Streaming audio with long reconnect timeouts is fun. It’s like having ghosts in my computers. I’m writing, sitting on the couch, and an unexpected burst of audio pops out from the corner of the room. Experientially, there’s no difference between a disembodied voice and a voice from a body you don’t imagine, and for the split second before I the NPR reporter’s voice, I get slight a thrill.

Bluetooth adventures

I have a bluetooth headset that I’ve wanted to use with my Linux laptop for a while, but couldn’t, largely because of weak support for bluetooth<->pulseaudio integration. Today, I decided to give it another shot and actually got sound going from XMMS2 to my headphones. That was great except then my wifi connection slowed to a crawl. Apparently, because the wireless card on my laptop is shared between bluetooth and wifi, they have trouble working at the same time. So disappointing.

As a side note: I was screwing around with wifi settings on my router and somehow ended up catching what sounded like a kendo competition set to music: lots of passionate yells, clacking, and flute.


I was able to get it working by setting some options to the iwlwifi driver. To my future self and interested hackers, the documents I referenced:

  • ev3dev github issue — running pulseaudio as ‘pulse’ user in system mode is because ev3dev is embedded systems (lego mindstorms :) ), but this page did give me some useful diagnostic commands and clued me into using the “agent on” command to bluetoothctl.

  • Arch Linux docs — got me the rest of the way to playing the audio. Ubuntu and Debian docs on this part were pretty useless

  • Debian iwlwfi page — indicated the options to prevent bluetooth/wifi conflict