Thursday, August 28, 2008

Recording speaker audio (what you hear, or "Stereo Mix") under Vista

Ever since I put Vista on a Dell Latitude D810, I've had issues recording speaker audio on that machine. I didn't think much of it, since I used to use another XP machine as my main machine anyway, but it recently came to a head when I got rid of my XP machine and needed to actually record webinars on a Dell Precision M6300 with Vista on it, and I once again was painfully reminded that it doesn't work.

First I thought it was Camtasia's fault, but not at all. It's Dell that is disabling the functionality in their Vista drivers.

After hours of searching for a solution, I gave up and just used a cable ($5) between the head phone and microphone jacks. Worked great, except for the fact that you can't monitor what you're recording (unless you feed it through a head phone splitter or mixer).

Several nights later I was determined to find a solution for Vista, because I grew to hate the ridiculous cable, and after hours and hours of digging through web sites that made McAfee go insane :p I found the solution!

Install the XP driver on the Vista box in XP compatibility mode. Works like a charm!

Simply save the XP audio driver (in my case Dell's XP driver for Sigmatel) on the desktop, right click on the file and go to the Compatibility tab and select XP Service Pack 2 for instance. Then install the driver. In my case the installer would fail on Vista, but it works just fine in XP compatibility mode.

After the driver is installed you may have to go in and actually show the disabled devices and enable Stereo Mix under the Recording tab in Sound properties.

If this helped you, please feel free to leave a comment saying so. :)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Off-topic or not?

The off-topic group on our old (and now dead) NNTP server existed as a runoff for unwanted posts in the technical groups. The intent was to have a group for people who felt that they needed to communicate their off-topic thoughts outside of the technical groups, and also to have a group to re-direct off-topic (including thread drift) posts to.

We're now debating whether or not to kill off-topic completely.

You can have your say in the following poll that we put together:

The ideas behind the possible responses are as follows:

1. You either participate in off-topic so much that you would bail if it disappeared, or you believe that the existence of off-topic keeps the technical groups clean from unwanted stuff and it would make the technical groups rot so bad that you'd bail.
2. You would post all your off-topic posts in our technical forums if off-topic went away, or you believe that others would post all their off-topic posts (that are now in the off-topic group) and make the technical groups hard to navigate.
3. You'd be just as happy with off-topic going away, and you'd keep our technical groups clean by not posting anything off-topic grade...
4. You'd live with whatever the outcome is
5. You couldn't care less