Ubuntu no sound fix for USB audio

Update 14/08/2012 - please see Edit2 below for a solution. 

Ubuntu 11.10 seems to be quite a step back in terms of usability. Things which worked in 10 are broken now. One of the things that was driving me crazy was the audio was not working sometimes.

My system uses a USB audio system (Bose Companion 5). I believe this issue is there on other systems using USB audio also.

When I used to boot, the system would come up but there was no audio. The audio would start once I would slide the volume slider down and up. But if I start VLC video player, the sound would go away all together and the only way it would work was to reboot the system. This was nuts.

After a lot of searching, i finally got the solution from Ubuntu Forums . Here's the relevant part of the solution.It involves un-installing and re-installing the audio systems.

Open a terminal and enter the following:
sudo apt-get remove --purge alsa-base
sudo apt-get remove --purge pulseaudio
sudo apt-get clean && sudo apt-get autoremove
sudo apt-get install alsa-base
sudo apt-get install pulseaudio

For some reason while removing alsa-base it removes the ubuntu-desktop. So you need to install it again.
sudo apt-get install ubuntu-desktop

Now reboot your system. Once it comes up you will see that the audio icon on the top bar is no longer there. But now all sound should be working without fiddling around.

Drop me a comment if you had this problem and this change worked for you.

Edit: Seems there is still some reboot issue as pointed out by Albin in the comments below. Once you reboot - you will need to go to Settings -> Sound and slide the volume indicator up and down to get the sound. :(

Edit 2 : 14/Aug/2012

I entered a bug for this as I got frustrated. And then after googling extensively I finally got a solution of setting usb audio as primary sound device and it seems to work.

Essentially you need to do the following steps :

1. Edit the file /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base.conf . Since this is a system file you will need to sudo to get this done. e.g. 
$sudo vim /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base.conf
2. Scroll down to the end. Now you have to change the line which says 
options snd-usb-audio index=-2
options snd-usb-audio index=-1
Reboot and it should work. 

Ubuntu - getting it to show partitions

One of the main frustrations that I have with Ubuntu nowdays , apart from the USB audio problem and the grouping of open windows problem, is that it has stopped listing the windows partitions that I can mount. I do not know who is the Product Manager, but he/she has their heads in a jar.

This blog post is a howto to undo that harm for the people who dual boot.

Fixing the problem of partitions not showing up ( see the rectangular area for what I am talking about)

The solution, it turns out, is quite simple. You need to use the Advanced Setting application to turn the slider to on as in the image below. You can achieve the same thing by using the udisks command from the command prompt also if you want, but I am not gonna talk about that here.

Toggle this option!

Once you toggle this switch, the partitions will be shown in the bar on the left side. however, you will still need to click them to mount them - which is fine with me as I do not want to mount all of them.

Install the advanced setting using Ubuntu Software Center or Synaptic.

In case you do not find the advanced settings, you will have to find it in the Ubuntu Software Installer and install it. I do not know why this is not installed by default.

Mars - Curiosity Has Landed

Not often you get to watch a historic event like this. If you are one of the people who were in office and not following the event, you should just die. You are not living, but existing.

A good resolution image from Curiosity after landing (c) NASA
Yes. It took a lot of money for this.
Yes. There are other big problems the world is facing.

So What ?

Does it mean that you stop dreaming ? For this is nothing but a huge boost to one's imagination.

My earliest recollection of Mars is from an encylopedia on the Solar system of a barren red planet. This was followed by fantastic novels like Edgar Rice Burroughs's Princess of Mars books ( recently made into a movie - John Carter ). I was hooked to science fiction - it was probably the first scifi book I read. Years go by , but this morning's events brought back all those memories. I know they are fictitious, but they add to the sense of wonder.

The landing was being live streamed by NASA on their website to millions around the world as well as a few News channels like CNN. As the lander went into the final descent the only information from it was a 'hearbeat' - like a continuous pinging that 'all iz well'. Finally came the first image - a tiny 64x64 pixel image in which the wheel could just be seen ! Wow! Like someone mentioned on twitter - it was back to the days of dialup - but considering the space between the Earth and Mars - a feat of technology !

The journey itself took 9 moths - so for those born today, you know what happened 9 months back ;)

Next we expect to see some great images being sent to the Earth. The objective of the mission is to see if life ever existed on Mars.

Now, if you are interested here are some links:
PS : If you know of more Sci-Fi books on Mars, please leave a comment below :)

Android on the Netbook

Hey, did you know that you can run Android on the netbook ?

I wanted to get some faster and more usable OS on the netbook I have. Ubuntu with its new direction towards the Unity interface is not one of my favourites. It is buggy and slows down the system quite a bit.

I am currently using Linux Mint which is ok, but i feel that again its just as fast as Ubuntu. Also, the problem is that with the changes in UX in the last few years, it looks archaic.

I was struck by the idea if any of the mobile OSs could be available on the netbook. The only viable choice was Android and I started searching for any project which has this available. I was quite in luck and found the Androidx64 project ! The result is as below. This is so far running off the USB pen drive, as I did not want to install it without first checking everything is running.

Details : 

 Netbook : 

  • Acer One 

 OS : 

 What works : 

  • Most of the things. 

 What does not work:

  • Wifi ( cant seem to get it to working yet)
  • Waking from sleep is not working well. 

How to Install:

  1. Download the android iso. The EEEPC one works for the netbooks.
  2. Download unetbootlin for your OS
  3. Use unetbootlin to write the iso to a USB pen drive. 
  4. Boot from the pendrive and enjoy or be frustrated :D