flOat's Mobile Agent lets you take complete control of your Bluetooth phone.
flOat's Mobile Agent (FMA) is a whole different program design than PuppetMaster [Hack #13]. While it does allow you to control your PC remotely from your Bluetooth phone, it also is a complete synchronization utility, allowing you to edit your phone contacts; store, sort, and send text (SMS) messages; and much more.
You can get the binary installer or the source code from http://fma.sourceforge.net. This is an open source package licensed under the GPL, so if you're a Windows programmer, you can hack away at the source code all you like.
FMA is designed around the capabilities of the Sony Ericsson T610/T630 phones. Many other phones have been tested, but there is no central list of known working phones. You will need to search for your phone by clicking the Tested Devices link on the FMA web site, which will take you to a SourceForge bug reports page.
The program is also somewhat different from PuppetMaster in that, in addition to Bluetooth, it also supports infrared and serial phone connections. For serial support, you can use Windows 98 or greater; infrared requires Windows 2000 or greater, and Bluetooth is supported on Windows XP only.
Bluetooth requirements are the same as for PuppetMaster. FMA supports both native (Microsoft) Bluetooth drivers and third-party drivers. Unlike PuppetMaster, we were required to pair our T630 phone with the test PC before FMA would communicate with the phone. FMA can talk to your phone in several ways. As shown in Figure 1-32, you can tell FMA which COM port has been mapped to the phone; you can specify the MAC address of your phone for the Native Bluetooth drivers; and you can also use infrared if your phone supports it.
While the FMA setup is similar to any other program you've installed in Windows, there are a couple sections that you should be familiar with prior to installation. The first is the selection of components, shown in Figure 1-33. If you opt to not install the Microsoft Components, FMA will not work correctly until it is reinstalled with the components.
Figure 1-32. FMA Bluetooth connection types
Secondly, you can customize the installation as usual by choosing where icons are created, as shown in Figure 1-34. You need to make sure to include at least the two top Microsoft components; otherwise, FMA will not function. It would be nice if there were documentation to cover this with the package.
Once the program completes installation, it will launch automatically. A phone icon will appear in your taskbar, showing that the program is running. As covered in the next section, you might need to adjust the Bluetooth device settings using the Tools images/U2192.jpg border=0> Options menu to make sure FMA can communicate with your phone.
Figure 1-33. Choosing the components for installation
Figure 1-34. FMA additional installation tasks
The main screen of FMA, shown in Figure 1-35, should give you a pretty good idea of what the program is capable of.
Figure 1-35. The main FMA screen
FMA gives you complete control over your text messaging. Choose Action images/U2192.jpg border=0> New Message to compose and send your SMS messages. The New Message window is shown in Figure 1-36. You can also view new messages in your Inbox, organize them in the default folders shown, or create new folders to categorize your messages.
The program also gives you control over your contacts, both in phone and SIM memory. As shown in Figure 1-37, FMA lets you assign custom icons to a contact, and give them a custom ringtone. You can also set the preferred number for the calling contact, as well as associate each contact with a specific contact in Outlook.
When FMA is loaded and communicating with your phone, you can make and answer calls from your PC. When a new call arrives, you will get a Caller ID pop-up window on your screen, as shown in Figure 1-38. If you have a headset connected to the PC, and the correct Bluetooth Audio settings turned on, you can use your headset to answer and receive calls.
Figure 1-36. Sending an SMS message
Figure 1-37. Personalizing your contacts
Figure 1-38. Caller ID integration
You have complete call logs of all incoming, outgoing, and missed calls. This can be a real lifesaver when you know that you called a client 37 days ago and left a message, but they tell you no one ever called them. Print out the log and send it to them as proof!
You can also browse the files on your phone. Tired of those hideous background pictures that come by default? Delete them. Sick of those horrible MIDI files that you get for ringtones? Delete them! Even better, replace them with custom pictures and MIDI files. From the FMA menu, choose Action images/U2192.jpg border=0> Upload and choose the file you want to upload to the phone. Supported image types are JPEG and GIF, and the only supported audio type is MIDI. There are millions of MIDI files available for free online.
You can really manage all aspects of your phone from FMA. It will even let you power off the phone or lock the keypad of the phone from your PC. Lastly, you can control your PC. When FMA is loaded, a menu of options appears on your phone's screen. By default, the menu includes controls for iTunes, Windows Media Player, Windows Media Center, Winamp, VLC (VideoLan Client), PowerDVD and WinDVD. There are also controls for PowerPoint and two mouse modes to control the PC mouse from the joystick or keypad.
FMA also provides a General Tools menu on your phone that allows you to turn the PC display on and off, lock the display, start the screensaver, and log off the current user, as well as hibernate, shutdown, and restart. You can even disconnect FMA from the phone or close FMA altogether!
FMA does have scripting support from the Microsoft Script tools that it downloaded during installation. You'll need to have a decent scripting background to make your own scripts and menus, but it is possible.
In short, FMA is probably the coolest Bluetooth application out there for certain Bluetooth phones and Windows users.
Bluetooth, Mobile Phones, and GPS
Network Discovery and Monitoring
Wireless Network Design
Appendix A. Wireless Standards
Appendix B. Wireless Hardware Guide