Tuesday, 22 July 2008

BBC Website and RealPlayer in Linux

As a keen user of the BBC's website, I have found it very frustrating that I cannot listen to the Radio iPlayer in any version of Linux that I have tried (the TV iPlayer works fine). However, I have now found a fix in the shape of RealPLayer 11 which works fine. Go to the RealPlayer website and download the following file:-


which can be loaded with the command:-

rpm --install RealPlayer11GOLD.rpm

from a konsole. You will also need to install lsb (from Synaptic in the case of PCLinuxOS) and its associated packages. When the Radio iPlayer is invoked a seperate RealPlayer window will popup and it is this that you use to control the playback rather than the main BBC page. This has been really bugging me for a while and its great to finally get it fixed.

Sunday, 20 July 2008

Nvidia GeForce 6100 display (2)

Further to this problem, it seems that PCLinuxOS 2007 has some updated drivers available in the repository. Just use Synaptic and search for nvidia and select a newer GeForceFX driver. You will need to restart X after installation.

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

4 in 1 Card Reader and PCLInuxOS 2007

This is a bit like the zip drive - you put a card into the reader, the LED lights up and a window pops up enabling you to open it in a window.

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Iomega ZIP Drives on PCLinuxOS 2007

To get these working with PCLinuxOS 2007 it is a matter of checking a box in the menu at the top of the HardDrak screen then closing the app down and restarting it and detection will take place. Put a zip disk in the drive and it will pop up a screen inviting you to open the device.

Monday, 14 July 2008

MCP61 sound on PCLinuxOS 2007

On initial installation, the sound doesn't work and gives a thumping great error message box (/dev/dsp cannot be opened). I know the sound works with Linux because it worked in Mandriva One. It seems to be using the same sound driver:-


and much Googling made it obvious that a lot of other people were having the same problem. I'll put you out of your misery - you need to load a newer kernel than the one provided with PCLinuxOS 2007. Don't panic, it can all be done painlessly in Synaptic. Just search for the word kernel and choose a later kernel (one ending in 15 worked for me) and leave the other one loaded. The GRUB menu will allow you to choose the new kernel (or the old one if you have problems) and you should have sound. If all is well then uninstall the older kernel again with Synaptic. I was impressed how well it worked. Ok so now I have sound. The kernel change didn't sort out my lack of 3d support on the display so more research needed...

Sunday, 13 July 2008

Nvidia GeForce 6100 display on PCLinuxOS 2007

This proved to be quite easy to sort out. Just select custom and select the Nvidia FX driver. This sorts out the resolution problem although it seems that 3d doesn't work and I need a newer driver. I'm working on it...

Friday, 11 July 2008

AOL Voyager 105 Modem and PCLinuxOS 2007

The first thing is to get online. Fisrt thing I noticed was that the firewall needs a file download in order to install and run and this can only be obtained from an online download so I have to risk going online without a firewall running. Oh dear...

The eciadsl site gives a very good tutorial although there is another specific to AOL in the UK here which is very good. However, I have come across few things that it doesn't mention.

Sometimes the driver won't connect first time (hangs when trying to connect to the provider) so you need to CTRL-C and try again which usually does the trick (until you reboot). Another problem is a niceness error (I've no idea what niceness is) which can be corrected but you need to login as root (be careful what you do) and change the eciadsl-start script which is in /usr/bin/eciadsl-start and find the word nice then change the value from:-




or a similar value. This seems to stop the niceness error. You can also use the following command if you are having problems (eciadsl-stop first):-


which will give a much more verbose description of what is going on which might help diagnosis. It sometimes takes a while to synchronise (several minutes sometimes) so be patient. Once working, I could get the firewall up and running (file downloads automatically) without a need to reboot (it is called ShoreWall). The need to CTRL-C when starting eciadsl is a bit of a pain so something else for me look at. In the meantime however, it works fine.

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

My New PC and PCLinuxOS 2007

Ok so a few words on the spec of my new PC.

Gigabyte S-Series GA-M61PME-S2
AMD Athlon 64x2 Dual
Core processor 4600+
2.41GHz each core
Digital camera USB Card reader (4 x slots)
Nvidia GeForce 6100 onboard graphics card
MCP61 audio

Seems a pretty good machine although perhaps not quite as fast as I had expected running Windows XP SP3 but still pretty good. So now to get PCLinuxOS 2007 running on it. Main problems seem to be:-

Sound mute - just gives an error
Displays in 800x600 despite the fact the it says it is displaying in a higher res
ZIP drive not detected
Card reader not detected
AOL Voyager 105 driver not connecting properly
4 in 1 card reader not detected

As I get these things sorted out so I'll do another post for each although I'll be surprised if I get it all working. Stay tuned...

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Mandriva One Spring 2008.1

I have recently changed to a slightly newer and more sprightly PC and found that PCLinuxOS didn't run very well on it (problems with sound and video) so I decided to download and run Mandriva One which can be downloaded as a single ISO for burning onto a standard CDROM. It found all my hardware including ZIP drive, card reader and sound and video worked fine. However, it lacked a driver for my Voyager 105 ADSL modem I use to logon to AOL Broadband. I downloaded the eciadsl driver from here for Mandriva:-


but it wouldn't install. Mandriva also requires the following files:-


Finally, you also need the sync files from the eciadsl website:-


However, I still couldn't get it work as I needed to be able to login as root to make changes which Mandriva won't allow me to do so I gave up and went back to PCLinuxOS and tried to rectify the problems it was giving me on my new machine - more on that another time.

Monday, 7 July 2008

PCLinuxOS 2007

After many years and a great deal of experimentation, I have finally found a version of Linux that I actually like. Until now I've been switching regularly between SUSE and Mandrake (Now Mandriva) with Mandriva being the best for running on low power machines (500 Mhz with 256Mb RAM) but it has become quite a large download (3 CD ISO's) and I wanted to find something smaller. I also ideally needed a Live CD so I could run it from CD first to see if all the hardware I had was compatible. Of all the ones I tried, PCLinuxOS is the best. It runs as a Live CD and is very easy to install to HD once running. It comes on one CD downloadable ISO which contains all the drivers and basic software packages including KDE and Open Office. Extra files and updates can be downloaded over an Internet connection (broadband is essential) using a utility called Synaptic which is very easy to use. PCLinusOS also contained a driver for my AOL Voyager broadband modem which made getting online much easier than with other versions of Linux I have tried. All in all, a very good version of Linux. Click here for more information.

Thursday, 3 July 2008

Amstrad/Sinclair 3 inch Disk Drives

These drives which are getting on for twenty years old are still going strong and giving excellent service. However, they do tend to stop working if stored in a loft or (heaven forbid) a garage for long periods of time. Machines affected include CPC6128, Sinclair Spectrum +3 and early PCW ranges. However, be of good cheer because it is usually only a faulty drive belt. The belts seem to lose all elasticity and replacing it usually does the trick. You can click here for more information.

Friday, 13 June 2008

Visual J#.Net

Having recently become interested in the .Net programming Language Visual J# (an enhancement to Visual J++ for the .Net platform) I was a bit miffed to see that MS have decided to no longer support it after 2015 although it has to be said that it is similar to C Sharp (C#.Net) so shouldn't be too difficult to convert all my programs. Oh well...thats life... More details here.