Saturday, January 04, 2020

Wot No Secrecy


Hello 2020.
Still no flying cars. Still no colony on the moon to visit. But there is Marmite peanut butter, no-one saw that one coming.
My new year's resolution is the same as last year's. Write more. It's been working. I've kept this blog reasonably busy. There are 2 tracks on archive.org that weren't there a year ago and I have some code on GitHub.
The little shell script encrypts your text from the Nano editor and now turns it into a handy QR code. I want to do more with both QR and barcodes. I have a nagging suspicion that I'm missing something. I'll get there eventually but for now my script is keeping me busy. It needs some refinement.
I have no idea where my fascination with cryptography will take me next. It's always a joy to find new ways of sending secret messages. I think one thing is certain though. The older I get the more useful this knowledge becomes. It's a sad situation.
Like waking up on new years day and realising that hoverboards aren't a thing yet.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Fine Print


I've bought myself a Brother P-touch D400.
I was getting a little tired of trying to work out which power supply went with which unit by following the cables. I had previously just written on the PSU with a silver Sharpie, which is fine when you can get in close enough, but I have to use reading glasses and sometimes digging those out for 3 seconds use is a pain. The Brother label printer at large font settings is much easier to read, and I don't need my glasses.
Me being me I couldn't justify the short term use of the machine even if it wasn't that expensive. I was very happy when I found out that I could print barcodes like the one above. Barcodes can be read by any phone with an appropriate app. If you have such an app try it on the picture. Because Code39 and a few others accept ASCII characters I thought, why not use it as a code transport device. I'll be extending a script I'm publishing at the moment to write encrypted text to both bar and QR codes. All quite easily done in the Linux CLI.
I have also resurrected my bluetooth thermal scanner for QR codes. I'll try and get that connected to my laptop, it might work. It currently works very well with my phone but I'd like to use it away from that particular device.
I have 2 weeks holiday coming up. I imagine a large portion of that will be spent in the terminal, and I'm not talking airports.

Monday, December 09, 2019

A Little Knowledge


I've been tidying up a few loose ends tonight.
It only took me about 2 hours but I finally managed to get my Zyn-Fusion plugin to be sequenced by LMMS. I suppose it is straight forward but only once you've exhausted all the other options. I went through all the other options first. The result is that I can now automate creating multisamples for Bitwig.
Zyn-Fusion is pretty much the only plugin synth you'll ever need which is why I spent so much time getting it to work the way I wanted.
Before I started messing about in the studio I revisited a shell script (pictured above) that I rediscovered a week ago. At only 4 lines it makes encryption in the terminal editor Nano a piece of cake. Now that I've found it again I'll probably add to it and get it its own page on Github so that everyone else can use it. I have a little bit of reading to do first but I know what I'm looking for so that shouldn't take long.
It is after all the season for giving.

Sunday, December 01, 2019

Finishing Touches


If there's one thing I've struggled with in my songwriting it's been drum fills and endings.
Specifically at the end of a drum phrase the pattern just seems to repeat until the end and restart or run into a different pattern. This is down to the fact that playing something believable on a single keyboard key is extremely difficult and no amount of tweaking the MIDI file afterwards seems to make the situation any better. I decided a while ago that I'd like to get my hands on a Yamaha DD-75 but at around £200 it was an expense that could wait. I kept a search saved online for 'Yamaha DD' to see what would come up. Sure enough a decent DD-65, one model down from what I'd been looking at, came up at a very reasonable £34 starting price.
I eventually won it for £36 plus £8 postage which is fine by me. Despite not having more sounds or the latest samples it's perfect for my needs. I just need it as a realtime MIDI trigger. The sounds will come from samples stored on other units or from Bitwig.
It needs a little tidy up which it'll get and it will then sit as a very useful addition the the hardware side of the studio.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Never Give Up


It's often worth going beyond popular wisdom and searching for the truth.
Today was a fine example of that philosophy.
To make making styles for my QY300 easier I decided that the best tool for the job was the Linux DAW software LMMS. The MIDI routing is second to none and with a decent sequencer attached it's pretty much perfect. The problem was that wherever I looked on the internet the answer was that LMMS would not run on a Raspberry Pi. The RPi just didn't have the resources. All I needed it for was MIDI and because Seq24 runs without a problem I didn't think that running LMMS as a MIDI controller would be a problem either. The internet kept on saying no, but I wasn't about to give up that easily.
After a couple more hours of searching and reading I found a possible solution. Someone had installed a version of Lubuntu onto their RPi and simply downloaded LMMS from the repository. I know that Lubuntu is a really lightweight system and I was going to be installing it on a RPi 2 which is kind of pushing the boundaries but I thought it was worth a go.
Two hours later and a new install of Lubuntu was indeed running my QY300 through LMMS without a problem.
As the title of this post says, never give up.
That would be just too easy.