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Monday, June 18, 2007

UPnP You!

Nokia N73
This weekend turned out to be another tech one (yay! :) ). Natz got her new phone, a Nokia N73. She and her mom had initially planned on getting E65's, but it turned out that phone doesn't have an FM radio or a video call camera (gimmicky for some, essential for those two). I spent the better part of Saturday morning tinkering with the phone and setting it up so Natz could get full use of it.
Of course the first step was to get her Googlified. I switched her default home to mobile iGoogle (strangely enough Google didn't automatically identify the phone's browser as one more appropriate to mobile content, so I had to manually put in the mobile URL). With her iGoogle already set up this gives her instant access to a Gmail and Reader overview. In addition to the quick view, Natz can view her GMail in the official mobile GMail client, and can also send mail through GMail with the phone's built in messaging (for the sake of emailing photos). Of course it's all set up with nice shortcuts to keep things usable as well.
Next up was IM. While the new Nokia devices do have an IM client built in, I'll be damned if I can figure out how to get it talking to Gtalk. I assume it's another proprietary Nokia thing, which is a pity since actually being able to use some of the built in stuff would be nice. After trying a couple of IM clients, I settled on Skittle. It has some rather messy info messages while logging in but it seems stable and clean. I'd rather not have to give up google account details, but for now it's unavoidable. Mxit is supposed to have GTalk support (which doesn't require you to sign in with your gmail account) but for the moment it's broken, as soon as it works again I'll switch her to that.
A while ago I set up a blog for Natz to post pictures of our Persian cat Daisy. I never could get the emailing to work from her old phone, but now that her new phone is set up to email photos she can easily photoblog through her Flickr account as well. Now that The Persian Diaries is finally gaining contact, I'm sure the subject matter will attract loads of bored housewives. Adsense income, anyone? ;) I considered setting up Nokia's lifeblog for her, but she wouldn't use that sort of blogging-and it digs into a little too much private info for my liking.
And finally-connectivity and media. The N73 has bluetooth and IR, but Natz machine doesn't support Blutooth and IR is just too damned slow and unreliable. That left USB as an option. I tried the Nokia software, and as usual it's flashy and has lots of bells and whistles-but it's completely unintuitive. Switching the phone to USB mass device turned out to be ideal. Natz is already used to using memory sticks and such, and with Winamp. As I've mentioned before Winamp's portable support is superb, so that basically sorted itself out. Photo copying is of course simple as well with this setup.
On a related note, one of the attractions of the E65 was that it has WiFi functionality, and UPnP compatibility. I was looking forward to setting it up so Natz could stream music from our media server and was a bit disappointed when the N73 didn't sport the same feature. It turns out Natz isn't missing out on anything after all because Nokia's UPnP implementation (even on the high end N95) is nothing more than a control point. This means it's basically possible to access the configuration details of the media server. Big friggin whoop.

Saturday morning was phone time. Saturday afternoon was once again Linux media server time. I set in to get TVersity set up on the Ubuntu box and was, for the most part, successful. I have never used Wine before and was quite impressed with how easily and how well it works. I followed the excellent instructions in a post on the TVersity forums, and short of a bit of a search to find the location of wine's drive_c it went exactly as expected (complete with the initial failure warned against in the post). After starting the service a second time, the config pages were available and I added our media folders (which needed to be mapped to a drive in Wine first). The library update totally owned the Ubuntu machine for about 15 minutes, but when it was done, the library was up and available over HTTP (on the PSP too).
And that's where I hit a brick wall. I started up the Xbox and removed the Twonky library 'Windows based computer' connection and searched for a new connection. Nothing. Some more forum hunting revealed lots of suggestions to restart the service (on windows) so I tried that for linux-numerous times, and just could not get anything out of it. I had absolutely no clue what to do from there, so I browsed around for other options and even installed and tried out uShare, but the end result was rebooting the box and letting Twonky restart and connecting to that again with the 360.
Once again, it's forum time :(



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