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LeMMA is now open-source

It has been my intention to open source LeMMA for some time already, but I’ve been sitting on it. I’ve finally got around to releasing LeMMA under the GPL. The codes are now at https://github.com/geksiong/LeMMA.

What’s next? I admit I have not been updating LeMMA and have not been keeping up with MMA development. If anyone has ideas how to take LeMMA to the next level, I would like to hear from you.

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LeMMA 0.9 alpha

I’ve been sitting on a couple of features for quite a while now. Here they are:

  • Want to play in different key? Now you can transpose chords!
  • Added support for PyGame midi engine. PyGame’s timidity player is a bit outdated, but it’s an alternative to using an external player software.

Also, for python 2.4 users who found that the last version broke for you. This release should fix that problem.

Download the latest version of LeMMA.

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Got myself an Asus eeePC 1000HE yesterday. It’s a 10-inch Atom N280-powered “netbook”. I chose this one over other netbooks mainly because of the better keyboard (I tried but can’t type properly on the others) and the longer battery life (claims to run for 7.5-9 hours). The keys are large and flat (aka MacBook style) compared to the smaller bevelled keys on most other netbooks.

First thing I did was to downsize the Windows partition and install Ubuntu 8.10 via USB. It took me a while to figure out how to boot from the USB drive: plug into the left port, then turn on the machine, quickly press F2 to get into BIOS, and set the boot order for hard disk. That’s sooo intuitive… Anyway, the partitioning and installation went smoothly, and after that I could still boot into Windows without it realising it has been packed into a smaller room.

The Wifi, touchpad and soundcard worked out-of-the-box. Ubuntu can’t seem to detect the special Fn function keys though, and mistook the “external monitor” toggle for “increase volume”. I mapped them to the Windows key which is not used anyway, so no worries. Not sure what happened to the external monitor toggle though. Frankly, despite having used Ubuntu for a number of years now, I still have yet to try attaching an external monitor. 🙂

The touchpad is actually an Elantech, not a Synaptics. It has multi-touch capabilities, but it’s a little erratic (under Windows too). I also missed edge scrolling – the two-finger scroll is novel but I personally don’t find it very practical. I’ll have to experiment to see if they can be worked around.

Performance-wise, there’s not much to expect – it’s an Atom after all. It does seem to perform a little better than my venerable Pentium M laptop.

So far, other than the weird USB boot setting in the BIOS, I think I don’t really have anything to complain about.

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Update: This problem has been fixed in Virtual 2.1.2.

This must be wrong season to try out VirtualBox. Previously I had the problem with shared folders in a WinXP guest, then I decided to set up a minimal Ubuntu guest on my Vista machine at work, to act as a development/test server, but I ran into another problem – port forwarding is broken in VirtualBox 2.1.0!

It took me the better part of the day to figure that one out. I eventually switched to Virtual 2.0.6 which works. Sure I can use the host network interface, but I’m using dhcp and I don’t want to keep looking up my latest dynamic IP…

Yep, it’s definitely not yet ready for prime time, but hey, it’s released under a ‘Personal Use and Evaluation’ license, so I guess I shouldn’t complain.

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I’ve been a happy Ubuntu user for a couple of years now. Just for fun I was trying out VirtualBox to see how well WinXP will run in a VM on my old Dell laptop, when I encountered a nasty problem with the VM hanging and hitting 100% CPU when I tried to access a shared folder. Then I found out there was a bug with the Guest Additions driver for WinXP. You can find details and instructions here. Seems to work well. And I found out that audio performance sucks in a VM, which was one of the reasons why I wanted to try this in the first place – I still occasionally run a few audio-related Windows apps under Wine but imperfectly.

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White Christmas

It’s been 10 years since I did a guitar arrangement of this song, and it’s been a while since I last recorded anything. So finally here’s the “official” recording done by yours truly, 32Kbps low bitrate version since I want to save bandwidth. This is played on my electric, which I still can’t get the hang of (I very much prefer the feel of nylon strings). I recorded this to minidisk first, then recorded in Ubuntu, using Kristal over Wine, but there are some skips due to buffer underruns. I remember there are some tweaks I’m supposed to do but I think they were lost with the last OS upgrade. This is the one thing I missed from Windows. Anyway, enjoy and merry christmas!

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CSS Frameworks

I just found out about BluePrintCSS, a CSS framework. Interesting idea. CSS purists might not like this because it breaks the ideal of clean separation of form and content, but I’ve yet to really see people adhere to the ideal in practice. At my day-job, I have already started to introduce the use of JQuery in my projects, so that my developers can hopefully write more maintainable javascript. Perhaps this might be a way to get them to build nice-looking websites quickly. At least I might free them from having to struggle with convoluted table layouts, and horrible CSS styling (I’m not referring to visual aesthetics here) created by so-called “web designers” armed with Dreamweaver – a dangerous combination if you ask me.

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