Backing Up Phonebook and Calender from Phones Not Supported by PC Suite

Restoring all your contacts and calendar birthday/anniversary entries after losing your cellphone or complete phonebook is such a pain in the neck. Who would not want to save himself from the pain of messaging the sender of every SMS you receive saying “May i know who is this? I lost my cellphone/I lost all my contacts?”.

If your phone is hi-fi ( read supported by PC Suite Softwares ), then you may back up your phonebook through it.

But what if your phone is one of the ‘sasta, sundar, tikau’ (inexpensive, beautiful and durable) Nokia phones (or any other brand for that matter), like mine. Here is an easy method to back up your phonebook even from models not supported by PC Suite Softwares.

We use Linux operating system and Gnokii software. (Although gnokii is also available for windows, but i haven’t tried that one yet.)

Gnokii has options for managing various features of your phone. Here only backing up and restoring contacts and calendar are described.
The list of supported cellphone models and the corresponding datacable models can be found here.

All you need is a data cable for your phone, Linux Operating system (I have given commands for Ubuntu and Fedora here, others are similar).

If you don’t have Gnokii Installed, you will need an internet connection.

You can install gnokii in Ubuntu by typing
saurabh@morpheus:~$ sudo apt-get install gnokii

and in fedora by typing
saurabh@morpheus:~$ yum install gnokii

Now copy the sample configuration file ‘/etc/gnokiirc’ to your home folder as ‘.gnokiirc’.
saurabh@morpheus:~$ cp /etc/gnokiirc ~/.gnokiirc

Open the file in gedit or vim and change the value of the three variables (port, model and connection) in the [global] section of the .gnokiirc file.
For my phone (Nokia 2626) these settings worked.

port = /dev/ttyUSB0
model = 6510
connection = serial

You can check out the settings for your phone model here.

To Back up Your phonebook in VCARD format (into the file myphonebook.vcard)

saurabh@morpheus:~$ gnokii --getphonebook -v ME 1 end > myphonebook.vcard

P.S.: This does not delete any contact from your phone.

To Restore your contacts back to the phone from the VCARD file.

saurabh@morpheus:~$ cat myphonebook.vcard | gnokii --writephonebook -m ME

Similarly to backup Calender

saurabh@morpheus:~$ gnokii --getcalendarnote 1 end -v > mycal.vcal

To Restore your calendar

saurabh@morpheus:~$ gnokii -writecalendarnote mycal.vcal 1 end

Now, Wasn’t that simple? :)

Spider SMS service !!

Spider SMS service, exclusively for the junta of NITT is finally up and running, finally.. :)
( For those who can’t make something out of the first sentence– SPIDER is the technical group of NITT.. and im one of the spiders.. :P)

We now provide info to the campus junta directly onto their mobile phone.. like none other..
A host of services including India cricket score updates every 20 mins, bi daily national news, daily sports, science and tech, cricket and page3 news… bakar for the day, thought for the day, jokes, GRE word for the day, dictionary, campus buzz and more…
We’re planning to expand it to include nittmail notifications, octa print-out notifications, train inquiries , mass messaging and much more that makes it absolutely irresistible..
all absolutely FREE for the campus junta and fully automated :)

All you need to have is either an account on the spider website on the insti LAN or aditya LDAP account (the one which you use to login into octa computers)..

To register for the service

  • EITHER update your phone number on your spider profile,OR
  • send an sms as “Register rollno aditya-password” to the spider phone . for eg if my rollno is 106106058 and password is helloworld then i need to send “Register 106106058 helloworld”.

(all keywords are case Insensitive, double quotes are only for clarity’s sake)

If your password is not correct then you will receive an sms stating the same, other wise you’ll receive an acknowledgment stating that you are registered for the sms service. If you didn’t have a profile on the spider website, it will create one for you and you can login into the same through your aditya password, otherwise it’ll update the phone number on your profile.

You’ll need to subscribe to the various services individually by sending an sms as Yes followed by a space followed by the keyword for the particular service. for e.g. to subscribe for scores send ‘”yes score” to spider phone.

You can find the full list of the services and their keywords on (accessible only on insti LAN).

Now coming to the technical aspect.
We use a nokia 6030 phone and interface it with a computer (sms gateway) running Linux through gnokii. gnokii-smsd is a daemon used to send and receive messages from and to a mysql database. (Installation details are best explained here ) .
Hari had started this service with some features but he wrote the code in c, and we couldn’t expand it to include new services. So we developed it in php, starting from scratch.

We have a shell scripts which fetch the content (as rss feeds) from the internet at desired intervals (through cron). PHP scripts parse those rss feeds and dump the headlines into files, compresses the content so as to fit maximum of it into a single message, send this content to the subscribes users.
Another php script which runs permanently, processes the incoming messages and maintains the user accounts and subscriptions.

It was such a fun working with surath, hajela and vivek in spider lab.
As for NITT student clubs, dept. symposiums and fests. You are most welcome to use the service for advertisement and mass messaging. :P

Happy Spidering… :P :)