Category Archives: Fix This!

SteamOS Troubleshooting – No Audio With HDMI or On Board

Thanks to a great fellow over at GitHub, I recently resolved some sound issues with SteamOS after I swapped graphics car.  Maybe these steps will help you as well.  This will be linked to the main SteamOS workarounds launch page.

Caution:  Please try this method at your own risk.  If you wish to be safe about this backup the pulse folders before removing them.  All steps below should be reversible.  If you remove the file configured below, restore the pulse folders.  and regenerate your initramfs, you should be back to the state you were in.  I have tested this for onboard Intel audio, as well as AMD/Nvidia HDMI output.  You may find the easiest method to be using Ye Olde SteamOSe, detailed at the bottom of this article.

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Fix This – Good Times

So I decided to put my more powerful Nvidia 560 Ti in the SteamBox downstairs, since I will be gaming primarily on that until I get a Steam box late next year (next years Christmas gift!?!?).  Hooked up the older Nvidia 8800 GTX on my office Arch Linux PC.  Rebooted, no network.  Well isn’t that nice.  Turns out, my network interface renamed itself from “enp3s0′ to ‘enp4s0′.  Awesome!  What was great as well, was ifconfig would not list it, but iwconfig would.  Could have happened right after today’s kernel update.  Anyway, a simple change under /etc/netctl, plus a disable/re-enable of its profile did the trick.  Who says Arch isn’t fun??? 🙂


Fix This! – Troubleshooting Skype Audio on Arch Linux

Tonight, wanted to setup the ol’ webcam so I could Skype with another person, but had a few issues.  The default ‘skype’ package on Arch Linux provided a quick install, but I could not hear myself when I made a test call to “Mrs. Skype Lady.”  Here are a few things to check when installing Skype in Arch Linux. Read the rest of this entry

Fix This! – Xbox Contoller Driver In Userspace, An End To “Blinky Lights”

How bout a quick fix to  a sometimes very annoying issue I come across in gaming on Linux?  Sure!?  That’s the spirit.  It is no secret that the Xbox 360 controller works dandy in Linux, it really does.  The crux of the matter is in how it sometimes “malfunctions” when connecting to the system via USB.  The driver you likely are using is the kernel-space “xpad-kernel” module, which at times, is not very nice to you.  If I don’t have my controller plugged in before starting my system, often I will get the “4 blinky-lights-I-can’t-connect-to-the-system-derrrrrpppp” LED status on the controller.  How do I fix that without rebooting?  Read on…

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Fix This! – Grub 2 Boot Recovery


What do you do when you can’t boot?  No, you don’t call The Ghostbusters.  Grub recovery is one of the most sought after questions from many Linux users, even above the beginner level.  It can be confusing, being left with a ‘Grub> ‘ prompt upon bootup.  I want to go through some good techniques to get yourself back on track.


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Fix This! – I Can’t Record Audio In Audacity!

This was one of my gripes after moving to Linux.  In Windows, it was quite effortless to setup Audacity to record from the Stereo Input.  Well…not THAT easy, I did have to enable the hidden stereo mix in the sound settings.  Well, this one pissed me off more!  Why?  First off, as I found out, by default, your input likely is being pulled from you microphone.  What?  Yes…your microphone.  Well that’s absurd.  So I went into alsamixer’s settings in the Terminal, thinking, “hey I know this place, I’ll just shut it off (the microphone.)”  WRONG.  Alternatively, modifying input/output settings in Audacity did little to remedy my situation.

What to do first:

You want to at least confirm your sound output by playing a media file and/or youtube clip from the internet.  Check your distro’s default sound settings and ensure the tests for left/right output work fine.   Most laptops/desktops will be set, or should be set to “Built-in Audio.”  If you have an extra-super-cool-cow-powers soundcard, then select that.   Also, you have pulse audio, it just is likely not working at the moment.

What to do!?!?10011100?

Thankfully packages like PulseAudio Volume Control exist.  Install it in the Terminal by entering:

sudo apt-get install pavucontrol

Next, open PulseAudio Volume Control and configure as follows:


While a file/stream is playing , ensure ALSA is functioning. The bars will move with the output. Important! – This LINKED slider is where you will adjust your input sound level if it is too high when recording. The manual control was disabled for me in Audacity itself…


Verify you are using the correct Port, typically this is “Analog Output”


You should not have to touch this configuration, it should already by on “Analog Stereo Output.”

Now, Run Audacity and go to Preferences by pressing Ctrl+P (or select “Edit” -> “Preferences…” from the drop-down menu).  Click the “Devices”  and change the Playback device to “pulse” as well as change the Recording device to “pulse”.

Test your recording ability, your screen and device settings should look as follows:

Final look / Settings

Final look / Settings. Note! – take special care to notice our output device is PULSE, as well as the next device, Input Device being PULSE, as well.

Tip:   You generally want your output level (top right, arrow down next to microphone), to hover around -6 dB.  Letting the audio level “pour over the top,” and “off the charts” will result in horrible Audio on playback after recording.

If you are STILL having issues, please leave a comment below.

Till next time,


Fix This! – Get xscreensaver Back AND working in Gnome!

This one is pretty simple but I had to share it, since so many distros, even the big Debian based ones such as Mint, remove the screensaver, despite having an entry for it in settings? Odd, for sure. To get the trusty ol’ xscreensaver back, perform the following steps:

In the Terminal:

sudo apt-get remove gnome-screensaver
sudo apt-get install xscreensaver 
sudo apt-get install xscreensaver-gl-extra xscreensaver-data-extra

Then we need to set xscreensaver to run (silently) on startup. Head to Settings > Startup Applications (or the equivalent menu):


That’s it!

Configure how you like, and if you have any issues, please leave them in the comments below.

Till next time,


Fix This! – Getting TeamViewer to run on startup

If the above error looks familiar, it’s because it should.  Just about every Linux install of Team viewer encounters this error.  Why?  I can only assume that while the Windows/Mac OS X install assumes you would obviously want team viewers service running the background, LINUX users, well shit, they can figure it out!  This quite hilarious predicament leaves us with running this to enabled the service:

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How-To: Amazon Instant Video Under Linux

This page is a placeholder for my ongoing support notes, potential solutions, and tips for playing Amazon’s VOD (Video On Demand) service under Linux. Since flash will no longer be developed for Linux past 11.2, we are left to hope for solutions from Firefox, HTML5 encoding, or some other wild idea. For now, the only concrete solution is running a virtual machine (Wine support is very difficult, but possible). Read on for more Read the rest of this entry

Fix This! : Troubleshooting Audio Problems in Debian/Ubuntu


Can’t play that favorite Rick Roll video of yours? No sound on Youtube or from your favorite audio player? No problem, we can help. In this first edition of Fix This!, we go into common issues Debian/Ubuntu users may experience with audio.

Common Problems:

  1. No sound from any flash movie or clip on the internet regardless of browser or no matter what Driver you pick in System > Preferences > Sound, and hit “Test,” there is still no audio
  2. I opened up youtube, played a video, now my media player on my machine won’t play my music library
  3. I rebooted after updates and now I have no audio, rebooting does nothing
  4. I have audio, but its really quiet or faint, I have to turn the volume all the way up just to hear something
  5. I have no sound from my application

1. No sound from any flash movie or clip on the internet regardless of browser or none of the sound driver seem to work

  • This may be due to a recent update to your system or an application that broke the sound driver, or switched it to an incompatible one
  • You may be using a sound driver that just doesn’t “jive” with your system. Try going to System > Preferences > Sound, and chaning the entries in the pull down bars to “ALSA” and pressing test in each category. If you still have issues try a different driver fromt the list and make sure* the last pull down bar at the bottom is selecting your correct hardware, if not try switching that box as well to, for example “Intel xxxxx (ALSA)”
  • If you are using the ALSA driver, you may want to install the Gnome Alsamixer app to check your sound levels. Install this by doign “apt-get install gnome-alsamixer” as root. Application will be most likely placed in Applications > Accessories. Be sure to check that sound levels, especifally in “master” and “PCM” are up. PCM shoudl be 3/4 the way up. You may want to mae sure channels are not muted, such as “front” or “center” or “surround” possibly

2. I opened up youtube, played a video, now my media player on my machine won’t play my music library

  • This most likely indicates that you are using the ALSA sound driver. ALSA does not have the ability to play two sound streams at the same time. So, if you have a youtube video running or video stream on the internet up and running, you will not be able to hear that other media player such as Audacious or VLC.
  • Kill firefox or restart the machine to regain this. Usually killing firefox is enough.
  • To play two streams at once you make want to look into using the Pulse Audio driver, although I have never gotten to work on my hardware.

3. I rebooted after updates and now I have no audio, rebooting does nothing

  • As before, your sound driver may have been reset to its default driver or messed up in some cases.
  • Check that in System > Preferences > Sound, that should sound driver did not change from whatever you were using before (possibly ALSA) to something else.
  • Try installing “ALSA utilities and ALSA base” via apt-get in teh terminal. (I belive it would be alsa-utils, and alsa-base)

4. I have audio, but its really quiet or faint, I have to turn the volume all the way up just to hear something

  • Right Click your sound icon on the top gnome bar panel, and choose “sound manager” or “sound preferences.”
  • Make sure applicable tracks are raised to max, such as “master, front, center” and also make sure your “PCM” channel, or what is known as the “2 channel stero mixer” is 3/4 the way up
  • Install gnome-alsamixer as stated above and check all your sound levels if using the ALSA driver in System > Preferences Sound.
  • My girlfriend actually had to unmute and raise “center” on here hp laptop. All laptops and external speakers can be named differently, for instance, on my external Logitech Sound System, I only need “master” and “Front” to function, not even PCM, its handled internally for me.

5. I have no sound from my application

  • This is most likely due to the program using a different sound driver or architecture than what you system is set to
  • For instance, I myself use ALSA on my desktop as Pulse will not work for me. When I first ran Audacious and VLC I wondered why they were the only two apps not giving sound. Turns out in the “advanced” preferences of VLC and Audacious it was set to use Pulse Audio instead of ALSA. Chaning this to ALSA fixed things right up.
  • If you are sure* an application does not have a sound option for the driver to use, be sure to post your question on the Ubuntu Forums


  • If you still experience issues be sure to post your question on the Ubuntu Forums, Linux Quesitions, or on debian’s forums for debian if you wish, witht the output of (in Terminal) :

    lspci -v | grep audio
    uname -r
    cat /proc/asound/cards (if applicable)
    cat /proc/asound/oss/sndstat (if applicable)

  • Also try the latest ALSA driver from the ALSA project website
  • Try running “alsamixer” in Terminal, if it does not work, note the output down for the questioning in the above forums
  • A massive How-To on Linux Sound if you wish to get really into sound / troubshooting.

Hope some of this helped any of you out there and thanks for reading! Take care and cheers,