2016 — 28 March: Monday

Talk about burning your bridges! I've just deleted from FileZilla1 the entry I'd plumbed into it for access to Molehole's former home in Texas. Pushing changed web page HTML files up to AWS is a lot simpler and will cost far less in hosting fees. Actually it would have cost even less had Peter been able to work around an apparent bug in the "s3_website" command line tool software suggested, as that offered some hope of both better-controlled CloudFront cacheing and gzipped file transfers. However, it proved unequal to the task of uploading single changed files rather than the whole shooting match each time.

I'm sorry to say...

... the young people forgot the food they'd left in the fridge. I shall therefore probably be enjoying my first bacon sandwich for several years in just a few hours from now. I hate to see good food wasted, and I doubt one such meal every few years will kill me significantly sooner.

Tonight's solo evening entertainment...

... has been exclusively audio-based. Following Saturday's more careful scrutiny of the User Manual of the Rotel pre-amp I'm now using analogue connections for the NAD CD player, the Oppo Blu-ray player, and the Humax digital satellite receiver. And "bypass" in each case, too, to send a simple stereo signal on its shortest path through the pre-amp en route to its sibling power amp and thence the loudspeakers. Sounds glorious.

There's no reason not to use an analogue connection from the external USB Xonar sound card, either, as its DAC is particularly high-quality with a ridiculously high S/N ratio of about 113dB. And, since I still have one spare USB input on that magical Kensington switchbox, I should even be able to share the one card between both BlackBeast Mk III and the newer Skylark PC. Audio sorted at the touch of a switch, with any luck. It's silly how much easier things become when you stop all these futile and rather fraught attempts to get video directly from PC to TV and concentrate instead on just audio again.

Experiments will be pencilled in tomorrow for when I'm less tired. And if it's still raining.

Turns out...

... there are some Things in Life that are Beyond my Ken. Currently moving up that growing list is the vexatious topic of audio support on Linux. Having confidently switched the Xonar back to analogue output, plumbed in the necessary cables, and re-configured the Rotel, all I could achieve was blissful silence. The "lights" were on, the "needles" were moving, alsamixer insisted the Xonar had full output on front stereo, the pulseaudio volume control ditto, but sound? Not a dickie bird. Until I reset the Xonar SP/DIF output, and even then only after I'd unplugged and replugged the card a couple of times and eventually completely restarted BlackBeast Mk III.

I may still be able to switch the Xonar between the two PCs via the Kensington and thus convey digital audio from either PC. That will be a lesser victory, but better than outright defeat. But I'm annoyed that having found it so tricky to persuade digital audio from the Xonar in the first place (when it only wanted to give me analogue) now — when I actually want analogue — it thwarts me at every setting.

I bet I burn the bacon, too!

It appears...

... that the Washington Post is unconvinced of the merits of Mr Trump:

On foreign affairs, Trump was even more vague and vapid. Asked about the future of NATO, he was skeptical of the Cold War's most vital alliance. He complained that we devote "hundreds of billions of dollars to supporting other countries that are, in theory, wealthier than we are."
Called on that figure, he dialed it back to mere "billions." His proposed solution was to "structure a much different deal ... a much better deal." I can't help but imagine German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Fran├žois Hollande being treated like minor partners in building some luxury condos or a new golf course.

Eugene Robinson in WP

I can't say the transcript makes edifying reading. Still, it won't last forever...

A digital file is far more fussy. Dependent on computers for decoding, it can 
disappear or turn to gibberish whenever operating systems, software applications 
or document standards are revised.

Indeed, it may even start out as gibberish, too. (Link.)

A local...

... guru (thanks, Brian!) has just kindly sent me this Xonar hint as I was finishing my crockpot prep:

Comment out the line in usb-audio that set the digital to port one. 
Don't change the other alsa file where you fixed the pipeline error, 
you still need that fix.

All ought be OK after that. I had my Xonar analog only, Kensington 
switched between Linux and Windows for months without a single problem

It proves my AWS-hosted 'molehole' is getting out into the wider world :-)

My first tentative steps...

... into the room labelled "X11 forwarding with SSH" have been interesting. I had the decibel player playing material from the NAS and running on the NUC, but displaying its window on the Dell. If I can ever get my head round "jack server" configuration I may even be able to hear the material one day soon!

That is, to send sound alongside perfect, full-resolution windows running on the NUC but displaying on the 34" Dell. And thus not afflicted by the maximum 1920x1080 that NoMachine sessions will permit once they've had their head (wrongly) shaped by "talking" to the Kuro plasma screen at that lowly resolution.

This was after first going on a pair of Search and Destroy missions (with a 'root' hat on, and executing recursive forced remove commands [very scary]) to extirpate as many as possible of the unwanted Synology NAS indexing "ea@Dir" directories which until now have been cluttering up the place, all unsuspected. They have only revealed themselves when accessing the NAS boxes by NFS rather than Samba.

Of course, now it remains to be seen (or not seen!) whether I have thus temporarily clobbered the ability of the NAS to serve up A/V material to the Oppo in its "network streaming" guise. That would be a shame, as I just snaffled the final episode of "The Night Manager" for my input hopper.

There's altogether too much PulseAudio information here, too. I was looking at the bit about audio over network.

Half an hour...

... of faffing around in stubborn silence and I've run out of patience with my Linux audio obstacle course for today. I'm now back where I was with optical digital stereo out of both BlackBeast Mk III and Skylark (and HDMI audio from the NUC, for that matter). Still, at least I also now have an effective new magic spell for recovering a Full HD display for NoMachine's use even without the NUC having been exposed to the Kuro:

DISPLAY=:0 xrandr --output HDMI1 --auto

Works a treat. [Pause] Time for a new hobby. Or more tea.


... and its well-written history of money is well worth another look from time to time. I read my copy...

Xat (2)

... of the second edition a decade ago now. And dug it out within a couple of minutes, too! (I just had cause to mention it to Big Bro.)



1  A perfectly acceptable alternative I've been using for a year now on Linux to the WinSCP SSH file transfer program I used on Windows.