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Special prize for me the other morning. Now and again (think every couple of months) Phonon (the KDE device manager) would, upon login, pop up a small box telling me that Analogue Output Something Something Whatchamathing is no longer need, do you want me to just remove it? As you can tell the specifics escape me now, I blame a rather sleep deprived night leaving me in an unfit state to operate anything more complex than a spoon. Normally I say no, look at it suspiciously and swear to “do something about that later”. I had a 50/50 chance of purely by chance choosing the correct option… I didn’t.

ALSA was clearly working, I could hear audio on the command line with mplayer, but KDE specific apps were just not having it. So after a very long search, several chicken sacrifices and blind luck I stumbled upon a fix allowing you to reset your Phonon config. Apparently the device is still there, you’ve just removed it from your normal users login.

So…. As YOUR user (ie. not root) run the following commands:

rm $(kde4-config --localprefix)/cache-$(hostname)/libphonon/hardwaredatabase
kbuildsycoca4 --noincremental
rm -r ~/.config/
rm ~/.kde/share/config/phonondevicesrc
rm -r ~/.xine

Logout of KDE and back in and you should have working audio again. Alas I can’t remember where I got the fix so I hear-by claim this to not be my own work but perhaps useful to other dexterity challenged individuals.

A long time ago (95-96?)  I completely hosed my system installing IBM Via Voice. It was horrendous. Slow. Unpredictable. Apparently it was also uninstallable… or at least when I tried to my machine was reduced to an auto-rebooting disaster. But great news from KDE  dot News (but runs on Gnome too) that a new program called simon has been written to help people with disabilities use their machine without requiring a keyboard. It’s not quite the voice recognition software to replace a keyboard for taking notes, but it’s pretty impressive stuff. There’s a great video there too, the bit that impressed me was controlling Amarok using the grid feature to “click” on an area of the screen.

Very quick note, just found a link to get Skype’s API integrated into Kontact so a simple click on a phone number in Kontact’s address book activates Skype. Very Cool ! 🙂

I made one minor change as I have already formatted my KDE numbers to have a plus. Just change this line if you have also:

number = ‘+’ + sys.argv[1]


number = sys.argv[1]

I might tweak this a bit to do it automagically… but then again maybe I won’t get around to it 😉