Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Moving to another Blog

In case you are wondering why I haven't posted here for a while, it is because I have decided that there are already too many iPhone blogs out there so instead of working on my own, i am contributing to an existing one. Feel free to follow this one, I am trying to contribute at least once a day to this new blog and there are two other writers, so you will get a lot more out of it.

Thanks for following!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Web Apps for the Iphone

There are LOTS of apps in the app store at the apple site and a lot available to those who chose to JAILBREAK their phones. But besides all those apps you can download, alot of web sites are creating special formatted pages for the iphone/itouch.

Here is a link to some list pages that list these types of apps (http://www.apple.com/webapps/index_top.html). I've called a few that i thought worthwhile or just funny.

A special iphone page all about coffee. It also allows you to track your coffee consumption and coffee habits.

A pretty nice backgammon game web page formatted just for the iphone.

Adam Symptom Navigator
Bring out the hypochondriac in everyone. Lets you diagnose your own symptoms!

Space Invaders for the iphone

Mobile Poker
This one is for you David!

A cool web based book reader that looks really good on the iphone.

A strange web site claiming to turn your iphone into a replicator. With tongue in cheek, it lets you create the following items:
- A slice of pizza
- A remote control
- A paper napkin

Gives you the recipes to make your favorite cocktails.

Photo Finder
Allows you to photos of different locations throughout the world by browsing a map

Upcoming Movies
Lets you see a list (and links to them on yahoo movie page) of upcoming movies. Links let you see the trailers.

Lets you preview and download over 5200 wallpapers for their iphone/itouch.

Lets you browse through a list of library books and other contents at local libraries. This is pretty cool.

Kelly Blue Book
An Iphone formatted version of this old faithful.

Lets you figure out what really sucks.

Soap Opera Headline News
Lets you keep up with what is happening on your soap operas.

Weight Date
Lets you track and chart your weight loss and tracks it online so you have no databases to sync.

3D Cube
"A Web 2.0 hardware accelerated rotating & scaling 3D Cube w/ animated textures using HTML, JavaScript, and Apple’s new CSS Transition, Transformation & Animation properties designed for iPhone & iPod Touch 2.0 Mobile Safari Browsers." Just for fun, but kinda cool.

Linux News Ticker
See all the current events for the Linux World.

Hurricane Central
With all the hurricanes coming and going, here is a link to find out if they are coming your way.

Very cool site that helps you browse the night sky and learn all about the planets and stars.

Monday, September 8, 2008

programming your directv reciever from your iphone

I saw a tv guide app in the app store. I thought this was pretty cool, but alas, I have a directv DVR and my local stations are not usually aligned with the published online guides. I then remembered that the Directv web page now let you browse an online tv guide and let you pick shows to record on your recievers.

I thought how cool would it be to be able to use your iphone like a remote and program your dvr. Rather than use the klunky dvr interface (cursoring around on the keyboard to search for shows) I could simply bring up the directv web page on my iphone and use the online guide to set up recording. Kind of like a smart remote.

I didn't have the greatest success. The web page definitely doesn't have an "m" mode, that is it doesn't support mobile small screens very effectively.
Also it doesn't remember your password, so you have to login each time.

Once I got past the screen layout and password, i could see the schedule and pick a show, but the jsp was failing on before I was able to pick a reciever and set up a show to record. I could see the guide though, which was pretty cool, though it took a lot of scrolling to see it all).

This seemed to take longer all in all then to just program it using my normal remote. However, if someone were to create an iphone app to do this, (ie use the mobile space effectively, allow you to scroll using multitouch techniques, and allow you to set up your account so you don't have to log in each time, it could be really powerful.

Update: Nothing new under the sun. I just found a mobile directv site. It is www.directv.com/DTVAPP/mobile. The main site is not smart enough to recognize your mobile app, but this url seemed to work. Here is a link to the article i found on it. http://www.intomobile.com/2008/01/21/directvs-new-mobile-site-lets-you-control-your-directv-dvr-through-your-mobile-phone.html.

It has a very basic menu, but pretty much lets me do what i wanted. It has Search For Shows, and a Manual Record feature. No guide, but search is pretty useful and the build in dvr guide fills my requirement to just see what is on now.

The Search for Shows feature lets you enter a search string. It display a list of matching shows. Pick one, and it gives you a description and the option to Record Once, Record the Series, or see more showtimes. I have multiple recievers, so when i pick record, i get list of recievers. Once i pick the reciever, i can give it a recording priority. Since I can't see the list of what is already set up, i can say "record if possible" or "Definitely Record this".

The Manual Record feature lets you pick a channel, date, time, duration to record just like recording on your old faithful VCR. This is usually only useful when the guide data is not accurate, but neat to have.

Also, I had high hopes for the login part, because the sign in form has a remember me, but doesn't seem to work. Each time i go to the web page, i have to enter it from scratch.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Speeding up your iphone syncs

When I sync my iphone to itunes, it takes forever and most of that time it says "Backing up Iphone". I just found a great tip on line that says the reason the backup takes so long is not the backup itself but the time it takes for errors and bugs to be reported to Apple. On that first day when you sync the iphone it prompted you whether or not you wanted error messages sent to apple. You probably said Yes like i did, thinking it was new and if you had a bug, you would want Apple's help.

To remove this setting, all you have to do is right click on your iphone in Itunes under Devices and click Reset Warnings. Now disconnect and reconnect and you should be prompted to report errors or not. NOT! Now sync and see what happens.


Made the decision today to jailbreak my iphone. Since my phone has already been so tempermental the last few days, i figured what the hell.

So I downloaded the QuickPwn tool for my mac.

It is pretty straight forward to do. You plug it in, it recognizes the iphone and then it prompts you to reboot and then hold the HOME key down while it is booting it again. It then installs some files on you iphone. It tells you that it will install some stuff on your iphone and then reboot. The only confusing parts were that 1) it took a long time to reboot (5 minutes) so I thought at first it didn't work. 2) the tool automatically starts to install it a second time. At first I thought it was trying to do a verify but then I realized it was actually trying to do it all over again and I cancelled out.

When it finally rebooted, I had a pineapple instead of an apple logo!

Added to my screen icons were two new ones. Installer and Cydia. I ran Cydia and it told me some components were out of date (already?) so i let it update itself. After it did that and automatically restarted itself. It took me to its Home screen. There I picked an option to see Featured packages.

There are quite a lot. I downloaded BossPrefs first because it was one of the main reasons (that and VOIP) that i wanted to jailbreak it. It lets you with a one icon select come to a screen that lets you turn wifi, bluetooth, and 3g on and off. It also lets you customize a lot of other stuff like hide and show icons, disable the apple app killswitch, show free disk space and create you own icon doc.

Installed great. Really nice app.

Secondly I installed Snapture. This is really cool camera replacement app that lets you digitally zoom in (using gestures) and MY favorite part, lets you take a picture by pressing anywhere on the screen. Very very cool.

Things I haven't tried yet include an app called Syncstep, which says it tracks how fast you are walking and plays songs from your music library to match your pace.

Also cool looking is a NES Emulator

I need to go play with what i have already installed so i'll get another blog post out later.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Back from Vacation in Canada and Some interesting apps

I just got back from a two week vacation in Nova Scotia. Although I loved it, It was hard not having the data connection on my iphone. I know that sounds really geeky but i have become really dependent on the internet. Walking around, looking at the cool geology, looking for a place to eat, trying to find how to get to a tourist spot and wondering if it is any good, i kept wanting my iphone. Sure there are public wifi spots all around nova scotia (this is really cool i think), but it becomes clear quickly how few apps work really well disconnected. For example, the GPS can identify your exact coordinates, but without the google data to add context (and Points of Interest), the gps is that useful. It would be nice to have the ability to load maps onto your iphone before hand for cases like these.

I did use the Currency app (http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=284220417&mt=8) to check the exchange rates every now and then and iTrail (http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=286695233&mt=8) was great when we were hiking in Cape Breton National Park.

For those of you who haven't traveled to other countries with a smart phone, data roaming charges will kill you financially so it is important to turn off Data roaming before leaving the USA. I figured out that the data connection charges would be about $20 dollars a MB. So i turned it off and settled for just occasionally wifi connections to check my mail and quickly lookup anything i needed. (My family got a bit tired waiting around for me at wifi spots after the 3rd day)

When I came home, i had a nice text message from Apple waiting for me, telling me to install 2.0.2 firmware. Having been disconnected, i hadn't heard about it in Canada or heard about what it fixed. A bit disappointing in that I can't actually tell the difference for all the time it takes to patch the firmware.
But I made it through installing the 2.0.2 patch without much trouble. Had a strange problem with after the patch, my pc wouldn't recognize the iphone usb device driver. After uninstalling, reinstalling itunes and trying alot of other voodoo, I found the strangest advice online. Shutdown your computer, unplug it and wait a good minute or two. Plug it back in and restart it and amazingly it worked.

Some new apps
I just downloaded a few apps that I thought were worth mentioning.

My new favorite is Wifinder.

This app not only displays the current wifi connections available to you, it also attempts to get a small web page from each of them, so it can tell you if there is any type of limiting logon page. This is so great when you are trying to look for an available wifi site in a public area. In Nova Scotia, sometimes I would have to try 3 or 4 of the ones that advertised no security, but forced me to go to the web and login or give a credit card number before it would let you use it.

Connecticut Traffic CAm

This cool app lets you see all the traffic cams in Connecticut on your ipod.

Central Park, New York

This map gives you an overview and map of the park. Great for tourists like me that only get there once or twice a year. My friends Jeff C and Jacque R are going to NYC this weekend, maybe they'll try it out and let me know if it works. (You can also check out DC City Guide and DC traffic Cams while you are at it. Both free)

This app lets you identify birds, but also allows you to use your gps and web connection to register sightings. If I was into bird watching i would love this even more, but i thought it was a creative use of the iphone.

TV Guide
Although it currently only has Australian tv info, I have been waiting for this app. Good idea!

Yatzee Games
I have always loved playing Yatzee as a kid and was hoping for a good Yatzee like game for the iphone. I first downloaded Dicee and i really didn't like it. It was really hard to pick the scoring method you want to use for the current roll. I just downloaded Dice (http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=284911691&mt=8) and so far i like it alot.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

up and running again and using Files

After resetting the ipod and clearing all the data and settings, I restored my iphone using the last backup. It worked! All my apps are running. Strangely enough, it didn't restore my email settings and some data from some of my apps was missing.

Wouldn't it have been brilliant if Apple had made the iphone so as soon as it was connected on to a wifi network, it gave you the option of joining a neighborhood or showed up as a webdav connection on your mac. Then all you would have to do is drag files onto the iphone on your desktop to move data and apps around.

Well it isn't integrated, but the Files iphone app is pretty cool. Last night, I installed it on my iphone. It turns the iphone into a webdav server so you can connect to it in the network neighborhood or in your mac shared connections. Drag and drop files onto the connection on your mac or pc and the files transfer to your iphone.

On your iphone
You can create a folder structure on your iphone and then that structure is exposed as shared and shows up beneath the network connection. You can pretty much open and view all the files types that you can as mail attachments on your iphone.

At this point, since the iphone doesn't really have a shared file structure, other apps can't see the files but that should be the next step.

Two nice things: You can turn the webdav server on and off at a touch of a button and you can see the ip address that the iphone is using to make it easy to map network drives to it.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

updating to 2.0.1

Last night, i ran the update to 2.0.1 on my iphone before going to bed. All seemed to go well. I did notice that some of my apps were missing from itunes and I had to redownload them. I don't know if this was related to the itunes /iphone upgrade or just a syncing issue. Using the "Check for purchases" option did nothing. I had to look at my itunes reciepts and then search on itunes store for each of them and install them again. It knew that I had already purchased them and didn't charge me a second time so there was at least that :)

This morning is the first time I tried to use my iphone since the upgrade. It looked fine and all my apple apps ran fine. Every single other app though crashes as soon as i try to run it. Here is the series of steps I went through to get this to work:

I powered off my iphone and powered it back on. Still the same.

I reset it (holding sleep and home key). still the same.
I tried to uninstall all my apps and reinstall them. Uninstall went fine, but the app store won't reinstall them. The message says that the apps are already installed.

I Reset the iphone again. All the apps i had uninstalled, by some miracle, appeared again. That was a bit wierd.

Uninstalled the apps again. Same problems.

Synced my phone with itunes again. Same problem.

Tried removing the apps by syncing with itunes with all no syncing apps.
No change. Apps should have disappeared but didn't.

Now I am resetting all settings and data on the iphone using the option under the General Settings. It warns that it takes 2 hours. I am about 1/2 hour in.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Look at all the new applications

I am amazed. I figured out if I went to itunes store and picked All Applications and then sorted them by "release date" I can keep up with whatever new apps are released each day. I have to say the amount is enormous. On Monday, it was at least 30, although this includes updates as well as new apps.

The number of updates is also getting a little over the top. I have been installing on average 4 or 5 updates to apps each day. I find it much faster to do the install in itunes and then sync it then to try to install the updates over the wireless.

I just counted to do's adds/updates and it was 100 apps!

screen protectors for the iphone

I bought a polyurethane skin for the iphone the day i got it and it came with a plastic screen saver. I am a bit worried about these because i once put one on my ipod video and left it on there for a few months. When I finally removed it, it left a really stick film on it that i couldn't get off. And Ironically, scrubbing it to get it off, i actually scratched my screen.

So although wary, I knew I would be touching my screen a lot and that it is dangerous in my pocketbook to all types of screens, so i decided to try the one that came with my skin i bought at the att store. I figure it is practically an authorized screen cover. :) This was not very successful. I guess i suck at putting on these things, because no matter how much i fussed with it, i couldn't get all the wrinkles and air bubbles out and it looked bad.

So I bought some more at the ATT Store when I went back to get my husband's iphone. Didn't do much better with these. Although I do admit the old ones came off easily and without leaving a mess. They new ones were too thin and very sticky as well. Also they didn't fit exactly right. But also at the ATT Store I bought a second skin, for myself, thinking i would give the black original one to my husband. This one came with a really nice screen saver. It was also a Casemate It was a stiffer plastic and it had just a tacky side to it. Very easy to position and I only had to remove about 4 air bubbles which was so easy to remove.

It looks better than without one. Very sleek and shiny and you can't even really tell that the screen is covered. And the touch seems to work perfectly through the plastic.

So I felt bad that my husband now had one of the bumpy bubbly ones so I tried ordering a pack from apple. These are as good as the ones I got with my case. Installed it in seconds and it looks and works great.


I have to say that i'm a bit disappointed with the bluetooth on the iphone. It seems severely crippled and the only thing it seems to be able to let me do so far is connect it to headsets. My computer has bluetooth and although it recognizes the iphone connection, it doesn't seem to let me use it as a modem or any of the more advanced bluetooth features. I would love to be able to sync with bluetooth or to be able to print to my bluetooth printer.

Another thing that is disappointing is its ability to remember bluetooth settings. In my blackberry, it works just like wifi on the iphone. If it senses a bluetooth connection that I have already paired with, it just automatically connects. The problem is that I have two cars that both have blueset handsfree set ups. After a few tickets when they changed the law in connecticut to make it illegal to talk on the cellphone whlie driving, we sprang for the built in system on our toyota and bought our grand caravan with the built in Uconnect system.

For the first two weeks, I have had a really hard time moving back and forth between cars. Each time I switched cars, I couldn't get the iphone to recognize the other car unless i unpaired the first bluetooth connection, rediscovered the new one and reentered the passcode. This sucks!

Today for some weird reason, I was able to pair the motorola bluetooth with my iphone without unpairing the Uconnect. I'm going to take the other car tomorrow and see if it remembers the Uconnect settings or if i'll have to reenter them again. I honestly don't know what I did differently this time. I forced the motorola bluetooth into discovery mode and it just popped up.

Today, I don't even know what I did differently, I was able to add a second pairing to my iphone without unpairing the first device. I will see tommorrow if it will simply work in my other car or if I'll have to do something again. From having to play with this so much lately, I also wish it wasn't buried so many levels in the settings menu. I wish bluetooth was at the top of the settings menu with wireless.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Posted on 26 Jul 2008 at 00:01 UTC


My husband got his Iphone yesterday

He ordered it July 13th and it came in yesterday, the 24th. Not too bad. Interestingly enough, I was able to share all the apps I had purchased with him by just synching it to the same machine. I also downloaded the guitar toolkit for him, since he is a guitar player. It is pretty cool. It gives you one display where you can play a note and the app will identify the note and sharp/flat. Another display shows a set f guitar strings and you can play them and pluck them and it looks like, you can try out chords. The third display is a metronome. The fourth display allows you to select a chord and it will show you a visual image of where to hold your fingers to play it. Very nicely done.

So far he is pretty fascinated and can't wait to get his new mac so he can start creating games for it. We had a mac cube but the SDK requires an intel based Mac. So we decided we could use a new mac and I just ordered a new imac today. I will blog how using the iphone with a mac compares with using it with a pc.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Using Mobileme to sync my contacts and calendar

I decided to try mobileme. I like the idea of having all my contact lists synced and my husband just bought a mac so we got a discount on the family price. This will let us have 5 people use it with the one license. It only costs $50 dollars more for the family plan and you get a $30 discount when you buy a mac. Since my husband and I will both use it for iphones and it is cheaper than buying two separate subscriptions.

First I synced and backed up my iphone one last time.

Next i synced my pc with mobilelme. It was pretty easy to set up because you just need to register and create an account. This lets you get an email address and an account name and password.

Note: If you start this in Itunes, you get two months free trial right now.

The software was already installed (came with itunes) and all i had to do on my pc was go into the control panel and open the MobileMe Control Panel item. This allows you to associate your account info and setup the sync.

You can schedule it to run daily, hourly, every fifteen minutes, as needed. It will sync the contacts on my pc with the contacts stored out there on the mobileme Cloud each time it runs.

You can also store files that you want to share across multiple computers using the idisk feature. I put a file out there for some software i have that doesn't have a smart sync and I am going to try to share that file between computers.

On my iphone, You set it up like you do an email account.

*Under Settings/ Mail, Contacts, Calendars menu you tap the Add Account list item and then pick mobileme from the list of email types on the next screen.
*You will get prompted to put in your mobileme account name and password.
*Next you have to decide what you want to sync. Your choices are Mail, Contacts, Calendars, and Bookmarks. There is no idisk options here so there is no way to access those shared files that are stored on mobileme as part of idisk. At least I haven't figured out how to do it yet. You also define how often you want your iphone to sync.

I haven't had time to really test it yet, but i'll give you an update when i find out.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Don't overlook those new iphone earbuds

If you are like me, you look at the iphone headphones and leave them in the box. However, it wasn't until i started reading the manual (ughh) that I realized that these headphones are not the typical ipod headphones. They come with a special switch/microphone that lies between the earbuds and the place where the two separate wires join together. You can use this switch to do all sorts of things. And it even works when the iphone is locked.

When you listening to music
* Click once to pause, and again to play.
* Click twice quickly to skip to the next track

If you get a call while the headset is plugged in, you can hear the ringtone through
both the iPhone speaker and the headset. HERE IS THE COOLEST PART. If you are listening to music when the phone rings, The music pauses itself and then resumes when you hang up.

When the phone rings
* Click once to pick up the call. The microphone allows you to talk with just the headphones on.
* You can also reject the call. Press and hold for about two seconds, then let
go. When you let go, two low beeps confirm you declined the call. (you can also do this by pressing the on/off button at the top of the phone)

When you are already on a call:
*Click once to end a call

When you are already on a call, and you get a second call
*Click once to switch to an incoming or on-hold call and put the current call on hold. Click again to switch back to the first call.

*Press and hold for about two seconds, then let go to switch to an incoming call and hang up the first call. When you let go, two low beeps confirm you
ended the first call.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Iphone radio

There are several cool radio apps out there, but I am pretty impressed with Pandora. You set up an account or login to an existing account. If you set up a new one you have to go to the web page and enter a code that is displayed on the iphone. Not too hard.

Once you get into Pandora, you can create your own radio stations by giving them a song or artist that you like. They use what they are calling the music genome database to stream you music that you will like based on this pick.

I created them on the web, but they showed up on my iphone within seconds. Once I picked a station to listen to, it started to play the songs. On the iphone you have thumbs up and thumbs down icons that you can tap to let know Pandora know if you liked the song. They will then use this info to better refine the music they stream to you for that station.

Very cool.

It strikes me as strange that I can listen to music on my iphone that i havent downloaded and paid for. I could get used to this. Rather than constantly changing what I am syncing to my iphone, I can just listen to the stations.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Voice mail rocks

When you get a voicemail it shows up on a list just like email. There is no special number to dial. No codes to remember for navigation. You simply click on the call item in the list to hear the message. You can pause it and restart it over and over. Delete it by simply tapping on the trash icon.

Very simple interface besides that. There is a convenient speaker button on the screen to make it easy to hear your messages through the external speakers. You record and change the greeting by tapping a Greeting icon and speaking into the Microphone.

Getting the volume right

I have noticed some different behaviours with the volume. Using the volume rocker most of the time raises the volume system wide. When a song is playing, even when the ipod screen isn't up, the rocker only affects the music volume. In Youtube, if you are actively playing a video, the rocker only increases the video volume.

I love the mute switch right above the volume rocker. Very nice way to toggle between totally off and normal volume settings.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Speed Dial

Everyone is talking about the iphone lacking cut/copy/paste, but what i missed most was speed dial. I found a work around that gives me what I want. In the contacts app, I used the favorites option to pick all my friends and families numbers. Then in settings, i set it so that double clicking the Home button brings up the favorite panel. Then just hit the person/number that you want to dial. Takes a double-tap and a tap each time, but still works well.

App store update app featue

I like how the app store icon changes to display the number of updates available for the software you have already downloaded. Simply go back to the app store and click on the download icon in the lower right corner and say download all to apply all the available updates.

The same holds true for updating the firmware/OS. I sync it and Itunes just lets me know that I have to update it. I was having problems with my blackberry once and I wanted to see if there was a patch for it. I had to start at the RIM page, find my way to the AT&T page, navigate through model lists and current version lists to find the OS. Then I had to download it and use a special download function in my blackberry sync app. Needless to say, I haven't done it since. Maybe that is what they want. For us to not download patches. They make it so hard to do and find.

Not entirely related, but it just occurred to me today, is that I also like how you can sort apps in the App store when you're looking in the top 25 section by Top Paid and Top Free. I also like the search feature so you can just search on a name or a word in the name. I know Apple makes money off the software that is paid and not the free software, but they are making it easy for us to get the free stuff anyway.

Publishing to this blog with my Iphone now

I got iphone blogging down now. Blogger.com lets you associate a phone number with a blog (a few validation steps in there though) and when you email to go@blogger.com and it detects your phone number, it automatically adds it either a new blog it creates for you or you can pick a blogspot.com blog you already started. This is cool because it will let me add stuff here as i think of them while playing with my phone.

Sent from my Iphone 3G

We are going to be a two person iphone household

My husband just decided to get an iphone too. He is a game developer and is itching to get an iphone game out there. He has a really good idea too, but I can't tell. We ordered it on Tuesday from our local AT&T store. I'll let you know how long it takes to arrive.

I have been showing him the quality of the games and he has been pretty impressed. I think the accelerometer and the crisp color screen make it a great gaming platform.

Plus I like the idea that when i am bored, stuck in an airport somewhere, I can play games. Once my friend Jonathan and I got stuck in St Louis for about 7 hours and we played this really wimpy version of trivial pursuit on my old verizon phone for several hours. That is how bored we were.

Oh No, Battery won't charge!

I just had a bad scare with my iphone. I charged it this morning and was using it for about 15 minutes when it shut down on me. I rebooted it and it came up and said battery was less than 10% charged and it would shut down. The battery had a small thin red line. I didn't have my charger so I used my friends charger later that day and it wouldn't charge at all. It would work plugged in, but the battery stayed empty.

I tried charging it again with my cradle when I got home. Nope. Not going to charge. My husband suggested it wasn't the battery but the battery indicator, but I figured it didn't matter because either way it shut down.

I tried using the apple support web page, but it was pretty frustrating. it took me to a web page where I had to pick my problem from a list to continue and "battery won't charge" wasn't on the list. So I picked "adaptor broken". The next dropdown box wanted to know what part i wanted to replace and again no good choices. Every part but the iphone itself was listed.

So i called the main apple support line and waited on hold for about 20 minutes until I got a human. She said it would take a day to send me a box and then about three more days to get me a new iphone. I was bummed because after all it took to get one and get it activated, and synced, i would have to go phoneless for 1/2 a week and then start all over again with a new iphone.

I asked if I could give a credit card and they could ship my new iphone to me rather than wait until i got the mailing box and then sent it back, but she said no. Nicely she even asked her manager but still no. But good news! While talking to her manager she talked to a tech guy and he said to try hard booting it and that if it was the battery indicator, it might clear up the problem.

Here's how you hardboot the iphone: Press and hold the menu button and power button simultaneously until the silver apple appears.

This worked. When it rebooted the battery showed a 3/4 charge and synching in the cradle has caused it to continue recharging.

I am a bit too happy. Can't get attached to a device here :)

Maps and traffic

I love the google maps app. I love the fact that I can see the urls, phone numbers and directions to and from a marker pin on the map. I was finally in an area yesterday where I could see the traffic. for those of you who haven't discovered that feature, navigate on the map to the location you want, and then hit the overlay icon in the lower right corner. Then Press traffic button. if it isn't available, the button text says something like "traffic information not available". When it is available you will see a red or yellow highlight on the roads where there are traffic.

Not as fancy as my gps but the data is cool and if they could write an app that lets us report traffic to the service from our iphone, how cool would that be.

Use two fingers to double tap the map to zoom out and one finger double tap to zoom in.

See this page for an explanation of what the map traffic colors mean.

Home screen

Got so many apps now that my home screen is getting hard to navigate.

I love the fact that iphone creates panels automatically when you fill
up a panel. However it just adds new icon to the end of the current

Here's some tips for moving icons around.

Press and hold your finger on an icon. The icons will start to wiggle and some of them will little red x's in their upper left hand corner. This means you are navigate mode and shows the icons are ready to move. Now you can drag any icon to a new
place. Drag it off screen to move it to a new panel.

Tap on an x in the upper left hand corner of an icon to delete it and
uninstall an app.

Press the home button to exit the wiggle mode and go to normal navigation.

You can add icons that represent web pages through bookmarking. In any
web based app, tap the + button in the tool bar and select

Sent from my iPhone 3g

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Installing applications

I have been having a blast installing apps. Some of the coolest ones so far are:

Where To: Gives you a dial where you can quickly pick what layer you want to see on the googlemaps. You can pick restaurant, theater, Airports, Hospitals, Grocery stores, Schools etc. After you pick the layer, it takes you to a screen where you can specify an address or say "use current location". Then it takes you to google maps and shows you your location and bunch of pins to each of selected places. Tap on a pin and you can see the phone number, url, and address for the place. Just like on my Garmin Nuvi, but the data directly linked to google maps and live so it is much more up to date. You can do this without this app in the map app but this is just a quick shortcut for displaying different types of places.

Shazam: Allows you to hold up your phone to a music source (radio, speaker, etc) and it will record a few seconds of it. It then sends it to the internet server and comes back with the name of the song and artist and link to sample the song or buy it on itunes.

AIM: The aim client is very nice and easy to use. Gets right to the point.

Box Office: Based on your current location shows you what movie theaters are close to you and what movies and movie times are showing at them. Cool app but did reboot my iphone at one point.

Remote: With a simple download and entering a number into itunes, I am able to control what is playing at my desktop on itunes. It works through wireless. You can pick songs, stop and start songs, move to next track, previous track. After you install it, it displays a number code. You sync it on itunes and you will get prompted to enter the code. Enter it and thats it. Very cool. Works for us because we have a computer in the kitchen that has speakers upstairs and downstairs. I can sit downstairs in the living room and change what is playing throughout the house.

Kenkou - allows you to track health data. I am a diabetic and was always looking for an app on my bb that would allow me to track my glucose AND my weight AND other things like cholesterol and and BP. This tool has it all. Lets you also graph it. Wish there was a way to enter past data quickly so I could back fill it with the info in my little log book they gave me. One less thing to carry around. Cool!

Splash ID - Allows you to store all of your passwords and accounts, credit card info, etc. I use one on my desktop called Password keeper, but i needed it at work and other places sometimes. Tried to keep my work one and my home one is sync was a pain. Splash ID allows me to wireless sync to my desktops every time I change it on my iphone. Very cool. Was easy to setup and it really works. Comes with a desktop tool to make it easier to enter them, but I didn't like that i had to pay for that too.

Very fun game that rolls dice by shaking the iphone. Beautiful graphics as well.

Etch A Sketch - I had to buy this because I loved the idea of it. Draw using two little on screen knobs or your finger and then shake the iphone to clear the screen. Hahahaha!

Playing with Safari

Things that I have learned about Safari so far.

Tapping twice on a web page in the Safari browser zooms in on the page. Tapping twice again zooms out again. Tapping with two fingers zooms out even more.

Clicking the page icon at the bottom of the safari browser, lets you thumb through the open web pages, much like tabs to in Mozilla.

I can't figure out how to cut and paste, but clicking on the little x on the address bar in Safari, clears the current contents.

Tapping on Edit in the Bookmarks link and then tapping Edit lets you set up folders for your bookmark structure.

Tapping in a text field, zooms the field and brings up the keboard. Previous and Next allow you to toggle between the fields on the page.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Setting Up my email

I added all my email accounts and it was pretty easy except it said that hotmail wasn't supported. I searched on google and found an article on MSDN that said to set the pop3 server to pop3.live.com and the Outgoing Mail server(SMTP) to smtp.live.com. This seems to have worked. I can see my hotmail inbox, but not any of my other folders. Good enough for now. No problem setting up gmail and or my isp provider email. Worked great.

Things I have noticed so far about email:

Cant figure out a way to delete all the contents at once. I have a spam folder in gmail and i want to just say delete it all. Can't get that to work. Although you can tap Edit and then select emails and then say Delete to delete a bunch of them at a time. Problem is that it will only display so many on the screen at once and it is a bit clumsy trying to select and scroll.

You can drag your finger in a left to right motion across an email in the inbox list (kind of like drawing a line through it) and a delete button appears on the right side of the mail item. Tap the delete button to delete it.

You can also delete pretty quickly when you are inside an email. Tap the garbage can at the bottom of the email. After the current one is deleted, it moves you to the next one. Tapping the garbage can is easy, but it takes a bit of time between taps.

Under settings \ Fetch New Data you can control how often the Iphone goes out and fetches new mail or you can leave it at Manual to save connection charges.

If you are having sending mail, you can switch off your outgoing smtp server in the Settings/Mail, Contacts, Calendars screen and turn on the ATT SMTP server. Pick an email account and then scroll down to Outgoing Mail server and pick the SMTP cascade menu. Toggle your smtp off and the AT&T SMTP Server on.

Clicking on a from or To name in an email brings you to screen where you can create a new contact or Add the address to an existing contact. That is a feature i have waited for for a long time.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Syncing with Itunes for the first time

As soon as I put the iphone in the cradle, the itunes server popped up and told me to upgrade my itunes to 7.7. I upgraded and tried again. This time it recognized the iphone 3G and presented me with a new set of tabs. I could now see a new Ringtone tab and an Application Tab. It also gave more options about syncing contacts. Under Help menu, I notice a new Iphone Help option.

I tried to create a ring tone and it told me I had to use a song i purchased from itunes. I went to my itunes Purchased folder and tried one. It told me that the song wasn't eligible. I tried another and it told me that I had purchased it too long ago! Ugh! So i tried on Carol King song i had just bought and it proceeded. However, it wanted to charge me another .99 cents to make it. I have already paid for it! I hit cancel and said forget it.

I searched on the web and found out how to make them for free with GarageBand software and found several apps that let you do it for free.

I hit sync and that went smoothly.

*Interesting enough, I had my contacts on my computer at work and when I hooked it up to that computer, it warned me that I had already synced it to another computer and that I could lose data, but then it proceeded to let me sync selected things to my iphone (like just my contacts) and said there was stuff on my iphone that wasn't in itunes and did I want to transfer that to itunes! Wow! remember the days where it would overwrite it all. A two way sync! How cool.

Learning how to use the keyboard and interface

The keyboard is a change from my blackberry. I am trying to use my thumbs like i did with my BB keyboard and it doesn't seem to work. Jeff C (who has a touch) says to use your index finger. Works great! Only making a few mistakes now and then now. I have to say with my blackberry that i have had for about 4 years now, i still make typing errors all the time even though i have gotten quite fast.

I love the touch screen. After using it for a day, I try to use my ipod and I keep trying to touch the screen instead of using the dial. It seems painful to go back to the dial paradigm.

I am gradually getting used to the touch interface. Not documented very clearly but it is intuitive once you learn it.

Things I have learned about the keyboard:

Pressing and holding the backspace button allows you to keep deleting.

Pressing and holding the shift key allows you to keep on typing in caps. Pressing and releasing allows the next letter only to be caps.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Trying to find time to play with it!

I get to work (late now because of all the waiting in line) and go right into a meeting. I am clutching my iphone because I hope that I will get a chance to play with it in the meeting. My friend Jeff C sees it (he has been pining me on my blackberry while we are standing in line asking me on my progress so he knows all). During the meeting he tries to "subtley" nudge it toward him with his elbow or cover it with his hand and grab it. We are being pretty silly and the person we are in the meeting with us gets frustrated and says "Do you two want to have time to go play with the cell phone?" To which we laugh but I'm thinking "Yes, i really want to go play with it".

I get home and because I having my yearly fourth of july bash (we had to cancel it the week before due to inclement weather) the next day, I have to do a ton of chores and work around the house. I go to bed that night with barely anytime to do anything but turn it on and look at the basic screens.

Before bed, I send the user manual to my kindle so I can start reading it.

Buying the Iphone

We meet at the store and there is already a line. John is there waiting when I get there. I bring the starbucks. About 11 people in front of him and two behind him. I got into line behind them rather than cutting because i don't want to start a war with some gadget hungry geeks. They wonderfully tell me it is okay with them if I move up to stand with john. "They probably have 300 iPhones so don't worry about it". I thank them profusely and move up to stand with John. People ahead of us have lawn chairs (I did think of it but really didn't think i would be standing in line for too long). The manager comes out after a while and hands out data sheets that talk about the different plans and options so we can decided what we want while waiting in line. After waiting for an hour, the store opens. They let the first four people in. By this point there is at least 60 to 100 people behind us. I can't really tell for sure, because the line started to wrap around the building. The first people took a really long time. The manager finally comes out and says they are having a hard time activating the phones. She says that it is taking a long time. I suggest that she keeps moving people in line through to get their accounts set upand people who are waiting for phone activation can just either wait outside or come back and get their phones. It is getting hot outside and if it takes 1/2 hour per person, it is going to take all day. 1/2 hour later - Manager comes out again and says people can activate the phones themselves in Itunes so they will start moving people faster. 1/2 hour later - Manager comes out and says she has 3 black 8 gb iphones and 8 16 gb white iphones left. We count back in line and realize we will get one but get angry because they could have figured out an hour ago how many they had vs how many people were in line and told people to go home. John is bummed because he wanted a 16 gb black iphone. I tell him it doesn't matter because we will get skins to protect our beloved new gadget and no one will be able to tell the color anyway. 1/2 hour later (10:00 am) I get in the door. They are going to leave John in line, but I say "We're together" and they let him in as well. He let me go first but I couldn't leave him out there :) I'm finally at the counter. I get a white 16 gb phone and nice black skin that also has a screen protector. My last ipod i really did a number on the screen so I want to protect this new one from day one. They can't get the SIM card to work. John is having problems getting his activated. They finall y get my sim card to work and my activation goes right through. John decides to take his and go and will activate it later at home. A few minutes later I am getting into my car with my new iphone. I have to call in for a meeting so I don't even get time to stop and play with it.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

How Do I get one?

July 8th

Now that I know I want one, where am i going to get it? I live in small town in South eastern Connecticut and the closest apple store is over an hour a way. I noticed my friend John's laptop in a meeting one day, where he is reading the iphone web site. He is definitely a kindred spirit when it comes to the gadget crazed part of me. I called him to see if he had plans to buy one. He is going to go to a local AT&T store that he has called and they will have Iphones. The store opens at 8:00 am so we decide to meet at 7:00 am outside the store on July 11th.

Our thinking is that even though in NY there will be large lines, this is New London Connecticut so really who is going to be waiting for an Iphone.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

New Iphone 3G Coming

When I found the iphone 2.0 or 3G was coming out in July, I was really psyched because my Verizon contract expired at the end of June. I searched daily for news of whether this new version would have a GPS. Finally with two weeks to go, I found a site that confirmed the GPS inclusion. I had just bought a new GPS at BestBuy for my trip to Washington DC. In order to justify the expenditure of a new Iphone, i returned the GPS.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

To Buy or Not Too Buy

When I heard the Iphone was coming out, I was still locked into my Verizon contract and I just wasn't sure if the Iphone was right for me. I really wanted a GPS in my phone, although at the time, I didn't really the know the full extent of how helpful a GPS could be. I decided to hold out until at least my Verizon contract had expired.