Linux the Easy Way

I ran across Wubi last night. Wubi is a utility that installs a full version of Ubuntu on a PC running Windows. It’s nice for several reasons:

  1. It’s much easier to use that the usual way of installing Ubuntu. You don’t have to repartition your drive, you don’t have to fiddle with a bootloader, you don’t have to know how to set up a Linux filesystem. Basically it’s a one-click operation. You download and run it; it downloads Ubuntu and installs it for you.
  2. It installs a really-truly installation of Ubuntu. It’s not a form of virtualization (which is slow) nor is it a live boot CD (which is slower).
  3. Once it installs Ubuntu, you can uninstall it like you’d uninstall any other Windows application.

I just used it to install Ubuntu on my Thinkpad X60 tablet. I’m a Linux neophyte but am interested in having a Linux system around for doing some development that appears to be simpler under Linux than under Windows. (Why, oh why is it so difficult to access the RS-232 ports from software running under XP?) Much of what I’ve seen of Linux strikes me as still not quite ready for prime time, but I’m betting that the development tools are quite good, given that the only people that used Linux up until recently were developers. read more

Buy My Apple LCD!


In the somewhat unlikely event that you’re looking for an old Apple Studio Display 17″ LCD, I have one for auction here. I suppose it’s of historic significance if you’re an Audio Damage fan; I used it for all of my Mac activities for the first couple of years of the company’s history, and then used it to test all of our products for G4 compatibility after I migrated to an Intel iMac.

Nice Stop-Motion Animation

There’s a very nice video here done with stop-motion animation of characters cut from cardboard. (Make sure that your sound is turned on; the accompaniment is a remix of an excellent old song by Yazoo.) I wonder whether I like stop-motion animation because I watched Sesame Street when I was a kid. Remember the animation they did with sand and stuff?

Affirmative Ice Cream

SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt., Jan 19, 2009 (UPI via COMTEX) — Vermont-based ice cream maker Ben & Jerry’s has unveiled its latest flavor, “Yes Pecan,” which recalls President-elect Barack Obama’s campaign mantra.
“Yes Pecan,” a variation of Obama’s famous slogan, “Yes we can,” is described by the company as “an inspirational blend” that includes “amber waves of buttery ice cream with roasted non-partisan pecans,” Ben & Jerry’s announced Monday. read more

A Day to Remember

I didn’t pay much attention to any previous presidential inauguration, so I can’t actually compare today’s inauguration of President Obama to previous ones. I think it’s safe to say, though, that it’s been awhile since an estimated 2 million people made their way to the D. C. Mall to watch the swearing in of the new President. We’ve been watching the coverage on and off since shortly before he was sworn in; it’s now about 5:40PM in D. C. and the parade is still underway. The enthusiasm is amazing, and rather touching. The following video clip captures the mood well. It was taken before the parade, while the Obamas were making their way from the Capitol building to the White House. Listen to the crowd’s reaction as the President gets out of the car, and watch how appreciative he is as we walks along and waves to the crowd: read more

“The Street Finds Its Own Uses For Things”

That’s one of Wm. Gibson’s best observations. To wit: Microsoft releases Songsmith, a fairly clever program that generates accompaniment (albeit banal accompaniment) for your singing. Unfortunately they plug it with a painfully awful advertisement. In response, the street starts abusing the software by running a capella recordings of well-known songs through it and showcases the results on YouTube and elsewhere. The ad and several such examples can be found here and this page has more. read more

Lots of Volts

You’ve probably never thought “gee, I wonder how they inspect high-tension power lines without turning off the electricity.” I know I haven’t. If you were to ask yourself that question, though, you’d realize that it must be a tricky task. There’s a remarkable video here showing how they do it. The short version of the story is that they use helicopters to put people in fireproof, conductive suits onto the lines, where they perch like birds.

[Found on Hack a Day.] read more

Synths And Drum Machine For Sale

UPDATE: Everything listed here has been sold.

This is probably about the worst time in recent history to sell gear. Not only are we in the post-Christmas, pre-NAMM lull, the economy is Bad and heading towards Worse. Nonetheless, I have some gear that I’d like to sell. To wit:

Studio Electronics Omega 8

  • Very good to excellent condition. The only reason I won’t say “excellent” with confidence is that I haven’t yet pulled it out of the rack and don’t remember whether there are any scratches on the chassis. The panel is pristine.The panel is pristine except for some marring around the mounting holes, which isn’t visible when there are screws in the holes. (This is why I didn’t notice it when I first put up this description.) The bottom of the chassis has some scratches from mounting/unmounting but the rest of the case is more or less like new. I’m the second owner, I think (I bought it second-hand from Analogue Haven). I have the manual, such as it is.
  • $2900 SOLD

Elektron Monomachine

  • Excellent condition with power supply, original box, manual, and intact sticker sheet. I’m the original owner.
  • $800 SOLD

LinnDrum LM-2

  • Very good condition, even without considering its age. The panel looks basically new. The only glaring cosmetic defect is that the former owner had removed the screws from the bottom front edge of the case (to make it easier to change sound chips, I imagine–it has ZIF sockets for several sounds) and I used silver screws rather than black ones to replace them. I’ve cleaned all of the potentiometers (even though they didn’t need it) and it has a brand-new set of RAM backup batteries. As far as I know it’s in fully operational condition but I honestly don’t know how to use all of its features. Obviously I’m not the original owner.
  • I have a half-dozen or so extra sample EPROMs, none of which I’ve tested.
  • No documentation, but I think there are some basic operating instructions online somewhere.
  • $450 SOLD

I’ll try to get some photos up of all of these. If you’re interested but absolutely have to see a photo, write me and I’ll get busy. Yes, I’m being lazy.There are photos available here on my flickr site. read more

Fire Update

The various news sites say that the fire was 30% contained as of 7:00AM. The wind is relatively calm so they think they’ll have it contained by this afternoon. Some neighborhoods that were evacuated have been reopened and one of the roads that was closed is open again.

Fire Near Boulder

There’s ongoing coverage here of a good-sized fire north of Boulder. A good number of homes have been evacuated and as of 8:10PM MST the fire covered 6,400 acres and was still uncontained. The problem is that it has been very windy here with gusts over 50mph. The lower of the two videos on that page (as I write this) gives you a pretty good idea of what the wind has been like.

So far our area has not been evacuated, and I doubt that the fire will come close enough to warrant our departure. The fire is north and west of Boulder; we’re north and east of Boulder. The wind has died down also, so hopefully they’ll have it contained soon. read more