Physical Volume Knobs
If I were to design The Ben Notebook Computer it would have many improvements over today’s antiquated laptops. The first feature would be a hardware volume knob. I can not fathom the reasoning going through the engineer’s head who said, “I know, let’s make software control the volume so we don’t have to have a volume knob by making users press Fn+UP or FN+DOWN!”
The worst part is the most popular OS doesn’t allow control of the volume until it has started playing some ridiculous startup chime.
Phil – email – 2005-05-17 12:53:24
The problem with mocking the “most popular OS” is that it’s too easy…. The challenge is pretty much gone.
Jeff – 2005-05-17 18:43:25
I always wanted both my compys to start with a flip of a switch. Just like in the old movies where they had to use the huge electric switch with a burst of sparks to get the machine going.. Ah, good times.. good times..
Ben – email – 2005-05-17 19:39:55
sorry Phil, i guess i could have said the same thing about Linux…so i will: one annoyance in Ubuntu Linux is the only way to control the sound in X11 is through the Gnome volume thing. This is very bad because when I’m playing a game like Quake III it is impossible to get to it without exiting the game.
toggle switches… i wired one of my desktops to use one for power and a momentary toggle switch for the reset. …it was pretty cool, and very convenient to have that reset switch. …until i electrocuted myself that is.
Phil – email – 2005-05-20 12:52:46
I don’t get it…. Why don’t you just adjust the volume from within Quake? It seems like it’s a flaw in the game if it doesn’t allow you to adjust the master volume.
How would you rather have it?
Ben – email – 2005-05-20 15:41:09
If only all games were flawless in design.
Most games have some ability to control the volume (usually not the master channel) in-game. Sadly it is a pain as you have to back into the game’s menu, find the volume settings (and mind you that some game menus are hard coded for right-handed mice so if you’re left-handed you end up secondary clicking all over the place), and drag a slider…
By the time this is done you have been shot at, killed, and have respawned only to be killed again. On desktop computers speakers usually have a manual volume knob allowing for quick adjustments.
Sometimes older methods are better for controlling certain things. The main reason software is taking over more control is because it is much cheaper than hardware.
Phil – email – 2005-05-24 17:11:48
Oh, I see. Your problem is that Ubuntu doesn’t auto-detect your hardware volume buttons. I thought it was a GNOME flaw or something.
Once again, Laptop users end up being second-class citizens. It’s a shame, but things are definitely looking up.
Ben – email – 2005-05-24 19:31:49
Gentoo automatically set up the pseudo-hardware Fn volume buttons for Gnome (but not for KDE)… and that was an older version of Gnome than Ubuntu is using.