Tag Archives: KDE

Dual-Head and Graphics Cards

I now have a dual-head configuration using an HP 2509m and a Samsung SyncMaster 204B.  I am certainly enjoying the extra space though I am still sorting out how to get KDE to handle some things nicely — like when I start a program from krunner, I’d like it to start on the screen where krunner appeared, not the active screen as determined by the last active program.

A mere nit.

I thought I was going to have to replace my graphics card because running two monitors hooked up with one on DSUB and one on DVI caused the GPU fan to run constantly at max speed.  Connecting them both with DSUB works normally — though I notice compositing is temporarily disabled, so we’ll see what happens when that is re-enabled.  However, I now have knowledge of a utility called nvclock and it is most useful in monitoring and setting certain features of the card.

So the good news (for me) is that I can keep my card.  I am increasingly thankful for that since it has a unique collection of features.  The eVGA nVidia 7900 GS KO has a 256 bit memory interface with a mere 256M of RAM, but it is GDDR3.  Getting out of this card and into a true upgrade will cost me more than I want to pay right now.

My next task is to raise the hutch on my desk to admit the second monitor under it.  A little bit of carpentry to keep me entertained among the technology.

Bonded Networking

Sometimes things are exactly as easy as they appear to be, and sometimes moreso.

I just followed this guide and now have bonded networking.  In theory, this means I have a 200Mbps connection to my network now.

Since I don’t like it when others point to a webpage and say that all they did was what was written, I’ll be more specific.

  1. I did nothing to my switch/router
  2. I installed ifenslave per the directions
  3. I took down my ethernet connections per the directions
  4. I copyed my /etc/network/interfaces file to a backup
  5. I edited the /etc/network/interfaces file to have the bond0 connection in it  (Ha!  This font makes that look like Bond-O — as in the car-body repair goop; it should be bond[zero])
  6. I brought the bond0 interface up
  7. hooray!

I think it took me longer to type this than to actually do it.

Update:  There was one catch.  My /etc/resolv.conf file ended up blank this morning (i.e., after rebooting).  I find this  a little odd, but I was easily able to fix it by adding the entries back into it.  I now have that backed up so I don’t have to reference my router for that information.

M4A Music Files, Linux, and Amarok

By choice, these files have some issues under Ubuntu.  There is “something” about the origins of M4A that disagree with the Ubuntu (and Debian) mission statement/s.  So, some manual steps need to be taken to get proper playback.

If I remember correctly, Amarok 1.4.9 did not play M4A files at all.  This appears to have been fixed under 1.4.10.  That is nice.  However, the tags are not read correctly, nor can they be updated — that is not so nice.  So, to get Amarok to read these tags, some manual compilation is necessary.

It is actually not as hard as it sounds once all of the necessary information is aggregated from “umpteen” different sources.  I’m strongly tempted to simply put together a shell script to do this.  I wouldn’t be able to verify it on all systems, but with adequate embedded comments, the ambitious person would be enabled to coerce it to work on their system, assuming it needed coercion.

(1)  Downloading the sources from the Amarok site and using the command-line is essential.

(2) The commands end up being quite easy.   It assumes (a) the source has been downloaded, (b) the source has been extracted (tar xvfj amarok-1.4.10.tar.bz2) into a directory, and (c) you are in said directory.

$ sudo apt-get build-dep amarok
$ sudo apt-get install libmp4v2-dev libfaad-dev libavcodec1d libavutil1d libfaac0 libgsm1 liblame0 libpostproc1d libxine1-ffmpeg libxvidcore4 libfaad0 libmp4v2-0 libmpeg4ip-0 libmpeg4ip-dev
$ ./configure --enable-mysql --enable-postgresql --with-libmtp --with-libgpod --with-mp4v2
===  Amarok - PLUGINS  ========================================================
= The following extra functionality will NOT be included:
=   - NMM-engine
=   - Helix-engine
=   - yauap-engine
=   - Rio Karma Support
= The following extra functionality will be included:
=   + xine-engine
=   + libvisual Support
=   + MySql Support
=   + Postgresql Support
=   + Konqueror Sidebar
=   + MusicBrainz Support
=   + MP4/AAC Tag Write Support
=   + iPod Support
=   + iRiver iFP Support
=   + Creative Nomad Jukebox Support
=   + MTP Device Support
=   + DAAP Music Sharing Support
Good - your configure finished. Start make now
$ make
$ sudo make install

Note these lines, the presence of the “+” is very important:

=   + MP4/AAC Tag Write Support
=   + iPod Support

No plus, no functionality.

This worked under Kubuntu 8.10.1 using KDE 3.5.10.  This does not work under Kubuntu 9.04 using KDE 4.2.2.  I am going to wait for Amarok 2.2 to come out and see what improvements have happened.  My compelling reason to do this at this point would be to get my “smart playlists” back along with better M4A support.  Amarock 2 has M4A support (though buggy in 2.1.x) playlists and dynamic playlists, but they seem to have not understood the value of smart playlists and how the way they worked in KDE 3.5.x / Amarok 1.4.x was good.  I understand “radical new version, radical new features”, but I consider the absence of these a deal-breaker at this point.

I hope to update this post later when I get a successful compile of Amarok 1.4.10 under Kubuntu 9.04.