21 August, 2009

VirtualBox - Restoration Media Installation

A curiosity I found was I have had success using OS restoration disks to create virtual machines. In particular a government program restoration disc used to reimage laptops, I can't get into details.

In order to make this work however I found I needed to enable passthrough on the CD/DVD drive, otherwise it hung prior to detecting the media.

Just a note, hope someone finds it valuable.

Multiple RDP Connections with VirtualBox

I was noodling through the latest VirtualBox 3.0.4 Manual and found the solution to a problem I've been chasing for now 2 months.

We've been trying to incorporate multiple user connections to a virtual machine to allow desktop sharing. The intention was the users would need to coordinate actions and share the desktop. The primary use was to support remote monitoring of a user's session while allowing the either user to interact as required.

VirtualBox 3.0.4 introduced a new vrdpmulticon specifier that appears to have addressed the issue.

From the command line you need to issue the following command to enable multiple RDP connection sharing, the effect is to allow multiple connections share a RDP server session.

$ VBoxManage modifyvm WinXp --vrdp on
$ VBoxManage modifyvm WinXp --vrdpmulticon on

Where in this case the name of the virtual machine is WinXp.

I've struggled with this for the past couple months. The solutions, 'til now, have been restricted to 'hacking WinXp' (a legal mine field) or upgrading to server 200x.

Hope you find this as useful as I do.

20 August, 2009

Capturing Video From QuickCam Express Using FFMpeg

Another quick post.

You can capture motion video from your QuickCam Express USB camera (assuming properly configured) by issuing the following command:

$ ffmpeg -r 15 -s 352x288 -f video4linux -i /dev/video0 /tmp/video.avi

This will capture at a 15 fps frame rate at the specified resolution.


19 August, 2009

Installing LibDvdCss2 on Debian Lenny

Real quick post on how to install libdvdcss on Lenny. This is necessary to play encrypted disks with totem (and other video players).

# echo "deb http://debian-multimedia.org lenny main" >> /etc/apt/sources.list
# echo "deb-src http://debian-multimedia.org lenny main" >> /etc/apt/sources.list
# apt-get update
# apt-get install libdvdcss2

18 August, 2009

Debian List Installed Packages

Short-n-sweet; In order to list the currently installed packages do the following:

$ dpkg --get-selections

12 August, 2009

Debian Lenny - FFMpeg

A challenge of migrating to a new distribution will always be the subtleties that each update brings.

For example, I assume this is because Debian strives to ensure that only open-source utilities are distributed my recent update to 'Lenny' left me with an FFMpeg distro that doesn't support encoding MS-MPEG4v2 videos.

As a result, you have to rebuild from source as follows:

xion:/home/user/ffmpeg-0.5$ ./configure --enable-x11grab --enable-gpl --prefix=/usr
xion:/home/user/ffmpeg-0.5$ su
xion:/home/user/ffmpeg-0.5# make install

I chose the /usr destination to overwrite any existing installation, otherwise you'd have to resolve path issues to ensure you're running the 'right' binary.


09 August, 2009

Debian Lenny Sound Installation

I just installed 'Lenny' on my workstation. I struggled for a couple hours trying to get the sound card configured.

After the installation I found the sound card wasn't working properly.

To resolve, I switched user to root, ran alsaconf, selected the CA0106 Alsa Mixer, ran alsamixer and set the volume accordingly.

It's also worth noting that I opened the 'Volume Control Preferences', selected the CA0106 device and selected the Analog Front selection to allow volume control from the panel.