Planet Linux Australia

Syndicate content
Planet Linux Australia - http://planet.linux.org.au
Updated: 59 min 38 sec ago

Binh Nguyen: Custom MIDI (Hardware and Software) Controllers, MP3 Players, and SD Card Experiments

Tue, 2015-06-09 19:55
If you're like me (a technologist who has an interest in music) you've probably looked at a variety of MIDI controllers on the market but haven't found one that quite ticks all the boxes for everything that you want to do. It's also likely that you've looked at having multiple controllers and/or some of the higher end equipment but as always you can't always justify the cost of what you want versus what you actually need.



Of late, I've been looking at building my own (MIDI controllers). After all, these devices are relatively simple and often used highly standardised components (membrance based switches, encoders/knobs/other, some chips, etc...). Look at the following links/teardowns and you'll notice that there is very little to distinguish between them with many components being available from your local electronics store.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/psychlist1972/sets/72157631489556008/detail/

http://www.illuminatedsounds.com/?cat=23

http://www.illuminatedsounds.com/?p=744

http://bangbang-nyc.com/2013/05/ableton-push-disassembled/

http://pushmod.blogspot.com.au/http://www.synthtopia.com/content/2013/08/26/ableton-push-stripped-bare/

http://www.mpcstuff.com/akstst.html



I've looked at starting from scratch for hardware builds but they have proven to be prohibitively expensive for my experiment (3D printing is an increasingly viable option especially as public libraries let them out for free, public use but there are limitations especially with regards to construction. For instance, many printers will require multiple sessions before a complete device can be constructed, there are durability concerns, etc...). Instead I've been looking at using existing electronics to interface with.

http://www.umidi.co/index.html

http://custommidicontrollers.com/

http://www.instructables.com/id/Custom-Built-MIDI-Controller/



For instance, finding something suitable to turn into a MIDI controller (calculators, toy pianos spring to mind). The circuitry is often very simple and basically all you need to is hook it up to an environmental control interface device with multiple sensors. A hardware interface is then used to provide electrical signal to MIDI control translation (such as an Arduino device). The other option is to analyse the electrical signal on a case by case basis. Then use this as a basis for writing a translation program which will turn the electrical signal into a MIDI signal which can be used to interface with other equipment, your existing software, etc...

http://www.musicradar.com/reviews/tech/akai-mpd24-22920

http://vvvv.org/contribution/mpd24-akai-midi-mapper

http://mods-n-hacks.wonderhowto.com/how-to/build-simple-midi-controller-251069/

http://shiftmore.blogspot.com.au/2009/12/calculator-midi-usb-controller.html

http://www.codetinkerhack.com/2012/11/how-to-turn-piano-toy-into-midi.html

http://www.codetinkerhack.com/2013/01/how-to-add-velocity-aftertouch-midi.html

http://makezine.com/2010/11/30/usbhacking/

https://wiki.python.org/moin/PythonInMusic

http://www.native-instruments.com/forum/threads/turning-any-usb-hardware-into-a-midi-device.47017/

http://createdigitalmusic.com/2009/11/novation-releases-all-midi-details-for-launchpad/

http://www.widisoft.com/english/widi-audio-to-midi-vst.html

http://code.google.com/p/audio2midi/

http://www.synthtopia.com/content/2013/07/26/midimorphosis-converts-audio-to-midi/

http://www.nativekontrol.com/



Another option I've been looking at is using third party electronic devices (such as a tablet or else cheaper MIDI control devices in combination with other software) to provide emulation for often much more expensive hardware. Good examples of this include the the high end hardware controllers such as Native Instrument's Maschine, Ableton's Push, a Akai's MPC/APC series, etc... (Even when purchased second hand these devices can often fetch up to around 80-90% of their retail value. Factor in the problem that few retailers are willing to provide demonstration equipment for them (StoreDJ is an exception) and you can understand why so many people re-sell their equipment with explanations often stating that the piece of equipment quite simply didn't fit into their setup.)

http://motscousus.com/stuff/2011-07_Novation_Launchpad_Ableton_Live_Scripts/ http://www.sample-hold.com/2011/12/19/make-fun-of-your-launchpad-with-launchplay-vst-plugin/

http://audionewsroom.net/2010/01/novation-launchpad-13-a-hackers-perspective.html http://www.afrodjmac.com/blog/2013/03/14/more-ways-to-turn-your-launchpad-into-a-push

http://beatwise.proboards.com/thread/1315/free-preset-carbon-push-emulation

http://www.reddit.com/r/abletonlive/comments/1aopop/push_emulation_now_available_on_apc40_free_to/?



There are several main options to look at including TouchOSC, MIDI Designer, and Lemur. The two I've been most curious about are Lemur and TouchOSC though. Installation and setup consist of a daemon/service on your computer, an application of some sort on your tablet, and an editor that can be tablet or computer based. Thereafter, there are often 'templates' which are basically skins and underlying software code which allows you to design a MIDI interface from scratch and interface with other equipment/software directly from your tablet.

https://liine.net/en/products/lemur/

http://iosmidi.com/

http://mididesigner.com/

http://hexler.net/software/touchosc-android

http://djtechtools.com/2013/01/28/how-to-dj-using-liines-lemur-app-for-ipad/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJxAnm3j8TI

http://createdigitalmusic.com/2014/11/lemur-now-android-supports-cabled-connections-want-touch-app/https://liine.net/en/community/user-library/view/421/

https://liine.net/wiki/android_devices

https://liine.net/en/products/lemur/premium/livecontrol-2/

https://www.reddit.com/r/edmproduction/comments/2kdy8d/as_someone_who_is_bad_at_playing_the_keyboard/

http://www.native-instruments.com/forum/threads/ipad-maschine.181052/

There are obvious issues here. Apple iPads are almost as expensive as some of the MIDI controllers we're looking at in this document. One option is to purchase the iPad Mini or something second hand. Basically, what I've been reading indicates that either option will do but that the screen size of the iPad Mini may make things a bit fiddly particularly if you have large hands. The other option is to use Android only applications. The only problem is that the iOS universe is often much more diverse than the Android one.

http://www.kvraudio.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=397495

http://support.liine.net/customer/portal/questions/1244470-ipad-mini-compatibility-with-lemur-drum-pad-

http://forum.liine.net/viewtopic.php?f=25&t=2391

https://www.ableton.com/en/help/article/control-live-mobile-device/

https://www.gearslutz.com/board/electronic-music-instruments-electronic-music-production/700437-ni-maschine-mikro-vs-ipad-lemur.html

http://digitaldjtools.net/mappings/

http://forum.watmm.com/topic/76701-considering-an-ipad-mini/

https://documentation.meraki.com/SM/Monitoring_and_Reporting/Activation_Lock_Bypass_for_iOS_Devices


http://cydiamate.net/doulci-ios-8-3-activation-lock-bypass/



The other thing that needs to be considered is how you should interface. In theory, wireless is a great option. In practice I've been seeing stories about consistently lost connnections. Look at a hardware USB interface if need be.

http://www.djcity.com.au/irig-midi-interface-for-iphone-and-ipad

http://www.djcity.com.au/irig-midi2



To be honest though a lot of the emulators for the Push (and other devices) aren't perfect. You lose a bit of functionality (in some cases you gain a lot of extra functionality though but the emulation still isn't perfect). It's likely going to make you want to purchase these devices more or ward you off of them completely because they don't fit into your workflow.



With the cessation of production of the iPod Classic and other high capacity music player options I've been looking at alternatives on and off for a while. Clearly, high capacity SD based storage options are extremely expensive at this stage at the high end. One alternative though is using adapter cards for inexpensive, readily available, older low capacity MP3 players which utilise hard drives. The adapters required are available for around $10-20. Obvious problems using SD based storage include regarding speed limitations, capacity limitations, high prices, etc... Moreover, some of the adapters won't fit in the case, or there needs to be workarounds. For instance, currently there aren't enough 128GB SD cards at a reasonable price locally so running multiple SD cards in RAID configuration may be the compromise that you have to make for the immediate future.

http://www.ebay.com/bhp/sd-card-to-ide

http://cubicgarden.com/2013/05/05/upgrading-the-pacemakers-hard-drive/

http://www.head-fi.org/t/566780/official-ipod-video-classic-5g-5-5g-6g-6-5g-7g-ssd-mod-thread/270

http://www.ebay.com/itm/SD-SDHC-MMC-Card-to-1-8-ZIF-LIF-CE-SSD-Adapter-40pin-ZIF-LIF-cable-/111091174857



One interesting piece of information that I've come across recently is that there isn't much stopping people using SDXC cards in supposedly SDHC only card readers (either drivers or simple hardware blocks are the limitations). Basically, the primary difference between SDHC and SDXC are that the default file formats are one uses FAT32 as the default format while the other uses exFAT respectively. Clearly this limitation can be overcome with the right tools and knowledge though. For instance, Windows by default doesn't allow this so other options need to be employed.

https://gbatemp.net/threads/how-to-use-a-64gb-micro-sdxc-in-your-sdhc-compliant-flash-cart.335912/

http://www.ridgecrop.demon.co.uk/

http://www.tarkan.info/20121226/tutorials/ipod-and-sdhc-sdxc-cards

http://arstechnica.com/civis/viewtopic.php?t=1151548

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secure_Digital

https://www.ifixit.com/Guide/iPod+5th+Generation+%28Video%29+CF+or+SDHC-SDXC+Memory+instead+of+HDD+Replacement/7492

https://www.raspberrypi.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=2252



http://superuser.com/questions/282202/which-consumes-more-power-hard-drive-or-sd-card-card-reader

http://raspberrypi.stackexchange.com/questions/1765/possible-to-connect-sata-device-to-the-sd-slot

http://www.techbuy.com.au/p/208703/HARD_DRIVE_-_EXTERNAL_DRIVE_CASE_SATA_-_USB_2.5/8WARE/WI21.asp

http://www.warcom.com.au/shop/flypage/computer-parts/media-players/49000?gclid=CKXk-bfN2sUCFUsHvAod-gQAGg

http://www.i-tech.com.au/products/144200_8ware_Portable_Wireless_Streaming.aspx

Sridhar Dhanapalan: Twitter posts: 2015-06-01 to 2015-06-07

Mon, 2015-06-08 00:27

Chris Samuel: Thoughts on the white spots of Ceres

Sun, 2015-06-07 10:26

If you’ve been paying attention to the world of planetary exploration you’ll have noticed the excitement about the unexpected white spots on the dwarf planet Ceres. Here’s an image from May 29th that shows them well.

Having looked at a few images my theory is that impacts are exposing some much higher albedo material, which you can see here at the top of the rebound peak at the center of the crater, and that the impact has thrown some of this material up and that material has fallen back as Ceres has rotated slowly beneath it giving rise to the blobs to the side of the crater.

If my theory is right then if you know Ceres gravity and its rotational speed and the distance between the rebound peak and the other spots then you should be able to work out how far up the material was thrown up. That might tell you something about the size of the impact (depending on how much you know about the structure of Ceres itself).

As an analogy, here’s an impact on Mars captured by the HiRise camera on MRO that shows an area of ice exposed by an impact.

Fading Impact Streaks and Exposed Ice – http://t.co/whWFvVZ0P7 pic.twitter.com/zLQR91uFcI

— HiRISE (@HiRISE) June 6, 2015

This item originally posted here:



Thoughts on the white spots of Ceres

James Morris: Hiring Subsystem Maintainers

Fri, 2015-06-05 16:27

The regular LWN kernel development stats have been posted here for version 4.1 (if you really don’t have a subscription, email me for a free link).  In this, Jon Corbet notes:

over 60% of the changes going into this kernel passed through the hands of developers working for just five companies. This concentration reflects a simple fact: while many companies are willing to support developers working on specific tasks, the number of companies supporting subsystem maintainers is far smaller. Subsystem maintainership is also, increasingly, not a job for volunteer developers..

As most folks reading this would know, I lead the mainline Linux Kernel team at Oracle.  We do have several people on the team who work in leadership roles in the kernel community (myself included), and what I’d like to make clear is that we are actively looking to support more such folk.

If you’re a subsystem maintainer (or acting in a comparable leadership role), please always feel free to contact me directly via email to discuss employment possibilities.  You can also contact Oracle kernel folk who may be presenting or attending Linux conferences.

Michael Still: More coding club

Fri, 2015-06-05 13:28
This is the second post about the coding club at my kid's school. I was away for four weeks travelling for work and then getting sick, so I am still getting back up to speed with what the kids have been up to while I've been away. This post is an attempt to gather some resources that I hope will be useful during the session today -- it remains to be seen how this maps to what the kids actually did while I was away.



First off, the adults have decided to give Python for Kids a go as a teaching resource. The biggest catch with this book is that its kind of expensive -- at AUD $35 a copy, we can't just issue a copy to every kid in the room. That said, perhaps the kids don't each need a copy, as long as the adults are just using it as a guide for what things to cover.



It appears that while I was away chapters 1 through 4 have been covered. 1 is about install python, and then 2-3 are language construct introductions. This is things like what a variable is, mathematical operators, strings, tuples and lists. So, that's all important but kind of dull. On the other hand, chapter 4 covers turtle graphics, which I didn't even realize that python had a module for.



I have fond memories of doing logo graphics as a kid at school. Back in my day we'd sometimes even use actual robots to do some of the graphics, although most of it was simulated on Apple II machines of various forms. I think its important to let the kids of today know that these strange exercises they're doing used to relate to physical hardware that schools actually owned. Here are a couple of indicative pictures stolen from the Internet:











So, I think that's what we'll keep going with this week -- I'll let the kids explain where they got to with turtle graphics and then we'll see how far we can take that without it becoming a chore.



Tags for this post: coding_club kids coding python turtle graphics logo

Related posts: Coding club day one: a simple number guessing game in python; JPEG 2 MPEG howto; Graphics from the command line; Implementing SCP with paramiko; Packet capture in python; I'm glad I've turned on comments here



Comment

Michael Still: Geocaching at the border

Thu, 2015-06-04 20:28
Today's lunch walk was around Tuggeranong Pines again. At the back of the pine forest is the original train line from the 1880s which went down to Cooma. I walked as far as the old Tuggeranong siding before turning back. Its interesting, as there is evidence that there has been track work done here in the last ten years or so, even though the line hasn't been used since 1989.



                       



Interactive map for this route.



Tags for this post: blog pictures 20150604-geocaching photo canberra bushwalk

Related posts: Goodwin trig; Big Monks; Geocaching; Confessions of a middle aged orienteering marker; A quick walk through Curtin; Narrabundah trig and 16 geocaches



Comment

Rusty Russell: What Transactions Get Crowded Out If Blocks Fill?

Wed, 2015-06-03 14:29

What happens if bitcoin blocks fill?  Miners choose transactions with the highest fees, so low fee transactions get left behind.  Let’s look at what makes up blocks today, to try to figure out which transactions will get “crowded out” at various thresholds.

Some assumptions need to be made here: we can’t automatically tell the difference between me taking a $1000 output and paying you 1c, and me paying you $999.99 and sending myself the 1c change.  So my first attempt was very conservative: only look at transactions with two or more outputs which were under the given thresholds (I used a nice round $200 / BTC price throughout, for simplicity).

(Note: I used bitcoin-iterate to pull out transaction data, and rebuild blocks without certain transactions; you can reproduce the csv files in the blocksize-stats directory if you want).

Paying More Than 1 Person Under $1 (< 500000 Satoshi)

Here’s the result (against the current blocksize):

Sending 2 Or More Sub-$1 Outputs

Let’s zoom in to the interesting part, first, since there’s very little difference before 220,000 (February 2013).  You can see that only about 18% of transactions are sending less than $1 and getting less than $1 in change:

Since March 2013…

Paying Anyone Under 1c, 10c, $1

The above graph doesn’t capture the case where I have $100 and send you 1c.   If we eliminate any transaction which has any output less than various thresholds, we’ll catch that. The downside is that we capture the “sending myself tiny change” case, but I’d expect that to be rarer:

Blocksizes Without Small Output Transactions

This eliminates far more transactions.  We can see only 2.5% of the block size is taken by transactions with 1c outputs (the dark red line following the block “current blocks” line), but the green line shows about 20% of the block used for 10c transactions.  And about 45% of the block is transactions moving $1 or less.

Interpretation: Hard Landing Unlikely, But Microtransactions Lose

If the block size doesn’t increase (or doesn’t increase in time): we’ll see transactions get slower, and fees become the significant factor in whether your transaction gets processed quickly.  People will change behaviour: I’m not going to spend 20c to send you 50c!

Because block finding is highly variable and many miners are capping blocks at 750k, we see backlogs at times already; these bursts will happen with increasing frequency from now on.  This will put pressure on Satoshdice and similar services, who will be highly incentivized to use StrawPay or roll their own channel mechanism for off-blockchain microtransactions.

I’d like to know what timescale this happens on, but the graph shows that we grow (and occasionally shrink) in bursts.  A logarithmic graph prepared by Peter R of bitcointalk.org suggests that we hit 1M mid-2016 or so; expect fee pressure to bend that graph downwards soon.

The bad news is that even if fees hit (say) 25c and that prevents all the sub-$1 transactions, we only double our capacity, giving us perhaps another 18 months. (At that point miners are earning $1000 from transaction fees as well as $5000 (@ $200/BTC) from block reward, which is nice for them I guess.)

My Best Guess: Larger Blocks Desirable Within 2 Years, Needed by 3

Personally I think 5c is a reasonable transaction fee, but I’d prefer not to see it until we have decentralized off-chain alternatives.  I’d be pretty uncomfortable with a 25c fee unless the Lightning Network was so ubiquitous that I only needed to pay it twice a year.  Higher than that would have me reaching for my credit card to charge my Lightning Network account :)

Disclaimer: I Work For BlockStream, on Lightning Networks

Lightning Networks are a marathon, not a sprint.  The development timeframes in my head are even vaguer than the guesses above.  I hope it’s part of the eventual answer, but it’s not the bandaid we’re looking for.  I wish it were different, but we’re going to need other things in the mean time.

I hope this provided useful facts, whatever your opinions.

Rusty Russell: Current Blocksize, by graphs.

Wed, 2015-06-03 13:29

I used bitcoin-iterate and gnumeric to render the current bitcoin blocksizes, and here are the results.

My First Graph: A Moment of Panic

This is block sizes up to yesterday; I’ve asked gnumeric to derive an exponential trend line from the data (in black; the red one is linear)

Woah! We hit 1M blocks in a month! PAAAANIC!

That trend line hits 1000000 at block 363845.5, which we’d expect in about 32 days time!  This is what is freaking out so many denizens of the Bitcoin Subreddit. I also just saw a similar inaccurate [correction: misleading] graph reshared by Mike Hearn on G+ :(

But Wait A Minute

That trend line says we’re on 800k blocks today, and we’re clearly not.  Let’s add a 6 hour moving average:

Oh, we’re only halfway there….

In fact, if we cluster into 36 blocks (ie. 6 hours worth), we can see how misleading the terrible exponential fit is:

What! We’re already over 1M blocks?? Maths, you lied to me!

Clearer Graphs: 1 week Moving Average

Actual Weekly Running Average Blocksize

So, not time to panic just yet, though we’re clearly growing, and in unpredictable bursts.

Michael Still: Melrose trig

Tue, 2015-06-02 16:30
I went for a short geocaching walk at lunch today. Three geocaches in 45 minutes, so not too shabby. One of those caches was at the Melrose trig point, so bagged that too. There is some confusion here, as John Evans and I thought that Melrose was on private land. However, there is no signage to that effect in the area and the geocache owner asserts this is public land. ACTMAPi says the area is Tuggeranong Rural Block 35, but isn't clear on if the lease holder exists. Color me confused and possibly an accidental trespasser.



         



Interactive map for this route.



Tags for this post: blog pictures 20150602-melrose photo canberra bushwalk trig_point

Related posts: Goodwin trig; Big Monks; Narrabundah trig and 16 geocaches; Cooleman and Arawang Trigs; One Tree and Painter; A walk around Mount Stranger



Comment

Michael Still: In A Sunburned Country

Mon, 2015-06-01 20:29






ISBN: 0965000281

LibraryThing

This is the first Bill Bryson book I've read, and I have to say I enjoyed it. Bill is hilarious and infuriating at the same time, which surprisingly to me makes for a very entertaining combination. I'm sure he's not telling the full story in this book -- its just not possible for someone so ill prepared to not just die in the outback somewhere. Take his visit to Canberra for example -- he drives down from Sydney, hits the first hotel he finds and then spends three days there. No wonder he's bored. Eventually he bothers to drive for another five minutes and finds there is more to the city than one hotel. On the other hand, he maligns my home town in such a hilarious manner I just can't be angry at him.



I loved this book, highly recommended.



Tags for this post: book bill_bryson australia travel

Related posts: In Sydney!; American visas for all!; Melbourne; Sydney Australia in Google Maps; Top Gear Australia; Linux presence at Education Expo Comment Recommend a book

Michael Still: The linux.conf.au 2016 Call For Proposals is open!

Mon, 2015-06-01 16:29
The OpenStack community has been well represented at linux.conf.au over the last few years, which I think is reflective of both the growing level of interest in OpenStack in the general Linux community, as well as the fact that OpenStack is one of the largest Python projects around these days. linux.conf.au is one of the region's biggest Open Source conferences, and has a solid reputation for deep technical content.



Its time to make it all happen again, with the linux.conf.au 2016 Call For Proposals opening today! I'm especially keen to encourage talk proposals which are somehow more than introductions to various components of OpenStack. Its time to talk detail about how people's networking deployments work, what container solutions we're using, and how we're deploying OpenStack in the real world to do seriously cool stuff.



The conference is in the first week of February in Geelong, Australia. I'd be happy to chat with anyone who has questions about the CFP process.



Tags for this post: openstack conference linux.conf.au lca2016

Related posts: LCA 2007 Video: CFQ IO; LCA 2006: CFP closes today; I just noticed...; LCA2006 -- CFP opens soon!; I just noticed...; Updated: linux.conf.au 2007 MythTV tutorial homework



Comment

Rusty Russell: Block size: rate of internet speed growth since 2008?

Mon, 2015-06-01 11:29

I’ve been trying not to follow the Great Blocksize Debate raging on reddit.  However, the lack of any concrete numbers has kind of irked me, so let me add one for now.

If we assume bandwidth is the main problem with running nodes, let’s look at average connection growth rates since 2008.  Google lead me to NetMetrics (who seem to charge), and Akamai’s State Of The Internet (who don’t).  So I used the latter, of course:

Akamai’s Average Connection Speed Chart Q4/07 to Q4/14

I tried to pick a range of countries, and here are the results:

Country % Growth Over 7 years Per Annum Australia 348 19.5% Brazil 349 19.5% China 481 25.2% Philippines 258 14.5% UK 333 18.8% US 304 17.2%

 

Countries which had best bandwidth grew about 17% a year, so I think that’s the best model for future growth patterns (China is now where the US was 7 years ago, for example).

If bandwidth is the main centralization concern, you’ll want block growth below 15%. That implies we could jump the cap to 3MB next year, and 15% thereafter. Or if you’re less conservative, 3.5MB next year, and 17% there after.

Sridhar Dhanapalan: Twitter posts: 2015-05-25 to 2015-05-31

Mon, 2015-06-01 00:28

linux.conf.au News: Dates confirmed for #lca2016

Sun, 2015-05-31 22:29
We're thrilled to announce that dates for linux.conf.au 2016 - LCA By the Bay have been confirmed as 1st-5th February 2016 at the wonderful Deakin University Waterfront campus in vibrant Geelong.

Michael Still: Square Rock and Mount Franklin

Thu, 2015-05-28 17:28
I'm not really sure why it took me so long to write this set of walks up -- I think I just got lost in preparations for the most recent OpenStack summit and simply forgot. That said, here they are...



Tony, Steven and I mounted an expedition to Mount Franklin, which is one of the trigs I hadn't been to yet. Its right on the ACT border with NSW, and despite not being a super long walk its verging of inaccessible in winter (think several feet of snow). So, we decided to get it done while we could.



             



Interactive map for this route.



We also tacked on a trip to Square Rock based on the strong recommendation of a good friend. Square Rock has amazing views, highly recommended.



           



Interactive map for this route.



Tags for this post: blog pictures 20150426-square_rock_franklin photo canberra bushwalk trig_point

Related posts: Goodwin trig; Big Monks; Narrabundah trig and 16 geocaches; Cooleman and Arawang Trigs; One Tree and Painter; A walk around Mount Stranger



Comment

Binh Nguyen: Las Vegas Style Food Recipes

Thu, 2015-05-28 04:54
We interrupt our regular blog posts with a word from our sponsor... LOL



Seriously tough, times are tough in Las Vegas so instead of resorting to standard marketing techniques they've been trying to convince food bloggers (including me) to do their work for them... Just look at the condition of the place! Why would I ever want to go there?



http://www.vegas.com/

http://lasvegasrestaurants.com/best-restaurants/

http://www.lasvegas.com/restaurants/



Anyhow, recently someone from Vegas.com (a company that specialises in promoting hotels, restaurants, locations, and other events in Las Vegas) contacted me and asked me to do a take on some of the dishes available in Las Vegas (A copy of the menu is included, https://sites.google.com/site/dtbnguyen/Vegas_EatDrink_v03.pdf)...



More precisely, dishes from the Aria, Caesars Palace, Bellagio, and The Pallazo. I'm going to take a stab at on a take of a few of these dishes in a way that is inexpensive, quick, and hopefully tasty.



http://www.aria.com/

https://www.caesars.com/caesars-palace

http://www.bellagio.com/

http://www.palazzo.com/



The point of these is to also make them more accessible by substituting ingredients as well (A lot of these ingredients quite simply aren't easily available in other parts of the world and to be honest it's hard to be impressed by something you know little about.).



The following three desserts are designed to be eaten like sundaes.



- ice-cream (vanilla, coffee, or rum-raisan will work best for this)

- crushed peanuts or crushed roasted almonds

- chopped up chocolate bar (Snickers, Picnic, or anything which contains nougat/nuts in it's core. Tip - chop it up in a way that the temperature of the ice cream is unlikely to cause it to freeze hard. Texture/perception of the dish can be changed quite a lot by this)(optional)

- strawberries (or another berry) which have been sliced and left in the fridge in a ice/sugar syrup mix (half an hour is enough. We're just trying to get rid of the extreme tartness of many fresh berries)

- a drizzle of caramel/chocolate/coffee sauce

- cocoa/coffee powder (optional)

Scoop ice cream into bowl or cup. Drizzle other ingredients on top.



- ice-cream (vanilla, coffee, or rum-raisan will work best for this)

- raisins which have been drenched in rum overnight

- crushed peanuts or crushed roasted almonds

- drizzle of caramel/chocolate/coffee sauce

- cocoa/coffee powder (optional)

Scoop ice cream into bowl or cup. Drizzle other ingredients on top.



http://www.lifestylefood.com.au/recipes/15383/chocolate-marzipan-cherries

http://www.daringgourmet.com/2014/06/23/how-to-make-marzipan-almond-paste/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marzipan

http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/18597/basic+truffles



- ice-cream (vanilla will work best for this)

- some form of cake (can be made or purchased. My preference is towards something darker such as chocolate or coffee flavour. If cooking please cook it so that it is slightly overcooked as it will be mixed with the ice cream. This will stop it from going soggy too quickly and add a bit of texture to the dish).

- some form of alcohol/liquor (we're targetting aroma here. Use whatever you have here but I think rum, cognac, or something else suitably sweet would do well)

Scoop ice cream into bowl or cup. Break up the cake and drop it around in chunks around the ice cream. Drizzle alcohol/liquor around and over the top.



The following is a dessert which is meant to be eaten/drunk like an 'affogato'.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Affogato

- ice-cream (vanilla will work best for this)

- crushed macaroon biscuits (can be made or purchased. My preference is towards chocolate or coffee flavours. Texture is to be slightly crusty with a chewy interior. Don't bother making the cream if you don't want to)

https://www.howtocookthat.net/public_html/easy-macaron-macaroon-recipe/

http://amazingalmonds.com.au/2012/11/01/almond-macaroons/

- a side drunk of coffee, cappucino, late, Milo (chocolate malt) (I'd probably go for a powdered cappucino/late drink which only requires boiling water to be added to get this done quick and tasty)

- cocoa/coffee powder (optional)

Scoop ice cream into bowl or cup. Drizzle other ingredients on top.



The following is obviously is my take on a deluxe steak sandwich.

- sandwich bread slices

- steak

- onions

- lettuce

- tomatoes

- bacon

- cheese

- egg

- tomato sauce

- balsamic vinegar (optional)

- mayonnaise (optional)

- mustard (optional) 

Toast or grill sandwich slices. Add cheese as first layer. Fry an egg and add this as the next layer. Fry some bacon and add this as the next layer. Fry off steak slices with some onion, garlic, salt, sugar, pepper, and maybe a tiny drop of balsamic vinegar (I would probably caramelise this slightly in a pan to remove some of the tartness before adding it to the sandwich or not add it at all) and add this as the next layer. Slice vegetables and add this as the next layer. Use tomato sauce (mayonnaise and/or mustard are optional depending on your taste) on the top layer as it will stop it from drenching the sandwich prior to your having completing preparing it. Season to taste.



The following is more savoury and is obviously meant to be a main meal.

- roasted chicken (can be made or purchased)

- pasta in a white sauce (the 'Bacon and Mushroom Carbonara with Pasta' recipe from, http://dtbnguyen.blogspot.com.au/2015/02/simple-pasta-recipes.html would work well here)

- asparagus

- cheese

- potatoes (use the recipes at, http://dtbnguyen.blogspot.com.au/2015/03/fried-fish-with-butter-fried-potatoes.html or http://dtbnguyen.blogspot.com.au/2012/02/butter-fried-potatoes-with-bacon-bits.html and remove relevant ingredients (bacon, cream, and cheese for me) to suit the dish)

Cook pasta. Fry asparagus with garlic, butter, oil or else blanch it. Put it in a microwave for a few seconds with a slice of cheese on top to give it a bit of extra flavour (optional). Serve with roasted chicken and fried potatoes. Season dish to taste. You may need to serve this dish with a salad as it can be very rich or fatty depending on your interpretation.



http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/8071/basic+roast+chicken

http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/kellers_roast_chicken/

http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/classic_baked_chicken/



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arroz_con_pollo

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Refried_beans

http://www.foodterms.com/encyclopedia/broccoli-rabe/index.html



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vin_jaune

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fleur-de-lis

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tomatillo

Brendan Scott: brendanscott

Wed, 2015-05-27 17:30

Youtube has done wonders for lots of people, but frankly, my reaction to the vast majority of videos is that they are largely or wholly content free.  Those cases where a visual demonstration actually assists are exceedingly slim (some digital illustration videos for example, but even those don’t necessarily show you what you want). Watching videos of ostensibly informative topics is an exercise in entertainment and almost always a waste of my time.  If you have a transcript at least you can jump around to see if it’s got the info you’re looking for. With videos even if you jump around, you’re still pulling down info at the rate they speak (ie slowly). Next time you watch a documentary count the average number of words spoken in a minute. It’s ridiculously low.

It’s something of a farce that for my CLE requirements I can listen to some 5 year out “senior associate” um and arr through some talk at a firm or do some facile online tutorial (are there other kinds?) and get an hour’s credit, but if I read an entire book by an expert in the area or research the cases myself I get exactly 0 points.



James Purser: So Bill is going to bring a Bill

Tue, 2015-05-26 21:30

So Bill Shorten has announced that he and the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, Tanya Plibersec will be putting a bill to the house to allow Same Sex Marriage.

Honestly I'm torn.

The cynical part of me thinks the whole thing is an exercise in futility. Unless the Coalition allows a free vote amongst its members the bill is doomed to die in the House of Reps. If I was going to be really cynical I'd think this was an attempt to take the wind out of the sails of the greens who were proposing a similar bill to start in the Senate.

On the other hand, this is probably the first sign I've seen of Shorten actually stepping forward on an issue that hasn't been focus grouped to death. SSM doesn't have universal support within the Labor party (hi Joe deBruyn you reactionary old fart), and by putting his name directly on the bill Shorten is showing some leadership at last.

If you support Same Sex marriage, or as it's known in other parts of the world, Marriage, I'd urge you to let your local MP know how you feel. Do it politely, do it succinctly but make sure you do it. 

If you want to find out if your local MP or Senator supports or opposes SSM this site is a great resource

Blog Catagories: same sex marriage

Lev Lafayette: MrBayes HPC Installation

Mon, 2015-05-25 12:30

Mr. Bayes is a program for Bayesian inference and model choice across a wide range of phylogenetic and evolutionary models.

Download, extract. Note that the developers have produced a tarbomb which will require a separate directory created before download. This has been raised as a bug.

Note that more recent versions of MrBayes make much better use of autoconfiguration tools.



cd /usr/local/src/MRBAYES

mkdir mrbayes-3.2.5

cd mrbayes-3.2.5

read more

Sridhar Dhanapalan: Twitter posts: 2015-05-18 to 2015-05-24

Mon, 2015-05-25 00:27