My Acer box has audio ports both on the front and the back. It took me about 30 minutes mucking with the front panel to discover that the mic input does not get recognized by alsa. I have to delved into why just yet. The rear mic port works just fine (no mucking there). Alsamixergui does not show the front mic to have any input at all (i can't turn the capture on).
But at least I now have skype working just fine!
Seems like the wireless card is still a little blooie. On an entirely separate note, life is moving forward at a respectable pace. The sheetrocking has started upstairs, and the next step is to just get all the little stuff done - and that may take some doing! Pics are at http://flickr.com/photos/cybertoast Check out the Demolition set.