with a good pair of ears, years of experience and the right tools.
Then it was lunchtime already. Missed out on the warm lunch but when that was all cleared the alternative food stand was set up again which had probably even better food. They had great salads, fruit juice, bread and other tasty things, all for free. Many, many thanks to the organization for setting this up, it really added up to the overall positive vibe of the conference.
Now I had a bit of a problem. I needed to go to the Forum Stadtpark to do a sound check for the Linux Sound Night. But walking was not an option with all my stuff and public transport would take too long as there was no direct connection. Luckily I could tag along with the guys from SuperDirt² so I hopped into their car and off we went. SuperDirt² had to play last so they did their sound check first. I watched their sound check in awe, these guys were good! I was up next. Everything went smooth, monitors were good, the sound guy was a really cool guy and so was the stage manager for the event. All omens were very positive!
We got back right on time for Albert Graef's talk on creating LV2 plugins with Faust. We witnessed a glimpse of the future. If I got it right it will be extremely easy to create your own LV2 plugins in the near future. Just throw some Faust code against it and upload it with your browser and within moments you can download your own LV2 plugin! Time to learn some Faust I guess. One lightning talk later we witnessed another glimpse of the future. No, not my acrylic guitar in the hands of Bruno Gola but the world premiere of the MOD Quadra digital pedal board. The excitement was tangible. But the MOD guys quite easily redeemed the high expectations. The MOD Quadra is simply an amazing device, the web GUI looks stunning and it's all so easy. And it runs on Linux people, using the LV2 framework. If this doesn't propel LV2 into mass adoption then what?
For dinner we ended up in a nice Italian restaurant. The Gösser tasted good, same for the dish I ordered (Calamari alla griglia). After dinner we walked to the Forum Stadtpark where we were welcomed by the pleasant chaos of Android drummers. I installed the app and joined the concert. It was fun. Then the beamer got switched on showing us two terminal windows with vim on the right side and something compile-ish on the left. On stage a person in front of a notebook, coding live. The result? Really cool stuff if you ask me, just watch for yourself.
Algorave to the max all y'all!
Then it was time for something remotely dance related, namely me. Really enjoyed the gig even though my voice let me down after the third song. The guy that came after me unfortunately was a bit the odd one out so the contrast with the last act, SuperDirt², couldn't have been bigger. As soon as Käpt’n Dirt hit the strings of his cello we knew this was going to be a blast. And when Ras Tilo kicked in the party was complete. What a great show!
After the encore of SuperDirt² it was time for the Open Jack Session. Not Jack as in JACK but Jack as in 3.5" mini-jack. It was lying there on the table on stage and after ClaudiusMaximus Marije Baalman plugged in. Live coding in SuperCollider with every once in a while Marije stretching her arms because of the anti-RSI alarms that kept popping up. Great stuff, very enjoyable to listen to and the added humorous note of the anti-RSI alarms perfectly summed up what this conference was all about: having a great time. Despite the submerging inebriation I was enthralled.
We stayed until we got kicked out. That's how it should be. Sole minor blemish: the beer. That Murauer stuff was close to undrinkable.