The Vaio laptop is finally working. The last few weeks saw the motherboard, optical drive, and internal power cable get replaced. It took 3 visits from a technician to get it all done. The second of the 2-year warranty on the laptop expires in a few months. I hope this is the end of the problems with it. Anyway, I purchased this way back in 2005 March, so it is coming up on 4 years. I dont think I used the Dell for 4 years even. Altough, to give credit to that machine, nothing ever went wrong with it – save the battery totally draining. It still boots in to WinXP, but the processor on that has become so slow that its not worth the trouble any more.
I just installed Intrepid Ibix (Ubuntu 8.10) on the Vaio. I installed it within XP first in order to get all the bugs worked out before I wiped the system. I intend to use it this way for a few weeks before wiping XP completely. Out of the box, everything worked splendidly, save the sound. I’ve normally has a lot of trouble getting the video card working on any machine I’ve tried to install various flavors of Linux on. This is the first time that process went without a glitch. Thankfully, Flash is now available for Ubuntu so I installed that and retrieved all the required updates. Things seemed to be going great until I popped open Hulu.com – at which time I realized I had no sound! Playing around with the setting of the mixer didn’t quite work. Also, it seemed like soundcard was installed and working properly, I just wasn’t outputting any sound. Ubuntuforums.org is a great resource, but I was having no luck. I finally came across this…such a simple solution, so complicated to figure out!
1. On the toolbar at the top of the Ubuntu screen, next to the time display, there is a speaker icon. Right-mouse click it, and choose “Open Volume Control”.
2. Go to “Edit” and then “Preferences”. This takes you to the Volume Control Preferences box. Here, tick all the boxes for all the track options provided (“Master”, “Master Mono”, etc., but especially “Headphone Jack Sense” and “External Amplifier”).
3. Now close that box, and go back to the Volume Control box.
4. Click on the “Playback” tab. Make sure none of the playback tracks (“Master”, “Master Mono”, “Headphone”, etc.) is muted. If any is muted, unmute it. Make sure none of the volume buttons are down bottom. Make sure they are up.
5. Go to the “Switches” tab. This is the essential bit I found that made it all work. Untick these two boxes: “External Amplifier” and “Headphone Jack Sense”. Now, you can close the Volume Control box.
What really impresses me is that WiFi worked great, out of the box. Even more impressive, the Fn keys (brightness, page up/down, home/end) work as well. I’ve not tested Fn-F7 (monitor out) but I’m sure that will work too. The one thing that I dont see so far is a drive for the Memory Stick reader. But I’ll figure that out soon, I’m sure.