Improve Your People Skills

Investment in technical skills is obviously paramount for those in the IT industry, but IT folks are particularly prone to forget that other essential area of professional development: People Skills. Today, on “Climbing the IT Ladder” I contributed to Robin Miller’s post about developing your interpersonal skills:

IT Knowledge Exchange: Improve Your People Skills for Fun and Profit

Scroll down to see my 5 tips for better interaction with your colleagues.

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Disk Shredding: Myths and Legends

If you’re tasked with decommissioning PCs or servers, you’re undoubtedly concerned about data security. There are many utilities out there to perform overwrites; my favorite is the tried and true shred utility that comes with GNU. Boot up any decent GNU/Linux Live CD and you’ve got it at your fingertips. But what about your colleague who insists that the data is still recoverable with special equipment? He or she is thinking of magnetic force microscopy–a theoretical data recovery method proposed by Peter Gutmann. In theory, a powerful atomic microscope could reconstruct the magnetic surface of a hard disk with enough accuracy to recover data. This story has been circulating in IT circles for so long that it has achieved urban legend status. Computer professionals taking this threat seriously should remember that this technique has never been successfully implemented and may refer to the 2006 report from NIST that demonstrates the threat to be essentially non existent.

Sure, if you’re dealing with the secret plans for the Death Star, you’ll sleep better at night knowing that your old hard drives have been melted down in a furnace. For the rest of us, three passes of the good old shred utility are more than adequate. The defaults are fine,  but I like the verbose switch so I can watch what’s going on:

shred -v /dev/name-of-the-disk
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Delta 1010 with Ubuntu Studio 9.10 How-to

The Delta 1010 works out of the box with Ubuntu Studio 9.10 for Jack
and Ardour – So you can simply install Ubuntu, and start working!

Unfortunately, there is a bug with the pulseaudio server, which handles
the system sounds and playback through webpages, videos, mp3 players,
etc. Luckily, there is an easy workaround.

This should work on other M-Audio cards, and should also help with
earlier versions of Ubuntu Studio that use pulseaudio (Post 8.04).

First, you need to find your card’s subsystem device id. Open a
terminal, and type:

wget -O && bash ./

The script will return:

Your ALSA information is in /tmp/alsa-info.txt.xxxxxxxxxx 

(the x’s will
be an alphanumeric string)

To open the Alsa info file, type:

gksudo gedit /tmp/alsa-info.txt.xxxxxxxxxx 

Scroll down to “!!Advanced information – PCI Vendor/Device/Susbsystem
ID’s” and make a note of your Subsystem: 1412 number. For the Delta
1010, it should be d630, but check to make sure. The 1010LT is

While you still have sudo privliges in gedit, create a new file and
paste into it:

SUBSYSTEM!="sound", GOTO="ice1712_end"

ACTION!="change", GOTO="ice1712_end"

KERNEL!="card*", GOTO="ice1712_end"

SUBSYSTEMS=="pci", ATTRS{vendor}=="0x1412", ATTRS{device}=="0x1712",
ATTRS{subsystem_vendor}=="0x1412", ATTRS{subsystem_device}=="0xd630",


followed by the dxxx number you retrieved earlier.

Save as /etc/udev/rules.d/ice1712-pulseaudio-workaround.rules

Create another new file and paste the following into it:

# This file is part of PulseAudio.
# PulseAudio is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify
# it under the terms of the GNU Lesser General Public License as
# published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 2.1 of the
# License, or (at your option) any later version.
# PulseAudio is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but
# WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of
# General Public License for more details.
# You should have received a copy of the GNU Lesser General Public License
# along with PulseAudio; if not, write to the Free Software Foundation,
# Inc., 59 Temple Place, Suite 330, Boston, MA 02111-1307 USA.

; Via ICE1712 multi-channel audio chipset
; This chipset has up to four stereo pairs of input and four stereo pairs of
; output, named channels 1 to 8. Also available are separate S/PDIF stereo
; channels (input and output), and a separate "system-out" stereo jack that
; supports 6-channel hardware mixing.
; The S/PDIF stereo channels can be controlled via the mixer for hw:0, and
; additionally, the 8 main outputs can be loop-routed to a separate stereo
; input pair, available as channels 11 and 12.
; Many cards available from vendors do not expose all channels from this chip
; to an external port, which effectively reduces the number of channels that
; are useful to the user. However, the ALSA driver still exposes all channels
; even if they are not connected.
; We knowingly only define a subset of the theoretically possible
; mapping combinations as profiles here.
; See default.conf for an explanation on the directives used here.

auto-profiles = no

[Mapping analog-mch-in]
description = Analog Multi-Channel Main Input
device-strings = hw:%f,0
#channel-map = front-left,front-right,rear-left,rear-right,front-center,lfe,side-left,side-right,aux0,aux1,aux2,aux3
channel-map = aux0,aux1,front-left,front-right,aux2,aux3,aux4,aux5,aux6,aux7,aux8,aux9
direction = input

[Mapping analog-mch-out]
description = Analog Multi-Channel Main Output
device-strings = hw:%f,0
#channel-map = front-left,front-right,rear-left,rear-right,front-center,lfe,side-left,side-right,aux0,aux1
channel-map = front-left,front-right,aux0,aux1,aux2,aux3,aux4,aux5,aux6,aux7
direction = output

[Mapping digital-stereo]
description = Digital Stereo Input/Output
#device-strings = hw:%f,1
device-strings = iec958:%f
channel-map = left,right
direction = any

[Mapping analog-system-out]
description = Analog Stereo System-Out
device-strings = hw:%f,2
channel-map = left,right
direction = output

[Profile output:mch]
description = Multi-Channel Output Active (Digital Disabled)
output-mappings = analog-mch-out analog-system-out
input-mappings =
priority = 90
skip-probe = yes

[Profile output:mch+input:mch]
description = Multi-Channel Input/Output (Digital Disabled)
output-mappings = analog-mch-out analog-system-out
input-mappings = analog-mch-in
priority = 100
skip-probe = yes

[Profile output:spdif]
description = Digital Output (Multi-Channel Disabled)
output-mappings = digital-stereo analog-system-out
input-mappings =
priority = 80
skip-probe = yes

[Profile output:spdif+input:spdif]
description = Digital Input/Output (Multi-Channel Disabled)
output-mappings = digital-stereo analog-system-out
input-mappings = digital-stereo
priority = 90
skip-probe = yes

[Profile output:system]
description = System Output Only
output-mappings = analog-system-out
input-mappings =
priority = 60
skip-probe = yes

Save as /usr/share/pulseaudio/alsa-mixer/profile-sets/via-ice1712.conf

Reboot, and you’re done!

Posted in Audio, GNU/Linux | Tagged , | 1 Comment