Today I figured out Logic Express

And to some degree, Mac OS X. I record with an audio interface (Yamaha GO46) through FireWire. This required no setup in a Mac at first. I upgraded to Leopard and probably got an update to Logic Express 8 that I just said, OK install it. This caused some problems.

One of the next times I went to record, I got no sound on monitoring. It would record, but I couldn't record another track with no feedback. So my next few recorded songs were single tracks. Until I really wanted to record more than one track, this was fine. I then had to check the internets for an answer.

Some forums were like "Create an aggregate device in the Audio MIDI Setup tool." I was like, yeah. I tried this but had no idea what the implications were. I found an Apple article that basically solved all of my problems. So I set up my aggregate device, set my audio interface as the first device and the 'clock', and set my built-in output as the second device. Worked like a champ... until I tried to "bounce" the songs I was recording.

The way I had it set up, inputs 1-4 and outputs 1-6 were the audio interface, and outputs 7-8 were built in output. So, I could hear everything as I was recording, but now I couldn't get any sound when I bounced to mp3. This is because the default bounce method bounces outputs 1-2. I had to bounce 7-8, my built-in outputs. Anyway, I have to go babysit. Here's the songs I recorded recently.

Jamaica, I'm excited for my trip.
Improva. I was calling this one "Improv in A" but shortened it.

New Patio and Kodie

My brothers and I have been working on the new patio for my house. Yesterday we laid the brick. I have video of the process. Contrary to the video, I wasn't standing around the whole time :P I actually moved about 350 bricks from the sidewalk to the patio, at about 25 bricks per barrel load, probably 50 pounds a pop. Here's the Kodie head tilt video:



My living room's a mess, and I'm not cleaning it until later today since we're not done for the weekend yet.

And here's the patio video so far. Next we'll be working on the lawn, putting in trees and a rock garden, and getting rid of all the grass and replacing it with mulch or rock or something.




I have to say, thank you to my brothers, Pat, Bean, and Scott, for their help / doing it all :)

I also have to say, I am glad that Google is around to upload my videos to for free and embed them in my website. And to Apple for iMovie '08, and Sony for the 30 GB HDD on my camera, and USB hookup, so I can record crap without worrying about tape and digitizing. Thanks.

Firefox 3 beta 3 is top notch

I had beta 2 installed for a while, and scrolling certain websites was a bit slow. Today the update was released, and it's a whole new browser. It looks a lot different, it's fast, and the last thing I have to check is if it stops working after a while like beta 2 did. But I mean, a while as in a few days. Check out the release notes here.

Finally, The Audio Interface Arrives

Hooked it up and played around with everything for a few hours last night. It's crazy how sensitive that mic is. I could play my guitar with my amp off and the mic picked it up a few feet away and facing the other direction (it's a flat mic where one side really has the recording capability).

The headphones I got are way better than the laptop speakers :P But I didn't want the output getting picked up again by the mic, so it was good that I got them, plus these are great headphones. Crazy thing about the mic sensitivity... I could hear clear as day when I used the computer, like clicking the button or typing. First I thought that it was a mouse clicking sound effect in Logic Express, until I clicked around outside of that program.

I threw together a quick test song for your listening pleasure. I used a total of one chord! It's all based around an E or somewhere in the vicinity. Check it out here. It's great that my guitar and amp sound so good through all the equipment I bought! Couldn't be happier. Can't wait to record more!

Open Source is so inexpensive

Keeping with my 'money' theme from the last few posts, here we have something on the complete opposite side of the spectrum. Not including donations, I've paid $0 for all of the software on my other laptop, and it does everything.

Now, I've been thinking about doing something drastic. Since I installed Ubuntu Linux, my development time on that laptop has actually diminished about 100%. I haven't done any development on it. This is because it's so f@#$@#ing slow. I do a lot of ANT builds and they just take forever. The drastic thing I've been thinking of is upgrading my laptop to a new one. Preferably a Lenovo ThinkPad or something. Customizing one of those for a Linux installation (everything except picking Linux, since they only offer Vista Home Basic) is a lot cheaper than configuring it for even Vista Home Basic. All I need is 2GHz Core 2 Duo (the minimum CPU option), 1GB RAM (although I've been bumping it up to 2GB in the "Customize" section), 1Gbps LAN, and integrated graphics. I could opt to have Wireless, but that's extra. It's not that expensive, although I can't afford it now.

So, instead of getting a beefier laptop to run a slow operating system (Gentoo ran super fast on the same exact old crappy laptop), I was looking into some other operating system that's just as powerful and fast as Gentoo, but not the hardest thing to set up. In my search, I decided to go with something that I've been eyeing ever since I got into free software. FreeBSD.

Having this Mac, and having nothing to work on when I got a side job doing .NET with SQL Server for one of the local schools (Episcopal Academy, which isn't exactly 'one of the local schools'), and the Mac being Intel, I found out about that program called "Parallels", which can run virtual machines of multiple operating systems. I have a Windows one installed for all of that development I did for EA, and I have an Ubuntu Linux one for when I tried it out (much like now) before I installed it on my laptop. So, I did the same thing with FreeBSD. I think I'm going to give it a shot on the laptop.

It's a lot easier than Gentoo, that's a plus. It's as well documented as Gentoo (just visit freebsd.org and see for yourself), it's *almost* as fast as Gentoo, and it runs Gnome. The only thing that I was wondering was "Will it run everything?" Yes it will.

FreeBSD is Unix, not Linux. While they are similar in some areas, there's others where they are just very very different. Like, FreeBSD and Linux use different threading models, which Sun depends on in its Linux implementation of Java and Sun does not provide a native implementation of Java for FreeBSD, yet. However, you can get "Linux compatibility mode" running on FreeBSD which will make the Linux implementation work on FreeBSD. The down side of that is that FreeBSD has to build the source for Java to install it, and the source is released under an incompatible license. So, when you install it, it fails, and asks you to download certain files before it can continue. And still, after you do that, you're contractually obligated (through the license) to NOT distribute the resulting built Java binaries. It's weird. There is hope, though, as most believe that Java 7 (it's at 6 right now) will be released under the GPL, since Sun completely open sourced Java recently.

So, I'll give FreeBSD a shot, and if it doesn't work out, then I'll download and try out another one!

Interesting side story. FreeBSD offers its ISOs in "torrent" format. I've known what BitTorrent was since about 7 years ago, but never got into it. It's a giant legal mess since it's also used to distribute "pirated" material. But there are very legal, morally good ways of using BitTorrent. Anyway, I downloaded it through that (a BitTorrent client called "Transmission" for Mac, also free open source software), and it's just neat seeing all the people you're downloading the same file from simultaneously. It's really brilliant software, BitTorrent is.

Weird

I got this external hard drive to use with Mac OS X Leopard so I could use "Time Machine". I'm in fear of losing my music and stuff. I tried connecting the drive. It found it right away, but when I went to set it as my backup drive for Time Machine, the disk utility included with Mac OS wasn't able to format it. Hoping it wasn't a bad drive, I plugged it into my Windows machine and successfully formatted it with NTFS. Weird, too, was that after that, I was able to connect it to my Mac, and presumably read/write from/to it (but I didn't try, but it definitely showed up as a drive on my desktop). I tried again to use it for Time Machine, and again it failed. Until today, when I got home for work, I was dead set on getting a new drive and using the TB drive for my Windows backups.

I had this idea that 1 TB was too big for it? Yeah, I was skeptical about my own thinking on that one as well. But anyway, I tried to partition the drive using the same disk utility in Mac OS. It successfully partitioned it into two drives, basically splitting the drive in half. After that, I was able to use it with Time Machine. Not wanting only 500 GB for daily backups of my 160 GB Mac drive, I tried to erase it and format it again. It worked! So now I have a full TB for backups of my Mac. I'll just get another external drive if I really need Windows backups, but there's really no cool (maybe good, but certainly not cool) software out there to do it. Maybe this will help someone. The drive I have is a USB 2.0 Western Digital "My Book" at 1TB. There's another model that has firewire, but USB 2.0 is faster than FireWire 400 (but I think FireWire 800, which this MacBook Pro also has, is faster than anything out there). Peace.

I'll post a picture or two of Time Machine in action soon, but there's TONS of pictures out there, so don't wait on me.

An even bigger week

So, some big weeks lately... This week:

Monday: Paid off my car on Friday and got the title on today!

Tuesday: Received second iPod Touch that I didn't order, and assumed I'm on some sort of iPod touch weekly subscription, for only $400 a week! I sent it back. (It was Amazon's fault, not Apple's :P )

The rest of the week... I will finally be buying my house! My parents sold their house and move on Halloween. They are hiring movers.

My keyboard's kinda screwed up because soda was spilled on it (not me!!). The keys were really sticky, so I pulled a bunch of them off and wiped behind them with a wet paper towel, but my "I" key will never be the same (although it works fine, it just sticks up a little more than the others), and my "0" (zero) key (and hence, my "close parentheses" key) makes some weird noise when pressed.

This month and next are big months for gamers:

Crysis Collector's Edition DVD-ROM with Bonus! PC Pre-Release
Ships 11/13/07 $59.99
Kane & Lynch: Dead Men with Bonus! PC Pre-Release
Ships 11/20/07 $49.99
Sim City Societies with Bonus! PC Pre-Release
Ships 11/13/07 $49.99
Super Mario Galaxy Wii Pre-Release
Ships 11/12/07 $49.99
Uncharted: Drake's Fortune PS3 Pre-Release
Ships 11/20/07 $59.99
Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure Wii Pre-Release
Ships 10/23/07 $39.99


That's my shopping cart at EB games.

This Friday will be the first time all of us from work head out to the bar since we hired a bunch of new people, including me! We're gonna get wasted.

I'm 3-3 in Fantasy Football this year, winning the last game by 2 points! Tony Gonzalez had a huge game, and Muhsin Muhammad has finally started scoring for me. My team stinks, though. It will be miraculous if I finish over .500. I only had 76 points, and really only got points from those two and the Eagles D. No one else contributes. This week I play my brother Scott. He'll be at the Eagles game so I'll have to call him and tell him I'm whooping his ass.

I joined Netflix finally. It's gonna be a great way to finally watch all those movies I haven't seen yet.

I'm also trying to quit smoking. It's rough, and I know drinking will make it really hard, but the trick would be to go back to quitting after a long night of drinking with a few smokes here or there. Drinking in Philly is a lot easier than in the suburbs.

This post has a little of everything.

posted from my iPod touch

This is a post from my ipod touch it has 16 GB of space and about 9 used up. The iTunes wifi music store is sweet. Enjoy your non iPod touches, suckers!!! I also got Stephen Colbert's book. Should be awesome

Ubuntu After a Weekend

So, I've played around with Ubuntu a bit this weekend. Here is my brief rundown:

1. I have access to a lot more of my computer with it installed without having to do anything really, which rocks. Touch pad (the horizontal scroll thing I mentioned before), wireless networking, and sound mainly. I had a problem in Eclipse where if I tapped the touch pad it would paste whatever I had in my clipboard to whatever file I was viewing at the time. A lot of errant clips got into Java files, and I'd get errors on compile and was like "PC LOAD LETTER?!?!" I'd find it and wonder what it was doing there... eventually I found out the touch pad caused it. I downloaded qsynaptics (since all touch pads really use the Synaptics touch pad), and disabled tapping. qsynaptics is a program that basically modifies the touch pad part of your Xorg.conf file in Linux. It solved the problem. I don't use tapping anyway.

2. I've noticed it's a lot slower than Gentoo was running on the same exact machine. I looked up some speed hacks and tried them out. Most of them were for program loadup times and boot times, speeding up internet access by disabling IPv6, etc. It seems my hard drive is a lot slower. I took pride in Linux against Windows because when I ran Gentoo, the ANT script that would take 20-25 seconds to run on Windows now only took 4-9 seconds. I forget what file system I had on Gentoo, but I know the latest Ubuntu (Feisty Fawn) which I have installed, uses ext3. There's a lot of extra data, apparently, that gets written with each file, and my ANT script is all about copying files.

3. I am helplessly devoted and accustomed to my MacBook Pro. After using Ubuntu for two days, which is also supposed to be the most user friendly Linux (from my experience it is way easier than Gentoo), the Mac just blows it away still. I should try getting my development environment moved over to the Mac, but Java on the Mac is weird. I haven't delved down that road yet, whereas I know exactly what I'm doing when I get a development environment set up on Linux.

4. I tried getting a Windows share (SMB) set up on Ubuntu so I could occasionally log in an copy files or whatever. I set it up to where the Mac and my Windows PC could see the computer on the network, but they couldn't connect to the shared folder on Ubuntu. That kind of matters, actually, because I want to get a server set up with loads of HDD space so I can have all of my gobs of data on there instead of on a computer where I only view those files. I don't need to store every file I have distributed over all the computers I have. I'd like to have my music, movies, and a backup of code, maybe a webserver also, running on a server with a free and good operating system.

5. You learn a lot about Linux when you don't run it in root all the time. I had to set up Gentoo, like I said it was like building a house, compared to Ubuntu which is like a fully furnished modern house that you can just move in to. And there's this one part where you have to modify the script that runs when a new user is created, to copy files into their home directory for default settings and whatnot. I could just never get it right. So, I always ran as root. On Ubuntu though, it sets you up to have an account that's not root. You still have root access with the "su" or "sudo" commands when you need it. But you find out more about how security works in Linux. What folders you wouldn't normally have access to (basically, everything except your Home folder), what those other two numbers mean in "chmod 777 filename". All I know is if the first number is 7, and the other two aren't, and root owns the file.. you can't do shit with it. Actually, it's simple. 1 is read, 2 is write, 4 is execute. Or something like that. So if you have all of them, it's 7, or just read is 1, etc. And you notice that it probably took a lot of time to either a) make as many programs not require root or b) catalog which ones need root. Windows hasn't done this until Vista, which it doesn't even do a good job of from what I hear. I'm holding off on Vista until it's absolutely necessary or I can do without it until the next version. Depends what games require Vista, basically.

Probably the answer to my speed-up prayers is a new laptop. But I'd get another desktop before a new laptop, since I can build a desktop, and I can put all those hard drives in it and store all my data. Relatively cheaply too. Time for bed.

I may never go back to the Windows Way

Parallels has pleasantly surprised me by not requiring me to use Windows keys in Windows to accomplish stuff. No longer do I have to press "CTRL+C" to copy something, or "CTRL-V" to paste it somewhere. Now it accepts that I am helplessly used to doing things the Mac way, with "Command+C" and "Command+V" accomplishing these two tasks in Windows. Marvelous.

Oh wait... I just tried to do a few things that seemed to be Windows only. "Command+Space" would be what is used for "IntelliSense" in "SharpDevelop" on Windows, but it opened up my Spotlight. Gotta use "CTRL+Space" for that. Oh well. There's a few others.