Have you ever cursed yourself for getting caught up in a Phone Moment?
It is that realization that you had reached for your phone just to do one thing, but you found yourself some 5, 10, or even 15 minutes later having dropped deep down the wormhole. You checked Facebook, noticed some email notifications, and fell entirely out of your whatever working groove you might have had.
Part of the problem is that phones only buzz or ring to tell you that Something Has Happened, but almost never specifically what that thing is. Some people dock their phones next to their laptop or desktop screens to know what's going on, but that's giving into phone attention disorder entirely. Some might turn off notifications entirely, or spend many minutes fine-tuning what comes through, but here's another solution, at least for those rolling with a Linux computer.
LinConnect is a rather convenient way to see exactly what you would see on your phone on your (Linux) computer. It creates a private web server between your phone and your computer on a Wi-Fi network, and recreates Android's notifications in the upper-right notifications. In my own experience, it's more than just an at-a-glance connection to your phone. It's also a smart way to get all kinds of notifications on your computer—email, social, text message, "now playing" for music—and much easier to set up than all the individual Linux apps that require fussing about with system settings.
Here's the simplest way your setup can go down. I make that a conditional because, well, Linux and dependencies and Wi-Fi settings and such. But it could be as simple as:
- Download LinConnect Alpha for Android
- Install LinConnect on your Linux computer (easiest on Ubuntu, but likely to fly on most systems that can use the libnotify system). I recommend authorizing the app to auto-start with your system.
- Head into the Android app, authorize LinConnect to retrieve notifications, and choose your laptop (identified by name) as the "server."
And now, whenever your phone and laptop see each other on a Wi-Fi network, your laptop will serve up the same notifications as your phone. For an app that's labeled as "Alpha," and a Linux server app that was its author's first attempt at Python, I'm quite impressed. There are other apps that can speak between Android and Linux, but LinConnect seems like the most fluid connection: all the notifications delivered over simple Wi-Fi.
Now, if you want to actually respond to the text message notifications you get on your laptop now, there's ClockworkMod's DeskSMS app, which allows you to reply by email, chat client, or Chrome extension, as if it was from your own number.
What other phone-to-laptop tools do you like for avoiding other-screen distraction and keeping aware of your pings?
A big hat tip to OMG! Ubuntu! (yes, its real name) for posting about LinConnect on Google Plus.