Transferring files to and from an Android phone: KDE Connect app

A couple of years or so ago, when I’d want to connect my Android phone to my computer, it was as simple as hooking up a micro-USB cord and plugging it into the computer. Then one day it didn’t connect. After searching for reasons, I found that I now had to do things like “Enable USB debugging” and choose what I wanted as a default when USB was detected by the phone, and then it seemed to work ok.

Recently, I found that even after selecting these options, Linux would show the icon for the phone on my desktop but it still wasn’t really connecting. I did some more searching and a handful of sites had multiple steps for installing MTP file system programs, none of which seemed to work very well as a practical solution. Criminy, I just want to transfer some files, not go through a ritual each time.

I then saw a reference to a free Linux program “KDE Connect” and an accompanying app for the phone (also free), and the transfer will happen over wifi for any device that is running the KDE Connect software.

On the PC (running Ubuntu with the Xfce desktop), I added the current PPA (some articles reference an outdated one):
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:webupd8team/indicator-kdeconnect
sudo apt-get update

To install the program:
sudo apt install indicator-kdeconnect

The icon “KDE Connect Indicator” showed up in my System drop-down folder. Two other very similar icons also showed up, one also in System called “KDE Connect Indicator Settings”, the other in Internet which is also called “KDE Connect Indicator Settings”.

The one I found useful was the first one. It tells the user to start the phone app and request pairing. Click that and an indicator in the upper right of the PC screen pops up and says “Pairing request from ____ Accept or Reject?”. Accept it and the indicator appears as an icon in the toolbar. Clicking the icon shows the name of my phone, the battery level, and some options for browsing the phone or sending files. Browse doesn’t seem to work at all for me, not sure if that is an issue with the Xfce desktop I’m using or what.

On the phone, I have the options to Send files, Multimedia control, Run a command, and Remote input which lets me control the PC mouse.

It struck me how utterly simple that was. No USB cable, no new filesystem installs.

Read up on how much this app is able to do, and what can be shared between the devices.

Here is the link to information about the updated “fork” of the program:

And a link to the wiki:

NOTE: The paranoid me says to be careful not to give a backdoor into your PC via a compromised phone. The number of malware infested Android phones are in the millions. This program acts just like you on your computer, so be aware of that.

Pana$onic battery message

RANT: Bought a new Panasonic video camera which came with a small battery. I bought a couple of “compatible” batteries and a charger for $50 online which seemed to work fine for a day or so. Then the camera said “This battery cannot be used” and shut off. Both batteries didn’t suddenly develop issues. I did some looking online and Panasonic created some circuitry to tell them when a 3rd party battery is being used:

This was allegedly to “protect” their customers. Somehow I don’t buy that.

It is certainly their right to build their cameras to only support their own batteries. I get that. Except they charge about 6 times the amount for one battery. I guess they assume if I’m willing to pay $1000 for a camera, I wouldn’t balk at $120 for a battery. But it is a LOT more customer friendly to make their cameras the focus, and let customers tell others how great the camera is instead of trying to squeeze extra dollars out of us for accessories.

I’ve had no trouble using 3rd party batteries on my older camera, so didn’t anticipate it on this one. Now I’ll have to find a reputable dealer and buy known Panasonic batteries.

Another thing, even the Panasonic shopping website says the large battery is out of stock. I can’t use the small battery to shoot a whole jazz gig. Sheesh!

Amazon is listed as a dealer, and their price for one Panasonic brand battery is $118. I’ll try that one.

NOTE: The brands that currently fail on the new HC-WXF1 video camera are Powerextra and Wasabi. Neither brand claims to work with the new camera, but they do say their batteries work like the VW-VBT380 which Panasonic says is the large battery for this camera. I had to return both of the 3rd party batteries.

NOTE: I learned from some comments on YouTube that I could use a “powerbank”, so purchased an Anker PowerCore II 20000. The camera power cord has a USB connection on the power end, so this attaches to the powerbank and works very nicely for powering the camera for several hours, and it thinks it is attached to wall power. Leave the onboard battery attached in case the powerbank loses power or gets turned off.