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Control playback in Totem movie player by clapping (no, seriously)

It’ll feel like the future (albeit that lame, not quite awesome future as depicted in late 1980s hollywood films) but with one plugin you can use ‘clapping’ to control playback of media in Ubuntu’s default media player Totem.

“Far out!”

The ‘plugin’ is the work of Marin Moulinier, who has packaged the whole shebang up into one easy-to-install script for your pleasure.But first a video demonstration…

Control media playback in Totem by clapping

The first step is to ensure you have a microphone attached and working. Sound Menu > Sound Preferences is the place to perform a double check/levels tweak.

The next step is to open up Totem Movie player’s plugins list via ‘Totem > Edit > Plugins’. Check/enable the ‘D-Bus Service’ plugin.

Configure totem Plugins: enable dbusDownload the script @

Once the file has fully downloaded to your location of choice, right click on the ‘’ file and select ‘Properties’.

In the window that opens click on the ‘Permissions’ tab. Check the box next to ‘Allow executing as program’ followed by ‘Close’.

Double click on the ‘‘ file, choosing ‘Run’ when prompted. The following ‘check list’ dialog will appear.

As you already saw to these requirements earlier (you did, right?) you can hit the ‘OK’ button to proceed.

The next dialog will prompt you to clap (loud enough for your microphone to pick it up).

Do this a few times then, when ready, click ‘Ok’. The plug-in will proceed to install. When done click the ‘Close’ button on the confirmation dialog.

Now for the fun part: open up Totem (or close and re-open) and play a video. When you clap the video/music will pause; clapping again will resume playback.

totem controlled by clapping in UbuntuCaveat

The “big” caveat with the plugin is that, providing something is loud enough, the plugin will react. Try shouting ‘Oi’ or tapping your microphone to see this in effect.

Even with this ‘interference’ the plug-in will easily prove more than a novelty to users with accessibility issues or those not at the keyboard during media playback.