Weight and Stuff Report – 6 May 2014

Mutter, mutter, up again today.

Do I sound tired? I probably should, having spent quite a while this evening jumping through hoops. Well, not actual hoops and not actual jumping, you understand, but more the computing kind. I mentioned yesterday that my shiny new Blackstar amp had a wee issue talking to my MacBook Air, and this evening I decided to see if I could persuade it to behave.

My first attempt was to use Wine and the handy WineBottler to run the Windows version. Well, let’s just say that this didn’t work. I suspect that some combination of mystic incantations, jumping through even more hoops backwards while whistling Colonel Bogey in an obscure key and wearing a purple T-Rex[1] t-shirt might make it work, but quite honestly there aren’t enough hours in the rest of my life for me to get into that kind of thing.

And so I moved to Plan B. I installed the nicely free VirtualBox rather than resorting to VMWare Fusion or Parallels, which I’ve used in the past. I then downloaded a 90 day trial of Windows 8.1 on the grounds that if I’m going to run Windows, I might as well have the current version. Once I’d got that running and seeing the outside world (a moderately painless exercise), I installed the Blackstar Insider software and connected a suitable USB cable between the MacBook Air and the ID: Core 10. I had to click a button to make the virtual machine connect to the amp, and then I was in business. The software could see the amp, and I’ve been able to download a patch to get a different sound. More playing and fiddling will no doubt follow…

This isn’t really a proper solution – having to run a different OS in a virtual machine is a wee bit technical, and there is the little matter of the Windows licence dying after 90 days. I’m hoping that the time this gives me will be enough for Blackstar to sort out their Mac software so I don’t need to do the hoop jumping.

And if you’ve stayed awake through all that, here’s a photo for you. The nicely shiny new college building in Middlesbrough casts some interesting patterns on the ground, as you can see here:



Camera: X-E2
Aperture: ƒ/4
Shutter speed: 1/2500s
Focal length: 39mm
ISO: 200
Taken: 3 May, 2014

[1] Either the band or the dinosaur, whichever works