Smokes your problems, coughs fresh air.

Tag: Skype

Nokia N79

Two weeks ago, I acquired a shiny β€œnew” second-hand Nokia N79, because my good old Nokia 1600 (which has served me well for over three years) died as a result of drowning in my leaky tent during a high-school hiking trip in the Czech republic.

Nokia N79

So far, I’m really fond of the phone. πŸ™‚ It fills in the gadget gap that was left by my desire for a decent portable music player. After choosing an appropriate S60 app, it might even satisfy my decadent desire for a Bluetooth remote to control my laptop (when viewing a movie, for example).

FM transmitter

One of the things that I’m really happy with is the built-in FM transmitter. I’ve been wanting one of those so that I don’t have to much about with cables when I want to play media through some stereo system. Especially when I was thinking of buying a portable music player, I also wanted to be able to route it through any car radio. Now I can. I can even pick any frequency I want! I am surprised.


Another neat feature which I find myself using a lot is the IMAP support. Now, I don’t have to boot my laptop just to find out if I have new mail and to write simple replies or delete some of the crap that I get sent daily. Setting up Gmail access was easy thanks to Gmail’s IMAP support. Yesterday, after teaching kung fu with a friend, on my way to relax at the lake, I found myself stopping my bicycle at a few unsecured WiFi networks to quickly compose a mail and check for responses so that I’d be able to better relax.


The Nokia-supplied Maps application is fun, but I don’t think I’ll a be a big user of it, since I’d sincerely like to learn to navigate without the aid of high-tech devices. Nevertheless, I’ve downloaded all map data for The Netherlands so that I don’t have to initiate an expensive Internet connection when I’m lost. Symbian Underground has a list of direct links to all the downloadable map files on Nokia’s own servers.

Syncing stuff

This brings me to the subject of syncing data to and from the phone. Of course, the phone has USB Mass Storage support, which makes it easy to add and remove music. Just an hour ago, I also added NL maps this way. However, this mode only gives you access to the installed memory card (which the phone supports up untill 8GB). To access other stuff, you need to do some Bluetooth magic, which I haven’t tried yet.

Normally, when using Windows, you’d download Nokia PC Suite to be able to backup and sync pretty much everything on the phone. I don’t have Windows, so for some tasks I either have to wait until PC Suite’s successor, Nokia OVI Suite, becomes available for Linux or I have to find or create some alternatives for some of PC Suite’s functionality.

Mail for Exchange

Google supports Microsoft’s Exchange protocol to sync Gmail contacts, Google calendar data and mail with mobile devices. For phones which don’t already support this protocol, such as my N79, Nokia supplies the Mail for Exchange application. I got this application set up successfully and synced my calendar successfully, but I can’t start the application a second time. I simply can’t open it. Maybe I should report a bug, but probably it’ll be easier to find another sync solution or to just give up Google Calender and settle for a backup only solution. For my contacts, I’ll also be satisfied when I find a backup-only solution. And my email needs are already well served by the device’s built in IMAP support.

Other stuff

I’ve never really wanted a camera, but still I’m glad that I have one now so I can look at movies of my baby nephew being bathed or make a quick photograph when I need it. Heck, it’s a fun toy!

Besides Mail for Exchange, the only app I’ve installed so far is Skype, which is fun to use on my phone although I find the quality horrible compared to my laptop (and I wasn’t a fan of Skype’s quality to begin with).

Did I mention that browsing for porn pics using Google’s mobile image search is strangely satisfying?:oops:

Playing Quake3 in Linux with Skype or Teamspeak

I wanted to play a game of Quake3 against someone, and have Skype or Teamspeak open at the same time, for obvious reasons. Somehow, it reported the sound device being in use: “device or resource busy”. This doesn’t make any sense, because my card can do hardware mixing, and also because all other games work fine with Skype or Teamspeak active.

I don’t know exactly what’s going on, but this is how it can be fixed:

# echo "quake3.x86 0 0 direct" > /proc/asound/card0/pcm0p/oss
# echo "quake3.x86 0 0 disable" > /proc/asound/card0/pcm0c/oss
# echo "quake3-smp.x86 0 0 direct" > /proc/asound/card0/pcm0p/oss

Happy fragging πŸ™‚

Using an outgoing SSH tunnel from behind a NAT for incoming VNC

Laurelin is working as an Au Pair for a Greek family in—where else than Greece. Her hostess has arranged for an Internet connection through Vivodi Telecom to allow Laurelin to maintain some form of contact with her friends and family at home.

Once connected, Laurelin quickly installed the Azureus BitTorrent client to be able to download some things (only legal things licensed under a liberal license, of course). Correct usage of the BitTorrent protocol implies opening up a port or two for incoming connections. After all, BitTorrent is all about sharing.

So, she needed help configuring port forwarding on the ADSL modem / NAT router (a microcom AD 2636) in Greece. She asked for this help two days ago while Wiebe was looking at my screen, because we where doing an extreme programming session on a database schema using VNC and Skype. We interrupted our work hoping that we could easily solve her problem.

I had been looking at screenshots and manuals of her router and her modem’s administrative interface earlier when they couldn’t get the connection to work. After making sure that the problem was not a configuration or software problem and identifying that there was probably a problem between their modem and their telephone exchange, they later got their problem fixed. So, now I had to dig up the manual again. But, this time I could only find some screencaps which accompanied a useless tutorial in Greek. This exemplifies why I think it is useful to keep a blog.

So, Wiebe and I did our best to guide her through a GUI we couldn’t see and eventually she succeeded in defining a few forwards. However, they didn’t do their job. According to nmap they were still filtered. She then installed RealVNC server for us and added port 5900 to the list of forwarded ports. Wiebe tried to connect using the kvnc client, but no response. By that time, we had fooled around quite a bit and after mucking about a little more, we decided to postpone the rest and return to our database design. We decided for next time to let her use PuTTY to put a hole through the NAT router.

Today was the next time. She installed PuTTY. I gave her an account on the Debian server in our local LAN (I am behind a Windows terminal myself). Now she had to set up a tunnel and connect to that account:

Configuring a remote tunnel for VNC in PuTTY

At this point, I still couldn’t access the tunnel between her box and the Debian machine from my Windows terminal:

$ netstat -l -n|grep 5900
Proto Recv-Q Send-Q Local Address           Foreign Address         State
tcp        0      0*               LISTEN

Since PuTTY was configured to let remote ports accept connections from other hosts, the problem had to be in the OpenSSH configuration on the Debian box. And indeed it was. I had to set the following option:

GatewayPorts yes

After a restart of the OpenSSH daemon, she opened a tunnel which I could access from my own machine:

$ netstat -l -n|grep 5900
Proto Recv-Q Send-Q Local Address           Foreign Address         State
tcp        0      0  *               LISTEN

I could now control her desktop through the RealVNC viewer. Next time, I’ll need to actually do something with this connection.

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