Monday, February 16, 2015

Getting Line 6 POD Studio UX2 to work on Linux

I was blessed to have a friend who lent me their recording gear. Here's what I did with it =P

Seek and you shall find

Luckily, someone (Markus Grabner) wrote a driver for Line 6 devices on Linux here:
Their website is here:
Note the link to the source code on that webpage is old - the latest should be v0.9.1beta not v0.8.1

Getting the latest version

Using svn to checkout the repo and make didn't work (I got a bunch of errors, possibly due to using svn to clone the repo causing the make command to create a bad revision.h file. I also got errors from driver.c

To get around the errors, I tried downloading the zip from sourceforge here:
(Click "Download Snapshot"). 

After that, just unzip, go to the "drivers" folder, "trunk" branch then $make and #make install inside that directory. Btw, for dependences, you need gcc, make, your kernel's headers (e.g. linux-headers-generic), and alsamixergui + pavucontrol (for later).

Here's a nice article about ./configure, make and #make install.

Plugging it in

Now for the harder part, thanks to bkmfs2 on the forums in the 1st link of this post we have:
#Then you have to find your soundcard with:
cat /proc/asound/cards
#This tells you how your Line 6 device viewed by the computer ('hw:' number).
#Replace 'hw:1' with whatever shows up for your sound card when you type:
alsamixergui -D hw:1
#You HAVE TO turn the 'monitor' slider all the way down or things will crash (unless the 'svn' site has a newer version that fixes this).
#Just so you know, the thing is a little volitile but I was able to use my Line 6 UX2 with jack-audio with (so far) dependable success.
#Just F.Y.I., I bought a M-Audio MobilePre the other day and it works right out of the box.

I didn't have to get alsamixergui to select the device to control - I use Audacity and it allows you to switch between devices.
My favourite audio setup/control tool on linux has to be pavucontrol although I couldn't use it for audio in and I could use Audacity to select the hw2:0 device for recording, letting me record.

By using the monitor turned up to 100% in the alsamixergui, I was able to hear the input from my mic, albeit quite distorted. It obviously was more clipped when I turned up the "phones" dial and/or turned up the monitor signal from aslamixergui. This is mentioned in 4.3.5 of the driver doc manual PDF (from Markus Grabner's website), but I haven't been able to fix it yet. The PCM audio works phone though, using the computer to play to the phones without clipping.

I decided to get the full experience dual-booting into Windows and using POD farm (didn't want to set up WINE/VM as I was short on time and didn't want to troubleshoot any errors that would come up). However, I didn't have time to do that either (only effectively had one afternoon) so I just stuck with recording in Audacity on Linux.

Yes, this means you might get to see some art/annihilation related projects released soon showcasing the results.

This week in space & tech

My personal live launch watching pics:

Sunday, January 4, 2015

This week in space & tech - linkdump; AND SPACE JOBS IN AUSTRALIA WOO!!

Personal updates:
Read Scrum & XP from the trenches - nice practical examples in a 'book'.
Read it as study for my exam - I can see CIG has implemented the manual acceptance testing as the PTU with testers not part of the team =)
-prototyping implementation in practice
solid snake "For realz" xP

Russia launches 38 times to deliver 80 satellites, being the country with the most launches in 2014. More (not so up-to-date) info here:
Also, SpaceX scrubs the planned year for future launches in their manifest: (since they don't usually fulfil the planned # of flights for the current year).
old but nice history lesson =P They're hoping to add the 1st people ever to land a reusable 1st stage on a floating platform soon (this year, as close as this next launch) =) More Elon Musk 

Lastly, how SpaceX can disrupt the industry when they demonstrate a landing of their 1st stage (obviously)!

And WOW! YES! I think I just found the 1st space related job in software/electronics that I'm really interested in, in Australia! Too bad I ain't graduated yet. >.> Still, makes me psyched for work and motivated to learn/work hard seeing there are these opportunities in Australia!
Albeit a academic job/employer ... See:

Here's some quotes just in case they pull the job postings off that webpage in the future.
Professional posting:
School of Engineering and Information Technology

Flight Software Engineer – Spacecraft R&D

Ref: SEIT 30626
  • Level 6: $75,373 - $80,406pa (+17% super)
  • Level 7: $82,672 - $89,477pa (+17% super)
As a member of the UNSW Canberra spacecraft team, the Flight Software Engineer will lead and manage the development and participate in the software-and-hardware-in-the-loop testing of the on-board flight software and ground control software for single and multiple spacecraft cubesat-class flight missions.
For additional information about this position, please contact Russell Boyce on (02) 6268 8056 or email
(5 year - Fixed term)
Applications Close: 9:00 am on 12 January 2015
Important: Before you apply, please have ready your Application (addressing the Selection Criteria) and your Resume, combined into a single DOC, DOCX or PDF file no greater than 5MB, as this will be required for uploading when you have completed the online application form.

And another professional posting:
School of Engineering and Information Technology

Spacecraft Project Lead

Ref: SEIT 30627
  • Level 8: $92,416 - $104,126pa (+17% super)
  • Level 9: $107,408 - $113,971pa (+17% super)
As the lead of the UNSW Canberra spacecraft flight team, the Spacecraft Project Lead will provide the overall systems engineering and technical leadership and management for the design, development, acquisition, integration, testing, launch, operation and decommissioning of cubesat-class satellites and satellite formations. This is NOT a broad banded position, please see the PD for more details.
For additional information about this position, please contact Russell Boyce on (02) 6268 8056 or email
(5 year - Fixed term)
Applications Close: 9:00 am on 12 January 2015
Important: Before you apply, please have ready your Application (addressing the Selection Criteria) and your Resume, combined into a single DOC, DOCX or PDF file no greater than 5MB, as this will be required for uploading when you have completed the online application form.

And the academic position:
School of Engineering and Information Technology

Research Associate - Space Surveillance

  • Level A: $66,311 - $88,415 pa (+ 17% super)
As part of significant investment in a flagship research initiative, UNSW Canberra is developing the in-house capability to underpin innovative, routine and affordable in-orbit space research. This capability will focus on launches of cubesat-class spacecraft, initially single satellites but quickly moving to the development of distributed, networked experiments and sensors across formations or assemblies of such spacecraft. Please see the Information Sheet and Position Description for more details.
For additional information about this position, please contact Russell Boyce on (02) 6268 8056 or email
(5 year - Fixed term)
Applications Close: 9:00 am on 12 January 2015
Important: Before you apply, please have ready your Application (addressing the Selection Criteria) and your Resume, combined into a single DOC, DOCX or PDF file no greater than 5MB, as this will be required for uploading when you have completed the online application form.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Space & Tech newsdump

Busy with uni work and yes, projects! =P
[need to finish an Android app in two 1-week sprints that allows year 10 students to learn functional programming by doing it!]
So as pointed out already, I'll abandon the idea of posting news items as blog articles regularly. This doesn't mean I'll stop posting all news type articles though!

Because I don't want to spend the time regurgitating news articles in nice English, here's a link dump of noteworthy articles in the past few weeks: (it also serves as a personal favourite/bookmarker =P) =D

Why CSIRO is important:
Tesla finally updates their website to show superchargers on the Hume Hwy in 2015! YESS!! Can't wait to drive a Tesla from MEL-CBR! =)

Monday, November 17, 2014

Space and Tech update - This week in Space! & Tech!

Had the webpages going for a blog post, decided now that I'm on holiday (for a week) I've gotta work on actual stuff including projects instead of blogging news. So here's a list of somewhat outdated links/quick rundown.
- yay for Google acquisitions and diversifying into hardware tech =) I might actually want to work for google's hardware subsidiaries if I could =D
- we landed on a comet
- technically a robot did but whatever, also got great pics
- and xkcd did live updates on it
 - wow, I thought we were behind on this project, oh wait, that was the horribly executed SLS. How did they manage to screw up everything in both the analysis and design phases? I mean they wrote the book on Systems Eng and SDLC.
 - they're not gonna use the 40 year old (built) engines anymore. yay.

EDIT: Forgot Virgin Galactic news - looks to resume tests in 2015
- Feathering system deployed early
- NTSB last daily briefing

- Interesting ... open source big leagues now?
- Still wouldn't trust them with my dev environment though. Even after all those great trust building things they've done in the past. /sarcasm

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Flying cars - the Jetsons are go; Star Citizen updates including a really cool graphics webpage

Here's some news of cool stuff so my posts this week aren't all disheartening.

Here's a video of a testflight of a car that turns into a plane and back again!

 __________________________breaking like a boss___________________________________________

Here's a: really cool webpage showcasing a data-based (interception, hacking, courier, transfer) spaceship from Star Citizen.

If you're logged in, it has a nice personalisation showing your profile as the only one not yet eliminated! =P There's also a nifty 'decrypt page' button to reveal the unscrambled data on the webpage. =)

Also, release 13 or Arena Commander v0.9.2 has been released:

Virgin Galactic spacecraft crashes with a test pilot killed.

Unfortunately, more sad news this week, this time all the more sadder with a death and another in hospital.

No doubt this disaster will take a toll on the Virgin Galactic team as it did on Burt Rutan in 2007.

Looks like another engine failure for this week, this time with a solid rocket that apparently exploded. They have already tested powered flights 3 times and unpowered - gliding flights over 20 times.
I've always liked liquid engines more with their increased capabilities including throttling and manual engine stop, which is obviously a plus for safety.

With SpaceX making things look so easy (including soft-landings on the ocean) with their in-house manufactured and tested Falcon 9 (and Merlin engines), these recent events have reminded us all of how dangerous the frontier of space can be, especially with rocket engines being in a whole different class compared to conventional combustion engines or even turbojet engines you'd get in airplanes.

BBC has more coverage. (with eye witnesses)

and so does (warning,'s 2nd video has slightly graphic description of the aftermath).

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

SpaceX landing on floating platform in the ocean CONFIRMED! =P && Antares (by Orbital Sciences) explodes. =( UPDATED

SpaceX landing on floating platform in the ocean CONFIRMED! =P

So Elon Musk has confirmed SpaceX will attempt to land on a floating platform 90m*50m for their next Falcon 9 flight. YAY!

Florida Today:
He estimated no better than a 50-50 chance of a successful platform landing on the first attempt.
"So I think we're quite close," he said.
“We actually have a huge platform that’s being constructed in a shipyard in Louisiana right now,” Musk said in the interview, which was webcast live. He described the platform as about 90 meters long by 50 meters wide. “We’re going to try and land on that on the next flight.
“There’s at least a dozen launches that will occur over the next 12 months,” Musk said. “I think it’s quite likely — probably 80 to 90 percent likely — that one of those flights will be able to land and refly.” coverage:


Antares (by Orbital Sciences) explodes. =(

Sadly, the Antares rocket has exploded seconds after launch for their CRS-3 mission:

From simple visual inspection of this video, it seems like an engine failure for one or both engines - from the small engine flash and subsequent smoke; (or other failure causing engine flame-out or automatic shutdown). Subsequently, with no thrust, the rocket fell back to earth and the impact caused the big explosion.

Cargo carried included normal CRS foodstuffs, experiments, etc, and the Arkyd3 - a testbed for Planetary Resources' telescope satellites, including one which was Kickstarted (including a contribution from yours truly). 

According to Wikipedia, Orbital Sciences hasn't had that many failures, with successes in all Minotaur vehicles and the Pegasus with 3 outright failures and 2 partial successes (on primary payload) early in their launch history.Note that this is in line with many launch vehicle companies including SpaceX, whose Falcon 1 platform was their testbed which failed 3 out of 5 times.

However, SpaceX's Falcon 9 has had no failures except 1 secondary payload failure over its 13 total launches these last 4 years. Add to that: NASA pays $1.6 billion to SpaceX to deliver cargo over 12 missions while they have to pay $1.9 billion to Orbital Sciences for only 8 missions. Add to that each mission delivering more cargo in the Dragon by mass than Orbital Sciences' Cygnus spacecraft. The Cygnus is only superior in delivering more pressurized volume than the Dragon, and can't return cargo to Earth like the Dragon does.

Talk about SpaceX cutting costs and competition savings! (The citizens of USA should be glad SpaceX is now able to compete for USAF/DoD/NRO contracts.) I'm glad it's SpaceX that won the CCDev contract, and has a really cool Dragon V2 crewed spacecraft coming out, designed for reusability and landing by thruster functionality. Hurray for SpaceX reusability - providing sustainable and cheaper access to space!

Dailymail's coverage, in-depth:'s coverage, editor promises updates on this page:


More about the accident and engine here: includes spectator video and sound of explosion:

Press conference at 9pm ET (12pm AEDT, now) on Nasa TV

Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream

More updates to follow probably; from conference:
Emphasis of launch/rocket science and space science being hard (obviously). No injuries, only lost hardware.
Orbital Sciences - will investigate what's wrong, solve the problem and prevent future problems.
Investigation includes evaluating debris (like aircraft investigations [like ATSB]!) - don't touch debris, could be dangerous.
Wallops - good range clearing of safety area.
ISS - incl crew in good shape, have supplies for at least 4-6months always, Progress spacecraft tomorrow, SpaceX on Dec 9, quite a bit of research hardware lost and spare hardware.

Investigation data and everything locked down until investigation process goes through; wait for daytime for debris collecting. Solid propellant burning in area. Contract - provides for ability to eventually get hardware lost on this flight to orbit, Orbital compensates NASA if they don't reach orbit. Launchpad could be damaged, tank pressure sensor readings still available and holding pressure - extent of damage not known until fully investigated.
Engine failure observed in telemetry and visually ~T+10s and range then sent the destruct command ~T+20s, before it hit the ground.
Investigation: Orbital in command, supported very well by NASA and MARS (@Wallops), debris in morning, cameras, telemetry/data. Orbital obviously won't fly until they know and correct the problem.
Insurance - Orbital does have various/some amounts of insurance on their launches.
Engines - Orbital chose to go with this (Russian) engine as there weren't many choices for powerplants of this size, especially in USA, and it was extensively tested and has proved robust. They've also chosen another engine for future Antares, according to the link above providing the video of spectator view. Wonder if they considered using SpaceX's engines =P

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Hoverboards are here!

Nerdist explains:
The Hendo hoverboard uses Lenz law which means it uses currents in the medium below to create magnetic fields to repel those on the hoverboard.

So water can have currents in it, but will that be enough to hover? And you'd probably need rockets to propel you like with Marty McFly's adversary right? =P

Want one? Grab one for $10k at the kickstarter or a dev kit for $300:

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Elon Musk Unveils the 'D' and something else

I really like it when Elon talks nerdy. So Elon Musk unveiled the 'D' - dual motor version of the Model S which means it actually now has better fuel/battery efficiency than the single motor version! The weight is offset by the efficiency gained by dynamically shifting power between front and rear motors during the drive! Check out his reveal below.

But the highlight has to be the autopilot! I've been wanting a car with significant driver assist features like those introduced in the video above. I mean, it's like a bat-mobile (ultrasonics anyone?)! I'm surprised they didn't put the rear-view camera into the sensor mix for autopilot, but I guess the ultrasonics is a much more reliable input, and they could always add in the extra sensor input via software updates. Every car for the past 2 weeks has come from the Tesla factory with all the autopilot hardware!

Features like full computer control, driving to where you want on your private property via your synced calendar (e.g. main entrance to pick you up for work/[LAN] party). He made a Metal Gear Solid pun too!! While telling his engineers of a new feature he'd like!! xDDD Now I'm thinking - forget the Model 3 as my future car purchase when I actually earn full-time, I'm going for the Model S with autopilot second hand haha.

Here are the Autopilot Sensors:
Radar - see through stuff like fog, I'm thinking because of the larger wavelength.
Forward Camera -  CV ftw.
360 Ultrasonar - apparently senses soft material like flesh really well
Satellite/Nav - Includes traffic info (like the creepy Google ones)

Here's Tesla's blogpost. Also, the video below shows the test-drive ride inside:

On the stock note, it dropped a bit after the hype from the twitter post, but Elon's not worried and neither am I. Elon's in this for the sustainability standpoint of long-term sustainable energy use and transportation. Fossil fuels will never be sustainable nor clean.