Get off my lawn.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

RingControl Release 1.0.8

I just put up a new version of RingControl, with a few new features:

SMS Commands:

The biggest new feature is SMS commands. These are basically SMS messages you send to the phone to make it do things. The general idea is that if the phone gets lost or stolen, you can send it commands to help you retrieve it. More commands will be added as I think of them, or get suggestions for them.

The first thing to know about SMS commands is that they have to be specially formatted so RingControl knows you're sending it a command, and not just sending a regular SMS message.

In the Preferences screen, navigate to the "SMS Commands" page, and click "Password/Prefix." Here, you can specify a prefix that RingControl will look for in SMS messages. You could think of this as a password, although no pretenses are made toward this being a "secure" service. Again, it's just a prefix.

The default prefix is "RC." So, assuming you leave the prefix at the default setting, you can send an SMS command to RingControl using this format:

RC.[command] [arguments]

...where [command] is one of the commands described below, and [arguments] is an optional argument specified to the command.

The "ping" command does nothing but send a response to let you know the phone is turned on. If you send this and receive an "ok" message in response, you know the phone can accept other SMS commands. Example:

You can send a "beep" command to make the phone beep so you can find it if it's nearby (or a "ring" command to do the same thing and you think just calling the phone is too much work). Example: RC.beep or RC.ring.

The "service" command takes an argument: on or off. This starts and stops the RingControl service. Example: RC.service on

The "call" command takes a phone number as an argument, and tells your phone to call the specified number. Example: 5551212

The "callme" command tells your phone to call the phone sending the SMS message.

The "speaker" command turns the speaker on or off while the phone is in a call.
Example: RC.speaker on

The "vibrate" command vibrates the phone for the specified number of milliseconds. It's useful for annoying a pet, or lining up two G1s on a smooth/slanted surface next to each other, and having a race.
Example: RC.vibrate 1000

The "volume" command takes two arguments. The first specifies which volume to adjust (ringer, beep, voice, music, system), and the second specifies the volume. The range is 0 to 10.
Example: RC.volume voice 10

You can send the phone a "where" command, and it will send back an SMS message telling you the street address of the phone's location, plus the lat/long. If it can't retrieve the address for some reason, it will send back a link to Google Maps that you can use to tell where the phone is. If your GPS receiver is turned off when you send this command, RingControl turns it on, retrieves the phone's location, then turns the GPS off again. (If it's on already, the GPS setting is left alone.)
Example: RC.where

The "help" command just sends back a list of available commands.

Why it is a Powerful Enterprise Feature (tm):
Several of the audio and speaker commands can be used in combination to perform useful activities at work. For example, suppose you're in a meeting. You can excuse yourself for a moment, conveniently leaving your phone on the table. From another phone in a separate location, you can send the "RC.callme" command, and your phone will silently call you. You can then turn the voice volume up via "RC.volume voice 10" to listen in on the conversation taking place in your absence. Then, when one of your coworkers says something stupid, you can send "RC.speaker on" and make fun of them through your phone's speaker. They will be bowled over by your god-like omnipresence. Most of the time, that is. If your voice booming out of the 1/2" speaker fails to grab their attention, you can follow your announcement up with "RC.vibrate 30000", as a subtle show of force.

Vibrate then Ring:

Some people were asking for a way to make the phone vibrate for a few seconds, then ring, like a Motorola V300. RingControl does this now.

That's all for now.


  • At 1:38 AM , Blogger breon said...

    Interesting update. The whole SMS feature could probably stand alone as it's own application.

    However, I'm not going to argue with free features!

    I do like the vibe then ring addition :)

    Keep up the good work.


  • At 1:55 AM , Blogger CJ said...

    This might seem dumb, but I don't yet have an Android phone so I need to ask it -
    Where do I get this program and how do I get it onto my phone? In fact, how do I get any Android app onto my phone?

  • At 1:33 PM , Blogger Kelly said...


    When you have a phone, you can go to the Market application and navigate through it (or use the Search function) to find RingControl or any other application. Once you've found it, just follow the on-screen directions to install it. The application gets installed on your phone automatically.

    Hope this helps,

  • At 1:53 PM , Blogger Bill said...

    I like this app, but I'm not having much luck getting the SMS part to work.

    I'm running Cupcake 1.5 -- might that be the reason?


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