24-Apr-2006 (Mon)
Wherein the camera goes click and the computer goes pop.

Photos are up of the Drop Black Sky show. They put on a great show -- I like that band a lot. The juggler was very funny.

You may have noticed that the audio archives have only had one channel for the last few weeks. You would probably assume that's a simple matter of replacing a cable; turns out, not. As far as we can tell, the audio going into the computer is stereo, and somewhere in there, it drops (most of) the right channel. So, bad connector, right? No, we've tried four different sound cards, and checked the mixer settings. At this point it seems like the last time we (accidentally) upgraded ALSA, it introduced some software bug that is making one channel go away. I can't even fathom how such a bug could exist, but that's Linux for you.

I'm almost fed up enough to start replacing these various machines with Mac Minis. I'd still have to run much of the same flaky software on them, like Icecast, LAME, and (shudder) RealProducer, but at least I'd get to stop chasing the moving target of "your computer is our learning experience" Linux device drivers. But since Minis are basically laptops, they'd all immediately melt down in the 95°+ weather in the office, since we're still incapable of figuring out how to cool this room. And they're a lot harder and more expensive to repair than random anonymo-junk PCs.

Feel the love.

Oh, also: it's six months later and we still don't have a kitchen. And now our contractor and plumber have both gone on vacation. Have you ever seen water actually come out of the middle sink in the men's room? Me neither.

8 Responses:

  1. twid says:

    If by 95F you really meant 95F, you should be OK.

    Operating temperature: 50° to 95° F (10° to 35° C)

    http://www.apple.com/macmini/whatsinside.html

    My friend Damien has a company that does car mount stuff for the Mac Mini and other pc's. If you're going to mount the mini in a difficult spot, you might want one of these nice cheap Y cables:
    http://www.mp3car.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=108

    so you can power it off remotely but still remove it if needed.

  2. strspn says:

    What prevents installing an exhaust hose for a small air conditoner? You can run those as far as you want.

    • dustout says:

      I could have sworn that there used to be on of those A/C's in there. What happened to it?

      • jwz says:

        There is; it's dying now, but even when it was new, it didn't do much (maybe a 5° difference). We have its tube routed out the hole in the wall which feeds into the 4" gap between buildings, but that probably means that it's just venting heat back into the upstairs lounge -- which, itself, has very little airflow. So the heat isn't going anywhere. There's basically no airflow into or out of this room. There are some ceiling vents, but they don't appear to do anything at all, possibly because they're at the far end of the system, like a mile from the roof fan.

  3. waider says:

    I've seen the wacky "let's drop some volume" problem on my laptop (Ensoniq chipset, I think) whereby when you reboot the machine, alsa correctly loads and sets the sliders to the saved value, but one channel is somewhat muted. Twitching the slider for the quiet channel in any direction fixes the problem. I got annoyed at this for a while, then modified the startup script to twitch the volume up and down a single notch, and all was well once more.

  4. mark242 says:

    How processor intensive is RealProducer? You could probably get away with buying an old G4 tower for cheap and putting 10.4 on it. They aren't the fastest machines on the block-- think 700Mhz or so-- but they have really nice ventilation.

  5. fgmr says:

    You mean, out of the faucet part?