Update – Site Changes

Hello All,

I’ve been thinking for a while on what to do with my 2 domain names and I’ve come to a decision.  deadbeatguitarist.com will now be exclusively for music and beer related topics and all technology related topics will move to stevebaer.com. My reasoning for this is twofold.

  1. It opens up deadbeatguitarist.com to people who might have stopped listening or reading due to the Linux content.
  2. It builds Google juice and makes me more visible on stevebaer.com as a technologist and acts a bit like a resume.

I also am going to be pragmatic and lose the ogg only feed which limits my audience to just fellow freedom loving geeks. At this point I’m not certain I will continue the mugcast but if I do I’d like to offer ogg and mp3 feeds.  This will likely cause me to lose my listing on oggcastplanet.org which makes me a bit sad but I feel strongly enough to do it anyways. The mugcast as we know it will change. Thanks for your patronage if you were a mugcast listener. Thank you for your support up until now.  New format coming soon.

Deadbeat Guitarist Mugcast #11 – Testing Debian and the discomfort of Windows lessened

Deadbeat Guitarist Mugcast #11 – Testing Debian and the discomfort of Windows lessened

Deadbeat Guitarist Mugcast #11 – Testing Debian and the pain of a windows box lessened.


Debian Stable vs Debian Testing Blog post

WordPress – and the Jetpack Plugin pack – is the special goodness.

Getting comfortable on Windows by bringing the Gnu/Linux feel

  1. Gnuwin32 tools (tar, diff, ls, du, df, grep etc).
  2. A proper terminal – brings the coolness of transparency , tabs etc… checkout the console project.  ctrl-f1 creates a tab, ctrl-1,ctrl-2 switches to it.
  3. Multiple Desktop – I really miss this under Windows and you can get them by installing VirtuaWin – ctrl-alt-left arrow or right arrow or up or down switches to that virtual desktop,  alt-windowkey left arrow or right arrow or up or down arrow moves a window from 1 virtual desktop to the one you specifcy with arrow key.


Check out – Andy Rehfeldt on his personal site or his youtube channel:  Andy takes popular songs, builds around the original vocal only and re-tracks all the instruments either jazz, metal or funk and hilarity ensues.

Dougie Dog Butterscotch Rootbeer – Tasty indeed.

A week in Debian Stable leads me back to Debian Testing

Let me just put this out there, I really wanted to like Debian stable. Lord knows I wanted to curtail my desire for new software and just enjoy a nice stable box. But a week in Debian stable proved to be less than stable and I found myself reaching for the /etc/apt/sources.list file and replacing the stable lines with testing.

Some of the issues that spurred this move were VLC media player crashing out completely when loading up the icecast directory listings, and pidgin locking randomly. I guess the responsible thing to do would have been to report these bugs and await a fix, but I was fairly confident these issues were resolved in more current versions of the software and after upgrading to testing this has indeed proven to be true.

Before closing I want to make the following observations:

  • Stable means mostly predictable rather than free of bugs.
  • The Net-Install rocks – setting up the system from the ground up the way you want it is very cool.
  • The debian wiki is awesome – full of great info.
  • XFCE and Gnome for me are more usable than KDE in terms of workflow.
  • If you encounter an issue of not being able to mount sd cards after installing from an sd card – see below for solve.

su -c ‘vim /etc/fstab’
This line below prevented me from mounting sd cards. no cdrom on netbook, commented it out and now everything detects fine.
#/dev/sdb1 /media/cdrom0 udf,iso9660 user,noauto 0 0

So a week in Debian stable leads me back to Debian testing. It wasn’t the end I expected when I embarked on this journey, but I guess moving out to a smaller town hasn’t completely changed my computing decisions. 🙂

Back in Slacktion on the Netbook and it feels so right.

Well, I’ve been away from the Slack for a while now but a slacker can only stray so far from his roots before he needs to slack again.

Slackware 13.37 is now out and ready for the installing. Here’s a quick rundown of my recent experience installing and setting up the latest Slackware Linux.

I went hunting for my IDE to USB cable and a DVD drive and got the 32 bit torrent ISO image downloading, off to bed.

Next day: Hooked everything up to the netbook, burned the ISO, inserted the burned DVD, booted and ran the installer. Ah – the familiar ncurses interface is still here, surprised – nope, put off? Not really.

Installation is finished… Awesome, KDE runs alright but wait – what gives, no wifi??

Ok, I got sbopkg rockin’ and grabbed the broadcom-sta package.. Also installed wicd (manage wifi through gui) from /extra. Hmm still no wifi – ahhh, google informs me I have to name the interface to eth1 in the wicd gui config -see screenie below:

Ok got the wifi rockin’ but I was finding it annoying to wait for KDE – it’s not that KDE is slow per se, its that on this hardware HP Mininote (earlier atom processor and 1gb ram) its a tad overkill. What to do what to do, let’s drop it down to fluxbox.


I found a nice slackware wallpaper, used sbopkg to install conky and …. now we’re talkin’ nice minmal desktop – black background, conky…  Nerds paradise.

What’s missing, AHH! keyboard shortcuts to my most used apps to limit the need for mousing – yup yup, fluxbox makes it easy – I edit the .~/.fluxbox/keys file and put in some entries to run pidgin, wicd-gtk, qtwitter, konsole,…


As an aside the fluxbox wiki makes it perfectly clear how to edit the keys file – very straight forward and kudos to them for it.

I also edited the ~/.fluxbox/startup file to auto start frequently used apps and tray icons (volume control etc) see below:

Alright now we are movin’, got a nice desktop environment that’s fast and under my control. What’s next – Install some more apps – qtractor, ardour, qjackctl, audio plugins, auteur, kdenlive – audio and video tools, Sweet. I’m feeling right at home.


So – to those that love Slackware, enjoy the new release. To those that haven’t tried Slackware, you might want to give it a look. And, to those that have been away for a while – Slackware is just as charming as it ever was – with slackpkg to maintain security updates and patches, and sbopkg to manage the extras that don’t come with slackware, including queue files to meet all the dependencies, you can get a very complete experience under Slackware – in fact there’s never been a better time to be a slacker I’d venture to say. Get your download started – pour yourself a beer, and get ready to slack.

DBGM #10 – Chimay Blue + Dolphin Mini

DBGM #10 – Chimay Blue + Dolphin Mini

Click Here for Ogg-Cast (Audio)
Chimay Peres Trappistes
Direct link to the beer itself

Beer Advocate:
Beer advocate findings on the beer

Personal findings:
Colour: Dark Brown
Aroma: Belgian yeast mild spice and fruit flavour
Summary: A very carbonated strong Belgian ale – not as sweet or flavorful as some of its peers (gulden draak and mardesous) but its nice in that regard. A pleasant beer to pair with cheeses. A beer that’s always good to have in the fridge.

Gratuitous beer shot:

Chimay Blue

Chimay Blue

Android Pick: Dolphin Mini (web browser)

DBGM #09 – Surgenor Red House Ale, Williams Bros Brewing, KXStudio, Traverso, Protrekkr, Chordbot, Winamp.

DBGM #09 – Surgenor Red House Ale, Chordbot, Beer for Dogs!

Click Here for Ogg-Cast (Audio)

Surgenor Red House Ale compliments of Paul and Penny Vroom of Aquatec Seafoods in Comox BC.

Surgenor Brewing Company
Direct link to the beer itself

Beer Advocate:
Beer advocate findings on the beer

Personal findings:
Colour: Dark amber
Aroma: Toasty malty – minimal hops
Summary: The pour yields a good amount of head that discipates quickly. Nice roasty malt flavour with minimal presence of hops and an easy drinking level of carbonation.
Letter grade: B+ Tasty indeed.

Gratuitous beer shot:

Sergenor Red House Ale

Sergenor Red House Ale

BEER #2:
Freenode IRC user rowinggolfer sent in this fantastic review of a ginger beer made by williambros brewing. rowinggolfer is an active member of the linux and free and open source software world including some podcasts and producing dental software called openmolar.

BEER UPDATE: Call out for beer reviews from the community!

Beer for Dogs?? You bet – irc user Anchakor provides us with this comedic link of the cast.

KXStudio adds TAL VST plugins – tested the reverb – sounded and looked good.

Traverso DAW – coming along, interesting keyboard shortcuts

For those interested in a free and open source Tracker style music app that runs on Windows, Linux, Amiga OS4, AROS and Mac OSX,
check out Protrekkr. It’s based off of the same original codebase Renoise was based on – which is from a app called NoiseTrekker.
To get it running under KXStudio Linux 10.04:
1. Install libjackasyn0
2. Download and unzip source unzip modules.zip file into modules dir
3. Open a terminal window in that location and issue: jacklaunch ./ptk_linux
4. Have fun. 🙂

Android pick: Comes from [lsd] in #opensourcemusicians Chordbot. Chordbot is a slick application that lets you build chord progressions and decide on styles and time signatures to play it back

Android pick: Winamp (beta) media player. Yes, the much loved player on Windows that many of us got familiar with back on Windows 98 and was the defacto player for many years is now on Android. Unlike the current Windows version, the Android version is very fast. Although it’s a ‘beta’ app, it has yet to crash on me.

DBGM #08 – St Peter’s Honey Porter, Beer Wars, Air Guitar Nation, Qtractor.

DBGM #08 – St Peter’s Honey Porter, Beer Wars, Air Guitar Nation, Qtractor.

Click Here for Ogg-Cast (Audio)

St Peter’s Brewery

Beer Advocate:
Beer advocate findings on the beer

Personal findings:
Colour: Dark brown – bordering black
Aroma: Woah! That’s different. Floral, sweet, perfumy.
Summary: Wow – that is so different… Lavender? Rose Pedal? Some kind of floral action going on here. Comes in a cool and funky bottle, but don’t let this fool you – the styling is all upscale and so are the ingredients but woah what a weird tasting beer – and not in a good way.
Letter grade: C – This is weird stuff.

Gratuitous beer shot:

St Peter’s Honey Porter

St Peter’s Honey Porter

Movie: Beer Wars (2009) Documentary
Cool documentary on the craft brewers movement and the (at the time) big 3 American brewing companies trying to squash it. Good film – very upsetting to see yet again how large corporations are evil but you can’t keep a good craft brewer down – thankfully.

Movie: Air Guitar Nation:
Make Air not War – Follow American Air Guitar champions to the Finnish world finals. Great movie – exciting and fun – check it out. I found myself surprised by how much performance art their is in Air Guitar.

Qtractor the other big Linux daw.. . Cool beans – this episode is done in it. Some features I like are the ability to track in ogg or flac codecs as opposed to straight wav file – audio purists be damned. This allows you to save hard disk space if you aren’t tracking on very good equipment. Another cool feature is the ability to archive a session to a zip file from within Qtractor itself. It creates a qtz file which has all the raw audio files and the xml file of changes to them. This feature is in the current svn repository as of November 7/2010. The main use case for this feature is that it allows you to move an entire session from 1 computer to another with ease.

For tutorials on using Qtractor, check this out:

Android Pick : Jamendo streaming music app. Check out the top 100 songs on Jamendo – some great material in there.

KXStudio Wifi Reliability Tip

Hello all,

It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of the linux audio distribution called KXStudio and that I think it’s where the future of Linux Audio should be heading. The distro while pretty solid does have a few slight annoyances – namely – I had breakage occur fairly regularly with my Wifi on my HP Mininote 110 netbook. I spoke to Falktx about this and he gave me the following suggestion and it seems to have resolved my networking issues.

Open a terminal window and key in the following and press Enter afterwards:

sudo apt-get install plasma-widget-networkmanagement

You will notice it removes the kde network manager and uses this widget in its place. Log out and log back into KXStudio and you will then be able to add a widget to your taskbar called NetworkManager.

Presto – wifi now is reliable again and the widget looks cooler anyways 😉

Addendum: If that isn’t working out for you, as of Nov. 4th /2010 updates you can install wicd instead : sudo apt-get install wicd , after that is finished, issue sudo apt-get remove network-manager network-manager-kde plasma-widget-networkmanagement … reboot and wicd should autolaunch on startup.

DBGM Episode #03 – Android – Network Discovery. Beer Reviews: HSB Heffy and Driftwood Ale

Deadbeat Guitarist Monologues Episode #03 – Android App – Network Discovery. Beer Reviews: Howe Sound Brewing – King Heffy and Driftwood Brewing – Driftwood Ale.

Click here for Podcast Audio


Android App:
Network Discovery

Beer #1:
Howe Sound Brewing – King Heffy
Brewery web site: http://www.howesound.com

Unfiltered – As far as Hefeweizen goes – you’d be hard pressed to find a better one than this. BC Craft Brewed in Squamish.

Howe Sound Brewing - King Heffy

Howe Sound Brewing - King Heffy

Beer #2:
Driftwood Brewing – Driftwood Ale
Brewery web site: http://driftwoodbeer.com/

Pours a lager-ish color, seems a cross between a pale ale and an IPA with the citrus aroma and extra hops. Decent beer – doesn’t take a lot of chances but a solid outing.

Driftwood Brewing - Driftwood Ale

Driftwood Brewing - Driftwood Ale