Readin’

I’ve always bought more books than I can possibly read.

It’s under control, though.  Just a fraction more.  But it means that the section of the bookcase(s) that contain the unread books grows, slowly but inevitably.

That’s fine.

I put the books I read at the top of the bookcase, and the unread ones sort of have a sedimental journey towards the bottom.

So they remain sorted in the order I’ve purchased them, and the ones at the bottom become the ones I never look at, because I assume that they’re something that I’ve determined that I’ll never actually read.

So this “summer” (for some value of) and autumn I’m going to do a grand experiment: I’m going to read an older section.  I picked out at random this one shown on the right there. 

It’s all books bought in 1995, as far as I can tell from circumstantial evidence (copyright notices and the books around them).

And when I say “read”, I mean “try”.  I have no compunction about finishing books.  The second they start to bore me, I ditch them.  There are plenty of books in the world.

I’m going to hazard a guess that that light blue book over there to the right will be ditched toot sweet.  But time will show.

Special CD

I was ripping CDs tonight, and one was giving me more problems than usual.

It was a cd by the band called disc, which is a Matmos offshoot.

I took the CD out of the drive and stared at it a bit.

Oops.  I think it might be one of those conceptual non-playable CDs.  And how did they make these pre-destroyed CDs?

Very inventive.

Software Sucks


The machine that runs my stereo is a seven year old Hush machine.  The last time I rebooted it, it kinda didn’t want to boot at all, except then it did anyway. 

So I’m thinking that it’s probably going off for the fjords one of these days.

To avoid some horrible music-less days I’ve bought a replacement machine.

It has the same stereo-ey form factor, which is nice.

Not a lot on the inside, but it has room for the PCI sound card, which is the important thing.  And no fans, of course.

Heat pipes!  It’s a 2.8GHz Ivy Bridge machine, so it has plenty of oomph.

It has an external PSU, but there’s so much room in the case that I just put it inside.

PCI riser will probably fit the sound card.

Anyway, since I had a new machine to play with, I connected it up to the CD ripping box to see whether I could get higher ripping speeds with this machine.

The computer says no.

So, basically, if I’m ripping straight from the SATA plugs on the main board, and I’m ripping a single CD, I get a ripping speed of 25x.

If I rip three CDs in parallel, I get 8x on each CD.

This is just pitiful.  Four years ago I got over 40x on each CD while ripping in parallel.  Something must have happened to the Linux kernel to make ripping from SATA be dog slow.

Anybody know what?

Too bad I can’t just install a four-year-old kernel.  It won’t support the new chipsets etc, so it just won’t work.

Linux sucks.

Kongsberg Jazz Festival

I’ve been to the Kongsberg Jazz Festival this weekend.

It’s mostly a blur.

I think we saw like a dozen free jazz concerts.  Most of them excellent.

Some stand out in particular.  Like the very quiet and magical John Tilbury concert.  And the very inventive  Augstí Fernández thing.

Oh, and the surprising Selvhenter concert.  And the Per Jørgesen thing.

Trey nice.

John Waters

I’m watching the entire John Waters oeuvre. Well, the bits that are available on DVD.

I’ve reached his last movie, “A Dirty Shame”, from 2004.

The picture is from the point in the DVD “making-of” documentary where Waters says the following:

“It stars Johnny Knoxville, it’s about sex addicts. It’s not explicit and it’s a comedy,  Maybe an NC-17 rating will not hurt this.  But I don’t know, we’ll see.”

2004 is eight years ago.  Boo.

Hardware Sucks

Once upon a time, I had a nice Hush machine with a PCI slot.  It had a SATA Multilane card in it, connected to an external box with three SATA CD-ROMs installed.  I used it to rip the CDs I bought so that I could listen to them.

It was perfect.  It was rock solid.  It was fast.  I got reading speeds of 50x — from all three CD-ROMs simultaneously.  So I got an aggregated speed of 150x when ripping a lot of CDs.  Life was wonderful.

Then the Hush machine died.  And I bought a new, spiffy machine.  That only had a PCI Express slot.  But it had USB3 and E-SATA. 

USB3/SATA adapter

So I first tried connecting the CD-ROMs via a mixture of USB3 adapters and E-SATA.

E-SATA backplane for the box

It kinda worked.  Ripping speeds were not impressive, but OK.  But it was unstable.  It would totally crash the machine like every twenty minutes.

So I tried going with a pure USB3 solution.  Good reading speeds, but equally unstable.  My guess would be that extracting audio from CDs via USB3 hasn’t received a lot of testing in Linux. Which is understandable, but it still sucks.

USB3/SATA PM backplane

Next, I noticed that the Addonics web site listed a SATA Port Multipler/USB3 backplane.  It seemed to say that it would allow just using a single USB3 port, and access all the CD players.  Perhaps that would be stable!

Unfortunately, I didn’t read the fine print.  Accessing the drives individually was only possible when using the SATA Port Multiplier interface, and not the USB3 one.

SATA Port Multiplier card

So I bought a SATA PM-capable card, since the Intel SATA chipset doesn’t do PM.

It almost fit into the machine when I removed the bracket.  And it worked!  And was totally stable.

Unfortunately, it’s dog slow.  When ripping a single CD, I get only 20x.  When ripping CDs in parallel, the speeds vary a lot, but ends up evening out at 8x. 

That’s pitiful.

Which brings us up to date.  Today I got a PCI/PCI Express adapter, which  would allow me to try using the old SATA Multilane card.

PCI Express/PCI Adapter
With the Multilane card installed

Multilane plugs are big

 Now, installing all this into the rather small machine took some… persuasion.

 Bendy CPU coolers FTW.

I installed the Multilane backplane back into the CD-ROM box.

 And….  success?

No.

It’s stable.  It doesn’t crash.  But it’s slow!  Slow!  Ripping a single CD gives me 26x.  Ripping three ones in parallel gives me 10x per CD.  So it seems like it tops out at a bandwidth of 30x aggregated.  That’s pitiful.  My old machine gave me 150x.  Is that progress?

It just seems kinda inconceivable that the machine itself is the bottleneck here.  30x CD is (* 44100 2 2 30) => 5292000 bytes per second.  That is 5MB/s.  That is nothing.  The machine has an Intel SSD.  PCI speed is 133MB/s.  The SSD should do 250MB/s. 

But it doesn’t.

I almost feel like giving up and try to refurbish an old Hush machine, but I’m not sure I have the stamina.

Hardware sucks.