24 Sep 2002 chakie   » (Master)

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I noticed the textarea that is used to input the diary is a little narrow. It's set at 60 columns, and for me that occupies roughly a third of the available width.

Civil

Has been going a bit slow these last weeks. Dunno why. I've done some minor coding on combat related things, and it's much fun. :)

Mediacube

I've done some extensive configuration and installing on the box. It now works pretty nicely, and boots really fast. I think the box is the fastest one we have at home now. I've been at war with the TV-out, and lats night I finally got it to work, using new drivers supplied by the VIA support. It's not often product support actually answers requests for help, and usually never that the help you get is actually of any use. Maybe I just have had bad experiences with support before.

Anyway, TV-out works now. The composite out was horrible. For camera images and similar (movies) the quality is ok, but as soon as I had some static text on top of the images I got really bad "banding",ie. moving light strips. The image was pretty useless, so I got an s-video cable and tested it, and the quality is really good. No banding and as crisp and clear colors as you can expect to get on a TV.

Been working on the software a bit too, and it's shaping up pretty nicely. I've done some drastic simplifications to some stuff, and it's now quite easy to add new "states" to it.

Hmm, I should whip up a homepage too.

ALSA

The Linux kernel driver for the VIA686 chip (not OSS, I think), didn't seem to work too well. I had to rmmod it pretty often, otherwise it would stay mute. The driver supplied by VIA is binary only, and the versions they have are for a few kernels, and of course not for the one I have (2.4.19). So I decided to try ALSA.

This is probably one of the few pieces of software where the Debian packages were much harder to use than the source versions. I tried to get the packages to do anything useful, but the configure scripts just crashed on me (maybe soundcore should have been a module?), so I nuked them and downloaded the source version. Ok, three files to download, a few switches to ./configure and it was all set. Same for the lib and utils packages. Wonderful!

I still have a lot to learn about ALSA, it even took me a while to figure out how to actually get any sound at all. Hint: the channels must be unmuted, it's not enough to just increase the volume. :) The ALSA mixer apps are pretty nice, and they Just Work(tm). I think the settings get reset over reboots, so I have to save my settings somehow somewhere, unless there is a nice way to do it automagically?

All in all I'm quite impressed with ALSA. It's a nontrivial package to install, and unless the ALSA folks had created "Quick install for card X" pages I'd probably be pretty frustrated. :) The page I found just listed the steps I had to perform, and that was it.

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