Hot answers tagged hot-plug
From the kernel documentation: The hotplug mechanism asynchronously notifies userspace when hardware is inserted, removed, or undergoes a similar significant state change. There is an event variable for modules, called DRIVER, that suggests a driver for handling the hotplugged device.
Unload your USB HCI kernel modules (anything *hci_hcd and *usb*) and reload them. This is the only reliable way to actually cut the power to the USB ports. There are other less severe method to achieve the same thing, but they are not guaranteed to work depending on how your device fails.
As Caleb mentioned, PulseAudio lets you migrate streams from one device to another. To switch automatically, rather than manually through pavucontrol, add the module-switch-on-connect module to your PulseAudio configuration as described here: http://askubuntu.com/questions/158241/automatically-change-sound-input-output-device/158250#158250
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