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.

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.

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.

Sync your podcasts to your iPod under Ubuntu

This is a big deal for me, not so much getting it working, more that it is one of the few things I’ve been booting back into Windows for. I am hoping fairly soon to remove the Windows partition from the hard drive, and reclaim it all for Ubuntu.

Anyway, the setup is this:

1) Dock the ipod with Ubuntu open. This should place the iPod using the name you’ve give it previously on your desktop. Find the location it has mounted the iPod at using right-click and properties, and make note of this.

2) If you don’t have it installed, sudo apt-get install amarok.

3) Go to System > Preferences > Removable Drives and Media, and on the Multimedia tab, change the command for portable music players to /usr/bin/amarok (or whatever your location is for amarok)

4) In Amarok, go to settings > Configure Amarok > media devices. Add device, choose the Apple iPod Media Device, and enter the name you gave the iPod, and its mount point.

5) That is the main part done, now you need in playlists to add any URLs of podcast feeds, and configure each feed so that it automatically scans for updates, downloads when available, and adds to the media device transfer queue (just check each option when configuring the podcast.

6) When you connect the iPod, it should now launch Amarok, and queue any new shows to transfer to the iPod. At the moment I just highlight the shows and transfer them, but I am sure I can find a command to do this automatically.

So that is a bit of work to get sorted, but worth it to keep Ubuntu open! If you try this yourself, let me know how you get on.

Realplayer in Ubuntu Edgy

I found this slightly trickier to set up than usual with Ubuntu, so I thought it was worth making mention of it. Basically, download from and follow the instructions. The normal methods of installing such things (the package manager or using sudo apt-get install) didn’t work for me. Just saves a bit of faffing about I reckon.