Shell Scripting Solves Jack Audio Complexity

•August 28, 2014 • Leave a Comment

One of my friends retired from teaching music a few years ago. He was not very computer savvy… period. When I mentioned to his spouse that I would setup a Linux system for him for recording, she stated, “Forget it, he will never use it…”

But he does (nearly every day!). The trick is taking a flexible but overwhelming system like Jack Audio in Linux and gluing it together using Shell scripting. Here is a screen capture of a simple dialog box to select the type of recording session with a running shell script using the zenity command:

Startup Menu for Type of Recording Session

Here is a link to my shell script in case anyone wants to “tinker”. It is specific for my SIAB (Studio in a box) hardware, but enough information for some to use as a rough guideline:

[ Shell Script Sample ]

When anyone “slams” Linux for lack of music recording capability, they are not entirely correct – I just takes some time and some scripting knowledge to tie it up into a “bow”. If people want to steer clear of Linux that is their choice. My choice is to use it, save tons of money and produce awesome music :)

Murray Saul

Ubuntu Studio Grows Stronger Everyday

•August 28, 2014 • Leave a Comment

I am very impressed with Ubuntu Studio 14.04! After many years of struggling to get my notebook and desktops to meet my demands, I no longer struggle when using this Ubuntu distribution. I find more freedom and possibilities using this distribution for music recording (this includes vst-host for windows dlls!).

Here is a screen-capture of my 3 monitor setup running the various recording apps:

Screen Capture of my Ubuntu Studio Setup

I finally abandoned Ninjam (wineasio was a constant pain!) and switched to “jammr” ( I am using “cairo-dock” in the XFCE4 desktop (removing the main XFCE panel). I find XFCE4 a better environment to work in (and have used GNOME and KDE for years). I can use compiz in XFCE4, and am pleased to see that wobbly windows and other compiz effects finally work without doing a complicated song and dance!

One Big Paper-Clip

•March 25, 2014 • Leave a Comment

One Big Paper-Clip

I once used a volume control pedal for the band I play in, but it broke a few years ago…

A small “toothed strip of plastic” broke-off from the main pedal, and it didn’t look like it would be easy to repair. After going to several music stores, I was informed that a replacement unit would cost between $80 and $100. I decided to try to repair the unit. To be more accurate (and honest), it turns out I “waffled” between repairing and buying a new pedal for a couple of years…

This weekend, I screwed up my courage to repair the pedal while saving $100. This was easier said than done!

First, I crazy-glued the base of the broken piece, but it didn’t hold (strike 1!). I then tried to “knock out” the small metal pin holding a portion of the broken plastic strip from its base (with a hammer and nail) in order to re-drill and reattach the “toothed stip”, but one side of the rotating base broke-off (strike 2!).

As a “last ditch attempt”, I broke-off the other base, drilled a tiny hole at the bottom of the plastic strip and then drilled two holes beside where the toothed strip was to be attached to the pedal base. I found a BIG paperclip, straightened it out, fed it through the based of the plastic strip, made a 90 degree bend on both sides, fed both wires through the holes in the base pedal and simply secured the wire ends to “clip onto” the base pedal (home run!). It isn’t the “pride of Muskoka”, but it works, and very well I might add…

One BIG paperclip, 5 minutes of labour, and now I can use my volume pedal! There must be a little “Mcgiver” in me waiting to get out!


Murray Saul

I’m Loving It…

•March 25, 2014 • Leave a Comment

I'm Loving It...

Portable Keyboard stand (quite stable): $24 (Long & McQuade)
2 Laminate Flooring Samples: Free (Home Depot)
Bottom Keyboard: (24 year old roland u20 – loaned from my bandmate)
Upper Keyboard controller (maudio axiom49): Free (Given to me by colleague)
Maudio Uno Midi-to-USB adaptor: $40 (Long & McQuade)
Netbook Computer (Acer Aspire One): $100 (5 years old, wasn’t being used)
Chair: $4.99 (XS Cargo)
OS: Free (Linux – Ubuntu Studio 13.10)
Software:Free (Jack Audio, Qsynth, setBfree)

Total Cost: $170 (although $70 for me since netbook computer was just “sitting around”)

Not listening to “music experts” that state you MUST spend thousands of dollars on dual keyboard ($2400), expensive dual layer keyboard stands ($500 – $800), and expensive software solutions ($300 – $2400) to play live (which I have done with the “Linux” solution – for “years”):


Come together

•February 17, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Rare video of my daughter singing with the band I play in. You can see me “groovin'” in the background on keyboards. This was a gig we did on Feb 1st 2014 in Kingston Ontario during a terrible snow storm, but you can’t tell from the crowd’s response at the end :)

Best heard with headphones…

Peace out…

Promoting Open Access in GTA Public Libraries

•March 12, 2011 • 1 Comment

Occasionally, I go to the Public Libraries in the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) to complete my work.

I do this to make better use of my time while waiting for band practice, or waiting (as a chauffeur) until my daughter has finished her rehearsals or actual performances. Currently, she is performing in a Disney theatrical production of Camp Rock, but I digress…

Normally, public libraries in the GTA provide wireless Internet access. Unfortunately, I have been unable to connect to their wireless systems with my Ubuntu Linux netbook during past visits. When I brought this to the attention of the front staff, they suggest that I “fill out a comment and put it in the complaint box”, or fetch their resident “computer expert”, which in turn, informs me to: “fill out a comment and put it in the complaint box”.

Therefore, this time (before going to the library) I tried a different approach:

  1. I researched and I found a web-site link that solves this particular problem:

    (Ironically, it requires Internet access to download some applications, but perhaps you can do this now prior to going to the library)

  2. Before leaving for the library, I made several printouts of the solution, which in turn I:
    • Handed to the front staff to inform them that I have already solved the problem, and would like to contribute to make the library more “open”
    • Asked them to give a copy to their “expert”.
    • Stapled another printout to the “comment form”, and stuffed the comment into the “complaint box” (although it is not a complaint)

This procedure also works for access to City of Brampton’s WIFI sites… This is very useful in case you need to work in areas such as community centres. In that way, if the library closes, and you need to work while still waiting to pick up your daughter from rehearsals… >;)

By the way, I have made this post from one of the public libraries in
Brampton, Ontario,

Enjoying the journey of discovery, and non-conformity…
Murray Saul

Get Battery Inidacator to work in AWN (Acer AspireOne Netbook a751h)

•March 2, 2011 • Leave a Comment

One of the last remaining “tweaks” I needed to perform on my Acer AspireOne Netbook (a751h), was to get the battery indicator to work on my Avant Window Navigator docking panel. Previously, upon boot-up, the battery was not recognised.

Here is a solution that worked for me:

  1. Install acpitools application. Go to Administration -> Synaptic Package Manager. Search for acpi tools, and mark for download and install.
  2. Login as super-user
  3. Edit the file called /etc/rc.local and add the command: acpitools
  4. Reboot your computer
  5. Add the battery indicator to your awn docking panel (This will require you have AWN-extras (and extras python) installed on your system)

    To add the battery indicator applet to AWN:

    • Right-click on awn docking panel, and select Dock Preferences
    • Select the Applets tab
    • Select the Battery applet
    • click the down arrow (below) to add to your docking panel

Your battery indicator should know appear correctly in your docking panel.

If you are looking for a different look for your battery indicator, check out this link: html



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