Tuesday, November 14, 2006


I've just bought myself a squeezebox and am loving it. Getting the slimserver setup wasn't quite as simple as it might have been given that there is an ubuntu package for it and you'd imagine it's therefore only an apt-get away.

Add the slimerserver repository to your sources.list file (/etc/apt/sources.list)
deb http://debian.slimdevices.com testing main
Then update the repositories and install the slimserver software:
sudo apt-get update
apt-get build-essential
sudo apt-get install slimserver
Restart the machine and voila, after pointing my firefox browser to IP:9000, it was time to play with some features.

It might be helpful to know that on a ubuntu system, the slimserver software lives in [/usr/share/slimserver]. To install plugins, simply drop them into the plugins folder and browse to the slimserver where they appear ready for configuration.

If you want all the BBC content you can get your hands on... AlienBBC:

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Beryl working

Well, I am amazed to say that without too much trouble (thanks to a handy how to), the beta nvidia drivers are installed and I have Beryl running in GNOME. It is very cool, although I have needed to switch off the wobbly windows - they were doing my head in!

Have fun.

Terminal back

Finally, my gnome terminal is back. I don't know if any other users found that after their Edgy install, the gnome terminal didn't work, but mine just didn't start. It would try its best, but played with itself for about 5 seconds before dying and disappearing. I've been relying on eterm for the last couple of weeks and haven't enjoyed it as much.

It would seem as if the bug has been fixed though, 'cos it works now. :o)

Friday, November 10, 2006


I'd never really heard of it until I stumbled across it today. Beryl is a windows manager that adds a bunch of eye-candy (best seen in a movie: youtube). It works with GNOME and KDE and it would appear, works with twinview and xinerama too (another youtube movie).

I'm going to need the new nvidia drivers to get this working (and I imagine some time and patience too) but it does look uber-cool.


Sunday, November 05, 2006

Twinview and Xinerama

I've been having a play (in the midst of studying for exams)!

I wasn't really all that sure about the difference between two terms that I had heard banded about with relation to Dual Head displays: Twinview and Xinerama.

It would appear that while an X server can happily support several screens that aren't linked, Xinerama allows a 'virtual' screen that spans both physical screens (or more, if you are particularly lucky) whereas Twinview was originally a workaround created by nvidia in the days before windows managers and X properly supported more than one monitor. That, at least is my limited understanding of the subject.

I had been running 2 19" TFTs at 1280x1024 in Xinerama using an nVidia 6200 DH. Although, not the speediest card in the world, it was managing admirably, but on occasion, was known to stutter and spit at the thought of having to move windows about.

After some reading some interesting posts on the subject of performance, I decided to try and see if Twinview would be more efficient. Helpfully, xorg.conf examples abound and I was able to tweak my xorg.conf file and without too much trouble, switch from xinerama to twinview.

I was surprised by the significant performance improvement. The next test will be trying to install the new beta nvidia drivers and beryl!

xorg.conf below:

# /etc/X11/xorg.conf (xorg X Window System server configuration file)
# This file was generated by dexconf, the Debian X Configuration tool, using
# values from the debconf database.
# Edit this file with caution, and see the /etc/X11/xorg.conf manual page.
# (Type "man /etc/X11/xorg.conf" at the shell prompt.)
# This file is automatically updated on xserver-xorg package upgrades *only*
# if it has not been modified since the last upgrade of the xserver-xorg
# package.
# If you have edited this file but would like it to be automatically updated
# again, run the following command:
# sudo dpkg-reconfigure -phigh xserver-xorg

Section "ServerLayout"
Identifier "Single screen"
Screen 0 "Screen" 0 0
InputDevice "Mouse" "CorePointer"
InputDevice "Keyboard" "CoreKeyboard"

Section "Files"
FontPath "/usr/share/X11/fonts/truetype"
FontPath "/usr/share/X11/fonts/type1"
FontPath "/usr/share/X11/fonts/X11"

Section "Module"
Load "GLcore"
Load "i2c"
Load "bitmap"
Load "ddc"
Load "dri"
Load "extmod"
Load "freetype"
Load "glx"
Load "int10"
Load "type1"
Load "vbe"

## I N P U T D E V I C E S ##

Section "InputDevice"
Identifier "Keyboard"
Driver "kbd"
Option "CoreKeyboard"
Option "XkbRules" "xorg"
Option "XkbModel" "pc105"
Option "XkbLayout" "gb"

Section "InputDevice"
Identifier "Mouse"
Driver "mouse"
Option "CorePointer"
Option "Device" "/dev/input/mice"
Option "Protocol" "ExplorerPS/2"
Option "ZAxisMapping" "4 5"
Option "Emulate3Buttons" "true"

## M O N I T O R S ##

Section "Monitor"
Identifier "F-419-Left"
Option "DPMS"
DisplaySize 386 290
HorizSync 30-82
VertRefresh 40-60

Section "Monitor"
Identifier "F-419-Right"
Option "DPMS"
DisplaySize 386 290
HorizSync 30-82
VertRefresh 40-60

## D E V I C E S ##

Section "Device"
Identifier "Nvidia6200"
BoardName "GeForce 6200"
BusID "1:0:0"
Driver "nvidia"
VendorName "nVidia"
Option "TwinView" "yes"
Option "TwinViewOrientation" "CRT-1 RightOf CRT-0"

## S C R E E N S ##

Section "Screen"
Identifier "Screen"
Device "Nvidia6200"
Monitor "F-419-Right"
DefaultDepth 24
SubSection "Display"
Viewport 0 0
Depth 24
Modes "1280x1024" "1024x768" "800x600" "640x480"

Section "DRI"
Group 0
Mode 0666