Posts Tagged ‘Skype’

How to use Skype from Web from Windows PCs where stand alone desktop client is forbidden to install and use

Saturday, November 3rd, 2012

Skype web login screen - use skype from a web page, website to use skype, skype calls from the internet

I'm studying in HAN University (University of Applied Sciences Arnhem and Nijmegen). There they use Windows Domain Controller systems, where each student can login with his university access account from a Desktop PCs located in the University Library or few other Computer Labs and so called room places (they use to call boxes – where students can use a Desktop PC). Each student account is automatically logged in the central Windows Controller. All PCs in the domain controller are installed to run Windows 7 and user logins are bundled with a bunch of most useful programs, out of this Administrator choosen and university needs programs one cannot install or Run programs.

Therefore one can't Install and Run Skype Desktop Installer without Administrator access on the Domain Controller (group) and since normal user accounts like mine did not have such I'm unable to use Skype. As I need Skype daily not only for enjoyment but also to communicate with people with whom I work, I needed to be able to run Skype on this PCs. I suspected online there should be some possibility to use Skype via some Software as A Service (SAS) application and actually there is the server is called IMO.IM ( http://www.imo.im ) . It is a website via which user can login to a multitude of messengers i.e. :

IMO, Skype, Gtalk, AIM / ICQ, Yahoo, Steam, Jabber, Hyves, Facebook, VKontakte

Before I use the service I was a bit sceptical, cause probably there are many websites out there which are SCAM sites to collect Skype usernames and passwords, thanksfully imo.im turned to not one of this 🙂

skype via web page / use web skype client imo.im - nice web skype chat and skype calls

The interface of imo.im web Skype Clientis really great and very similar and even maybe a bit better than Skype's interface itself. Besides having support for Skype chat it also supports Skype Calls and maybe even Skype Calls with Camera?
I never tested Skype Calls though, so I can't positively confirm if they work or not, but if IMO Skype Calls are probably implemented using Adobe Flash most likely Skype calls should work fine too. Of course from security stand point it is very bad idea to login in imo.im, though password is transferred to it via ( Secure SSL https ) a person determined to sniff and decrypt your SSL connection can still do it if he tries hard. Moreover that probably imo.im, stores the login username and passwords of every user inside their database "for further reference" and "anti-fraud" government policies  🙂

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 ! 🙂

Enabling talkd (Console Chat) between logged in users on FreeBSD and other BSDs

Sunday, June 10th, 2012

Talk between two useres on  FreeBSD 7.2 screenshot, console peer to peer interactive talk program UNIX, Linux, BSD

Those who are in familiar with older UNIXes, UNIX BSD derivatives and GNU Linux should certainly remember the times, when we hackers used to talk to each other using talk service.

Those who don't know what talk command is it is a simple console / ssh utility to talk to another logged in users.

Talk is very similar to write and mesg one liner messasing utilities available for *nixes, the difference is it is intendted to provide interactive chat between the two logged in users. People who came to know UNIX or free software in older times most likely don't know talk, however I still remember how precious this tool was for communication back in the day.

I believe still it can be useful so I dediced to install ot on one FreeBSD host.

In order to have the talk service running on BSD it is necessery to have /usr/libexec/ntalkd installed on the system this however is installed by default with standard BSD OS installs, so no need for any external ports install to run it.

talk doesn't have it's own init script to start is not written to run as it own service but in order to run it is is necessery to enable it via inetd

Enabling it is done by;;;

1 — Editting /etc/inetd.conf

Inside the conf the line::

#ntalk dgram udp wait tty:tty /usr/libexec/ntalkd ntalkd

should be uncommented e.g, become ;;;

ntalk dgram udp wait tty:tty /usr/libexec/ntalkd ntalkd

2 — Restart inetd

freebsd# /etc/rc.d/inetd restart
Stopping inetd.
Starting inetd.

talk is planned to be used for peer to peer conversations over SSH so in a way it is the GRANDFATHER 🙂 of IRC, ICQ and Skype;;;

Here is an example on how talk is used ,, Let's say there are three logged in users

pcfreak# w
12:39PM up 3 days, 16:25, 3 users, load averages: 1.12, 0.91, 0.71
USER TTY FROM LOGIN@ IDLE WHAT
testuser p0 192.168.0.7 10:50AM - bash
hipo p3 192.168.0.8 12:23PM - w
root p4 :ttyp2:S.0 12:24PM - vim /usr/local/www/dat

I'm logged in with my username hipo and I would like to talk to testuser ;;;;

pcfreak% tty
/dev/ttyp3

You see I'm logged in on /dev/ttyp3 (this is the specific naming on BSDs) on Linux equivalent is /dev/tty3So to talk the other user testuser;;;;;-

$ talk testuser ttyp0
[No connection yet]
[Waiting for your party to respond]

The testuser logged in via SSH will then get a message ||;

Message from Talk_Daemon@pcfreak at 12:44 on 2012/06/10 ...
talk: connection requested by hipo@localhost
talk: respond with: talk hipo@localhost

To enter a talk session then the logged in testuser has to type:

$ talk hipo@localhost

 

How to check the IP address of Skype (user / Contacts) on GNU / Linux with netstat and whois

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

netstat check skype contact IP info with netstat Linux xterm Debian Linux

Before I explain how netstat and whois commands can be used to check information about a remote skype user – e.g. (skype msg is send or receved) in Skype. I will say in a a few words ( abstract level ), how skype P2P protocol is designed.
Many hard core hackers, certainly know how skype operates, so if this is the case just skip the boring few lines of explanation on how skype proto works.

In short skype transfers its message data as most people know in Peer-to-Peer "mode" (P2P)  – p2p is unique with this that it doesn't require a a server to transfer data from one peer to another. Most classical use of p2p networks in the free software realm are the bittorrents.

Skype way of connecting to peer client to other peer client is done via a so called "transport points". To make a P-to-P connection skype wents through a number of middle point destinations. This transport points (peers) are actually other users logged in Skype and the data between point A and point B is transferred via this other logged users in encrypted form. If a skype messages has to be transferred  from Peer A (point A) to Peer B (Point B) or (the other way around), the data flows in a way similar to:

 A -> D -> F -> B

or

B -> F -> D -> A

(where D and F are simply other people running skype on their PCs).
The communication from a person A to person B chat in Skype hence, always passes by at least few other IP addresses which are owned by some skype users who happen to be located in the middle geographically between the real geographic location of A (the skype peer sender) and B (The skype peer receiver)..

The exact way skypes communicate is way more complex, this basics however should be enough to grasp the basic skype proto concept for most ppl …

In order to find the IP address to a certain skype contact – one needs to check all ESTABLISHED connections of type skype protocol with netsat within the kernel network stack (connection) queue.

netstat displays few IPs, when skype proto established connections are grepped:

noah:~# netstat -tupan|grep -i skype | grep -i established| grep -v '0.0.0.0'
tcp 0 0 192.168.2.134:59677 212.72.192.8:58401 ESTABLISHED 3606/skype
tcp 0 0 192.168.2.134:49096 213.199.179.161:40029 ESTABLISHED 3606/skype
tcp 0 0 192.168.2.134:57896 87.120.255.10:57063 ESTABLISHED 3606/skype

Now, as few IPs are displayed, one needs to find out which exactly from the list of the ESTABLISHED IPs is the the Skype Contact from whom are received or to whom are sent the messages in question.

The blue colored IP address:port is the local IP address of my host running the Skype client. The red one is the IP address of the remote skype host (Skype Name) to which messages are transferred (in the the exact time the netstat command was ran.

The easiest way to find exactly which, from all the listed IP is the IP address of the remote person is to send multiple messages in a low time interval (let's say 10 secs / 10 messages to the remote Skype contact).

It is a hard task to write 10 msgs for 10 seconds and run 10 times a netstat in separate terminal (simultaneously). Therefore it is a good practice instead of trying your reflex, to run a tiny loop to delay 1 sec its execution and run the prior netstat cmd.

To do so open a new terminal window and type:

noah:~# for i in $(seq 1 10); do \
sleep 1; echo '-------'; \
netstat -tupan|grep -i skype | grep -i established| grep -v '0.0.0.0'; \
done

-------
tcp 0 0 192.168.2.134:55119 87.126.71.94:26309 ESTABLISHED 3606/skype
-------
tcp 0 0 192.168.2.134:49096 213.199.179.161:40029 ESTABLISHED 3606/skype
tcp 0 0 192.168.2.134:55119 87.126.71.94:26309 ESTABLISHED 3606/skype
-------
tcp 0 0 192.168.2.134:49096 213.199.179.161:40029 ESTABLISHED 3606/skype
tcp 0 0 192.168.2.134:55119 87.126.71.94:26309 ESTABLISHED 3606/skype
...

You see on the first netstat (sequence) exec, there is only 1 IP address to which a skype connection is established, once I sent some new messages to my remote skype friend, another IP immediatelly appeared. This other IP is actually the IP of the person to whom, I'm sending the "probe" skype messages.
Hence, its most likely the skype chat at hand is with a person who has an IP address of the newly appeared 213.199.179.161

Later to get exact information on who owns 213.199.179.161 and administrative contact info as well as address of the ISP or person owning the IP, do a RIPE  whois

noah:~# whois 213.199.179.161
% This is the RIPE Database query service.
% The objects are in RPSL format.
%
% The RIPE Database is subject to Terms and Conditions.
% See http://www.ripe.net/db/support/db-terms-conditions.pdf

% Note: this output has been filtered.
% To receive output for a database update, use the "-B" flag.
% Information related to '87.126.0.0 - 87.126.127.255'
inetnum: 87.126.0.0 - 87.126.127.255
netname: BTC-BROADBAND-NET-2
descr: BTC Broadband Service
country: BG
admin-c: LG700-RIPE
tech-c: LG700-RIPE
tech-c: SS4127-RIPE
status: ASSIGNED PA
mnt-by: BT95-ADM
mnt-domains: BT95-ADM
mnt-lower: BT95-ADM
source: RIPE # Filteredperson: Lyubomir Georgiev
.....

Note that this method of finding out the remote Skype Name IP to whom a skype chat is running is not always precise.

If for instance you tend to chat to many people simultaneously in skype, finding the exact IPs of each of the multiple Skype contacts will be a very hard not to say impossible task.
Often also by using netstat to capture a Skype Name you're in chat with, there might be plenty of "false positive" IPs..
For instance, Skype might show a remote Skype contact IP correct but still this might not be the IP from which the remote skype user is chatting, as the remote skype side might not have a unique assigned internet IP address but might use his NET connection over a NAT or DMZ.

The remote skype user might be hard or impossible to track also if skype client is run over skype tor proxy for the sake of anonymity
Though it can't be taken as granted that the IP address obtained would be 100% correct with the netstat + whois method, in most cases it is enough to give (at least approximate) info on a Country and City origin of the person you're skyping with.
 

How to fix upside-down / inverted web camera laptop Asus K51AC issue on Ubuntu Linux and Debian GNU / Linux

Monday, February 13th, 2012

Skype Video Inverted bat like linux screenshot

Does your camera show video correctly in cheese but shows captured video upside-down (inverted) in skype ?
This is an issue a friend of mine experienced on his Asus K51AC-SX037D laptop on both Ubuntu and Debian Linux.
As you can see in the picture above it is funny as with this bug the person looks like a batman 😉
As the webcam upside-down issue was present on both latest Ubuntu 11.10 and latest stable Debian Squeeze 6.02, my guess was other GNU / Linux rpm based distro like Fedora might have applied a fix to this weird Skype inverted video (bat human like) issue.
Unfortunately testing the webcam with Skype on latest both Fedora 16 and Linux Mint 12 appeared to produce the same webcam bug.

A bit of research for the issue online and try outs of a number of suggested methods to resolve the issue led finally to a work around, thanks to this post
Here is few steps to follow to make the webcam show video like it should:

1. Install libv4l-0 package

root@linux:~# apt-get --yes install libv4-0
...

Onwards to start skype directly from terminal and test the camera type:

hipo@linux:~$ LD_PRELOAD=/usr/lib/libv4l/v4l1compat.so skype

This is the work around for 32 bit Linux install, most people however will probably have installed 64 bit Linux, for 64bit Linux installs the above command should be little different:

hipo@linux:~$ LD_PRELOAD=/usr/lib32/libv4l/v4l1compat.so skype

Once skype is launched test the camera and see if the camera capture is now uninverted, through menus:

S -> Options -> Video Devices -> Test

Skype Options Video devices screenshot

2. Create a skype Wrapper script Launcher

To make skype launch everytime with exported shell variable:
LD_PRELOAD=/usr/lib32/libv4l/v4l1compat.so

A new skype wrapper bash shell script should be created in /usr/local/bin/skype , the file should contain:

#!/bin/sh
LD_PRELOAD=/usr/lib32/libv4l/v4l1compat.so
/usr/bin/skype

To create the script with echo in a root terminal issue;

root@linux:~# echo '#!/bin/sh' >> /usr/local/bin/skype
root@linux:~# echo 'LD_PRELOAD=/usr/lib32/libv4l/v4l1compat.so' >> /usr/local/bin/skype
root@linux:~# echo '/usr/bin/skype' >> /usr/local/bin/skype
root@linux:~# chmod +x /usr/local/bin/skype

3. Edit the Skype gnome menu to substitute /usr/bin/skype Skype Launcher with /usr/local/bin/skype

Gnome 2 has a handy menu launcher, allowing to edit and add new menus and submenus (menus and items) to the Application menu, to launch the editor one has to click over Applications with last mouse button (right button) and choose Edit Menus

GNOME Edit menus screenshot

The menu editor like the one in the below screenshot will appear:

GNOME 2 Menu Editor Screenshot

In the preceeding Launcher properties window, Command: skype has to be substituted with:

GNOME2 Skype screenshot Launcher properties

Command: /usr/local/bin/skype

For console freaks who doesn't want to bother in editting Skype Launcher via GUI /usr/share/applications/skype.desktop file can be editted in terminal. Inside skype.desktop substitute:

Exec=skype

with

Exec=/usr/local/bin/skype

Skype fixed inverted bat like screenshot

As one can imagine the upside-down video image in Skype is not a problem because of Linux, but rather another bug in Skype (non-free) software program.
By the way everyone, who is using his computer with Free Software operating system FreeBSD, Linux etc. knows pretty well by experience, that Skype is a very problematic software; It is often a cause for system unexpected increased system loads, problems with (microphone not capturing), camera issues, issues with pulseaudio, problem with audio playbacks … Besides the long list of bugs there are unexpected display bugs in skype tray icon, bugs in skype messanger windows and at some rare occasions the program completely hangs and had to be killed with kill command and re-launched again.

Another worrying fact is Skype's versions available for GNU / Linux and BSD is completely out of date with its "competitor" operating systems MS Windows, MacOS X etc.
For people like me and my friend who want to use free operating system the latest available skype version is not even stable … current version fod download from skype's website is (Skype 2.2Beta)!

On FreeBSD the skype situation is even worser, freebsd have only option to run Skype ver 1.3 or v. 2.0 at best, as far as I know skype 2.2 and 2.2beta is not there.

Just as matter of comparison the latest Skype version on Windows is 5.x. Windows release is ages ahead its Linux and BSD ver. From a functional point of view the difference between Linux's 2.x and Windows 5.x is not that much different, what makes difference is is the amount of bugs which Linux and BSD skype versions contain…
Skype was about 6 months ago bought by Microsoft, therefore the prognosis for Skype Linux support in future is probably even darker. Microsoft will not probably bother to release new version of Skype for their competitor free as in freedom OSes.

I would like to thank my friend and brother in Christ Stelian for supplying me with the Skype screenshots, as well as for being kind to share how he fixed his camera with me.

How to fix Pulseaudio and Skype crappy sound glitches, choppy sound and crackling on Debian GNU / Linux

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

I've experienced plenty of problems with Pulseaudio and Skype output sound hell crappy. This stupid proprietary program Skype is a total crap … Anyways again thanks to ArchLinux's wiki, I've used the two mentioned steps to fix all this Skype in / out problems …

1. Fix problems with Glitches, voice skips and crackling In file /etc/pulse/default.pa its necessery to substitute the line;

load-module module-udev-detect

with

load-module module-udev-detect tsched=0

2. Resolve Choppy sound in (Pulseaudio) -> Skype

In /etc/pulse/daemon.conf two lines has to be also substituted:

; default-sample-rate = 44100

Should become;

default-sample-rate = 48000

3. Change /etc/default/pulseaudio to allow dynamic module loading

It is a good idea to the default settings from DISALLOW_MODULE_LOADING=1 to DISALLOW_MODULE_LOADING=0 .This step is not required and I'm not sure if it has some influence on solving sound in / out problems with Skype but I believe it can be helpful in some cases..

So in /etc/default/pulseaudio Substitute:

DISALLOW_MODULE_LOADING=1

to;

DISALLOW_MODULE_LOADING=0

4. Restart PulseAudio server

After the line is changed and substituted a restart of PulseAudio is required. For PulseAudio server restart a gnome session logout is necessery. Just LogOff logged Gnome user and issue cmd:

debian:~# pkill pulseaudio

This will kill any left pulseaudio server previous instances.
 

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 …

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.

Facebook and Youtube Culture has a negative impact on people in young years development and teenagers

Tuesday, December 13th, 2011

Facebook and Youtube helps young people get stupid

Facebook and Youtube has become for just a few years a defacto standard service for 80% of computer users in our age.
This is true and it seems there is growing tendency for people to adopt new easy to use services and a boom in the social networks.
We’ve seen that with the fast adoption of the anti-human freedom program Skype , the own privacy breaching FaceBook as well as the people interests tracking service YouTube.

We’ve seen similar high adoption rates in earlier times as well with the already dying (if not dead MySpace), with the early yahoo mail boom etc and in even earlier times with the AltaVista search engine use.
However this time it appears Youtube and FaceBook are here to stay with us and become standard online services for longer times …
Many people who work in office all day staring in a computer screen as well as growing teenagers and practically anyone in the developed and the development world is using those services heavily for (in between 5 to 10 hours a day or more). The Software as a Service users spends approximately half of their time spend on the internet in Youtube or and Facebook.

Its true Youtube can be massively educative with this global database of videos on all kind of topics and in some cases facebook can be considered helpful in keeping in touch people or keeping a catalog of pictures easily accessible from everywhere, however when few services becomes more used and influential than other provided services on the internet this makes these services harmful to the communities and destroyes cultures. The concentration of most of the human popuplation who uses high technologies around few online services creates a big electronic monopoly. In other words the tendency, we see of amalgamation of businesses in real world (building of big malls and destroyment of small and middle sized shops is being observed in the Internet space.

Besides that Facebook and Youtube and Twitter are highly contrary to the true hacker spirit and creates a big harm for intellectuals and other kind of tight and technical community culture by creating one imaginative casual disco culture without any deepness of thought or spirit.

Its observable that most of the people that are heavily using those services are turning into (if not exaggerate) a brainless consumer zombies, a crowd of pathless people who watch videos and pictures and write meaningless commentaries all day long.

You have as a result a “unified dumbness” (dumbness which unifies people).

Even if we can accept the grown and fully formed character people are aware of the threats of using Youtube or Facebook, this is definitely not the case with the growing people which are still in a process of building personality and personal likings.
The harmful resuls that the so called Social networks create can be seen almost everywhere, most of the cafeterias I visit the bar tender uses facebook or youtube all da long, most of random people I see outside in a coffee or university or any public institution where internet access is available they are again in Youtube and Facebook. The result is people almost did not use the Net but just hang around in those few services wasting network bandwidth and loading networks and computer equipment and spending energy for nothing. The wasteful computer and Internet deepens the ecologic problems as energy is spend on nonsense and not goal oriented tasks but on “empty” false entertainment.
Hence the whole original idea of internet for many is changed and comes to few words ( Skype, Youtube, Facebook etc.

Besides that youngsters instead of reading some classical valuable books, are staring in the computer screen most of their cognitive time at only this few “services” and are learned to become more a consumers than self opinion thinkers and inventors.
I have not lately met any growing real thinking man. I’ve seen already by own experience the IQ level of younger generations than mine (I’m 28) is getting downer and downer. Where I see as a main cause the constant interaction with technology built in a way to restrict, a consumers technology so to say.
Facebook and Youtube puts in young and growing man’s mind, the wrong idea that they should be limited choice people always praising what is newest and brightest (without taking in consideration any sight effects). These services lead people to the idea that one should always be with the crowds and never have a solid own opinion or solid state on lifely matters. As said own opionion is highly mitigated especially in facebook where all young people try to look not what they really are but copy / paste some trendy buzz words, modern style or just copying the today’s hearoes of the day. This as one can imagine prevents a person of getting a strong unique self identity and preference on things.

Many of the older people or computer illiterates can hardly recognize the severe problems, as they’re not aware on the technical side of things and does not realize how much security compromising as well as binding the constant exposure to those online hives are.
The purpose of this small post is hence just a small attempt to try to raise up some awareness of the potential problems, we as society might face very soon if we continue to follow the latest buzz trends instead of stop for a moment have a profound think on what is the moral consequences of giving so much power on Internet medias like Facebook and Youtube? …