Erlang R16 64Bit on OS X 10.9 with wxWidgets

A lot of people have tried to get Erlang running on OSX with 64Bit and wxWidgets and there are plenty of guides out there but most of them claim that it doesn’t work with 64Bit.

I just successfully compiled it as 64Bit on 10.9.2 and here is how I did it:

1. I installed wxWidgets and Erlang from homebrew and deinstalled them again, just to get all the dependencies conveniently
2. Then I fetched the sources for wxWidgets 3.0 from sourceforge and the sources for Erlang R16 from the erlang website
3. I configured them with a blend of options from the official docs and the other guides

Configure and Compile wxWidgets

./configure --with-cocoa --prefix=/usr/local \
            --with-macosx-version-min=10.9 --disable-shared

make
make install

Configure and Compile Erlang

./configure --disable-debug --without-javac --enable-shared-zlib \
            --enable-dynamic-ssl-lib --enable-hipe \
            --enable-smp-support --enable-threads \
            --enable-kernel-poll --with-wx --enable-darwin-64bit

make
make install

Thats was it. I hope that helps.

Getting Started with FreeBSD

I’m a huge FreeBSD fan. My very first home router ran FreeBSD back in the late 90′s and since then I have installed it on every single server I worked with. I do realize that this is some kind of niche since almost everybody else is running Linux these days. This is why I thought to make FreeBSD a little bit more approachable to the curious people.

Why? Because FreeBSD offers a lot of cool features like ZFS, Jails, reliability, stable API and a great network stack which makes it a really superb server operating system. In fact I just realized I never had to clean install any of the many FreeBSD machines I have operated. They just kept running flawlessly unless some hardware died of course.

To get you started I have recorded a little screencast to show how easy and painless it is to install FreeBSD 10.0 with a ZFS root filesystem on a remote machine even if the hosting provider does not provide FreeBSD rescue images.

In the next videos I’ll show you how to install software, set up a web server and other common, server related tasks.

For that I have created a FreeBSD Guides channel on vimeo.

Additional Links:
* http://www.freebsd.org
* http://www.freebsd.org/releases/10.0R/hardware.html
* http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FreeBSD

FreeBSD: Authentication Error when fetching ports from github

For people who have the same problem:

I have tried to install a port that fetches its source from github and it failed to fetch it.

When I tried the fetch command manually for the given URL I saw the following error:

fetch https://github.com/nicolargo/glances/archive/v1.7.3.tar.gz
Certificate verification failed for /C=US/O=DigiCert Inc/OU=www.digicert.com/CN=DigiCert High Assurance EV CA-1
34380826280:error:14090086:SSL routines:SSL3_GET_SERVER_CERTIFICATE:certificate verify failed:/usr/src/secure/lib/libssl/../../../crypto/openssl/ssl/s3_clnt.c:1168:
fetch: https://github.com/nicolargo/glances/archive/v1.7.3.tar.gz: Authentication error

I assume its related to githubs latest improvement to their HTTPS/SSL infrastructure.

To solve this I installed the very latest version of OpenSSL on my FreeBSD 10 machine and afterwards the installation just went fine.

Resampling / Converting Audio Files

Here is a little tip. I have just finished mixing concert recording. The mixing was done in Reaper at 24bit/48kHz and now I needed to convert / downsample it to 16bit/44.1kHz. If you leave that up to black box encoders you can actually hear a change in tonality or loudness even with untrained ears. At least I noticed sometimes that inside the DAW it sounds different than what I had rendered out to 16bit/44.1kHz.

Reaper, like any other DAW, has this feature built in, however it presented me many different options on how to actually do it. I also watched an interview with Bob Katz (Loudness War fighter and author of this this awesome book on mastering
) who talked about how he used to do it.

So apparently there are multiple options and as a beginner in mixing / audio processing it was totally unclear which option would be the best. I started googling and stumbled upon this comparison website (http://src.infinitewave.ca) for SRC engines and it turned out none of the options in Reaper was on par with the pricy industry standard iZotope. In fact many of the popular DAWs don’t perform as good as that particular piece of software. (Hint: Click the help button for explanations of the graphs)

After researching some more I found out about SoX, which is an open source audio converter which is superb at sample rate conversion. It was awailable in homebrew and within a few seconds I was able to convert my 24bit/48kHz files with the following command line:

sox 24bit_48khz_infile.wav -b 16 \
16bit_44.1khz_outfile.wav rate -v -s 44100

This should correspond to the SoX VHQ Linear setting on http://src.infinitewave.ca.

Of course you can ask whether you’d actually able to hear any difference … well I’d have to do a double blind test and would probably fail but I don’t see any reason not to use the superior and free tool when I have the choice.

Also I’ve just donated a few bucks to the Sox project and I hope you’ll do the same for open source software which makes your job easier!

How to build an electric guitar

After spending a lot of time learning to play the guitar I felt the urge to start building my own guitars. I saw a movie called »It might get loud« where Jack White is nailing a pickup to a plank of wood, hammers nails to hold the strings and jams along. It didn’t seem too dificult.

Then I spend allmost all my spare time to watch videos on youtube where people showed step by step how to make a guitar from three pieces of wood, in every possible detail. I was hooked.

Now for my very first guitar I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on wood and tools. I wanted to build the simplest possible electric guitar I could make. I had some pieces of wood lying around which were used to make a bookshelf. I bought a cheap neck on ebay and then I bought some pieces of MDF.

One saturday I walked by my favorite little custom guitar shop around the corner to ask whether they had a really cheap telecaster bridge and they did. I also bought an audio jack, two potentiometers, a capacitor and a bridge pickup which they make themselves. I paid 90€ for all the parts and I was ready to go.

Back at home I put all the parts I had on the floor to see how everything could fit. I measured the scale length to know where the bridge has to go and then I started cutting the piece of wood to the desired length

In the next picture you can see how I made the cut. I attached another piece of MDF with a screw clamp as a rail / guide for the jig saw. This way you can make perfectly straight cuts and is highly recommended if you don’t have any better saw.

Then I already attached the neck to the body of the guitar so I could make precise measurements for the bridge. Its important to have center line on your guitar body which you can relate to all the time. Once the neck is in its final position, determine the exact center line and put the bridge as precisely as possible on it. On the next picture you can see how I drew the positions of the bridge and the pickup on the wood so I could always see if something does not fit before putting everything together.

Since I didn’t have a router and the wood for the body wasn’t thick enough anyway, I decided to use an extra layer of MDF, made of two pieces to hold the bridge. In the middle of the two pieces I left a gap for the pickup. I used wood glue and screw clamps for attaching the MDF and that worked extremely well.

After that was done I drilled some holes for the strings and the bridge and attached the bridge to the body for a first test with strings.

I didn’t have an electronics compartment yet and I also kind of forgot about it that night so I screwed the potentiometers and the audio jack into a piece of cardboard and soldered everything together. The schematic for 1 pickup, 1 tone and 1 volume control you can find on the seymour duncan website. They have tons of awesome wiring diagrams for all kinds of configurations (always watch out for the different humbucker cable colors though)

Here you can see a video of the very first soundcheck:

Now the last missing was the electronics compartment and like I said before I kind of forgot about that. At least I really didn’t think about how I would do it with the tools I had at hand. I could’ve done something similar to the bride but all the things I came up didn’t satisfy me. Luckily I talked to a friend of mine that day and he said he had a CNC mill/router which we could use to make the compartment right behind the bridge. I accepted the offer and the next day I drove to his workshop. I had to disassemble the bridge again for that but that didn’t matter.

After I had the 8x8cm compartment I drilled a small hole for the pickup cable. I screwed the potentiometers (tone controls) on a thin piece of MDF and used that as the cover/control panel for the electronics compartment. Finally I sanded off some of the sharp edges of the wood and attached some Dunlop Straplocks.

This is how it looks like in its final state:


My friend and band colleague David came over to my place for dinner and a glass of red wine and played on it while I recorded him. First he is playing through an Orange Micro Terror and my self-made cabinet and later through the Fender Hot Rod Deluxe III and various pedals.

The whole project was a lot of fun and I learned some valuable lessons for the next guitars I’m going to build. I can highly recommend it. All in all I paid like 200€ for all the parts and these were the cheap ones. Consider this if you see a Stratocaster from Asia for 100€ or less! The most important tool by the way is a Vernier caliper

Parts I bought

I also bought a really insightful book about how to build guitars. Its not that expensive and provides tons of good tips for certain steps of building a guitar and setting it up properly.

I hope this is an inspiration to you to build your own electric guitar. It took me about two days to finish it and it was fun all the way. Stay tuned for more!

Related

Also check out my blog post on how to build a guitar speaker cabinet

UPDATE

Somebody on the internet already made his own electric guitar from these instructions and even improved it! Check it out!