Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Boom in 30 seconds

Aiwa Exos 9

Aiwa Exos 9

That’s how long it took, and that may be overestimating things. I opened the box, pulled out the unit, plugged it in, switched it on and noticed on the top there was a touch sensitive display that said “Link” so I touched it and then poked the bluetooth icon on my phone, paired the device and just like that I was playing music! It really happened as quickly as you just read it.

It was many months ago I had heard that Aiwa had been resurrected. Purchased by a Chicago company headed by CEO Joe Born, a fellow I have come to know as an innovator and generally one smart cookie through my interraction with him through the Linux Link Tech Show. I was thrilled. I knew big things would be coming, and now, here it is sitting in my livingroom!

The first (that I know of) product release from the new Aiwa is, and this is how it should be, a “Boombox for the new millennium” called the Aiwa Exos 9. This is in essence, a BIG portable bluetooth speaker. It’s big in size, big in sound and big in features. It’s about 12×19.5×7.5 inches. It weighs about 12-15lbs (my scale is not great) and does 200 watts. In short, it rocks.

I just happen to have been born in 1970 and, as a child of the 80s, this whole thing brought memories flooding back to me of how EVERYONE back in the day used to run around with a boombox, playing their favorite toons. Remembering scenes from “Say Anything” where John Cusack is holding his boombox up playing “In your eyes” by Peter Gabriel. Those were good times with great music and this felt like a welcome homage to that (and Aiwa made some rockin’ boomboxes and sterios back in the day).

Now, it should be noted that I am NOT an audiophile, so if you are, and you are dying for more technical specs, you should look what these guys say. I have been heavily involved in music my entire life. I have studied it and was even a union card holding professional musician for a while. I have listened to a LOT of music, and *I* like the way this sounds. It’s clean. It has good base response that doesn’t distort the music and it sounds good at low and high volume levels. This reminded me of this great pair of Bose 901’s I used to listen on (and they are wickedly expensive). I really liked this and if you read the reviews on Amazon, etc., I am not at all in the minority on that sentiment.

Did I mention this is portable? That’s right. Like a boombox, this is ready to go on adventure with you to your patio or to a pool party or picnic or beach. It has a rechargeable battery that lasts 8+ hours and you can buy an extended battery with double the time. And don’t forget the built in handle on the back to make it easy to take it with you.

There were a couple of things I might change though. Firstly, with the speaker grill on the unit looks pretty plain. I took off the grill to expose the speakers and found that much more aesthetically pleasing. The unit also includes an equalizer with 8 programmable presets. It would be helpful for non audiophiles like me if *some* were pre-programmed for things like Jazz, Rock, Classical, etc.. I would LOVE to see them include a spectrum analyzer to give the unit some bling while it’s playing at those late night parties. Lastly I have heard several people mention perhaps side clasps for a carry strap, although I seem to be able to make due just fine with the back built in handle.

So, where does that leave us? Why, the price of course! This sells for $299 on Aiwas site or on Amazon. I think it’s a steal. You are SURE to spend a similar amount of money on a decent sounding stereo for your home and this will give you robust sounding music in your home and abroad for the same price point. Slam dunk! And for the seriously adventurous, these units will allow 2 to link together for bigger sound! I have yet to be able to test this myself but I can only imagine being able to rock the entire block with a similar setup.

It’s time to let your music run free of your earbuds again, and hear it the way it was intended, and Aiwa has just the thing to help. The Aiwa Exos 9. I would grab one now while they still have stock. You’ll be glad you did!

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Saturday, June 11th, 2016

Plex Media Server – Issues

Plex

Plex

Dang.. Some days it’s hard to find what I need on the net. Now I could have SWORN that some time ago I had not only mentioned on my blog that I was a complete Plex Media Server fan, but that I have been running it forever and have only had 1 issue with it. That issue is I actually moved it from one machine to another (the server and data) and once there I found that I could no longer fix incorrect data matches.. None of the movie databases were listed anymore, etc.. Well it took me forever to figure out not only what the problem actually was, but how and where to fix it. That all being said, it happened to me today again, which is why I went looking here.

The issue is that for some reason whether through updates or whatever, the plugins get messed around and no longer work. The fix for this is relatively simple really:

Stop the service:
/etc/init.d/plexmediaserver stop

Move the Plugins directory (move and not delete – just in case):
mv /usr/lib/plexmediaserver/Resources/Plug-ins /usr/lib/plexmediaserver/Resources/Plug-ins-old

Start the service back up:
/etc/init.d/plexmediaserver start

Give it a minute or three and you should be back in business.

Enjoy!

Sunday, October 20th, 2013

Who is that masked man?

Probably you have either listened to me or read my thoughts or both for several years now, but it occurred to me today that someone out there might be interested in seeing what actually drives the LincGeek.

I currently live in Pennsylvania, but I was born and raised in Upstate NY, with a brief stint in Washington state. New Yorkers and hillbillies are my people and I understand them. Washington is some of the most beautiful country I ever spent time in and I hope to at least visit out there again someday.

Well, first and foremost, computers and Linux are my personal crack. I started on a life long obsession with computers back in 1983 with my first Vic=20 (Thank you William Shatner). I learned to program in BASIC and from there it was all over until I met Linux in the 90s, then that added into the mix.

I like the fastest computers I can get my hands on. I like Apple computers (more for their quality and aesthetics than OS – they do tend to run Linux very well). I love my Kindle, my Android phone and my Asus TF300T Linux Mint is probably the nicest version of Linux I have ever run and I use that almost exclusively as my desktop OS of choice. I am RedHat certified and use RHEL and CentOS for the vast majority of my enterprise and personal server needs, because, IMHO, it’s better than the rest.

I am a music lover. I dig 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, Big Band, Jazz, Funk, Disco, Bluegrass and Classical music. I was a hardcore low brass musician and vocalist in my school years, even making it into “Who’s Who In Music” in my senior year in high school, and those are some of my most cherished and fondest memories. Rap is *NOT* music, by the way.

I have been married once, to my college sweetheart, for almost 20 years now and have an adult (she thinks so at least) daughter, currently in college. I am a Conservative Libertarian, politically, and a proud Christian.

Although I am now diabetic and stick mostly to various forms of Chicken and veggies, I LOVE good food. my favorites are good Irish cooking like my Grandma used to make. Corned Beef and Cabbage. And she made a monster macaroni and cheese too. I would literally hurt someone for some of that again. I strongly believe that vegetables are what food eats.

I like my coffee with (nonfat) milk and sweet-n-low. Buy it from Wawa because Starbucks coffee is overpriced and bitter yuppie coffie IMHO. I like an occasional good cigar (Acid Blondie) and enjoy them most when I can smoke them and hang out with my friends. (Edit, I am a confirmed Vaper now – RY4 absolutely ROCKS!)

I am not a drinker. If and when I do imbibe, I do so with Scotch or Whiskey as I believe beer must be what urine tastes like.

As you can probably surmise, I am highly opinionated, and as I have a monster sized guilty conscience and I am not at all politically correct, so if you ask my opinion, you are liable to actually get it.

I still think the occasional fart joke is funny. I hate unproductive meetings and long phone conversations. I try very hard to be honest, forthright, fair and maintain integrity.

I am a pet guy and love small furry mammals of all kinds. I have and have had cats, dogs, rabbits, mice, rats, ferrets and even a smattering of budgies and small lizards.

And now you know all about me!

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

Roku 2 XD

Roku 2 XD

Roku 2 XD


Long have I wanted to have a device that would easily tie my Netflix subscription and other streaming internet media to my tv. I have tried lots of nice things, but they all left me wanting something more, that is, until I got a Roku.

I picked up a Roku 2 XD at BestBuy for $79 and figured I would try it out and return it if it wasn’t what I really wanted. To my surprise I really like it!

My first impressions are that it is REALLY small. It literally fits, in its entirety, into the palm of my hand. It’s pretty slick looking for a little black box with a fabric tag sticking out the side. It has the normal input/output ports that you would expect for a device that connects to your tv to have, and, really, nothing else but the remote, which is also quite small.

Once you hook it all up and plug it in, you are greeted by the Roku logo while the system loads, and then you are taken through a series of steps to register your box and your account (free). After that you can start adding channels and enjoying your streaming web content on your tv!

Now the channels on Roku are different than I expected. Each channel is a service. For example, Netflix is a channel and Hulu is a channel and Crackle and Pandora, etc. and the list goes on. I am sure there is something in there for almost everybody. The ones I really enjoy, outside of Netflix, are Crackle, which somehow provides FREE streaming (recent) movies and tv content, Pandora, and Pub-D-Hub, which has all kinds of old movies, shows and cartoons (and even commercials).

The only thing I really do not like is it’s difficult to actually locate the kind of content you are looking for. This is primarily because there is so much available, and, I will have to admit that sometimes it’s fun just searching around.

What’s Good:
Small, Good looking, Quick, Inexpensive, easy to set up and easy to use.

What’s Bad:
Hard to sort through all the content to find exactly what you want.



Thursday, September 1st, 2011

Amazon Kindle, Subsonic and MusicBrainz

Kindle 3
   Early last week I had another burst of reading activity on my Kindle 3. Reading for me tends to come in spurts when the rest of my life doesn’t interfere and it had been a while. I loaded up the Kindle with some new goodies (Sh*t my dad says is hilarious, btw) and started peeling through not only the books but also the menus, setting things up just the way I like them.

RANT: As a side note here, why the heck are collections so freaking difficult to setup? I mean come on Amazon. Make them work by directory structure or something easy, or at least fix it so that when you add to collection, you are only shown books not already in another collection by default. OK, rant done 🙂

   Anyhow, as I was reading and setting up different collections, etc. I noticed a familiar recurring problem. The short history is when I got my Kindle 3 I noticed every so often the e-ink would not fully display, but only display VERY faintly. I called Amazon and they had me update the firmware but ut was really hard to tell if that fixed it as it was not a constant thing. Queue up last week and I notice this a LOT more. Not only while reading the books, but now in the menus, etc.. So, I called Amazon right up as they instructed me to do the last time I noticed this. They IMMEDIATELY sent me out a replacement. I mean I had it the NEXT day, during a snowstorm. There was no arguing, no listening to some low end tech worker flip pages on the other end of the phone, no shipping or return costs, no hassle whatsoever. THIS is what customer service is all about and it’s easy to see that Amazon stands behind it’s products. This is why I will always recommend the Kindle. I don’t know what the other guys service is like, but Amazon is absolutely tops every time I have had to deal with them.

Subsonic

   Shortly after I got my new Kindle (read hours) I got horribly sick (sinus infection) and have been that way for 4 or 5 days now. During my occasional bouts of lucidity and while waiting for the NyQuil to kick in again I was reading through my facebook posts and noticed Tom Higgins mentioning that he was enjoying using Subsonic, which is a new (to me anyway) software that manages your music collection for you. It’s a server side app with some seriously nifty clients you can run on you android phone, which made it catch my eye. I have (and still do for now) been using Kplaylist for quite some time and I really like it, but, hey, nothing wrong with checking out new things, right?

MusicBrainz

   Well, the thought of me trying out some new music collection software got me looking at my music collection. You know what this is like. I have been hanging on to my music in digital form for better than 10 years, so, it’s substantial / sizable, in different formats, mixed up, formatted and named badly, bad mp3 and ogg tags, etc.. What’s a guy to do? Well, I searched around a bit and found a whole lot of programs for Linux that will let you manually fix tags. Ick. With thousands to do I kept searching. I found a bunch of programs for windows and mac that will help you reorganize and fix your collection, and, eventually, I found ONE that will do the same on a Linux box. It’s name is MusicBrainz Picard I have been using it here and there (still sick) for a couple days now, sicking it on a directory of my music collection here and there. It sure beats doing this all by hand! It’s not perfect software by any means, but it sure will be a timesaver compared to the alternative and the more people that use it and update those databases, the better it’ll work. Check it ut, I think you’ll like it!

Sunday, February 6th, 2011

Magnatune


I thought really quick this morning that I would like to play a little Christmas music, something nice. Where to get some in a hurry? Well, of course, I went to Magnatune.

Really, I don’t mention these guys enough, not here or on the show. As their motto implies, they are _not evil_. They are DRM free, they carry a FANTASTIC selection of music of all tastes and interests. You pay REASONABLE prices that you decide, and Magnatune actually gets money back to the artists too, much unlike the big music industry giants.

Do yourself and some really talented musicians a favor and check out Magnatune today. You can also arrange Magnatune gift cards, and , of course, listen for FREE to their ENTIRE collection!

Thursday, December 17th, 2009

1000 Songs

How would you like to pay 4 cents a piece for your music? Well, the price was definitely right for me. I stopped at BestBuy and bought a SlotRadio card to use with my Sansa Fuse.

Slide this little card in your Sansa Fuse and you get access to 1000 songs over a variety of genres. It works a lot like radio in that you cannot really choose what songs are going to play next, however, you can switch the genre channels and skip songs.

So far I am really digging this. The audio is encoded at a high quality and the actual songs are all popular (no bad B sides). For 4 cents a song, you just can’t beat this. It would be nice if the format was a bit more portable and I could get the songs somewhere other than my Sansa Fuse, but really, that is what I listen to most of my music on now anyway 🙂

While I was picking up my SlotRadio card I did also notice a few Slot Music cards as well. These are the pretty much the same thing as the slot radio cards but filled with one album. The price is about the same as the regular album and, word has it, this music is slightly more portable as an unencumbered mp3 that you can move from device to device. I will have to put one of these on my hot list of things to get and see for myself. I would have grabbed one already but the only albums available at the time in person were not to my musical taste. Ordering online seems to have quite a few more choices though.

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

New Music Server

Kplaylist

Kplaylist


Some of you might remember that I used to run GnuMP3d as my home music server of choice. While this is still a great choice, after my recent new server install, I had an interesting choice to make.

The newest versions of GnuMP3d work fantastically like always, but they do not provide for any measure of security at all. You can use the music library as long as you can get to it. Now I know I can employ measures like iptables and hosts.deny, etc., but I decided I would still feel much more secure if I just ran my music server on a different VM that was only accessible from my intranet. I also did a little performance testing and found that GnuMP3d hogged up a lot of my system resources when it was starting up as well. All these factors and more sent me on a quest to once again look into some different streaming music servers.

There are really not very many of these available now that are current and full featured. There are, in fact, 4 that are hands down above the rest. The first was GnuMP3d, which, still, is a great piece of software. I just wanted something different for a while. I looked into Jinzora, which seemed to me to be completely overcomplicated and quite broken when not importing music collections via mp3 tags (stay away from this one). The one I almost settled on was Andromeda, a non-free software program, which works absolutely perfectly for what I wanted. For a measly $20 you can purchase the full version and I was *this* close to doing so until I decided I would give kPlaylist a spin.

kPlaylist is a LAMP app that is actually very easy and quick to get going, looks and works great and it’s strict OSS as well. It even provides the little bit of security I need to feel better about running it in my main server VM 🙂

If you are looking around for a nice way to access your personal music collection, you could surely do worse than kPlaylist. Do yourself a favor and hit the website and check it out today!

Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

Hurry Up!

Sansa Fuse

Sansa Fuse


Many of you heard me giving rave reviews about my new Sansa Fuse earlier. Well, I just saw that Woot.com has the Sansa Clip (smaller version of the Fuse) on sale RIGHT NOW 6/17/2009 for just $15. Go get one now. You’ll be mad if you miss out.

Wednesday, June 17th, 2009

Listen Here

Sansa Fuse

Sansa Fuse


I finally caved over the weekend and bought a new mp3 player. It has been a LONG time since I bought one, in fact the newest one I had was a one gb player (a _few_ years old). I have been listening to my tunes portably on my Nokia N800, but that is a pain in the butt. Let’s face it, the N800 is a full fledged computer and not just a media player, hence it’s not really designed with that sort of ease of operation, not to mention it’s a good bit bigger than your average mobile music player these days.

As an OpenSource kinda guy I tried very hard to stay away from the vendor lock in that the iPods provide, even though they are pretty darn slick. I kept looking around for one that looked a bit more OpenSource friendly. What I found was the Sansa Fuse (I picked up the silver 8gb version). It’s a credit card sized player that does pics, videos, fm-radio and all sorts of music formats including ogg. I have to say that so far, I really dig this little thing. It sounds great and works well. Just plug in the USB cable and it mounts up as a mass storage device and you can drag your music to the Music directory. When you unhook, you are ready to start listening within a few seconds.

Of course, I ran into an issue. Nothing with the player, mind you, but with my aging music collection. Much of it is so old that it is either not tagged or not tagged correctly, resulting in everything showing up on the Fuse as “unknown”. FEH. I had to fix it, and after some searching I came across EasyTag, which, oddly enough, really is easy to use. Just a quick apt-get install and I had it running on my Ubuntu machine and then proceeded to fix the tags of the initial set of music files I was putting on the Fuse. It was a piece of cake, and once they were reloaded on the Fuse with tags, I had working genres and albums and band names, etc. It was great except for one last thing. I needed album cover art. With a couple quick googles, I found that the Fuse would display album art named “folder.jpg” in each folder. And I found a fantastic place to get this art too: AlbumArt.org. Everything I have copied from there has displayed perfectly on the Fuse.

So there you have it. A great little music player which appears to work end to end with Linux. What more could a guy ask for? Well, the best part is it was $50 cheaper than a similar iPod! 🙂

Monday, June 8th, 2009