Saturday, January 28, 2006

GNX2 Noise Gate?

Ok... I give up. I can't take it any more. You know, I really like my GNX2 multi-effects pedalboard. I really do...

I took their 'OLD VH' patch and tweaked it into a tone I really dig--for all kinds of rock styles...

Yes... I know... if I had waited another month before purchasing, I could have gotten the GNX3 for the *#$%&@ same price--it has virtually the same features tonality-wise, plus the on-board 8-Track, for whatever it's worth... But no, I could not wait (until after the NAMM show, huh?) so here I am with the GNX2, which (I will admit in most cases) has been quite adequate for my purposes. My "New VH" patch plays/records quite nicely with my Warmoth Soloist (w/ Seymour Duncan Pickups. It's a custom--Warmoth Soloist-style body with a Warmoth Explorer-style neck. It is (by far) the most versatile guitar I have owned, yet I still do not have a way-cool name for it. 'Warmoth Soloist' does not sound very way-cool to me, even if it does describe it quite well...)

Ok... Well, to the point. The GNX2 has a really freakin' crappy noise gate. You get a 'threshold' and that is about all. (Yes, there is 'attack' amongst the parameter choices for this 'effect' but what use is it??)

WHERE is the FADE for the NOISE GATE? Who (besides (old-school) Helmet wannabes) wants their guitar sound to suddenly cease? I would love to create a patch with ultimate sustain that gradually dies out as my bridge JB starts brining in the noise...

Well, here's to hoping the GNX3000 (or Boss GT8) does a better job in this regard, as I look to the future...

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Server Change Control

Here is a great idea that I just came across this evening. Use Subversion version control to manage server configuration changes.


When you have almost 200 Unix, Linux, and Mac OS X servers, you must know who, when, and what has changed in that file in /etc on server #153. Subversion is perfect for this. All of our sysadmins use Subversion when they create or modify configuration files, so we have a central repository of changes to our systems.

We can roll back configs, compare files in two similar (but not identical) systems, create "system skeletons" for fast system reconfiguration, and keep a vigilant eye out for changes in a centralized way. Subversion is not for developers only!

Brilliant! If your latest change in configuration breaks one of your servers, your safe.


Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Malmsteen Shred

Part of the whole blog thing (for me) is to post stuff that interests... me! Computer hacks, guitar related stuff, etc. I found this one tonight. I don't know what it is about Yngwie Malmsteen, but people either love him or hate him--most of the time. I fall in somewhere in the middle I suppose: I respect his ability and talent. This video is interesting because it demonstrates a crucial aspect of shredding--economy of motion. He's barely moving his hands yet still playing the fastest runs alive! Check it out...

Arpeggios From Hell

PS I have to wonder if you can really play this stuff without a scalloped neck (not that I could afford one, mind you, still... I wouldn't mind seeing Kirk Hammett studying this piece and going up head-to-head with Mr. M. on this one--on Hammett's own custom (non-scalloped) ESP of course (why else do you have a custom with your name on it, huh?) That would be interesting. G3 kinda interesting, you know? I wouldn't mind springing for a ticket to that...

PPS OK... I am watching Malmsteen at the Denver G3 show (linked above)... I have to admit, as far as pure shred goes, this guy is it... Straight out of the '80s baby and right in your face!

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Local Google Video

Ack! Google! What were they thinking? I (among others) no sooner post that you can download videos from then they decide that you must download their proprietary viewer. What?! Why???? DRM? Please...

Maybe I shouldn't be quite so accusatory. Maybe this appeases the DRM fanatics? Who knows?

At any rate, if you want to download the AVI or the Google FLV files of a particular Google hosted video, go here and I'm sure you'll get a clue. If not, you might want to examine the GVP file Google offers you for manual download...

I personally do not feel that Google has gone the way of all the rest [cough,... Sony DRM AUDIO CD's... cough ... choke ... gag ... puke ... ] . You can still download the video files that they host without any [real] restrictions. I sincerely hope that they [of all] continue this practice. If they adopt a more restrictive policy I would most certainly be concerned about the future of ideas amongst our global internet community...


Sunday, January 08, 2006

Electrified Canon In D

Even if you don't play guitar, this is worth a listen (I say listen instead of watch because there is really not much to see. Anyway...)

I just happened across this on Google Video today. I've heard a lot of folks ruin this piece but this guy has a really nice tone going with his Strat and a pretty rocking technique too. I think this is his site, at any rate you can get the backing track and tabs for this rendition from it. Here are the relevant links:
  • Guitar Pro
    • I make no endorsements for this product, I've never used it. However, the tablature for the rendition above is saved in it's native format. This is how they describe their product: Guitar Pro is a multitrack tablature editor for guitar, banjo and bass. Besides writing scores, Guitar Pro is a complete tool for young and accomplished guitarists alike to progress, compose, or simply accompany themselves.
  • DGuitar
    • You can use this viewer to display the tablature above. This is a GPL'd viewer described as follows: DGuitar is a [Java-based] Guitar Pro (*.GP4,*.GP3,GTP) viewer, player that works under Linux,MacOs,Solaris,BSD,Windows and any other Operational System that has Java Runtime Environment 1.4 or later installed.
  • Want to save Google Video locally? This article explains how to do it (for FireFox users) and provides the needed Greasemonkey extensions. Google has now implemented the ability to do so (Win/Mac/iPod/PSP).
Updated 9 January 2006: No FireFox hack needed to save Google videos as of today, and you can embed them in your own pages if you wish--so I did!


Saturday, January 07, 2006

Security: Perfect Passwords?

There are a number of tools, scripts, websites, etc. that claim they will generate cryptographically strong "random" (technically, pseudo-random) passwords for you. I found this on the GRC site (you know, the guys that gave us the ShieldsUp! firewall test?) the other day. It looks like a well-conceived design and you access it via SSL to keep your new passwords private.
Generating long, high-quality random passwords is not simple. So here is some totally random raw material, generated just for YOU, to start with.

Every time this page is displayed, our server generates a unique set of custom, high quality, cryptographic-strength password strings which are safe for you to use...

Now you just need to figure out a secure method of storing these 64 character passwords unless you have a photographic memory...


Diggdot Your Nerd News

Slashdot... Digg... Slashdot... Digg...

Forget about it! Get the best of both & more with!
Digg, slashdot, and - this is a constant browsing cycle for us. So why not combine them into a unified format without all the extra chrome? We can eliminate dupes and add some extra niceities.
Now that's what I'm talkin' about! Do you use FireFox? Click on the little RSS icon in the address line and the Add Live Bookmark dialog will open. Add it to Bookmarks Toolbar and you're done! Click that bookmark in your toolbar and you have thirty or so of the latest, most popular geek stories ready and waiting for you. Gotta love it!


Sunday, January 01, 2006

Automatically Coralize Front Page Diggs

I enjoy Digg. Very useful. Unfortunately, it seems that more often then not once a story link is good enough for the front page it quickly suffers from the 'Digg Effect' (similar in every respect to the famed 'Slashdot Effect'--the host cannot handle all of the requests coming in for the website, so now no one can access the site).

I propose a simple solution to this dilemma. The Coral Content Distribution Network. See the link for the particulars if you are not familiar with this technology. It's wonderfully simple to take advantage of it. You just append " to the hostname of any URL, and your request for that URL is handled by Coral!"

Take Groklaw at for example. Very popular blog, sometimes too popular to even access. If it's getting slammed and you can't reach it, Coralize it. The address you would enter in your browser would be That's all you do, and it's added to the Coral Cache.

Easy, right? There is even a FireFox extension that lets you Coralize any link with a click of the mouse...

My proposal would be extremely easy to implement in the case of Digg. They simply add code to the site so that a story link would automatically get Coralized as soon as it hit the Digg frontpage (the most popular stories/links). No more 'Digg Effect'--the linked site remains up for all to enjoy. Now, this really needs to happen as soon as the link hits the Digg homepage because it has been my experience (and I am sure I am not alone) that if you try to Coralize a link after it is already getting pounded with requests, it's too late because Coral cannot cache it if it can't access the site or link. It ends up in the same predicament as the rest of us.

Automatically Coralizing a story link when it hits frontpage status on Digg would be the ideal solution for all of us, IMO.


Bitorrent: KANOTIX 2005-04 for AMD64

I can't find an 'official torrent' in the release announcement for this distro so I have created a decentralized torrent via Azureus magnet link for it:


The magnet link may work for other clients as well.

I found this torrent available for this version of Kanotix from Linux Tracker:

I'm dropping the magnet link. Use the torrent like above instead, if interested.

Release information
Note: The site informs us, "Please: Burn Image in DAO-Mode"
HTTP Download links & md5sum info

KANOTIX information:
* Kanotix is a rock-solid Linux based on Debian-Sid, which contains the newest packages and recognizes more modern hardware than any other operating system in use today.

* Kanotix is assembled for 32 Bit i586 and for AMD 64 using the most up-to-date kernel with unique patches.

* Kanotix will run as a LIVE-CD on practically any computer -- automatically detecting and configuring virtually any piece of hardware. It is ideal for analysis, data rescue, forensic work, removal of viruses on Win-PCs - or simply for safe surfing and mailing in an internet cafe. It installs to your hard drive in just a few minutes and is ideal for use on your desktop workstation or notebook, or as a server.
Updated 4 January 2006: Remove Azureus magnet link for Linux Tracker torrent.