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Installing driver for 05ca:183b Ricoh Co., Ltd Webcam on debian squeeze March 29, 2009

Posted by maxmil in : VGN-FZ31Z , add a comment

Just downloaded, compiled and installed the driver for my web cam on my Sony VAIO FZ31Z using the software and instructions from http://bitbucket.org/ahixon/r5u87x/overview/

The result… webcam is working with skype, although the zoom level is a bit high, but does not work with ekiga.

Installing Compiz on with nVidia GForce 8600M GS April 25, 2008

Posted by maxmil in : Debian,VGN-FZ31Z , 3 comments

Just successfully installed and configured compiz on my Sony VIAO FZ31Z.

Previously i had installed the nVidia drivers and configured X to use them.

The installation of compiz was pretty easy

sudo aptitude update
sudo aptitude install xorg compiz libgl1-mesa-dri

Then edit /etc/X11/xorg.conf.
Add to the Device section
Option "XAANoOffscreenPixmaps" "true"
Add a new section
Section "Extensions"
Option "Composite" "enable"

Contrary to various references to nVidia users having to add extra configuration options i have not had to.

I then restarted X and gave the command compiz –replace. The result was not great the initialization of compiz hung in the line “Starting gtk-window-decorator”, all my windows lost their borders and there were no visible effects.

However after a bit of searching i found that the solution was to add a window decorator to the command.
compiz --replace & gtk-window-decorator --replace &

With this i entered into the world of wobbly windows, desktop cubes and the rest. I still haven’t explored much but the first impression in pretty impressive.

NOTE: Having installed xorg i found that on some of my apps (skype and VirtualBox) i had broken fonts. I checked and it seemed that compiz did not need this package. Purging it has brounght back my clean fonts.

Getting nVidia drivers for GForce 8600M GS on Debian testing

Posted by maxmil in : Debian,VGN-FZ31Z , add a comment

The latest nVidia drivers were not available in the debian testing repository at the time of writing. However is the unstable the package that i was after was nvidia-glx.

In order to install it i had to pin my apt preferences in /etc/apt/preferences (the file did not exist)Package: *
Pin: release o=Debian,a=testing
Pin-Priority: 900

Package: *
Pin: release o=Debian,a=unstable
Pin-Priority: 300

Package: *
Pin: release o=Debian
Pin-Priority: -1

Then using module assistant i compiled the module
module-assistant prepare
module-assistant auto-install nvidia

And then load the module
modprobe nvidia
Finally i reconfigured /etc/X11/xorg.conf. In Devices section i put
Identifier "nVidia Corporation GeForce 8600M GS"
Driver "nvidia"
BusID "PCI:1:0:0"
Option "NoLogo" "true"

(The NoLogo line avoids a nasty nVidia splash screen when x starts).

Disactivating a synaptic alps pointing device April 14, 2008

Posted by maxmil in : Debian,VGN-FZ31Z , add a comment

To avoid the irritating problem of the cursor jumping when you are in the middle of writing you can use syndaemon. This is a process that desactivates the touch pad for two seconds (configurable) after each keystroke.

Configuring synaptics and alps pointing device on VGN-FZ31Z

Posted by maxmil in : Debian,VGN-FZ31Z , add a comment

By default my mouse pointer was a bit slow when i installed X on my Sony VIAO.

To remedy the situation the option AccelFactor of the synaptics driver came to my rescue. In addition i find the VertEdgeScroll option (which allows you to scroll by moving your finger up and down the right hand side of the touchpad is really useful too).

My /etc/X11/xorg.conf section for the touchpad now looks like this

Section "InputDevice"
Identifier "Synaptics Touchpad"
Driver "synaptics"
Option "SendCoreEvents" "true"
Option "Device" "/dev/psaux"
Option "Protocol" "auto-dev"
Option "HorizScrollDelta" "0"
Option "AccelFactor" "0.050"
Option "VertEdgeScroll" "true"
Option "SHMConfig" "true"

Getting ALSA working on VGN-FZ31Z April 13, 2008

Posted by maxmil in : Debian,VGN-FZ31Z , add a comment

Just bought a new laptop. Alsa installed fine and the onboard speakers worked from the outset. However i had two problems.

1) The headphone jack didn’t work. That is to say that when you plugged in the headphones sound continued to come out of the onboard speakers.
2) The microphone didn’t work.

My alsamixer only offered three volume controls, Master, PCM and Digital. I’m not sure what Digital is, it is a capture device but is not the microphone jack. The laptop has an HDMI socket, i don’t know much about this but i presume that its a digital input and that this is the Digital device that showed up in my alsamixer.

After searching the Internet the solution that i found was to specify the model of the laptop as part of the ALSA module configuration options.

In my case with Debian Testing (lenny) this was acheived by creating a new file in /etc/modprobe.d called snd_hda_intel (the name of the module for my sound card) and adding the lineoptions snd_hda_intel model=vaioI then restarted the machine and found that the capture devices listed i alsamixer had changed. I now saw PCM, Capture, Digital and Internal capture devices.

But most importantly the microphone and headphone now work without a problem. I had seen other people having the problem that when you connect the headphones sound continues to come from the speakers but luckily that did not happen to me.

The only thing that i have to resolve is that the onboard volume control seems to modify the Capture voume rather than the master volume, but this is really a minor inconvenience.

As a note to myself here are some of the useful commands that i learnt while solving this problem.

amixerLike alsamixer but prints out the information on all devices. Can be used to set properties that don’t appear in the alsamixer grafical environment.
cat /proc/asound/card0/codec#0Sound card specs. There are other files in the same directory that give information on the capture and playback configuration of the card aswell.
lspci -vThe verbose option of lspci gives you a bit more info about the card and modules.
cat /proc/modules | grep sndGives information on all sound related kernel modules.