Categotry Archives: sound


How to fix audio cd in Linux (unable to open mrl)


When I tried to play an audio cd I recently got from the library in vlc, I got the error:

VLC is unable to open the MRL

And it told me to see the logs. So I tried dmesg, and niente. Nothing. Yeah that helps!

So I went into vlc tools/preferences/Audio and changed the output module to pulse audio output. So it looks like:

VLC Audio Output Options

Who knew?



Getting the subsonic server to work in Linux with a Roku media player


Yeah this required 3 hours of futzing to figure out.

1. Once you have the Subsonic Server installed, turn it off.

sudo service subsonic stop

2. Next change to the /var directory.

Remember anything with an octothorpe (#) is a comment and NEED not be coded.

cd /var # change to the /var
sudo mv subsonic subsonic.old # renames the existing folder
sudo service subsonic start # restart the subsonic server

3. Now we have to create a symbolic link for the lame transcoder, even if it is already installed.

To verify if lame is installed:

dpkg -l | grep lame

You would get output that looks like:

nwayno@Homer:~$ dpkg -l | grep lame
ii lame 3.98.4-0ubuntu1 An MP3 encoding library (frontend)
ii libmp3lame0 3.98.4-0ubuntu1 An MP3 encoding library
ii libtwolame0 0.3.12-1 MPEG Audio Layer 2 encoding library
ii twolame 0.3.12-1 MPEG Audio Layer 2 encoder (command line frontend)

If lame is NOT installed (the dpkg just returns a prompt) — install the lame decoder:

sudo apt-get install lame

as you can see, mine WAS installed.

4. Go back to localhost:4040 and re-enter all the information. If it complains that lame is not installed in the transcode directory, simply create a symbolic link.

which lame

should return:


5. so off we go again!

sudo service subsonic stop # stop the subsonic server
cd /var/subsonic/transcode # change back to the transcode dir
sudo ln -s /usr/bin/lame # create the symlink
sudo service subsonic start # start up the server so it gets change

it will just return a prompt.

to confirm the symbolic link is there:

ls -l

and you should get output that looks like:

lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 13 2012-02-01 15:10 lame -> /usr/bin/lame

which tells us that /usr/bin/lame is properly symlinked.

6. Now you can proceed to the Roku Box, and configure Subsonic TV.

Please note that subsonictv for Roku is not free. It is currently $5 USD plus applicable taxes.

The configuration will now save correctly on the Roku set top box, because it can now find the lame mp3 decoder.

Tested with Ubuntu 10.10 (64 bit), and Roku Model 2100X (hardwired)



LG Optimus V: The Good. The Bad. The Ugly.


This is the first Android based phone I had ever used. I am hoping that the rest of the products on the market, are NOT like the LG Optimus V.

The Good

The Wi-fi worked fairly well for me, and I was able to complete calls using Skype.

The Bad

Two issues for me.

1. The keyboard is absolutely impossible to use. I spent 45 minutes just trying to enter my gmail userid and password. It requires too much tactile precision to be of any practical use. When I finally got beyond getting the gmail setup (required if you want to download anything for the market place) — I downloaded Thick Buttons app. It helped, but only marginally. Swype. Okay if they have to put this on a phone, it is too difficult to use, m’kay?

2. The second issues was the speaker phone. Admittedly I am deaf and wear hearing aids. But I need to hear the phone without the hearing aids. Even standing just 2 feet away, I could barely hear it ringing. Yes volume to the max physically, and within the phone settings. My Samsung Restore (which is what I went back to) has plenty of speaker power, and I am able to hear that without issue.

The Ugly:

There is no way to adjust font size in the browser. You are stuck with it, like it or not. Even installing Handcent did NOT help. (Useless application)

When I tried to check my usage using this phone, all I got was a generic https error message. Oh yeah, that tells me a lot! NOT!

Best Buy was selling these phones for $150, so I went to Target to get one for $130 instead. Target has a 90 day return policy. I returned the phone to Target, less then 24 hours after purchase, with my receipt.

45 minutes later, and 3 trips between Customer Service and Electronics, they FINALLY took the phone back.

I like the Android interface, but I would be reluctant to try the next Android phone up from this, since it is about $300. I am happy with my Samsung Restore, and that’s where I will stay.


What folder do you use to add music to a Samsung Restore?


No place on the internet, have I found the location to add your own music, to a Samsung Restore Cell Phone. Till now. While this is Linux oriented, the same location would be used in Windows.

It goes into the Downloads folder. (Yes. Spelled “Downloads” with a capital D!)

1. Copy your music from your source, to this folder. Yes you can have embedded folders. Mine is called: “The Moody Blues”

You can use nautilus to create the folder, or mkdir from the command line. In Windows, you would use the File Manager.

Virgin Mobile Music Folder

Virgin Mobile Music Folder Location

You will notice that my microsd is labelled WAYNOSVMFON. You can do this with gparted. Note that the microsd is formatted as vfat. Debian has some issues auto-mounting vfat partitions, so you may need to manually mount it.

sudo mount /dev/sdxx /mnt

where xx is the device name (hint: use sudo blkid to get that)

You will notice that when you use the media player, that a file in (yup, remember this is windows) is created called:

Virgin Mobile Music Key File

Virgin Mobile Music Key File


The file seems to contain some random 4 digit number.

You may also notice a folder called “music” That’s NOT where you put the music. BUT, you will find the file: playlist.mdb Yup, that’s a Microsoft Database file.

Oops! Added an SONG you no longer want? Want to make it disappear? Sort of easy. This is how you do it from the phone itself.

1. Select the LEFT Menu button.

2. Go to Tools and Settings.

3. Select Tools.

4. Mass Storage.

5. File Manager.

6. Memory Card

7. Downloads folder.

8. Open the Folder that your music is in, then the sub-folder within that contains the song you to delete, and finally the song. Nope it will NOT let you just delete the folder, if it contains files. You must delete the contents of the folder, one at a time.

9. Options Button (right button)

10. Delete

Enjoy your music!



Getting a Logitech USB headset to work with Skype and Debian on an Acer Netbook


Oh man. Some of the crazy solutions I found on the web. Fudgeting with .asoundrc files. Arghh.

Very simple fix! Get the latest Debian Skype version.

Plug in your Logitech USB Headset.

RIGHT Click on the Skype icon in the TASKBAR (not the desktop icon) – the one with a green check.

Skype Green Icon in the Notification Area

and highlight options. LEFT click on that, and find Sound Devices and “make it so:”

Skype Select Logitech USB Headset

Tada! Easy fix, after 2 days of schlepping!



installing ubuntu-restricted-extras under wubi


From: Jose B 28 April at 01:49

When installing Linux on your Windows machine using Wubi, your Linux installation will not have access through the synaptic package manager to the Ubuntu Restricted Extras; also you will not be able to install them through the web page either.

What I did to get around this is:

1. I opened the terminal (Applications-Accessories-Terminal)
2. At the prompt type: $ sudo aptget ubuntu-restricted-extras
– This will install the restricted extras packages
3. type: sudo /usr/share/doc/libdvdread4/
– This will install dvd support to your linux system that was installed through Wubi

Now you will have a fully functional Linux system. This was tried on a Windows 7 machine.


Getting Speech to Text (stt) to work


Lessons from Loni

Okay so I installed “festival” which is a speech-to-text synthesiser.

After a lot of fudgeting, I got LOTS of errors.

So Loni had me check to see if I was a “member” of the group “audio” in /etc/group

Nope, but that was easily fixable.  I copied the file to a backup.


1.  ALWAYS have a path back to the way it was, before you messed it up.

2.  Follow rule # 1.

Anyway, it still didn’t work.  Then Loni said:  “Did you bother to logout/in?”

Umm NOOOO!  We also discovered that this is an easy work around for the “break timer” (if you use it) — if you logout/in it resets the timer.  I have reasons to take the break.  Google “Richard Nixon’s Disease.”

As I discovered, you MUST logout/in so the changes to /etc/group will take place.  DOH!

Then I got an error message that I couldn’t access /dev/dsp

Okay what the hell is /dev/dsp?  It’s the digital sample and recording device.

Ahh a speech synthesiser might need that!

So we ended up chmoding (change mode/file permissions).

She suggested:  chmod 666 /dev/dsp

That is the first time in my life, I’d ever chmoded anything to “666!”
(Sets read/write access for everyone!)

Note:  chmod ugoa+rw /dev/dsp

is also correct.

festival worked!

BTW it took a lot of schleping to figure out that the correct syntax for festival is:

(SayText “hello world”)

Yes, the parens and double quotes ARE required! And “SayText” must be mixed case!

Interesting things to try:

(SayText “nuclear submarine”)

(SayText “irish wristwatch”)

And remember:  “Soylent Green.  It’s tastes different from person to person.”