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AOL emulator

Sat, 31 Dec 2005 00:59:27 -0500 (EST)
MXRADAR (MXRADAR from aol.com)
Question by tag (tag from lists.linuxgazette.net)
Answered By Mike Orr, Jimmy O'Regan, Pedro Fraile Pé, Jay R. Ashworth

I recently set up a machine with Suse 9.2 and would like to go online with it. I purchased a Creative Labs Model DE-5621 Serial Modem to use with it but am in need of some kind of AOL emulator to be able to tie in to the AOL servers. In experimenting with the machine, I can hear it dial out and attempt connection but that's about it. Any suggestions/souce for this emulation software. Thanks.

[Sluggo] I haven't heard of any AOL client software for Linux. If it doesn't work with the standard 'ppp' package, you may have to try another dialup ISP and access AOL through its website. If you're having trouble with your ppp configuration, post what configuration you have and what exactly you hear from the modem. You should hear a steady tone from both sides, then it will go up and down in pitch, then turn into a hissing sound. But the speaker may be configured to shut off at an earlier point.
I think ppp also has a debug mode that will show all the communication with the server. That may provide a clue where it's blocking.
[Jimmy] I don't think AOL works with straight ppp. Heather mentioned a package that did what the querent is looking for a while back, but the closest I can find is this comment from Ben: "I have not yet run into an ISP to which I couldn't connect (AOL is neither an ISP nor anything that I want to connect to; I'd hate to wash my modem out with soap...)"
The best I can remember is that the site was mostly in French, and the name (shockingly) had something to do with penguins.
[Pedro] Looking into the Ubuntu repositories for something related to AOL, I have found "penggy". The package page shows
connects to AOL via modem or TCP/IP

The project aims to be a full AOL client including all known access
methods like DSL, cable, TCP/IP or modem (with the modem-emulation of
linux via /dev/ttyI* ISDN, too).

Currently, only TCP/IP and modem is supported.
Please bear in mind I have never tried it, nor know really anything about AOL ...
[Jimmy] That's it! The project's website is here: http://savannah.nongnu.org/projects/pengfork
[Jay] AOL connectivity uses PPPoE. If you're stuck behind one with a Linux box, get a compatible router and use that to provide (NATted) IP over Ethernet.
If you want an AOL client for Linux...
well, a version of AOL 5 ported to Linux leaked out the door, and I have a copy once, but I can't find it now, and I can't remember what it was called.
(!) [Jimmy] Does anyone out there have experience with penggy, or the version of AOL 5 Jay mentioned?

wav files from MR8 recorder

Tue, 15 Nov 2005 17:21:29 -0700
Bob van der Poel (bvdp from uniserve.com)
Question by The Answer Gang (tag from lists.linuxgazette.net)
Answered By Jimmy O'Regan

Hi all. A bit of a "forgot my thinking hat" problem here....

I recently purchased a Fostex MR8 digital recorder. I'd not try to go into the recording business with this toy, but for playing around a home with multitrack recording it's a fair bit of fun.

This unit records onto compactflash cards, which I can load onto my linux box from a card reader. No problems here.

And, a program like audacity can read, modify and mix them. Again no problem.

Unless the track is just a partial track with an offset. For example (see the adl file below), I have recorded some tracks from the start of the song. But, 2 tracks are just a little segment in the middle of the song.

See attached rainbow.adl.txt

I know that wav files can have offsets in them (I think), but it seems from looking the the wav file headers that this isn't so here. And, audacity certainly doesn't find the offset.

So, when I load all 5 tracks into audacity tracks 1 and 2 are aligned to the start of the song. They should really start about 40 seconds in. I can move the tracks in the program, but I'll never get them aligned.

[Jimmy] About 42 seconds in? Look at the end of the entries:        _
My guess is the second time field is the length of the track.

Yes, I think that is correct. I have no idea what the stuff after the "L" is.

[Jimmy] Pan settings, maybe, or volume?

Thanks for offering to look up the wav stuff. I'm thinking that if I can get this figured out it'd be easy enuf to write a little program to "fix" the files as they are copied from the CF card. Right now I'm copying all the files, including some junk files. But, it'd be easy to read the text file for the filenames, etc.

[Jimmy] Ecasound would probably be better than Audacity for this: it's a command-line based multitrack editor: http://eca.cx/ecasound

But, wait, the MR8 seems to keep track of stuff in a file. I think that the data in the <EVENT_LIST> section is what I need to look at. But, I'm not sure just what the different fields mean. Anyone with some experience here?

I do know that the files MR80009.WAV, MR80003.WAV and MR80004.WAV are recording of the complete song and MR80011.WAV and MR800012.WAV are partials.

Guess what I'm asking is help in modifying the 2 files to push them into the correct position.

[Jimmy] I'll get back to you on that. I can't think of it off the top of my head, and it's too late to look now, but I'll look at it tomorrow.
[Jimmy] Doh! Use the time shift tool (the one that looks like this: <-> ;) and drag the tracks into place. IIRC, if you set a mark on the timeline before you import the tracks it'll put them at that time.

Yes, I tried that but was unable to align the 2 to the point of making it sound okay. One track was just a bit late or early. Maybe my mouse is to shakey. Unfortunately there doesn't appear to be anything to "align" to. And, even if I got this working once, I'd have to have to do a 2nd time :)

[Jimmy] There is a zoom tool...

Linux as a Windows screensaver

Thu, 22 Dec 2005 21:16:14 +0000
Jimmy O'Regan (The LG Answer Gang)
Question by The Answer Gang (tag from lists.linuxgazette.net)


It uses qemu to boot Linux on a Windows machine. Spiffy.

(!) [Jimmy] Something I've wanted to see ever since I first saw coLinux is a screensaver activated configuration of a cluster-enabled coLinux.
Does anyone care to try their hand at writing an article about this, or some other unusual way of getting Linux running under Windows?


Thu, 08 Dec 2005 16:56:08 -0700
Bob van der Poel (bvdp from uniserve.com)
Question by The Answer Gang (tag from lists.linuxgazette.net)
Answered By Thomas Adam

Hey, I was going to send a message about how pleased I was with my newest toy that "just worked" ...

Got a MIDIsport UNO midi interface. This plugs into a USB port and drives a MIDI keyboard. Got it and plugged it in and (to someone really expecting to do a bunch of manual editing of config files) I found that the alsa drivers found it, registered, etc.

Cool! Now I have a 2nd midi port.

Then I decided to clean up some cable runs and powered off the computer.

When I rebooted, the new MIDI port was gone. Huh??? Checked the cables...and listed /proc/bus/usb/devices ... yes, all there. But, ALSA doesn't know about it.

So, I plugged the MIDIsport in and out ... and it works again.

So, ALSA finds it on hotplug, but not boot. What's going on?

BTW, to this point I have not edited any config files :)

[Thomas] Order of operations, most likely. It's likely that ALSA is loading after hotplug has finished, which means it might not be aware of the device. You can restructure your init sequence, or simply recall /etc/init.d/hotplug to rerun at the end of init, assuming this really is the reason.

That was my first guess. And I've done a bit of testing, etc. and have discovered that the device is found and registered at boot. The interesting part is that if I use alsamixer right after boot it shows the MIDI-Uno-USB device (alsamixer is just grabbing info from /proc/asound/cards). But, the device is NOT there to use. Trying to use it generates an error; and 'aconnect' doesn't show it.

[Thomas] What error?
bob$ aplaymidi -p72 midifile.mid
Cannot connect to port 72:0 - Invalid argument

Not the most helpful :( But, the port isn't there, so it makes sense.

However, plugging the unit in/out again shows it up.

I'm wondering if a modprobe to something might force a registration. I did try 'modprobe usb-midi' but no results there.

[Thomas] No results where? modprobe, if it is successful won't return any output. It's 'lsmod' that will help you here.

I was hoping that modprobe might reset something?

Okay, doing a lsmod before and after the little guy is working does show up something which might point to the problem:

Before a plugin/out (after boot) we have:

soundcore               7008  2 snd,usb_midi
usbcore               108348  7

Afterwards, there is an additional line:

audio                  44032  0

And the others have changed to:

soundcore               7008  3 audio,snd,usb_midi
usbcore               108348  8

Really, just the difference in all this is that the 'audio' module has been added.

Also, there is a file /proc/asound/cards which does not change between no-work and work:

cat /proc/asound/cards
0 [AudioPCI       ]: ENS1371 - Ensoniq AudioPCI
                     Ensoniq AudioPCI ENS1371 at 0xec00, irq 10
1 [Interface      ]: USB-Audio - USB Uno MIDI Interface
                     M-Audio USB Uno MIDI Interface at
   usb-0000:00:10.1-1, full speed

Finally, the file /proc/asound/card1/midi0 has changed from being an empty file to:

bob$ cat midi0
USB Uno MIDI Interface

Output 0
  Tx bytes     : 197
Input 0
  Rx bytes     : 0

More thoughts?

BTW, on Mandriva 2006 there is NO /etc/init.d/hotplug :) I have no idea when this stuff is being done. I think there might be some clues in /etc/hal/device.d


H/W requirement for KDE 3.5 ?

Tue, 03 Jan 2006 14:58:11 +0530
J.Bakshi (hizibizi from spymac.com)
Question by tag (tag from lists.linuxgazette.net)
Answered By Rick Moen, Thomas Adam

Hi list,

does any one of you have the information about the H/W requirement of recently released KDE 3.5 ??

[Rick] Mu. (http://www.catb.org/~esr/jargon/html/M/mu.html)
It makes no sense speaking of KDE 3.5 having particular hardware requirements, since it is a suite of software running at a level far above the level of hardware drivers. If you mean "What's a reasonable minimum amount of RAM to have, so that a default configuration of KDE on Linux will seem OK?", then the answer is probably around 256MB, which is based on experience with earlier releases, but with the knowledge that it doesn't seem to change a lot between releases.
[Thomas] Not to mention that this was answered in a thread on TAG a few issues ago -- asked by Mr. Bakshi himself. :|
(!) [Jimmy] I believe "please share your experiences" in LG #119 is the thread Thomas is referring to.
If it helps, the KDE website does have a requirements page but this refers to compilation requirements.

response to article on scanning

Thu, 29 Dec 2005 05:10:55 +0100
Edgar Howell (Edgar_Howell from web.de)
Question by editor at Linux Gazette (editor from linuxgazette.net)

My article on scanning drew responses from a couple of readers, one, Emil Gorter, who copied you and whose suggestion I find well-done and certainly worth making available for those wanting to archive scans.

And Juhan Leemet politely pointed out that XSANE does, indeed, have the function that I really wanted for use as a copier. He had a problem with it that he hadn't had time to resolve and I then had the same for which I did find a work-around. It is tantamount to using your brakes instead of taking your foot off the gas, so I don't want to suggest it to anyone.

But the bottom line is that using XSANE to copy directly from scanner to printer can work quite nicely.


Scanning and file-size

Fri, 16 Dec 2005 19:15:45 +0100
Emil Gorter (emil from ripe.net)
Question by lg (lg from howell.de)

Hi Edgar,

I read your article http://linuxgazette.net/121/howell.html and it reminded me of a problem I had faced. For my work I had to figure out a way to scan and store contracts digitally. The file-size issue was quite interesting with ++6000 pages to go :-)

I found that creating PDFs is quite easy, and gives very good results. Nice quality, great reduction in size. Example:

 $ tiff2ps -2 -a Scan0001.tif | ps2pdf -sPAPERSIZE=a4 - > Scan0001.pdf
 $ ls -1 --size -h Scan0001.*
 1.1M Scan0001.pdf
  25M Scan0001.tif

By the way, for practical reasons the scans were made with a Windows machine.. Still have to try SANE myself someday.

I hope this helps!

Emil Gorter

"Summer of Code" projects list updates

Tue, 08 Nov 2005 06:39:48 +0000
Jimmy O'Regan (The LG Answer Gang)
Question by ()

First of all, I would like to offer my most sincere apologies for the negative way I portrayed the WinLibre installer projects. What I took to be a duplication of effort was in fact three separate parts of a larger system. Thanks to Noemi Tojzan for providing this corrected project list:

     Finished projects:
         - installer (2 students)
         - updater (1 student)
         - control centre (1 student)
         - MacLibre (1 student)
         - 3 -original- games (3 students, 1 per game)
         - Final Touch (or Image Manipulation Tool) (1 student)

     Failed projects:
         - CDRoast GUI (1 student)

There were also inaccuracies in my list of Wine's projects. Thanks to Kai Blin for providing a corrected list:

Thanks to Patrick Walton for a list of LiveJournal projects:

Thanks to Meredith Patterson for pointing out that I had (originally) listed Charun mistakenly instead of QBE (http://pgfoundry.org/projects/qbe), to Ivan Beschastnikh for providing the correct title to the Internet2 project I had listed as "User-space transport": FB-FR-CCCP (http://fb-fr-cccp.sourceforge.net), to Jimmy Cerra for pointing out two Semedia projects: SWAPI (http://swapi.ourproject.org) and SPARQL for various RDF databases (http://sourceforge.net/projects/sparql), and to Anil Ramnanan for pointing out an Apache project: an Eclipse plugin for Apache Forrest.

Thanks to Ross Shannon for pointing out these Gallery projects:

I owe a rather sheepish apology to Oleg Paraschenko, one of the Google-mentored students: I had found XSieve, but lost the details when it came time to write my article. Oleg has more than made up for this:

I later found a complete list (http://development.openoffice.org/summerprojects.html) of Open Office projects:

I would encourage anyone interested in "Summer of Code" to have a look at Google's list of projects (http://code.google.com/soc-results.html)

NetPBM equivalent for vector graphics

Sun, 16 Oct 2005 20:55:25 +0100
Jimmy O'Regan (The LG Answer Gang)
Question by The Answer Gang (tag from lists.linuxgazette.net)


Mentioned in a Newsforge story about Xara open sourcing Xara Extreme:

Also in Newsforge today: Finding voice codecs for free software


found something in the attic...

Wed, 28 Dec 2005 17:43:27 +0100
Karl-Heinz Herrmann (khh from khherrmann.de)
Question by The Answer Gang (tag from lists.linuxgazette.net)

Hi I'm working on my Laptop again after a long while during which it was just sitting in the corner. I found something in the old draft folder -- And I've no idea if that ever got sent. So here you go....

Oh and a happy new year to everybody.


On Tue, 25 May 2004 09:38:38 -0400
Ben Okopnik <ben@callahans.org> wrote:

> I'm writing to you because you're the "quiet bunch" :)

thanks ;-) I was following the "linuxgazette.net down" thread with half an eye.

> Right at the moment, we've got a TAG discussion going on where I've
> asked for input from everybody on the above topic. To restate it,
> I'm looking at ways to bring LG onto a parallel course with Linux
> itself: the OS is booming, but we're lagging. From my own perspective,
> I see a need to modernize a bit; to consider the types of people now
> entering the world of Linux (corporate and business users) and to
> address their needs. "Amateur Linux user" does not, these days, mean
> "amateur computer user".

lets start with history: I started out in TAG when many questions came it on general install questions like partition setup, lilo tricks to make it work, lost root passwords. As TAG is no newsgroups with expiring articles after some time we had perfect in depth solutions to everything in this category of FAQ. The level of discussion in TAG was slowly moving up in complexity and/or detail of a particular problem. I got the feeling even before the com->net switch that there is a little stagnation in worthwhile topics and things I/we can answer. At the beginning there were questions e.g. on network setup on a level I could join in at least answering in part. It's quite a while that I've seen a question I had any chance answering.

Others have suggested finding out wher new and current Linux users and LG readers are and pick them up at their level and target their interests. Pretty good idea, but I rarely use a GUI so I can not speak of first hand experience. I just installed the brand new SuSE 9.1 which came along with a collection of spiffy K* applications from Mind mapper to notes keeping and e.g. GTKtalog to catalog CD contents. Important to me right now as I've a growing CD collection in CD storage bags and I spend more and more time searching for a particular one. Well -- I read in a bunch of CD's, program crashed twice so I pressed the save button frequently. GUI interface is nice, pop in CD press a button, CD content is archived. Next CD. A few days later I tried to open the archive -- program segfaults. I've still the XML export of the data.... rather unreadable without a conversion program/frontend. My next try will certainly be a bunch of "ls -R" files which I can grep. But it seems this kind of solution is nothing we can sale to "the new TAG reader" as they want "aesthetic solutions" as sombeody put it.

I agree with that analysis BTW: from talking to people either having a Linux on some second partition to considering installing one, they want the perfect solution, GUI, everything away only a few mouse clicks. And they want pretty looking neat applications for everything.

My problem with that is: I don't have the answers, as the "nice neat applictions" might not be there or at least I don't know of them. There might be a need of new TAG/article writers for a new type of readers.

So the task at hand might be to attract new members to LG writing for these new readers.

Many topics I was concerned with lately (Wlan, AMD64) are highly specific, involve kernel patches and or/special distributions which are not suitable for new comers to Linux.

Which leads me to a little question anyway: Is LG to be for newbies?

An idea anyway: By talking to people (here in Germany that is) more and more are annoyed about the spam flood. It might hit here slightly delayed compared to US, or maybe not. Well I was searching a bit for Win solutions as all of them run WinXX. No luck with freeware or even open source (portable, cygwin) solutions. So my standard answer is getting "well, since you won't consider Linux pay up for a commercial spam filter".

An article on how to use a Pentium classic PC from the attic and turn it into a Spamfilter-firewall in a recipe (starting out at the point where you insert a knoppix or install CD) might be interesting to some people.

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Published in Issue 122 of Linux Gazette, January 2006

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