Unique Mexican music; Son Jarocho, folklore and more

There’s a lot of interesting and unique music in Mexico, both modern and traditional, but there’s one kind that I find particularly unique and beautiful that I think it’s extremely underrated in Mexico, let alone in the world; Son Jarocho.

This first video is from Cafe Tacuba, IMO the best band from Mexico, although I’m not sure what kind of style it is, it’s certainly awesome 🙂 (I couldn’t find a better video quality)

The rest of the videos are of what I consider Son Jarocho in the right setting; small room, 3 guys; jarana jarocha (small guitar), requinto jarocho (even smaller guitar), and more importantly; arpa jarocha (a special harp). It’s a mixture of different styles from different continents, and the lyrics are often funny and sometimes improvised to make fun of something, or somebody. BTW, jarocho means from Veracruz, one of the 31 states of Mexico.

La Bamba is the most famous one, but I couldn’t find one video worthy of highlighting, so I just put the best one I could find. And before you ask, yes, the high pitch and loud voices in the chorus are intended, also, wait for the solos 😉

This is what you most likely would expericence; a group wandering around restaurants, improvising and making jokes.

This one seems professionally recorded. Just for measure.

For more more about Mexican music and culture, check this previous post.


Scrobbler for Maemo, now both on N900, and N9

Version 2.0 finally moved to Fremantle stable, so everybody can start using it 🙂

If you are not familiar with it, this package will see what music you are listening on Maemo devices, and scrobble to your favorite service, either last.fm, libre.fm, or both.

I already explained the features in an earlier blog entry, along with an explanation of how to make use of the “love” feature.

But now I also managed to port this to Harmattan, and it works perfectly on my Nokia N9. Interestingly enough, the new UI has a “favorite” feature directly integrated, it took me some time, as it’s not publicly documented, but I finally managed to hook into it, so everything works seamlessly 🙂

I was rather impressed by how easy it was to port it, I was able to leave all the GLib bits intact, even libsoup is still supported, and libconio, so I only had to make changes regarding the new qmafw. Thanks to the Qt guys for using the GLib’s mainloop by default, it certainly made things easier for me 🙂


You can find a debian package here: maemo-scrobbler 2.0-2.

Then, you would need to create a file ~/.config/scrobbler like this:


That’s it 🙂

gst-av 0.4; better performance for flac, vorbis and mp3 (part 2)

This is a continuation of my previous post. Based on the feedback I decided to do two things; investigate the strange FLAC high CPU usage with FFmpeg, and get more accurate measurements.

GStreamer sucks

It turns out that GStreamer flac parser uses four times more CPU than FFmpeg’s decoder. Thanks to perf, I was able to quickly figure out the biggest offenders: GStreamer’s horrible bitstream reader (GST_BIT_READER_READ_BITS) was by far the worst.

53.03% libgstbase-0.10.so.0.26.0
24.78% libavcodec.so.52.72.2
17.35% libgstxiph.so
1.52% libc-2.12.1.so

This is on my laptop just running the parser (filesrc ! flacparse ! fakesink), in total it was taking 2.67s.

After reading the code and trying different things, I decided to go for something similar to what FFmpeg is doing, and I also borrowed pieces of the architecture-specific optimizations, now it even looks ok:

72.68% libavcodec.so.52.72.2
14.20% libgstxiph.so
4.00% libc-2.12.1.so

And it takes 0.81s.

But how much would this affect battery life on the N900?

Smart battery script

I tried different ideas, and after refreshing myself on statistics I wrote this script in Ruby that runs all the tests, gathers the battery capacity in a separate thread, and finally generates a report per test. Much easier than before.

Since I’m already working on FLAC, I decided to also apply some patches that split the decoder from the parser, and optimizations from Måns Rullgård (good thing I grabbed them because he seems to have left the project and deleted his repos).

Battery life graph

Battery life

Battery drain graph

Battery drain

So, yeah, much better now 😉

But how credible are these results? Well, judge by yourself, listed below are the raw measurements, the samples are the differences in capacity (mAh) measured each 10 minutes, from which the drain and battery life are calculated.

== baseline ==
samples: 3, 3, 3, 3, 4, 5
drain: 21.00±1.87mA
life: 65.39±4.77h
== av flac ==
samples: 9, 8, 8, 8, 7, 8, 7
drain: 47.14±1.45mA
life: 28.19±0.87h
== flac ==
samples: 11, 11, 11, 11, 11, 11
drain: 66.00±0.00mA
life: 20.00±0.00h
== av mp3 ==
samples: 11, 11, 11, 11, 11, 10
drain: 65.00±0.91mA
life: 20.33±0.30h
== nokiamp3 ==
samples: 12, 12, 12, 12, 12, 12
drain: 72.00±0.00mA
life: 18.33±0.00h
== av vorbis ==
samples: 10, 11, 11, 10, 11, 11
drain: 64.00±1.15mA
life: 20.67±0.38h
== vorbis ==
samples: 19, 18, 18, 19, 18, 19
drain: 111.00±1.22mA
life: 11.90±0.13h

If you are interested in the code: gst-av, gst-maemo-xiph. Enjoy 😉

maemo-scrobbler 1.0 released; last.fm+libre.fm multi-scrobbling

I got tired of waiting for my patches to be merged into mafw-lastfm, so I continued with my project which I decided to name maemo-scrobbler.

maemo-scrobbler is a scrobbler application (last.fm/libre.fm) for the Nokia N900 that listens for events coming from the official media player app through MAFW.

The inspiration (and some code) comes from mafw-lastfm which does basically the same thing, but lacks some features. However, the code-base of maemo-scrobbler is completely different as I wrote it from scratch. First, I wrote a simple libscrobbler library which uses libsoup and a test application that can be easily run on the desktop. This way I was able to test the main use-case throughly.

Compared to mafw-lastfm, maemo-scrobbler has:

  1. Support for multi-scrobbling (both last.fm and libre.fm at the same time)

    Includes a song queue per service.

  2. Improved song queue handling

    Since internally it uses libscrobble (which is independent of MAFW), the important code can be easily tested on desktop sw, and it has been done so… throughly.

    It doesn’t matter how flaky your network is, or that the servers are down, the songs will be submitted.

  3. Permanent storage

    The song queue is not lost, even on crashes, device reboots, or software updates.

  4. Video clips are ignored

    Small feature, but important.

In other words: maemo-scrobbler Just Works™ 😉

It’s now on extras testing, please give it a try and vote up.

For more info and the source code, check in github.

Technology that just doesn’t work

I was looking at some Phillip De Franco post and due to some copyright he didn’t include the video. Fortunately he has a link to it on CNN, I just have to watch a couple of ads and then… nothing. I really hate to watch advertisements and not the content I want. Thanks to YouTube I could watch it, I’m not sure if it’s illegal or not, but I watched CNN’s ads anyway already.

That reminds of the constant ads I have to watch when I see some Colbert Report videos. I have almost memorized the same Doritos ad, at least the could try to put different ones to be less annoying. Oh, and I can’t find any Doritos on Finland, so it’s a waste of time for them and for me.

It also makes me think about DRM. A lot of companies put a lot of locks so you can’t download online videos, you need to watch their ads, or pay some money, or you can buy some music but you need a DRM capable player, which limits the platforms you can run that of.

Did these big companies missed the memo? Scarcity is over with digital content. Stop faking scarcity and just let me watch the content when I want it, where I want it, thank you.

For the record the day In Rainbows was released I tried to buy the thing, but I was too lazy to get my debit card, fill all those fields, get the notification e-mail and all that stuff. I got it from bittorrent, I listened to it and the next day I bought it online for 10 euros. I don’t like MP3’s but I don’t have any other option. When the album is available in CD format I’ll download the torrent in FLAC format from bittorrent.