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 ( to check the exchange rates every now and then and iTrail ( 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 ( 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.