Finally Airborne with Haiku USB

smallbee2What happens to an aviator who crashes every time he takes to the sky? He stops flying.  When it comes to using USB in the skies over BeOS/ZETA/Haiku, that’s pretty much where I was at.  With each new version of the operating system, I’d take USB out of the hangar and try to get airborne, and only to land props first in a potato field. I won’t go into all the sordid details. Suffice it to say that, going back even to the earliest BeOS days, I’ve hoped for a solid USB experience and been disappointed with every attempt at it.

imageUnder Haiku Alpha 4.1, I’m happy to say I’ve had some real success. From cameras to portable drives to USB sticks, I’m starting to be able to transfer files without tailspins, crashing, or burning.  I think we’re finally getting there.  I don’t know whether anything has recently changed in Haiku related to USB, the file system is getting steadier, or I have just gotten a little lucky lately, but  I’m definitely seeing improvement.

Case in point,  the  SanDisk 8 GB USB stick on the right.  This little gem set me back the whopping sum of $5 (including shipping) through ebay,  I plugged it into my Mac first, and loaded it with audio files recorded in my voice-over business.  Loaded it right to the brim, with about 7.88 gigabytes of data.  Then I unmounted it, yanked it, and plugged it into the front of my Haiku machine.  The stick mounted easily in Haiku, so I dragged the folder containing its data to the Haiku desktop, gritted my teeth, and watched.  Files began copying.  And copying.  And copying.  7.88 gigabytes later, the entire contents was sitting safely on the desktop.  Wheels down, safe landing.  Woo-hoo.

That’s as far as I’ve gotten.  I figured I’d relish the moment and write about it a little bit before I try a return flight.  When next I report to you, I will let you know what happens when I use Haiku to clear off the USB stick, copy all 7.88 GB if data back to it, and bring it back to the Mac to see if I can make it to the runway without any loss of cargo (or life).

Meanwhile, tell me about your USB experiences under Haiku.  Are soaring high, nursing a few minor injuries, or lying dead in a field somewhere?

I just got back from the hospital after attempting my second flight, which crashed mightily.  Apparently Haiku USB is a lot more tolerent when copying to it than copying out of it.   Fortunately, the greater need is importation anyway, but hopefully we will someday be able to copy any number and size of files both in and out without stalls, tailspins, or, in this case, having the whole operating system come to a frozen halt.

Haiku “delivery room:” VLC! (updated)

smallbee2It’s still just a baby project, but a version of the venerable VLC media player has been born under Haiku. Buzzer Cyan Duffy posted news of it to the Haiku developers list group.

The port appears to be destined to run under QT, which means you won’t be able to just download and use it; you’ll need to first download and install the QT environment. But for devotees to VLC’s unique abilities in the area of viewing and streaming movies from one computer to another, the addition of VLC to Haiku will certainly be a happy turn of events.

At present, VLC “builds” and runs, but doesn’t play anything yet. We’ll follow the action and let you know how things are progressing.

UPDATE – 12/14/12

Cyan is making fast progress, and already reports that, as of last night:

Plays audio (fairly reliably)
Plays video (one video before needing to be killed and restarted)
Plays audio streams (seem fine)

Cyan says it’s still pretty crashy, but at the rate he’s going, I’ll bet that won’t last long.

TunePrepper is in the house

smallbee2The holdout is no more.  TunePrepper, the one element of the TuneTracker System that wasn’t ported over yet, is now ported to Haiku and working great.

In the process, TunePrepper is getting a bit of a facelift, and a pretty significant new feature; the ability to automatically load all available audio attributes and edit them, ala Army Knife.


The screen grab doesn’t show the new feature yet, because that part is still being added, so when I have an updated screen grab I’ll share it with you.

For the uninitiated, TunePrepper is a CD ripper and audio file conversion program.  It can be used to not only rip songs from CDs, but also trim silences from them and normalize their volumes so they match better when played along with songs ripped from other CDs.  In addition, it retrieves and displays album data, lets you edit the attributes of songs (enhanced significantly in the Haiku version by letting you edit *all* audio attributes, not just the typical ones), specify the folder structure you’d like created as the songs are saved, and “roll your own encoder” by mixing and matching bitrates, stereo/mono, etc., even add command line switches for the real fuss budgets.  And you can add unique folder and naming structures to the prefab ones provided,  by editing a configuration file.

TunePrepper is unique in the TuneTracker System, because it’s a breakout product.  Unlike much of the rest of the software suite, which is sold together as a package, TunePrepper is available to anybody who would like to rip songs in Haiku.  It’s priced at $79.95 and will be available to order in early 2013.

Ancient Christmas recordings on FHR

smallbee2TuneTracker/Haiku is now broadcasting 24/7 Christmas music on our “flagship” station, “Fair Harbor Radio,” and this year we’ve added something really interesting and historical.

At about half past the hour, we’re featuring “Christmas Past,” a song each hour from our collection of century-old recordings transcribed from ancient Edison cylinders and 78 RPM records.

Edison apparently commissioned a group of musicians and singers he assigned to groups labeled, variously, the Edison Concert Band, the Edison Mixed Quartet, and others. Some of the recordings feature those groups. Other songs, dating from 1906 to 1922, are by a variety of other artists, including famous soloists of the time, as well as the music-box-like “Christmas Bells” melody featured in my previous post.

If you’d like to tune in to Fair Harbor Radio, you can visit the listen page

Prepare to be transported…

smallbee2edisonphonograph1This isn’t BeOS or Haiku specific, but anyone who appreciates audio will probably enjoy this amazing old recording from 1919 called Christmas Bells, likely recorded on an Edison cylinder.  It has the characteristic waver in pitch you’d expect from a recording of this era, but that almost adds to its charm.

It’s not just a song, it’s a medley, and there’s something almost magical about listening to it.  I felt like I was in a time machine, thrown back nearly 100 years.

If this one doesn’t put you in the Christmas spirit, nothing will!

Download and enjoy.

If you like that, you’ll probably also get a kick out of this page, which has a bunch of other ancient Christmas recordings, from 1898 through 1922.