Selecting a sound device in Ubuntu

I’ve found that using the ALSA sound system in Ubuntu is pretty slick, but becomes a pain when the sound tool in Ubuntu doesn’t correctly switch devices using the graphical user interface.

In a nutshell, here are a few useful commands to list and select the sound devices that are on your computer:

<code>asoundconf list</code>

list available sound cards

<code>asoundconf set-default-card !!#</code>

Set the default sound card. Replace !! with the device name from the previous command

<code>alsamixer !!</code>

Adjust volume settings for your specific sound card. Once again, replace !! with the device.

Running through these 3 commands will probably save any user a great deal of grief in the long run.

Task Switching in Compiz-Fusion

Being a sucker for all kinds of eye-candy, I’ve been running the latest builds of Compiz-Fusion. I’ve got to say that it is fantastic and makes the desktop experience a much more pleasurable one.

One of the things that has caused an issue is that the Application Switcher plugin (ALT+TAB) keeps on switching to every second window. Very annoying if you have only an even number of windows on the desktop.

Today, after breaking Compiz with an update, I managed to get it behaving itself by essentially reinstalling it – but the fix for the application switcher is even easier!

To fix the switcher

  • Open up the CompizConfig Settings Manager
  • Under Window Management, click on Application Switcher
  • Click on the Actions tab
  • If you have multiple entries for the application switcher (like in this screenshot), you need to make sure that YOU ONLY HAVE SHORTCUTS SET FOR 1 GROUP.
    CompizConfig Application Switcher
  • Once you have cleared the settings so that only one ‘Next Window’ and ‘Prev Window’ shortcut is used, test it out.

And that is it! I think that the only reason that it became an issue was that some settings were inherited from Beryl.

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Well, according to CyberWyre, BloggingIT is worth about $34,000!

Not bad for a blog that nobody reads!

It’s also got some interesting reads about using referrals to try and make your website profitable. I suppose that it may be worth considering something like that in the future for here.

After a few more links I might be able to sell the site to Google for a few million!

Open docx files in OpenOffice on Ubuntu

I’ve been using Office 2007 quite happily for some time now. But the niggles are starting to hit me.

One of the main issues is the new .docx format not being supported across the board yet. And with me being a sucker for all things new, I have to make a point of saving an alternate version to open in OpenOffice.

Until now.

I found this little nugget on the Ubuntu forums to install the Novell converter in Ubuntu:

1) Download the file odf-converter-1.0.0-5.i586.rpm from

2) Use alien to convert it to a Slackware tgz file

<code>alien -ct odf-converter-1.0.0-5.i586.rpm</code>

3) Unpack the slackware tgz file

<code>tar xzf odf-converter-1.0.0.tgz</code>

4) Copy three files into your directories — note that the usr that you’re copying from is a directory that was inside the tgz file (3 lines here)

<code>sudo cp usr/lib/ooo-2.0/program/OdfConverter /usr/lib/openoffice/program/</code>
<code>sudo cp usr/lib/ooo-2.0/share/registry/modules/org/openoffice/TypeDetection/Filter/MOOXFilter_cpp.xcu /usr/lib/openoffice/share/registry/modules/org/openoffice/TypeDetection/Filter/</code>
<code>sudo cp usr/lib/ooo-2.0/share/registry/modules/org/openoffice/TypeDetection/Types/MOOXTypeDetection.xcu /usr/lib/openoffice/share/registry/modules/org/openoffice/TypeDetection/Types/</code>

Once I restarted OpenOffice, I found that it could import basic docx files quite happily.

This worked nicely for me in Feisty Fawn – although it’s a good idea to make sure that OpenOffice is up-to-date.