Google tries to be Delicious

Google have recently launched Shared Stuff, a sort of competitor to del.icio.us. I’ve had a look at this tonight, and it’s quite nicely done. You drop a bookmarklet onto your toolbar, and if you want to save a page, it launches a new window, in which you can edit your description of the page. This then saves to your own shared page (with an RSS feed of course) and your profile. The whole thing works very much like del.icio.us, particularly when used in conjunction with their Firefox extension (where you get to add tags and your description).

The Google version definitely looks nicer, but I’m used to del.icio.us, it works well, the tagging is a very nice way to navigate your bookmarks, and I’ve been using it for so long I’m just loathe to consider moving elsewhere (have a look at my own del.icio.us page just to see how much I’ve got stored there).

I’ve also been looking at a Mozilla project, Joey. This is a similar idea at first, except it is designed specifically for sharing content from the web to your mobile phone. The idea here is that you can clip parts of pages, so text, images and even video, so that you can just download the element you need on your phone.

Having tried this out, it’s apparent that it is very handy for storing a bit of a timetable, or directions that you can call up from your phone. One thing it doesn’t work on yet is Google Maps, which is a shame, as that would be very handy. That is down to how the maps are generated, rather than being a single image, they are several squares which are patched together on your screen. Joey won’t let you grab them yet, but I’m sure in time they might get it figured out. It is very beta at the moment, but worth a look.

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.

Nokia announce Ovi

Today Nokia have announced Ovi, their new internet services brand. Apparently Ovi is Finnish for “The Door”. At the moment, the site is fairly empty, but lists the currently announced areas that it will cover, namely photos, maps, a music store and their reworked version of the N-Gage gaming platform.

With the N-Gage, rather than releasing “gaming” mobiles as they have to hilarious ends in the past, they are now setting it up as a software platform, initially for the N-series of their mobiles (I suspect they will try and get it onto all of them in time). The big change though is that they are going to mimic the Xbox Live system, have downloadable demos of all their games, have online play, and a gamerscore system. All of which can only help improve things for mobile gamers.

There are also promises of more to come in terms of services. It is planned to launch fully in Q4 of 2007, however some of the services in Ovi (such as maps) can be downloaded now, and some may well go into public beta beforehand. So if you’re a Nokia user, it may be worthwhile registering to see what happens over the next few months.

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?

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:

[global]
port = /dev/ttyACM0
model = AT
initlength = default
connection = serial
use_locking = yes
serial_baudrate = 19200
smsc_timeout = 10
[gnokiid]
bindir = /usr/sbin/
[connect_script]
TELEPHONE = 12345678
[disconnect_script]
[logging]
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.