Posts Tagged ‘Call’

After a loooongg, looong waiting finally a New Version of Skype 4.0 is out – Skype 4 on Debian GNU / Linux short review

Sunday, June 17th, 2012

After about 3 years of no new version for GNU / Linux finally Skype has released a new version of Skype.
I thought already there will be never a new skype version out for GNU / Linux, since the moment Microsoft purchased skype.

Now suddenly and quite in quiet the new version of Skype 4.0 is out for download from Skype's website. The latest Skype download for Linux is to be found here

As of time of writting this post there are Skype 4 versions for following Linux-es;;;
 

  • Ubuntu 10.04 32 / 64-bit (probably would work fine on latest Ubuntus too)
  • Debian 6.0 Squeeze 32 / 64-bit
  • Fedora 16 / 32 bit
  • OpenSUSE 12.1 32bit (only)
  • Most likely the Ubuntu release of skype 4 will work flawlessly on Linux Mint and other debian derivatives.The The release mentions, Skype 4 is supposed to have 4 major advancements and the gap in interface and usability with latest Mac OS and M$ Windows Skype versions is now filled.The four major changes said in the announcement are;;;

  • 1. a new Conversations View where users can easily track all of their chats in a unified window.
    Those users who prefer the old view can disable this in the Chat options;
  • 2. a brand new Call View;
  • 3.Call quality has never been better thanks to several investments we made in improving audio quality;
  • 4. Improved video call quality and extended support for more cameras.
  • Some of the minor improvements in those

  • new Linux skype
  • are:- improved chat synchronization- new presence and emoticon icons- the ability to store and view phone numbers in a Skype contact's profile- much lower chance Skype for Linux will crash or freeze- chat history loading is now much faster- support for two new languages: Czech (flag:cz) and Norwegian (flag:no)Just like with prior Skype releases 2.0 and 2.2beta this release comes with almost same list of non-english language support ,,,Seeing those announcement, I've hurried to download and test skype 4 on my 64-bit desktop running Debian 6 Squeeze.Once downloaded to install the pack skype-debian_4.0.0.7-1_amd64.deb I used the usual dpkg -i i,e,;;;noah:~# dpkg -iskype-debian_4.0.0.7-1_amd64.deb…………..Just like the release announcement mentions the first initial launch of Skype 4 took about 3 or 4 minutes doing something (probably sending half of my hard disk data to Microsoft 🙂 🙂 🙂 ) along with importing the prior skype data and chat history :)The minimum software dependencies for correct operation of Skype are:Qt libraries; D-Bus; libasound and pulseaudioHere are few screenshots of Skype 4 to give you an idea what to expect:The Skype Options is almost identical to Skype 2.2. One interesting new feature I've noticed is Skype WIFIUnfortunately to use Skype WIFI you need to have purchased skype credits.Another notable difference is the organization of Skype Chats, which is more like in the good old times of mIRC and IRC chat clientsHere is also the list of Skype emoticons including bundled with Skype 4:The "look & feel" of the new interface gives the impression of seriously improved Skype client stability too.There was a minor trouble with the voice recording (microphone) with Skype 4;To make the microphone work properly I had to raise up the mic volume from PulseAudio settings in Skype options.Well that's all the only unpleasent thing for this new skype is it is using KDE's libQT and seems not to have a native interface for GNOME via GTK2. If we put away this I guess this version of Skype is much more stable and therefore I would recommend anyone to update.Of course we never know if this new updated more stable Skype release is not filled up with backdoors or does not transfer all our conversations to microsoft but we didn't know that even when Skype was not Microsoft's so and since it is not a free software I guess it doesn't matter so much.As you can guess Microsoft has imposed centralization on Skype protocol so connecting the peers is now done by Microsoft servers this news is another intriguing one.According to one recent article from May 1, 2012 Microsoft Skype replaces the Peer-to-Peer P2P supernodes with Linux boxes hosted by Microsoft – In short that probably means that by changing this nowdays microsoft probably now logs all chat sessions between Skype users, even it is likely the calls between users are recorded too. We all know Microsoft imperialism pretty well so I guess this is not a big news …..This new release of Skype if it is significantly more stable than it is prior releases would certainly have serious positive implication on the development and adoption of Linux for the Desktop. So far I'm sure one of the obstacles of many manufacturers of notebooks and comp equipment to ship with Linux was the lack of a stable and easy to implement skype release for Linux.Well that's all folks. Enjoy the New Skype Cheeres ! 🙂

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Download and Play Apogee’s Raptor (Call of the Shadows) DOS arcade game on GNU / Linux and BSD* with dosbox / Few words on Apogee and Shareware

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

Since its early days dosbox has elolved a lot. For all those who haven't heard of dosbox, it is x86 Free Software Linux / FreeBSD DOS emulator

DosBox supports, almost all the game classics we used top lay in oldschool times when DOS (Disk Operating System ) version was running on top of most personal computer.

The most spread versions of DOS people used to use on their PCs were Novell (DR-DOS) more rarely used, and MS-DOS (The Microsoft DOS ver.).

I'm sometimes being sentimental about the past so I remembered for Raptor Call of the Shadows !

Having a bit of experience with DOSBox to run few DOS games I've decided to give a try with dosbox.

First I have to dig for this shareware, since this game is part of the sharewares, nowdays a binary version of it is freely distributed on the net.
Finding the game however took me about 10 minutes, as most of the download links for Raptor, were either dead or required some kind of registration. After a bit of look I found it on an old torrent with few seeders and succeded downloading.

For the convenience of people who would like to download run the Raptor arcade classic game check here

Nicely Raptor works out of the box directly launched with dosbox emulator.
Dosbox has packages for most Linux distributions.
I personally used it on my Debian Linux so installed via apt:

debian:~# apt-get install dosbox
...

The game works without any dosbox hacks, just download, unarchive and launch with dosbox:

hipo@debian:~$ wget http://www.pc-freak.net/files/Raptor_Call_of_The_Shadows_Apogee_arcade.tar.gz
...
hipo@debian:~$ tar -zxvf Raptor_Call_of_The_Shadows_Apogee_arcade.tar.gz
...
hipo@debian:~$ cd Raptor/
hipo@debian:/home/hipo/Raptor$ dosbox rap.exe

Apogee Raptor Screenshot Dosbox Debian linux

Raptor Call of the Shadows main screen linux debian

Dosbox raptor level

People like me 😉 who lived in that glorious times when DOS was a standard for a desktop operating system pretty much like MS Windows is today, certainly remember the awesome games produced by Apogee Software a company later known as 3D Realms

Apogee until this very day remain one of the greatest game creation companies in history of games. 3D Realms played a crucial role in development of PC game industry as well as has a great santimental value to probably million of old school arcade game addicts.

They can be ben undoubtedly can be praised for having created some of the most awesome arcade games for all times.

Some of the early hit games they created you probably know, few of the titles are:

  • Duke Nukem I, II
  • Arctic Adventure
  • Monster Bash
  • Stargunner
  • Commander Keen series
  • Wolfenstein 3D
  • Blake Stone
  • Terminal Velocity (Terminal Reality)
  • Shadow Warrior
  • Death Rally
  • Blood

Apogee was also notable for being a company to had established the so spread mostly during the late 80s up to the early years of the second millenium.

ShareWare model of distribution is an interesting phenomenon, that co-relates more or less with the ideas of Free Software.
The idea of ShareWare games was games are distributed for Free and the end customer (gamer) is asked to pay for a game only if he likes it.

Some of the shareware published games was available for free download and play, however the game was only bundled with only a number of game levels to unlock the rest of the game levels you had to play some money.

The shareware games produced were then freely published and shared via dial up access BBS nodes (A text based Bulletin Board System similar to nowdays Forums).
BBS has historically been the major way of sharing knowledge and exchanging ideas and opinions preceding the massive rise of the WEB.
Today most computer users would probably even haven't heard about BBS, if you like to have a general idea on how BBSes seemed to look dahmer.vistech.net .

ShareWare started to loose speed with the decline of BBS and the emergence of Free Software.

Some of the conceptual ideas of ShareWare found its way in "Open Source & Free Software", and commercial companies like RedHat and SuSE.

If you have tried some other Apogee games with Dosbox on Linux and FreeBSD and you can positively confirm they work it will be great. In theory all of the DOS games of apogee should work fine with dosbox. Any feedback or game recommendations of your favourite games of the DOS years are mostly welcome in comments. I'm curious to hear what was your favourite DOS game. Maybe when I have time I'll prepare a list of my favourite games put them here 😉

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Problems with Skype microphone on Thinkpad R61i with Debian Linux again and fix

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

Once again, I experienced Skype microphone issues!!! Its getting really annoying, since almost randomly I get issues. Skype is a terrible program and depending on a proprietary thing like Skype is a real pain in the ass.
This time it was totally strange as there was no way to record any voice inside Skype Call while testing with (Echo / Sound Test Service)

After a lot of puzzling and getting a bit angry I found this time the issues are caused by some settings which somehow changed in GNOME Sound Preferences microphone to mute:

Sound Preferences GNOME Debian GNU / Linux screenshot

Sound Preferences input gnome Linux muted microphone screenshot

You see on above screeshot that somehow the stupid thing get mutted 😐
GNOME sound preferences unmute mic linux

After unmuting and restarting Skype, the microphone started working in Skype again …

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Upgrading Skype 2.0 to Skype 2.2 beta on Debian GNU / Linux – Skype Mic hell

Saturday, December 31st, 2011

Making Skype work with Alsa on Debian GNU / Linux

Though, I'm GNU / Linux user for many years now. I have to say, everything is not so perfect as many people present it.
Configuring even simple things related to multimedia on Linux is often a complete nightmare.
An example, today I've decided to upgrade my 32 bit Skype version 2.0 beta for Linux to 64 bit Skype 2.2 beta .
The reason I was motivated to upgrade skype was basicly 2.

a) My Skype run through 32 bit binary emulation with /usr/bin/linux32

b) I had issues with my skype if someone give me a Skype Call, while I have a flash video or some other stream in Browser (let's say Youtube).
Actually being unable to receive a skype call or initiate one while I have some kind of music running in the background or just some kind of Youtube video paused was really annoying. Hence until now, everytime I wanted to speak over skype I had to close all Browser windows or tabs that are using my sound card and then restart my Skype program ….

Just imagine how ridiculous is that especially for a modern Multimedia supporting OS as Linux is. Of course the problems, I've experienced wasn't directly a problem of Linux. The problems are caused by the fact I have to use the not well working proprietary software version of Skype on my Debian GNU / Linux.
I would love to actually boycott Skype as RMS recommends, but unfortunately until now I can't, since many of my friends as well as employers use Skype to connect with me on daily basis.
So in a way I had to migrate to newer version of skype in order to make my Linux experience a bit more desktop like …

Back to the my skype 2.0 to 2.2. beta upgrade story, the overall Skype upgrade procedure was easy and went smootlhy, setting correct capturing later on however was a crazy task ….
Here is the step by step to follow to make my upgraded skype and internal notebook mic play nice together:

1. Download 64 bit Skype for Debian from skype.com

For the sake of preservation in case it disappears in future, I've made a mirror of skype for debian you can download here
My upgrade example below uses directly the 64 bit Skype 2.2beta binary mirror:

Here are the cmds once can issue if he has to upgrade to 2.2beta straight using my mirrored skype:

debian:~# wget http://www.pc-freak.net/files/skype-debian_2.2.0.35-1_amd64.deb
...

2. Remove the old version of skype

In my case I have made my previous skype installation using .tar.bz2 archive and not a debian package, however for some testing I also had a version of skype 2.0beta installed as a deb so for the sake of clarity I removed the existing skype deb install:

debian:~# dpkg -r skype
...

3. Install skype-debian_2.2.0.35-1_amd64.deb downloaded deb

debian:~# dpkg -i skype-debian_2.2.0.35-1_amd64.deb
...

After installing skype, I installed pavucontrol A volume control for the PulseAudio sound server

4. Install pavucontrol

debian:~# apt-get install pavucontrol

PavUcontrol PulseAudio mixer screenshot

Pavucontrol has plenty of sound configurations and enables the user to change many additional settings which cannot be tuned in alsamixer

pavucontrol was necessery to play with until I managed to make my microphone able to record.

5. Build and install latest Debian (Testing) distribution alsa driver

debian:~# aptitude install module-assistant
debian:~# m-a prepare
debian:~# aptitude -t testing install alsa-source
debian:~# m-a build alsa
debian:~# m-a install alsa
debian:~# rmmod snd_hda_intel snd_pcm snd_timer snd soundcore snd_page_alloc
debian:~# modprobe snd_hda_intel
debian:~# echo 'options snd-hda-intel model=auto' >> /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base.conf

In my case removing the sound drivers and loading them once again did not worked, so I had to reboot my system before the new compiled alsa sound modules gets loaded …
The last line echo 'options snd-hda-intel model=auto' … was necessery for my Thinkpard r61 Intel audio to work out. For some clarity my exact sb model is:

debian:~$ lspci |grep -i audio
00:1b.0 Audio device: Intel Corporation 82801H (ICH8 Family) HD Audio Controller (rev 03)

For other notebooks with different sound drivers echo 'options snd-hda-intel model=auto' … should be omitted.

6. Tune microphone and sound settings in alsamixer

debian:~$ alsamixer

Alsamixer Select Soundcard Debian Linux Screenshot
Right after launching alsamixer I had to press F6: Select Sound Card and choose my sound card (0 HDA Intel).

Following my choice I unmuted all the microphones and enabled Microphone Boost as well as did some adjustments to the MIC volume level.

Alsamixer My Intel SoundCard Debian Linux

Setting proper MIC Volume levels is absolutely necessery, otherwise there is a constant noise getting out of the speakers …

7. Use aumix to set some other sound settings

For some unclear reasons, besides alsamixer , I often had to fix stuff in aumix . Honestly I don't understand where exactly aumix fits in the picture with Alsa and my loaded alsa sound blaster module?? If someone can explain I'll be thankful.

Launch aumix to further adjust some sound settings …

debian:~$ aumix

Aumix Debian GNU Linux Squeeze Screenshot

In above screenshot you see, my current aumix settings which works okay with mic and audio output.

9. Test Microphone the mic is capturing sounds correctly

Set ~/.asoundrc configuration for Skype

Edit ~/.asoundrc and put in:

pcm.pulse {
type pulse
}
ctl.pulse {
type pulse
}
pcm.!default {
type pulse
}
ctl.!default {
type pulse
}
pcm.card0 {
type hw
card 0
}
ctl.card0 {
type hw
card 0
}
pcm.dsp0 { type plug slave.pcm "hw:0,0" }
pcm.dmixout {
# Just pass this on to the system dmix
type plug
slave {
pcm "dmix"
}
}
pcm.skype {
type asym
playback.pcm "skypeout"
capture.pcm "skypein"
}
pcm.skypein {
# Convert from 8-bit unsigned mono (default format set by aoss when
# /dev/dsp is opened) to 16-bit signed stereo (expected by dsnoop)
#
# We cannot just use a "plug" plugin because although the open will
# succeed, the buffer sizes will be wrong and we will hear no sound at
# all.
type route
slave {
pcm "skypedsnoop"
format S16_LE
}
ttable {
0 {0 0.5}
1 {0 0.5}
}
}
pcm.skypeout {
# Just pass this on to the system dmix
type plug
slave {
pcm "dmix"
}
}
pcm.skypedsnoop {
type dsnoop
ipc_key 1133
slave {
# "Magic" buffer values to get skype audio to work
# If these are not set, opening /dev/dsp succeeds but no sound
# will be heard. According to the ALSA developers this is due
# to skype abusing the OSS API.
pcm "hw:0,0"
period_size 256
periods 16
buffer_size 16384
}
bindings {
0 0
}
}
I'm not 100% percent if putting those .asoundrc configurations are necessery. I've seen them on archlinux's wiki as a perscribed fix to multiple issues with Skype sound in / out.

Onwardds, for the sake of test if my sound settings set in pavucontrol enables the internal mic to capture sound I used two programs:

1. gnome-sound-recorder
2. arecord

gnome-sound-recorder GNU / Linux Screenshot
gnome-sound-recorder

gnome-sound-recorder is probably used by most GNOME users, though I'm sure Linux noviced did not play with it yet.

arecord is just a simple console based app to capture sound from the microphone. To test if the microphone works I captured a chunk of sounds with cmd:

debian:~$ arecord cow.wav
Recording WAVE 'cow.wav' : Unsigned 8 bit, Rate 8000 Hz, Mono

Later on I played the file with aplay (part of alsa-utils package in Debian), to check if I'll hear if mic succesfully captured my voice, e.g.:

debian:~$ play cow.wav
cow.wav:
File Size: 22.0k Bit Rate: 64.1k
Encoding: Unsigned PCM
Channels: 1 @ 8-bit
Samplerate: 8000Hz
Replaygain: off
Duration: 00:00:02.75
In:100% 00:00:02.75 [00:00:00.00] Out:22.0k [-=====|=====-] Clip:0
Done.

By the way, the aplay ASCII text equailizer is really awesome 😉 aplay is also capable of playing (Ogg Vorbis .ogg) free sound format.

Further on, I launched the new installed version of skype and tested Skype Calls (Mic capturing), with Skype Echo / Sound Test Service
I'll be glad to hear if this small article, helped anybody to fix any skype Linux related issues ?. I would be happy to hear also from people who had similar issues with a different fixes for skype on Linux.
Its also interesting to hear from Ubuntu and other distributions users if following this tutorial had somehow helped in resolving issues with Skype mic.

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Durankulak’s beach

Monday, August 27th, 2007

In Saturday we was on a Cisco course with Nomen, Niki (A friend programmer),and the Other Niki (Mitko’s brother). The course went smoothly up to some pointafter that Niki (the programmer) has received a call with an awful news…After the course I Nomen and Nomen’s brother went to the chineese restaurant and we ate rice with vegatables and spaghetti with vegetables and meat. An hour later we was at Nomen’s home we had to make the cisco’s Chapter One and Chapter two test. And Luckily I got 100% right answers on both of the two (I have to be honest that I used cheating and tricks on the tests so I probably deserve less.After that Nomen gave suggestion to go to Carapec or somewhere on the Beach on the Bulgarian Coast. At the end we ended beaching the next morning on Durankulak’s Camping beach after we setupped a fire for the night and we slept in tents. There was a lot of problems during the whole trip ( I won’t go into details) but Thanks to God Almighty all has ended well in the end. Talking about God, I’m smoking cigarettes again and I have to stop (I hope God would help again). Also something I have to note is I’m a sinner but God is faithful although I sin badly The Lord is gracious to me still. PRAISE THE LORD!!! HalleluJah! :]END—–

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