RPM Challenge

I registered for the RPM Challenge and I have been working on my music project called Nuclear Overhauser Effect (nOe) which I decided will be experimental and thus a learning tool to catalyze other musical endeavors. As of right now, nOe-i has 8 tracks with 2 more to record. I also want to doctor-up one or two of the existing tracks, but the RPM challenge deadline is Feb. 28, so I'm not sure if that will happen. The concept for this album is to use my iPod Touch to compose, record, and generate field-samples almost exclusively. So far I have been using the following equipment for this project:

iPod Touch-2G 8GB (firmware: v. 3.0)
Desktop PC (home-built) with Pentium IV 2.8 GHz, 2GB DDR RAM, Audigy Soundblaster Platinum with mounted breakout-box (operating system: Ubuntu-9.10 with linux-rt kernel v.


- iPod -
Voice Recorder
Xewton Music Studio
Flare (virtual turn-table)
Noise.io Pro
Guitar Pro


Now with just a little left to do and possibly not enough time to do it, I want to document a few ideas to add to the project:

- add theremin/scratch? to nOe-i06
- add noise.io synth/field-samples? to nOe-i09
- use field-samples for nOe-i10
- find noise cancellation software (audacity plugin?) for nOe-i08
- need artwork and liner-notes


Xewton Music Studio for iPod Touch

Xewton Music Studio (XMS) is an amazingly powerful MIDI sequencer with a complete set of instrument samples for the Apple iPod Touch or iPhone. Despite several limitations, this app is quite powerful, very intuitive and loads of fun to use. It is well worth the current $15 list price. I am currently working on my first nOe album using this software almost exclusively for composition. It exports compositions as .wav files and has built in server capabilities which enables you to access the files from you desktop/laptop with a web-browser and download them.

Ubuntu Studio 9.10

Shortly after I burned my first ISO of PCLinuxOS, I configured my first serious desktop with a dual boot of Ubuntu Studio 8.04 and XP. As I recall I had many growing pains configuring my audio with UbuStu, however, at some point I was successful and was able to recompose a song I wrote in high-school using Rosegarden.

At some point, I decided to upgrade to UbuStu-9.04 as I had been enjoying the usability of Ubuntu-9.04 (Jaunty) and 9.10 (Karmic) at school. Sadly, I had some major issues with this install that forced me to move to Ubuntu-9.10. I knew I would probably try UbuStu-9.10 when it was released with the hope that the earlier incompatibility would be corrected. It seemed to work okay, however I could not get it to work with my Ralink Wirless card. Also, I was frustrated that the UbuStu developers didn't include some of the slick upgrades (namely the Ubuntu Software Center) that is steadily improving the usability of Ubuntu. I had no way of accessing the web without "ruining my life" so I moved on to 9.10 and decided to go on a significant "shopping spree." I installed loads of science, education and music apps from the Software Center, as well as the kernel-rt from synaptic.

The most significant challenge was getting the JACK audio server to run and I eventually found that I had to add my user to the "audio" and "pulse" groups under System -> Administration -> Users and Groups. The follwing URLs were helpful for me:


and most significantly:

I still get the following error from Rosegarden however:

System timer resolution is too low
Rosegarden was unable to find a high-resolution timing source for MIDI performance.
You may be able to solve this problem by loading the RTC timer kernel module. To do this, try running sudo modprobe snd-rtctimer in a terminal window and then restarting Rosegarden.
Alternatively, check whether your Linux distributor provides a multimedia-optimized kernel. See http://rosegarden.wiki.sourceforge.net/Low+latency+kernels for notes about this.


Anyone ever heard of an online auction website?

I finally sold some stuff on EBay. I have thought about unloading various collectibles, refuse-ables, doodads/trinkets/chotchkies, and "what-have-yous" for quite some time, and always thought "hey, what about EBay?" Well the time has come to overcome my fears and give it a shot. So far, not too shabby. However, I definitely see how small-fry sellers like myself could get burned. It is easy to be bamboozled.

To date, I have sold just a few items:

3 cell phones, and a graphics card.

And have earned a grand total of $180 which has nicely offset my recent purchase of a netbook for my wife (asus eee). She loves it, and I must say, I am quite impressed with how much power can come in a little package for pretty cheap ($250).

I'm sure I'll have Ebay updates in the near future!

Puplets: NOP, TEENPup, UPup

Since my review of "Pup-It-Up" Puppy Linux Music Lab, I have tested a number of other puplets. I will give my best recollection and overall impressions of each.

Probably my favorite puplet for general use would be Nearly Office Pup (NOP). Although I find it runs a little slower on my hp pavilion ze5600 laptop, that is probably due to a number of useful changes to the base Puppy, specifically xfce as a window manager and Opera for the browser. However, it is these two additions that make it a slick, user friendly system. Once adding the openoffice.sfs to the boot-up options, NOP is a clear winner for a desktop environment that even Grandma could use.

My second favorite puplet as an all-purpose desktop would be TeenPup-legacy2009. Although about as "fat" as they come, this distro has a tremendous amount of applications with a "windows-like" feel and usability. I would keep it off of most old laptops, but it is a great choice to get the most out of an older desktop.

Perhaps the most cutting edge of the puplets is UPup which is the current "pet" project of Barry Kauler (Puppy Linux originator). It is listed as "experimental" and in fact I remember finding some basic applications were broken. Simply put, UPup is a Puppy platform which readily installs debian (.deb) packages from Ubuntu repos. This makes it one of the most extensible, flexible of any puplets for a linux newbie like myself. My guess is this will be the future of Puppy Linux.