Bag of Spoons
Just off the A1(M)

Fri, 25 Jan 2008

Feed Me

I mentioned before that I was playing with some feed aggregating sites. FriendFeed is my current favourite, largely because it lets me create feeds for friends who have not signed up. I accept that they may not want to, but I want an easy way to see what they are up to on various social sites. FF keeps adding features. One useful one was the ability to add multiple feeds of the same type. That's good if you have more than one blog or want to use feeds from sites that are not directly supported.

I've also played with ona*swarm. They use the right technologies, such as OpenID, but nothing else really stands out.

This week I've been looking at Pownce. Kevin Rose of Digg is behind it and it just became available to anyone to register. So far I can't see anything that really makes me want to use it, although they do use some semantic technologies that I favour.

I've used the FriendFeed gadget on my Multiply page. I may use it here when I decide if it's what I want to use 'permanently'. Nothing is permanent on the internet.

[14:21] | [/Internet] | Comments | G

Fri, 18 Jan 2008

What's in your pocket

Jeff Atwood on Coding Horror posted an update about what's on his keychain. He carries a flash drive, a multi-tool and a mini torch. All that's on my keyring, apart from keys, is a Tesco barcode tag for when I buy fuel. I do, however, have certain things in my pockets when I am out and about.

I carry a phone, an ancient Samsung V200, but don't use it very much. I have a wallet for cash and a few cards. In a pocket of the wallet I have a guitar plectrum and my old 128MB flash drive. It's a very flat one, so doesn't make much of a bump. I always wear a watch out of habit. It's currently a solar-powered Casio Wave Ceptor that should always have the correct time due to picking up a radio signal every night.

I like to have a PDA with me as my phone doesn't do much in that area. I used to use my Palm Zire 71, but have been trying to switch to the Acer n35. I got the Acer for it's GPS for Openstreetmap, but it's also a better audio player than the Palm. I just haven't got around to moving all my address data across yet. Synching a Pocket PC to Linux is not so easy. I keep thinking that I should get something newer, but can't justify anything expensive. Maybe there's a cheaper phone that would give me most of what I want so I could just carry one gadget. Mind you, one the train last night I was surrounded by several suits all twiddling their Crackberries. Two had audio players as well even though I would expect the 'berries to be able to handle audio. I know that combining gadgets involves compromise, but you just run out of pockets.

For listening to audio on the Acer I have some Sennheiser earbuds. I've been listening to lots of podcasts lately. I've not been travelling far enough to run out of battery lately, but I could use my Freeloader if I had a USB power lead. Whatever gadgets I buy in future should run from USB power. It means you don't need as many power supplies and I spend a lot of time near a PC.

I see some people blogging about all the gadgets they carry around, usually requiring a bag. In some cases it just seems excessive. If they get mugged that's a lot of stuff to lose. Mine probably all cost a few hundred when new, but is not worth much now. My financial situation helps my anti-consumerism to win over my GAS.

That's enough of my rambling. Anyone else want to list what they carry?

[16:41] | [/Gadgets] | Comments | G

Mon, 14 Jan 2008


As I still haven't found a way to get audio recording working properly on my Kubuntu system I've been thinking of alternatives. One is to do a fresh install of the latest version and hope that it resolves my various issues, another would be to rearrange my drive and install something like Ubuntu Studio with a dual-boot. Somewhere I picked up on dyne:bolic and its derivative pure:dyne. These are audio/video-biased live CDs that can write to existing partitions and even be run from there. I downloaded the latter to check it out.

It booted fairly quickly, but seemed to confuse my monitor which had problems locking onto a signal at times. Eventually I got to their very minimal desktop. It was running in what looked like 800x600. It was using the open nvidia drive. The preferences only offered 640x480 and 320x256. I'm not sure anyone would want to use those modes. Everything is run from a menu when you right0click the desktop. It offers things like Ardour, Audacity and Hydrogen along with Jack. I had a go at setting it up, but could only get playback with a bit of distortion at fairly high latencies. I obviously need to tweak it for my on-board sound. I didn't manage to record anything on the first attempt. Ardour didn't even load properly. So not a great first impression, but I will try it again after reading up. There is a later version that uses a DVD to provide more modules.

Malc had more success when he used it on an electronic music course. So it should be possible to do someting on my 'mighty' PC.

This week's Secret Bass drumming session had more atmosphere than usual when there was a power cut. We were drumming by candlelight, in a building made of straw. Torches were used at times for demonstrations of technique.

[22:13] | [/Studio] | Comments | G



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