Author Archives: alexarje

About alexarje

Alexander Refsum Jensenius is a music researcher and research musician living in Oslo, Norway.

Surviving with only Android for a week?

Is it possible to “survive” with only using Android-based devices for a whole week? I have been using a Sony Xperia tablet for a year’s time now, but mainly as a convenient note taker at meetings. 

When I got the tablet I always thought that it would be interesting to see if it can actually be a proper working machine. Not for development, of course, but for everything else. Going on a week’s travel, I decided to try it out, that is, only bring my Android tablet, and leaving my Ubuntu workhorse at home. It was a bit scary, and I was not entirely sure I would regret it or not. 

A week later, and here is my verdict…


I have never really gotten used to writing on small keyboard, but, as many things in life, this is a matter of practice. After a couple of days, I actually managed to get up to quite some speed also on the tiny keyboard. It still feels small, but I have very few mishits on keys and manage to write without thinking about the keyboard as a limitation


I know that some of the MacBooks have full-day battery life, but my little thing easily runs for 12 hours without charging. So this one is definitely a win for the Sony tablet. 


I have a touchscreen on my laptop as well, but the bigger form factor of the laptop i have actually never used. 


The apps are different, but some things actually work better on Android. One example is the WordPress app that I am writing this post in. It is really smooth and nice-looking, and actually provides a better end-user experience than the online writing tool in the WordPress web site. 

File system

The biggest challenge

Music Moves on YouTube

We have been running our free online course Music Moves a couple of times on the FutureLearn platform. The course consists of a number of videos, as well as articles, quizzes, etc., all of which help create a great learning experience for the people that take part.

One great thing about the FutureLearn model (similar to Coursera, etc.) is that they focus on creating a complete course. There are many benefits to such a model, not least to create a virtual student group that interact in a somewhat similar way to campus students. The downside to this, of course, is that the material is not accessible to others when the course is not running.

We spent a lot of time and effort on making all the material for Music Moves, and we see that some of it could also be useful in other contexts. This semester, for example, I am teaching a course called Interactive Music, in which some of the videos on motion capture would be very relevant for  the students.

For that reason we have now decided to upload all the Music Moves videos to YouTube, so that everyone can access them. We still encourage interested people to enroll in the complete course, though. The next run on FutureLearn is scheduled to start in September.

Starting up my new project: MICRO

I am super excited about starting up my new project – MICRO – Human Bodily Micromotion in Music Perception and Interaction – these days. Here is a short trailer explaining the main points of the project:

Now I have also been able to recruit two great researchers to join me, postdoctoral researcher Victor Evaristo Gonzalez Sanchez and PhD fellow Agata Zelechowska. Together we will work on human micromotion, how music influences such micromotion, and how we can get towards microinteraction in digital musical instruments. Great fun!

This week we have already made some progress, both in terms of analysis and synthesis. A sneak peak below, more to come…

Remove standard bookmarks in Nautilus

Yet another note to self on how to fix things in Ubuntu after a fresh install, found at askubuntu, this time to remove the standard bookmarks in the Nautilus file browser. I use a different setup of folders, and don’t really need these unused bookmarks. I wish it could have been easier to just right-click and delete to remove them (like for your own bookmarks), but it turns out to be a bit more tricky.

The default bookmarks are actually built from ~/.config/user-dirs.dirs, and this file is rebuilt on login from /etc/xdg/user-dirs.defaults. So it is necessary to modify both of the files, which may most easily be done with:

nano ~/.config/user-dirs.dirs

sudo nano /etc/xdg/user-dirs.defaults

In the nano editor you should comment out the ones that you don’t want.

And after a login the bookmarks are gone.

Move windows between screens on Ubuntu

As part of the fun of reinstalling an OS, you need to set up all the small things again (and you also get rid of all the small things you had set up and that you don’t need any longer…). This message is mainly a note to self about how to move windows between screens on Ubuntu with a key combination, found at stackexchange:

  1. Install CompizConfig Settings Manager:  sudo apt install compizconfig-settings-manager compiz-plugins-extra
  2. Run Compiz from the dash
  3. Click Window Management
  4. Enable the Put plug-in (select the check-box)
  5. Click on Put
  6. Configure the shortcut for Put to next Output (click enable). I like to use <super-less>, since that key combination is very convenient on a Norwegian keyboard
  7. Log out and back in to make changes take effect