Remote sound

This allows you to run application on one computer, and hear the sound on other computer, via network.
Server (where you want to listen):
esd -promiscuous -tcp -public -port 150 &
Client (where sound application runs):
esddsp -v --server=server.ip.number:150 -m name_of_the_program

I don't like esd too much, but this once was a very convenient thing.


Take notes so you don’t forget

If you're afraid of forgetting something, write it down. Surely I do that. Here is what I found today in my notes:

pstops "2:0L@.7(21cm,0)+1L@.7(21cm,14.85cm)"

I think what it does is convert a postscript document from simple A4 document to two pages on one A4. But it's just a guess… because I didn't write down what it does.

Halloween. A candy or a trick.

Beep-beep. I pick the door phone up and say "hello". A childish voice says: "Halloween. A candy or a trick." It was the last thing that was said, because I hang the door phone.
Why did I become so antisocial? Those kids probably meant me no harm. This makes me think…

My music background

This post is not about the background music for a blog. I personally hate background sounds for web pages and I believe you should never force the user to hear anything unrequested.

I decided to blog some information about my music background. I was involved in music for few years. Now I don’t deal with music any more. Here’s information about 4 bands that I’ve found and led:

  • Struktura – Jazz standards, swing songs and bossa-novas.
  • Hot Cargo – first funky music band
  • Funksters Jam Sessions – I’ve organized funky jam sessions in Warsaw. We played every Tuesday from 19:00 till 22:00. After few weeks the club was full every time we played. I even saw people recording our jams!
  • Funksters 1 – Consisted of people met on the jam sessions. We began with playing Brand New Heavies and Incognito covers.
  • Funksters 2 – Evolved from Funksters 1. This was a fully professional crew. See Funksters’ website, my first website ever. You can also download Funksters songs.

I have a pretty large collection of composition “stubs” which wait to be expanded. Sometimes I’m thinking about going back to music composition.

I decided to abandon my wiki website

I had a period of extreme enthusiasm towards wiki website model. I created an internal wiki for my company, a website about atopic dermatitis, a website about the jazz guitar, a mixed extra-intranet for National Food and Nutrition Institute, a website about yoga (for my girlfriend), a knowledge base for EACTS Congenital Database and, last but not least, a wiki for myself. The last one was used extensively during my stay in Denmark, when I used it to write reports for assignments.

After finishing the courses in Denmark it seems like I'm not using it anymore. So I decided to close it. Static content is going to be published on my HTML based website. Blogs (English and Polish) will be used for temporary things and publishing thoughts.
Nevertheless I do consider wiki a very powerful website model. For example, it's a perfect tool for website prototyping. You can create content for the website with wiki with extreme ease. When the structure and content is more or less ready, you can move the content to more static website model.

So, what's the best use of wiki? I can point out few of them:

  • Collaborative website – it can be a community website or a website for some project (software project or an academic course).
  • Website prototype – you can easily move content around, create and delete subpages until you get desired website structure.
  • Thesis writing – you can easily organize your material and write parts of your thesis. After writing the material you can make a linear version by stitching together content of selected subpages.

If you're about to create a website that matches one of above, consider a wiki model.

Music classification – Show me the music I’ll like

Imagine a plugin for your desktop music player. For each song, you set a flag, which indicates whether you like this song or not. It could be a very simple icon, like two faces: 🙂 and 😦 . The music player program learns from you and then tries to classify the newcoming songs according to your previous votes.

Why such a feature? Say, you're visiting a friend who has lots of music on his computer. His music taste will be somewhat different than yours. You're unable to manually browse a large collection of music. However, a trained filter would be able to quickly classify the music and find best matches from your friend's library.

What if because of this program I'll miss the most beatiful song in the world? – Well, you could have just missed it five minutes ago by not listening to some radio station or not buying some record in the music shop. Don't blame the technology.

Moving on with the topic – it is a concept similar to the spam filtering in email clients like Mozilla Thunderbird.

It is unclear now, whether the program should examine the whole file, or just some random parts. For a human being it is not uncommon to be able to assess the music from just few seconds of the music, for example when adjusting the frequency knob in radio, looking for a good station. Very often, just one second is enough to decide if you like this music or not.

One of the most important issues is to extract certain parameters from the sound file. The parameters should somehow follow the human perception of music. Personally, I think that one of the most important features of music is the ''sound'', by which I mean mostly the used instruments.

The features I can think of are:

  • Spectral flatness measure
  • Detect a beat and tempo (autocorrelation?)
  • Detect a set of instruments, maybe by frequency intensity in certain bands
  • Dynamics of the music (music volume changes)

I'm sure that during the development of the filter there would be new ideas about extractable features of music. As I know, MP3 format contains some already extracted features. I presume that OGG does as well.

Open source programs will be the best choice as it's possible to write extensions (plugins) for them. Personally, I can think of:

Beep media player (similar to Winamp, based on XMMS)

Rhythmbox (Gnome music management, inspired by iTunes)

See also: