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.
We seem to have solved the "missing right channel" problem. It was, in fact, a software problem. We were running Fedora 4, and when we installed the latest patches on March 31, that's when the right channel vanished. We tried downgrading to the version of the kernel and ALSA as of three months ago, and that didn't fix it. But, Jonathan took all the sound cards home and tried them in his machine, and they all worked fine there. He was running Fedora 5. So we upgraded to that, and the problem went away.
That's right: upgrading to the latest FC4: breaks the world. Giving up on FC4 and going to FC5: un-breaks it. Nicely done, guys.
(By the way, this means it was almost three weeks before anyone mailed me to let me know that the archives were screwed up. Ten of the archives got screwed like this before I even knew to start looking into it...)
Last night was the first unattended archive after we thought we fixed it, so this morning I gave it a listen, and -- hooray! -- it's stereo again. Then I skipped forward a bit, and was almost deafened by a squealing test tone. It seems that some time around 1:08 AM, the webcast abruptly turns to a high pitched shriek and stays that way for three hours.
I'm thinking of the immortal words of Socrates who said, "OMG WTF?"
For years I've had it drummed into my head that you always have to keep your systems patched, if you aren't running the latest security fixes, the script kiddies will eat you alive, running a six month old OS is like leaving your front door wide open, blah blah blah. Well you know what? Fuck that noise. I'm done upgrading anything ever. The next time I get this shit into a state that seems even remotely stable, I'm never touching it again. If we get hacked, oh well. I have backups. It has got to be less work to recover from than constantly dealing with this kind of nonsense.
Photos are up of The Spores at Pop Roxx on Saturday. Oh man, they were awesome! Do check them out if you have a chance. Their act also included a puppet show. Which, you know, could easily have gone very wrong, but it didn't.
The webcast is still going all "test tone" on us, and I haven't the slightest idea why. It went nuts at just after 1AM yesterday, and just after midnight tonight. At first I thought it might be that LAME (the MP3 encoder) got "upgraded" and broken, but no: turns out it didn't get upgraded at all; we're still running the same binary of it that has been working fine for two years.
I'm pretty much out of ideas at this point, beyond "install a completely different operating system and hope for the best." Though "sell all the computers and just say fuck it" is looking more attractive every day.