How to idiot proof skype with USB headset?

Discussion in 'NZ Computing' started by jedmeister, Feb 23, 2006.

  1. jedmeister

    jedmeister Guest

    My parents have skype, and a USB headset. They sometimes unplug the headset
    because when it is plugged in the audio CD's don't come through the computer
    speakers.

    I assume the audio CD was not playing because the player software they use
    is configured to play through the usb headset. I can change the media
    settings to go through the main speakers OK.

    However, I would like a way to lock the audio settings such that when the
    usb headset is in, the audio settings for skype/other programs that use
    audio remember the 'headset plugged-in' settings.

    Then, if the headset is unplugged, I want the audio settings to switch to
    the 'headset-unplugged' settings.

    I'm tired of typing instructions to my parents on how to configure their
    audio settings each time I call them on skype.
     
    jedmeister, Feb 23, 2006
    #1
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  2. jedmeister

    Dave Taylor Guest

    "jedmeister" <> wrote in news:czdLf.152095$vH5.1333570
    @news.xtra.co.nz:

    >
    > I'm tired of typing instructions to my parents on how to configure their
    > audio settings each time I call them on skype.
    >


    USB can be a pain this way.

    I use a mini DIN 2 way splitter and a traditional plantronicsa headset.
    one cable to mic, one to splitter y adapter to motherboard. the other
    connecter on the y goes to speakers. turn speaker down, done.

    --
    Ciao, Dave
     
    Dave Taylor, Feb 23, 2006
    #2
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  3. jedmeister

    frederick Guest

    jedmeister wrote:
    > My parents have skype, and a USB headset. They sometimes unplug the headset
    > because when it is plugged in the audio CD's don't come through the computer
    > speakers.
    >
    > I assume the audio CD was not playing because the player software they use
    > is configured to play through the usb headset. I can change the media
    > settings to go through the main speakers OK.
    >
    > However, I would like a way to lock the audio settings such that when the
    > usb headset is in, the audio settings for skype/other programs that use
    > audio remember the 'headset plugged-in' settings.
    >
    > Then, if the headset is unplugged, I want the audio settings to switch to
    > the 'headset-unplugged' settings.
    >
    > I'm tired of typing instructions to my parents on how to configure their
    > audio settings each time I call them on skype.
    >
    >

    Ahaa...
    I had exactly the same problems with USB headsets.
    AFAIK, Skype actually does things okay, as of course does WMP 10. For
    example, play a media file / CD etc through headphones via Windows Media
    Player, and if you unplug the headphones, Media player intercepts the
    event, and after a short delay it should redirect output via the other
    soundcard. But other applications (including Winamp) will crash
    seriously, and fill your screen up with never-ending error messages.
    Normally, once an application is up and running, then it will play
    through the one device, and if you change the default device via "audio
    properties" , it will not play through the new device until the program
    is started again.

    I couldn't find any application to help, so I have made one - as
    explained below:
    Runs in background - if only one sound output device is present.
    If a USB headset (or other USB sound device) is plugged in, it will
    detect it, and an icon appears in the system tray. Hover mouse over the
    icon, and name of current selected device is displayed. Right-click,
    and both (or more if there are more than two sound devices on the
    system) are displayed - you can quickly change the default output device
    from the menu. Double-click, or select "settings..." to enable/disable
    application starting on user login, enable/disable playing of a sound on
    the "new" card when device is changed by user...
    Unplug the second device (USB headset), and the icon disappears until
    you plug it in again. Application runs in the background, using minimal
    resources. It doesn't do anything that you can't do via the Audio
    properties dialogs (except play a test sound if you want), but is much
    easier to get at.

    You can play different media through both devices simultaneously by
    switching default devices. For example, you can have winamp playing
    though your speakers, while you talk on Skype on your headphones (why
    you may want to do this is another question) In testing some code, I
    also forced simultaneous output through both devices at the same time,
    but sound quality was very poor. It would however be easy to do via a
    USB soundcard with line out or line in connection. But I want to keep
    the application simple, so maybe not.

    You can download this program from here:
    http://www.geocities.com/angels2000photos/setup.zip (~400kb)
    (contains "setup.exe" Windows installer)

    I am working on options for simple access to mute/unmute both sound
    devices. As it is with windows, if one device is muted, and the other
    unmuted, then there are some problems with the "volume control" system
    tray icon displaying the wrong icon, and in any case it is a pain in the
    .... unmuting a non "default" device. I can add to it so that if a USB
    headset is plugged in, it will automatically switch to that device, and
    when it is unplugged, it will properly change the default device back to
    the main soundcard. But remember, if an application is initialised with
    one soundcard set as default, there is nothing that you can do to change
    it (with the rare exception of a few programs that allow this) except by
    closing and restarting the application.

    If you try the program, please let me know if it does what you want, and
    any suggestions to improve it.
     
    frederick, Feb 23, 2006
    #3
  4. "frederick" <> wrote in message
    news:1140686818.117156@ftpsrv1...
    > jedmeister wrote:
    >> My parents have skype, and a USB headset. They sometimes unplug the
    >> headset because when it is plugged in the audio CD's don't come through
    >> the computer speakers.
    >>
    >> I assume the audio CD was not playing because the player software they
    >> use is configured to play through the usb headset. I can change the
    >> media settings to go through the main speakers OK.
    >>
    >> However, I would like a way to lock the audio settings such that when the
    >> usb headset is in, the audio settings for skype/other programs that use
    >> audio remember the 'headset plugged-in' settings.
    >>
    >> Then, if the headset is unplugged, I want the audio settings to switch to
    >> the 'headset-unplugged' settings.
    >>
    >> I'm tired of typing instructions to my parents on how to configure their
    >> audio settings each time I call them on skype.
    >>
    >>

    > Ahaa...
    > I had exactly the same problems with USB headsets.
    > AFAIK, Skype actually does things okay, as of course does WMP 10. For
    > example, play a media file / CD etc through headphones via Windows Media
    > Player, and if you unplug the headphones, Media player intercepts the
    > event, and after a short delay it should redirect output via the other
    > soundcard. But other applications (including Winamp) will crash
    > seriously, and fill your screen up with never-ending error messages.
    > Normally, once an application is up and running, then it will play through
    > the one device, and if you change the default device via "audio
    > properties" , it will not play through the new device until the program is
    > started again.
    >
    > I couldn't find any application to help, so I have made one - as explained
    > below:
    > Runs in background - if only one sound output device is present.
    > If a USB headset (or other USB sound device) is plugged in, it will detect
    > it, and an icon appears in the system tray. Hover mouse over the icon,
    > and name of current selected device is displayed. Right-click, and both
    > (or more if there are more than two sound devices on the system) are
    > displayed - you can quickly change the default output device from the
    > menu. Double-click, or select "settings..." to enable/disable application
    > starting on user login, enable/disable playing of a sound on the "new"
    > card when device is changed by user...
    > Unplug the second device (USB headset), and the icon disappears until you
    > plug it in again. Application runs in the background, using minimal
    > resources. It doesn't do anything that you can't do via the Audio
    > properties dialogs (except play a test sound if you want), but is much
    > easier to get at.
    >
    > You can play different media through both devices simultaneously by
    > switching default devices. For example, you can have winamp playing though
    > your speakers, while you talk on Skype on your headphones (why you may
    > want to do this is another question) In testing some code, I also forced
    > simultaneous output through both devices at the same time, but sound
    > quality was very poor. It would however be easy to do via a USB soundcard
    > with line out or line in connection. But I want to keep the application
    > simple, so maybe not.
    >
    > You can download this program from here:
    > http://www.geocities.com/angels2000photos/setup.zip (~400kb)
    > (contains "setup.exe" Windows installer)
    >
    > I am working on options for simple access to mute/unmute both sound
    > devices. As it is with windows, if one device is muted, and the other
    > unmuted, then there are some problems with the "volume control" system
    > tray icon displaying the wrong icon, and in any case it is a pain in the
    > ... unmuting a non "default" device. I can add to it so that if a USB
    > headset is plugged in, it will automatically switch to that device, and
    > when it is unplugged, it will properly change the default device back to
    > the main soundcard. But remember, if an application is initialised with
    > one soundcard set as default, there is nothing that you can do to change
    > it (with the rare exception of a few programs that allow this) except by
    > closing and restarting the application.
    >
    > If you try the program, please let me know if it does what you want, and
    > any suggestions to improve it.


    Thanks , I'll give this a go. I'll need to read your notes in more detail,
    but, this sounds like something they should address in the O/S too. I'm
    tired of reconfiguring sound settings.
     
    news.xtra.co.nz, Feb 23, 2006
    #4
  5. jedmeister

    frederick Guest

    news.xtra.co.nz wrote:

    >>
    >>If you try the program, please let me know if it does what you want, and
    >>any suggestions to improve it.

    >
    >
    > Thanks , I'll give this a go. I'll need to read your notes in more detail,
    > but, this sounds like something they should address in the O/S too. I'm
    > tired of reconfiguring sound settings.
    >


    The basics of how the OS deals with this are:
    Plug in the USB headset, then set windows default audio playback media
    device as the USB headset. Leave it set like that, and if it's removed,
    then windows will always use the main card anyway - even if the
    check-box "use only default devices" is checked. Plug it back in, and
    all sound should default back to the headset. The user confusion
    problems occur when they leave the headset plugged in, then change the
    audio settings properties via control panel or right-click on the volume
    icon, reset the default card so the speakers work, forget how they did
    it, and wonder why the headphones don't work any more when they plug
    them in. I'll fiddle around with the little application, and add an
    option to make the default device "stick" - ie if you want the headset
    as the default device, then it will reset it to that when the user logs
    off or the screensaver starts or whatever...
     
    frederick, Feb 23, 2006
    #5
  6. "jedmeister" <> wrote in message
    news:czdLf.152095$...
    > My parents have skype, and a USB headset. They sometimes unplug the
    > headset because when it is plugged in the audio CD's don't come through
    > the computer speakers.
    >
    > I assume the audio CD was not playing because the player software they
    > use is configured to play through the usb headset. I can change the media
    > settings to go through the main speakers OK.
    >
    > However, I would like a way to lock the audio settings such that when the
    > usb headset is in, the audio settings for skype/other programs that use
    > audio remember the 'headset plugged-in' settings.
    >
    > Then, if the headset is unplugged, I want the audio settings to switch to
    > the 'headset-unplugged' settings.
    >
    > I'm tired of typing instructions to my parents on how to configure their
    > audio settings each time I call them on skype.
    >


    I use a Dualphone: http://www.geekzone.co.nz/content.asp?contentid=5174

    The thing connects to a landline and to the USB. It's cordless so it can be
    used anywhere, and it works for both type of calls. And it's got a
    Telepermit.

    --

    Mauricio Freitas
    www.geekzone.co.nz
    Software for Pocket PC: www.geekzone.co.nz/store
    Microsoft MVP Mobile Devices
     
    Mauricio Freitas [MVP], Feb 23, 2006
    #6
  7. jedmeister

    jedmeister Guest

    "Mauricio Freitas [MVP]" <> wrote in message
    news:43fe2af1$...
    > "jedmeister" <> wrote in message
    > news:czdLf.152095$...
    >> My parents have skype, and a USB headset. They sometimes unplug the
    >> headset because when it is plugged in the audio CD's don't come through
    >> the computer speakers.
    >>
    >> I assume the audio CD was not playing because the player software they
    >> use is configured to play through the usb headset. I can change the
    >> media settings to go through the main speakers OK.
    >>
    >> However, I would like a way to lock the audio settings such that when the
    >> usb headset is in, the audio settings for skype/other programs that use
    >> audio remember the 'headset plugged-in' settings.
    >>
    >> Then, if the headset is unplugged, I want the audio settings to switch to
    >> the 'headset-unplugged' settings.
    >>
    >> I'm tired of typing instructions to my parents on how to configure their
    >> audio settings each time I call them on skype.
    >>

    >
    > I use a Dualphone: http://www.geekzone.co.nz/content.asp?contentid=5174
    >
    > The thing connects to a landline and to the USB. It's cordless so it can
    > be used anywhere, and it works for both type of calls. And it's got a
    > Telepermit.
    >
    > --
    >
    > Mauricio Freitas
    > www.geekzone.co.nz
    > Software for Pocket PC: www.geekzone.co.nz/store
    > Microsoft MVP Mobile Devices
    >
    >
    >


    Cool - I wonder if my parents could stuff this up.
     
    jedmeister, Feb 24, 2006
    #7
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