Josef “Jeff” Sipek


The Confusing World of USB

Amateur Radio License Map

Topographic maps

VHF/UHF Line of Sight Calculator

Hey What’s That — Line of sight calculator

Radio Mobile Online — RF coverage estimator

Telnet Access to DX Clusters and Reverse Beacon Network

FCC M3 Map of Effective Ground Conductivity in the US for AM Broadcast Stations

The Official U.S. Time

FreeBSD Sound: ALSA & Qt

Sound in FreeBSD is somewhat complicated because of the various portability and compatibility shims. Last week, I hit an annoying to diagnose situation: I plugged in a USB sound card and while the kernel and some applications detected it just fine, other applications didn’t seem to notice it at all.

At first, I thought it was a Qt issue since only Qt applications appeared broken. But then, mere minutes before emailing a FreeBSD mailing list, I managed to find a hint that it was likely an ALSA on FreeBSD issue. Some searching later, I learned that in order for ALSA to see the device, it needed a mapping to the actual OSS device.

So, after adding the following to ~/.asoundrc, any ALSA application (and therefore any Qt application) that tries to list the sound devices will see a “ft991a” device:

pcm.ft991a {
	type oss
	device /dev/dsp3

To make it more explicit, without adding the above stanza to .asoundrc:

  1. OSS applications work fine.
  2. PortAudio applications work fine.
  3. ALSA applications did not see the device.

With the stanza, everything seems to work.

Marion's Attic

Today, while spending some quality time on IRC, a link to Marion’s Attic appeared on my screen. Instead of describing what’s going on, I’ll just quote the website:

My show features recorded music with the original records from the 1890’s to the early 1930’s. The theme of the show varies each week. One week may feature early brown wax cylinders and another week may have 20’s dance music. Two-minute wax, Blue Amberols, and Diamond Disc Recreations are featured frequently.

I listened for about 30 mins, and it was quite interesting to hear recordings over 100 years old.

We Build This City

Wow. Just wow. Today, I was listening to the radio on my way to work (CBS FM if you must know), and We Build This City came on. Fun song if you ask me. Near maybe 2/3 of the song, there are these few seconds where there is a “news radio station”-type segment. Well, CBS decided to have some fun, and they had the voice of the dude doing the show at the time properly distorted to make it sound like the original. He of course plugged CBS, but it was awesome :)

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