Thursday, 29 January 2009

Sound Troubleshooting in Ubuntu

Usually, whenever I run into problems with Sound on Ubuntu, I turn to the Comprehensive Sound Problem Solutions Guide on Ubuntu forums, which is very elaborate and easy to follow. Thanks to the above post, I managed to wriggle out of many a situation-which arose due to my overzealous nature of making too many changes that are difficult to track back upon. The problem is exacerbated by the presence of two sound cards on my desktop computer-one an onboard sound card and the other mounted on a PCI slot.

I also found another post with its responses on HOWTO: Surround sound in Pulse Audio very useful.

Saturday, 10 January 2009

Indian IT's poster boy falls from grace

B. Ramalinga Raju, the poster boy of Indian IT and the most known business face from Andhra Pradesh has fallen from grace. The doyen of the Indian IT industry and the leader of Satyam Computers has admitted that he is no angel, but just a conman, cheat and a liar. The man who built Satyam Computers, which is now spread over 167 countries, across six continents and has about 55,000 employees has tarnished the image of India's IT sector forever. The ramifications of this scandal are, it might have a far reaching effect on India's economic growth.

Saturday, 3 January 2009

Ubuntu Intrepid on MacBook using VirtualBox

I installed Ubuntu Intrepid on my MacBook using VirtualBox. Any reason for installing Ubuntu on Mac? None whatsoever.

VirtualBox is a x86 virtualisation software developed by Sun Microsystems. I used VirtualBox in the past to install Windows XP on Ubuntu and I have no complaints so far. VirtualBox runs on Windows, Linux, Macintosh and OpenSolaris hosts. Moreover, it is freely available as Open Source Software under the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL).

This is a Tutorial on how to install Ubuntu Intrepid on Mac:

1. Download VirtualBox for Mac.

2. Install VirtualBox.

3. Download the image file of Ubuntu Intrepid (The link is from Canonical UK server).

4. Burn the image file onto a CD or a DVD. This is how you do it:

For Mac OS X 10.3 or later
  1. Open Disk Utility. It's in the Utilities folder (/Applications/Utilities).
  2. If the disk image you want to use doesn't appear in the list, drag its icon to the Disk Utility window.
  3. Select the disk image and click Burn.
  4. Insert a blank CD or DVD into your computer's disc drive and follow the prompts.
5. Leave the Ubuntu CD or DVD in the DVD drive.

6. Start VirtualBox.

7. Select "New" and Click "Next".

8. Name the Installation. In my case I named it as Ubuntu.
Select Operating System: Linux.
Select Version: Ubuntu.

9. Select the Memory size. Recommended base memory is 256 MB. I chose 1 GB. Click "Next".

10. Create a new virtual hard disk. Click "Next"

11. Then select storage type as Fixed assuming that one would like to limit the guest operating system size. Click "Next".

12. Leave the location as Ubuntu and slide the bar to 25 GB. Click "Next".

13. Tick the Boot Hard Disk (Primary Master), select "Ubuntu.vdi" and thereafter Click "New" and then "Next".

You will come out with the following screen....

Click "Finish". Your virtual hard disk is installed and ready for use.

14. Remain within VirtualBox. Now select “Ubuntu” and then click “Settings".

15. Under "Storage" select “CD/DVD-ROM”. Then, check the “Mount CD/DVD Drive” and select “Host CD/DVD Drive". Then Click “OK”.

16. Now double-click on the virtual machine “Ubuntu”. A new window should launch. Followed by couple of other screen changes. To the capture mouse within the VirtualBox window click "OK". To bring back the mouse onto Mac environment click "cmd".

17. Now select “Start or Install Ubuntu”, with the arrow keys, then hit “Enter”. These screenshots follow...

18. Next you get 6 steps to setup Ubuntu Installation.
(i) In the Welcome screen you select the language. In my case I selected "English". Click "Forward".

(ii) In the second screen you select your timezone. Click "Forward".

(iii) In the third screen you select your Keyboard Layout. You might select "United Kingdom - MacKintosh". Click "Forward".

(iv) In the fourth screen you prepare the disk space. Select "Guided". Click "Forward".

(v) In the fifth screen give your details and then Click "Forward".

(vi) In sixth screen you will come with something like this. This is the final screen before the installation is carried out.

Just mind that before you click "Finish" select "Advanced" with regard to the location where the boot loader needs to be installed.

Select the location where the ATA VBOX HARDDISK is located.

You will see the following screens during installation....

You are almost there. Click "Restart now". Before you restart eject the Ubuntu Installation CD.

19. Before starting "Ubuntu" complete rest of the "Settings", which are self-explanatory.

Here you select your Ubuntu hard disk.

To get the full functionality of VirtualBox, like mouse integration, seamless and full screen modes of display and improved video support you need to install "VBoxGuestAdditions.iso". This would have been installed in the folder "/Applications/"

In this screen click + button on the right to add the USB devices.

You can set up a Shared Folder, which will allow you to share files between Mac and Ubuntu.

You are now done with the Ubuntu Installation. Only the installation of the Guest Additions needs to be done. For that Start Ubuntu.

20. In Accessories->Terminal run the following command:

sudo /dev/cdrom0/

VboxGuestAdditions will have now been installed. Before you restart Ubuntu you need to do one last thing.

21. You might be wondering why you are unable to increase the display screen beyond 800 x 600. For that you need to do the following (Thanks to Aviran Mordo):

Open your guest machine’s xorg.conf file in Terminal:

gksu gedit /etc/X11/xorg.conf

Find the device section, which should look like this:

Section "Device"
Identifier "Configured Video Device"

And replace it with this to enable the VirtualBox driver:

Section "Device"
Identifier "Configured Video Device"
Driver "vboxvideo"

Next find the screen section, which should look like this:

Section "Screen"
Identifier "Default Screen"
Monitor "Configured Monitor"
Device "Configured Video Device"

And replace it with this, but change 1280×800 (if your's is a MacBook) to your preferred resolution:

Section "Screen"
Identifier "Default Screen"
Device "VirtualBox graphics card"
Monitor "Generic Monitor"
DefaultDepth 24
SubSection "Display"
Depth 24
Modes "1280x800"

Save, exit the editor and log out. You can now enable full screen display on Ubuntu Virtual Machine in Mac and also have a mouse pointer integration.

Good luck! with your installation.

Friday, 2 January 2009

Lifetrons Ultra-Slim Internet Phone

I bought this phone on a recent KLM flight to India. Initially, I didn't think much about writing a post on this phone, because most notebooks these days have a built-in webcam, microphone and speakers. Having a separate Internet Phone might not sound like a great idea. However, for an old laptop, this phone is quite handy. Moreover, there is an element of privacy, if one were to call in say an airport over Wi-Fi.

Coming to the phone itself, it is an Ultra-Slim Metallic Plug and Play Internet phone (about 7.5 mm thickness). One could make VOIP calls through Skype. It is compatibe with both Windows Vista/XP and Mac OS X. This phone is manufactured by Lifetrons of Switzerland.

Though it is a bit pricey (Euros 40), one could save on expensive phone calls whilst abroad. I used this phone a few times and I am impressed with its quality.