Friday, December 5, 2008

Google Maps-Street View on the 2.2

December 5th, 2008 - I couldnt wait to put this post the moment I tried the Google Maps-Street View feature, it was amazing and even surreal for a moment. This feature came with the 2.2 Update and I think this is by far the only meaningful change worth talking about

It took me some time to figure out where the hell was this feature, navaigating the Maps. So here's how you see it...
  1. Tap MAPs on the Home Screen
  2. Type the name of a US City or US Street Address (this works best for the so-called "first-world countries")
  3. Then Tap on the icon (as indicated below) on the left of the Address listed.
  4. Woosh! it is almost like Magic, you are transported to a 360 degree view of that Street or any famous Street of that city

Check this. Wonder when this will capture images of Mumbai, now that is surreal for sure

You can move around the screen (works only in Landscape mode) by using your fingers and also pinch to zoom in and out. When you see a white arrow on a Street name (like the one shown in the pic above), just tap the arrow and it will take you further ahead of the road, all the way up to a point where there is nothing else to :) Try it to believe it !

Monday, December 1, 2008

Upgrade to 2.2 - Complete

December 1st, 2008 - I completed the 2.2 Upgrade on my iPhone today. This update was released by Apple on Nov 21 and though it did not boast a whole host of features that still remains on the wish-list, it was expected to make the O/S a little faster and fix the usual bugs. I was interested but I was cautious like I am every time an Upgrade comes out. So far I haven't had any issues Upgrading but all that changed with 2.2

For the first time I experienced what it might feel like when your jailbroken iPhone suddenly gets locked (cannot use the SIM card) by the original software. I had read extensively about this Upgrade and it did point out that it might lock the phone but all information was pointing to the 3G iPhone and nothing about the 2G (first-gen). Now after having done the Upgarde, I can confirm, the 2.2 Upgrade will not only take away all the customization (courtsey jailbreak) but will actually LOCK the phone.

So what's the solution, well the Dev Team came out with the 2.2 QuickPwn software within 24 Hours of the official release of 2.2 Upgrade and it was capable of jailbreak + unlock. I was about to find out.

I followed the usual procedure to Upgrade...mind you, this is for the first-gen (2G) iPhone only
  1. Download and Install 2.2 Upgrade via iTunes (you should have the latest version of iTunes). Just connect the iPhone and start iTunes, you will be prompted for an Upgrade
  2. Once the software is installed, your iPhone will reboot and you will see a notification in iTunes that "this SIM card is NOT supported" which basically means, the phone is LOCKED. You will not be able to do anything except make emergency calls. Intrestingly, the phone is updated with your last known Backup and all your Media is in-place except you cannot access it coz the phone is locked
  3. Run the QuickPwn 2.2 software and follow the instructions, you need to check the option UNLOCK besides adding Installer and Cydia. You will be prompted for the good ol binary files 3.9 and 4.6, you can get them here and that's about that, you need to get the iPhone in the DFU (Recovery) Mode correctly just like the on-screen instructions prompt you and you are done

Enjoy the new software and jailbroken ofcourse !

Now, two things that was a learning from this Upgrade was, first NEVER Upgrade if you know there is no UNLOCK option available (in this case QuickPwn 2.2).

Second was rather a GEEK discovery...QuickPwn 2.2 for Windows (Vista) does not self-extract/run if you are running an Anti-Virus like Kaspersky in the background. Close the Anti-Virus temporarily and the software should was one helluva task to find that information but worth the wait

So there you go, the 2G (first-gen) iPhone running the latest 2.2 software.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Upgrade to 2.1 - Complete

6th October, 2008 - The time is 10:45 AM Monday morning and I just wrapped up the iPhone Firmware Upgrade to 2.1

It's been a while I haven't done anything substantial on the iPhone and this Upgrade was on Agenda. Like every Upgrade information, I checked everything I possibly could before taking the rather brave step (this time there was no instructions/videos on how to do this) to do-it-myself. There was an Upgrade before 2.1 which, was 2.0.2 but that was no big deal and I didnt think it was worth spending time and effort on it. As I write this, word is out that there is a 2.2 in the making, man....someone is NOT satisfied with the iPhone at Apple Inc.

Click here to see the changes that comes with the Upgrade 2.1

I did see the post from my regular blogger "iPhone Fan" on how to Upgrade the 3G iPhone to 2.1 using QuickPwn but even he was waiting to Upgrade his first-gen iPhone. Well, I'm glad I did it before him ;) So this post of his, provided some inputs on how this could be achieved including using the new software called QuickPwn (we only had WinPwn up until now for Windows Users) for Windows.

So here are the basic steps on how you go about the Upgrade to 2.1 on first-gen iPhone using iTunes 8.0 and QuickPwn 2.1 for Windows

  • Update iTunes to 8.0 or later (if you haven't done that already). Just connect your iPhone and iTunes should prompt you to Download and Install a new version, click OK. The download speed depends on the Internet Connection and the Installation takes about 5-10 Mins.
  • Take a Backup of both Contacts/Mails/Msgs etc...and the Library, check for help on taking Backups.
  • Once the Download and Install on the iPhone is complete via iTunes (assuming you had a jailbroken iPhone), all the customization will be lost and the iPhone will look like when you got it out from the Box. I was expecting it to LOCK the phone but it didnt. Not everyone gets lucky with Upgrades mind you and so saying a little prayer before starting this activity is a MUST ;)


  • Now even if the phone was locked, the QuickPwn software is the key to unlock it. So now that you have the phone in it's original form, start QuickPwn (with iPhone connected) and just follow the instructions in the video in this post. It also has a link to download QuickPwn.
  • On the screen, where you choose Cydia and Installer (remember, these Apps come on your iPhone ONLY via jailbreaking and is used to PIMP the iPhone), I got another option to Unlock the Phone, check that option
  • Next screen will prompt you to Browse the Bootloader files 3.9 and 4.6, I remember these files I had used to jailbreak using WinPwn (you can get these files from this post) and I used the same files and proceeded with the jailbreak. Follow the on-screen instructions (especially putting the iPhone in DFU Mode) and in 10 Mins, you will have everything up and working with Cydia and Installer on the Springboard of your iPhone

There you go, your first-gen iPhone is now using the latest firmware 2.1 (meant for 3G iPhone). I didn't even have to Restore my Contacts or Playlists, it was all there but some of you may not be so lucky so you can always check articles on on how to achieve Backups.

Well, another satisfying geek job is accomplished, as far as I'm concerned and now heading to bed, got to go work in the nights. Ciao

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Headphones for iPhone Minus Adaptor

September 20th, 2008 - It is 6:13 AM and back from office. During the course of the night, I went shopping to find a suitable headphone for my iPhone. If you have read my previous posts, you will know I had to order an adaptor coz the first-gen iPhone wont take in your regular headphones. My friend got the adaptor from London and so I went looking for a regular headphone to use it with the adaptor

But when I reached the store, I found a pair of in-ear headphones that works with the iPhone minus the adaptor, wow, that was quite a find. It is called the Sennheiser CX 300, check it out here . They are neat, snug fit, looks good and sounds good too. It is a little steep at 2500/- but only in a BPO you get "Quality at Minimum Cost" not the outside world ;) Enjoy! Music Lovers...go grab 'em

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Air Sharing - iPhone is now your personal HDD

September 16th, 2008 - 4:40 PM woke up to find a fabulous peice of news. A third-party software called "Air-Sharing" was released in App Store today. First, it was FREE and second it fulfilled the wishes of millions of iPhone users who have been waiting to know if Apple would ever make the iPhone to be used like a hard drive.

Our prayers have been answered (never mind if the company who made it possible is called Avatron Software Inc.). So what does this software do and how to use it. I'll keep it brief, the complete set of instructions is available in the Help section when you download the App using iTunes.

So basically, you connect the iPhone using a Wi-Fi connection. You will have to go to the Network places in Windows and add this device. Then you use it just like a Network sharing drive...drag and drop files. you can now carry your files on your iPhone like you would on a USB pen drive. In fact, this software takes file sharing one step further, you can now access this drive (your iPhone) like a Public Web folder from anyhwere, you can create your own IP or use the one assigned by default and Voila!! the iPhone drive is available on any computer that is on the Internet. Read additional features

While this may sound too cool, remember the pitfalls if you dont use your Wi-Fi connection responsibly. The software also gives added protection in the form of Username/Password before you access the files on the iPhone. Overall, a fantastic development for the iPhone and now the focus shifts to the Bluetooth functionality, hopefully someone out there is working on it. Go Geeks!!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Upgrade 2.0 ke side-effects

23rd August, 2008 - 9:26 PM lazy start to the Weekend. What better way to pass time than writing my blog ;) so here I am

So as you are aware, I "upgraded" the firmware for my iPhone last Weekend from 1.1.4 to 2.0.1, the good news is, it is working like a charm.

So first things first, after upgrade, the first thing I did was Restore from the Backup in iTunes, this brought back all my SIM contacts, SMSs, Mails and even the Wallpaper. Pictures captured from the iPhone camera was also in place. However, Pictures I had stored from the Desktop was all gone, also I had not backed up Music & Videos so that was gone too. I couldn't care less. All third-party applications, themes, ringtones, wallpapers was gone and the iPhone looked like it was on Day 1, when I bought it from the store

So what did this new Software update to do my's the BIG ones...
  1. Microsoft Exchange Server ActiveSync Support...this is the Blackberry killer
  2. MAPs with GPS support...but can't use it to my advantage coz it is supported only with the 3G hardware
  3. MobileMe...this gives the User to sync all the Contacts/Calendars/Mails from mutilple sources (Desktop PCs, hand-helds, laptops) and web sharing space (30GB+) to store data....the catch, it is a PAID service
  4. App this is Apple's answer to the jailbroken Installer, you can connect to the Internet and download a host of Apps, some PAID and some FREE. Was definately a missing feature on the first-gen iPhone
  5. Cydia...this was intalled when I jailbroke and upgraded the iPhone using WinPwn, this can be termed as the Installer killer, Cydia is the new generation Installer and does pretty much everything that Installer was capable of and more
  6. Installer...yes Installer was also installed during jailbreak, news is Installer is not going to be around for long, read on for the updates

So there you go...time to start pimping the iPhone. Hmm...well looked like I had a lot of icons on the Springboard and last time I used "Poof" from Installer to hide the unwanted icons and this time I used Cydia to do the job, it worked flawlessly. Cydia looks and feels the same as Installer. Check out a detailed comparion here.

Configuring Exchange seemed pretty simple but it didn't work for me on the first go and this is where working in Wipro for Microsoft helped, I immediately reached to my contacts in the US in MS and one of them helped me put it all together, it was pretty educational experience. Obviously, I cant scribble how we did it in a public forum and if you want to know how we did it, send me a mail. The standard instructions are here.

Next obvious choice of app was Summerboard but hell just couldn't find it, neither in Installer nor in Cydia and so I headed to man's best Invention, the Internet. Oh oh...found that Summerboard for 2.0 firmware is not ready and Installer may not release it after all and just when I thought "pimping" was history I found that we now have another app to compete with Summerboard, any guesses?...Winterboard!! Wow trust the geeks to come with something as crazy as that. So what is Winterboard and how does it compare versus Summerboard, read here.

One of the good things about Winterboard is, it supports themes made for Summerboard. I installed a default theme called Surik (creator of Winterboard) and I was plesantly surprised to see that the Wallpaper on the Springboard was changing on its own kinda like java/flash, that was cool. Another cool feature was the fact that you could now use multiple themes using Winterboard, like icons from one, wallpaper from another, ringtones from yet another, man that was some invention right there...

A nice tutorial on how to use default themes and install custom themes is here. That brings me to the point on how I used to be able to browse the folders on the iPhone before upgrade using iPhone Browser. Well, the iPhone Browser supports firmware 2.0, a new version 1.7 is available here for download. I connected my iPhone and bingo, I could browse through the folders nice and easy

Well, thats it for today, will keep updating this post as I get to know more about the 2.0 upgrade and third-party apps that support it. Ciao

Thursday, August 21, 2008

3G iPhone - Jailbroken

20th August, 2008 - A very exciting news for the iPhone users worldwide, the much awaited "jailbreak for the 3G iPhone" is here. It is the same dude from Canada, Mr. iPhone Fan who has put together a tutorial to accomplish this. I can pretty much bet it will work for you (those who have a 3G iPhone) coz I have been through the "upgrade" process and was impressed with his work, just keep your eyes wide open and read and watch the instructions on your screen and ofcourse, dont forget to say a prayer ;)

Some of the answers to FAQs post the jailbreak on the 3G iPhone is as follows (again I picked this from Mr. iPhone Fan's Q & A with his bloggers)

  1. Is there a need for Activation (SIM card) after jailbreak? No
  2. Does the data privileges provided by the Service Provider during purchase (factory defaults) work after jailbreak? Yes
  3. What happens to Warranty after jailbreak? Common sense, you think Apple will entertain your iPhone?, you can always Restore settings to Factory mode via iTunes
  4. Can you continue to "upgrade" iPhone firmware every time Apple releases a new update? Yes, but No Gurantees.
  5. What about all the data on the iPhone before jailbreak? Always Backup via iTunes and then choose the Restore option after jailbreak. Please note, data backup is limited to Contacts, Messages, Mails, SMSs and you will loose all customization (themes, ringtones, wallpapers). You can now also Backup your Media in iTunes 7, click here

Get going and "pimp" your 3G now!!

Disclaimer: "If the instructions on my page work for you, I know you and if they dont, I dont know you"

3G iPhone Coming to India

20th August, 2008 - Writing this post from the office, news is, the 3G iPhone is set for launch on 22nd August 2008 across India via Vodafone and Airtel. Both have not disclosed the price and it is just 48 Hours for the launch, can you believe that?? Not to mention any AD, print or screen on how to use the iPhone, as if everyone in India is iPhone ready, Duh!!

I can forsee a doomsday on Day 1 itself, if the US can have an Activation Server down problem, imagine India with 3 times the US population. Not to mention the price itself, the juice is that Vodafone is packaging the 8GB Model for 31K. Ofcourse, with that kind of price there should be NO problem with the Activation Server, coz there will be nobody in the stores to Buy or Activate the iPhone

Let me take you through the absolute basic differences between a 2G and 3G iPhone and why you must choose ONLY and ONLY if one was less expensive than the other

  1. As the name suggests, 3G iPhone will support 3G Network Connectivity, here is the juice, no Network provider in India is 3G today, so you will end up buying a 3G phone to use it with 2G network. Yes, there are talks about 3G coming to India and blah...blah...blah, assuming whenever it comes and ONLY GOD knows when that is, the Network provider will milk you with his 3G Service charges, just ask any of your buddies in the US how much they pay for the Data plan every month. As for 2G browsing speed, it is more than reasonable for a hand-held device, with Exchange ActiveSync I get my Office mails in my iPhone in less than 3 seconds from the time a mail is received in my Outlook. I dont think 3G is going to get me my mails in milliseconds.
  2. The second hardware comparison is the ability to use Maps with GPS, again Satellites and Tower positions and WiFi Hotspots in the US makes the 3G iPhone perfect for navigation. In India however, GPS is going to be tough to use and navigate considering the gullis that have a pincode and some that dont. Just stop your vehicle, look around and you will find a better GPS (rickshaw-wallah, pan-wallah, taxi-wallah, goonde-mawali, dhobi...even a cow, where there is cow there is a temple around..remember?) The 2G is capable of locating a destination or distance between two locations anywhere in the world with Satellite images. To find your existing location, you have third-party App called "Locate Me" and that will fill what you are looking for
  3. This is where I give it to the 3G hands-down, the Universal Headphone jack, 2G requires an adpator and if you cant find one, you will end up with the sorry white Apple headphones to listen to music and watch videos. I ordered my adaptor via a friend in London who came visting India and it cost me 600/- INR. I'm sure if you look around in your city, some stores like Manish Market in Mumbai will have that adaptor for the same price that I got it for or less. Rememeber, you CAN GET ALMOST ANYTHING IN INDIA
  4. Another major advantage of 3G over 2G is, any hardware damage to the phone and it will be covered under Warranty, especially cover for the battery, iPhone batteries are not replaceable, Apple sends you a new phone as replacement

So there you go, 4 basic HARDWARE differences between a 2G and 3G iPhone, if you still want to buy the 3G, just make sure it is CHEAP. As I write this, the 2G 8GB Model is available for 18K (prices may vary from vendor to vendor), I got mine for 21K 5 Months back

As for the SOFTWARE, do not even bother, both 2G and 3G can be jailbroken (hacked) and you can "pimp" them. 2G can be upgraded to the latest software that comes bundled with the 3G, it can be further upgraded as Apple releases new updates in the future, just find a GEEK to do that for you, if you are wondering if I can be of any help, sure, I'll charge you more than what the 3G costs ;)

Yes, not to forget the new 3G iPhone still has not overcome the following limitations from the original version

  1. Cannot use it like a hard drive to store regular data
  2. No A2DP support for Bluetooth (you cannot listen to streaming music via bluetooth stereo headset). No Bluetooth pairing of devices so no file-sharing. Bluetooth is limited to phone+mic headset to attend calls
  3. No option for Replacement Battery
  4. No Video Capture (possible with jailbreak)
  5. No Zoom on Camera; No Flash; 2 Megapixel (yes, I do believe it is a limitation for a 20K+ phone)
  6. No Flash/Java support in Safari browser (even after jailbreak)
  7. No support for OWA (Outlook Web Access) in the Safari browser (even after jailbreak)
  8. Media formats, like only MP4 (Video) & AAC (Audio) will play on the iPhone (even after jailbreak)

I hope this information helps you to make a wise decision in the days ahead. Whatever you choose, don't look back, "the grass is always green on the other side". That's it for now, I'll keep a tab on how the launch takes-off and update this post. Post your Comments and feel free to ask me Questions

23rd August, 2008 - I couldn't believe when they told me, "iPhone having a midnight launch in India", that has got to be the joke of the year, quite frankly I dont know why people flocked the stores on a midnight for a Harry Potter novel as well but atleast it wasn't priced at 30+k. So as was the expectation, there was no serpentine queues to grab the iPhone and the Service Providers roped in third-grade celebrites to make the most of the ocassion.

I finally saw an iPhone Ad on the TV and it was so quick, consumers in India wont even realize that if they received a SMS there is no way to FORWARD it...duh! I really dont think India is ready to milk the iPhone for what it is worth, unless they had planned to attract the younger generation which is hooked to the Internet 24X7 and how on earth did they think this segment could afford a 31K phone. I'm sure a rich daddy has already gifted the iPhone to his rich daughter but hey look around, show me how many rich daddys you are rubbing shoulders with. Well, I wish the Service Providers good luck and Consumers good sense ;)

Monday, August 18, 2008

Upgrade to 2.0 - Complete

18th August, 2008 - The time is 9:14 AM IST as I write this blog but I havent slept the whole night thinking about what was in store for the morning. Yes, I was going to "upgrade" my first-gen iPhone to 2.0

If you have not been living under a rock, you probably know what a gamble it has been for the first-gen users to "upgrade" their phone to Apple's new offering this summer. Apple launched the 2.0 3G iPhone in the markets on July 11, 2008 packed with a brand new software with host of features. The 3G phone itself had a problem with activiation for almost a month, coupled to that desperate geeks who couldnt wait to "upgrade" their phone with the new software had not-so-good-things-to-talk-about Apple's latest offering. Every imaginable problem, from data loss to network to flawed software was talked about in the community. Obiviously, I held on to my dear phone, coz apart from costing me a bomb I had no option to send it back to anybody for a replacement and the fact that it was jailbroken made me even more apprehensive about upgrading and losing everything that was in there. But all of that changed today.

PS: This is a firmware/software UPGRADE for the first-gen (jailbroken) iPhone running version 1.1.4. This is NOT a jailbreak for the second-gen 3G iPhone

I have been keeping a tab in the forums on how the upgrade has been coming up and I finally found a video tutorial that guided users to upgrade the firmware from 1.1.4 to brand new 2.0.1
I decided to go for it. I suggest you say a little prayer before you start this (even if you are an atheist), I did.

The complete tutorial is here, credits go to one Mr. iPhone Fan from Canada. I'm just going to highlight the essentials in this Post.

  1. Download and Install iTunes 7.7.1 (the latest), if you have an earlier version.
  2. Once you have downloaded and installed iTunes, connect your first-gen iPhone, iTunes will prompt you that "a new software update for the iPhone is available, would you like to download and install it?", Click "No". This update is the same as indicated in the tutorial above, you can download it with other essentials
  3. Backup the settings and data on your existing iPhone. Click here for details. You will need this to restore Contacts, Mails, SMSs etc...after the "upgrade". You can now also Backup your Media in Itunes 7, click here. Remember, your third-party apps (themes, games, wallpapers, ringtones) will vanish, basically the iPhone will go back to factory settings with a new software version but most importantly, it will still be jailbroken, you will need to again go back to Apps like Installer and start "pimping" the phone from ground zero

Thats about it, this upgrade was made possible by a software called WinPwn (only for Windows), there is a different software for Mac users, Pwnage. By the way, if you wanted a dictionary defination of "pwn", here it is...

"Pwn (/poʊn/, /puːn/, /pəʔˈoʊn/, /pɔːn/, /piˈoʊn/, /pwəʔˈn̩/) is a leetspeak slang term, derived from the word "own",[1][2][3] that implies domination or humiliation of a rival, used primarily in the Internet gaming culture to taunt an opponent who has just been soundly defeated. Past tense is sometimes spelled pwnt (pronounced with a t sound), pwned, pwnd, pwn3d, or powned (with the standard d sound). Examples include "pwnage" or "You just got pwned!"

It took me approx. 40 Mins to get the "upgrade" going and like every installation process, you have to be patient and let the hardware and software do its thing. I must admit, it felt like forever when the screen would go blank on the iPhone when it was processing but the result was worth the wait. I got the "upgrade" in a single attempt and was amazed how the software coupled with the instructions went like a knife on the butter, smoooooth.

Well, I'm already planning the next post called "Upgrade 2.0 ke Side-Effects", the title is apt I believe and you should look forward to it...until next time, signing-off for a lazy and a satisfied sleep in my bed...yawnnnnn, good nite.

19th August, 2008 - It is 24 Hours from the time I upgraded my first-gen iPhone to 2.0.1 and I see that Apple released a 2.0.2 version. Man, it is crazy how updates keep coming in and even crazier is the fact that we try to keep up with it, so now I got to find what is in this latest update and then wait for a tutorial to perform a new "upgrade" all over again. Seriously, I'm going to hang on for a while with the 2.0.1

Disclaimer: "If the instructions on my page work for you, I know you and if they dont, I dont know you"

Sunday, July 6, 2008

The iPhone "Browser" Solution

July 6, 2008 - It is 6:15 AM on a lazy Sunday morning, I sit down to post a solution I have been waiting and wanting for quite a while.

If you have read my earlier posts on this blog, you will remember I mentioned the iPhone does not have an "easy" way to navigate through its folders directly on the phone or remotely via a software. The solution up until now was to download a software called Winscp, an FTP client for Windows, synch it with iPhone via a Wi-Fi connection and then navigate the folders, check out the procedure here . Really, there had to be a easier and more user friendly way to do this (coming from a geek, trust me on this one)

After some serious searching on the net, I found what is called the "iPhone Browser" available on Google Code, a neat software that works when the iPhone is connected via the USB connection (how many Indians are Wi-Fi ready in their homes?). It is as simple as downloading the .exe file and installing. Just when everything seemed to be going fine, an error came up "iPhone connected, not jailbroken". F***, I was almost on the verge of losing my you know what when I found the solution to that as well, GOD BLESS the INTERNET :)

So basically, you connect the iPhone to the system using the USB cable and run this software from Start>All Programs>iPhone Browser (there is no Desktop icon created for this software), you will receive the error as mentioned above. Chill, follow the steps below

1. Disconnect the iPhone from the system
2. On the iPhone, go to Installer>Sources and Add the Source " "
3. After the installation is complete, inside Installer, go to Install>Unlocking Tools>ZiPhone iBrickr Fix
4. Install this software and restart the iPhone
5. Now connect the iPhone via USB and start the "iPhone Browser" software and voila!! you will see the message "iPhone Connected" on the Status Bar, you will also see the list of folders available on the iPhone on the left-hand navigation pane

Oh ! well are you still figuring out why this was "SO" important, well for starters, since you are using a jailbroken phone and try new and different things all the time, the original files can go for a toss, you need something where you can go and restore them. Also, if you wanted to "PIMP" your iPhone, you need to know where the files are located so you can replace them with your customized ones.

Now for the Geeks Golden Rule, "before you use the iPhone Browser, do not ADD/MODIFY/DELETE any file or folder without taking a BACKUP"

This is a good place to find some more solutions to the issues you may come across when using the iPhone Browser. That's a wrap on this post, tell me if this baby worked for you, Ciao.

Disclaimer: "If the instructions on my page work for you, I know you and if they dont, I dont know you"

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

iPhone v2.0 Announced

June 10th, 2008 - It is 4:30 AM in the morning and I'm still in the office, ready to go home but couldnt wait to start writing this post on the now famous "Jesus Phone", the iPhone v2.0

Apple Boss, Steve Jobs announced the second generation iPhone to the world at the annual WWDC (where the Mac Geeks Meet) in San Fran held to be held from June 9-13. Oh what a relief!! Or is it? Keep reading. The iPhone v2.0 is scheduled to launch on July 11, 2008 in different continents and then there is a different date for third-world countries ;) Check it out here

Aiight, aiight I know what you want to hear, my fresh list of Features & Bloopers on the iPhone here goes...

1. The BIGGEST draw this time around is the PRICE, 8GB for $199 and 16GB for $299, thats a steal but hold on, thats for US customers and some of the original traits still remain, like No Carrrier choice, No Replaceable battery, No Bluetooth Stereo Sound/File Sharing and of course No Customization. In India, for this (v2.0) you can easily add $150 to the US make but you know what, you will still save a cool $200 (on the v1.0 that I purchased). So go ahead, spoil yourself
2. They Apple guys just couldnt ignore the Corporates and introduced "ActiveSync" and now my friends they have put Blackberry in the dock. Coz iPhone just got in the "Enterprise" league and cheaper. They call it "Mobile Me" and this will update your Calendar, Contacts and Mails just like you see it in your Office up-to-date
3. Another BIG draw, the iPhone is now 3G enabled. So once again, it has tried to stick its neck in the heat for high-speed browsing amongst cellphone lovers. For comparison sakes, 3G renders pages 36% times faster than its predecessor EDGE. Well, that I have to see
4. What are MAPs without GPS so the iPhone comes to the party (albeit late). Now getting directions is easy, as you move
5. Last but not the least, they finally made the new generation iPhone with universal headphone jacks. Man, I can't tell you how that was needed so desperately amongst music enthusiasts.
6. Apple has also come with App Store for the iPhone, something like the jailbroken "Installer" that you can use to install different Apps but again not every App on the net for download is free

Some additional touches include the choice of colors Black or White, the aluminium back is replaced with polished plastic, personally I like the aluminium with the chrome Apple logo.

Ok, so what does it mean for the existing iPhone users, well for starters, you will have to swallow your spit coz you just paid a BOMB for v1.0. Having said that, you are better off with Customization than the sorry looking iPhone with +100 restrictions. Apple has put up a notice that existing Users can upgrade the software to get features like "Mobile Me" but that can also mean you may loose your jailbroken Apps. I'll wait and watch how the community responds to v2.0 and what they come up with. Maybe a jailbreak on v2.0 is already ON as I write this.

Watch out for this space...oh yeah read all about v2.0 here

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Whatta Toy

May 20th, 2008 - It is 7:00 AM...didnt got to the office last night, not feeling so good, now better and time for some more juice on the iPhone

I'm sure you have seen, heard and played "Games" on your regular phone but could you use your phone as a "Toy" to entertain yourself? Like can your phone make a "Burp" sound every time you shake it? Probably not.

Welcome to another amazing facet of the iPhone. The iPhone can Laugh, Burp, Blink, Fa*t, Spoof a Electric Shaver, Brewing Coffee, simulate a Piano, Guitar and much more. Here is the list.
Toys on the iPhone can be accessed from Installer App>Install>under Categories list

Oh how about some magic tricks using your iPhone, here you go. It is unbeliveable. Or should I say these features are "surreal but nice" (borrowed that from Notting Hill). Enjoy!!

Monday, May 5, 2008

My iPhone Fixes - Part II

May 5th, 2008 - I got up early like at 5:00 AM and by the time I sit down to right this it is 8:10 AM and these 3 Hours I have spent just playing with the iPhone trying to see what else I care about fixing or end up discovering.

Well, for starters, the iPhone CAN DO (as I realize every day) most of the stuff that your run-0f-the-mill phone can do. The only hitch is Apple did not have the time to fit everything in before a stiff release date (from Internet sources) and so your best bet is the third-party apps snuggled in the phone. The guy who jailbroke my phone (and I dont know who) has really put in stuff that can my *PIMP* my iPhone, if I choose to do so. All these apps can be found under Installer>Install>under Categories list, Utilities

1. POOF - I read about this app on the net and found that it can hide icons on the Springboard (Home Screen). It will create an icon on the Springboard. Touch-Open and you can choose which icon you want to see and which ones should be hidden. Mind you, DO NOT hide the Poof icon coz there is no other way to access it and you will be stuck with what you have on the screen. Ofcourse, you can always uninstall it and re-install and the icon should be back. I liked this app and its kinda useful

2. weTool - Now what this app does is, it helps you delete indivual phone records + text msgs (like SMSD). If you dont know already, the iPhone has the option to delete ALL phone records only. This tool will help overcome this limitation. It will also help you FORWARD individual SMS msgs but you cannot REPLY using this app (like SMSD). In the Phone records, it indicates Incoming, Outgoing and Missed calls (again something I mentioned as a limitation in my earlier posts) so you know what you are deleting. I tried the app but not planning to keep it

3. DropCopy - This app lets you share files and apps with another iPhone wirelessly. One of things the iPhone is unable to do is send files over bluetooth connection. This app needs to be ON on both iPhone devices to be able to send and receive files. Well, atleast you can share something with iPhone users.

There are so many apps in this Utilities category, I cant even begin to tell, just read ony by one and you will see so many of the limitations on the iPhone can be overcome. Besides, it can do some things that you would not have imagined when you bought the iPhone, like uploading pictures to Flickr account directly, taking Screenshots on the phone, boosting the Volume, using Filters to blacklist Callers and SMS msgs, act as a self-defence alarm in an emergency. The future is looking bright :)

Some Useful links...

I also discovered another intresting facet to the iPhone and that is its ability to be used like a TOY, yea you heard me right, a TOY. What kind of TOY, watch out for the next post. Ciao.

Disclaimer: "If the instructions on my page work for you, I know you and if they dont, I dont know you"

Sunday, April 27, 2008

My iPhone Fixes - Part I

April 27th, 2008 - It is 4:40 AM and it still feels like 4:40 PM coz its so humid around. Back to where I left, time to fix one of the many missing features/limitations of the iPhone. I have managed 3 of the essentials so far.

1. SIM-Fix - The first thing you probably do when you get a phone is to transfer the contacts from the SIM on the phone memory, so you can start making calls to your contacts. But on an iPhone its a lengthy procedure, especially coz Indians hardly save Contacts on their Address Book on their Home-PC, so getting it to synch with a phone is out of question. And just coz you have an iPhone are you going to go the extra mile and have an Address Book filled out, I didnt think so. So the solution was to get a third-party app downloaded and installed to acheive this task on the iPhone. The details on how you do that is mentioned in here, just make sure you read it carefully and dont miss a step. These and many other third-party app is installed using a third-party software called "Installer". When you buy an unlocked phone, the "Installer" icon should be on the Home screen, if not, you are DOOMED. Coz getting the "Installer" on the iPhone is a geek job and if you are game for it, check this out. As a matter of fact, if I see you filling out the Address Book at the end of reading the tutorials above, I wont be surprised :) I told you, it just aint easy with the iPhone. Besides, when was hacking actually easy??!!

2. SMS Fix - Assuming you know how to use the "Installer" by doing the first fix above, this one should be relatively simple. So by installing what is called "SMSD", again a third-party app, you will be able to delete individual SMS messages coming from the same number and forward SMS messages to multiple recipients. Before we start, remember you need to install the correct version of SMSD depending on the firmware version of the iPhone. The one mentioned below is for iPhones using firmware version 1.1.3 and 1.1.4. To check the iPhone firmware version, go to Settings>General>About

---Touch-Open the "Installer" app from the iPhone Home Screen
---Touch-Open the "Sources" option from the bottom task list
---Touch-Open "Edit" on the top right hand corner
---Touch-Open "Add" on the top left hand corner
---Type the Source:
---Let it download. Once it is done, you will directed to the "Categories" under the "Install" option.
---Scroll the list and you should find something called "SOS iPhone - Applicatifs", Touch-Open
---Scroll the list again and you should find a Package named "SMSD Fr", Touch and it should install
---Once installed, you press the Home button, the screen will refresh and you will find a new icon called "SMSD". If not, just turn the phone Off and On and you should see it.

Remember, the original SMS/Text icon will still be there on the Home screen, both work simultaneously. If you dont want the old icon, thats gonna take another third-party app to do the job, I didnt think it was worth the labor and so I have it in there. What I found very intresting and also proud of the fact that "SMSD" is the brain child of an Indian. check his page.

3. iPod Fix - So much for a jailbroken iPhone huh? Yeahh baby. Somehow these things challenge me and I'm going to be honest, I give up too but not before giving it a shot. So now for the iPod fix that will help you convert your Videos and Movies in a format supported by the iPhone. Music in a mp3 format can be just dragged and dropped in the iTunes and that does not need any conversion. Before I let you out on the third-party app, remember to download and install the latest version of Itunes from the Apple Web site so you can start the synch job. So basically, what I found was 2 softwares, one that converts DVD Movies and the other converts regular Videos with .avi, .mpeg, .flv formats. For DVD Movie Convertor, download this and for regular Video Convertor, download this. If you are new to iTunes, here is a good place to read on how to use it to play with your iPod, note that iTunes for iPhone has additional options.

4. Exchange OWA Fix - This is something I havent done for my phone yet but I want to mention it neverthless, coz I might be able to do something about it in the future and it is important for me. This is with regards checking your Office mail (if your Office is using an Exchange Sever) on the iPhone either using the "Mail" option or using OWA on the "Safari" Browser. Now I think you already heard me say that iPhone does not support ActiveSync with Exchange Server but it can still support thin clients like OWA using the IMAP protocol. What the f*** am I talking about, check it out here ;)

---To check mail, using the "Mail" option on the iPhone, you need to follow these instructions
---To check mail using the "Safari" browser option, check this out.

Your IT guys really need to be in your pocket, if you want pull this one out. Remember, having ActiveSync support (by June 2008) only provides richer e-mail experience, the IT excercise to configure the Exchange Server for iPhone will still hold true.

Well thats a wrap on my first few fixes on the iPhone, honestly I'm not missing anything else that I think I need to fix to get what people may call "value for money". I'm actually better off now that I get to see videos, movies and listen to music when I'm done with my office chores. I guess the next fix or workaround on my agenda is to see how can I get this Bluetooth to work with any Stereo headphones available in the stores so I can get rid of Apple ka thakela earphones. If you fixed something on the iPhone, do let me know, until next time, Ciao.

April 28th, 2008 - Well well....something that I didnt think I cared too much about but again I found that even "Applying a theme" on the iPhone is quite a task and thereby worth a geeks curiosity factor. So here we again need to make sure the "Installer" app is on your iPhone. If you do, go to Installer>Install>Categories>System>SummerBoard, install this Package and when done, press the Home Button. You will see an icon on the Home Screen called "SMBPrefs". It opens up, touch the option Theme and you can choose the Theme you want to display, every time you choose one, the screen refreshes. By default, it will display 4 Themes including the Default (iPhone Theme.)

There are some more Themes you can install from Categories>Themes (SummerBoard), once installed, go to the Home Screen and follow the instuctions mentioned above. I must admit, the Themes look pretty cool with cuztomized icons, colors and wallpapers. Enjoy!!

So what was so great about applying a theme, well for starters, what you read above is the result of searching 2 hours to get a straight answer on the Internet, second if you need to install/copy/paste/replace a custom theme and for that matter any file or folders on the iPhone, you need to synch the iPhone with your Home-PC (with a Wi-Fi connection only) using a network protocol called SSH to do the job. See this. Yes, I know what you are thinking, F*** the iPhone...:) Nope, I'm not giving up. Have a good day.

Disclaimer: "If the instructions on my page work for you, I know you and if they dont, I dont know you"

Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Feel, The Features, The Bloopers - Part II

April 20th, 2008 - Resuming from where I left

7. Now lets talk about some Enterprise features like checking your mail a la using Exchange Sever, here is where the businessmen will cringe for the lack of "ActiveSync" support on this phone in this version and they should wait until June 2008 for v2.0. The iPhone supports POP3 and IMAP formats and so you can configure the mailbox on the Phone to Gmail, Yahoo, AOL and .mac. The iPhone does not not support OWA either by default and you will need to change settings on the Exchange Server do get it going. Now unless you are some BIG SHOT in your office, your IT is highely unlikely to do this for you. I have configured the Phone Mailbox to my personal Gmail and Yahoo, works like a charm. Now you can synch the iPhone to update your Contacts and Calendar appointments, set Reminders, use the Calculator, view .PDF and .doc files. But honestly, dont bother comparing it with Windows Mobile, you will be disappointed. I have become wiser over the years and I have started leaving work at workplace and so my choice for a Non-Enterprise phone.
8. Now for the browser, the Safari browser does render most of the pages neatly but again point to note, the iPhone does not support flash/java. Do I care? No. Do you care? I dont know. Surfing the Internet with options to zoom by just pinching the screen with your fingertips is a true third generation technology and engineering marvel
9. Talk about the keyboard, its visual on the screen, no accessories available to attach a physical one. Again, I hardly use the keyboard to SMS texts or anything similar. You gonna have to get used to using one hand or two hands and tapping the right key on the screen, I think its a big deal, with practise it becomes easy. Oh yea, no stylus by the way. Would Indians prefer using the chopsticks to eat rice? Exactly...I thought as much :) Use your hands man. I wonder if Steve Jobs has half-parents from India since he put so much emphasis on using our hands :)
10. The iPhone has a 2.0 megapixel camera and stores pictures on its spacious 8GB hard drive, no videos. I would have liked it to have the video feature but again its not like I cannot live without it. Now the iPhone does not have an option to add additional memory. Really, I cannot imagine myself crying for more than 8GB space on my phone. I could have probably wanted a memory slot so I could transfer some of my stuff from another source to the phone, when was the last time I did that? Never. I used the synch capabilities and that was more than enough.
11. Now for something that "I DO AGREE" is a true blooper, the Bluetooth capability, the Bluetooth is only to use the iPhone standard bluetooth headset-mic, no tranfer of data and no capability to stream stereo music on bluetooth music-headsets. Thats ridiculous. The headphone jack is also not universal and you will need an adaptor to first connect it to the iPhone and then connect your universal music headset. The Bluetooth is going to be high on the iPhone Agenda for v2.0, I can bet know what on it
12. Listening to music on the external speakers on the iPhone should be avoided especially if you are someone who has used a Sony-Ericsson phone in the past, it will be a heartburn, just use the headsets and you should do fine.
13. Now for the iPod features, if you are an Apple user, you should know they are arrogant and want users to use a format patented by them, like movies should be in a .mov format and music should be in AAC format, the Media Player should be Quick Time and so on. Similary, on the iPhone it uses its software iTunes to synch Movies, Videos, Contacts and even Ringtones. The pain is, the iTunes software just does a supported format upload, it does not convert anything thats Not-Apple. So you have to first download some third-party software to convert your .avi, .mpeg, .wmv, .flv movies and .mp3 songs in to .mov and .aac and then have iTunes upload it. Dont worry, the Internet is blessed with such third-party software, I'm using a couple and it works just fine with rich quality on the iPhone. I'll share the names in my later posts. But the effort is worth it, seeing is believing on the iPhone
14. On to the Phone and Phonebook, it is standard and you have everything you will need including Visual Voice Mail. What was missing was the phone's capability to Import SIM contacts. It also cannot access Contacts on the SIM directly, something that most of the phones in the markets are able to do, every Contact resides on the Phone Memory only and that comes from synching the Address Book on your Computer. Also, I noticed in the Recent History Log, it shows All Calls and Missed calls, Missed calls are marked in RED and you can switch views to see either All Calls or Missed calls. But I think it would have helped to have views seperately for Dialled calls and Received Calls as well, thats missing. It has something called Favorites instead of Speed Dial and that comes very handy. The Phonebook can be browsed by flicking your finger up and down or touching an alphabet on the sides. Dialling a number manually on the screen is also a pleasant experience, enjoy all the Phone features on the guided tour on the Apple Web site.
15. Customization is restricted to a point where you cannot have a system icon on the Home Screen (also referred to as Springboard) move, modify, delete. Ringtones available are so-so and nothing great to talk about. Again, something I'm least bothered about, I'm a creative guy but that doesnt have to be in everything I own. Some of the icons on the Home Screen may not be of any value to you like Stocks, Weather, Maps, iTunes and also remember the iPhone relies heavily on the Internet to update some these information. If you dont have a GPRS connection, forget about this phone. Installing third-party applications is a tedious task and just to find a folder on the phone, you have to run commands from a terminal window, it is so Unix based, Windows guys will hate it. To all my pink-friends (ladies) just coz someone gave you an iPhone, dont take it, you wont be able to put a pink ringtone without help ;)
16. This was funny until I got to know about it from a friend who also owns a iPhone, the iPhone stores all SMS messages as conversations, which means SMSs coming from a same number are all stored as one single conversation and if I have to reply to it that attaches to the conversation, like you were having a chat with someone. The problem is if you get different messages from the same number, there is no way to delete individual messages. You end up deleting everything that came from that number. Even funnier was the fact that if you get a SMS, you cannot forward it to multiple receipents, you only have an option to reply to that message. You can however, compose a message and send it to multiple receipents. Considering the number of genuine SMS that I end up getting or sending, I can live with this. But hey, I found a way to get around it and I continue to scour around to find solutions to other limitations as well, watch out for my post on "My iPhone Fixes". Some more missing features listed here...

Well, thats all I have been able to see, feel and gather so far in the last 1 Week of my purchase of the iPhone, hope this helps in making your decision easier. You think you know better than me, lets thrash it here :)

The Feel, The Features, The Bloopers - Part I

April 20th, 2008 - It is 5:30 AM and as I had promised myself, sitting down to write my experiences with the phone they call "neighbhors envy and owners pride", the iPhone. Should I even bother telling you why I would buy something like this off the shelf, you know by now what an example I make of an impulse decision. I couldnt hang on to my Nokia E50 for too long but mind you, its a kick ass phone, something every office goer would love to have.

Trivia: The iPhone was introduced to the world on June 29, 2007, same date I was introduced in this world 28 years back.

So I got this new offering from Steve Jobs last Weekend, April 12th, 2008. Now this is not my first tryst with Apple products and I have 2 iPod Shuffle, a 512 MB and a 1 GB, both came as gifts. Yea, you cant go wrong when you gift me a gadget :) The reason I mention this is, it helps to know how the Apple products work and what kinda software they use. Now buying the iPhone off the shelf is easier said than done in India. It available in thin numbers and getting the latest model and version can be quite a task. As for the price-tag, you should get it for around $ 550. That is steap for sure, considering it goes for $ 399 in the US for a 8GB model. You may have heard of a 4GB model but that aint available in the US or Indian markets, it has been Archived. Your choices are between 8GB and 16GB models. The firmware version I have is 1.1.4 which is the lastest. You can check this by going to Settings>General>About

Allright, so what you are going to see or get to know is that your iPhone is unlocked or what they call as "jailbroken" in the Tech world. Why? GOD!! When did you last surf the Internet and read something worthwile? Coz Apple iPhones as I write this, is released only in the US and European markets and is supposed to work with only the choice of Carriers they picked for us like AT&T in the US. But the geeks around the world have managed to crack this and get the iPhone to practically work in any country with their local Carriers, how cool is that? if you have survived the price onslaught, lets see what kinda guys would wanna put their money on a phone like that, apart from their crave for gadgets and technology. Again no prizes for guessing that I did enough research on the product capabilities and despite knowing that iPhone is not capable of doing certain things that conventional phone users would like it do, I went ahead with my decision and here is why...Oh yea, watch the guided tour on the Apple Web site, before you dive in to this.

The Exterior...

1. The dimensions are 4.5 X 2.4 inches, the idea was to see if it will fit in my jeans pockets when I go around, I'm not the kinds who have it (phone) hanging on their waistbands. The depth and weight are .46 inches and 135gms respectively and thats neat. Last but not the least, it should fit in your palm, like holding know what I mean :)
2. Next, the finishing and just the whole package is revolutionary besides artistic more than anything, no keys, no anttena, no flip-flap, no swivel action, just a smooth peice of art in your hands to be explored with your fingertips. If you are not the PDA types and touch dont suit you, you either grow up to it or you can be happy with what you have, whatever crap you have that is :)
3. It has a headphone connection on the top, Sleep/Wake button, on the left it has a Vibrator Mode button and Volume Up/Down button, on the bottom it has a connector for both Power and PC-Synch capabilities. It has a 2.0 megapixel camera behind the phone. It also has 2 integrated Speakers on the bottom, one of them acts as a mic. All of these look and feel very aesthetic on the iPhone

The Interior...

4. You put this baby ON by pressing the single round button in the bottom center of the phone or pressing the Sleep/Wake button on the top right corner of the Phone. And what you see immediately is a beautiful rich display of a Wallpaper, you can choose to display everytime the phone comes up from Sleep. Now here is what will hit the Wallpaper lovers really bad, once you unlock the phone by sliding your finger on the phone, the Wallpaper disappears and you see the dark black screen with standard icons on the iPhone. You can choose to put a theme and the dark screen will be replaced by the Wallpaper options the theme has but you cannot simply choose a picture from the Gallery and make a Wallpaper to display at all times. Something almost every multi-media phone is able to do. Do I care? No. Do you care? I dont know.
5. Next thing I want to highlight is its ability to pickup the Network signals and the fact that it supports only EDGE type of Internet capabilites versus 3G, which is the most popular. In my opinion, after having used cell phones for 8 years, Network has to do with where you live more than the fact that phones are made with poor reception quality, which is a thing of the past. So I did not find any issues in this department. Now I have advanced GPRS with my Vodafone connection and browsing pages was reasonable. If someone has a problem, I think he doesnt know which devices should be used for high-speed browsing. Also, a regular Internet user knows sites with pictures and heavy content (like YouTube) will take time to render on the screen. Actually, I found YouTube rendering pages pretty well. The iPhone also supports Wi-Fi and surfing should be a lot faster using this connection.
6. Battery Life is again depending on the Usage, my Talk Time usage is not worth mentioning, although one of the things I was very particular about, was to use this device as much as possible for its iPod capabilities so I'm going to be using it to watch movies and listen to music more than anything else. So why didnt I go for the iPod or iTouch? Would you mind if a supermodel was also your wife? Exactly, thats what I thought :) Talk about Multi-Utility. The Video and Music playback time is 7 and 24 Hours respectively. So much for Part I, will continue in Part II.