Category Archives: audio

Automatically turn on the radio

I use my netbook mostly for playing music or the radio, using Banshee and the browser, e.g. I’d like to be able to turn on the radio with minimal fuss in the mornings. Here’s how I set it up so that it starts BBC Radio 4, i.e. I just press the power button and the rest is automatic.

  1. Set Ubuntu to auto-login
  2. Go to “Startup applications…” and add the command google-chrome --app=
  3. Bob’s your uncle

This assumes that the Google Chrome browser is installed. Other browsers should work similarly.


Lucid Lynx

am a bit late, but have now installed Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx 64-bit (on a dell Studio 1747).

The installation went without a hitch, here are the major things I had to do afterwards. Actually, nothing major, mind you.

Wireless network: install required wired network, and then activating the Broadcom STA proprietary wireless driver ( > System > Administration > Hardware drivers)

Sound: No sound would play through the headphones. Solved by adding the following line to /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base.conf
options snd-hda-intel model=dell-m6
See also:

…other issues and notes later.

Linking master and headphone volume to volume buttons

It is quite simple to get the external media volume buttons to apply to both master volume and headphone volume simultaneously.


Go to > System > Preferences > Sound and select both Master and Headphne (using Ctrl + click) under Default Mixer Tracks.

That’s it.

(Trying BloGTK for posting this entry)
More on this here

Bongo man conquered

That was simple enough…
> System > Administration > Login Window … > Accessibility …uncheck “Login screen ready”


(i.e. this is to stop ubuntu from playing those bongo drums when the login screen appears.)

Flash 9

Tried to install the flash plugin for firefox following the instructions in the ubuntu documentation. Installing it through Synaptic seemed to work fine, but running firefox afterwards made no diffrence. Flash seemed to be non-existant in firefox.

Instead, these instructions to install the latest flash 9 plugin for firefox worked just great!

Playing music and video

Installed banshee and all the plugins noted on this page.
i.e. gstreamer0.10-plugins-base gstreamer0.10-plugins-good gstreamer0.10-plugins-ugly \
gstreamer0.10-plugins-bad gstreamer0.10-plugins-ugly-multiverse \
gstreamer0.10-plugins-bad-multiverse gstreamer0.10-ffmpeg

…the result: banshee plays ogg, mp3, wma, wv… maybe even more. All is well.

Totem, using gstreamer, seems to work quite well and I don’t want to change that. I.e. I don’t want to change totem to xine, however it seems I need xine to play DVDs properly. So I installed gxine and all it comes with through Synaptic separately from totem. I now have both totem “movie player” and gxine available.

To install libdvdcss2 follow this.
sudo apt-get install libdvdread3
sudo /usr/share/doc/libdvdread3/

All DVDs seem to play properly now in gxine, including menus, language and subtitle choosing. However, with all of them the screen flickers black intermittently. Some DVDs more, some less. It is more pronounced at larger viewing, e.g. fullscreen.

Apart from that, most – but not all – mpg, avi, asf, wmv are playing happily in totem-gstreamer.

Lastly, some autorun settings:
> System > Preferences > Removable Drives and Media
DVD autorun to use GXine: gxine dvd:///dev/dvd
Audio CDs autorun Banshee: banshee --play --audio-cd /dev/hdc

Issues with autoplaying audio CDs with banshee:
When inserting an audio CD, banshee starts, but then comes up with an error: Playback error: Resource not found. see screenshot:

However, the CD appears correctly in banshee, including lookup of titles etc, and pressing play plays it fine.
However, volume seems to be turned up to maximum at this point, even if it wasn’t before.

In conclusion: A lot of progress with playing multimedia, but some issues still need to be investigated:
– Intermittent black flickers when playing DVDs
– Banshee Resource not found error & subsequent max volume on Edgy

Installing Skype and (first part of) Logitech QuickCam Pro 4000

Logitech QuickCam Pro 4000
Simply plugged in my webcam, and the first impression is that it seems to be working.
When typing lsusb it shows up as like this:
Bus 004 Device 003: ID 046d:08b2 Logitech, Inc. QuickCam Pro 4000

Next I ran Ekiga, using the “Configuration Druid” I chose ALSA as Audio Manager and “USB device…” as audio input device (am using the webcam’s inbuilt microphone): Using “Test settings” confirms that the microphone works fine.
Then I chose V4L as “Video Manager” and in the following dialog was given the option to select “Logitech Quickcam 4000”, which I did, of course. I.e. so far it appears to be just working.

However, clicking on “Display images from your camera device” shows only a grey square …I will need to investigate that further.

Installed Skype, using repositories.
I hope that using this method means that I will get updates to Skype through the normal system-wide update manager.

The whole process is very simple: go to > System > Administration > Software Sources … > Third Party > Add
Then add this line
deb stable non-free
Reload package information
Then run Synaptic, look for Skype, and mark it for installation.

…ran Skype, made a call, works. 🙂

Now lets hope that they provide video calling sometime in the not so distant future.
For me the next step will be to solve that thing with the grey box, i.e. get images from the webcam working.