Saturday, February 28, 2009

Linux Realtime Kernel Woes

Yesterday we had One Man Nation (he is on tour right now, checkout his busy schedule at Myspace for concerts nearby) in the Hörbar in Hamburg and we chatted briefly about Linux realtime kernels and the bad lowlatency performance with the recent ones. In Ubuntu for example it seems best to stay with 8.04, later versions are much worse, 8.11 doesnt work well.
So its good news that the Linux realtime preemption development are now being continued, hopefuly to improve the situation.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Attack Of The Gobos

We had to admit it, the current Block4 recording studio sounds bad. Lot of strange, metallic echos with a certain artificial character made it difficult to mix well. So the only consequence was to improve the room acoustics but we didn't feel fancy to stick these foam panels to the wall because it is not decided yet how long we stay in these rooms anyway. Fortunally there are freestanding Gobos or GoBetweens which didn't need much work to set up.




the gobos, ready to go to the studio

We orderd some Freeports XTs from Primacoustic and put two behind the monitor speakers and two to the opposite wall, hoping they cancel the resonances. But not before I did some impulse recordings of the strange room behaviour for later simulating it via convolution!
One major mistake is to make the room totally anechoic which would also lead to unatural and bad mixes so four Gobos should be enough. The result is rather impressive. They didn't eliminate the echos totally and the first days they emit some fumes from the adhesives but the recordings now sound a lot deeper and more defined, actually a bit louder although with less usage of compressors.
The impulse recording I use now as a nice and strange effect in a controlled manner.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Package from France


Recently I received a package from La Motte Servolex, France, with my equipment of the installation 'First Person Spam' which ran from October to December 2008 at an exhibition there. Its funny to see the whole setup compacted in a small parcel including the sensors, the interface and the small netbook which run the whole thing. I started a webpage describing the setup on this computer, in this case the Acer Aspire One 110L which was powerful enough to handle the virtual environment I created with Blender's game engine. It was still allright but in general the configuration on the solid state disc was a bit borked so I decided to reinstall everything and put eeebuntu instead of the Linpus default OS which came with the netbook and that was a bit limited. At the moment I am amazed what this small gadget can handle inclusive realtime synthesizer software like AMS, PD and Zynaddsubfx although not with low latency because its a default kernel without realtime patch, something I am going to install next...

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

developing for the Palm Pre

I am still searching for my dream smartphone which has to be feature rich, open source and hackable, touchscreen, syncs my data with software of my choice and being lightweight. I like the IPhone as an independent developer (and you can expect a game from me this year) but its far from being open. The Open Moko Freerunner is the closest match at the moment but sort of unfinished, it lacks some polish and sometimes I just want to use a cellphone to make a call. The Google Android Phone is Linux based like the Moko but closly tied to Googles services, and do we trust them :) ? At the moment the Mobile World Congress taking place in Barcelona and lot of manufacturers present new gadgets, a second Android Google phone is announced and looks promising.
On the CES in January Palm got some attention with their upcomming Pre smartphone. It looks very nice, is Linux based too but programming might be a bit strange. Applications are created with HTML, Javascript and some Ajaxglue when I understood right, hardware features like camera could be interfaced with that approach too. Thats why they dubbed their new operating system WebOs. But the question is if this powerful enough to code robust games and work for instance with OpenGL. And commercial, closed source software vendours prefer to obfuscate their code so competition can't look into it, how will it work on this phone, with scripts instead of compiled binarys?
Everything will be clearer when they release their SDK and today they started with the announcement of a forthcomming book they done together with O'Reilley and the release of the first chapter for free. Unfortuanally this chapter didn't reveal much as I hoped so we have to wait and I continue using my old Samsung D500...

Sunday, February 1, 2009

free open source software in Hamburg, Germany

Yesterday I went to a meeting of free open software groups here in Hamburg. Meetings like that happens not that often here and as expected the focus was on business solutions which bored me a bit. The most interesting group was Attraktor, a spin off the local arm of Chaos Computer Club, focus more on creative usage of technology. At the moment they searching for a room to open an hackspace which would be great to have finally here in Hamburg, there is no open medialab so far.