Hints, Tricks, Work-Around's

Icons   Setting Time    Internet Connections   Radio Interface    Persistent Directory   Sound config    Video config

Icon Placement

When KDE sets up the desktop, it will put up icons for all the Hard Drive partitions, on all the drives it finds on your system. Sometimes this can be quite a bunch. It'll also display icons for your CD drives, Floppies, and any USB devices you may have connected. The result may be that the tidy, orderly display of all the icons that I had planed for you, gets splattered all over the desktop. Honest ... my mind doesn't work like that mess!:-) You can straighten it out, though.

Click your RIGHT mouse button on some open space on the desktop. Check the "Icons" sub menu and make sure that "Align to Grid" is UN checked. This will make it easier to move stuff around. Just drag the icons to places you like. When you have stuff arranged to your liking, give another right click on some open space, pick "Icons" again, and this time check the "Align to Grid" option (or not, as you wish). This will have the effect of squaring everything up for you.

Setting System Time

Look for the clock in the lower right corner. If your BIOS clock is set to UTC, this clock should be UTC also ... and just as accurate. No guarantee what the clock will read if your BIOS clock is set to local time ... or someplace in between. If you want to set the time on your computer, just give the Hourglass on the desktop a click. This will check a network time server. Please be aware that this will adjust your computer's BIOS (hardware) clock. Programs like "IBP" (the Beacon Project) work best when your clock is set to UTC. You can also give the clock a click with your Right mouse button. Pick "Configure Clock", and then click the "Timezones" tab to set for local time.

Internet Connection

If your computer is connected to the Internet via an Ethernet, DSL, or Cable connection, Knoppix has probably already set this up for you. If it looks like you don't have a connection and you need to set one up, click on the "Tux" and choose the "Network/Internet" sub menu. You'll find many configuration routines in here. Use the "ADSL/PPoE" to set up your DSL or Cable connection. There is also a Modem Dialer ("KPPP"), to set up your dialup connections. There are other options as you need them.

A Radio Interface

If you need an interface for your computer/radio, a nice one can be found at WM2U's web page. There are a bunch of others available, just do a GOOGLE. I use the MFJ 1275 M (cost about $70 ... but that is very expensive compared to the ones you can brew up with a little solder and wire.)

Serial Ports 'n stuff

Use the same serial connections you've been using on your Windows system. No need to re-arrange anything. Linux just calls them by different names. They'll still do exactly the same jobs. In Linux, COM1 becomes /dev/ttyS0, and COM2 becomes /dev/ttyS1. They still read data from your radio or modem. They still control your PTT lines. Don't even touch the cabel connections on the rear side of your computer. About the only thing that might get in the way for some folks is the UPPER CASE "S" in "ttyS1" and "ttyS0". Case always matters in any kind of *nix. Give that close attention when typing file names or commands, also.

/dev/dsp ... Whats that? Your sound card puts out a signal on the speaker line and also puts out a data stream that your computer or another program can use. Linux sets it up so that your sound card and the program or other device don't really have to know each other. All they have to do is know the same set of rules, and play by them. In Linux, your sound card dumps its data stream into a sort of storage bin (actually a file) called "/dev/dsp" or "/dev/audio". When a program ... like gMFSK ... wants some noise to process, it looks in "/dev/dsp" (by default) to see if anyone dropped off a gift. Other programmers like to use "/dev/audio". Both of those files exist on the system and your sound card will probably feed both of them.

A "Persistent" Home Directory

After you have used the Hamshack Hack CD a few times, you'll quickly tire of entering your personal data and configuration all over, ever time you boot up. There is a fix! Never fear. Linux is here! You can save all the info and parameters you've entered ... even your logs, if you like, by creating a "Persistent Home Directory".

Click on "Tux", this time look in the "Configuration" submenu for "Create a Persistent Home Directory". This file will be written in the root of your hard drive or other device you choose (USB dongle, etc). The file will contain all the data you have entered for all the programs you have used ... even the logs from Xlog, your added Firefox Browser bookmarks, net history, and cache, all your gMFSK parameters. When next you boot up with the CD, Knoppix will look for this Persistent data file and create a "/home/knoppix" directory which contains all your settings. No need to ever type them in again.

Once your file has been saved, you'll have to tell Knoppix where to find it next time your reboot. Don't use the "home=scan" functions. These are "buggy" at present. Here is what my "home" boot string looks like.

boot: knoppix home=/mnt/hda1/knoppix.img

The important part is to specify a complete path to your file and, use "/mnt" not "/dev". "hda1", above specifies my main ("C:\") hard drive. Replace it with the indicator for the drive you've decided to use.

More Sound and Video Configuration

When sound or video consistently fails, the next option is to reboot. If you're having trouble with the sound system, and have used the "alsaconf" setup, this time, bypass the the "alsa" system and stay with the older OSS system that Knoppix installs by default. Some cards just won't work with "alsa" others won't perform well under OSS. Use the one that works best for you.

If there is a tremendous, annoying hiss coming from your speakers, make sure that "IEC958" is disabled.

If you have video problems, check the file "knoppix-cheatcodes.txt" in the root directory of the CD for more boot parameters.

An additional Video configuration can be found in the "System Menu". Click the "K-Gear" button at the far lower left corner. Choose the "System" sub menu and look for a program called "Xvidtune". Click "OK" to absolve us all of responsibility, then click the "left", "right" and "up", "down" buttons. Give "left" a couple clicks (my nVidia card needs 4 clicks), then click "apply" to see the result of the new settings. Click "quit" when things look good. An icon link to "Xvidtune" has also been placed on the desktop.