Tag Archives: sound

Employment Woes

Wednesday morning, my supervisor pulled me aside to tell me since management wants to go into beta just before I take 2 days of vacation. And since one of those vacation days conflicts with a week long Microsoft training course I was signed up for they are pulling me out of the class. I wasn’t happy about it. She wasn’t either but the decision came down from on high.

Wednesday afternoon, a co-worker and myself had to drive 4 hours to my current employer’s home office. Instead of heading straight to the hotel, we stopped along the way to get dinner. We ended up hitting the hotel around 8 PM. When we checked in there was a message asking us to call our supervisor. Neither one of us liked the sound of that. We tried calling her back but got her answering machine. We left a message and I went to my own room. I had been laying down for just about an hour and was thinking of hitting up the hotel’s hottub when the room phone rang. I picked it up and it was my supervisor. She was calling to tell me the company had decided to close our office once the lease runs out. Apparently, there’s going to be some sort of transition plan if you want to move out by the home office and continue working for the company. But as I told a co-worker, I’d rather slit my wrists then move to keep working for this company. So I’ve got somewhere between 4 – 8 months to find a different job1. Needless to say, I didn’t get a lot of sleep that night and I wasn’t feeling motivated for teaching the next day.

Thursday, I went into the office. I chatted with a few people and they were all sympathetic (and wanting to know what we were going to do). Then I checked on the classroom and it wasn’t setup correctly, so I got to do some last minute running around to get it fixed. Then I taught, trying not to put them to sleep. The two big problems with the class were that it had to be put together at the last minute and I had 3 different groups of people attending the class. Each group having a different, non-overlapping skill set; making it impossible not to be too basic for one part of the class while being totally over the head of a different part. *sigh* Still some people seemed to get something out of the class and nobody actually snored through it.

Thursday night, we drove home.

Friday, I went into my soonish-to-be-closed office and while it was a dark humor going around; most people seemed happier than I’ve seen them for some time. Maybe good things will come of this moronic decision. Who knows? I just know that I’m going to be much more motivated to find a different job (I’d been half-heartedly looking already) and the company’s customers who pay support fees are going to get seriously pissed off2.

So if any of my readers are in the Eastern Iowa area and are hiring, maybe you could let me know?

1 We’ve got some kind of extension on the lease so it’s anybody’s guess when exactly our office will be closed, but we do know it will happen sometime between September and December.
2 From what I understand the majority of the company’s best help desk personnel are in my office. So the customers will have to wait longer to get somebody to talk to them about their issue(s) and then wait even longer for that person to fix their issue(s).

Ubuntu and the Crystal 4237B Soundchip

For all you people searcing for more information on getting the C4237B soundchip working under Ubuntu, here are the links to my previous posts on the subject:

Some other people out there in Internet land have reported the steps detailed in those posts as working for them. Some have reported that they don’t work. *shrug* My best guess as to why is I think the chip can be configured with a DOS/Windows utility to use different IRQs and what not. Or it could be some sort of difference in the kernel(s) people are using. Or something else entirely. I really don’t know for sure. Lastly I should note that when I last updated the kernel on my laptop to tot 2.6.12-10; the sound stopped working.

Sickday Links

I’ve been home sick the last couple of days and today while I felt mostly felt fine; I was running a bit of a temp. I couldn’t sleep so to entertain myself; I surfed the web and found this links which amused me.

  • Bento | Gmaps:Google Maps with English translations showing eating/dining options in Tokyo, Japan
  • Motherload: A flash based game where you drive a mining pod on Mars digging for ore. Sounds silly but it’s strangely addictive; I clicked it intending to play for just a few minutes and ended up spending hours on it today. Then again, part of that could have been the cold medicine.
  • MythBusters | Lost Experiments: The Discovery channel has put online short video segments from the MythBusters TV show where we get to see never before released footage. ๐Ÿ˜€ Very cool!

Cellphones suck!

I confess. I’m a technophile. I like reading about new technologies and gadgets. Even better, I like owning new technologies and gadgets. And yet, I don’t have a cellphone of my own. I bought one for my wife but that was only because she was doing a lot of driving out into the boonies of Iowa as part of her degree program. The phone is a couple of years old now but I’m in no hurry to replace it. I’m in even less of a hurry to get one for myself.

Why? Because every cellphone I see out there sucks. The cellphone manufacturers are rushing to build in all sorts of extraneous functionality. This adds to the phone’s weight, size & complexity without providing any meaningful benefit.

Let’s look at a similar product for a moment, the iPod. In a field of hundreds, if not thousands, of MP3 players the iPod is the industry leader and it has the least functionality of the lot. While the other manufacturers have added FM tuners and recorders and god-only-knows what else; Apple has kept the iPod simple and it’s making them money hand over fist.

But what does the iPod have to do with cellphones? Besides that hideous ROKR thing? That’s simple, literally. By restricting the functionality of the device to the bare minimum, Apple gave consumers exactly what they wanted. While cellphone manufacturers keep throwing function after function into their phones in hopes that more people will plunk down $500 for their latest toy.

All those functions sound great, but really how many people actually use all of them? I cannot speak for everybody, but I would greatly appreciate a cellphone that simply promises:

  • Superior battery life
  • Excellent Reception
  • Easily fits in my pocket

However from all the adverts I see for cellphones; I have a feeling that is just too much to ask for. *sigh*

ALSA & Crystal 4237B Revisited

I’ve written before about trying to get sound working on my ancient laptop. When Ubuntu Breezy (5.10) was released; I wiped my laptop and reloaded it from scratch. Unfortunately, this version of Ubuntu also failed to auto-detect/setup my laptop’s soundcard. After much googling and reading of the Ubuntu Forums, I finally got the sound working!

Below, I’ve summarized everything I read and tried in getting this working:

  1. Edit /boot/grub/menu.lst and add acpi=off to the end of the options for the kernel1.
  2. Install libsdl1.2debian-alsa via Synaptic.
  3. Removed /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base.
  4. Created /etc/modprobe.d/alsa2.
  5. Added snd-cs4236 to the bottom of /etc/modules.

Mind you that summary leaves out dozens of pages of instructions, including the various diagnostics I ran to try figuring out what was wrong. Some of those diagnostics were:

  • lspci -v — No help to me as my soundcard is connected via ISA and not PNP.
  • lspnp -v — This would only detect my soundcard after I turned off acpi.
  • dmesg | grep -i "isa\|multi\|sound\|audio" — This might give you more info about the soundcard, but didn’t help me.
  • pnpdump — This might give you more info about the soundcard, but didn’t help me

Additionally, I ran across several recommendations for the options line in /etc/modprobe.d/alsa but the version of the file listed in the footnotes is the only one which worked for me.

Lastly, if you have this laptop there is a considerable amount of good information still available on Dell’s website for it. For example, apparently there is a Windows/DOS utility for configuring the IRQs and whatnot that the soundcard uses. Fortunately, I didn’t have to try downloading it and finding some way to run it but the option is there if you need it.

1/boot/grub/menu.lst
title Ubuntu, kernel 2.6.12-9-386
root (hd0,0)
kernel /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.12-9-386 root=/dev/hda1 ro quiet splash acpi=off
initrd /boot/initrd.img-2.6.12-9-386
savedefault
boot

2/etc/modprobe.d/alsa
alias char-major-116 snd
alias char-major-14 soundcore
alias snd-card-0 snd-cs4236
options snd-cs4236 port=0x530 cport=0x210 isapnp=0 dma1=1 dma2=0 irq=5
alias sound-slot-0 snd-card-0
alias sound-slot-1 snd-card-1

alias sound-service-0-0 snd-mixer-oss
alias sound-service-0-1 snd-seq-oss
alias sound-service-0-3 snd-pcm-oss
alias sound-service-0-8 snd-seq-oss
alias sound-service-0-12 snd-pcm-oss

alias /dev/mixer snd-mixer-oss
alias /dev/dsp snd-pcm-oss
alias /dev/midi snd-seq-oss

options snd cards_limit=1

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