Every once in a while, I come across an Android app that really makes my busy work life a bit easier. I stare at a monitor most of the day — busy typing, researching, connecting. Sometimes, the distraction of having to go between phone to monitor to phone to monitor to phone to monitor (you get the idea) can be a bit frustrating. When I found an app (and associated server) that would enable me to get my Android notifications on my Linux desktop, needless to say, I was one happy writer. That app is LinConnect. With just a few steps, I was receiving my Android notifications on my desktop, which means I no longer had to switch back and forth just to see what was happening on my mobile device.
Because it's associated with Linux, you might be inclined to think this would be one of those installations that would require the manual compilation of apps and hair-pulling resolution of dependencies. However, you would be wrong. Let me walk you through how to install the necessary pieces and then get the system up and running. I will be using the Ubuntu 14.10 desktop and a Verizon-branded Droid Turbo for the demonstration.
The installation of the server is quite simple. First, copy and paste the code from this page into a file named install.sh (save it into ~/Downloads for simplicity). Open a terminal window, and give the newly saved file executable permissions with the command chmod u+x install.sh.
Issue the command ./install.sh to begin the installation process. All you need to do is answer y to all questions (and enter your sudo password when prompted), and the installation will complete. You're also asked if you want the LinConnect server to start at boot. If you answer no to that, you'll have to manually start the server when you reboot your system.
If you open a web browser (on the machine that hosts the server) and point it to http://localhost:9090, you'll get the necessary information needed to connect your Android device (in case the app doesn't see the server automatically). Pointing the browser to this address will also inform you that the server is running (Figure A).
You are ready to connect.
The LinConnect app can be found in the Google Play Store. To the app, follow these steps:
- Open the Google Play Store on your Android device
- Search for LinConnect
- Locate and tap the entry by yycode
- Tap Install
- Carefully read the permissions listing
- If the permissions listing is acceptable, tap Accept
- Allow the installation to complete
At this point, you should see a launcher for LinConnect on your home screen or app drawer (or both). Tap the launcher to begin the connection of device to desktop.
Making the connection
When you launch the app, the steps for connecting LinConnect to your desktop will be displayed (Figure B).
The quick and easy steps for connecting LinConnect.
You've already downloaded/installed the server, so Step 1 is complete. For step 2, tap the Enable notification service button and then, from the listing of Notification access (Figure C), tap to enable LinConnect.
Enabling LinConnect to read notifications.
You'll have to OK this action before it's enabled. Tap OK in the pop-up window, and LinConnect will then have permission to read your notifications. Tap the device back button to return to the LinConnect app.
For Step 3, tap to select the machine you want to connect the app with. If you don't see the machine listed, tap Custom IP address and enter the details from the LinConnect server web page you viewed earlier. Once you tap the server machine (or enter the proper details), you'll get a notification that a test message was received, and a pop-up should appear on the desktop saying "Hello from Android!"
The final step is to enable the applications that can send notifications to your desktop. From the LinConnect app, tap the Enabled applications button, and then select which apps you want enabled to send notifications to the desktop. By default, all apps are selected. Once you've selected your apps, tap the back button, and you're done. Your desktop should now start receiving all notifications that appear on your Android device.
There are so many ways to get your Android device to connect to other devices, systems, services, and servers. Now, you have the ability to get your Android device to communicate to your Linux desktop notification system.
Do you connect your devices with one another so you have one centralized "mother ship" for all notifications? If so, what is your preferred method? Share your experience in the discussion thread below.
Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.