Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Android first tips.

I've had the new android phone for a few days now, and thought I'd share some tips.

Transferring Contacts

One of the first things I found read that there was no easy way to copy my contacts from my old phone to the new one. I managed to send all of my contacts to the phone as vcards, via bluetooth. However, there seems to be no easy way of importing them into the contacts lusty.

The method I settled on was to combine all of the cards into one via a simple python script (using sl4a) and then uploading them into my gmail account. The contacts list syncs with gmail, and so job done.

Sl4a is the Scripting Languages for Android by Google, and gives you a programming interface tothe phone, without the need to develop on a PC - you can actually write and run scripts on the phone itself. The python script itself is:

import os, sys 

base = "/sdcard/bluetooth"

with open (os.path.join (base,"contacts.vcf"), "w") as fh:

for f in os.listdir(base):
if not f.endswith ("vcf") or f == "contacts.vcf":

print >> fh, ""
with open (os.path.join (base, f)) as fhx:
print >> fh, fhx.read ()

Transferring files from Kubuntu

The next puzzle was how to transfer music and other files to the phone from my Kubuntu laptop. Now the phone I have is the Motorola Defy, and it seems to restrict access to through it's propriety software. The only drive that shows up when I plug in the USB cable is a small volume containing some Windows drivers. The simplest solution to this that I could find, which satisfied the criteria that the drive should show up in the File Manger as if it were a mounted drive, was to install SwiFTP, an ftp server, on the phone, expose the sdcard directory as the root dir, and then I can browse the phone, upload and download files through Dolphin as I'd wanted, without going through some clunky third party application...

Angry Birds

Don't do it - it is a massive, massive time waster. Time to finish the post now though - I have level 2 to complete.
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