Technology Ubuntu

Making Skype and your Mic Submit under the power of Ubuntu 13.10

It’s sad that we’re even using Skype on Ubuntu considering it’s owned by a company with zero interest in open source… but alas, some habits die hard and we don’t want this little program to prevent you from realizing that Ubuntu is, by far, the best thing that will happen to your computer life (and other parts as well – some of my best friends came from the Ubuntu community). Just for the records, though, we should be supporting the build of open source versions of VOIP software, or the inclusion of VOIP features in apps  such as Twinkle, Jabber, and the like.  At any point MS could pull back their API and you are SOL, PAL.

Everything in my Ubuntu life works very well – except for this non-Ubuntu annoying little foreign habit that I haven’t given up.  In particular I’ve been fighting my sound on just one laptop.  I’ve tried a myriad of tutorials and this and that, but what I’ve found to be a reliable work around is a simple change in the way I launch everything.  Here is what I do and I hope this solution is a nice easy way to fix your sound issues found within Skype in some beta releases of Ubuntu:

  1. Make sure your headset (or webcam, or whatever external device you are using for your sound) is unplugged.
  2. Start your computer and make sure everything else is up and running.
  3. Start Skype.
  4. Log in. You should hear the usual startup sound.  If not, you may have to open your sound settings and mess with the ‘alert volume’.  I didn’t find that little trick in any tutorial and it worked for me.
  5. Plug in your headset or audio device
  6. Follow this tutorial (the one with the screen shot with the red arrows). For me the solution was to unplug mic from sound card and plug it back in.  Might as well. Only takes a second.
  7. Do a Skype test call.  Hopefully everything is working well.

Although I don’t have time to research it, I think the source of my problems (besides the fact that Skype is the culprit in general) is that I have other audio-related software running and they fight for priority over the sound card.  Je ne sais pas.  All I know is this flow works for me and got me back in action while I try to find a way out of depending on Skype or Google..