Archive for the 'Apple' Category

Annoying QuickTime Bug

Apple: please fix this very old and annoying bug with browser-embedded QuickTime on x64 versions of Windows.

If only I could get John Mayer to install Vista x64, that would probably do it.

Tethering: The Next Big Scam

If you thought 20 cent SMS was bad, hold on to your hat.

The next big scam coming out of your favorite cellular telco is tethering. What’s tethering you ask? Tethering is the act of connecting your laptop to your phone in order to get on the net and take advantage of that data plan you already pay for.

Why would anyone bother to give this behavior a name? Well to charge you more money, of course!

But wait, you say, I already shell out for the “unlimited” data plan! Yes but it’s only unlimited within the, uhh, limits of AT&T’s imagination! War is Peace; Freedom is Slavery; Limited is Unlimited

Perhaps next they’ll sell us the relaxification plan, whereby we are given permission to use our phones while napping in a hammock.

Mark my words: this is going to be a big deal soon. Avoidance of tethering rates will be the number one reason to jailbreak your iPhone. Customers will find enormous surprise bills as AT&T combs their usage logs to track down the rogue tether-ers. Web forum goers will trade tips on flying under the radar.

I must admit that I’m a bit shocked at the lack of uproar over tethering. Apparently consumers are just accepting it. There are even folks eagerly awaiting a tethering option for the iPhone.

Someday my phone will just be a small computer connected to a wireless internet. Someday.

Odd iPhone Maps Behavior

Yesterday, I got directions to a friend’s place using maps.google.com and my laptop. I then emailed a link to myself for use on the iPhone. The full-fledged mapping app had no trouble at all, but the phone complained “End location not found.”

I guess the iPhone app uses a different, less complete, map repository?

3 Days of 3G

Mark and his iPhone 3G

I’ve had my iPhone 3G a few days now, so I’m way past due for a blog post.

Email
At first, Gmail really sucked. Eventually I fixed most of the issues. The trick was not using the GMail setup “shortcut”, and rather to just manually configure IMAP. This page was quite helpful.

Alas, things could be better. I’m currently polling for new mail, which means an update latency of 15 minutes in the worst case. Still looking for a push mail solution that works with Gmail.

Calendar
My calendar stuff works now but again, its kludgey. I subscribe to my Google calendar with iCal, and sync it down when the phone is connected over USB. Realtime updates would be much nicer. (Update 3/9/09: Resolved! Check out the Google Sync beta.)

App Store
While the App Store is cool, I wish it would stop asking me for my damn password (especially when I am about to download an app which costs $0).

These apps are all useful and free:

  • Bloomberg.app — Better than the built-in stock app.
  • Google.app — Remember to go here when you want to initiate a search.
  • Facebook.app — The data is almost better than my contact list.

Billing
Be aware that you may lose your corporate discount when getting an iPhone. I wasn’t prepared for this.

My wife works for Microsoft. I work for AMD. Both have discount agreements with AT&T. Adding the iPhone to our family plan killed the (better) MS discount, but I was able to add the AMD discount instead.

It’s all very confusing. At one point I was told by an AT&T rep that we could get the MS discount but I would need to pay for the enterprise data plan ($45/mo instead of $30/mo).

Hacking
PwnageTool works great to jailbreak the iPhone, so long as you have an OS X machine. When you do this, you get Cydia, which is a slick port of Debian’s APT system to the iPhone. This is a great way to get cool software that Apple would never officially allow. I’ve installed the following rogue apps:

Misc
I haven’t tried to hook up with my employer’s Exchange server yet. My technical side wants to make it work — that is, until my lazy side bitch-slaps it and screams “work/life balance.”

Springboard (the home screen) looks really cluttered with 20 app-icons.

Wow, visual voicemail is nice. I had to reset my PIN before it worked, though.

Walls? What Walls?

Just a few minutes ago I was sitting in bed, shuffling 3 hours of The Beatles across AirTunes when suddenly iChat pops up with a video chat request. It was my wife, who is off visiting her family.

It wasn’t until after the chat session ended that I realized that iChat had automatically paused/resumed iTunes. Wow, Apple. Just…wow.

I know the Apple ecosystem is a walled-garden of sorts, but damn — is it ever nice in here.

Macs Overwhelm PCs @ Cafe Vivace

Rob and I are chillin’ at Cafe Vivace in Seattle. Really. Awesome. Coffee. It’s impossible not to notice the utter dominance of the Mac over the PC here. I think the ratio is maybe 5:1.

Better Safari Tabs

Thanks to this MacUser article and the just-released Safari 3.1, I finally have the tab behavior I want and expect. Now when I hit the “V” hot key in Google Reader, the article opens up in a new tab just like Firefox. Awesome!

To try this yourself, merely cast the following spell and restart Safari:

defaults write com.apple.Safari TargetedClicksCreateTabs -bool true

Update: It seems that I don’t have the behavior I expect after all. New links indeed open in a new tab, but a foreground tab. I often “queue up” a bunch of pages to read, so I prefer to open all my links in background tabs. Doh.