A Sound Card Adventure

Keeping the computers humming along at EP Studios, where there are more computers per cubic foot than the average Google data cluster, is a continual challenge.  A few days ago the TV sound died on MediumHeadBoy.  All other sounds from the computer were fine.  I should mention that MediumHeadBoy is our kitchen computer and is nice for eating breakfast and surfing the net while watching TV at the same time.  The TV picture appears in a window on the screen using a free program (everything on Linux is free) called tvtime.  MediumHeadBoy is an old Gateway computer on which I installed OpenSuse 11.2 (now 11.3)  after deleting that nasty Windows operating system.  There is a hardware TV card from Hauppauge on it (I got it on eBay on auction for $0 plus postage).  The sound output from the TV card has to be plugged into the line in port on the computer sound card.  The sound card was an Audigy SoundBlaster card which was scavenged from the original MonsterMagnet, which was a vintage 2003 Alienware computer.  Anyway, some experimentation convinced me that the sound card was broken.  I then tried to use the built-in sound card on the motherboard, but this had the same problem — the line in plug didn’t work, probably because this was a proprietary Gateway motherboard.  After fruitless googling, I finally concluded that I had to buy a generic sound card (tragedy — they cost all of about 10 bucks).  I then had a sudden revelation.  Sluggo, the web server in my bedroom closet, which didn’t even have a monitor or keyboard, surely had no need for a sound card.  I shut old Sluggo down, opened the hood, and, sure enough, there was an ancient-looking sound card plugged into a PCI slot.  I removed it and plugged it into MediumHeadBoy.  Sure enough, it all worked, including the TV sound.  Now I can sleep soundly (no pun intended, I guess) tonight!

By mannd

I am a retired cardiac electrophysiologist who has worked both in private practice in Louisville, Kentucky and as a Professor of Medicine at the University of Colorado in Denver. I am interested not only in medicine, but also in computer programming, music, science fiction, fantasy, 30s pulp literature, and a whole lot more.

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