December 22, 2014

I worked today. Originally I had set aside the full two weeks here at the end of the year (thereby using up my allotted vacation days that nobody really keeps track of anymore), but we have this enormous backlog of interviews due to A Lot of Circumstances so I got up & went in to the office & did two interviews & also did some emailing & other miscellaneous Things.

I will do the same tomorrow, and then I have the rest of the week off. But next Monday & Tuesday I’ll be back in there.

It’s like the good old days of being an hourly worker who works through holidays, except now instead of sitting around doing nothing & getting paid I actually have to work.

Anyway. Between interviews & emailing I managed to download the source for jackmeter, a kind of ancient (9 years old!) cmd-line digital VU meter for the Jack Audio Connection Kit.

I had needed a way to check input levels on our streaming server at WXDU, which doesn’t have any sort of X server or other GUI installed, so I poked around & lo and behold, someone had written just what I needed.

Only it didn’t work for us because I’m using an option on our jack server that didn’t exist 9 years ago.

So I downloaded the source, acquainted myself with gnu getopt and the basic outline of how one connects to a jack server, and then wrote a patch & applied it and … it didn’t work. And then I fixed the thing I screwed up and then it DID work and it was pretty thrilling, actually, because I’m basically a freshman-level C programmer. 

And then, in sharp contrast to literally every other time I have modified a piece of open-source software to suit my needs, I actually pushed the patch back up to github and submitted a pull request to the guy who wrote the thing (and who had already proved himself to be a good guy by responding to my random email about a little piece of software he had written 9 years earlier).

My first pull request! After years of haranguing students to get more involved in open-source projects.

If *you* need a console-based VU meter for your jack server that you’re running with a non-default name, here you go:

December 22, 2014

October 22, 2014

Got up early to drive to Raleigh for day 1 of 2 of the All Things Open conference, an enterprise-oriented open-source conference. The group that runs it is based in Atlanta (where they run a similar conference in the spring), but between Red Hat, RTP and the startup scene here, there’s probably far more reason to have one here than in ATL.

I never go to conferences, so I have no real points of comparison, but: the speakers are knowledgeable and approachable, and present at varying levels of polish, from Very to Not At All. The organization is sufficient, if not especially mind-blowing (although this year’s is way better than last year’s). There are some women speakers, but not enough to make me happy.

(Two of the six talks I saw today were by women, and both rooms were packed to overflowing, so hopefully that’ll lead to even better balance next year.)

Everything I saw was pretty wonky, far too much so for a general-purpose blog, so I’ll spare you the details. Although I will say that I continue to be amazed at watching people walk in 2 minutes before their designated start time & then struggle mightily with laptop/projector issues.

Also this can serve as a reminder that Mac people still need to travel with their own fucking VGA adapters.

Anyway. Low-key nerdy fun; a nice paid vacation that includes the chance to get at least the names & urls of projects that I could probably make use of.

Made the final decision & arrangements to simulcast the Know Your Polls party on WXDU – it’s a get out the vote rally & concert at the Pinhook on Sunday afternoon from 2 to 7 pm. Lots of good bands: SOON, Daniel Bachman, Some Army, Shirlette Ammons, Hammer No More the Fingers, Midnight Plus One, and PIPE. Show up at the Pinhook if at all possible, but if you just can’t get away, tune it in at 88.7 or

October 22, 2014