Henrik Carlsson's Blog

The πFi Music Player

Every project needs a name and I need to stop referring to the music player I’m building as "The Kid’s Music Player". So, the project name is from now on The πiFi Music Player or πFi for short.

The basic idea is to replicate the very kid friendly1 way of listening to music that a cassette player or CD player was back when I was a kid. Today we can all access pretty much every piece of music ever recorded but to do so you pretty much have to have a smart device of some kind and be able to read and write to find what you are looking for.2

To do this I’m building a device that scans pieces of cardboard with QR codes on them and then uses the information on the QR code to playback the correct track, album or artist from Spotify. (Local play might also be a feature.) The side of the "music card" that doesn’t have a QR code will have album art or similar to make it easy to identify to both adults and kids.

I currently have a soon to be alpha in my hands (or on my bookshelf). I’m using a Raspberry Pi with Mopidy for the playback, a Raspberry Pi Camera module and zbarcam to scan the QR codes, a Python script to actually do something with the information in the QR and then a HiFiBerry Amp2 to DA convert and amplify the audio for a pair of passive speakers.

As you can see in the video the physical/crafty side of the project has a lot of work that needs to be done. I’m currently using some LEGO to keep things in place, but I need a proper enclosure. I’m not 100% sure whether I’ll make something out of wood, metal or whether I’ll 3D print something unapologetically plastic. 3D printing seems like a good idea because it simplifies making more than one device, which I’m planning to do. However, I’m never 3D printed anything. Nor have I built a 3D model of anything, so I’ll have some homework.

Even more important before it can be considered even an alpha is a volume control. Right now, the only way to control the volume is to SSH into the Pi and use mpc volume XX where XX is the percentage of volume I want. Because the amplifier is 2x 30 Watts, it’s quite loud in a normal home setting. As I’m listening while typing now I have it set for 7% volume.

The WAF of SSHing into something to change it’s volume from ear-piercingly loud to tolerable is very low.3

I also think it need some kinds of physical controls, at least for play/pause, stop and next track. Right now those functions are also accessed via QR codes.

Before moving it into beta I also need to build speakers. I have borrowed the ones I’m using now from a friend. I might also build a proper power supply for it, instead of using the wall wart that I use now.

Many things are still uncertain and there are so much I need to learn how to do, but I am really happy to have started this project, and that I actually got back to it after having left it dormant for three mounts.

If you want to follow along everything will be published here on the blog. I’ll try to remember to tag all the posts with πiFi Music Player.

  1. Or "non techy person" friendly.  ↩

  2. Yes, I am aware of "smart speakers", ladies in cans and "AHOY TELEPHONE". Here’s some reasons why that’s not a solution here.  ↩

  3. Yes, "Wife Acceptance Factor" is probably a very problematic term these days. I think we should try to change it to "PAF – Partner(s) Acceptance Factor". The idea itself, that something that appeals to a nerdy person doesn’t necessarily appeal to the other person(s) living with the nerd, still has merits and is worth considering when building and/or purchasing something like this. Regardless of the gender and/or pronoun of the nerd and the other person(s) involved.  ↩

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Replying to micro.blog posts, directly from my blog

Lately I’ve started to use micro.blog more actively again. As part of that I’ve also started to reply more to posts and have stimulating conversations. That made me realise that those conversations might be of interest to have on my own site, so I should really try to set up my system so that I can reply to micro.blog posts directly from my blog. Yesterday some free time opened up during the evening so I gave it a go and it more or less works.

So first off, here’s my setup. I self host a WordPress blog. It uses a theme that I’ve made myself and quite a few plugins that I didn’t make. The important plugins in this context should be IndieWeb, Post Kinds, Semantic-Linkbacks and probably most important Webmentions.

There’s a help page on micro.blog about called ”Replies and @-mentions” that tells us that:

For an external blog post that is a reply to a specific Micro.blog post, the external blog can send a Webmention to Micro.blog. As long as the sending blog is associated with a Micro.blog user, that post will be copied to Micro.blog as a reply and threaded into the conversation. Micro.blog’s Webmention endpoint is: https://micro.blog/webmention

So that’s what I tried to set up. I created an iOS Shortcut for my iPhone and iPad that I can trigger from the ”Share” menu in the micro.blog app that creates the hyperlink and fills in the @username-part. It then asks me for my reply as input text and finally sends it off to my blog.

On the Mac I don’t have quite such a nice automation workflow yet. Instead I just have a TextExpander snippet to fill in the hyperlink a bit faster.1

I also mark up the hyperlink with class="u-in-reply-to", though from the help text I suspect that’s not fully necessary.

Getting things working

The thing I knew I had to tweak was the part about how ”as long as the sending blog is associated with a Micro.blog user”. I’ve had multiple people reporting to me before that my webmentions shows up as sent by anonymous rather than as me, so I figured I had to sort that out first. To do that I used the Indiewebify.me service and checked how well my blog did the ”Become a citizen of the IndieWeb” and ”Publishing on the IndieWeb Level 2 – 1. Mark up your content (Profile, Notes, Articles, etc…) with microformats2” parts.

They showed that I had some tweaking to do, mostly because I had mistakenly only marked up part of my h-card as such so a lot of things where missing.

When that seemed to work I made a test reply to one of my own posts on my blog and the webmention had my name attached to it, so that seemed like progress.

I then sent out a post asking for people willing to receive some test replies and John (@johnjohnston) and Ron (@ronguest) where kind enough reply. The first proper test almost worked. It did show up a a reply but it identified as sent by blog.henrikcarlsson.se instead of by @MrHenko, so some part of micro.blog identifying me as me didn’t work.

So I dug around some more and realised that I had inputed http://henrikcarlsson.se as my web site in micro.blog’s account settings. While that is technically true, as my blog posts comes from the subdomain http://blog.henrikcarlsson.se, so I tried changing to the latter in micro.blog and that worked. My replies on my blog arrives properly threaded in micro.blog and properly attributed to @MrHenko.

One glaring problem remained though. Every reply from me got double-posted. I assume that is because I technically do send two things to micro.blog. A webmention from the blog post and then the post itself because it shows up in my RSS feed that is used to feed micro.blog.

My solution was to post my replies in a special ”interactions” category that I use the Ultimate Category Excluder plugin to exclude from my main RSS feed. And with that in place things more or less worked as intended.

Some things that still need tweaking

Every time I make a new reply in a thread in a micro.blog conversation, that’s a new post on my blog.2 That is in itself not a big problem but the curious part is that every reply that somebody else makes in the thread results a webmention/comment to multiple of the posts that I’ve made that has been threaded in that particular conversation. So I get duplicate comments, but on differens posts on my blog.

Right now I deal with it by only approving the comment to the earliest post I’ve made in the thread but that doesn’t really quite work since my subsequent comments doesn’t show up as comments on my own first post on my blog. So I’ll need to look more into this.

  1. Litteral sidenote: The prospect of Shortcuts on the Mac is what makes me the most interested in updating macOS this fall. 
  2. I’ve tried to get it to send comment replies as webmentions but that doesn’t seem to work. 

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Rethinking my work tech – Part 1: My backpack

This was originally planned to be a post about me trying out a new tech setup for getting work done, but as I kept on writing I realized that it would need to be broken up into multiple parts, so this is more of a prolog.

My backpack (Nerdy Log Lady for scale)

This is my backpack. (Nerdy Log Lady for scale.)

It’s not fancy or elegant but I like it. A lot.

Mostly I like it because it contains all the things I use to get my work done. Most importantly it contains my computer and its various peripherals.

When it comes to getting my work done, a real computer has always been my tool of choice and for as long as I’ve had my current job, that computer has been a MacBook Pro.

I also like my computer. A lot. It’s the last of its kind, really. It is the 2015 15″ Retina MacBook Pro model that was sold up until last summer, which was when I bought this one. It’s the tool that I use for most of the things involved in my job. I do carry a physical notebook and a pen quite often and use it to scribble down my thoughts but it is the computer that is the main work machine.

Pen and notebook

There are other things in the backpack that help me get my work done. In fact, I have a thirty-eight (38) items long checklist in OmniFocus for the things that should ideally be in the backpack. The notebook and pen I just mentioned are two of the items on the list. A charger for the computer is another one. There’s also an external hard drive, adapters for Thunderbolt to Ethernet, Thunderbolt to FireWire 800, a FireWire 800 cable(!), a FireWire 800 to 400 adapter(!?!?), Mini DisplayPort to VGA, Mini DisplayPort to HDMI, an Ethernet cable, all kinds of USB cables, a PowerBank and adapters for camera and microphone mounts. Oh, and an umbrella and various non-prescription medications.

Some of the clutter that I carry around on a daily basis.

(Just some of the stuff is actually in the picture.)

And that’s just the basic configuration of it. Some days I might carry another external hard drive, or maybe a iPad Air. And most days I carry my lunchbox in it as well.

In many ways this is a really good setup. The bag is heavy, but most days I sling it on one shoulder for the twenty steps walk to the car, dump it in the passenger seat next to me where it rests while I drop the kids off at preschool and then drive to work. Arriving at work I take a similar twenty to forty steps walk with the backpack on my back before arriving at my office and dumping it on the floor where it will rest until I walk back to the car and drive home.

The computer is also heavy, but it lives its life mostly either docked to an external display and keyboard and trackpad at my office at work, in a similar arrangement at my home office, or in the backpack being transported between work and home.

This setup is also good for travel, because as long as I have the backpack with me I have everything that I might need to get work done with me. There’s nothing1 that I need to do that I can’t get done.

However, or but,

This setup is also really bad for travel because it’s heavy and, even worse, bulky. It takes up a lot of space in the car. That’s not a problem when commuting to work but when I actually travel somewhere by car it’s often with the family and that always means there are a ton of stuff being packed already. My backpack just adds insult to injury, and for all kind of travel that’s not commuting, it is always just one of my bags. I’ll always need to bring at least one more bag for clothes and toiletries.

Heavy and bulky is also applicable to the computer unfortunately, which is why it is not a solution to get a smaller bag and pack less stuff in it, as long as the computer is part of the stuff being packed. If the computer should be brought, the backpack in question is the best way to bring it because even though it’s heavy and bulky it sits nicely on my back.

But maybe there’s different way to do this…

iPad Mini, Pencil and external keyboard

  1. Almost true. There are off course some special cases that requires that studio at work, or where I need to provide a student with a certain kind of equipment that is only available at work. 

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More progress on the music player for the kids

Slightly simplified the music player for the kids has two jobs:

  1. Scan for QR codes using the camera and identify the ones that contains a Spotify URI (using zbarcam) and
  2. send that URI to the MPD that plays the music from Spotify.

At the moment I am able to set up separate tests for the two jobs and both works, on there own. The problem is that I’m currently not able to set up MPD with Spotify and the zbar tools at the same time. It seems to have something to do with different operating systems and/or other kinds of conflicting requirements that I need to lock into.

For the tests right now, I use standard Raspbian plus zbar for bullet point number one and Pi MusicBox for point number two.

For my own memories sake, this is the very simple (and probably quite brittle) shell script that I’m using for bullet point 1:

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A music player for the kids

My kids, Iris and Ebbe, are four and a half, and two years old respectively. Both of them loves to listen to music and dance. Compared to when I was a kid they have access to tremendous amounts of music. If I wanted to listen to a song as a child, I had to have it on a cassette or later in life a cd. Today’s kids have access to ”all the world’s music” in Spotify, Apple Music or similar.1

The problem with the modern world in this regard is that a cassette deck and a box of cassettes is much more kid friendly than a smart device like a phone or tablet with Spotify and possibly also a smart speaker connected via bluetooth, AirPlay or a Chromecast.

Spotify has a nice solution for this in there Spotify Codes. It wouldn’t be to hard to make a whole box of cards, one for each album and/or playlist that the kids want, and teach them how to scan the cards with Spotify. The problem is that it requires them to use their iPad (or my phone, or their mother’s phone).

Why is that a problem? Because if they use the iPad they will undoubtable be sidetracked by YouTube or something similar. Sometimes having them watching videos is great. I’m certain that the reason Iris know quite a few words in English, despite being a Swede with Swedish parents, is that she’s watched a lot of English videos on YouTube. But sometimes I want them to just listen to music and not having to have a discussion about why they are allowed to use the iPad but not the apps they want.

So I’ve started toying with the idea of building them a music player that works as simple or simpler than Spotify Codes but that is a dedicated hardware device, a Raspberry Pi. The plan is for it to use either QR codes or NFC tags to control what is being played, so that way the kids can have a box of cards with artwork, similar to the box of cassettes that I had as a kid.

I think it will work.

Right now I’m going to test various setups for it and document my progress here on the blog, under the tag The Kid’s Music Player.

Some links to similar projects

  1. Yes, I am being Captain Obvious here, I know. 

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Strömstad 2019

Linn och jag är för närvarande i Strömstad, på en semesterresa utan barnen. Ebbe är hos Linns föräldrar och Iris hos min mamma.

Varken Linn eller jag har varit i Strömstad förut. Linn har heller aldrig varit på västkusten förut, undantaget Göteborg och för min del har västkusten mestadels varit synonym med Hunnebostrand. Så därför hamnade vi här, helt enkelt för att ingen av oss varit här förut.

Vi passade på som en del i vår Arvikaresa, så att vi kunde lämna bort barnen några dagar och åka själva. Det är sällan vi kommer iväg på saker utan barnen, så när det väl blir av är det jätteskönt. Tanken var från början att boka ett spahotell här men vi var för sega med att bestämma allt, så när vi väl fick tummen ur så var det fullbokat. Därför hamnade vi på Strömstad Camping, ett äventyr i sig eftersom jag inte varit på en camping sen jag var barn och Linn aldrig har campat. Hur som helst så bokade vi en stuga och det är där jag nu sitter och skrivet det här.

Idag har vi gjort själva resan hit från Arvika och sen har vi flanerat på ett shoppingcenter innan vi åkte till campingen. Sen satt vi länge på altanen i solen och drack vin, prosecco och öl och åt chips innan vi slutligen gick on mot Strömstads centrum, promenade bland pirerna och åt middag på The Dubliner at Skagerack. God mat och väldigt mysigt läge!

Under resans gång har jag meckat lite med att posta platsinformation tillsammans med bilder, så därför har det blivit lite extra blogginlägg vilket är kul. Exakt hur jag ska använda platsinformationen på sikt vet jag inte men det är kul att ha det sparat, särskilt när vi är på nya ställen som nu.

Jag försöker även tagga alla inlägg härifrån med Strömstad 2019.

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I’m back using Alfred

I don’t know exactly when it happened, but it was probably some time when I re-installed a computer or set up a new one that I decided to not install Alfred and instead try to get by using just Spotlight.

As far as I could tell it wasn’t a big downgrade, and it saved me one step in setting up a new computer. A few days ago though, I decided to try Alfred again and OH MY GOD.

While going from Alfred to Spotlight didn’t feel like a big downgrade, going from Spotlight to Alfred seems like one of the biggest upgrades ever.

So Alfred, I’m back. Sorry I ever left!

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Spider-Man: Homecoming

🎞 Watched: Spider-Man: Homecoming

This was exactly the kind of movie that I needed to watch right now. Light-hearted and very entertaining. I’d probably say it’s my favourite MCU movie so far. I loved the acting, the way Peter was characterised, the way the classical characters where changed and modernised. I loved the whole thing. Also, the sort-of twist with the identity of The Vulture took me completely by surprise.

My only complaint is that the action scenes themselves where sometimes hard to follow. It seemed like the director was inexperienced when it came to directing action.

I was surprised by the music, which seemed a step up from a lot of other MCU movies.

On a side-note, after the first scenes where we see the lead up to the fight between the heroes in the airport in Civil War, I had to paus this movie and go watch that fight once again. That’s quite amazing considering the fact that before I started watching the MCU movies from start to finish, in sort-of correct story order, that was the scene that I dreaded the most. I was absolutely certain that a scene where our heroes beat the crap out of each other would be just ridiculous in the Batman v Superman kind of way. I was very wrong.

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OMG, I actually started writing a song today!

For the first time in a very long time I started writing a song today. Not an ambient chord progression experiment, not some synth fiddling, but an actual alternative rock song with soaring guitars, pounding drums and lyrics about heartbreak.

To be clear, nothing about it is done yet and long time (really long time) readers of the blog will know that the biggest hurdle for me is always the lyrics. My inability to write lyrics have resulted in a lot of thrown away melody lines and riffs, but this time I’ve got a very clear theme for the lyrics and a persona to write them from. I also have a basic melody, some guitar parts and the outline of an arrangement and instrumentation.

I guess this counts as my ”doing something fun at work” this week, since I worked from home today and the song writing happened when I was about to start working.

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First week of The Year of More Fun

First week of 2019 is coming to a close, so I thought it would be a good time for a quick report on my New Year’s Resolutions.

The easy part to report on is the photoblogging. I’ve been doing that every day, except today but I’ll soon get around to posting a picture for today as well. Probably while fulfilling the third bullet on my list, reading at least one evening/night every week.

As for the work stuff, things have not been going as planned but I blamed that on it being i week with only three work days, two of which were booked full with teaching. That means no work from home this week and no three hours for fun stuff.

I did build a ”self-playing ukulele”, but that was used in teaching the very next day so it doesn’t really count as a fun thing without a clear connection to the everyday grind of work.

That’s it for the first week.

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Two days ago I took a fairly long walk with Ebbe on the ice of the lake just outside our house. I was rolling him in his stroller so that he could take his daily nap but instead of making as short a trip as possible I decided to keep walking in the beautiful whether and just enjoy myself. During the walk I found out that a few of the very small islands in the lake actually has houses on them, which was news to me. I also started thinking about the year that was almost over, and things to change for 2019. New Year’s resolutions, or Yearly themes if you are C.G.P. Greyish.

More fun at work

One thing that has been quite clear this year, especially during the fall semester is that I’m having less fun at work than I’ve previously had. I think much of it comes down to the fact that this August marked my tenth year as an employee of Dalarna University. I’ve had a lot of fun for those ten years, I’ve learned a ton of stuff and I’ve been able to work on a lot of cool projects. But I’ve also done a lot of the same teaching for most of those years. As I actually started thinking about the fact that it had been ten years, I probably got more sensitive to the daily grind and bore, and the fall are the more dull part of the year at work.

So I feel a strong need to do something about this, to make sure 2019 is a more interesting year at work. The yearly theme, if that’s the way it’s supposed to be framed, is therefore more fun or less bore or something. Please note, not less routine. Routine is important, especially for a one and a half year old and an almost four year old. So it’s not about throwing out routine or make dramatic changes. It’s about making room for fun stuff, even during the boring parts of life.

The first actual thing to do about this is probably also the simplest. It’s something that I’ve done before that I just need to get back into doing and that is making sure I work from home at least ones a week. When I work from home I approach work differently and it’s also very nice having the house to myself for a few hours. Some weeks it won’t be possible scheduling-wise, so it’s not a definitive promise but an important thing to aim for.

Another thing to do to make life, especially at work, more fun is to to make sure I set aside at least three hours every week to do something fun at work. It can be things like making a drum playing robot, making a silly guitar effects video, testing out things for VR/ambisonics, maybe building a midi pedal, fiddling around with our Eurorack synth or any other kind of thing that I have no idea about right now. Things that I technically aren’t payed to do but that tends to benefit my work in one way or another in the long run. I now I can make my schedule work so that I can do this, I just need to actually do it.

Outside of work

I also constantly want to get back into reading, so consider it a resolution that I should read at least once every week, preferable fiction. I am currently reading through Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series and am loving it. Hopefully I might get through a few of those books during the year.

Finally I want to get better at posting pictures from my life, so another resolution is that for the month of January I’m going to post a photo every day. It doesn’t necessarily need to be a photo of something that was a big part of the day, but at least it should get me into the habit of posting more photos.

In short

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My current workflow for dealing with dvds

As previously stated, when it comes to watching movies I don’t like dvds or blurays. However I also don’t like piracy so back in the dvd days I bought a lot of dvds and these days – even though streaming and digital purchases is a thing – I buy a few important movies as blurays.

I recently had a reason to revisit my workflow for dealing with dvds and turning them into mp4-files. Here’s the new workflow that results in a video file that’s playable in QuickTime, on iDevices and a bunch of other devices and that has subtitles that can be turned on or in QuickTIme and iDevices.

  1. For those who, like me, have a native language with å, ä, ö, ø, æ, ï, etc. in it – make sure to install the proper ”tesseract” for Subler 

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Captain America: Civil War

🎞 Watched: Captain America: Civil War

Before getting into the MCU, this was probably the movie that I thought would be the very worst one. Super heroes fighting each other over issues that could be solved be talking is just so boring. Turns out, I was wrong about the movie. I really liked this one!

I think we all can agree that this is an Avengers movie, just as much as a Cap movie. And as such it is the Avengers movie, at least in the sense that this is how I would like more of them to be. The world is not going to end if the heroes fail, but instead there are real personal stakes here. I can understand motivations, I can get invested.

As for the fighting, the Avengers movies have the problem that you have a demigod, an almost invincible rage monster, some really powerful metahumans and a spy/assassin and a guy with a bow and arrow. This imbalance of power amongst them gets more or less silly in both Avengers and Age of Ultron (and I assume in Infinity War as well). In this one, it is much better managed. The airstrip scene, which I kind of dreaded, was really exciting. Everybody had an important role and I could understand the abilities of every character and why the could, or couldn’t, match each other.

It was also interesting that I still don’t really know if I’m on team Tony or team Cap. Philosophically speaking I would like to agree with Steve, but I can also totally see myself acting just like Tony does in the final battle, if I were in his shoes.

Right, I almost forgot. Spider-Man! (I’m looking forward to seeing Homecoming.)

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I need your help with finding a system for note taking

🎧 Listened to: Cortex #33: Cortek

I’ve been taken a lot of notes lately, for my masters studies. I take notes in class and, most importantly, I highlight passages in the books I read and also take notes around the reading. Some of those notes relates directly to the highlighted passages, other notes are more general thoughts as I’m trying to work things out.

As I was reading, highlighting and writing last week I realised that over the course of two years these notes and highlights would grow to a big mess of assorted thoughts that I could never have any hope of organising in my final thesis, or any written exams either for that matter. So I need a better system.

I recalled having heard one or more podcasts where CGP Grey talked about how he handled similar tasks around his research for videos so I googled and found this old episode of Cortex. Around the 44:00 marker he describes his main workflow. Here’s the gist of it

Read ebooks -> Highlight passages -> When done, screen shot the pages with highlights -> import screenshots into Evernote -> Make notes in Evernote

I need to do something similar, but two things

  1. I prefer to read paper books for this. Not a huge problem, but a small change.
  2. Evernote seems like the wrong way to go.

Grey (and Myke) was already upset with Evernote when makes this podcast (in July 2016) and in later episodes that has been mentioned again and again, so it seems like it would be dumb to actually start taking these kind of notes in Evernote today.

So basically what I need is

I’m thinking of maybe some kind of combination of Microsoft OfficeLens for the scan and Apple Notes for everything else, or maybe just Microsoft OneNote for the whole thing. Or maybe save the notes as flat text files (preferably in Dropbox or iCloud Drive) together with PDF scans from something like OfficeLens. In this later case I might not need the OCR on the phone since instead I can use PDFPen on my Mac.

What do you think? Any suggestions?

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Tracking my podcast listening

I’m going to try an experiment. From now and some time ahead I’m going to be tracking my podcast listening (scrobbling, if you prefer) on my blog. Every episode of every show that I listen to will be a blog post in my Listen-of category. Some posts will be nothing but the title of the podcast and episodes, others will contain short comments from me and some might even have really long comments.

The idea behind this is that I, like many other people, listen to a lot of podcasts. I often find food for thought in these and often find myself wanting to have a way of cataloging what I’ve listened to and what was interesting in the episodes. Up until now I haven’t had a good system for that and now, I have a system. Whether it’s a good one or not, time will tell.

For now I’ll let these posts syndicate to Micro.blog but if I feel like they fill my timeline there with noise I might make some tweaks to the backend on my blog to stop them from syndicating.

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Unorganized thoughts and workflows from mixing for VR

This post is much more of a way for me to store my thoughts that to actually communicate anything to anybody else.


Other random tidbits

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Surround Sound Apple Compressor 4 i broken. :(

One of the sad collateral damages to updating to macOS High Sierra was my beloved1 Apple Compressor 3. Today I bought and installed Compressor 4 instead. I did that for the same reason that I years ago started using Compressor 3; to batch encode surround sound mixes from PCM (wave, most of the time) to Dolby Digital (AC3).

In Compressor 4, this no longer work.

It’s not that it is a deprecated feature, it is that the feature is broken. If I use AIFF files, it does work, if I use WAVE it doesn’t.

I’ve dug around a bit and it seems to be either a problem with Compressor 4.4.1, and it wasn’t a problem in 4.4.0, or it is a problem with High Sierra. The error message says

I’m not a developer but to me that seems like an SDK problem, so maybe it is High Sierra (in my case 10.13.5) that is the problem.

The silver lining is that there is an update to 10.13.6 available, so I guess I’ll do that update and hope for the best. See you on the other side.

  1. Well, maybe not beloved. It actually drove me crazy most of the time but it did get the job done. 

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Why I cross-post/syndicate, and why I think it’s a good idea

For the past few days there’s been a lot of discussion about whether to to cross-post your content to different places or not. I assume much is this discussion bubbles up now because Facebook is heavily restricting its API.

Ben Werdmüller makes a good case for why open source publishing tools such as Known should not spend time developing connections to proprietary APIs that can be shut down on a whim. A lot of people agrees with him and it also seems like many are rethinking whether to syndicate posts to different social networks or not, with most participants arriving at the conclusion that they shouldn’t.

I’m not going to argue against this, but I am going to tell you why I think cross-posting is valuable and something that I plan to keep on doing. Basically, it all boils down to what can be summarized as my mother doesn’t use a feed reader.

In a more broad sense it means that different people that I want to be able to see the things I write, and whos posts I want to read (my family and different groups of friends), use different social networks. My mother doesn’t read my blog. Nor does my fiancé. That means that if I post a cute picture of one of the kids my closest family won’t see it, unless I cross-post it to Instagram.

Same goes for a lot of my friends who have stopped using RSS and instead use Twitter.1

Other people use micro.blog, or Medium or any other site and/or network.

And yes I mentioned micro.blog because to some of us, micro.blog is also a cross-post. I don’t post on micro.blog, I post on my own blog and syndicate to micro.blog. Sure, an important distinction between micro.blog och say Twitter or Facebook is that the former does all the heavy lifting for me. All it needs is an RSS feed. It even sends webmentions for replies, which I love.

So I definitely think that the case can be made that it’s not worth the hassle to support all kinds of different proprietary APIs to cross-post to the latest snapstagram, but that’s about time spent, not about cross-posting being something bad.

Someone brought up the idea that cross-posting is anoying for a person who follows someone on multiple places and while I can see that, the solution is really simple. Don’t follow someone in more that one place, if that someone is someone who cross-posts most or all things.

  1. Note that I currently don’t syndicate to Twitter. That’s simply because I want to keep myself away from Twitter because reading things there only makes me angry. 

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Which books should I include in my The Dark Tower reading?

I just finished the first book – The Gunslinger – in Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series and I immediately started reading the second one – The Drawing of the Three. As those of you who have read the series knows, this is quite a long series but it can be even longer depending on which books I would chose to include.

So that is my question to all of you, which books should I read as part of my The Dark Tower reading?

Of course I will read the seven main books, but then there’s the eight ”The Wind Through the Keyhole” that takes place between number four and five. Should I read this one after ”Wizard and Glass” and before ”Wolves of the Calla” or should I consider it more like bonus material after I’ve finished the main books?

How about other King novels that tie into The Dark Tower, like ”The Stand”, should I intersperse it in the reading of the main series or should it also be considered something extra to read afterward?

Two things to note if you have suggestions for me:

  1. The Gunslinger is the first King novel (or short-story) that I’ve ever read.
  2. I’m currently reading the series in Swedish and I will try to keep it that way. While King is a successful writer in Sweden as well, he is less successful here than he is in the English speaking world. That means not all his books are available in Swedish, so it’s possible that I really like your suggestion but still chose not to read it because it’s not available in Swedish.

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The Gunslinger

Almost a year ago I listened to Episode 374 of The Incomparable podcast where they discussed Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series. I got really intrigued by the discussion, stopped listening before they went into spoilers and instead I purchased the first novel in the series – The Gunslinger.

These days I’m a fairly slow reader and I have very little time for reading so it has taken many weeks but tonight, on a very hot summer night of what I believe is one of the warmest summers in Sweden in recorded history, I finished the book. I can’t say that I loved it but I am definitely intrigued by it, so I will keep on reading the series. I believe that a lot of the things that are still confusing will be less so as I keep on reading. I also think that this will be an interesting way into the works of Stephen King, which I haven’t really explored at all before reading this book.

Because I’ve gotten into purchasing physical copies of books again, and because I buy books much faster than I read then, I already have four books in the series in my bookshelf.

I don’t think I’ll read more tonight and I’m not sure whether I’ll reading something else before starting book two in the series. Time will tell.

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Allowing rewrite of permalinks on WordPress

Turns out the problem I was having with everything except the front page was due to permalink rewrites not working. It seems three things were incorrectly setup.

First, the WordPress folder wasn’t writable by the www-user.

Secondly, this needed to be done:

You have to edit the Apache conf file (in Ubuntu 14.04: /etc/apache2/apache2.conf) and change the AllowOverride setting from None to FileInfo

<Directory /var/www/>
Options Indexes FollowSymLinks
AllowOverride FileInfo
Require all granted

You may need to enable the Rewrite module:

sudo a2enmod rewrite

Brian Milnes on StackOverflow

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Filtering wp-links-opml.php for categories

Quick note to self, since I will definitely wonder about this again. If I want to view my list of WordPress links as an OPML (i.e. wp-links-opml.php) and filter for a specific category, the way to do that is to add the ?link_cat=[category id] suffix to the URL.

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Sunrise (Draft 01)


A first draft on an Eno-esque ambient thing.

A JavaScript application randomizes note order from a list of allowed notes and pipes them to the Web MIDI Api They then enter Ableton Live which routes the MIDI to an E-Mu Proteus/2 that does the actual sound generating. The sound from the Proteus is then treated with delay, reverb and Valhalla Shimmer in Live.

This is very much inspired by the article JavaScript Systems Music and by Eno’s Airports 2/1.

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Jag är väldigt kluven inför läget inom politiken nu

Å ena sidan är jag glad över att Centern och Liberalerna är tydliga med att de inte tänker stödja sig på Sverigedemokraterna för att regera. SD är inte som många andra högerpopulister i Europa, de är rasister och har inget i en regering eller som stöd till en regering att göra.

Nej visst, just du SDare som läser det här är självklart bara en ”konservativ sanningssägare” eller liknande och om du envisas med det så kan jag inte göra annat än att ta dig på orden. Partiet som du företräder och/eller röstar på är dock inte ett konservativt parti, det är ett rasistiskt parti vars höga företrädare inte respekterar grundläggande demokratiska principer.

Så Alliansen i regeringsposition med SD som stöd i riksdagen är inte bra. Inte bra alls.

Alternativet å andra sidan är regeringen som vi dras med idag. En regering som är ytterst ansvariga för transportstyreleskandalen, som ger pengar till de som redan har och som tar från de som något spar. En regering som kör över företagsamma människor som gör nåt bra för andra, eftersom det rimmar illa med den ideologiskt färgade världsbilden. En regering vars största parti aktivt profiterar på människor för att finansiera sig själva.

Men visst, det är en regering utan inflytande från SD och det är viktigt. Fast å andra sidan, till skillnad från SD som gapar om hårdare invandringspolitik och utvisningar så har ju S/MP-regeringen omsatt det i praktiken genom att stänga gränsen och det är väl egentligen inte så mycket bättre.

Så frågan om hur jag tycker att det parti jag kommer rösta på i nästa val, sannolikt C, ska agera i regeringsfrågan är mycket komplex. Jag har inga bra svar idag.

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Regarding the Accidental Tech Podcasts discussion on surround sound

On the most recent episode of the Accidental Tech Podcast John tried to convince Marco to get a surround sound system for his living room. Since audio is my thing1, I felt like a needed to add some things to the discussion.

The case for a >=3.1 surround sound system

Personally I think surround sound is cool and the more speakers/channels the cooler. That being said, I’d argue that the most important part isn’t to have 5.1 or 7.1 or whatever high number.1. It is to have at least 3.1. The three, as opposed to the two, means that you’ll have a center speaker in addition to the regular left and right speaker. This is super important for clarity reasons. Here’s why:

Imagine you are panning sound from left to right in a regular 2-channel stereo system. At the far ends the sound comes from just one speaker, left or right depending on whether your panner is at the far left or far right. As you leave the far extreme and head for the other side, the sound will start to come from both speaker but with differences in volume between the two. This will create the illusion that the sound is being emitted from somewhere in-between them.

When you are putting the sound dead center in this system both speakers generate identical sound waves at identical volume at the same time. If you are and the speakers are positioned at the exakt corners of an equilateral and the acoustics of the room doesn’t interfere too much, your brain will believe that the sound comes from the actual center. This positions the sound at what’s called the phantom center.

Now, move your head/yourself slowly toward one side and your perception of where the sound is coming from will change. As you move, one speaker will be positioned closer to you than the other which will mean that the sound from it will arrive at your ear earlier that the sound from the other speaker and you will perceive the sound as coming from a source closer to the closest speaker. (There will also be a difference in volume at your ears. The one that’s closest will also be louder.) 2

Compare this to panning the same sound to the center speaker of a >=3.1 surround sound system. This way the sound is only coming from one speaker which means that wherever in the room you are, you’ll alway perceive the sound as coming from this speakers position.

TV shows and movies tend to have their dialog mixed in the center of the sound field. If the mix is a surround sound mix that’s being down-mixed for your 2-channel stereo system it will position the sound ”in the middle” using the phantom center. Same goes for a dedicated 2-channel mix. This means that unless you and the speakers are perfectly positioned, you will not experience this as the sound coming from the actual center.

That being said, the exact position from which the sound is being emitted is not that big of a deal. It’s probably along the same lines of importance as whether you rinse your aeropress filters before use or not. However, there is something more that happens.

Since the sound is coming from multiple sources, the sound waves from them will super position with each other and you will get interference. If you are in the perfect position, as described above, that will be 100% constructive interference and only result in a louder sound. If however you are a bit off from the optimal listening position – which you will be, trust me – the sound waves will actually be slightly out of phase with each other when they arrive at your ears. That means some frequencies will be louder that intended while others will be softer. Please note that this is different frequencies of ”the same sound”. This will mess with the clarity of the sound.

Generally this problem will be most audible in the upper mid-range where good clarity is very important for perception of human speech. This results in less speech-intelligibility in a 2-channel stereo sound field compared to a >=3-channel sound field with a dedicated center channel.

So that is why I think that a >=3.13 sound system is always superior to a 2-channel system for tv and movie watching.

I hope this makes some sense. I realized while writing this that it’s quite hard to express these technical thing in a language that’s not your own while also making it accessible to someone who isn’t deep in the audio field, and also being interesting to someone who knows the basics.

The number of audio channels on vinyl

Yes Marco, there are plenty of vinyl albums with stereo mixes. There are even surround sound on vinyl.

Regarding speaker shapes

One of the reasons why some speakers are shaped ”weirdly” is because the shape of the speaker effects the sound of it, because of diffraction.

In summary

Marco should definitely get a surround sound system, even if he doesn’t connect the actual surround/rear speakers.4

Also, in my opinion Marco is right in that a full range system sound more ”natural” and ”cohesive” than a speaker with less bass response combined with a subwoofer.

  1. I have a bachelor degree in Sound and Music Production and I teach it for a living at Dalarna University. My education is not an engineering education so I don’t have the deepest, geekiest knowledge on some things but I do know a few things. 
  2. This thought-experiment is quite simple to try out in real life. Just play something in mono, panned to the middle of a 2-channel stereo sound system och move around with your eyes closed and point to where you think the sound is coming from. 
  3. Technically a >=3.0 system is enough for this. The subwoofer/LFE-channel doesn’t do anything for this but to avoid unnecessary confusion is chose to write .1 for this whole article. 
  4. Please note that all of this is written by someone who’s only tv is an LCD tv and who only uses the built in speakers in it… 

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En uppmaning

Therese Bohman har skrivit en bra text i Expressen idag om att det ”Visst finns det en medieelit”. Du bör läsa hela texten.

Dock är det inte texten som helhet som jag tänkte skriva ett inlägg om här.

Man kan ha invändningar mot orden (samtidens favoritsysselsättning), men innebörden satte fingret på något viktigt: Att det fanns – och finns, ännu tydligare i dag – en klyfta i Sverige: mellan stad och land, medelklass och arbetarklass, de som har makt över orden och de som inte har det.

(min kursivering)

Therese sammanfattar perfekt vad jag tycker är det absolut största problemet med det offentliga samtalet idag, framförallt i sociala medier. Vi märker ord och vi tolkar alltid in värsta möjliga i andras ord. Istället för att ge människor vi inte håller med ”the benefit of a doubt” och försöka förstå vad de menar så läser vi deras texter som djävulen läser bibeln.

Så här är en uppmaning till oss alla, även mig själv. Låt oss försöka förstå vad motparten i en diskussion menar. Om vi är osäkra på vad som åsyftas med ett ord eller en fras, låt oss tolka det som bästa möjliga istället för värsta möjliga. Eller fråga skribenten istället för att anta det värsta.

Det är möjligt att människor kan ha andra åsikter än oss själva och ändå inte vara nazister, fascister, diktaturkramande stalinister, etc. etc.

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Slight update to my Blu-ray workflow

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My current workflow for ripping blu-rays into an iTunes-friendly format

This post is just for my own sake. I’ll probably write this up better once I’ve reached a final conclusion.

The workflow is as follows:

It’s not perfect and it needs some tweaking. Right now I’m contemplating whether to use detect crop or from Melton’s utilities.

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More Zelda – Twilight Princess

I’m still playing Twilight Princess even though I haven’t blogged about it for almost a month. I’ve intended to but haven’t gotten around to it and rather then spend time blogging about playing, up until now I’ve chosen to play it instead.

Once more, this is a game that I think is better the less you know about it so if you haven’t played it and think that you sometime, maybe, possibly, will, stop reading.

So I’ve kept playing and I’ve finished the first two dungeons and I’m getting ready to head for the third one. As far as I can tell I’ve expelled all twilight from Hyrule, so I don’t think I’ll play as a wolf anymore. So far the game is really great. It’s one of my favorite Zelda game, maybe my absolute favorite. I like the darkness and despair about it. It’s gotten me a lot more emotionally invested in the game than I usually are in a Zelda game. The only other time that I’ve actually cared this much about the characters in the game has been Majora’s Mask, hence my idea for the perfect three days, inspired by Groundhog Day.

I like that I know so little, that everything that happens catches me by surprise and that I have very little idea of how far I’ve actually made it into the game. From what the game tells me, this third dungeon will be the last one but based on previous games I might just as well be less than half-way through at this point.

The combats are really intense, both as a wolf and as a human/hylian. Most of the combats feel very intense and the wiimote control scheme makes them feel a bit more real than in other games. You could argue, as some do, that modern Zelda game has lost some of the free world exploration that was such a big part of the first game and if you look at it that way, Twilight Princess is very low on free exploration. There are obstacles spread out all over that makes your path through both the overworld and various underworlds vary linear. However, this does not take away anything from my excitement of playing it. Sure it would be nice to be more free to explore, but I still feel like I’m making the decisions, so I’m happy.

The game also keeps me on the edge of my seat because I feel like I really, really don’t want to die in it and it feels very possible that I might in encounters every now and then. I don’t know if I missed something or if it’s by design, but so far I haven’t manage to find any fairy to keep in a bottle, so I don’t have the usual ”insurance” that I tend to have in Zelda games.

And one more thing, the Shadow Beasts are really creepy! Really, really creepy.

If there’s anything negative to say about the game it’s the fact that some puzzles are hard in a way that doesn’t feel fair. Today I needed to google something for the first time in it. I had no idea about how to taw the Zora’s. (Here’s what I found online. It felt like a failure but I had tried and tried and pondered the puzzle over and over again and when I read the solution I was glad that I did google it. There’s no way I could have figured that out on my own, unless I’ve replayed the game from start and kept playing at a more regular pace. As things are now I’m playing once a week, tops. That means I forget things like a burning lava rock next to a warp portal.

And I’m also very confused by where I’m allowed to start if I’m saving and quitting, so that means I tend to not play if I don’t know that I can put at least two hours into the game.

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Some more information on the WordPress bug that I think that I’ve found #wordpress

Yesterday I wrote about a problem that I’m having with a WordPress plugin that I’m working on, and I said that I think it’s a bug in WordPress. Here are some more information about it.

What the plugin is supposed to do

The plugin should cross-post/syndicate any new post to Twitter. There are a lot of plugins already that does this, but I wanted a few special features.

So far so good. This all works as intended. There is however one more thing that it’s supposed to do:

The technical part

The plugin hooks into the publish_post action and early on in its code it checks if ( get_post_format( $ID ) == 'link' ). If it returns true an XPath query retrieves the href of the first <a> element and uses this instead of the permalink in the Twitter post.

The XPath part works just fine in all my tests.

The problem

As long as I post from the WordPress Admin interface, everything works as intended. The problem occurs when I post using the Press This bookmarklet. When I post this way, if ( get_post_format( $ID ) == 'link' ) never returns true, regardless of the post format.

If I create the post using Press This but instead of publishing I save it as a draft and then publish from the Admin panel, it works as intended.

Do you have a solution?

If so, please let me know.

The code is available on GitHub but I’ve kept the repository private since I’m a little bit embraced by the code, but let me know if you’d like to check it out and I’ll add you to the repo.

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Is this a bug in WordPress?

I’m working on a WordPress plugin to syndicate my posts to Twitter. I know, there are lots of plugins that does that already but none of the ones I’ve found does it the way I want, so I decided to roll my own. I’ve got the basics working and have been using it on my site for quite some time now. However, I’ve encountered a problem. Here’s how I want it to work:

When I publish a link post, instead of posting a link back to my site to Twitter, it should post the link to the site that I’m linking to. The plugin ”knows” whether it’s a link post or not based on

At first glance this works fine and it worked in development. However, ones I started using it on my site I realized that it only worked some of the times and other times it wouldn’t recognize a link post.

Tonight I’ve managed to narrow it down. It seems like the problem occurs when I post with the ”Press this” bookmarklet. If I do that, even a post that clearly has been givet the ”link” post format still returns false for if ( get_post_format( $ID ) == 'link' ). If I post the exact same content using the WordPress dashboard the post is recognized as a link post and everything else works as intended.

Is this a bug in WordPress? I should investigate this further but right now I need to go to bed, so I’m throwing the question out to you, smart people on the internet, instead.

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Yesterday when Iris was asleep in her bed, Linn and I sat down on the couch to watch some TV. We’ve just finished the latest season on Modern Family that’s available on Netflix in Sweden1, so we needed to find something new. While browsing for a while, not managing to agree on something, Linns sleepiness got the best of her and she decided to fall asleep on the couch instead.

Even though I was really tired I decided to watch something. Initially I was going to start watching Luke Cage but while browsing a list Zodiac by David Fincher showed up. I tend to really like Fincher’s movies and since I hadn’t watched this one, and since it was still reasonably early in the evening, I went with it. At first I thought I might watch half of it or something and then continue another day but the movie drew me in.

It’s a mystery-thriller based on the actual case of a serial killer who called himself ”The Zodiac”. It features a great cast, including Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo, Robert Downey Jr. and Chloë Sevigny, and I loved it.

I knew very little about it when going into it. I wasn’t even sure if the text at the beginning that proclaimed it to be based on actual events were true or not2 but it totally got me hooked in just a few minutes.

The thing that I really like about David Fincher’s movies is that he thinks, or at least the movies gives the impression that he thinks, that I the viewer is an intelligent and observant person. He loves exposition but not in a bad way.

Also this movie, unlike Fight Club and Gone Girl – which are the two most Fincher movies that I saw most recently3 – is free of irony. It’s an honest thriller that has me invested in solving the crime and that, in a few instances, makes me genuinely scared.

Oh, and in case you don’t obsessive click all the links that I put in this post, you should absolutely check out this one, David Fincher – And the Other Way is Wrong, from Every Frame a Painting. It’s a great analysis of Fincher’s style and as far as I can tell it doesn’t really spoil any of his movies, so you can watch it even if you haven’t watched all his films yet.

  1. I think it’s season 7. 
  2. It is. 
  3. I saw Gone Girl for the first time, Fight Club was a rewatching. 

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USB-C everywhere is a good thing, an iPhone without a headphone jack is not

Followers of this blog, or people who have been having coffee and nerd talk with me for the past weeks, know that I don’t like the absence of a headphone jack on the iPhone 7. I don’t think Apple removed it to mess with us or to squeeze us for some extra bucks for adapters1. I think they2 did it because it makes the iPhone a simpler product for them, one less thing to think about in manufacturing, one less potential source of failure, and they made the bet that most iPhone owners won’t miss it, as long as the included headphones use a connecter that is present.

I think that they are mostly correct in their analysis but this kinds of simplification always leaves one or more people behind. I, and most of the pro audio world at large, am most certainly left behind by this. I often use my iPhone with ”studio” headphones, I often connect it to recording consoles and PA desks and so on, so I would need to make sure that I always carry the lightning to mini-jack dongle and that’s a hassle. As more and more of these simplifications are done more and more people are left behind because it’s not the same people that keeps being left out in the cold. On top of that, I as a consumer/user don’t get any benefit from this exclusion. Apple’s executives may call it ”courage” as much as they want, whatever the reason for the removal, consumers see zero benefit from it.

And in those last two sentences lies the reason for why I’m not upset by the new MacBook Pros lack of any ports besides USB-C/Thunderbolt 3. Sure this will be a painful transition in some ways. Yes, we will be forced to buy more dongles, adapters and docks and lugg them around, but there is a very real benefit to it in the long run. A truly Universal Serial Bus. One connector to rule them all. And it’s a good connector!

Also computers generally lasts longer than phones, so if you – yes you dear reader – don’t want the hassle of dongles, then wait an extra year or more to buy a new MacBook Pro and in that time the world will start to catch up to the idea of One Connector.

Sure, it would have been great to have a new MacBook Pro that had every port that the old ones did in addition to ten USB-C port, four times longer battery life, a CPU powerful enough to do anything imaginable in the blink of an eye, a screen that can’t be cracked and that would weight an once. Okay, I’m being silly here. I know that fantasy beast is not what you, the people who don’t like the new Macs, have been asking for. I’m merely saying that these new computers have a clear benefit that the old ones didn’t have, partly as a result of removing things from the old ones and when it comes to these kinds of ports I do think that Apple can heard the industry infront of it and force a more timely transition away from the old and toward the new. It has happened before, it will happen again. However I do not think that Apple is that strong in the pro audio world.

  1. In that case they wouldn’t have included one in the package and it would have been more expensive than $9 to buy an extra one. 
  2. Yes, I will refer to Apple as they, not it. I know it is the correct grammar but I think ascribing it to a faceless massive corporation i asinine. 

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A video of me playing Zooropa, using a Mooger Fooger Low Pass Filter, Line6 Echo Park delay and a Boss ME50

So I’ve made a YouTube video. I’ve been pondering the idea of making a video for a while now, mostly because I like to try out various ways of expressing myself online. (Which is the reason why I also occasionally do a microcast.) I’ve made a few videos for work that I’ve put up on YouTube but I wanted to make something that wasn’t for work, something where I speak into the camera vlog style for at least a part of the video.

So the thought of making a video has been spinning around in my head and little over a week ago I finally stumbled upon something to make it about. Here’s what I wrote in the description on YouTube:

An attempt to make a sound similar to what the Edge has on Zooropa, using a Fender Telecaster, Mooger Fooger MF-101 Low Pass Filter, Line6 Echo Park, Boss ME50 and a ZVex Nano Head amp.

A few weeks back I watched a video from Pro Guitar Shop where Andy played Zooropa using a ZVex Super Seek Wah and two delays and I got really fascinated by it. It made me realize how simple the actual playing in this song is and made me think about making my own version. Then the other day I recalled that we have a bunch of Mooger Fooger pedals at work and I started to wonder whether the Low Pass Filter with an envelope could be used as the auto-wah effect.

The answer, in my opinon, is yes and this is the video I made using the Mooger Fooger and two delay pedals from my ”collection”.

Maybe this is the only video I’ll make, maybe it’s the first of many. Right now I don’t know but I do know it felt good to hit publish on this, even though I have a lot of complaints to myself about the technical quality of the video, but I’ll save that for another day.

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Zelda – Twilight Princess

Last week I started playing Zelda – Twilight Princess. I’ve had the game for quite a while, over two years I think, but haven’t really felt like I had the time to get deep into it until now. When I started playing last week I saw that the only save file I’ve used was last modified on New Year’s Eve 2014, so it’s been a while. :)

I really didn’t have much idea about what the game would be, other than that it was a Zelda game. The playing I had done two years ago had taught me how to move around using the Wii controller and given me a taste of the look of the game but nothing more. When I got further and further into it during the weekend I got really hooked. It was a much darker game then I expected, more like Majora’s Mask then any other Zelda game I’ve played.

There’s a lingering feeling of despair all over the world and the ”twilight realm” that’s spreading across the world is really scary.

That being said, if you haven’t played this game and think that you might do it one day, then do it! Stop reading right now. The less you know about the game the better.

Now that the ”spoiler horn” have been officially fired, let’s talk som specifics. As the game started I really thought that it would be similar to the beginnings of Ocarina of Time. I was told that I was going to go to Hyrule Castle and possible see the princess. The sun was shining and things seemed fine. Yes, a kid got missing and I had to rescue it but the monsters I had to fight to do that were not that bad and I felt like I had things under control. The I got pulled into the Twilight Realm and man is it creepy.

I had heard before that Link could morph into a wolf in this game, so I wasn’t that surprised when I first transformed but I had not expected the alternate world of twilight that I was supposed to navigate. Nor had I known that I didn’t control the metamorphose myself.

And the monsters… The monsters of the twilight actually freaked me out. Not just in a ”they are hard to beat” kind of way but in a, holy shit this is nightmare inducing kind of way. Some of them reminded me of the demogorgon from Stranger Things.

Thing is/was a bit rambly but I just wanted to jot down how much I love this game now, as I’m about eight hours into it. I feel an urge to keep playing, even more so than usual with Zelda games. Right now I’m more fueled by the need to save the children of my village then to save the world of something similar.

Last night, right before I stopped playing, I found the wooden sword that one of the kids had used. It was stuck in the ground in a twilight covered part of Hyrule and at that point I really didn’t want to stop. I wanted to keep playing all night long but that just isn’t feasible right now.

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Regarding Apple’s suspension of Kapeli/Dash and the discussions of the matter on ATP and Core Intuition

On this weeks Accidental Tech Podcast (191: The Failure Mode of a Train), Casey, John and Marco talked about the controversy around Apple closing the App Store account of developer Kapeli. (I’ve mostly been out of the loop on this thing so most of my knowledge of it comes from said ATP episode.)

The discussion was informative but part of it left me feeling uneasy. My problem was that it seamed like all three hosts thought it was perfectly reasonable for Apple to be able to dictate what the developer expressed in public, if he wanted a chance to get his account back.

This seems so wrong to me. Either the developer broke the rules is such a way that it way right to close his account and that’s that, or he did not break the rules in such a way and therefore his account should be reinstated regardless of what he says or does in public.

Having an eight-hundred pound gorilla like Apple dictate what its developers should write on their blogs if they are ever in a controversy with them seems so wrong, regardless of whether what Apple wanted this particular developer was 100% true, 100% false or anything in-between. The App Store rules system is already iffy enough, should we also accept that Apple can dictate our complaints in public?

I was glad to hear the Manton Reece seems to agree with me as he argues similarly on this weeks Core Intuition (Episode 254: It Blew Up In This Case). (Overcast link with timestamp.

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The endless frustrations of using Siri

There’s a dearth in my podcast cue at the moment, so I’ve been relistening to some old podcasts. Currently I’m listening to Hypercritical #38: ”Virtually Spotless” and early on (Overcast link with timestamp) John and Dan talks about Siri which I assume had just been released when this episode was recorded.

Anyway, it’s interesting to listen to John’s concerns with a few years hindsight and realize that so many of his concerns are still valid. Siri can frustrate to no end. Even when ”she” correctly translates what I say into text the parsing fails me time and time again.

Here’s a recent example. My fiancé and me recently switched our grocery shopping list to a shared iCloud Reminders list. One of the supposed perks was that it would enable us to use Siri to add stuff to the list. The list in question is called ”Shopping list”.1

Me: ”Add bread to the shopping list.”
Siri: ”There doesn’t seem to be a list called the shopping list.”
Me: Frustratedly inputs the item manually instead.

After a few days or maybe a week or something, I had an idea:

Me: ”Add bread to shopping list.”
Siri: ”I’ve added it.”

Tried it a few more times and could confirm that shopping list is a known list and therefore work, however the shopping list does not work. How is such a basic thing not working?

And don’t get me started on how bad the iPhone is at picking up voice from any kind of distance other than right next to it.

My point is this, how can Siri still be this dumb and often so useless when it seems like Amazon’s Alexa is much more reliable to use? Apple has had years to fix this now but progress is so slow.

  1. Well, technically it’s called ”Handlingslista” which is the Swedish translation of Shopping list, and yes Siri ”works” in Swedish as well. 

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kUTTypeImage is defined in MobileCoreServices.framework

This gets me every time I try to create a sharing extension for iOS. I follow along with the WWDC session ”Creating Extensions for iOS and OS X, Part 1” from 2014 and when I encounter this line, I get an error:

The problem is that kUTTypeImage is unknown to Xcode. The solution is to import MobileCoreServices.framework.

(For more on this, check out this StackOverflow thread.

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Idag är första dagen som jag lämnade av Iris på förskolan. Vi har varit där under några dagar i förra veckan också men även när hon var själv med de andra barnen och pedagogerna så var jag kvar i huset, så det här var något nytt.

Iris verkade inte tycka att det var någon stor grej. Hon kunde nog inte bli av med mig fort nog. :)

Jag har så smått börjat se fram emot att hon ska börja förskola eftersom jag vet att hon älskar att ha många barn och vuxna runt sig, så jag tror att hon kommer trivas bra, och för att det faktiskt vore skönt att låta någon annan få trilskas med henne ibland. Trots det så hade jag en stor klump i magen när jag gick ut genom dörren utan att ha henne i släptåg. Klumpen sitter delvis i nu när jag skriver, så det är väldigt dubbla känslor.

Men jag ska hämta henne redan klockan elva idag, så det går nog bra.

”Schoolbag in hand, she leaves home in the early morning…”

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Liking stuff via the blog

I watch, read and consume a lot of stuff on the web. Recently I’ve taken a particular interest in YouTube, and I see a lot of cool, watch-worthy stuff there.

Sometimes when I see something awesome I click the thumbs up in YouTube, sometimes I don’t. Regardless, I also want to post some of the stuff that I like to the blog.

So far I’ve lacked a good way to do that. Part of what I lack is a good workflow to do it, one that makes it as low friction as possible but the main part is that I don’t know how to best display it on the blog. It would probably make sense to create a custom post type for ”likes” or ”interactions” or something similar, but I can’t help feeling like that is yak-shaving.

Therefor I think I should just get on with it. I’ll publish microblog posts with the text ”I liked (♥️) this:” and then a link (complete with u-like-of-microformat) to the video. I’ll also tag the posts with the like tag.

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