I've been reading on instructables for a while now, and I've always wanted to do some of the things that people have wrote about, but have found myself looking at things which are difficult to do because they are genuinely difficult to do, or the things required are difficult to get hold of or are too expensive. I hope to avoid these problems, the stuff you need to buy can be got at Tesco (or your country's equivalent), for a mere few pounds, you may even already have it.
OK. So I brought my k750i about 6 months ago, it was my first real phone and it cost me a pound less than 100 quid. It is a Sony Ericsson phone and I recommend it to anyone, it's a tidy little thing with some handy features.
My lovely phone has bluetooth. This is a pretty common thing in phones now and it only ever seems to be used to do simple and boring things like transferring files. I have never seen anyone use their mobile phone to control their computer, which is clearly a function that Sony Ericsson have added to some of their phones, but nobody seems to know about. Personally, I would like to see more done with bluetooth, it seems like such a waste to have its functionality on a phone, and still have so few uses.
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Step 1: Ingredients
Simply for this instructable you will need
- A Bluetooth adaptor for your PC (see below)
- A Sony Ericsson phone (see below)
- Some Software (It's free, I'll link you, see below)
A bluetooth adapter (dongle) for your PC
These are REALY cheap now. I believe Tesco do one for 7 pound, although I don't know how good it is. They are also super cheap on ebuyer.com and reasonably cheap from overclockers.co.uk. I only live up the road from OCUK, so this is where I got mine, it is an MSI MEGA NET STAR KEY, It cost something like 13 pounds at the time. Before purchasing, you should be aware of the class of a bluetooth device, and what this means:
Class 3 devices have a range of around 100 meters.
Class 2 devices have a range of around 10 meters.
Class 1 devices have a range of around 1 meter (these are mostly things like headsets, but I have seen some PC adaptors that are only class 1, you might want to avoid those)
If your phone is only a class 2 device (as mine is) it will only work to a distance of 10 meters, even if you have a class 3 device paired with it.
A class 1 device will only ever work at a distance of up to 1 meter, even if it is used with a class 2, or even a class 3 device.
Basically you CAN have two devices of different classes, but they will only work within the smallest range of the two. You should also try to get a device that is compatible with Bluetooth 2.0, I doubt that this is imperative, but it's backwards compatible and shouldn't cost you any/much more than an older version. Future proofing is never a bad idea.
A Sony Ericsson phone
I know my k750 works, but from what I can gather so should all of these (They are listed as supported phones in the software's release notes)
Step 2: Starting Up
Firstly you should install your dongle (I hate this word). Mine was a total bitch to install, I got angry at it and it sat in my drawer for a few months before I could be arsed to get it out to try again (coincidently, this is how my last kitten died). Needless to say I got it eventually. Make sure if it says to install the driver first before you put your adaptor in the USB port, then you do just that! Saves one hell of a lot of hassle.
Once you have installed your dongle it might be a good idea to get used to where the remote control function is on your phone. On my phone, you go to the main menu (centre button) then go to 'Entertainment', and then 'Remote Control'. Originally (on my phone) there are three different options to choose from (I'll come to those later) however new ones can be made.
So you have your dongle installed on your computer. The next step you need to take is to sort out what you want your phone to be able to do with your computer. To do this go to 'My Bluetooth Places' (on your desktop, or in My Computer). Unfortunately I only have Windows XP Home computers in my house and so I cant offer you any help on how to do anything with other operating systems, but I should think for windows the steps are pretty similar.
You will want to go to 'Bluetooth Setup Wizard' to the left of the screen. Next a Wizard should appear (duhh). From the first window you should select the 'I want to find a specific Bluetooth device and configure how this computer will use its services' option, and then go to 'Next'.
In this screen you will want to select the device you wish to use, my phone's Bluetooth name is 'I Like Pie' (running joke, don't ask) There may be others (your neighbours/brothers) ignore these. Click 'Next' again. If you do not see your phone on the list, then make sure its bluetooth is turned on and its visibility is set to 'Show phone'.
There are now several options you can choose from that you want your computer to use with the device. One of the options is 'Mouse & Keyboard'. YOU WANT THIS SELECTED. The others are up to you (I chose to have also 'OBEX File Transfer' to transfer files obviously).
Step 3: Finishing Off
The next step is pairing your phone to your computer. This is really really simple, but just in case you don't know how, I'll explain it.
As explained earlier, navigate to your phone's Remote Control function. For the purposes of testing, go to the 'Desktop' controller - to use the mouse and some simple desktop-navigating-like functions. Here it will find the device that your phone could use this control with, in my case 'MSI Star Key'. It will ask if it wants to add this device to your phones list of devices, select yes. Now choose a 'passcode' you can use anything, 1111 is always a good idea, as it's hard to get too wrong. You wont need to remember this number for long, so don't worry.
Soon after you choose your passcode, and select 'OK' on your phone - a bubble will appear on your computer near the clock (it will look something like below). Click the bubble, and enter the passcode into the window following the bubble (it may now be called a 'PIN' code for some reason, but they're the same thing). Once you have inputted this number, click 'OK' and there you go. You can now use your mobile phone as a human interface device! If you are happy with what you have, stop reading this instructable now, for some customisation and to make your remote control really useful, read on.
There are two other options on the Remote Control part of your phone (probably), one for Presentations, and one for a Media Player. I'm not sure exactly what media player the default functions are for on my phone, but they do not work perfectly with my favourite Media Player, Windows Media Player 11 (I'm not up for an iTunes/winamp/WMP war, I really don't care) Welll, I say they don't work perfectly, it's bearable, but the volume up/down doesn't work properly, nor does the mute function.
Step 4: Getting More Advanced
So your not happy with your new found wireless mouse? You want more from your phone? All you need is this piece of software that Sony Ericsson have made for you!! Cus they are a super nice bunch of people. I couldn't find it on the CD that they sent out with the phones (I'm not sure how I came across it originally) but it is freely available from their website.
There is a bunch of stuff related to the Remote Control function, the first two links on the results list are for the Mac version of the software, and the PC version. (the other links are some documents that some of you might find useful and other junk) You have to fill out a quick security captcha (But you have to fill out captchas to do ANYTHING nowadays), and then the download begins, there's no sign up required or anything.
Download and install the software, it's pretty easy to do, and I'll meet you on the next page.
Step 5: The Software
The software really does speak for itself, it is perhaps a little buggy, but it is incredibly simple to use. Go to File > Change phone, and then select your phone from the list, an easy to use template will appear for the selected phone, where you can make and modify your own controls for the phone's keypad.
Down the right of the screen is the list of buttons on the phone, next to each button name is a drop down list with the corresponding key you want to assign to it. You can select an action from the list, or press a key on your keyboard and use that (you can also use multiple keys). On the left of the window is an image of the mobile phones keypad. You can export this image, and modify it in whatever image manipulation program you feel necessary, and then import it again. If you can't be bothered to modify the image, you don't even have to.
The software is not needed for the phone to work as a remote. The phone will work just like a keyboard or mouse, no programs need to be open in the background, just the drivers needed to run your bluetooth dongle.
When you have finished with the layout of the keys, save the file (it saves in a '.hid' format). This file can now be transferred from your computer to your phone via 'OBEX File Transfer' (if you were wondering like I was, 'OBEX' is short for OBject EXchange, it's just a protocol that IR and bluetooth-y things use to transfer files). Simply navigate to where you saved the file, right click it, go to 'Send To' > 'Bluetooth' > 'Name of your phone'. The file should then automatically go to your 'Remote Control' menu on your phone.
You now have a customised remote control for use with your computer, that can do virtually anything.
Step 6: Further Reading
If your STILL not happy with your brand new human interface device, then you might like to look up on some of this complicated mo-shix like 'Auto Hot Key' which seems to be relatively powerful, and could be used easily with your phone. You might also like to read the 'Bluetooth HID Remote Control Developer Guidelines'. It states everything I have but in more depth The '.hid' files are simply tar archives with a different name. If you open them up with your favourite tar extractor, it reveals two files inside: 'Remote.kcf' and jpg file. The 'Remote.kcf' file can be opened with a text editor, the syntax is explained in the document Sony Ericsson have made, they also link you to a document on USB Human Interface Device Usage, however don't get too excited, I couldn't use all of the keys in the tables in this pdf (if you figure out how to use the generic buttons for play/pause and vol up/down then please let me know).
Bluetooth HID Remote Control Developer Guidelines
You might also like to notice that on shortcuts in windows you have an option to attribute a 'shortcut key' to them, so whenever you press a certain combo of keys (ie triggered by your phone) it opens the short cut, which could be a perl script, or a batch file or your favourite picture of a colleague or family member paralytic at a party dancing on a table to their favourite Tina Turner record.
Use your imagination.