Tag: Android

Sync Music to Android Devices with Banshee

One of the things that held me back from adopting Ubuntu was the few Windows programs that I used a lot and for which I couldn’t find a Linux equivalent.

I know there are always going to be some specialist applications that are never going to be ported to Linux. The software that came with my Garmin SatNav, for example. It lets you upgrade the maps and so forth. Will that ever be ported to Linux? Frankly, there’s more chance of me being the next Pope.

I have an iPod and I have an Android phone. I wanted to sync music to both of these from my computer. In Windows I used to use iTunes for my iPod and Winamp for my Android. That was particularly slick, because there is a Winamp Android app. It allows you to synch between your PC and your Android phone wirelessly. How cool is that? Is there a Winamp app for Linux? Nope.

After a bit of Googling I saw that the Banshee music player could sync to both of these devices. It also plays videos, manages podcast subscriptions and allows you to buy music through Amazon or through the Ubuntu One Music Store. You can listen to internet radio, audio books and just about everything else I’ve thrown at it. It is a standard part of the Ubuntu 11.04 installation.

Banshee Music Player
Banshee Music Player

All this seemed too good to be true – but then I hit a snag. I couldn’t get it to sync to my Android, which happens to be a HTC Desire.

Eventually I found the trick. You need to create a text file called .is_audio_player. Put the following single line of text in it:


Copy that file to the root of your Android’s SD card.

Now when you connect it to Banshee you will see it listed in the devices section of the menu tree. The rest is straightforward and simple.

Banshee with Android Connected
Banshee with Android Connected
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Migrating Firefox

Migrating Firefox was easy. I wanted to copy across all of my bookmarks and stored passwords and my settings for the Firefox bookmarks toolbar and I certainly didn’t want to do it by hand.

Thankfully Firefox 4 has a new feature called Firefox Sync. This allows you to save your history, passwords, bookmarks and open tabs to the Firefox cloud. Then if you have Firefox on another PC or on a mobile device, you can sync to that device and all of your bookmarks and tabs are transferred to that copy of Firefox.

I sync’d to the Firefox cloud in Windows 7, installed Ubuntu and started Firefox, and then used Firefox Sync to restore all my bookmarks to Firefox 4 in Ubuntu.


(I also use the Sync feature to maintain parity between the Firefox on my HTC Desire phone, running Android and my Ubuntu desktop.)

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