Wednesday, July 30

EV-DO Glory: Setting up an Alltel UM150

That's right readers, I finally got off my lazy butt and decided to start writing in my Vostro blog. Now before you say "Finally! Why have you kept us post-less for the last 4 months you jerk?! You know, if I met you in real life, I'd kick you six ways from Sunday", I've been pretty busy at work in an internship and designing several websites on the side. One thing I can promise is that I will update the blog periodically for as long as I own my Vostro 1500 (probably a few more years). I mean, how else will I recover everything I installed on here if I didn't document how I did it?

Going back to the topic at hand... One of the issues I ran into while working on the road was the use of the Alltel UM150 wireless adapter. The software could not be emulated in Wine and there was no native linux support by Alltel (what a surprise). Thankfully, there were several posts on forums and blogs (visit the Ubuntu thread here). What works is using a dialer called 'wvdial' and manually configuring settings for the device.

To begin, I had to install wvdial along with its dependencies.

>sudo apt-get install wvdial

Once installed, I had to tell wvdial specific information about the adapter (e.g. Vendor info, interface, etc). To find the interface the device was supported on, I had to run the following command:

>diff /proc/bus/usb/devices devices | grep Vendor

It was supposed to list the Product ID and Vendor. For whatever reason, my device did no cooperate with the command and I had to use other means to find the Product ID and Vendor.

To get around this, I mounted the entire USB filesystem to '/media/USB1' and looked at the devices:

>sudo mount -tusbfs /dev/sdb /media/USB1

>sudo vim /media/USB1/devices

Then I looked in there for UM150 Device (Look for UTStartcom UM150). I found the Product ID and Vendor and then set the device as a usb serial device:

>modprobe usbserial vendor=0x1234 product=0x5678

Note: Make sure to change '1234' and 5678' to the actual vendor and product id's. Also, make sure you include the '0x' before both. It has something to do with the hex value of the ID and without it, the device won't register properly.

Now I had to configure wvdial to work with my new modem. I edited the configuration file:

>sudo vim /etc/wvdial.conf

And put in the following:

[Dialer Defaults]
Stupid Mode = on
Modem = /dev/ttyACM0
Baud = 9216000
Init = ATZ
Init2 = ATQ0 E1 S0=0 &C1 &D2 +FCLASS=0
Phone = #777
Username =
Password = Alltel
Init1 = ATZ
ISDN = 0
Modem Type = Analog Modem
Auto Reconnect = on
Carrier Check = no
[Dialer shh]
Init3 = ATM0
[Dialer pulse]
Dial Command = ATDP

Note: For '1234567890' you will need to put in your actual phone number for the device. The settings for this modem ONLY work for Alltel. For other services like Verizon or AT&T, you will need to change the settings in this file. You can find out specifically here.

Now I had to test the device:

>sudo wvdial

It took a moment to register, but then terminal started spitting out all sorts of verbose data. I then opened up Iceweasel and sure enough, my home page showed up.

To be fancy, I made an icon on my desktop to make it easy to launch. I created a new launcher from terminal and made the launch code 'sudo wvdial'. Then I gave it unrestricted permissions (You may not want to do this) so I could open it without typing my password:

>sudo chmod 777 AllTel_UM150.desktop

Wednesday, March 19

Setting up Civilization IV: Beyond the Sword

Note: This guide was compiled with Wine 0.9.55

After played Civilization IV for several weeks, I remembered that the expansion pack, Beyond the Sword, added all sorts of new features that I wanted to take a look at. After a civ-pep talk from my friend Brenden and step father(both huge civ fans), I went out and got a copy and installed it.

I put the disk in the drive and double clicked on "Setup.exe" to start the installation. It seemed to work smoothly at first, but as the game began to install it unexpectedly crashed. After some research, I found that the game can crash if it is missing some DLL files. To fix the problem, I made sure I had the following DLL's:

d3dx9_26.dll, d3dx9_29.dll, d3dx9_30.dll, d3dx9_31.dll, d3dx9_32.dll, d3dx9_33.dll, d3dx9_34.dll, mscoree.dll (This is the one I was missing. If you followed the other Civ 4 guide, this should be the only one you need), msxml3.dll, msxml3r.dll, msvcp71.dll, msvcr71.dll.

All of these DLL files can be found here (Virus free, too!)

Next I made sure I was using the msxml3.dll override (Note: If you followed the previous guide, these steps should already be done). I opened up winecfg, clicked the Libraries tab, and selected "msxml3.dll" as a new override for a library. I clicked Add and applied the changes. Next I clicked the Graphics tab and set the Vertex Shader Support to Hardware. I also clicked the checkbox to Allow Pixel Shader. I finally clicked OK and exited.

Now I was ready to install. I clicked "Setup.exe" and the game installed without a hitch.

The last issue I ran into was the fonts not being properly displayed. They looked like standard Times New Roman instead of the cool civ font. To fix it, I copied the Civ font out of the game into the windows font folder. Here's how I did it:

>cp ~/.wine/drive_c/Program Files/Firaxis Games/Sid Meier's Civilization 4/Assets/res/Fonts/sylfaen.ttf ~/.wine/drive_c/windows/fonts

I started up the game, adjusted the video settings to 1280x800 (Note: You can go into your CivilizationIV.ini and manually adjust your resolution if it crashes on an in-game switch), then began a new game. Rock on!

In a final note, I believe this game is not recognized by Wine while it is in the CD drive. This means that you will have to get the No CD patch online. I won't post a link for legal reasons, but it is very easy to find with a simple google search. You may also want to update the game to the most current version (3.13) and apply the latest NoCD patch to it.

Tuesday, January 29

Setting up Civilization IV

Civilization IV; The ultimate time waster

(Note: This guide was compiled using Wine 0.9.44)

After much delay, I decided it was time to get Civilization IV running on goz. To my delight, the installation was relatively painless AND the game runs almost flawlessly.

To begin, I shoved the disk into the CD drive and installed (Note: Some people have complained about the installer crashing near the end of the install. It is fine if it does it because all of the files are installed, but I didn't have this issue). Once the main game was installed, I had to find the latest patch (1.74) and patch the game. After downloading it here, I went installed it without a hitch had Wine.

For whatever reason, Wine does not recognize the game CD as a valid disk when attempting to play. To circumvent this, there is a website that is readily available for no CD cracks for almost any game. Because it is not exactly legal, I am not going to go into detail of how to install it. However, the no CD crack does work with Wine and is very easy to find by a quick google search.

Next I had to grab some DirectX libraries and dump them into the system32 folder in Wine. So I downloaded d3dx9_26.dll, d3dx9_31.dll, d3dx9_32.dll, d3dx9_33.dll, msxml3.dll, msxml3r.dll and copied them into my Wine system32 directory (Note: The location is typically /home/username/.wine/drive_c/windows/system32).

Once the libraries were installed, I had to go into 'winecfg' and change a few settings. So I typed:


Next, I selected the 'Libraries' tab. Once in the tab, I selected 'New override for Library' and scrolled down to 'msxml3.dll'. After clicking 'Add', I next navigated to the 'Graphics' tab. Once there, I changed my 'Vertex Shader Support' to 'None' (Note: If you leave this enabled, the game seems prone to crashing or graphical glitches). After that, I clicked 'OK'.

Finally, I had to adjust some settings in the CivilizationIV.ini file. To do this, I went into the 'My Games' folder (Note: By default, this should be in your home directory and named 'My Games').

>cd ~/My\ Games/Sid\ Meier\'s\ Civilization\ 4/

Then I manually edited the ini file:

>vim CivilizationIV.ini

There are a bunch of settings that are adjustable (You may want to fine tune some things to your liking), but there are only 2 settings that need to be changed to get the game to run correctly. First, the EnableVoice option needs to be changed from 1 to 0. Afterwards, it should look like this:

>EnableVoice = 0

Lastly, the game resolution must be changed in the ini file instead of in the game (Note: I tried changing it in the 'Options' tool bar when the game was loaded but it crashed it). So I scrolled down to ScreenHeight and changed the value to 800. The final readout should look like this:

>ScreenHeight = 800

Then I changed the ScreenWidth to 1280. The final readout should look like this:

>ScreenWidth = 1280

After that, I wrote the changes and quit. Once the game started, I went into the 'Options' menu and changed the game settings to their highest value and restarted the game.

As a final note, there seems to be some kind of ongoing problem when the game starts. For a minute or two, the loading screen hangs on 'Init Audio'. Once the game starts there is no problem, but the extra time it takes for the game to load can be annoying. I am still looking for a fix to the problem.

Tuesday, November 6

Configuring Beryl

Beryl in real life!
Warning: Beryl is not completely stable as it is a beta. It is prone to breaking. Do not expect it to work perfectly from these instructions. This guide was also produced using techno wizah's blog as a reference (among many other pages).

Beryl was surprisingly difficult to setup. I mentioned earlier that I would try to compile from source but I just did not have the patience to see if there is a speed difference between the two. However, once Beryl was up and running, I was impressed by all of the neat features and widgets available in the standard GUI. While using Windows, I had purchased Window blinds to make the desktop look a little nicer. Beryl far exceeded what Window blinds could achieve and was also less resource hungry (10% vs. 30% cpu power).

To get Beryl to load, I had to adjust my xorg.conf to allow it to run Xcomposite as well as rgbl visuals (I honestly don't know what an rgbl visual is, but it seemed to be necessary for it to run). First I made a backup copy of my xorg.conf to recover my system once I crashed the graphics drivers (Playing around with options in here will often break xorg so you need a baseline to go back to):

>sudo cp /etc/X11/xorg.conf ~/Desktop

Now that I had a backup, it was time to set this thing up to support some extra video modes. To do this, I had to manually go into the xorg.conf and add the following (Note: Adding these has been verified to work with the nVidia 8600M GT. No other card was tested during this install so YMMV):

>sudo vim /etc/X11/xorg.conf

Under the Section "Devices", I added the following lines:

>Option "XAANoOffscreenPixmaps" "True"
>Option "TripleBuffer" "True"
>Option "AddARGBGLXVisuals" "True"

Under the Section "ServerLayout", I added this:

>Option "AIGLX" "True"

Under the Sections "Module", I added this:

>Load "dbe"

Under the Section "Screen", I added these line (Note: AllowGLXWithComposite will be in here already if you followed the guide for setting up Steam):

>DefaultDepth 24
>Option "AllowGLXWithComposite" "True"

Then at the very bottom, I added this Section:

>Section "Extensions"
> Option "Composite" "Enable"

I saved and quit and restart GDM by using the age old CTRL+ALT+Backspace trick. Now my video should support Beryl when it is installed.

The next thing to do was to actually install Beryl. Again, I decided not to build from source because I have better things to do with my time rather then search for dependencies and wait for each section to compile. If you have that time (or you enjoy doing those things), you can grab the tarballs here. In my case, I opened up my repository sources:

>sudo vim /etc/apt/sources.list

Then added the following (Note: The sources are for Debian Etch, not Lenny or sid. This could potentially cause some conflicts but I have not seen any since I just installed it):

>deb etch main
>deb-src etch main

I added it to the trusted repository list by entering the following:

>wget -O- | sudo apt-key add -

Then I updated them:

>sudo apt-get update

Then I grabbed beryl and some themes:

>sudo apt-get install beryl emerald-themes

This should get Beryl and all of it's dependencies from the repository. Now I launched Beryl:


That did it. I adjusted the settings in GDM by going into Applications>System Tools>Beryl Manager or Beryl Settings Manager.

Installing Beryl with the binary nVidia drivers proved to be a pain in the ass. While this tutorial may seem simple and trivial, it took a lot of research to find out how to add the extension to the xorg.conf. When I didn't add it, Beryl failed to load citing Xcomposite could not be found. If you are still having trouble setting up Beryl, there are a variety of tutorials available from the Ubuntu people. If you are looking for other xorg.conf hacks or a more in depth tutorial, check out techno wizah's post about setting up Beryl. Not all of it is necessary, but he explains what is going on far more in depth then I went.