Monday, January 29, 2007

Yeah, well it looks easy after you do it 10,000 times!

For those of you who are reasonably good at something, be it music or dancing or juggling etc. and been infuriated by having hours upon days upon years of practice and experience dismissed by other people with a shrug and a "Wow, I wish I were as talented as you." it turns out you may both be right.

David Shenk is tracking the writing of his new book The Genius In All of Us: Nature, Nurture and the New Science of Talent and Giftedness in his blog. This particular post has a collection of articles and research concerning musical "talent" in people throughout their lives. There are papers about infants showing recognition of melody and song in other people as early as a year but that no amount of musical ability will last past the age of 7 without some sort of training and encouragement.

Lots of interesting research into the discussion between nature and nurture of "talented" people.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The stupidest thing I've ever heard

Arlen Specter (R-PA) was questioning Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez recently and got to asking him about the restriction of habeas corpus by the Bush administration. Habeas is basically the right of prisoners to challenge their incarceration before a court to prevent unlawful imprisonment. It dates back to the Magna Carta and up until recently was a right guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States. This has been the central debate surrounding the Guantanamo Bay detainees and comes up repeatedly whenever Gonzalez testifies before congress.

This one was a beauty though. Specter is asking Gonzalez how the Bush administration can restrict this right when Gonzalez drops the bomb on Specter. Are you ready for this? You might want to sit down. It makes my brain hurt?

There is some mundane stuff at the beginning, the fireworks start around 6:20.

Gonzalez claims that the Constitution doesn't guarantee the right to habeas corpus, it just ... I can't even type this with a straight face... prevents the government from restricting. Do you see the wrinkle there? It doesn't say you have it, it just says you can't take it away. So if they never had it then Bush et al aren't taking it away. And Bob is your uncle while the Constitution staggers back into its cave after another savage beating. Unreal.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Presonus Firepod, Linux, ieee1394, jackd and you

Upon the arrival of my Presonus Firepod I became the 5th coolest member of my band which has only 4 members. However, all of my excitement at giving the Firepod a whirl was quickly doused by its utter failure in communicating with my Linux desktop. Why not use the your Macbook Pro instead, you ask? Because Presonus shipped the Firepod with verion 1.07 of Cubase LE which doesn't install on OS X 10.4 or greater. Awesome. So Presonus is, I $#!+ you not, snail mailing me an updated CD of Cubase LE 1.08 with a patched Mac installer. Mailing a CD. Welcome to 1998.

So that leaves me with hardware that works with the Mac with no way of interacting with it, and software that works on Linux but I can't see the hardware.

Will our hero ever figure out how to get sound to come out of the Firepod? Which will work first, the Mac with the snail mail CD patch, or Linux with the strange firewire driver problem? Will any of this happen before our hero's daughter wakes up from her nap? Stay tuned...

First off, this Pau Arumi's blog post got me most of the way there. Passed the permission problems and such. Thanks Pau. But then I ran into this fun error message.

JACK compiled with System V SHM support.
loading driver ..
Freebob using Firewire port 0, node -1
oot node has no children!
Root node has no children!
FreeBoB ERR: FREEBOB: Error creating virtual device
cannot load driver module freebob
Segmentation fault

Awesome. Stupid root node. The solution to this little gem, after much digging and pestering of nice people on development mailers, was thus.

This is the message that the jack server will output when you attempt to start it with the freebob as the driver and there is no firewire audio hardware connected to your system. But my Firepod was connected to the system, damn it! How stupid do you think I am?... don't say it.

As it turns out my Firepod was connected to the firewire bus on port 1 instead of port 0 and if you don't tell it to do otherwise, the freebob driver will look for hardware on port 0 and die if it doesn't find anything.

So instead of starting jackd like this:

jackd -dfreebob

you have to start it like this:

jackd -dfreebob -dhw:1

Now this is just for my setup. You're Firepod may be connected to port 0 in which case you probably wouldn't have had this problem in the first place. Hope that helps. I'm off to do some recording.

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