Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Microphone Audio Capture Very Faint

After installing skype (via Synaptic) I found that audio captured via my microphone (plugged into the external jack) was almost inaudible on playback. Ultimately, I overcame this as follows:
  1. From the command-line run alsamixer
  2. Select the "Capture" channel and increase the recording levels, e.g. 75/75
  3. In skype select Tools > Options... > Sound Devices > Audio System to use: ALSA

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Flash audio problems in Firefox 2 - Solved

After upgrading to Firefox 2 I had problems with the Flash plugin no longer producing sound when another audio application was running - a problem I'd not previously had with Firefox 1.5.

The fix was fairly simple. I had libflashplayer.so in my .mozilla/plugins directory. This was being used by Firefox 2 for the application/x-shockwave-flash MIME type in preference to Shockwave Flash v9.0 (flashplugin-nonfree package).

After removing libflashplayer.so and flashplayer.xpt from my .mozilla/plugins directory audio playback works perfectly in the Flash plugin in Firefox 2.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Upgrading to Firefox2 using Ubuntuzilla

Since official support for Mozilla Firefox 1.5 expires at the end of June 2007, I decided to upgrade to Firefox 2.0. There are no official packages for Firefox 2.0 for Dapper Drake, so I followed the excellent instructions provided by Ubuntuzilla for installing the latest versions of Mozilla's Firefox, Seamonkey and Thunderbird.

At this stage I was only interested in upgrading Firefox, so I downloaded the ubuntuzilla.py script and ran

python ~/Desktop/ubuntuzilla.py -a install -p firefox

As noted, it is important to not uninstall the existing version of Firefox 1.5.

From now on I can simply use Firefox 2.0's built-in update mechanism to keep Firefox up-to-date.

I noticed two minor drawbacks resulting from the upgrade:
  1. Font rendering is not as attractive in Firefox 2.0 as it was in 1.5
  2. Sound in the Flash plug-in does not work if another audio application, e.g. Rhythmbox is being used. I must first exit all audio applications and restart Firefox to get sound working in the Flash plug-in. This was not the case in Firefox 1.5

Sun Java6

I decided to update my Java Runtime Environment (JRE) and development kit (JDK). I simply installed the following packages using Synaptic:
  • sun-java6-bin
  • sun-java6-demo
  • sun-java6-doc
  • sun-java6-fonts
  • sun-java6-jdk
  • sun-java6-jre
  • sun-java6-plugin
  • sun-java6-source
I did not have to uninstall any of my existing (1.5, 1.4.2 & 1.3.1) JDKs and JREs.