Need a P.A. Or karaoke machine ?  Make one with Ubuntu

my son (age 3) recently found my Wii microphone.   A USB karaoke style accessory for the common video game  console.   He started singing into the microphone and that let me to the idea of getting it to work for him so he can hear his voice amplified.

My first try was on my old windows XP machine (a machine that he could break and I would not shed a tear).   The Wii microphone was recognized and installed as a logitech device.   The sound recorder worked as well and I was able to record him singing but I was not able to pass the audio input to the speakers for my desired outcome.

My next attempt was on my ubuntu laptop. The device was recognized and the default sound app behaved in the same way the xp machine did.  Record only.

After a search on the app list I found. Free program called “listen”. Installed it and I was able to pass the audio from the microphone to the speakers.

  The finished setup was a Wii USB microphone to a Ubuntu laptop connect via 1/8 audio cable to a jambox speaker.   

My next attempt will be to use blue tooth to pair my Xbox 360 “lips” wireless microphone to the laptop.   This will allow greater freedom for the child (or presenter) to move around.

In the setup above the Echo and general noise was there so it may not be ready for prime time or a more sophisticated controller on the speaker output side.

For my a use-cases, a Family reunion or for childs play are all that I’m really after.  But it isn’t a bad idea to know this setup so I can be the hero when plan “A” fails and 50 people are looking at you for any solution that allow the show to go on…


Moving Domain Registrars.

Recently, I’ve been doing some consulting for small business.  Surprising to me the tech that I have been consumed with has been WordPress and other website related tasks.  In this post I’ll describe my first domain transfer.

The process “logical view”:

The companies involved are Yellow pages (using and our new service at

The first thing I did was contact and purchased a 5 year domain transfer.  The 5 years included the registration fees of the domain at a lower price than a normal yearly fee and makes the domain expire the same year has our hosting contract.

Once I initiated the transfer request from godaddy an email with a transaction ID and security ID codes was sent to the admin contact of the domain name.

I then contacted yellow pages to initiate the transfer out and received an authorization code (EPP key)

Once I have the three codes I go back to godaddy account and enter them in the transfer in wizard.

The process “real world view”:

After purchasing the transfer from godaddy the first email was to a “yellowpages” admin account. So I never got them.  When I called yellow pages support staff he informed me that I should have started the process with them because they will drop the Domain name into an individual account that I can manage. After that was created I had to validate the email address (using my clients email) once validated I was able to resend my godaddy ID email via an option on the account website to resend them.    The part that tripped me up was the initial EPP code that I got from was invalid.  Not sure why.   (I think there was a change in the contact information that wasn’t really a change) But I looked around the site and found a way to resend the EPP code.  Again having to use my clients email I was able to verify that the code was in fact different and the transfer worked with the new code.   I’m currently in a holding state since the Domain transfers take 5-7 days to finalize.

Important thing to remember:

  • Remember to unlock the domain so it can be transferred
  • Changing any contact information (except I think admin email but I didn’t test that) will cause a hold on the domain for 30 days.
  • Pay attention to contact email address before starting transfer so you have access to the code.

Objective-C and Swift

I’ve decided to embark on learning how to code in Objective-C (as I already have a book on it) and eventually Swift. The main reason for this is just to learn something new that I can have fun with. The goal is not to retire early on App Store earnings, although if that happens it would be a nice bonus!

The book I have is called Programming in Objective-C 2.0 (Second Edition) by Stephen Kochan:

I just finished the programs and exercises in chapter 2, but because WordPress does not honor code indentation (if there is a way please let me know) you can see my code in all its glory on paste bin:


Well, that didn’t take long! I have switched both my primary laptop and my Raspi to a Debian based distro. On the laptop I am running Linux Mint 15 and on the Raspi I am running the more widely used and supported Raspbian Wheezy OS.

I will then run RHEL/CentOS/Fedora in VM’s for when I need to refer to them as part of my LPIC 1 cert homework. I’m pretty sure I spend more time switching between different distro’s than actually learning anything useful! Hopefully I will stick with this setup long enough to finally obtain my LPIC 1 certification… We’ll see!


Checking out Pidora

I am going to utilize the Fedora Spin for Raspberry Pi, which is suitably named Pidora. I am going to be running my home infra solely on RedHat (or CentOS if I choose to not pay) for the backend and Fedora as my main computer. All instances of Debian-based distro’s wil be run in VM’s for educational purposes.

The plan is to utilize the Pi as a 389 Directory Server as well as a NAS device with the eventual goal of having an Active Directory like setup for the home computers to securely share data and run backups while guest devices that are not part of the directory will be cut off from the important data.