Archive for September, 2005

Linux still missing the basics

Yesterday I had another play with Linux. I had put Fedora Core 4 on my PC as a second boot item a while back, and so when we had a power outage, my PC booted back into linux instead of Windows. As I had been listening to some music before the outage, I thought I’d just try and play it from Linux instead. After all, what can be simpler than listening to a few music files?

My first challenge was seeing the files. They were located on an NTFS partition, but I yum’d the correct module, mounted the partition and bingo, could see my files.

I knew the sound card was running under FC4, which was good because my Dell PC has some weird ADI Soundmax IC and it used to output the sound through the wrong outputs. Since FC3 though, sound has worked out of the box.

I decided to put a shortcut to my music directory onto the desktop. This is not as easy as it sounds. There is no ‘create shortcut’, no ‘link’ that works, and dragging the folder icon to the desktop tried to copy or move the files. Interestingly move didn’t complain that I was moving from a Read Only mounted volume. I did eventually work out that SHIFT-CTL drag would create a link (I think!), but it would have been so much easier if there was a right-click menu option.

Anyways, back to playing the files. Playing the files was actually not really the issue, the issue is really my pleasure in listening to them. My PC is attached to some Altec Lansing speakers which include a bass woofer. To make this sound good, I normally have to bottom out the low frequencies on an EQ to drop out a lot of the bass, otherwise the music booms a lot.

XMMS: My music is a mix of OGG, MP3 and iTunes AAC (unprotected). XMMS would play all these formats once I yum’d for xmms-aac. Unfortunately the equalizer wouldn’t work except for MP3 files.

Rhythmbox: Would play the files, but there is no equalizer.

Helixplayer: Claimed unknown format.

Xine: Would play the files, but there is no equalizer. Xine also ‘jumped’ music when I was doing other stuff. Like opening a folder view was too intensive for it!!

mplayer: This actually opened the files, but the GUI is really clunky and non-standard. The playlist editor needs some serious work. I eventually got the equalizer working, but turning that on made the volume much quieter than usual.

At this point I gave up, booted into Windows and bathed in quality sound.

When you can’t even enjoy playing music files from Linux, there can be no doubt Microsoft has nothing to fear from Linux on the desktop.

Comments (2)

Job Application Joke

Young man Murphy applied for an engineering position at an Irish firm based in Dublin. An American applied for the same job and both applicants having the same qualifications were asked to take a test by the Department manager.

Upon completion of the test both men only missed one of the questions. The manager went to Murphy and said, “Thank you for your interest, but we’ve decided to give the American the job.”

Murphy: “And why would you be doing that? We both got 9 questions correct. This being Ireland and me being Irish I should get the job!”

Manager: “We have made our decision not on the correct answers, but on the question you missed.”

Murphy: “And just how would one incorrect answer be better than the other?”

Manager: “Simple. The American put down on question # 5, ‘I don’t know.’ You put down ‘Neither do I.'”


PC Cleanup

These days I often use someone elses PC, only to immediately notice that something is wrong with it. Typically you click on Internet Explorer, do one search and think Spyware. This can be caused by popups appearing, slow response or other indicators that are often subjective. Cleaning up these PCs can take sometime, however there are plenty of free things out there to help.

On the spyware front, if you already have spyware installed, or don’t know if you have spyware installed, then first run this:

Then make sure you run the WindowsUpdate feature to get all the Microsoft security updates.

Windows Update

NOTE: If Windows Update makes you reboot your computer, run Windows Update again and again until it shows that there are no more updates to install.

Load the Microsoft antispyware software:

There are other Anti-spyware packages around that you can use instead of the Microsoft Antispyware. To date I’ve not found one program that finds and cleans everything, so here are a couple more you can try:

Most importantly, get a good anti-virus software too. You can do a free scan now from here:

But long term you need something installed that auto-updates and protects your email. These programmes are free, but I’ve not sure how good they are:

Personally I haven’t found an anti-virus package that I like 100%. PC World has a review/rating here:,aid,124475,00.asp

On the firewall front, you can use the XP SP2 built in firewall, however ZoneAlarm is also pretty good and is free, and offers extra protection:
Free download here.