Getting Skype to work on intrepid ibex with video

I have a logitech quick cam express web cam and a cheap microphone I picked up at nehru place. I installed skype from the repos and neither the audio nor the video would work. Chats worked fine though. So began trying to get them to work.

I decided I would get the latest deb version from the skype website and work with that. You can get the deb package or other packages from here.

During install I am warned that it is better to keep the older version from the repository itself, but I go ahead and install the new version.

I still have no luck and the test video in video options of skype shows a green noise, with no audio input.

Audio Input Setup

First the Audio. Make sure that your alsa mixer settings are proper. You could try recording with the sound recorder or audacity to ensure that your microphone is plugged in right.

Then in the Audio options in Skype set the Audio input device (Sound in) to the hardware device. For me it is HDA Intel (hw:Intel,0). Sound Out and Ringing should be set to pulse audio.

Go ahead and do a test call from the main skype window. You should now have audio. If not, try changing the sound input to various values, applying and then testing.

Video Setup
This seems to a common problem with Skype on Intrepid Ibex. I got the workaround from a thread on Ubuntu Forums.

We begin based on a tutorial by Howard Shane.

Since this is Ubuntu, we are assuming the USB device is already mounted and ready to go. However we can check by
$ lsusb
Bus 005 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0001 Linux Foundation 1.1 root hub
Bus 004 Device 002: ID 046d:0928 Logitech, Inc. Quickcam Express
Bus 004 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0001 Linux Foundation 1.1 root hub
Bus 002 Device 002: ID 045e:0084 Microsoft Corp. Basic Optical Mouse
Bus 002 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0001 Linux Foundation 1.1 root hub
Bus 003 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0001 Linux Foundation 1.1 root hub
Bus 001 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0002 Linux Foundation 2.0 root hub

In my system, it shows the camera on the second line. Your camera should be detected too.

Once you are sure that your camera is up and running, you can install cheese to see if the cam works.

$ sudo aptitude -y install cheese
$ cheese

Start the Video playback and ensure that your camera is online.

Ok, now we only have to configure skype to startup differently.
$ sudo gedit /usr/local/bin/skype

Paste the following lines into the file
LD_PRELOAD=/usr/lib/libv4l/ /usr/bin/skype

Then make the file executable.
$ sudo chmod a+x /usr/local/bin/skype

Skype now works fine with video too. To test, open skype options and select the video section. Select the appropriate camera (there usually should be only one) and click the ‘test video’ button on the top right. If everything is ok, then the button will be replaced by the video.

Drupal with Ubuntu – Simple Errors

Just installed Drupal a few hours ago. Had some minor hiccups, that took a couple of minutes to solve and thought I should document it.

1. On visiting localhost/drupal, it asks for languages. I selected English and in the next step, it was unable to find a working database configuration. Since I was using mysql, the solution was to install the following
sudo aptitude install php5-mysql
and restart apache2
sudo /etc/init.d/apache2 restart

2. Drupal installs but on the admin page complains about cron not working. A manual cron run fixed that. There is a button right under in the drupal warning, so that was simple.

3. Drupal compains on the admin page about gd library not being installed. I recollect that it was a graphics library of some kind, so off I go to aptitude again.
sudo aptitude install php5-gd
and restart apache. Everything hunky-dory. Back to playing with drupal.

Spell Check with Open Office 2.4 on Ubuntu 8.04

Apparently Open Office on Hardy Heron doesn’t come with Spell Check support out of the box. To enable it, you need to follow the following steps.

1. Open up Open Office Writer and goto the menu item “Install New Dictionaries” in File>Wizards.
2. A Read-Only File with text links to various languages opens. You will want to click on ‘English’

3. In the page that is displayed click on the button “Start DictOOo”
4. A dialog opens. (In case you are not able to view the windows fully, goto the Gnome Menu item “Appearance” in System>Preferences and set the Visual Effects to None to disable Compiz. Do once again from step 1.)

5. Click ‘Next’ Once and in the next screen, click on the button “Retrieve the List”. Open Office will connect to the dictionaries server and retrieve a list of dictionaries available. You are serially allowed to select the needed a) Spell Checker dictionaries in the first windows, b) The Hyphenation Dictionaries in the next window and finally the c) Thesarus Dictionaries.

6. Click Next Once while it downloads and displays information on the files to be installed. Click Next Once again for it to finally install the selected dictionaries.

That is possibly all you need to do to setup your dictionaries. Now go to the Open Office Menu, “Tools> Options”, Expand the “Language Settings” Section, select “Languages” and set “Default Language for Documents: Western” to English (USA) or English (UK).

When you select a language, if it has a tick mark with ‘ABC’ written to the left of the name of the language, the Dictionary for that language is installed. English(India) apparently doesn’t have a dictionary that can be downloaded yet.

Hope this helps. Let me know if the post was useful