Managing your Nokia 6300 using Wammu

I’ve written before about connecting to a Nokia 6300 using Gnokii. John Dickson mentioned in the comments about using Wammu, and that he’d found it worked in part (but that also he’d written something in Java that did the backup side better). So I thought I’d give Wammu a try first, then John’s program another time.

Under Ubuntu or Kubuntu, having followed the instructions in my previous article for installing Gnokii, I simply installed wammu via the adept package manager. This installed it under Utilities. Upon running, it pointed out there were no records for any phone, and asked if I wanted to search for one. This is a good start. So I hooked up my Nokia 6300 via USB, and set it into Nokia mode. I then let it perform the search, and after about a minute it showed that it had found one phone. It looks to me like it used the same settings I had for Gnokii. Now I don’t know if it used the connection I’d set before, or if it had figured that out for itself. I’d be interested to know if it is self-configuring like that, so I might try it out on another computer when I get chance.

Once connected, it is a fairly basic program. It reads the address book to an extent, but can only see the name and the phone number (I am after other information as well ideally). It can’t see the calendar or SMS messages, but it can read the phone log. It looks like I could potentially use it to send SMS from the computer, but I’m not so bothered about that. However it does seem to do a basic backup of what it can see fine.

So I’m not completely happy with it so far, but it does work to some extent, and if it is figuring the connection out for itself, then it is at least a lot easier than what I’ve done before. So a casual thumbs up for Wammu thus far.

A different way to promote Linux – Linux Live

It would be fair to say that one of the successful elements of the Xbox and the Xbox 360 has been its online gaming, and its system of achievements for showing how well a gamer has played their games. So successful in fact, that the same system is being mimicked by both Nintendo and Sony. What if, therefore, there was a similar system for Linux?

What I would suggest is an open-source set of code to allow a unified method of finding people to play online games against, a way to offer score rewards for completing certain tasks, an online scoreboard system, and a user registration system. Some of this would have to be hosted, possibly by one of the groups responsible for a Linux distro. It could be potentially a great way of pulling in younger users for Linux, they might come for the free games, and stay for the operating system. They may even stay to code the new games in years to come.

A system like this could benefit gamers in many ways, but most of all would add the stickability that 360 games currently offer, more reasons than just a solo sense of satisfaction in playing a game well. I’d be interested to know if anyone is doing such a thing, or something in a similar realm at the moment.

Applications I’m missing at the moment

I was just thinking about the applications that I don’t have, that I would like. So I thought I’d write a quick list, explain them, and then revisit them in a few months time to see if they exist. I was going to put SMS notifications for Google Mail for my phone on there, but a quick check just now revealed they have added that since I last checked, so I’m one up for the evening already!

  • Firefox Mobile – I have to admit, I don’t mind Mobile Opera. However it does seem a bit basic, and I’m not that keen to have to pay for a browser with more features. I’d like to use what I’m so used to using on my computer, and ideally to be able to extend it to do many other things.
  • Decent Nokia software for Linux – I’m lazy, I just want to plug it in, and it to do all that it does in Windows, as that is a rather nice little suite of software. One day.
  • A proper movie file browser and player for Ubuntu – What I want is a self-updating catalog of all my movie files, thumbnails (in a perfect world I’d just hover over the thumbnail for a couple of seconds, and it would start playing in the thumbnail itself, so I could identify it if it wasn’t clear), and proper indexing and searching. I’d love something for video that was the equivalent of Amarok for audio. Kaffeine is almost it, but the index/search side lets it down a bit. This may be down to my knowledge of it though.
  • A way of syncing contacts between Google Mail and my phone – Again, I want an easy life, and I just want them all to keep up to date, rather than having to maintain two lists.
  • An open-source program that edits CSS in a WYSIWYG style – I’ve heard tell that this sort of functionality is creeping into Dreamweaver now. Great, I’d like it for free. Ideally in a way that would plug into Eclipse as well.
  • Something that manages podcasts perfectly – I’ve never found this since I started listening to podcasts. It’s always felt that it’s been tacked onto music programs such as iTunes. Amarok does a better job than most, but it still feels like hard work some times. I’m going to think about this more, try and describe what I’d want.

Well that should do me for starters. How about you, what applications do you want that you don’t have yet?

Installing Kubuntu on the Toshiba Tecra M5 laptop

So I guess that’s one way of saying I have a new laptop! Anyway, I was going to write a detailed blog posting of the process for setting up and installing Kubuntu Feisty Fawn on my new Toshiba Tecra M5. However there really isn’t a lot to say. I reinstalled Windows using the supplied recovery cd, as this allowed me to partition the drive very easily. Then I took the latest version of Kubuntu (7.04) and started the install process. And it all worked. All the things I would expect to be there, are, and worked out of the box, even wireless. I’ve found recent versions of KDE far better than Gnome for sorting wireless out painlessly, and this certainly did it. The only obvious thing that isn’t working is the fingerprint scanner, but I’m really not bothered about that yet, nor am I convinced I will ever be. I will report back if I find any problems, but so far it has been very easy.

Linking your Nokia 6300 mobile phone to Ubuntu

So I did some further investigation tonight into getting my Nokia 6300 working under Ubuntu, with very positive results. What I tracked down was a program called Gnokii. It is a project to provide connectivity to Nokia phones that has been going since at least 2001, so they’ve got quite a bit of collective experience. And it has got me started.

First of all, I installed the software. It was available as a program to install, but I went with the trusty:

sudo apt-get install gnokii

Next I had to configure the connection. The documentation on the site is a little dusty, and does deal with a lot of different options depending on the phone, so I’m going to concentrate on my model, the 6300. First connect the phone using the usb cable, and select the Nokia mode on the phone when asked. You then need to edit the config file by hand (I tried setting it within the program itself, but it wouldn’t allow me):

sudo cp /etc/gnokiirc /etc/gnokiirc.OLD
sudo vi /etc/gnokiirc

And you will get a very well commented config file. If you are using a different phone, or connecting through another means such as Bluetooth, have a read through the file, there are good pointers for the changes you need to make. For the Nokia 6630, delete the contents (you’ve already backed it up) and use the following:

port = /dev/ttyACM0
model = AT
initlength = default
connection = serial
use_locking = yes
serial_baudrate = 19200
smsc_timeout = 10
bindir = /usr/sbin/
TELEPHONE = 12345678
debug = off
rlpdebug = off
xdebug = off

and save the file. You may well prefer to comment out the port and model in the existing file, and then just uncomment the two lines I’ve set at the start of this file.

Now to test the connection:

sudo gnokii --identify

If this has worked, it will show a small amount of information about the phone, the make, model, EMEI number and revision number. If you’ve got this, you’re ready to go. If not, check the config file, or look up on the Gnokii site for further help.

You can know run Gnokii from the applications menu (it should be under utilities). You will be able to view and edit basic details about your contacts, back them up, and send SMS from the computer via the phone. There is also an option for Calendar entries, but I can’t get this working yet. It may be down to me using the model = AT option, which I think is more limited in what it can do. I’ll certainly keep investigating to see if I can solve it.

Ubuntu and the Nokia 6300 mobile phone

I’ve just received my almost annual upgrade mobile phone, a Nokia 6300. Now with my previous phone (Nokia 6230), one of the last things that has had me booting back into Windows has been doing anything with the phone. The Nokia Windows software is quite nice, you can edit contacts, backup data, browse files, and install Java apps. And it was by far the best way of moving from one phone to another, I just had to backup the old phone, then restore the data to the new phone. Took everything off both the memory card and sim card, and put most of it onto the new one (apart from some games I’d bought, which was slightly annoying).

However even though I could connect the phone to my computer using a USB cable, under Ubuntu it wouldn’t do anything with it at all. This has changed with the Nokia 6300 though. It has a proper mini-USB connector, and once hooked up, the phone asks if I want to use it in Nokia Software mode (i.e. for Windows) or in data mode. The latter means that my memory card in the phone becomes available as if it were a standard flash memory drive. Which I like a lot. I can now copy pictures off and upload them to Flickr using digikam (I think that comes as standard with Kubuntu). I can add music and images as I need. I would still love to be able to sync contacts, calendars and to-dos, but it is a defnite improvement. I’d ideally like Nokia to provide that for me too, but I think I’ll start digging and see if anyone is doing anything on Sourceforge and the like that could help me. If you’ve seen anything that might be useful, please let me know.

Feeling a little let down by Ubuntu

So today is probably my first really negative day of using Ubuntu. I was trying to add in a second hard drive, and it just isn’t an easy process. I’ve found some links along the way that have helped me get some of the way along, and I’ve learnt more about disk systems and using fdisk, but I can’t escape the feeling that I should have had a nice graphical interface to do it all for me.

What annoys me also is that if I had been installing from scratch, the install routine would have sorted most of my problems, I’ve always found that Linux installers are often pretty good at figuring out what you need, dealing with alternate boots and the like, and then sorting them out for you. I was hoping for the same hand-holding, and didn’t get it. In Windows, for a change, it is something that is relatively plug-and-play these days, 2000/XP will generally pick up a new drive, and help you out. If Ubuntu is going to compete, I think disk management and wireless are areas it is going to have to improve in.

EDIT: Okay, I’ve sorted it now. I was following the instructions at Two Ells, which was by far the best guide to the whole process. It didn’t all quite work for me, what I had to do was create an extended partion in fdisk first, then add logical partions within that which could be formatted (rather than formatting the extended partition, formatted those, and added them seperately to fstab. Happier, but still a little frustrated.

Move easily from Ubuntu to Kubuntu

As a relative newcomer to using Linux, I’d never really known why I should use Gnome over KDE, or vice-versa. I’ve had a few different distributions installed in the past (Suse, Red Hat, Knoppix) and have just gone with what they’ve installed as default. However recently I had found that several apps I had wished to use ran under KDE. So I decided it was time for a change.

I found a nice little guide at The How-to Geek, which told me everything I needed to make the change, which installs Kubuntu (KDE for Ubuntu). All you really need to know, unsurprisingly is:

sudo apt-get install kubuntu-desktop

It is quite a long install, and you will be given the option to choose whether you want to set Gnome or KDE as the default. Having tried them both now, KDE seems to have some more apps (Kflickr was one I really needed for uploading the large numbers of pictures I take to Flickr, and under Gnome I had been doing this by hand for a little while), and also wins on the look and feel front for me.

Not very hard to change at all, I have found my way around quite quickly. If you make the change and have been using Gnome for a while, it is worth looking through the new apps you now have installed, and also comparing old apps you’ve been using to see if there is a KDE version that might now suit you better.

Using Brightside in Ubuntu

A simple little app today, Brightside. What this does is to allow you to traverse your desktops in Ubuntu Edgy by mouse, so that you can use the mouse to scroll from one virtual desktop to the next. A colleague introduced me to this years ago on a Linux install, and I couldn’t find it on any others since, until today. I’m now back to the setup I had then, where I have 4 desktops in a square shape, and move around them by mouse. It also allows you to define custom actions for moving the mouse into corners of the screen, so now if I move the mouse to the top left the screensaver starts, if I move it to bottom left it mutes what is playing. Very nice features. Simple install:

sudo apt-get install brightside

Once it is installed, go to System > Preferences > Screen Actions to set up as you wish.

Dealing with no display in Ubuntu

I thought I’d managed to kill Ubuntu today, reinstalled a sound driver that wasn’t working, rebooted and found that I could only boot to a command line. After a short and sensible period of panic, I booted into Windows and searched for a solution. The suggestion that worked was as follows:

startkde had no effect once logged in (still in the command line only). startx launched, but I only got a cursor and a greyish screen, nothing else happened. So I reinstalled the desktop with:

sudo apt-get install ubuntu-desktop

and strictly speaking you want a reboot, but I didn’t need it, startx worked fine for me from there.