Flipping the Bird…

Did you know that half of all webcams get mounted in their laptops upside down? 50/50 chance of getting one mounted properly so I didn’t have to go looking for a software solution, and I drew a short straw. Lest I have another conversation over Skype with my family making fun of me for being inverted, I decided to fix it. Today was figure-out-why-Skype-doesn’t-talk-to-the-driver-for-my-webcam day. I run Ubuntu and I just upgraded to 11.04 and for the moment at least, I am using the Unity interface. I’m not wild about it, so that may not last very long. If you want to figure out how to invert the image in your Windows Skype, this will not help you. Just letting you know.

I have Video4Linux installed on my computer, and wonderfully enough, when I use Cheese, or any of the other applications that utilize the webcam, Video4Linux did a marvelous job of making adjustments. I can invert the image vertically, I can make it the mirror image horizontally and there are a variety of other adjustments it allows you to make. I found this blog post: Ubuntu Root: How to Fix Webcam Problem in Skype which was very helpful. He gave me the command to use and so long as I ran it in the terminal to launch Skype, it worked like a charm.

LD_PRELOAD=/usr/lib32/libv4l/v4l1compat.so skype

Sadly, the writer recommends changing the .desktop file execute command so that clicking on the icon yields the same result. The computer voodoo god dislikes me so that Skype was ignoring that file when it launched from the icon and Unity doesn’t allow you to change preferences quite as easily from menus. I had to find another way.

I clicked on this series of options to get to the menu that lets you change the launch command for specific icons:

power button > system settings > main menu > internet > skype and clicked on the properties button. I inserted the same command I used in the terminal into the field for the launch command and saved it. Now, Skype talks to Video4Linux no matter how I launch it and life is beautiful.

Update: Now that I have updated to 11.10, you should examine my new adventures in Flipping the Bird Part Deux. Without any options to use Gnome, it was a whole new game.

3 responses to “Flipping the Bird…

  1. Seems like you could have added the environment variable to your .bashrc and that would work everywhere (assuming there were no name collisions with any other software wanting to use env LD_PRELOAD )

    • I know just enough about this to be dangerous, so I rely pretty heavily on forum posts and other people’s blogs. If no one else has posted it (and I understood what the hell they were talking about) I don’t try it. This is one of those things that I know will work for newbies and doesn’t require much in the way of thought or knowledge.

  2. Pingback: Flipping the Bird Part Deux… | Sesasha says:

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