What am I into at the moment?

I’m currently playing Super Mario Galaxy, which is a gorgeous game to watch and play, Puzzlequest, which is an RPG meets a Bejewelled-style puzzle game, and the expansion version of Phantasy Star Universe.

I’m watching Heroes of course, the new series of Curb Your Enthusiasm (which is compulsory, it’s very good), the Mighty Boosh, and I’ve just watched my first episode of Flight of the Conchords, which I’d heard was a very marmite show, but I got it straight away, stupid in a great way.

Sync to your Nokia N95 using Amarok

I received an email today from a new reader, Mark, asking me if I had managed to sync music and podcasts to my N95 yet using Amarok on Ubuntu. This reminded me that I had been meaning to, but had been distracted by the podcasting application Nokia provide. So tonight I’ve had a look at it, and it is relatively straightforwards. This little guide assumes you’ve got Amarok installed and working in Kubuntu or Ubuntu.

1) Open Amarok.

2) Plug the USB cable into your Nokia N95, and select the Mass Storage mode on the phone. When connected, Ubuntu will ask you what you want to do, and choose to open the device in a new folder. Note the address of this folder (the mount point), it will be something like /media/name_of_your_memorycard .

3) Amarok should open up the following dialog box to allow you to set up the N95 as a device:

Manage devices in Amarok

If it doesn’t, go to Settings > Configure Amarok > Media Devices. In both cases, now click on Add Device.

4) Fill out the Add New Device dialog:

Add New Device in Amarok

Select the Generic Audio Player plugin, enter the name you want to call your N95, and the mount point for your device (that you saw in step 2). Click on OK, and OK again.

5) In Amarok, you should now have something that looks like this in the top left:

Connect to your media device in Amarok

If you’ve connected an iPod before (Amarok is pretty good at managing iPods in Ubuntu too), you may need to change the device showing in the drop-down menu. Click on Connect, and it should pick up the N95 and show you the folders on your memory card:

Nokia N95 connected to Amarok

This is the view on the Devices tab in Amarok. Go to the Collection tab to search for music, and right-click on tracks or albums, and choose Transfer to Media Device to add them to your transfer queue. Podcasts take a little setting up, but once done, you have the option to automatically add new episodes to the transfer queue.

When you’re done, click on Transfer, and then Disconnect when it’s finished. Once this is done, go to the icon for your phone on the desktop, right-click, and select Safely Remove. Your phone will been and show a message to let you know when you can remove the USB cable.

Let me know if this little guide is useful to you. I think personally I am going to go back to managing my podcasts through Amarok, it is a good podcasting application, and a bit better to use than the built-in Podcasting app on the N95.

Good evening, this isn’t the news.

As of 6pm this evening, all commercial television will stop in Britain. No Sky, Channel 4, ITV, Channel 5, NTL. BBC is now the only media which will be allowed to broadcast, and will be changing its schedules to a mainly news-based format. In addition, SMS texts will be shut down shortly, newspapers will be similarly limited, and for your safety, we are going to try and close down the internet as soon as possible.

Ridiculous idea? Not in Pakistan at the moment. Under the present regime, there is only state-run television now. The only other alternatives? Blogging and Youtube in the main. The internet is now the voice of the opposition there, as it has no route of speaking to people at all. See Chapati Mystery for one such example of what is going on there.

I’m just not qualified to comment on the political situation there at the moment, but the concept of virtually everything in terms of media being shut down, in any modern society, has amazed me this morning.

Google Mobile OS is announced, and is called Android

First off, robot names for projects are a good thing. Okay, I’ve got that out of the way. Android lives, and it seems like some of the more conservative guesses about what a Google Mobile OS should be are mainly right. It’s an application platform, not a piece of hardware (although reading into some of the announcements, it’s not entirely ruled out for the future). Its SDK will be available from the Android site in about a week, and the first new devices with it pre-installed with be on sale in the second half of 2008.

What is perhaps just as interesting is that it is the product of The Open Handset Alliance, which has a very intriguing list of members. Big players in terms of mobile carriers, and some big names in handsets, but no Nokia, or obviously Apple. If you then look at Opensocial, the Google-led social networking API, and the companies involved with that (basically Myspace and all the big players bar Facebook), that is a huge swathe of development that are now committed to doing things the Google way. Are there any more announcements due like this soon? These are not big things just yet, but insidiously they are both going to become rather important.

For a very good discussion of what Android might be, and why it might be so important, I’d strongly recommend listening to the latest episode of This Week in Tech. You’ll also find out why Robert Scoble’s wife left him.