Sunday, September 24, 2023

Typewriters Rule


A typewriter keyboard as seen through a kaleidoscope.

On Tuesday of this week the UK government announced that the Online Safety Bill had passed its parliamentary debate and was now set to become law. Regardless of what you think of the reasons behind implementing the OSB or how you think it will affect you the simple fact is that sooner or later the legislation will affect you.

I'm not going to go into the arguments for or against the bill.
I've long thought that there are plenty of ways to circumnavigate such potentially intrusive snooping on the lawful communications of ordinary people. Most of what I know how to do isn't convenient, it's time consuming and for those reasons hasn't been widely adopted by the general public. Having said that it's good to know that your privacy is still able to be controlled by yourself if you put the effort in.

In future blog posts I'm going to share what I know to enable you to take control of what you share and with whom.

If you'd like to read the Online Safety Bill it's here.
The UK governments press release is here.
Meredith Whittaker makes understanding the arguments around the OSB simple to digest. Find here Mastodon account here.

Saturday, August 19, 2023

No Sew Saturday

There will be no sewing done today.

My trusty Singer 514 has a problem whereby it runs without the foot pedal being depressed. After a bit of investigating and searching online it would seem that this problem is not uncommon. Apparently the capacitor in the foot pedal dies and then needs to be replaced in order to rectify the situation. I've ordered said capacitor and now I'll have to wait until next weekend to perform the required surgery.

At least I know that the machine is running because while it was chugging along on its own I managed at least to wind a bobbin. No weird electrical smells coming from the machine. Only the pedal.
I have achieved one thing with this machine today. It's clean. There's no amount of fluff that you can pull from a sewing machine. Once I got started I kept finding more. After about an hour I was satisfied that the tweezers, paint brush and cotton buds had retrieved every bit of cruft that I was likely to find this time around.

If the fix works I'll be very happy to have only spent £4. If not then I have eliminated one possible cause of the fault, the next potential solution I suspect will cost a lot more.


Sunday, July 09, 2023

Keep It Simple

A screen grab of a Linux terminal running a shell script.

More often than not I'm thinking about privacy and especially cryptographic functions that enable it.

At the beginning of the year I was in a truck waiting to be unloaded and started thinking about creating secure passwords from simple inputs. The best way for me was to use the terminal on Linux and Termux on my phone.
If you don't use Android or Ubuntu there are still ways to run a BASH script on Mac and Windows.
I've been using the script for a while and it's good for medium security applications. I have just published the script with an explanation of how to personalise it for yourself should you want to use it.

You'll find it on Github.

Sunday, June 25, 2023

Sundog Song Studio


Sundog Song Studio interface.

I have been using Sundog Song Studio for quite a while and it's quite possibly my favourite tool in my music making box.
Today it just got better because I finally worked out that it can do everything I need to make patterns for my Yamaha QY series sequencers.

I'll explain. Previously I had used Sundog to make patterns, which it is extremely good at. Then I'd export the MIDI file and try to use another piece of software to get the patterns into one of my QY sequencers. The problem is that the software I own doesn't seem to like sending MIDI clock messages that would start the QY recording when I pressed play on the software. There were work-arounds that would do the job but if was a faff getting everything to sync.

Today I noticed that Sundog has a check box for sending MIDI clock messages. I'd never used it because I had always intended to export the MIDI. Anyway, I hooked up a QY70 and with the pattern recording paused I pressed play on Sundog and the QY70 started recording. Problem solved.
The only minor work-around I have to do is insert a blank pattern into Sundog because it naturally loops patterns and the QY70 only has an Overdub recording mode so it will double the note input as it loops. The blank pattern gives me time to stop recording before that happens.

All I have to do now is transfer all my Sundog ideas over to the QY's and start writing tunes again.

Sunday, May 28, 2023

New Beginnings

It's Spring and there's a lot of changes happening.
Firstly I have a new job, one that I'm happy with. It's taken 8 months to finally find somewhere that I can settle. Those past 8 months have seen highs and lows. Some of the jobs I took weren't 'as advertised' and I had to leave. I think a lot of employers are well aware that if they gave you the low down on what the job is really like you'd run a mile.

Secondly the garden is looking good again and I've been doing my usual pottering and keeping it growing at full speed while the weather is good. Lots of feeding and watering to be done.
The best bits are the cheap end of season climbing rose bush which is now very happy and producing lots of blooms. The beer barrel pond which is sprouting lots of bulrushes and my brambles which I'm hoping will produce a bumper crop of blackberries are both doing well.
The only bad thing is my box hedge which I've been shaping for 20 years has now succumbed to an invasion of Box Caterpillars and looks like it going to have to be replaced.
Such are the trials of gardening.