No Sound on Asus Eee PC / Ubuntu 10.04 Update

Further to my recent post where I explained that I wasn’t getting any sound following an upgrade of Ubuntu to Lucid Lynx (10.04) and my EeePC’s BIOS (which, incidentally, seems to have fixed the WiFi problems I was having with a particular Belkin router specific to Linux), I just wanted to post up some extra facts I’d discovered.

I should also point out that I added my user to the “sound group” as described in the Ubuntu Sound Troubleshooting Guide, however I’m not convinced this was relevant.

Anyway, further use has led me to conclude that:

  • The login splash-screen sound is audible. There is no sound after I login at first. If I log out and login again, the sound is fine.
  • Only the internal sound is affected.

    If the netbook is plugged into speakers, sound is fine.

  • As stated previously, the sound issue only appears on Ubuntu, not on Windows.
  • Asus don’t give a shit.

How annoying is that?!

New Release of Lolcats Gadget

I’ve just released an update to my lolcats gadget for Windows, which displays the latest LOLcats from ICanHasCheezburger in your Windows Sidebar. This release (1.0.2.0) updates the URL used for the RSS feed, as IcanHasCheezburger have changed it again.

The gadget is in no way endorsed or approved by ICanHasCheezburger.com – it’s just a personal pet project that I thought I’d share.

N96’s Crippled BBC iPlayer – Motivating Piracy?

On the face of it Nokia’s N96 seems like a device that does pretty much everything. Unfortunately it’s handicapped by pathetically miserable battery life (you’ll be charging this bugger at least once a day in all likelihood) and for some reason your text message inbox doesn’t display the date/time when messages arrived (like my old N73 did).

It doesn’t stop at the batter life though. Sadly BBC have seen fit to also cripple the N96’s iPlayer. The N96 comes with everything, headphones, a car charger and even an RCA cable to let you connect your phone to your TV and watch videos on your TV.  Which is great – except the iPlayer’s DRM prevents the video from being sent over the video-out line. WHHHAAAAT?!

I don’t know, it’s like they want people to download their shows from BitTorrent instead! At least that way you can do what you like with it once you have it.

In their defence, I guess it’s because it would make it possible to plug the TV-out cable into a PVR (or video recorder if you so wished) and record the programme without any DRM restrictions on it and retain it for as long as you want, but if someone’s THAT keen I’m sure they’ll find a way anyway.

The verdict? Swing and a miss!

Nokia N96 Released Early – TODAY!

Oh dear – my heart’s all aflutter!! According to reports (from dialaphone, PC World magazine, Trusted Reviews and many more) Nokia’s long-awaited (by me, anyway) N96 has been released.

It hasn’t made it’s way to the shops or web sites of any of the operators yet, but Nokia are apparently shipping N96s already! The phone’s still showing as a pre-order on Nokia’s online shop, but presumably this is because they’re shipping to customers who pre-ordered first.

I also noticed yesterday and today that Vodafone are pushing the Samsung Omnia, which is free on a £35/month contract including data (oh, yes, the inclusive data plans that hit the shops 3-4 months ago are finally available online – I think).

I think it’s safe to say things just got quite interesting.

ICANN Set Stage for Domain Free-For-All

Yesterday’s decision by ICANN to allow any Tom, Dick or Harry to create their own top-level domain is a bit worrying.  With TLDs like .TV, .biz and .info struggling to make much of an impact (except maybe doubling the amount of spam flying around the internet), who really thinks that allowing people to make up their own?

As appealing as it might be to shift this site from SteveFerson.com to Steve.Ferson, it hardly seems worth the confusion of creating an infinite number of domains for the same company. At present you can usually find a site by typing companyname.com or companyname.co.uk into your address bar. Under these plans, even Googling for a company name could theoretically bring up hundreds of results all pretending to be the ‘real’ site.

That said, it was worth it for this headline from ZD Net.

Good news for existing proposals like .nyc for New York City and .xxx for adult sites. Depending on the costs of setting it up, I could also see a new TLD appearing for Northern Ireland (.nir ?) and am sure some enterprising spirit will attempt to register .blog.  Feel free to leave your suggestion for a new TLD below.

My Stuff

A lot of people come to this site searching for help on specific issues with or opinions/info a specific gadget or technology.  For that reason, I thought I’d state publicly the gadgets and technologies I use (embarrassing though that may prove).

  • Wireless Media Streamer Buffalo LinkTheater
    Streams video (most divx/xvid and wmv9) and/or music to my TV from a DLNA compliant server like the Linkstation Live or Windows Media Player’s built-in media sharing service.
  • 500GB Home NAS Buffalo LinkStation Live (HS-DH500GL)
    Can store video and music files and stream them over a wireless network to a DLNA certified media streaming device like my LinkTheater.

  • Mobile Phone – Nokia N73 smartphone
    5 megapixel camera, Symbian/Series 60 OS, currently on Orange Pay As You Go
  • Nintendo Wii
  • PlayStation 2 (Slimline)
  • Wireless ADSL Modem/Router – Netgear DG834G
    Old version 1; basic but functional.
  • Laptop PCAcer Aspire 5003 wlmi dual-booting Windows XP and Ubuntu
  • Desktop PC
    My main computer is one I built up myself and upgraded over the years, specced as follows:

So, if you’ve any questions on any of the above, please let me know. Oh and I also have broadband with Plus.net (who are excellent) where £15 a month gets me 8Mbps and 15GB usage (unlimited from midnight to 8am) and I have web hosting with WebHostingBuzz.com where I have a reseller account for just $5 a month.

"Poorly Judged and Tasteless"

It seems it’s the time for it. Queen’s University’s student newspaper, The Gown, published a story about the recent death of a man who they allege had a history of intimidating students.  Some seem to feel that it went a bit far in

intimating that this death would be a source of relief to students in the area.

Then I get home on the same day and have an email from Flexicover, from whom I’ve previously bought travel insurance, using a news story about "The death of five girls involved in a tragic accident in Ecuador whilst on a gap-year" to highlight "the risks of travelling overseas" and sell me travel insurance.  They offer 6 helpful hints to people planning gap years and, unsurprisingly, number 6 is: yes, you guessed it, insurance.

A bit scummy, is it not?

Welcome to nerd.

Hello all and welcome to my new blog. Once the design is finalised I will be uploading guides, reviews, ideas and problem solving / ‘how-to’ posts based on my daily struggle with the beast that is technology. It’s something I’ve been wanting to do for some time, in particular with a view to recording the problems I’ve had with particular devices and/or programs so that others may find the solutions without resorting to pulling their hair out like I often have.

The topics covered will largely be computer related (hardware and software) including compatability issues, dodgy hardware/software, wired and wireless networking etc. I may also touch briefly on UK Digital Terrestrial Television (ie Freeview) and, well, anything else that I determine worthy of comment.

In fact I’ve already written one or two little guides that I plan to post in the next few days. I just hope they will prove useful to someone.