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Pakistan: Blueproximity: Lock it, clock it.

Pakistan, June 13 -- Leave it and it's locked, return and it returns to you. One of the major advantages of using Open Source operating systems is the ease with which devices are detected and supported-as against Windows where propriety drivers and applications have to be installed.

One such example is Bluetooth which runs out of the box in Ubuntu. Let's see how a computer can be locked/ unlocked depending upon distance maintained between a Bluetooth phone.

Locking the computer while walking away from it and waking it up again when returning to it can be both fun and useful. This is possible through a utility called Blueproximity. Once this tool is installed in computer, it scans for Bluetooth signal strength of a paired phone device measured in distance units. As the device goes farther from Bluetooth adapter of the computer, the detected distance increases and at a particular threshold a predefined action is executed-such as activating screen saver, locking the computer, hibernate, etc.

Similarly, a command can be defined when the detected distance comes within a specified range of distance units. By default, these commands are locking and unlocking of computer, and the default distance settings are about a couple of metres away; hence the name, Blueproximity.

Using the utility is fairly easy. The first step is to install Blueproximity which you can do by using the command, apt-get install blueproximity.

The next step is to start and configure. Start the tool by simply entering its name (Blueproximity) in the terminal window.The tool will appear at the top-right panel with a Bluetooth and a key icon. The colour of the key will show whether the distance is near or far as per the configuration. Turn on the Bluetooth in handset device and pair it with the computer. This requires entering the same passkey in both computer and phone when prompted.

In the configuration window of Blueproximity, search for device by clicking on 'scan for devices' button. This will show the phone's address and its name. Click on 'use selected device' button to set the detected phone to work with Blueproximity.

The next tab in configuration window is Locking. This will allow default settings of distance and commands to be executed when distance thresholds is to be changed. You can save configurations with different profile names. There is no need to change the defaults at this time for testing purpose. Even if settings are changed, they can be restored by pressing the Reset button.

Now simply walk away with the handset and watch the screen going blank. Blueproximity can be paused any time using the Pause option available in the right-click menu.

At any point in time, hovering the mouse above its icon shows detected distance (zero being nearest), current state (active or gone), and connection information (connection found or not). Proximity commands executions can be temporarily turned off by using the Pause button.

Note: This has been tested over Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic) with administrative user named 'root', and should work for versions from 7.10 onwards as well

Published by HT Syndication with permission from The Friday Times. For more information on news feed please contact Sarabjit Jagirdar at

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Publication:The Friday Times (Lahore, Pakistan)
Date:Jun 13, 2010
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