Mozilla Media Festival meet Dj Hackday?

Mozilla Festival — Media, Freedom and the Web
London, November 4 – 6, 2011

A gathering of passionate, creative people using the web to bend, hack and reinvent media. We’re solving real problems and building prototypes with talented designers, world-class journalists, resourceful media-makers, and cutting-edge developers.

The prolific Desigan Chinniah who now works for Mozilla and the always ever so sweet Michelle Thorn came to Manchester recently to kick start one of Mozilla’s Drumbeat projects. This one was centred a collaboration with the Knight foundation and trying to change the Newsrooms of the best companies with a good harsh look at Comments, People powered news and Better Video. The badly named Mojo project, is now in its closing stages and all the efforts are being judged. I am a little ashamed that more of the Manchester digital lot didn’t turn out but I’ve already made my feelings be known on Twitter. I did also say to the guys that I would write a blog post but never got around to it, so hopefully this will be a good sub for that.

The Mojo project was and is a very interesting open innovation project but more about this in a later to be written blog post…

When Desigan and Michelle were up in Manchester, I showed them around a little. We ended up after dinner having a late drink or a night cap if you prefer. So on a late night Tuesday we headed into the Northern Quarter for drinks ending up at Noho in Stephens Square.

We talked for ages  about many things including the idea of me Djing on my pacemaker at the Mozilla Media Festival in London in November. Of course I agreed… So if you want to see me djing live and you don’t live in and around Manchester, you can see The Cubicgarden working the dance floor with his pacemaker in London.

I’ve been thinking also as part of the media festivals innovation challenges it could be possible to run Dj Hackday as one of the challenge?

I’ve contacted many people regarding the concept of Dj Hackday including SoundCloud and MixCloud. And although there behind the idea and even see the point of having a hackday just for djs oppose to a music hackday. They seem less eustatic about coming up to Manchester for it, even with the great venue we may have for it. So this could work out quite well for everyone interested… I also like the idea of “a gathering of passionate, creative people using the web to bend, hack and reinvent djing

How to use the Pacemaker editor with Ubuntu via wine

How I got the Pacemaker editor working under Ubuntu with Wine

This should be a easy task but Tonium did something to a later version of the free pacemaker editor, so it no longer worked. In the meantime I personally have been running a virtual machine just for the purpose of taking tunes on and off my pacemaker. No one could work out what they changed in the later version but although you could get the software to work, it wouldn’t recognize the pacemaker device at all. I even stuck it on WineHQ to see if that might help…

Many people tried different ways to get it working but none of them worked. Tonium unhelpfully said it was only supported on Windows and Mac.

But they came back with…

Yeah i am aware of this. ubuntu runs a program called ‘wine’ that emulates windows so you can still run windows only programmes such as this. was just wondering if anyone out there had experienced similar problems…

i have looked on ubuntu forums and pacemaker should run fine, apart from it being a bit fiddly to unmount sometimes.

Then today I had a good think about the problem and started thinking out of the box/experimenting over lunch. Last night I was convinced I would need to install a Github version of Wine for the USB to work and thought I’d install wine from source while eating my lunch.

But before I got to remove Wine, I thought I’d have a online search again and look through the wine settings again. Surely someone must have the solution. I found someone who suggested there might be a read/write problem with the pacemaker and suggested the following.

chown yourusername /media/yourpacemaker

chmod u=rw /media/yourpacemaker

After that I thought for a while, surely theres nothing magical happening. I mean Tonium are using open methods for most of the software and the build of the pacemaker. Even the config files are simply .xml files. The only illusion so far is the stm files which seem to be the analysed raw data stuffed in xml files. So we’re talking low level methods to make it all work, surely this would extend to the way Tonium did the method for putting tunes on the actual device. In actual fact, Musicinstinct2 had already started building a manager for linux and got it mostly working except for the stm file part. Then I had a moment of genius…

My thoughts I documented on the pacemaker getsatisfaction help list.

I got thinking that Windows simply mounts the Pacemaker then the Pacemaker Editor simply looks at a certain drive letter. The problem we’ve had is as default Wine sets the Pacemaker hard drive as drive E: as default. Windows from memory allocates drive letters from Z backwards. That or Tonium through they would be clever and use a letter which wouldn’t normally be used!

I also thought about upgrading my Wine to support USB better but I started thinking, wine can see the pacemaker as a drive if I select it. So it must be the editor which is at fault.

So the first thing I did was mounted the drive under Z: Y: X: then used different advanced options to see if that made a difference. By pure chance on the 1st time I loaded up the pacemaker editor it automatically showed the contains of the Pacemaker. I thought it was a mistake and decided to close it down and load it up again. Bingo! Exactly the same thing. So I did some crude operations like copying files, renaming files, etc. They all pretty much worked.

At this point I had to share my joy with the world by posting up this post.

After this I did some tweaking so it could see my music collection, etc and discovered the option of type was essential to the whole thing working. I had by pure chance selected floppy disc on the correct drive letter. I also tried removing drives to see exactly which drive it was expecting, and discovered it was all about X: it seemed. Without waiting I wrote up the whole thing on the community maintained forum.

Mount the Pacemaker as usual by plugging it into a linux machine (I’m using Ubuntu 10/10 64bit edition)

I set the pacemaker to be writable using,

"sudo chown yourusername /media/yourpacemaker"

"sudo chmod u=rw /media/yourpacemaker"

*warning if you don’t understand the command don’t type it in… and I’m not responsible for anything which happens.

I’m assuming you already have Wine 1.3 and the Pacemaker Editor installed…

In the Wine preferences, setup a new drive letter X: and set it to /media/Pacemaker

Then set the type under the advanced options to floppy drive.

Now start the pacemaker editor with the pacemaker connected to the machine and it should come up and you can drag files on and off it.

Now in hindsight it might just be the floppy drive option not the drive letter and I’m unsure if you need to make the pacemaker writable using the commands above. But to be honest, I don’t see them harming anything and I’m sure someone else will narrow the instructions down soon enough.

The only question left is if Linux pacemaker users will see this or not? I certainly hope so…

New Pacemaker firmware 16219

Pacemaker

Forgot to blog this but it seems like Tonium has pretty much disappeared from the scene but some how they uploaded a secret firmware upgrade package… If you have a Pacemaker and would like to try out the new firmware, here’s the details of how to do it. Bear in mind, this firmware is not official and was found on the pacemaker download site by chance. So its very beta, you have been warned

  1. Point you browser to this address: http://www.pacemaker.net/Default.aspx?documentID=158&
  2. once there you’ll be presented with a XML file… now Copy The sessionID… Then point you browser to this address : www.pacemaker.net/Default.aspx?documentID=159&FirmwareVersion=16219&SessionID=(SESSIONID)&DSN=00AA0xx101XXX
  3. Note Look at the address where is says (PASTE SESSIONID) cut that part and replace it with the ID you got from browsing the other page… once done you’ll can download the firmware file..
  4. Once downloaded, rename it to .ZIP… extract it…. the put the extracted file on you pacemaker in the .pacemaker directory (if you can’t find the .pacemaker directory make sure you can browse hidden files on your OS)… once done unplug the pacemaker and the update will be installedWarning: As there’s no official release, theres no manual as well…

You can also download the firmware here, if you can’t be bother doing the session ID thing.

I’ve installed it on my own and not noticed any side effects except the very small one of losing all my previous setup. After 5mins it was all back to as i remembered it.

New changes seem to be.

  • BeatLock – The beat lock has been much improved according to some people. I always use my ear so it little difference to me.
  • Snapping loops – I think the loops now snap to the beat, making it much easier to loop
  • Beat jumping – You can now skip jump beats if your timing isn’t quite right, this could be useful.

I would have liked to have seen more, but the community is getting organised so we may see some serious hacking very soon. I do wonder if they will respect the GPL by giving us all the source code.

Hacking the Pacemaker (progress)

Pacemaker Manager

At last a break through, someone (musicinstinct2) has cracked the way the pacemaker adds and removes music to the SQLlite database.

My initial experiments involved using the sqlite database browser to open up music.db and enter track information. Then manually copy the tracks over to the device, making up random hash values (as I couldn’t work out how Tonium were creating these hashes). It works! The device doesn’t rely on any particular naming convention, whatever is in the filename field in the database (music.db) is used by the device to load the track.

Fantastic…! Now this is cracked and Musicinstinct2 is working on a open source client to manage tracks. The next stage is to crack and understand the XML file which is attached to every single track uploaded on the device. The bulk of the data in stuck in a XML element called realBeatLocations.

I expect it won’t take long before we have the whole thing pretty much cracked. What would make things move along quicker is if Tonium would publish the source as it was created under the GPL.

Soundcloud from a dj point of view

I love soundcloud but it has a few issues if your a dj and are uploading mixes like I am.

Before I run through them, I want to make sure people understand this isn’t a startup assassination, soundcloud is a dream come true but its not perfect for people uploading mixes. Hopefully this will help improve there service after my tweet on Thursday. Its also worth mentioning that Alex Meyers recommended Mixcloud which seems to be a sound cloud knock off but aimed at djs and radio producers. I’ve yet to really try it out, but I’ll try and give it a shot before posting this blog entry.

Terminology and comments

Here is my latest mix, the geometry set. Soundcloud does a excellent job displaying the waveform, and allowing you to add comments to a part of the track but the terminology is wrong. This isn’t a track, its a mix or some would say a set. Which confuses things even further. Also adding comments to a 60mins mix is tricky at this level. Now before you tell me you can zoom in as such, the point is that comments on a 60-180min mix is kind of a bit of a joke when looking at the wave form like this.

Talking about termology again… What record label do you put the mix under? What catalogue number? What Key and even what BPM? I know there all optional pieces of metadata but it all adds up to a service not very friendly towards mixes.

There use to be an option under type for mixes but thats now gone. The best option I can use to put my mixes under a type is recording or live. Why did mix go away?

Sets and playlists?

Unless you were to upload all your tracks to soundcloud and add them one by one, it seems to be frankly impossible to add a playlist. I end up copying my playlist from a my *.nfo file to the comment field. Ideally Soundcloud would have support for the metadata which dcloud, mixccomes from systems like VirtualDj, Tractor, etc. If not allow me to specify when mixes start and finish. The Pacemaker software I use does actually do this but I want to transfer that metadata over to the web. This may be a problem which can be solved while were hacking the pacemaker.

What I see other people do is add comments to specify the areas of a mix, but to be frank its a bit of a hack and not a very good one at that. Here’s Mark Schouls latest and greatest as a example of how the comment area can be used to hack/divide the mix up.

Even the lets mix has this ability to define a playlist/tracklist by using the metadata of the software your using or allowing you to edit it yourself. Here’s me editing my own mix, one step beyond entropy.

It seems like a hassle but to be honest, if I’m uploading a mix roughly once a month, its going to be worth me doing the hardwork of filling this stuff in. And heck if soundcloud can automaticlly work this out by uploading a file of some kind, even better.

Interestingly Mixcloud does the time stamping straight after you upload a mix. I’ve yet to see how effective it is, but at least it has the option baked into its DNA.

Downloads

I love that Soundcloud supports Creative commons licenses but what bugs me is that you can only upload one type of item. So if for example I upload a Ogg Vorbis file, soundcloud will ask you if you would like to allow them to create a mp3 of that file for the flash player. Great but if you go to download that file (rights permitted, you have to enable this) it will only give the person the choice of the file you uploaded first time. Aka you upload a Ogg, you can only download a Ogg, not the Mpeg3. Even worst you can’t upload multiple files, say for example a low quality version for people to download and a high quality version for those on a better connection.

I usually upload a Mpeg3 because its the most universal, although my pacemaker generates Ogg Vorbis files. I would however like the ability for the Soundcloud to generate alternative versions or for me to upload alternative versions of the same mix.

I would really pay to see an option to dump files to Archive.org because although I like soundcloud, I don’t really trust them to host my files forever. Just like Blip.TV, if its a public or creative commons piece of media, the option should be there to send it to archive.org.

My other concerns are so very small and not really worthy airing in this blog post. But to give you an idea of what I mean, the flash uploader certainly winds me up sometimes. I know theres a html (old skool) uploader but its also a pain to use when uploading a massive mix. Tiny things, nothing major.

End of the day

Soundcloud is great but its really not a great place to put mixes, they could almost do another sound cloud site change a few things around including the business model and make it just for mixes. In actual fact when Alex Myers said about mixcloud, I did think it was soundcloud but setup for mixes.

The Geometry Set

The Geometry Set by cubicgarden

This is my latest mix on my pacemaker. Lots of new tunes and some classics returns.

Its known as just the geometry set, but why? Well most of the mix has something to do with geometry in some way. If you think you can work out the link in each tune, feel free to comment below.

You may have noticed this is also a much shorter mix that I usually do but it didn’t feel the need to be long and drawn out.

Ladies and Gentleman, I present The Geometry Set

The Geometry Set by cubicgarden

  1. Endless Wave (albion remix) – Kamaya Painters
  2. Heal – Electrique Boutique
  3. Arctic Globe – DJ Governor Presents Orjan
  4. Strange Bends (Kyau Vs Albert) – Sebastian Sand
  5. Shadow World – Thomas Bronzwaer
  6. Call The Galaxy Taxi (Martin Roth Nu Style Remix) – Plastic Angel
  7. The Spring – Ernesto and Alex Fisher
  8. Ultra Curve – Cosmic Gate
  9. Exposure – Gareth Emery
  10. Perfect Wave – peter martin pres anthanasia
  11. The string that binds us (8 wonders remix) – Arnej
  12. Intution – Marninx Pres Ecco

The wrong end of irlam walkabout mix

The wrong end of irlam walkabout mix by cubicgarden

Another mix by myself (Dj Cubicgarden). This time its the wrong end of irlam walkabout mix. As you can imagine I did this while walking around Irlam (yes its a real place, near Manchester) and I kind of got a little lost. It was certainly the wrong end of Irlam, as the kiddies started gathering wondering why I was there, and what this weird thing I was clutching was (the pacemaker). Anyway, I made it out of irlam safely but unfortunately without my scooter, which also now needs a new battery.

The mix is far from perfect but its an enjoyable mix of trance. There’s a lot of new stuff mixed in with some old favorites. The problem with walking around doing a mix is you can’t see the screen very well when selecting tunes and things like buying a ticket or showing the inspector your ticket can really put you off the pace of a mix.

Anyway, hope you all enjoy it, here’s the playlist…

  1. Collider – Thomas Bronzwaer
  2. Man on the Run – Dash Berlin with Cerf, Mitlska
  3. Perfect Wave – Peter Martin pres Anthanasia
  4. Ninety – Sander van Doorn
  5. Jelly Tracks (rippin & drippin mix) – Oliver Klein
  6. Roundabout – Sam Sharp
  7. Breathing (push vocal mix) – Rank 1
  8. Off the world (large remix) – Martin Roth and Alex Bartlett
  9. Passionate (fire & ice remix) – Leon
  10. Intution (martin roth remix) – Marninx pres ecco
  11. Into the danger (M.I.K.E remix) – M.I.K.E vs Andrew Bennett
  12. Listening – Aly & Fila feat Josie
  13. Severn Cities (V-One Living Cities remix) – Solar Stone
  14. RAMsterdam (jornvan deynhoven remix) – RAM

The secret garden sunshine mix

The secret garden sunshine mix by cubicgarden

So my latest mix is online, I’m sorry to say I uploaded while at TedXSheffield (it was break time and the wifi was pretty fast). I got to take the wifi as it comes because it looks like I won’t get connectivity till the end of the month now.

As always the mix can be downloaded from soundcloud if the flash player doesn’t take your fancy or you want to listen to it on the go. I would upload a OGG version (the pacemaker defaults to ogg actually, so creating a mp3 version requires extra time and effort) but soundcloud don’t really support versions of the same stuff, I’m considering going back to blip.tv for media uploading. The playlist is below, Yes I really like Thomas Bronzwaer, he’s got a style of trance which really plays to my ear, this is also the reason for Collider twice.

This mix was recorded on my pacemaker while sitting outside in the sunshine of my new shared garden at Islington Wharf. Not my best mixing but entaining and well worth a listen. Thanks to Simon Lumb (@dirtysi) for the new Gouryella remix. I love Gouryella and this remix is pretty true to the original in lot of aspects. Enjoy…

  1. Man on the run – dash berlin with cerf
  2. Perfect Wave – peter martin pres anthanasia
  3. The strings that bind us – Arnej
  4. Be with me – Coast 2 coast feat Amanda Jami
  5. Collider – Thomas Bronzwaer
  6. denva – Ronski Speed
  7. Massive Motion – M.I.K.E
  8. Rainmaker – des mcmahon
  9. North Pole – Nitrous Oxide
  10. Sincere (pulsar remix) – Firewall
  11. The pride in your eyes (martin roth mix) – Tillmann Uhrmacher
  12. Collider – Thomas Bronzwear
  13. Resound – Thomas Bronzwear
  14. Constellation – Thomas Bronzwear
  15. Gouryella (gigolo remix) – Gouryella

The pulse of a nation mix – Hospital mix

The pulse of a nation mix by cubicgarden

I had a listen to all of my mixes I recorded while in Hospital, and this is certainly the best mix of them all.

This one is certainly the best sounding of the bunch which includes the the amazing recover mix, the outta of hope mix and of course the pulse of a nation mix. Its a good length too at almost a hour long. The mixing isn’t perfect but its good enough for a listen. The choice of tunes is also good, a nice upbeat selection, I must have had a good day the day I recorded this mix. As always enjoy it… oh an you can directly download this mix using this link.

  1. By your side (martin roth remix) – the thrillseekers feat gina do
  2. Strange bends (kyau vs albert) – Sebastian Sand
  3. Grooveline (matt darey) – Blockster
  4. dark side of the moon (marc van linden remix) – Ernesto vs Bastian
  5. Intution (martin roth remix) – Marninx pres ecco
  6. the truth (david west remix) – Headstrong feat Tiff Lacey
  7. Circa Forever (R.E.mix) – Rapid eye
  8. The wave (svenson & gielen remix) – cosmic gate
  9. a new dawn (virtual vault remix) – steve forte rio
  10. So much – Vince Nysse
  11. Ultracurve – cosmic gate

Pacemaker + Sonodrome devices better explained

how pacemaker and sonodrome device can work

I thought I was pretty straight forward with my thoughts about using sonodrome devices with the pacemaker but some people did ask for a clearer description, the picture above this should be all you need.

So instead of plugging the Pacemaker straight into a amp, you plug the line out into the input of a your Sonodrome box. The Sonodrome box can be anything you want to build, I really want to build a Flanger Effect box on my first go, something I love playing with when djing but is sadly lacking from the pacemaker right now. Once you attach the output of the Sonodrome box to the Amp your away pretty much. I know you can buy effect peddles which do the same thing but there usually so heavy, made for bands, use external power and look like crap. What I would build would be unfussy, simple and small enough to throw in the bag alongside the pacemaker for live events.

A couple words of warning however.

The Sonodrome box, needs to deliver totally clean sound when not in use, because un/plugging it mid set would be a nightmare. So no amplification at 0 I guess. The Box should aid that feeling of movement, so big fat buttons and the like. They also need to be pretty solid when mounted, as there expected to get quite a lot of abuse.

There’s also some advantages to this type of setup, like taking a 3.5inch stereo jack on the input but having a selectable 5.5inch jack or even a XLR on the output. The projects seem pretty straight easy to follow. The one idea which really interests me a lot is the wiimote one. With bluetooth and a few selectable effects it should be straight forward to farm all the changes to the accelerometers on a wiimote instead. Although I can kind of imagine how it would work, I have no idea how much work it would take, maybe I’d be better asking someone to build it for me and paying them instead. Any takers?

Digital Djing finds its niche? Welcome the Pacemaker

Pacemaker

Ok I saw this for the first time on the Gadget Show of all places the other day. They only showed it briefly but in that short 2mins I was blown away.

The Pacemaker is simply a digital mpeg3 mixer in portable form. In actually fact its dual mpeg3 players with a koas pad and mini mixer in one portable little unit. Simply amazing… what kills me is this device seems so perfect. Maybe this is the future of digital mixing? Finally something to separate the analogue djs from the true digital djs. The only thing which could make this device better is a drop in price, a real time waveform display, bluetooth 2.0 audio/input support and some tactile feedback.

Anyway enough chatter, go to the site and check it out. I'm number 2157 2738 in the queue for this amazing device.

Your queue number is No. 2738

This pre-booking is a non-binding reservation that guarantees you a specified place in line. To convert your pre-booking to a mutually binding order, we shall require delivery address information and full payment.

Your pre-booking includes the Pacemaker 120 GB pocket-size DJ system, line-out/RCA cable, power adapter, USB cable and quick user guide.

The price is 520 Euro, plus taxes and shipping costs. First shipments are scheduled for February 2008.

Before delivery, we will contact you with a request of delivery address details and final payment. Should you wish not to proceed with this purchase, your pre-booking will be cancelled and your queue number will be lost.

To view your queue number and booking status, log in at the Pre-booking section on www.Pacemaker.net

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