Browsing my Android phone over wifi at home

Having to plug my Android phone into my computer via USB so that I can copy new files onto it is a pain. So I thought to myself: it’s got wifi, right? Can’t I just run an ftp server on it?

And, lo, I discovered On Air. Cool Android app; it’s got One Massive Button and that’s it. The One Massive Button just turns on a file server and exports it over the network.

(Actually, I lied. There’s also one tiny button which toggles the type of server between FTP, WebDav, and AppleTalk. So I set it to FTP, since that’s easy to connect to from Nautilus — Places > Connect to Server > FTP (with login). On Air displays the IP address of the phone, and a randomly generated 4-digit password.)

So, that’s all I need; I can now browse my phone without plugging it into the computer.

Then I got to thinking. It’d be dead handy if that automatically got started up when I was (a) at home and (b) the phone was plugged into the mains (because I don’t want it being a server while I’m wandering around my house, and the mains plug is near the computer). A bit more poking around led me to Locale, an Android app which lets you watch for certain conditions (like geographical location, charge state, and so on) and then take certain actions when the conditions are triggered. Seemed ideal. But Locale is \$10, and the “am I in a certain place” trigger was another dollar, and “am I plugged in” was another dollar, and I thought: yeah, \$12 isn’t much, but I don’t really need this, so maybe I’ll do without.

And then @michaelwells pointedout on Twitter that the “Setting Profiles” app might help. So I took a look, and basically, it’s Locale, but free. Nice.

So, install Setting Profiles, set up a “rule” with conditions “connected to my home wifi” and “charger is plugged in”, and an “action” of “start On Air”. Done.

I’m really quite pleased with tying those things together.

Minor complaints, because nothing is perfect (perfection is finality. finality is death. nothing is perfect. there are lumps in it)

  1. I wish On Air had a “start up the server automatically” setting, thus obviating the need to press the One Big Button.
  2. I wish On Air advertised its FTP server with Zeroconf. (Probably it doesn’t need to for the author’s Mac use case because AppleTalk servers already do that without Bonjour?)
  3. Settings Profiles doesn’t show up in my apps list! That’s really quite weird. To start it I have to go back into the Market, choose Downloads, and then start it from there. I’d file a bug, but there doesn’t seem to be any useful way of doing that. How am I meant to do this? Leave a comment on the app in the Market?

Settings Profiles (website) chart

On Air chart

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