Building a portable electric guitar rig

Tuesday, April 24th, 2018 | Crafting, Gadgets, Tech-savvy | No Comments

I play the guitar. A bit. And I am a crafty bastard. So I figured it would be a nice idea to have a portable electric guitar setup to take to the park. I wanted to have my Boss BR-80 and my cell (i.e. Spotify) as inputs and a decent Bluetooth speaker as the output device. Also, a big power-bank should be included (20k mAh) with multiple outlets so basically every devices could go on the fritz and me still playing.

Went to the DIY store and came up with this solution:

It works just fine even though it feels makeshift. Might need to do proper cuttings still, but even this setup just does the trick. The Bluetooth speaker (B&O Beoplay A1) is quite pricey but man it delivers. Not in terms of loudness, but quality. Very happy with it!

There is just one thing. Procrastination. Instead of playing the guitar I built this rig and now it sits in the back of my room waiting for the summer 😀

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Life hack: fuck them laces!

Thursday, April 5th, 2018 | Gadgets, Insights, Vocabulary | No Comments

Doing laces is art. It seems there’s even a cult among younger people nowadays how to lace their shoes. So it’s been a thing lately to not show laces at all and I got told to just knot them and put the laces inside of the shoes. Well, that worked quite well but I also like my comfort zone, and sharing it with knotted fibre kinda ruined the experience.

So, I was looking for another solution and my brain came up with … Aderendhülse. What?! (That’s German for ferrule) Yes, I had to learn a new word for this minuscule life hack. The German one that is.

Anyway, here is my solution. Just get yourself some ferrules fro the D.I.Y. retailer, thread in the laces and crush it!! After that, just cut the ends off. Done.

No more lace knoting for me, and I don’t have to share the snug inside of my sneakers with random clews.

Bliss.

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How to get audio in sync using OBS

Wednesday, March 28th, 2018 | Activities, Gadgets, Insights, Tech-savvy | No Comments

I started streaming on Twitch a while ago and the setup for a decent stream can be tricky at times. One of the biggest issues I had was audio sync or to be more precise, the absence of it. 😉

I use OBS, a free and pretty powerful piece of software. After a few streams I added music to the gameplay, but when I was humming/singing along, I was off. A bit, a few milliseconds, but I could not find a way to get rid of the issue. So I started thinking … there is a “processing pipeline”, from the computer that plays the music, to the headphones, into my brain and out of my lungs into the microphone. I figured that’s where the lag came from:

Lucky me OBS lets you add and subtract delays to each audio source (even though I have a hard time understanding how you can shift a sound source into the past … maybe by implicitly adding a delay to all other sources?). So how did I find out the “exact” delay? It’s pretty tough, ears only will be not good enough.

So here is what I did:

  • recorded while some audio was playing (e.g. Massive Attack – Teardop) and used a drum stick and a practice pad next to the mic hitting the pad to the music omitting every third stroke so you don’t get used to your rhythm and stick to the song’s timing
  • exported the audio and measured the milliseconds between the real snare and my stroke using an audio editor (i.e. Audacity) – with “Teardrop” they are pretty easy to spot
  • open “Edit” -> “Advanced Audio Properties” and change the “Sync Offset” of your audio source accordingly
  • rinse repeat, as for some reason I had to do this a couple of times before I got it spot on

This got my singing in sync to the audio that got played. (The lag can also be influenced by changing buffer sizes, but I didn’t want to fiddle with these.)

Now the only thing that is still annoying me: I am not lip-sync on video. I still have to figure out whether there is an option to add/sub delay to the video source as well. Just saw there is a filter available in OBS, but it can only add delay, not sub it. Might play with that as well and hope to come up with a “picture perfect” audio video face-cam mic setup at some point 🙂

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Waves MaxxAudio Service Application High CPU Usage

Sunday, December 31st, 2017 | Gadgets, Insights, Tech-savvy | No Comments

Sharing is caring. I hope Google will help people who also have trouble with high CPU usage on a Dell system with Waves MaxxAudio find this little piece of information.

I had a strange problem with OBS (or so I thought) consuming high CPU. Every time I launched OBS the CPU would jump to like 30% instantly. The task manager revealed that not OBS but Waves MaxxAudio Service Application consumed like 30% CPU every time I launched a freshly installed OBS on a freshly installed Windows 10 an a Dell Latitude 7280 (just dropping a few keyword here again for SEO 😛 ).

Trying to find a solution for this strange behaviour I found dozens of people that had the same problem but I could not find a solution.

So I tried to fiddle with the Waves MaxxAudio Settings and alas I found a solution (that worked for me)! Simply open Waves MaxxAudio Pro, click on “Advanced” in the lower middle section of the UI and disable the VoIP “enhancement” – CPU usage drops instantly.

Dear Dell, dear Waves MaxxAudio, why are you packing your drivers with shitloads of features instead of just releasing a working piece of software? 99.9% of your costumers only want a system that runs smoothly with a simple and easy driver, not a “fancy” UI with tons of features that foobar the system. Thanks. Just my POV.

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Pi-hole: get rid of spam/ads/tracking on DNS level

Tuesday, October 24th, 2017 | Gadgets, Insights, Linux, Tech-savvy | No Comments

Today I’d like to share a nice project that I stumbled upon: Pi-hole®: A black hole for Internet advertisements.

Basically it is a small DNS proxy that filters DNS queries based on lists of ad and tracker sites.

It’s pretty kewl, as you just set it up once and all your devices on your LAN will benefit from it.

I have been using Pi-hole (default settings/lists on Raspbian Strech) for a couple of days now without problems and a noticeable better internet browsing experience.

Give it a try and put your old Raspberry to some use!

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Podcasts in iTunes packen – Fick dich Apple! Und Google, du dich auch.

Tuesday, August 29th, 2017 | Insights, Linux, Misc, Tech-savvy | No Comments

Ausgangslage: Ich mache Podcasts. Ich arbeite mit Linux. Ich möchte gerne in das iTunes Podcast Verzeichnis. (Eigentlich will ich ja nix außer meinen RSS Feed in ein Verzeichnis pushen…)

Kollege: “Um bei iTunes deinen Podcast ins Verzeichnis zu bringen brauchst du kein iTunes auf deinem Rechner, nur ‘ne Apple-ID.” (Source)

Na gut, prima, ich lege also eine Apple ID an (im Web) und versuche es.
https://podcastsconnect.apple.com/

Ich werde mit einer Fehlermeldung abgewatscht:
“Podcasts Connect erfordert einen iTunes Store-Account.”
Darunter ein Link: Zum iTunes Store

Ich klicke auf den Link, der schlicht auf itunes.apple.com verweist und kann mich – oh Wunder – mit meiner Apple ID dort anmelden. WTF? Also habe ich doch einen iTunes Store-Account?! Apple, ich bin verwirrt.

Ich google also die Fehlermeldung. Dort lese ich, dass man sich in iTunes und nich auf der iTunes Seite anmelden muss. Geil, wie dass die Fehlermeldung “Podcasts Connect erfordert einen iTunes Store-Account.” offenbart.

In iTunes soll man sich anmelden und dann dort ein zwei Informationen zu seinem Account hinterlegen. Nun gut.

Meine Nerven liegen also bereits leicht blank als ich zu einem Kollegen mit Mac gehe und mich in iTunes anmelde. Super. Der Wizard zur Anmeldung will dann direkt eine Zahlungsmethode von mir. Es gibt keine direkte Möglichkeit das zu umgehen. WTF again?! Ich fühle mich ins Jahr 2009 zurück versetzt, als ich schlicht einen iPod Touch in Betrieb nehmen wollte, was, ohne Kreditkarte, nicht möglich war. Dürfen Menschen ohne Kreditkarte keine iPod nutzen?

Fick dich Apple! Mir geht deine Philosophie in vielen Bereichen so gegen den Strich, dass ich im Strahl kotzen könnte. Ich mag keinen Zwang, vor allem nicht, wenn jemand meine Kreditkarteninformationen haben will. Dann spiele ich halt wieder mit den Open Source Schmuddelkindern. Da fühl ich mich sowieso wohler. Und sag nicht ich würde es nicht alle Jubeljahre mit dir versuchen, aber wir zwei passen anscheinend einfach nicht zusammen.

Wer jetzt meint, dass ich selber schuld bin und dass das bei Apple halt so ist: ich habe vor einiger Zeit einen YouTube Kanal aufgemacht (icanplaystayshun), einfach mal so zum Spaß. Mit einem Google Konto. Schnell, kostenlos, unkompliziert.

Hat Google ein Podcast Verzeichnis? Scheiße! Wieso bin ich da nicht vorher drauf gekommen!? Das guck ich mir mal an!

Edit 1: 30.08.2017

https://support.google.com/googleplay/podcasts/answer/6260341

“Podcasts are not available in your country
Podcasts are coming soon to Google Play Music, but unfortunately, they’re not yet available in your country.”

Und Google Play Music kann man auch in der kostenlosen Variante nicht ohne Zahlungsinformaitonen nutzen.
“Our music deals require that you have a form of payment on file to confirm your country of residence as music rights vary by country”

Also auch nicht besser. Schade. Wenigstens geben die einen “guten Grund” an. Auch wenn mein freier Podcast mal nix mit “music rights in my country” zu tun hat. Hallo? Podcast! Selbst produziert! Ich will doch nur ins Verzeichnis! 🙂

Edit 2: 30.08.2017

Werde mir jetzt noch Stitcher ansehen. Dann habe ich aber die Schnauze voll 😀

So, das scheint geklappt zu haben. Die wollten auch recht viele Infos (Adresse) und die Terms und Conditions haben es auch in sich. Garagen Sprech ist nun dort in der Approval Phase und Dennis tötet mich beim nächsten Cast weil ich wieder in Anglizismen versinke.

Was ein Kack, nur um mal so ‘nen RSS Feed publik zu machen…

Edit 3: 31.08.2017

Wir sind online! 😀 Stitcher hat den RSS Feed nun in sein Directory aufgenommen.

Findbar über:
✔ copy/paste des RSS Feeds in deine App 😉
Stitcher (natürlich)
Podcast Addict (Android)
– Podcast.app (iOS)
– Overcast (iOS)
– iTunes
– Spotify

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Fedora 26 / Gnome 3 Hi DPI Settings and Quirks

Thursday, August 24th, 2017 | Insights, Linux, Quirks, Tech-savvy | No Comments

I was about to release another “post-installation tasks” post when I thought it might be a good idea to focus on a specific topic first: Hi DPI (aka 4k resolution monitors) and how Fedora, my weapon of choice, is performing. Fedora ships with Gnome 3 on Wayland. So this will be my starting point.

Set-up Gnome to use Hi DPI mode

This sounds to easy. But rest assured, this is only the first general steps as a lot of apps, even Gnome (3.24.2) itself, does not respect / support this setting consistently. (here are two native Gnome examples of mixed Hi Res and Low Res components Example 1 Example 2)

Still, for me the overall experience is finally worth setting up a Hi DPI desktop environment.

Install Gnome Tweak Tool

$ sudo dnf install gnome-tweak-tool

Fire it up, go to “Window” and set the Hi DPI mode to 2x. (In the near future Gnome wants to support arbitrary scaling factors, on a per device i.e. monitor basis. Looking forward to that!) You may need to log in and out of your session for the setting to take effect.

Update 25.08.17 There is another Gnome setting, and after that Gnome itself renders just fine! Bliss! Thanks Michael Reinartz for pointing this out!

$ gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.interface scaling-factor 2

Apps that work well out of the box (on my machine)

Firefox 55.0.1
Thunderbird 52.2.1
Opera 47

and after the “Update 25.08.17” hint:
Audacious 3.8.2 (Winamp Interface)
Nautilus 3.24.2.1
Terminal 3.24.2

Apps that scale well after some handiwork

Chromium 60 (maybe Chrome – I don’t use it right now)
Chromium needs a special parameter: --force-device-scale-factor=2, just add it to a copy of the .desktop file in your personal user space.

cp /usr/share/applications/chromium-browser.desktop ~/.local/share/applications/

Put that parameter just behind the executable:

...
Exec=/usr/bin/chromium-browser %U --force-device-scale-factor=2
...

eclipse 4.7 Oxygen

I use a launch script for eclipse, just add export SWT_GTK3=0 to it. The export UBUNTU_MENUPROXY=0 fixed a problem with disappearing menus in eclipse. I can omit the entry without problems, I just leave it here in case you might need it.

#!/bin/bash
 
export SWT_GTK3=0
export UBUNTU_MENUPROXY=0
./eclipse/eclipse -showlocation

Apps that do not scale at all (yet)

Audacity 2.1.3
They say you need to recompile it with wxWidgets --with-gtk=3
@see http://wiki.audacityteam.org/wiki/Linux_Issues#Hi-DPI

Gimp 2.8
There are themes available with hi res icons but I will just wait for 2.9 as it should support Hi DPI natively.

Spotify 1.0.59.395
At least the full screen mode looks nice 😉

Conclusion

As you can see Hi DPI is still work in progress. Still, I figure Hi DPI usable by now and will not go back. Looking at a “printed screen” is just too amazing.

Hope I gave you some insights and if you have something to add just leave a comment. Thanks!

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Let’s try beef 3

Friday, July 21st, 2017 | Activities, Food, Insights | No Comments

A friend of mine told me there is something like “reverse bbq” – first, cook the meat in an oven at the desired heat and when it is done let it kiss the sizzle zone of your bbq. Okay, this is my try.

I was shopping and saw this T-Bone steak.


Put it into the oven for 20min at medium rare temperature. I was not overly happy with the result, as my oven is shit so I cooked it longer and hotter as I intended in the first place.


But the bbq was hot by then 😀


And after another few minutes.

I had a late night dinner. I did not like it too much, I guess the beef steak is still my favourite meat. Right now I am fed up with red meat. I opt for Schinken Krakauer again at the moment. Yummy left-over sausages!

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Let’s try beef #2

Thursday, July 6th, 2017 | Activities, Food, Insights | No Comments

This time I just bought a steak and grilled it. No frills.

The steak. A regular beef steak, I thought I can hardly foobar the most standard beef available.

Grilled. Seasoned. Served. 😛

Medium rare. Yes! \m/

It worked. Even though the meat quality itself was somewhat subpar (supermarket meat counter) the outcome was just what I wished for. The days of shitty minute steaks from the discounter are definitely over. I may stick to the occasionally sausage though (just love my Schinken-Krakauer) but no more cheap meat for me.

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Røde NT-USB microphone – great value for money

Saturday, July 1st, 2017 | Gadgets, Language, Linux, Tech-savvy | No Comments

Today I spend some MusicStore gift vouchers (thanks Rob & Tobi) buying a decent microphone. A Røde NT-USB.

Maybe for podcasting, maybe streaming, maybe recording of music.

First thing that came to my mind was reading a small story for my daughter. So I plugged in the mic – which was the first “challenge”. Sometimes “pro” audio devices only work with Mac and Windoze machines, but the Røde NT-USB just worked out of the box (Linux, Fedora 25). After that I launched Audacity, saw the rec level was a bit weak, maxed out the input using the audio settings and hit record. From my POV the result was awesome. So I just kept on reading the story, only using the Audacity compressor plug-in (default settings) afterwards. Then I added a small intro/outro acoustic guitar jingle. That’s it. No-frills recording with very nice results.

Thanks Røde, you made my day 🙂

Here is the result (a 96k cbr mono mp3 mixdown). Sorry, German only 🙂 Remember, this is a one take and I have no experience doing lectures – so don’t expect too much.

Eine Meerjungfrau im Schwimmbad (Maren von Klitzing)

Der Kater mit den goldenen Pfoten (Käthe Recheis)

Source: Märchen und Kindergeschichten

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