Archive for September, 2006|Monthly archive page

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?