Sunday, January 27, 2008

Adding new hardware

My daughter's machine has an integrated sound card which works fine for most things. The only problem is for some of the Java based games where there is no sound. For the last year her choice was to live with no sound or if my wife was not using her machine then play on that machine.

When going through my spare part bin I found an old sound card from a Compaq machine I stripped down. It was a PCI card and I checked my daughter's machine to see if it had a spare slot. It did have a spare slot and I installed the card. I didn't completely close up the box just in case Linux didn't recognize the card. When I booted I did get a message that AUMIX was not found. I went into the control center and selected 'Hardware'. In hardware I went to the 'Configure Hardware' area and then I picked the soundcard area. All I had to do was pick the right driver for the card and then I shut down the machine. I probably didn't need to do that, but, I had to close up the box and reconnect the cables and that was the safest thing to do.

When the machine rebooted we had sound. The last thing I had to do was select the master channel in KMIX and the sound card worked perfectly. We now have complete sound in all of the Java based games.

Total time for doing this fix: 15 minutes.
Total cost: $0.00

If you are having problems with sound with an integrated system you can check out using a PCI sound card if you have a free PCI slot available. The cards go for around $30 for new, or, if you have spares then you can recycle an old card.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

2008 - Linux Income tax Software - NOT!

It is that time of year again where I search for a Linux version of Canadian income tax preparation software. This year it is even more pressing as no one now supports Windows 98 which is on our dual-boot machine. The machine itself is great for Linux, but, there is no way I will pay to 'upgrade' the O/S to XP and it definitely will not run Vista. I started my search in the stores reading the boxes of tax preparation software and noted that Win98 was not supported and when I went to the web sites it was confirmed again.

I figured I would go to the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) to see what they had for certified software and if any company had a Linux version. You can see what is certified at the CRA. At this time no one supports Linux.

When I get some time I will probably send a short note to a couple of companies asking about Linux versions. I understand that they are a business, but, a sizable population is not being served and that in my less than humble opinion is a ripe market that would love to be able to prepare their taxes in Linux.

I looked at web based companies, but, I am unsure how much I should trust them with my personal information. It is a complete unknown to me on how they secure that information and what their backup/restore procedures are and how secure that is. Unlesss something comes up soon I will have to do my forms by hand or buy a refurbished machine with XP on it and dedicate that computer to just old legacy programs that are Windows based.