Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Rockin' with KiSS DP-1500

As my KiSS DP-1500 networked DivX/MP3/Ogg player finally arrived, I tried to set it up. After doing some reading I decided to follow the advice and use regular cable in plase of wireless, as DP-1500 supports 802.11b standard only (11 MBit/s may be ok for audio but when it comes to our house movies, this would simply not suffice).

The physical setup itself wasn't that hard, I had some problems with software, though. PC-Link 1.30 that was shipped with the player looks really lame, so I decided to use EZ Link NG, freeware version of it (note: I did have some problems with getting regular EZ link to work (the player couldn't recoginze it on the network; no such problems with NG version).

So, now we have it all - may we have enough time to use it properly!!!

Monday, April 18, 2005

New sound setup

One thing missing from the sound configuration was the ability to handle multiple sound streams. Until now, when 2 processes tried to produce sound, second needed to wait until the first unlocked the sound device. Googling for existing sound daemons (arts for KDE, esd for Gnome), I found out that I don't actually need a daemon, as ALSA provides a "plugin" for mixing the streams called dmix. Right now my .asoundrc file looks like that:

# 'dmix' plugin for easy mixing of sound streams
pcm.ossmix {
type dmix
ipc_key 1021
slave {
pcm "hw:0,0"
period_time 0
period_size 1024
buffer_size 8192
rate 48000
# bindings are cool. This says, that only the first
# two channels are to be used by dmix, which is enough for
# (most) oss apps and also lets multichannel chios work
# much faster:
bindings {
0 0 # from 0 -> to 0
1 1 # from 1 -> to 1

# redirect to ossmix
pcm.dsp0 {
type plug
slave.pcm "ossmix"

# redirect to ossmix
pcm.!default {
type plug
slave.pcm "ossmix"

ctl.mixer0 {
type hw
card 0

The applications that use sound devices need to be re-configured: XMMS uses ALSA as an output plugin with 'default' as audio device, I also switched play utility into aplay, one that comes with ALSA.

Mplayer settings: in /etc/mplayer/mplayer.conf I added the following:


Quakeforge is not working properly by default. According to this excellent short howto, it needs to be reconfigured to use OSS sound plugin (add option set snd_output oss in /etc/quakeforge.conf). Then you need to do this trick, I guess to tell the kernel sound subsystem that Quakeforge needs to access the device exclusively:
echo "nq-glx 0 0 direct">/proc/asound/card0/pcm1p/oss

This means that quakeforge will take over the device (so that, eg. it will not be possible to listen to any MP3s) but I guess it is all right.

Some more info how to setup other applications, look here

Saturday, April 16, 2005

PC100 vs PC66 memory

I'm in the middle of memory expansion of our "media server" (an old Compaq EP 6300, discontinued and better forgotten altogher) which uses PC66 memory. This article: PC100 vs PC66 discusses the differenceds between those 2 types.

Friday, April 15, 2005

ROX filemanager

I was looking for some decent filemanager for some time (not that I'm used to them, I mainly do everything from command line but...) so I've decided to give ROX a go. It's written in Python and there are more applications that come under the roof "ROX" (including session manager) but I was interested in file manager part only. It is pretty fast and looks all right (there are some icon themes available), but what I didn't like 100% is poor support for archives. There is additional application for ROX that handles archives, Archive but it is very simple (you can create/extract archives, there is no virtual FS in it for example; I'm guessing I need something extra for it).

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Flickr font problem soved

I'm a quiet fan of flickr, but I has some hard time trying to get it working properly on Linux/Firefox (Flickr uses flash and I couldn't see the fonts). Even Flickr blog was full of strange replies and it took me some time to find the right answer: according to this blog, Debian users need to install gsfonts-x11 package.

Sunday, April 10, 2005 X server running on my laptop

Lured by cool-looking screenshots and promises that "fonts look much better", I switched to (in place of xfree86) version of X window system on my laptop. Some points:
  • in order to spare myself the boring compilation/packaging of debian packages (that are non-existent at the moment), I decided to use Ubuntu version of them. Later on, by mistake, I've upgraded all my packages to ubuntu (apt-get -t hoar upgrade), but system is stable, so we'll see how it works,
  • the main reason for this change, transparency is not working properly with DRI - Composite extension loads and DRI cannot (the order in /etc/xorg.conf file does not matter). I've found some postings on freedesktop mailing list discussing this problem, stating that is should be possible to have them both. This needs investigation.
I'm very thrilled by all this. Maybe the new X server will work with suspend to ram/disk better than old version? this needs to be checked as well.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

faster bootup for linux

This interesting article has some information on how to make linux machine boot up faster: random ramblings from some random dude : tech/ubuntu/fastBootMiniBoF-2004-12-09-13-45.html.

Nice tool that generates Gantt charts what's going on during the boot up time: Bootchart. Worth a try, I'll do it soon.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

KiSS Technologies DP-1500

I think I've decided: I want it! to play my movies and music, of course. I also found a good price (EUR 155.00) at but they only ship electronics to Germany and Austria! D'oh! I will try to get it from them anyways.

I also found interesting article on how to install a harddrive to other model, DP-500 (that means that you can have your files on the player itself, instead of getting it from the central server machine). I'm guessing that it may be possible to do it with DP-1500 (to save some bucks).

This all looks exciting. I'm hoping that the server machine after memory upgrade will be able to habdle that.

Faster downloads with FireFox

Hey, looks like another good reason to switch to FirddeFox: FireFox on Steroids is an interesting article on how to increase the speed on the browser by tweaking couple of configuration variables (actually, editing 'about:config' page is very cool, IMHO).

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

greasemonkey: an idea for the script

We all know greasemonkey, FireFox extension that can add DHTML to a webpage; so I was thinking if it would be possible to control/access cookies as well. Polish mobile provider Plus GSM has a SMS gate that you can use to send SMS for free; recently they limited it to only one (or so) SMS per day. The site leaves a cookie on your machine to find out when did you send the SMS last time. Removing the cookie by hand does the trick. But of course I'm lazy so I'd like to be done automatically.

Hop-over to FireFox

"Regular" Mozilla browser starts to annoy me - sometimes I have problems with rendering correctly some websites (like eBay for example: two days ago I tried to change my e-mail contact address and, at some point, eBay required me to type in some number, generated to avoid bots as a GIF and it did not get displayed!). Besides, with all those extensions/plugins available more often for FireFox, it looks that it's "bleeding edge" software (like all my machine is!).

Fighting with CUPS

Had this strange problem with CUPS on my laptop today: it just stopped working (instead, started to give me all those annoying NT_RESULT_BAD_NETWORK_NAME errors). The good thing is that I managed to finally figure out the correct format of smb:// URIs. It looks like that:


Web interface to CUPS (running on port 631, usually) still gives me this strange error. But it works.

Also, fiddling with samba configuration did not solve the problem with bad network name.

Friday, April 01, 2005

More memory!

Our media server need an upgrade: good ol' Compaq Deskpro is struggling with too much music and films to index with too little memory (96 MB is just not enough these days). The only place to buy the old DIMMs (SIMMs ? I never know, need to check) seems to be eBay... no local retailers had any of those in stock (this is an old crap, really).