So, something came up and that Sager notebook is going to end up taking longer than I previously expected. Anyway, I spent the last several days backing up my data, wiping my hard drive, and installing Ubuntu with LUKS encryption. I did this for several reasons, the top reason being that both the 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows 7 consistently BSOD on my laptop. I used LUKS because Truecrypt doesn't have whole drive encryption support under Linux (yet?).

This post is going to be about a simple little program for Linux called beep. Beep simply makes the internal speaker beep. See, I'm the kind of geek that also cooks and (as my girlfriend has told me on several occasions) I have no understanding of the concept of time. So, I need something to make me remember about the vension I put in a bowl full of hot water to thaw so I can cook it. I have a habit of going back to my laptop while waiting for the vension to thaw.

Ubuntu has beep already in its repository (least on the Karmic repo). Ubuntu (and probably Debian users) can type in

apt-get install beep

as root (Ubuntu users, remember to sudo) to automagically download and install this program.

So, now we have beep installed. What now? The man page for beep is full of juicy information. Theoretically, I could set up alarm that'll play the Star Wars theme song by making a beep tuned a the specific frequency for a high C, then a high G, then (if my memory serves me correctly), F E D C G F E D C G F E F D.
What I did was create a bash script called 'alarm1' that makes a high C beep for half a second three times in a row. Then, I used at by using the command

at now + 30 minutes

then typing in 'alarm1' at the at prompt, and Ctrl + D to save. Then in half an hour, my computer makes three beeps.

But Chris, my PC speaker beeps are really loud/quiet! What do I do?!

Simple. If you're using ALSA, simply open a terminal window and run the command

alsamixer

You'll then get a Ncurses window showing you all of your sound devices. Use the right arrow key to select the device, and the up/down arrow keys to turn the volume up or down, respectively. When you're done, simply press ESC.