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Thread: Howto: Use BlueProximity and your cellphone for security

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    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Ubuntu 7.04 Feisty Fawn

    Howto: Use BlueProximity and your cellphone for security

    What is it?
    • BlueProximity is a clever program by Lars Friedrichs that sets up your computer to lock itself when your phone is out of bluetooth range, and unlock itself when it comes close enought again. You can also also make it turn off and on the monitor, music, change msn status and pretty much everything you can imagine.

    Why do I want it?
    • Ultimate coolness! Nothing is as super cool as just walking up to your computer and watch it come alive without you doing anything. Ok, it can be argued that this is semi-useful, but we will all do it for the coolness factor

    How to do it? {installation}

    If you use Hardy or newer, blueproximity is in the repos, so simply install the usual way and jump to setup instructions:

    sudo apt-get install blueproximity
    If you don't have blueproximity in your reps (older ubuntu than hardy), follow these:

    Install dependencies:
    sudo apt-get install bluez-utils python-gtk2 python-glade2 python-configobj python-bluez
    We need a newer version of the python-support package:

    Install it:

    sudo dpkg -i python-support_0.7.5_all.deb

    Now lets get the BlueProximity program:

    wget (from official site)
    - alternate download link -
    wget (from ubuntu universe (hardy?) repositories)
    Install it:
    sudo dpkg -i blueproximity_1.2.4-0ubuntu1_all.deb

    Ok, now it is time to set this up:

    Phone settings:
    • Activate bluetooth
    • Scan for your computer and authorize it so you won't need a password

    Blueproximity settings:

    • Scan for devices and select "Use selected device"
    • Then scan channels and select one that comes up as "usable"

    That should be it! Now fiddle a bit with your proximity details, don't set them too low but not to high either. I get pretty good results with the settings below, but this will of course differ according to the placement of your computer.


    My settings are:
    • Lock: Distance: 7 | time: 10 - thus it won't lock at once if bluetooth connection gets disrupted, something it seems to do for a second or two.
    • Unlock: Distance: 3 | time: 3 - Unlocks very fast when I get close.

    Turning the monitor off
    It would be more useful if this could turn the monitor on/off as well, right? If you want this enter the BlueProximity preferences, click the locking tab and use this command::
    • Locking Command: gnome-screensaver-command -l && xset dpms force off
    • Unlocking command: xset dpms force on && gnome-screensaver-command -d

    I noticed I had to change the unlock time to 1 to give the monitor time to turn on before I sat down.

    Add the program to your startup list:
    Of course you want to have it starting with Ubuntu. Go system > preferences > sessions. You should be on the "startup programs" tab. Click "Add" and type "blueproximity" (without the "") and a name and description you want.

    This was tested by me on Ubuntu Gutsy with a Samsung D900, and works great. If you try this, please report what phone you got it working with - or not. I don't see this not working because it only really depends on bluetooth from the phone, but you never know. It will be kind of useless if you can't authorize a device on your phone.

    Working phones
    • I removed the phone list because .. well this seem to work with everything

    As some users have alredy pointed out, there are several cool possiblities for this. Many things can be accomplished with simple or more advanced scripts. Despite my very limited knowledge of bash scripts, I attached a simple set of scripts that will do the following:
    • Turn on / off screensaver
    • Turn on / off monitor
    • Check if Amarok is playing and pause - then unpause. If amarok is stopped, this will do nothing.
    • Change your pidgin status to away / available*

    *To get the pidgin status to work you need libpurple-bin. (install: sudo apt-get install libpurple-bin)

    To use them, download the attached scripts archive, unpack it, make them all executable and stick them in /usr/bin*. If you only want some of the functions, edit the bp_lock and bp_unlock files. Then go into BlueProximity preferences - locking tab and put "bp_lock" and "bp_unlock" as locking and unlocking command.
    *command is: sudo cp bp_* /usr/bin

    I'm sure more knowledgeable users can make better scripts, but these does the trick for my use

    Other scripts
    gertvdijk details how to make a start/stop script for rhythmbox
    crocowhile teaches us how to change skype status
    Red_Five shared the mother of all bp scripts!
    Here's the script I use now. It's a single, monolithic script that handles away, available, status update messages, and proximity "poking". I've put in lines for several audio players (GNOME; I don't use KDE), Twitter, Pidgin, and even a line to update my Out of Office status in Exchange via Outlook Web Access.
    monojohnny made a cool script that makes the computer beep when your phone is stolen


    • What happens if the phone runs out of power?
    • Nothing. You can still unlock your computer the traditional way. You don't need the phone at all.
    • What happens if someone unplugs your usb bluetooth dongle?
    • I tried because someone asked. You'll have to unlock your computer manually. If it is inserted again it will work in a minute or so.
    • Where did the python-support install go?
    • I changed it to a safer and faster method. If you need the other one, plase ask me.
    • It works, but my phone lost sound - I have to manually eneable sound - headset has no sound - other sound problems?
    • Do a "sdptool browse" in the terminal and find the channel marked as "object push". Select this channel in BlueProximity preferences. This should do the trick
    Attached Files Attached Files
    Last edited by Iceni; September 11th, 2008 at 01:36 PM. Reason: Updating phone list.
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