Skype never seems to work for me out of the box with my Ubuntu system. This time, with the latest version, at least there was a solution and it was pretty simple (this hasn’t always been true in the past). Before starting Skype, I dropped to the command line and typed:
pulseaudio -k pulseaudio -D
Now on starting Skype, the microphone works. Sound was working fine for me before and the pulseaudio control panel was picking up my microphone but for some reason, without the daemon flag, Skype didn’t recognize my mic. Now I can participate in Skype conferences again. Yay?
I should also mention this useful blog post that I found while researching again. It documents “the top five wrong ways to fix your sound card” (many of which I’ve tried in the past).