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Comment: Re:Is anyone actually stuck on Snow Leopard? (Score 1) 241

by Tapewolf (#46358089) Attached to: Apple Drops Snow Leopard Security Updates, Doesn't Tell Anyone

I'm not sure you can actually get Lion anymore. I waited too long on Snow Leopard, and once Mountain Lion came out, that was the only upgrade offered, despite the fact it wouldn't run on the 2007 hardware. I bit the bullet and upgraded the hardware. I also considered ditching it at that point, but there are still a couple of pieces of software I need OSX for with no Linux equivalent and the win32 port doesn't run in WINE.

Comment: Re:An oddball solution (Score 1) 299

by Tapewolf (#46098667) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: An Open Source PC Music Studio?

A couple of additional points: I use Rosegarden for the performance, partly because I can stick it on a laptop if I ever do some kind of live show, but also because SONAR was very temperamental about synchronizing to an external source. Rosegarden has had a tendency to flip out on occasion (I've sent patches), but it never, ever drifts the way SONAR would.

The other thing I should perhaps have clarified is that I mix down to 1/4" because I've often had problems with the audio glitching during digitization (and it was even worse in Windows). If I mixed it directly into the computer, Murphy's law says the take would glitch. Whereas if it's mixed to tape, I can go back and re-digitize it. It also means that I can go back and re-digitize the tape in some future format if need be.

Comment: An oddball solution (Score 2) 299

by Tapewolf (#46089395) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: An Open Source PC Music Studio?

I do a lot of MIDI composition. Cakewalk was the first piece of MIDI software which I was really able to get to grips with, originally in Windows 3.1. I run an old version of SONAR now, under WINE. I use that for composing, but then export it into Rosegarden for recording. I did most of this in Windows until 7 came along and broke the 4x4 USB MIDI interface I was using - it was easier just to stay in Linux from that point on.

For sound generation, I use hardware, mostly rackmount syntheszers. You can find these second hand on ebay quite a lot - the Roland JV series are pretty good general-purpose sound sources for starting out. They have the advantage that they are completely OS-agnostic, and apart from some weirdos like the Creamware ASB or the Receptor, they don't require online activation and they also won't die the year after the maker goes bust because OSX or Windows broke some API it uses. If you must use VSTs, Rosegarden and a couple of other packages will act as a VST host, probably using bits of WINE to do so. The MUSE Receptor does this as a hardware device (again, using a modified version of WINE) but although a Linux device, it is up to the hilt in DRM and remarkably expensive for what it is.

Where it gets unusual is recording and tracking. I record quick demos of the piece using Audacity, but for the real thing I track it onto tape, using a timecode track to control the sequencer. This isn't a legacy system, it was a deliberate decision because I wanted to get some idea of how things were done before Protools became widespread.

If I didn't do it that way, I'd either be looking at using a standalone DAW such as an Alesis HD24, or Ardour. I few years ago I scored a TASCAM 1" 24-track machine, and before that I was using a pair of synchronized 8-track machines, but to be honest that was a royal pain. I mix the 24-track tape down to a 1/4" stereo machine, and digitize the stereo master from that. I also have a 24-channel JoeCo recorder which I use to take digital safety masters of the multitracks.

I am well aware that this is a weird thing to do in this day and age, but I figured I may as well throw it into the pot. In any case, there are people like Slugbug and Freelove Fenner who do the whole thing completely in the analogue domain, but that's not really what the question was.

Comment: Re:Digital camera elements (Score 1) 105

by Tapewolf (#45940949) Attached to: Government Lab Uses Smartphones To Measure Gamma Ray Exposure

I've always wondered why we can't do simple infrared or ultraviolet examinations of things with our smart phones.

I have a sneaky suspicion it's because not all clothing is opaque in those spectra, but I like neat science toys, and wish my phone was a little more tricorderish.

Actually, many digital cameras will pick up infra-red. Try sticking a remote control in front of one - depends on the camera, but a lot of them will show it lighting up.

Comment: Re:Misconceptions (Score 4, Interesting) 95

by Tapewolf (#45281641) Attached to: Cisco Releases Open Source "Binary Module" For H.264 In WebRTC

As I understand it from reading the article and the comments, Cisco will subsidize the patent licenses if you use the binary. If you prefer, you can use the source code, but then you will have to deal with the patent licensing yourself.

"Nathan – We will select licensing terms that allow for this code to be used in commercial products as well as open source projects. In order for Cisco to be responsible for the MPEG LA licensing royalties for the module, Cisco must provide the packaging and distribution of this code in a binary module format (think of it like a plug-in, but not using the same APIs as existing plugins), in addition to several other constraints. This gives the community the best of all worlds – a team can choose to use the source code, in which case the team is responsible for paying all applicable license fees, or the team can use the binary module distributed by Cisco, in which case Cisco will cover the MPEG LA licensing fees. Hope that answers the first part of your question – Nadee, Cisco PR "

Comment: Re:utterly utterly worthless (Score 4, Interesting) 108

by Tapewolf (#45082157) Attached to: Kickstarter For Open Source GPU

With the rise of ARM, SoC parts with fully open GPU APIs of amazing power are essentially almost ZERO cost. Tiny circuit boards are available for experimenters and developers with first class 2D, 3D, Video and JPG acceleration, and even video ENCODING is becoming a common hardware feature in low-end parts.

Care to name any? Most of the ones I've heard of with any form of acceleration are using a proprietary GPU core, where you get a binary blob for Android and bugger-all else. Maybe things have changed since, but last I hard the driver situation was worse for ARM cores than it was in the PC space. Indeed, that was the rationale behind Mir - that it would be able to use the Android blobs under Ubuntu.

Comment: Re:We don't remember what we saw, only what we fel (Score 4, Interesting) 158

by Tapewolf (#45050777) Attached to: Over 100 Missing Episodes of <em>Doctor Who</em> Located

The point is, even if we unearth all those missing 106 episodes, the actual episodes might not stand up to all the hype and expectation heaped up on them.

'Tomb of the Cybermen' actually did, for me, at least. I thought it was a rather slick production given the budget. Other stuff from that era is distinctly variable in quality (e.g. the little city model in 'The Krotons' which I honestly thought was supposed to be a heap of stones).

Nostalgia doesn't really enter into it for me because I never got to see the original broadcasts. In actual fact I only got into Dr. Who really when they repeated the Tom Baker episodes in the 90s and I found them to my liking.

Comment: Re:Interesting. (Score 2) 158

by Tapewolf (#45050317) Attached to: Over 100 Missing Episodes of <em>Doctor Who</em> Located

These distribution prints - which were 16mm film, not tape - were passed from country to country, usually ending up in the tail ends of the empire in Africa & Asia. They were supposed to have been returned or destroyed at the end of their tours, but it wasn't unusual for them to be put into storage, grabbed by local staff for their own archives, or sold on the sly to broadcasters in neighbouring countries.

I wouldn't be shocked if someone had been striking copies of the films either.

Comment: Re:Quite a bit of hardware (Score 1) 187

by Tapewolf (#45041155) Attached to: Steam Machine Prototypes Use Intel CPUs, NVIDIA GPUs

It does seem to be overkill, especially when you realize that the majority of games will be getting played on and streamed from the windows PC elsewhere.

I don't think that's the long-term goal, though. The whole project seems to have kicked into gear because the Windows App Store means they can't rely on Windows indefinitely, and they seem to be trying to get devs to port to Linux natively. That entails a beefier GPU than you'd need for a pure streaming solution.

Comment: Re:doesnt matter (Score 1) 216

The way I heard it - which could be yet another rumour - there was a fire but it didn't damage anything significant. However, the Fire Brigade pitched a fit because the BBC had littered the tapes and films here there and everywhere in a bunch of spare rooms. This posed a fire hazard and as a result the BBC decided they needed to have a clear-out.

Comment: Re:Of course the actual copies existing is in doub (Score 1) 216

Oh, one of the more fun stories about the BBC junking master tapes was when they decided to get rid of a lot of audio masters during the 80's. Owing to the bureaucracy involved, the archivist (Mark Ayres) went through the paper trail and discovered that they had been moved into a spare room to be skipped, but then the process had been interrupted and the tapes were all still sitting there a decade or so later. (From the 'Alchemists of Sound' documentary)

Comment: Re:Of course the actual copies existing is in doub (Score 2) 216

It's unfortunate that the BBC were so shortsighted and "recycled" the master tapes of so many great series. Of course, everyone knows the famous Monty Python story of how that series was almost lost too, but was saved by Terry Gilliam (who basically stole the tapes and put them in his attic). But very few series from that era were so lucky.

I did not know that, though I've often wondered why they survived when so much else was lost. Also, "stealing the tapes" is not exactly a trivial exercise - the original Quad tapes were massive - 2" wide, 10.5" diameter and about 5KG each. If they had 2 episodes each, that's about 22 tapes he'd have had to sneak out of the archives. Not exactly something you can fit in your pocket...

Comment: Re:BBC's most effective copyright strategy in effe (Score 1) 216

Yes, you're right and this is why the weblink I gave above is a kaleidoscope of colours for all the different formats between 1970 and 1974; fortunately all those episodes are now in colour to varying qualities. The "Chroma Dot/Colour Recovery" process of which you speak has been used on 12 episodes of Dr.Who with varying degrees of success, and two non-Dr.Who episodes. But, in a nutshell, the Jon Pertwee now exists in colour in its entirety.

Ah yes, I knew I'd forgotten something - checking that link out. Thanks, it was well worth reading. I particularly liked how the NTSC icon was washed out compare to the PAL one...

FORTRAN is for pipe stress freaks and crystallography weenies.