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.

Les Finnigan’s 13th Annual West Coast Guitar Night at the Cultch

It’s 1:00am, I’ve armed myself with a hot plate of shepherd’s pie and a pint of Irish lager. An odd sort of meal to have at this time of night I’m sure, but in my defense it was in the fridge, it’s fall, and I greatly needed the sustenance after forgoing a proper meal to secure a ticket to Vancouver’s premier showcase of talented acoustic guitarists – West Coast Guitar Night.

West Coast Guitar Night is an annual event, the brainchild of innovative Vancouver based acoustic guitarist Les Finnigan. If you haven’t attended and you appreciate solo guitar work, at the risk of not getting a ticket next year, I’m still encouraging you to go to this great event. This West Coast Guitar night like many before it was hosted at the Vancouver East Cultural Center (The Cultch) a great venue for an intimate performance. What a treat it was to be in the balcony as the lighting dimmed and the first ethereal notes began to fill the theatre.  Here is how the evening went down.

13th Annual West Coast Guitar Night Programme (art by Valeria)

13th Annual West Coast Guitar Night Programme (art by Valeria)


The first guitarist to take the stage after Les’s warm welcome was Kent Hillman – Kent played a mix of jazz standards on nylon string guitar in his own unique style. A very fine introduction to the evening.

Next up was Hanh Nguyen who played beautiful classical guitar that nearly brought me to tears. Hanh dedicated her performance to her mother who was a day away from celebrating her 86th birthday. I briefly chatted with Hanh after the show and learned she also did stained glass art and that one of her pieces was on display at the Lees olde fashioned chocolate shop which I used to stop in on occasionally for their delicious chocolate mint bars.

The last performer leading up to the intermission was Les Finnigan. I served coffee to Les for a few years and got to know him and his lovely wife Valeria. I’m a big fan of Les’s work – so much so I asked him to play at my wedding. Even though I know him I’m still a little starstruck talking to him after a performance. Les delivered a great set of his more  rhythmical pieces.  Les also announced he has been hard at work notating his compositions and many of them are now available for purchase.  So if you’ve been puzzled using only your ears – here’s the help you need – I’ve seen him play up close and I still definitely need the sheet music!

After the intermission, Edgar Avelino took the stage. Edgar is a man who professed to be working on album #0. I really enjoyed how he spoke of song history and his rendition of a composition from the Philippines a place where he spend his much of his childhood. Although not a ‘working’ musician he certainly has dedicated much of his time to attain the skill of one.

Simon Fox took the stage next. I was first made aware of Simon’s excellent guitar works by podcaster friend Rich Wielgosz (Bloodthirsty Vegetarians) and when I saw that Simon had relocated to Vancouver from Australia, I was excited to get a chance to see him play live. Simon’s effortless work on the fretboard and his gentle comedy won me over instantly. I’m not the type of person to hang out after the gig and chat with the performers – I’m usually to shy for that sort of thing but Rich said he’d kick my ass if I didn’t get a picture for him with Simon in it, I had to man up. I told this to Simon who immediately smiled at the mention of Rich and his podcast and obliged for the photo and left me with his 3 cd set which provided excellent company for my 1 hour drive back home. Look for review of these CD’s in a future post.

Finally, ending off the night was the double axe attack of flamenco/jazz/metal guitarists John Gilliat & Benjamin Woods. Their percussive rasgueados and lightning fast runs up and down the neck were impressive. I’d also nominate them for most comedic song choice of the evening by covering Yngwie Malmsteen’s I am a Viking.

And so after the hall emptied and the chatter with the artists came to a close, it was time to head for home. I hopped in the car with new musical inspirations and an annual event to add to my calendar. See you all next year at the 14th Annual West Coast Guitar Night. 🙂

Oh – and here’s one of my souvenirs from the evening.  Thanks Simon and Les for being good sports – you rock my world.

Les Finnigan, Me and Simon Fox

Les Finnigan, Me and Simon Fox



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.

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.

KXStudio rocks my socks off

KXStudio is an audio focused Linux distribution based off of Kubuntu 10.04, and for the past week  I have been living in KXStudio on my HP Mininote.

I must confess in advance to not being a KDE 4 fan in the past,  but after living the dream in KXStudio, I’m hitting the KDE Koolaid and hitting it hard.

Sure, I could rave on about the beauty of the desktop environment and how it really enhances my work flow, but I’ll move onto the main reason I think this is an important milestone in Linux audio.

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