Flock for 64-bit Ubuntu Feisty Fawn and Gutsy Gibbon

I’ve been using the Mozilla-based Flock browser more in the past month, I do like how integrated the social networking side of it is. I can’t find extensions for Firefox that do it all so neatly and seamlessly. I’ve decided to start using it at work, and hit an issue, namely that the version supplied on the Flock site doesn’t work with 64-bit Linux. However, Getdeb.net does compile a 64-bit version for the current and previous versions of 64-bit Ubuntu, namely Feisty Fawn and Gutsy Gibbon. This worked fine for me in Gibbon.

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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.

Moving to a new phone – Nokia N95

Well I’ve been away for a week in New York, which was rather exciting and relaxing. Upon my return to work, I was somewhat delighted to find my new phone had arrived. I’m now the proud owner of a Nokia N95. So naturally I’m going to be testing out just what I can do with it and Linux. Baby steps tonight, I’ve managed to copy over a few files manually, just so I could check that video Drum n’ Bass podcasts work okay on it. I’ve just been listening and watching the Hospital Records video podcast #3 on it, which looks and sounds great, especially with headphones on. Definitely happy with how the N95 handles such things.

However the challenge is now to get it really working for me as best I can. I want to replace my iPod with it, so I need to see if I can get it to sync with Amarok like my iPod nano does. I’d like to get a reasonable level of contact management working, better than I have managed with the 6300 so far. And I would like to see what else I can do with it. Of course I’ll be tracking my progress on here too.

What I also hope to do though, is to try these things out on a few Nokia models, so I’ll hang onto the 6300, and may try and revive my previous phone as well. I’ve got a little collection now, so it makes sense to try a few things out on them, and see if I can broaden my knowledge a little further.

The Easiest Way to install a LAMP server in Ubuntu Feisty 7.04

I’ve had to install a LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP) server before, and it can be quite a hassle. Well under Feisty 7.04, it seems like the process is a lot more painless. Thanks to the wonderful Ubuntu Guide Wiki for Feisty Fawn 7.04 (which is where I start for instructions on setting up most things in Ubuntu), I found this fantastic little tip. You can install a complete LAMP server package from the Synaptic Package Manager:

System-->Administration-->Synaptic Package Manager-->Edit-->Mark packages by Task-->LAMP Server-->OK

Then apply the packages update, and all is done for you. So far, it looks like Apache 2 and PHP5 have been set up for me properly. I’ll test some more, but this was a real timesaver compared to the last time I did this.

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.

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.

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.

Sushi Master

Well not quite, but my sushi the other night was, if I do say so myself, bloody fantastic. When I tried it not long after preparation, it wasn’t all that. It tasted too seaweedy, which is not a taste you want in particular. I didn’t realise what it really needed was fridge time. The next evening we had some as a starter, and it tasted great, and bar my clumsy presentation looked like they should. So I’ve bought more stuff for sushi last night, including a bamboo mat (which I did have, but I think I cut it up to use for something else, some project or idea I really can’t remember). With bamboo mat I may yet attain perfection!

Also starting to plan seriously for upgrading my computer at home. It is coming on for four years old now, has done sterling service, but is getting slow. I am not getting rid of it, but it can be a fileserver now, whilst I build a new computer. Decided to build my own from scratch again, I hopefully have a case coming from a friend that looks promising, have settled on an Intel Duo Core processor at the centre of the machine, which then helps you focus on which other elements you want to add in. I think graphics card is the toughest choice now, as I really don’t know how much I am willing to spend on that. You can easily spend the cost of a new Xbox 360 just on a graphics card should you chose, but I think I’d rather get something up to date but mid-range. I also this time need to take account of wanting to run Linux as my operating system of choice, I have been using Ubuntu for about 3 months now on all my machines, and I can’t see me going back to Windows now. Just so much cleaner and easier.