LHS Episode #059: Orca and Outtakes

Welcome to Episode #059 of Linux in the Ham Shack. On this edition, we talk with Jonathan Nadeau of Frostbite Systems about Linux for the sight impaired. Jonathan, being a blind Linux user, has overcome many challenges when it comes to using his favorite operating system and he shares with us the ins and outs of accessibility on Linux systems. There is a Linux distribution dedicated to blind users called Vinux, along with an accessible version of Arch called Talking Arch. Even newer versions of Slackware are jumping on the bandwagon with a Speakup enabled installation kernel.

This is also the first episode of LHS with a blooper reel left in at the end. Listen all the way to the last so you don't miss out on any of the fun. Many thanks to Jonathan for his time and expertise, and many thanks to our listeners for making our show so fun to do.

73 de The LHS Guys

LHS Show Notes #046


  • The eighth annual Ohio LinuxFest will be held on September 10-12, 2010 at the Greater Columbus Convention Center in downtown Columbus, Ohio. Linux in the Ham Shack will be there; will you?
  • Russ is in a bad mood, tonight. Send him lots of feedback!
  • Black Sparrow Media was intended to be similar to Hacker Public Radio, a clearing house for several podcasts, and Russ has ressurected it. Currently, we have LHS, Resonant Frequency, and Russ' latest venture, the QSK Netcast.
  • Another all feedback episode.


  • Paul, KE5WMA, sent a donation. Thanks, Paul!


  • We had several listeners comment about the possibility of releasing LHS only in OGG format:
    • Email from Frasier say that he votes for keeping the MP3 feed as he relies on his iPod to listen. We'll be keeping both formats for the foreseeable future. There is the RockBox OS for most iPod models, which would allow you to play OGG files, but that would replace the existing OS on the iPod and break iTunes.
    • David, KG4GIY and the ham radio editor for Linux Journal, comments on the web site that he also votes for the MP3 version, again because he subscribes with iTunes. However, in about a month, he'll be converting to Fedora and will no longer use iTunes.
    • Matt, KC8BEW, has a couple of thoughts about the MP3 vs OGG debate: if you're a Linux user, you should be able to convert to whatever format you want. However, MP3 is probably more convenient for most people. Our hosts note that xiph.org has components that make it possible to play OGG in Quicktime and iTunes, but once you take a file out of the feed, then it ends up in the iTunes music library, and not in the podcast category.
    • Charles, KJ4VEB, comments on the web site that he would be more than willing to try the OGG format. We agree that there are benefits to OGG, but there are too many listeners that rely on the MP3 feed to abandon it at this time.
  • Ross, WI0N, says he's writing a Windows TCP/IP client application that uses AGWPE (SV2AGW Packet Engine) winsock layer to get digitized packet data and satellite telemetry through a RigBlaster plug and play device, but would like a Linux solution. Does Fldigi have the lower level layer that works with the sound card to digitize and format KISS data, or does it sit on top of that layer like Ham Radio Deluxe does? Our hosts suggest reviewing the Fldigi documentation and source code and the AX.25 website.
  • Following up in a voicemail, Ross thinks the Linux soundmodem driver might provide the ASCII stream he's looking for from the /dev/soundmodem0 device. Russ agrees that it looks like the AX.25 kernel module does support getting the data stream from the soundmodem device. Richard suggests contacting Phil, KA9Q, as he's involved with this type of work.
  • WW (Bill), KB9TMP, replies to Russ' comments in episode 42 about Field Day sites not being handicapped accessible. The Hoosier Hills Ham Club in Bedford, IN does make an effort to make their activities wheelchair friendly. Thanks, Bill!
  • Paul, KE5WMA, wrote in via the live support link on the web site asking about a good Koch Morse Code trainer in Linux. There is a SourceForge project, that does both Farnsworth and Koch. There may be others. (Ed. note: Paul, you may find other CW programs via the Hamsoft Linux Software index.) Ross, in the chat room, also provides a link to the CWirc site that provides "an X-Chat plugin for sending and receiving raw Morse code over IRC". Thanks, Ross.
  • Rich, KD0BJT, from the Low SWR podcast, and Dan, KG4JCL, said they have had problems getting LHS episodes with gpodder. Firefox, too, failed to get the feed. Russ suggested deleting and re-adding the feed in gpodder, and Rich said that worked for him.
  • Randall, KC4WZE, writes a long email about episode 39: He thinks that for Linux to gain widespread acceptance, we need to create a new perception of Linux much like the difference between a PC and a Mac. Right now, most people identify PCs with Windows, so we need to create a new device name for computers running Linux, like "Tux". Most people understand the difference between a Mac and a PC, so the difference between a PC and a Tux would be similar, as long as all Tux applications can run on all Tux computers. Our hosts discuss this topic, and mention such companies as System76 and Penguin Computing, that already provide machines designed with Linux in mind and with Linux pre-installed.
  • Randall continues with a discussion of embedded Linux appliances. He suggests the possibility, for example, of the same media playing application running on your cell phone, portable video player, desktop computer, car radio, and television. Our hosts discuss the practicality of this concept.
  • Finally, Randall comments that a Linux "Tux" netbook might be the next "killer" device. Our hosts discuss this. There are already a variety of devices running Linux, such as the Android smart phone, the Archos 5 internet tablet, Archos 7 home tablet, TiVo DVR, Boxee Box media center, and Roku digital video player. (The TomTom line of GPS units also run embedded Linux. -Ed.)
  • Thanks for the thought-provoking email, Randall.

Contact Info:

  • Contact Richard at kb5jbv@gmail.com, Russ at k5tux@lhspodcast.info, or both at the same time at info@lhspodcast.info.
  • Listen to the live stream every other Tuesday at 8:00pm Central time. Check the LHS web site for dates.
  • Leave us a voice mail at 888-455-0305 or 417-200-4811, or record an introduction to the podcast.
  • Sign up for the LHS mailing list.
  • Thanks to Dave from Gamma Leonis for the theme music and promo.


LHS Episode #046: The TuxTel Conglomerate

Episode #044 of Linux in the Ham Shack makes its debut, and even on time. We're still trying to catch up on a little bit of a backlog so this episode is mostly feedback from listeners. We touch on a variety of topics including packet radio, the AX.25 kernel driver for TNCs, the importance of Linux and Open Source, Android and emerging Linux markets, and much, much more.

Thanks for taking the time to download us and being an ever-faithful listener. We would be nothing without you and we want to let you know that we appreciate each and every pair of ears that hears us every fortnight. Don't forget to send us your feedback, whether it be as a comment on the Web site, a voice mail submitted via our toll-free hot-line or an e-mail to one or both of us. Also, please don't forget about making donations or buying some of our LHS merchandise if you have the wherewithal to do so. Enjoy our current offering and we'll be back live in a week for more rowdy fun.

73 de The LHS Guys

LHS Episode #036: Are We There Yet?

We've managed to cobble together another round table discussion for Episode #034 of Linux in the HAM Shack. Thanks to Lord Drachenblut of Ten Buck Review and our party crasher, Jonathan, KB1KIX, for helping us out with this episode.

The format is a little bit different this time based on some feedback from listeners. If you like what you hear or would rather have us go back to the way things were, let us know. We're interested in what you think. Our topic tonight is a thought provoking e-mail that we received before last episode from Jim, N2ENN. Hopefully we've given it an honest appraisal.

Please send us your feedback, your questions and your donations to obtain a noise gate for Richard. Also, enter our two contests for a chance to win real money! And stay tuned for our next recording. We have a very special guest interview coming up. You won't want to miss it.

73 from the LHS Guys