Loudness and mindless mastering ruins today’s music

loudnessIt hasn’t been that so long time ago when I first noticed that some weird crackling noises were coming out of my headphones.
Surprisingly it weren’t the phones itself but rather the music which is just awfully mastered – just for convenient listening ‚experience’/“they won’t notice it anyway“. Just have a look at the sound curves and those little red rectangles drawn next to the ‚L’/’R‘ letters:
They indicate that the sound was made louder than 0.0 db – which is the maximum threshold for sound that can be played. But now the artist (probably) ignored this given limitation and did neither silence nor compress his raw samples so it might fit into the range of ~-60 to 0.0 db.

How should it look like?
less-loudnessDespite it’s still reaching the 0.0 db threshold occassionally, the curve and thus the music is generally less loudened – so you immediately won’t get those crackling artifacts when trying to enjoy the music!

Use Optirun/Primusrun in Steam on Linux

Until now, I always wondered how to launch games with my dedicated nVidia graphics chip for Steam games on Linux.
Now I found a solution: Just put

primusrun %command%

into the extended start parameters for a game in your Steam library.

Primusrun has to be taken due to some 32-bitness of the respective games;
I furthermore tried running games via optirun which resulted in some weird and misleading error messages (e.g. that glGetError couldn’t be found which obviously can’t be true).

Moving Shadow.svg

Since this classy logo of the famous Drum and Bass label should be carried into modern times, I tried my best to vectorize the original ‚moving shadow':

Licensed under CC-BY-SA. No copyright infringement intended!

How to reduce auto-completion popup delay in NetBeans 7

I’m not an Eclipse person, as I could finally notice – I simply can’t get beyond eclipse’s projecting and addin system..I’m probably too stupid, stubborn or something like that, but well, I’m happy exclusively with NetBeans.
Now as I recently got to use it again for a new university project, I noticed that the auto-completion speed wasn’t so perfect.. Essentially, everything required to minimize that artificial delay between a key type and the completion list popup is to put a
<entry name="completion-auto-popup-delay" value="0" />
between the <editor-preferences> tags in the ~/.netbeans/7.3.1/config/Editors/Preferences/org-netbeans-modules-editor-settings-CustomPreferences.xml file

Finally got some motivation for a new project!

An SDL2-binding for the Xwt framework while using OpenGL for drawing 2D UI components. Yes, it is theoretically redundant work as there are good UI toolkits out there, also for Mono/.Net, but well..I’m still young, I’ve got the time for doing it :)

Link to the project repository.

During the last couple of days I could even figure out an internal SDL bug! The event loop and basic lw-level component adaption runs nicely – more details will follow soon!

Locking screen slightly senseless on Linux?

At home, it’s not really happening that often but in public areas like at university: Being urged to leave the laptop unattended. First solution that might jumps into one’s head: Locking the screen to avoid others to mistreat your personal workspace and hack all your account information and so on.

This might be easy to do on Linux as well as on other operating systems (simply via hitting Ctrl+Alt+Del or running xlock4 in a terminal) – but you still can directly bypass the dark screen via accessing the kernel console via Ctrl+Alt+F1 (and/or other F-keys)!

Gotta research a little more on that!

Edit: Okay, though one might be able to switch to an other console instance, it’s needed to log in immediately after doing this! So yeah, it’s not a security issue after all, I just had the feeling it was like so..

Wow! Linux does Printing & Scanning documents it with absolutely no PITA!

I just installed Manjaro on my little Netbook which I’m quite only using for document printing & scanning purposes. And guess what: Setting up the printer driver using CUPS and installing the scanner directly in SANE only took a couple of minutes – doing so on Windows was a real PITA instead:
Searching the right driver from the manufacturer’s website, noticing that there was no x64 driver for Win7, reinstalling Windows just to finally have it available..and on Linux, all the drivers were there already. Still can’t believe it. It’s awesome! 😀

Oh and something beyond Windows’s „default“ capabilities: There’s a complete OCR functionality available in SANE – you just have got to install a ~2 MB large package called gocr!

Permanently enable HTML5 „Beta Test“ on youtube in Chrome/Chromium

I know it was quite a while ago when youtube established a feature that allows users not to need Flash anymore but just raw HTML5 video functionality to view videos – but now that I noticed this tremendous RAM usage again, I began thinking about enabling it again.

Done easily, and it works nicely – even on Linux. Until the browser shut down and removed all the cookies. Meh. But well, Google is your friend, innit?
I stumbled upon this user script for Chromium which puts in a specific cookie for YouTube to tell it that I want to have html5 by default. Copy-paste the code into a file whose name ends with „.user.js“, open the Extensions page, drag&drop the file into the Extensions tab – and that’s it.

One further way to live without Flash :-)

How to: Convert aac/mp3 to mp4/m4a audio format on Linux

Now that I recorded a bunch of .aac files I have to make them compatible to the audio codecs installed on my car radio – which is mp3/wma and aac, whereas the latter does somehow not mean files which are called ‚.aac‘ but ‚.m4a’! I have no choice – I didn’t invent it 😛

Anyway, a first halfway working approach to do this is to convert the input files to ‚.wav‘ files, store them in the RAM for fast enough performance, and convert them to the target format using NeroAacEnc (also available in the AUR) – it’s said by community members that this is the best codec available..for free!
Oh, ffmpeg is required as well, not to forget to mention this one :)

# Specify input format - can be everything that ffmpeg supports!
rm ${tmp}

for a in *$fmt; do
# decode to .wav and encode to .m4a
   ffmpeg -i "$a" ${tmp} && neroAacEnc -q 0.5 -if "${tmp}" -of "`basename \"$a\" .${fmt}`.m4a"
# remove temp file
   rm ${tmp}
# remove original file
   rm "$a"

Perhaps this should be done on multiple cores the next time. Gotta see how it’s done.

How to rip/record internet radio streams on Linux

Though I surpassed my first couple of months on Linux with just listening to internet radio stations without actually recording them I do want to record them now – just for having a bunch of tracks on my car radio as well:

  1. Install streamripper (build from source, from the AUR or from somewhere else)
  2. Download & Install Streamtastic – or an other streamripper front-end
  3. Start Streamtastic via Java
  4. Get started and let it record everything for you

Streamtastic internet radio ripping software