HP Mini 1000 Internal Microphone on WIndows 7

One of the only complaints I had about my HP Mini 1000 netbook when I purchased it was the lack of a dedicated microphone jack. The Mini has a combined headphone/microphone jack. You can plug in a set of headphones and get sound, or plug in a mic and record, but not both at once. I like to use Skype, ooVoo, Ventrillo, and other voice applications, and this seemed like an unnecessary limitation.

After loading up Windows 7 on my netbook, I was further disappointed to find that the default driver did not detect if you plugged in a mic or headphone, it just always worked as a headphone jack. This left me with no option for recording other than to use a plantronics USB headset that I had laying around. Taking up one of two USB ports for a headset was less than ideal.

Then I read on a forum that the Mini has an internal microphone. What's this? Hidden, undocumented equipment? Sure enough, half-way between the left edge of the screen and the webcam there is a pinhole microphone. Unfortunately, I couldn't find a way to enable. I did see it was listed in my recording devices, but I couldn't get it to pick up sound.

After a bit of searching, I found a link to a driver for the sound chip in the Mini 1000:

I believe this is the official vista driver for the sound chip. After downloading and installing I went to the recording devices menu and sure enough, it is picking up sound! Yeah! The only quirk is that it appears the labels for the recording devices are switched. The recording device marked as External Mic is picking up sound, while the recording device marked Integrated Microphone Array is not. I just switched the default device and now I can carry on Skype video calls without any problems.

The Hoosier Plate Debate

Here in Indiana, you have a few options when it comes to your license plate. Assuming you are driving a car (not a commercial vehicle, truck, motorcycle, RV, or some other vehicle which requires a different plate) you can choose among the plates shown below.

There is no difference in cost between these. By default, the license branch is supposed to offer the simple blue background plate first, and offer the other two as options upon request. If you would prefer, you may pay extra for a plate that benefits the organization of your choice, such as your favorite university, or perhaps Habitat for Humanity, with a portion of the extra fee given to the organization represented on the plate. Further, Indiana permits personalized license plates (PLPs) with some restrictions on what is allowed on the plate. I'm paraphrasing, but the essence of the restrictions are that the common man will not find your combination of seven letters and numbers offensive.

If you live in Indiana, you've probably seen these plates already, and you may remember that the "In God We Trust" plate got some attention when it debuted. The ACLU brought suit against the state, not for the content of the plate, but to contend that it should carry an extra fee. The ACLU lost the case, and the plate continues to be available to anyone who asks for it at no additional charge.

Now, a bit of trivia. Do you consider the phrase "In God We Trust" to be a religious message? If you said no, the Indiana and US courts would agree with you. You see, "In God We Trust" is the official motto of the United States, and as such, is not considered religious speech. Way back in 1782 the phrase E Pluribus Unum ("out of many, one") was chosen as the text to appear on the Great Seal of the United States. This became the de facto motto for our nation, although there was never any action taken to make it official. In 1956, the lack of an official national motto was apparently a major concern, so congress worked on a bill and President Eisenhower signed into law that "In God We Trust" would become our national motto. This wasn't the first use of the phrase in our government, as it had appeared on our coins and bills since the late 1800's.

That effectively kills any religious argument against the "In God We Trust" plate, but what about speech on PLPs? Should I be able to reserve a PLP with the text "LUVSGOD", "BE GODS", or "NO GODS"? That's exactly what Jason Borneman wants to know. Jason, an atheist, applied for a PLP with the text "NO GODS". His application was rejected on the grounds that it might be offensive, and he is pursuing this through an appeal. Some have suggested that a more positive message might have been accepted, such as "GODFREE" rather than the negative statement "NO GODS". What do you think? If a "BE GODS" PLP is allowed, should a "NO GODS" plate be allowed too?

UPDATE: Mr. Bourneman received notice from the BMV that his PLP application has now been approved, and he will receive his "NO GODS" plate in February.

Jade Mason