Making bluetooth work

Riding through fields on the way to London, with the sun still low in a hazy sky, the shadows of trees leaving their frost behind in the sun and behind it all the pale mass of hills standing sentinel. I love this train journey, and if I was of a more literary turn I might have been inspired to a haiku of some sort

places not reserved
scenery outside not seen
these people are vile

But instead I’m going to write down how I sorted out bluetooth on my laptop, because I tend to forget these things. I’m running Xubuntu, which is super, and using Synaptic had installed everything bluetooth that I could see, with the result that a bluetooth icon appeared on my panel with the title “Ready for Bluetooth file transfer”. Such enthusiasm, such breathless devotion to the movement of my data in a conveniently wire-free fashion, was entirely undermined by the absence of the promised right-click “Send to” bluetooth option that ought, according to all authorities, have been present.

Running hcitool dev showed an absence of bluetooth devices. I knew I had a device in there, but where? Cutting a long story short, it turned out that I had to turn it on. Always the way. Easy when you know. Having checked I had toshset installed, using synaptic, I used this Toshiba settings utility to turn bluetooth on: sudo toshset -bluetooth on. Done! hcitool dev showed that I had an internal bluetooth thing, ready to go.

This probably works best for Toshiba laptops, I would have thought, and not the more modern ones either. Mine is ancient, rescued from an illicit midnight dig at a local hillfort known to be the haunt of druids. If it doesn’t boot I have to hit it three times with a rowan twig.

So now I could transfer files from my machine to my mobile (mobile to laptop, I ought to have said, was straightforward and tickety-boo). All I had to do was look for my mobile (hcitool scan) and, using the MAC address this revealed, send files using the straightforward and convenient gnome-obex-send -d [MAC address] [file straining to flee the confines of a flint-powered laptop and roam the world in my pocket]. What could be more straightforward or convenient?

Well, having some kind of right-click option would be marginally more effificient. I found the docs for the xfce file manager Thunar, which helpfully told me exactly what to do: create a file ~/.local/share/Thunar/sendto/gnome-obex-send-generic.desktop and fill it with this:

[Desktop Entry]
Name=[my phone]
Exec=/usr/bin/gnome-obex-send -d xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx %f

and hurrah and three cheers, instantly – instantly – I was able to right-click on files and push them unceremoniously into a tiny cramped mobile disk. Nothing to it. Can’t understand why people say Ubuntu isn’t ready for the desktop.

So there we are, recorded for next time I need it. Coming into London now. I’m going to the British Museum for lunch and a talk about the future, surrounded by history and school field trips. Next writing should be about something less techy.

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