Posts Tagged ‘nightmare’

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.

How to change / reset lost or forgot TightVNC administrator password

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

how-to-change-reset-lost-TightVNC-administrator-password

I have installed TightVNC to a Windows host just a few weeks ago in order to be able to manage remotely a Windows host and forgot to write down the administrator password 🙂 (stoopid!)

I had to explain to a friend remotely how to change the TightVNC admin password and it was a complete nightmare!

Shortly here is the exact menus one who wants to reset the password of a TigthVNC server after forgotten:

Start -> All Programs -> TightVNC
-> TightVNC Server (Service Mode) ->
TightVNC Service - Offline Configuration.

In the configuration dialog to popup there are the Server and Administration tabs through which a new password can be set.

After the password is change either a restart of the TightVNC server is necessery or a restart of the Windows PC.

My Individual Strategic Human Resources Management (SHR) research paper for Arnhem Business School

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

The previous semester in Arnhem Business School, I’ve followed a module called Strategic Human Resources Management
as a part of the so called G-cluster (Grand Cluster) (the 3rd year second semester).

The Stragic HR subject (module) is a completely meaningless one and the best short way to describe it is with the word (an insanity!).
In reality there is no aim of this module, and it’s content is vague and irrelevant.

If you’re a student in Arnhem Business School (ABS) and you have as oligitory to follow this course you’re seriously in trouble.

The whole subject is a lot of bla, bla, the teachers attitude towards you is like they’re invincible and you’re a victim and you have to always obey the teacher or you’re out (fear based)

Anyways I would skip to describe how the Strategic HRM went through as it was a complete nightmare ..

As a part of the Strategic HRM course It was necessery to write the so called Strategic Paper, the paper was required as a proof to the teachers that the student has realized what Strategic HRM is.

I believe my paper became quite good and thus I decided to share it here on my blog in hope that some other students might benefit from my Strategic Human Resources and Management research paper.

Here is the strategic paper assignment document and the paper itself:

1. Assignment Strategic Paper for semester 2010-2011
2. Strategic Human Resources Research Paper in DOC format
3. Strategic Human Resources Research Paper in PDF format

As I passed the Strategic HRM and it was one of the weighting factors for the subject end mark, it appears my research paper was found to be a good one by the teachers and therefore I assume other students from HAN might like to read it as a sample if they have to write something similar.

No desire for blogging, to the dentist, roentgen scan and ears washing

Wednesday, December 24th, 2008

Today I did a lot of stuff… The day was like nightmare … In the morning I had to go to a local medical center where they had to make a picture of my stomach through roentgen scan for that purpose I had to drink a special roengen gruel. The doctor scanned me once and seemed like he saw something not so good, he told me to go to him 2 hours later. In that time I went to the dentist. The previous day I was at his place as well. He said I do have two carieses and one of them is in the last stage so he should kill and extract my tooth nerve, he also had to fill 3 tooths. I haven’t been to a dentist since a child I had completely forgot how terrible it is. I’ve been to his place twice and he filled me two tooths. He also used anaesthetic he had to inject it … I’m so afraid of squirts .. Ugh Scary. However he injected me and put some kind of liquid in the teeth which should kill the tooth nerve, I was strongly against but the dentist told me this is the only way .. In the meantime I also visited a specialist in the field of ears, nose, throat at least that’s how we call him here in Bulgaria, no idea how do they call him in English. The doctor was kind to me. He said that I have a lot of ear mud and need ear washing and he did so, after that they tested me in a special place with a device called audiograph. The method is pretty much primitive. They put you a pair of headset on your ears and play you some voices in case you hear the voice you have to press a button. It happened that my hearing is fine, praise the Lord… It also happened that my stomach is quite okay as well. I have few small buds a sort of body rashes and I wonder what causes them, maybe it is some kind of reaction of my immune system to the better food I eat here in Bulgaria. Yes I forgot. The travel to Bulgaria with Union Ivkoni was quite flawless, thanks to God everything went just fine. I’m into temptations all the time. It seems that the temptations will over at the moment I experience physical death. I experience constant depression and loss of temper and I’m looking for methods to deal with all this nightmareous state. I have mixed my spirit pretty bad with stuff I need that God comes in his might and makes me whole again. Satan and a couple of his devils is trying to completely bring me down this days, the evil one is trying to sow bad thoughts and desires in me, I don’t know how to deal with that he is tempting me to start smoking again and get into old affairs from which I was able to escape only through God’s deliverance, through a lot of fasting and prayers. My head is pretty mixed quite often and I experience spiritual problems … Right now I’m listening to a Christian Industrial band named X-Propagation it’s worthy to check it out. This days I’m eating a lot and I don’t select my food, that’s pretty bad as you can imagine. I feel lost in thoughts and desires my mind is roaming astray, jumping from one to another thing every second. I see the world’s emptiness and the big sadness in it and quite often I have desires to leave all this world behind and become a monk or something. During the day I was thinking how fragile and absurd is human existence, but probably that wasn’t my thoughts but thoughts from satan. I took a shower 20 minutes ago. Now I’m probably soon going to bed. I was feeling desperate through out the day.I feel sick I felt cold all the day, yesterday it was quite similar. Yesterday I was in my aunt and uncle’s house on my aunt’s birthday celebration, there was quite nice. That’s mostly what happens around my poor life. I feel powerless and unmotivated that’s most probably satan’s work … My prayer life is like a little destroyed this days. I just hope on the Lord’s mercy. Today I spend a lot of nerves restoring a huge database from backup 2.2G! Terrible I didn’t wish it to anybody I spend hours until it was fine, later on I had to spend another hour uploading a christmas card on a subdomain heh … In short I really wish if there is no tomorrow but unfortunately most probably there will be one … My teeths pain a bit, ughhh ..END—–

In Rusalka a.k.a. Marmayed and Shabla Camping

Monday, September 3rd, 2007

I spend the weekend with Megi, Niki and Nomen in Rusalka (we beached there), although there was no sun at allthe water was warm and it was good experience (this happened in the late evening). In 06:00 or 07:00 o’clock.We decided to go to Tulenovo’s caves and stay there and make a wood fire. But the caves were already taken by others.So in the end we went to Shablenska Tuzla. We stretch the 2 tents and fired a firewood on the beach and started having a supper, unfortunately a rain started and we have to gather the 2 tents and the food and go to the car. We waited to see ifthe rain would stop but it was raining and we went to a near family hotel where Mitko, Megi and Niki slept into a room and slept in the car (this is the first time I have to sleep in a car). In the morning we went to the beach I stayed out of the sea because there was wind and I was scared of getting sick again. Around 12:30 we were in Dobrich. So this is how most of the weekend passed in the night we went to my Grandma and Grandpa’s (Peace be upon him) village with my father and we stayed there for 30 minutes or so. During the weekend I successfully made a binary upgrade of my xorg 6.9 -> 7.2 (it was a full mess), it took me 2 days! As usual the upgrades under FBSD are a real nightmare. Speaking about faith I’m not sure what do I believe anymore I still hope that God would fix my health issues, but I’m tired of waiting really :[ The bad thing about the weekend was that one more time I felt like not being on my right place. I realized soon that I can’t hear the voice of God. And currently I’m praying that God would give me this ability. But ofcourse only time will show.END—–