March 24, 2023

Chat control courage

Listening to podcasts comes pretty easy to me. Chat control is a outrageous piece of privacy-violating (privacy-ending even, when it comes to online chat) leglislation which must be stopped. (How bad? Bad enough that it goes against the Universal declaration of human rights.) We made an episode of Kodsnack about it, and I have listened to several other podcast episodes discussing it in depth.

But this one, I suddenly find myself bracing for. It is the podcast episode I have been hoping for, one where Ylva Johansson - the driving politician behind this insanity - talks to someone with deep technical knowledge, someone who is also able to explain technical issues and their consequences in a fantastic way. That some one is in this case the excellent security expert and technology inspirer Karl Emil Nikka. Simply put, it is one of those dream cases.

"Surely, if Ylva just got to talk to the right person, she would understand the problem?"

That is rarely the case of course, and the podcast is much too short to have the time to dig into very many things at all. So I am excited to hear what and how Karl Emil says and how Ylva might respond, but I am also set up to be disappointed. Part of me just wants to dig in and wonder if Ylva actually believes the thing she is pushing for, if she has read and understands all of it, if she has consulted any technical experts before, and wonder if she has been handed this whole thing by someone with profit or power motives of their own.

But what good does that kind of thinking do me? Demonizing the person who disagrees you is one of the great problems of our times. So what to do instead? Listen more to people, I think. Stop bracing and start listening. And, in the ever-challenging step two, preferably start actually interacting with people of like and differing views. Do some part to get involved and, hopefully, nudge things a little bit in the right direction in a constructive way.

Stop bracing and start listening. Just half an hour, you can do it!

Then … find out how to leave feedback to some EU parliamentarian I guess? Make voice heard and all that.

Try to make the world a slightly better place.

March 23, 2023

The editor edits

While not yet at perfection, I eventually got my sound processing to a place I really liked yesterday. Beautiful silence where there previously was keyboard rattling and breath noises, beautiful lack of reverb where previously it was very clear. I think I can back off some more and get more natural sound, but this was a great start to something repeatable.

Pity I did not write down exactly what I did and which settings I used. Always a next time to improve things … But look, RX to the rescue again: the history panel tells me I simply ran dialogue de-reverb followed by dialogue isolate.

I also did some very quick searching and discovered that RX 10 seems to support batch processing and the like. This would be really perfect for me. I imagine feeding all my recorded audio through RX 10 as soon as I finish recording so that I have processed files just waiting for me as soon as I sit down to edit. Yes, look at that nice batch processing window. Who is a good window?

Nice vision, right? There are probably lots of strange twists to the path there, but I like having something to aim for. Plus, it could give my Mac mini some more real work to stretch its legs a bit more often.

A bonus I did not expect was that having nicely processed audio made editing more fun. I am not sure why, but it was definitely a thing. Perhaps it is simply the fact that much fewer edits are needed? I am quite aggressive about cutting little noises whenever possible, so I most likely did a lot fewer cuts than I otherwise would have. Or perhaps it was the pleasure of comparing the processed track to the unprocessed one I had sitting on a muted track just below it, making me notice just how great the difference was between them. Perhaps the fun of putting my machines to more work?

Anyway, episode 348 of Björeman // Melin // Åhs will probably be out by the time you read this, and I think it is a good one even without taking its sound profile into account.

(The new coffee was good too.)

March 22, 2023

Recording mishaps

It was bound to happen eventually. Really, it is a wonder that it has not happened before, or even multiple times.

Last night, I started recording Björeman // Melin // Åhs about twenty minutes after we started talking 🤦. (Then Zencastr seems to have had its own screwup recording my audio, but at that point I was properly recording myself again, so it will not bother anyone.) We decided to start over, basically going through the first half of our notes document again.

This second run was surprisingly different than the first one. We had all half assumed that it would end up being a somewhat less natural re-run, summarizing what we had already said without the energy. Instead, we ended up on quite different tangents, and the energy was just the same as always. Perhaps the first attempt was more of a dress rehersal? No, I am not thinking that we should rehearse before we podcast, but perhaps it is not such a bad thing if we happen to discuss topics a little bit beforehand. That is, perhaps we should ignore the classic thought of "save it for the show".

I am writing this while giving RX 10 a chance to process the audio we recorded. Room noise and reverb is definitely not just for on-site recordings. With the time it takes, I need to somehow work it into my day as a background activity, because when I get the time to sit down and edit I definitely do not want to spend ten minutes looking at progress bars before I can begin.

So much to learn, and still so many plugins to try and read up on. One nice thing about RX 10 is that their help pages are quite extensive, and linked directly from the interface. They also often include tips on which settings you may want to use for various situations, rather than just list them all and what they do technically. So far, I seem to find dialogue de-reverb and dialogue isolate to provide the highest amount of the results I want for the lowest amount of effort (aside from patient waiting), and I imagine that is because they are very large hammers which are the easiest to start smashing things with before you have deeper knowledge.

Aaah, look at how nice and quiet I can make those quiet sections! Too bad I overdid it and silenced some actual talk as well … Too bad re-trying takes another couple of minutes of waiting because I still lack the eye to find suitable small sections of track to try before I go wild and process the whole track. This grasshopper needs to work on his patience.


Wait, I have new coffee to try as well! What a lovely day!

March 21, 2023

Björeman's law of social interactions

Hanging out with people is always even nicer than expected, even if you take Björeman's law into account.

Music corner

I spent a full day at the office again. Early to arrive, relatively late to leave. Got stuff done, even put my three-song playlist to use as focus music for a while. Since I was at the office, I had only brought my Airpods, so I got my music through them instead of my usual large headphones.

I like the sound of my music a lot better in large headphones. There is just no … weight to it. Using Soundsource to add a little bit of bass boost helped a bit, but it still sounded nowhere as full and pleasant as it does in my big headphones.

All of which is, of course, no surprise at all. Just another reason Airpods never really spark joy for me.

Patch corner

I had another one of those great interactions with users of Podcast chapters last night. A bug report via email, with crash log attached no less, on request quickly followed up with a sample file which let me reproduce the problem and build a patched version within minutes. I spent more time getting tripped up by what seemed like temporary bad weather on Apple's server causing various strange errors when I tried to submit the build for review than I did actually changing or verifying code.

That was just the quick fix though. I am looking forward to the proper fix, which involves re-discovering the reasons behind some odd shortcuts I seem to have taken when parsing data present in the MP3 file before Podcast chapters has processed it. It will probably not be a huge thing to fix, and could well be on the level of a one-liner in the right place, but I would not trust myself enough to attempt something like that late on a Monday night.

Not on a Tuesday night either, by the feel of things right now.

But it could be fun on a Wednesday night.


Look at this. Then agree with me that any Tetris movie or show has a pretty high bar to reach before it can be considered good enough.

March 20, 2023


Me, Monday morning, waiting for the coffee:

Tired-looking dachshund Tired-looking dachshund

Oh well, time to fire up that repeat playlist and see where the week will take me … I predict "to the coffee pot" will be a frequent answer …

Speaking of doing things, it has been years since I broke my streak/compulsion to fill the Apple watch rings every day, yet I still feel bad on days when I do not manage to do it without some kind of "good reason". Is it not great to have all this technology available, so that I can make myself feel bad for relaxing, while relaxing, thus not doing that right either?

To turn it back in the right direction: I took it pretty easy yesterday, and that was the right thing to do.

Oh I got this cool response to my writing about music on repeat. Now I kind of want to keep track as well (and release more software). Buuut … I probably do not need more data to habitually gather. And besides, music player apps should already have that data in some form. So someone is keeping track already, no work needed on my part.

(I have not listened to anything while writing this. I consider the current process more of waking up than working.)