Since the Foehn & Hirsch laptop was a bit of a fiasco, I decided to re-use an old laptop of mine that I’ve had kicking around for a while. I bought an Acer TravelMate 3000 about four years ago now, because it was the best spec that I could find. I can’t remember the spec off the top of my head, but I remember the hard drive being over 100GB (huge in those days) and I’ve since doubled the memory to 2GB to make it last a bit longer. It’s been running Windows XP Professional since I got it, and that’s been fine, but as I said in the original post about the F&H laptop, my wife was so taken with my Linux Mint laptop, so I decided to rebuild it from scratch.
Firstly, I downloaded the 32-bit version of Linux Mint 8 from their website, as the version I used to build this laptop was the 64-bit and the old laptop doesn’t support 64-bit architecture. I burned the image to disc using Brasero, stuck it in the external DVD drive that came with the laptop, and booted it up.
As I’ve found on every system that I’ve built with Linux (Mint or Ubuntu) apart from the Foehn & Hirsch one, there were no problems – or certainly no obvious ones. The screen resolution was fine, the wireless network connected immediately (including the light on the front of the laptop working correctly), everything I checked was fine – so I reformatted the hard drive and replaced XP with Mint.
I then went off to work (I was away for a couple of days), and the girls told me that there was no sound working – the children want to watch childrens programs on iPlayer, play on CBeebies and watch YouTube and the like. I thought that it would be something really obvious like the speaker just being muted, but there was just nothing working. So, when I got home, I thought “this will be straight forward and take a couple of seconds…”
After about half an hour, I managed to track down the problem – the modem seemed to be conflicting with the soundcard (I think). Here’s how I found the source of the problem and resolved it.