Summer’s over

Torrential downpours for most of a week. Sleeping with the windows closed. Wearing a jacket when going out. Yep – summer’s over.

On the positive side of things, this means I’ll be able to sleep better – I never sleep well when it’s too hot. But it’s great to be out in the sun, to laze around on the beach, enjoy long days with sunlight still there even when I leave work at 8pm.

So (in reaction?) I’m now planning in a little more detail a trip back home for Christmas – getting two summers a year is great! I’m hoping to end that with a visit to Sydney to go to LCA. I wrote up a presentation proposal on friday and submitted that. Hopefully it’ll be accepted. Regardless, I’m looking forward to seeing family & friends.


Sound on Linux: DMix must die!

I was happily listening away to my music today, when I noticed some nasty distortion listening to a particular track. Left channel, moderately subtle, but more than enough to annoy me. As things turned out, perhaps this is related to a recent upgrade to Edgy, which is why I hadn’t had this problem previously.
I thought it was just a flaky connection in my headphones (a problem they’ve been somewhat plagued with), so spent some time cleaning them, fiddling with the connection, and so on… no improvement, though some placebo-effect meant that I temporarily thought I’d fixed the problem.

Fast-forward to half an hour later, and I’ve decided that it really is still there, and I can’t deal with this, it’s annoying me too much. Borrowed Andy’s headphones… no improvement! So it’s not the headphones after all… At this point I’m tempted to blame GStreamer – not that it’s bad these days, but I’m familiar enough with it that at least it’s something I can fix… So, I find a CD, rip a track, and start listening with ‘aplay’ – low-level, simple, etc. Still there. GStreamer’s in the clear.

What’s left? Hrmm… “aplay -D hw:0 file.wav”… perfect playback! DMix strikes again! Well, after the ESD fiascos played out over several years, I swore I’d never trust another sound-server. DMix seemed to be good enough, and integrated enough, to be worthwhile. It didn’t feel like a sound server. So I broke my promise to myself, and returned to sound-server-land. Things seemed better for a while. Until today. I HATEĀ  YOU, DMIX! Some part of me thinks that going back to OSS would be a terrible idea after all the effort that’s gone into ALSA, DMix, etc. But the rest of me says “I’d really love to listen to my music again”…

Lennart: I want to believe in PulseAudio, really I do! But it’s a sound server! All they do is come up behind me and stab me in the back. Can you promise me my life will really, truly, be better if I start using it? REALLY?



One year at Fluendo – an upbeat view

As of last week, it’s been a year since I started at Fluendo – a milestone that passed me by without noticing at the time (I was busy with Mum and Ruth visiting Barcelona, so I wasn’t really thinking about that sort of thing). I guess it’s time for a bit of reflection!

It’s been an interesting year – an incredibly steep learning curve to begin with, so I felt stressed and unproductive for a good while, while I was learning my way around GStreamer, Flumotion, and Python – but I’ve felt like a real, productive member of a team of interesting people for quite a while now.

I’m also pretty excited about where people are using GStreamer, and what they’re using it for, now – I’d followed the project from a distance for a long time, because it always looked like the right approach, but never quite got around to hacking on it until I started here. And now it’s finally good enough that we can do all sorts of really cool things. The Jokosher guys just got their first release out – go and play with it. It’s nice to see people who actually care about UI writing fun software. It’s also a great feeling to have worked on something that lots of people are using – from GNOME on the desktop, to the N770, and lots more!

We’re also doing some fun stuff with Flumotion – our Streaming Platform is almost ready for live deployment. It’s been a lot of hard work to get it all running, but they’re interesting problems that need a surprising amount of thought. On the downside, this is mostly hacking on proprietary software (addons to the free version of Flumotion), but we’ve rolled some of the useful changes back into the free version for people to play with.

In other news, I’m headed off to Shanghai in a couple of weeks for work. I’ve never been to China, so it should be interesting. Running some training courses for a client, and spreading the GStreamer love some more. I’ve loved travelling (apart from the long-distance flights – ugh) for as long as I can remember, so getting to visit a place I’ve never been to is something that usually gets me pretty excited.

So yeah – all up, I’m pretty happy with working here, though I miss friends and family back home. Fun times ahead too, I hope!

Back to blogging…

It’s been about 4 years since my last blog entry – a long time, and the “blogging” landscape has changed a lot in that time. I stopped blogging for a variety of reasons, but it’s time to give it another try – and now here I am!

So join me, as I ramble along whatever paths I decide to talk about here. Read, comment, discuss, and enjoy. Perhaps I’ll even have something interesting to say one day!

Since I last wrote, I’ve had some pretty substantial changes in my life. Most notably, I’m no longer a student (graduated at the end of 2002 – wow, has it really been 3 1/2 years?), and last year I moved from Melbourne to, roughly speaking, the other end of the earth – Barcelona! I’m also, of course, older – I can only hope that I’m a little wiser to go along with that.

Well, that’s my little introduction. In the interests of keeping things coherent, I’m going to leave it here – one topic per blog entry!