Fixing sound on OpenSolaris in VirtualBox

On my new system I installed OpenSolaris 2009.16 in a VirtualBox instance.  Nice!  OpenSolaris is very advanced Unix system but presents a user interface that is also found on popular Linux distributions, Gnome.  A lot of new stuff is in the latest release.

VirtualBox running OpenSolaris
VirtualBox running OpenSolaris

But, sound was not working.  I found two blog posts that show how to get it going:   The Observatory and Constantin’s Bloog.  As usual, the steps did not work.  And as usual, a bunch of mucking about was successful.  Unfortunately, the exact sequence was not captured.  I followed the advice in both posts.  I do remember that you have to run ossdetect, and then precede (or follow) it with pkexec /usr/sbin/soundoff, then pkexec /usr/sbin/soundon

Still not reliable; I just rebooted and the sound is off and I had to redetect and soundoff soundon.  Hmmm.

Would I run OpenSolaris or Solaris?  Sure for servers.  It has a lot of system features such as ZFS, Crossbow, Virtualization, and so forth.  But, as a desktop app?  I don’t know; maybe if I were getting paid to do so.  Like Linux, its going to have its share of device issues and incompatibilities.  For example, Google Toolbar is not available for FireFox on OpenSolaris.  Not a biggie, unless your used to having it.

Social web means slow web?

I just visited a news site.  My laptop is reasonably fast for web browsing and I have a fast enough network connection.  Yet, the site did not pop up, instead one fourth of it loaded.  The rest of the time was spent (as shown in my status bar on FireFox browser) api.facebook.com,  google analytics, twitter streams, RSS stuff, and so forth.

I realize that someone somewhere has to pay for the social web.  Just like consumers indirectly pay for broadcast TV.  I’m all for it.  But, I see some problems up ahead as the proliferation of rich content and social networks mixed in with revenue generation processes clash.  Already there are some bandwidth problems as people start to use more streaming media on the net.

What is the solution?  If I knew, I’d be rich.  I’m sure it will involve greater use of Content Delivery Networks, Edge servers, Grids, and Torrent-like technologies.  But, did I mention that security and privacy concerns put a kink on any mad computer scientist scheme

Dual-Screen, E-book Reader, Hyperlinking Text with Multimedia

“I would have made it into more of a a larger appointment book or day planner form factors.  It would come in ”

Wrote this a while ago.  Was in my drafts list.

Dual-Screen, E-book Reader, Hyperlinking Text with Multimedia

via Spring Design.   Now that is a relatively good design. Reminds me of the rumored B&N “Nook” reader.

I would have made it into more of a a larger appointment book or day planner form factors.  It would come in three sizes:

  • Pocket (89 x 165mm)
  • Journal (140 x 216mm)
  • Notebook (216 x 280mm)

These sizes and names are based on the Day-Timer product line.  Here is their size help page.  The ebook would open like a traditional planner and the left side would contain the Electronic Paper Display (EPD) and the right the LCD display.  The spine would have the smart buttons like another rumored e-book.

I think I agree with commentators that Apple will probably comes out with a real contender if they produce a tablet system.  Though this is not a given since the Android based systems will invariably grow into various form factors.  Reminiscent of the ubiquitous PC design despite Mac’s allegedly being better designs.   See this post:  “Large-Screen Kindle Won’t Mean Squat if Apple Tablet Arrives“.

Update, 1/27/2010: The iPad from Apple is out.  It is beautiful!  Supports EPub standard and Apple will open an IBookstore.  This changes the mobile market.   Here is a sample add on youtube.

Sade – Soldier Of Love – The new album – Worldwide release February 8th 2010

Nice.  Finally after nine years a new Sade CD.  Comes out on Feb 8, 2010.

Sade – Soldier Of Love – The new album – Worldwide release February 8th 2010.

I know I will like it based on the first cut being available on net.  Unmistakable groove with solid drum and bass.  I hope the original band members on playing too.

Already remixed

Update: 15 Mar 2010 –
I got the CD. At first I thought it was not up to par with the older Sade work, especially something like “Is it a crime?”. Yet, as I continued to listen to it after a few days, I started to appreciate it for what it is. Now I love the CD. The band pulled through and Sade’s voice and style remains.

Next on my list is brandi carlile’s new release. What a voice she has! Afterward will of course be Ralph Towner’s new CD “Chiaroscuro“.

Can't add a network shared printer to new Windows 7?

I had a problem installing my old HP Laserjet 4P printer that I can only access thru an old laptop’s parallel port (remember those giant cables!).   Could not do it.  Luckily Google search is so powerful, found help right away.   However, the page is on a Microsoft help forum.    I can certainly understand the page, but how can the “normal” end user do so?   I don’t think most can.  In fact, the page doesn’t really spell out how to perform the alternative process.  It’s an arcane ‘trick’ to install the correct 64bit driver, which then allows the network printer (32 bit driver?) to be installed.

With the billions Microsoft makes you’d think someone could take that information on the page and generate a solutions page, giving step by step instructions.  Or what ever happened to all that Bayesian Help System super technology?   Anytime I use the troubleshooter, its helpless.

Delta Faucet, a product that actually works!

The Delta Faucet is a great and affordable showerhead.

This page, Smart Solutions : Delta Faucet, describes the technology behind the H2OKinectic Technology in this shower head.  Don’t know if its bogus or not, but I do like the shower head.  The first time I tried it I was very surprised.   The shower experience did feel “wetter”.   I felt warmer and the spray was really intense.   This is from someone that used a waterpick type shower head.

I think this is the model I have:  http://www.deltafaucet.com/bath/details/75152.html   And, here are some customer reviews at Amazon.  I agree with one reviewer, one drawback is that people want to stay in the shower longer.   Note one reviewer wrote that the Fluidics technology really comes from Alsons.

Nope, this is not a bogus review of this product.  I got no compensation for posting this (I wish).

Declutter Your Workstation Desk

If you have a bunch of wires, cables, and power bricks around your desk at home you will one day want to organize it.  I finally decided to do something when I couldn’t trace a line from a USB drive to its power source.

For do-it-yourself people this site,Declutter Your Desk, presents a very practical method.  He used a Pegboard mounted underneath the desk so that everything could be under the table but off the floor.  The site has great pictures of some arrangements and the feedback from visitors give even more ideas.  For example, instead of the original hasp and dowel connection, I used the Hanger Bolt and Wing Nut alternative.  So my parts list was:

  • 5 each 10-24 X 2″ Hanger Bolts, $0.99
  • 5 each #10-24 Wing Nuts,  0.99
  • Bunch of Zip Ties, 3.95
  • Bunch of Twist ties (for wire neatness)
  • 1 Pegboard , 5.99

For a total of $11.92.  Not too bad.  Below is the layout I used.  I still have to add my network switch and cable modem.   One thing that would have helped is a hinge on one edge of the pegboard so that changes could be made easier.   I don’t like the use of zipties, hard to remove, but Velcro straps don’t fit in the Pegboard holes.  BTW, how do you screw in a Hanger Bolt?  I found the answer here.

Line drawing of my arrangement of components on pegboard
hidden pegboard

Maybe I’ll post a photo of the finished project later…..

Some links

Examples of workspaces: