Turn Up - Volume Mixer

Last week my brother Kieran told me to expect a delivery, I love surprise gifts 😆, after opening the package I realised it was a volume mixer by TurnUp software, a Kickstarter project.

A volume mixer isn’t something I would have ever thought of purchasing, I didn’t see the appeal when the Windows Sound Mixer exists. However, it turns out that a physical volume mixer is one of those devices that when you get used to using it, it’s hard to imagine going back to not having one.

Normally when I’m relaxing, I’ll be playing video games, I’ll have Discord, Spotify and “insert video game of month” open. I’ll then use Windows Sound Mixer to adjust the levels as the music changes/I move to a different game. It’s workable, but a bit annoying, especially with games where you are heavily reliant on sounds (eg; Dead by Daylight). I also have some keyboard shortcuts bound to mute and deafen myself on Discord while in-game.

I’ve now moved and centralised all the above functionality with the volume mixer. It’s so much easier to quickly adjust the volume on a program now.

Image of TurnUp Device

My volume mixer setup (left to right):

  • Volume knobs: system, Spotify, Discord, active window, Microphone
  • Buttons: mute system, pause Spotify, deafen Discord, mute active window, mute microphone.

The device itself feels well-made and sturdy, the volume knobs are pretty much what you’d expect on an amplifier. The USB-C cable that came with mine was faulty, it was causing Windows to stop recognising the device randomly, but once I replaced the cable, I’ve had no further issues.

The software for the device is okay, but I hope it will improve with time. It is functional currently, but it could do with further work, especially on the UI/UX side. Accidentally hitting the “Apply to All” button (which is in a very odd place) during configuration makes for a frustrating experience.

Overall, for $69-$79, this device is great value for money, I’d recommend it to anyone interested in getting a volume mixer.


Posted on May 30, 2021

MarkText - An Open Source Markdown Editor

After switching over my blog to Gatsby and using markdown, I have been on the lookout for a decent markdown editor to use for writing. Up until now, I have been using a combination of Dillinger.io and Markdown Navigator Enhanced in PHPStorm.

I switch between a windows desktop computer and a MacBook throughout the day, so having the same software on both platforms was vital to me. I also wanted something open-source, as I’m trying to focus on making more open-source contributions.

Well, I’ve found something that satisfies both of the above: Mark Text.

An image of MarkText software

I could talk about all of its features and how its interface is beautifully minimalistic, but you can read all about that on their website or if README.md is more your thing, check out their Github.


Posted on November 30, 2020

Website revitalised using Gatsby!

This year, one of my personal goals was to revitalise this website and get the source code onto Github.

Historically it has been a blog, and not that anyone’s really noticed, but I haven’t done any blogging lately. While I do want to maintain my blog, and I intend on continuing to post to it, I don’t think it should be the focus of this website anymore.

Moving forward, I want this website to be somewhere:

  • I store technical information that I might need to refer to later.
  • I can highlight projects I’m working on & try out new ideas.
  • I can blog about different topics easily.

This presented a few issues for me with the websites existing setup:

  • It was built on WordPress, which I didn’t find very motivating to develop on anymore.
  • It was self-hosted on a server that included websites for family & friends. This made me hesitant to install new tools or languages on the server.
  • The existing UI/UX of the website didn’t cater to most of what I had in mind.

Naturally, I concluded the best course of action was to start from scratch—the sort of decision you can easily take on a project that’s entirely your own.

I had recently started to use ReactJS on a few projects at Kobas and was enjoying using it, so I decided I would use that for the frontend. I also knew I wanted to utilise some form of auto-deployment for the project, as that makes development much more comfortable.

After several iterations of trying different JAMstack frameworks, I landed on Gatsby hosted on AWS Amplify.

I started the project using the ”Gatsby WordPress starter”, immediately giving me a ReactJS frontend with the data sourced from my existing WordPress instance.

This allowed me to quickly get to a point where I could work on the design using real data and recognise the functionality I needed to code myself. While I did have data sourced from WordPress, I didn’t have a comment system, contact page, search, or sidebar widgets for things like tags/categories.

I needed to decide what I didn’t immediately require, as I wanted to get the new version out as soon as possible. A design I was happy with was the first thing to get added to my MVP list. The sidebar widgets I considered design-related, the website looked bare without them, they went into my MVP list. The contact page also went onto the MVP list, mainly as it was trivial to add utilising getform.io.

I decided that I could live without a comment system, it had never gotten much engagement anyway. I also thought that if I wanted one later, I could use something like Disqus. Adding search functionality seemed the most complex out of the features I was missing, so I didn’t add it to the MVP list.

Over the next few weeks, I worked on the above MVP list. Doing my best to avoid adding more functionality along the way.

Once I was done with the MVP list, I started looking at deployment options. I wanted something I wouldn’t need to spend much time configuring. AWS Amplify fit that requirement. First, I moved my domain over to Route53. Then I pointed Amplify to my Github repository, which automatically picked up the build command in my package.json. So simple!

I’m pretty happy where I’ve got to at this point, any future development I want to do here is much more streamlined for me. More fun stuff to come I hope. 😀


Posted on October 29, 2020

Programmer Personality: 2020

While converting over my previous post of my Programmer Personality, I decided to do it again and see whats changed, as expected it has.

Your programmer personality type is:

DLSB

You’re a Planner..

You may be slow, but you’ll usually find the best solution. If something’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right.

You like coding at a High level.

The world is made up of objects and components, you should create your programs in the same way.

You work best in a Team.

A good group is better than the sum of it’s parts. The only thing better than a genius programmer is a cohesive group of genius programmers.

You are a liBeral programmer.

Programming is a complex task and you should use white space and comments as freely as possible to help simplify the task. We’re not writing on paper anymore so we can take up as much room as we need.

Find out what kind of programmer you are here !


Posted on August 09, 2020

GPG signed commits in PHPStorm on CentOS 7

Having the functionality of automatically being prompted to sign your commits while still using PHPStorms Git GUI means you’ll never forget to sign commits again.

To start with, the version of Git installed needs to be > 2.0, otherwise certain options we are using will not work.

On CentOS 7 you’ll need to either build from source, or use a 3rd-party repository such as the IUS Community Project in order to do that. I prefer using repositories over building from source, as it’s easier to update the packages later on.

To use the 3rd-party repository method run the following:

yum install epel-release
yum remove git
rpm -U https://centos7.iuscommunity.org/ius-release.rpm
yum install git2u

Next, if you don’t have a GPG key yet, you’re going to need to generate one, GitHub have a nice guide on this already.

Next we need to add some options to our git config, I’ve went with adding to my global configuration here, however you can set this on a project by project basis by just omitting the --global tag.

git config --global commit.gpgsign true
git config --global user.signingkey ENTER_YOUR_KEY

If you’re confused on how to get your signing key for above, again Github have a guide on that.

At this point, running git commit -S -m "Example commit" will prompt you to enter the password for your secret key.

The last part is to add the following configuration to ~/.gnupg/gpg.conf

no-tty

Now when you make a commit in PHPStorm, you’ll be prompted for the password for your secret key, and the commit will be signed.


Posted on January 23, 2019