Tag Archives: iPhone

Fluff in my iPhone

I recently found that I couldn’t plug in my headphones into my iPhone properly.   I pushed hard but found that it didn’t click in – and so the iPhone sporadically thought it was connected, but also not connected.

I thought “Crap! My iPhone headphone jack is stuffed!”    But after some Googling I found that a common problem is just that the headphone jack gets accumulated with crap.  

And so a few weeks ago I performed surgery on my iPhone.   I searched around the house for the thinnest inflexible object I could find – which ended up being a really thin screwdriver.   And then proceeded to carefully scrape out fluff.

And fluff there was!!   Basically nearly 2 years of pocket lint blocking a good connection for my headphones.

Having iPhone headphone jack problems too?   Maybe it’s just lint 🙂

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Ordered my iPhone 4!

I only have about 4 months left on my 24 month contract with Optus for my iPhone 3G.

I know a few of my friends had been contacted by Optus, asking if they wanted to upgrade to an iPhone 4.   But not me!!!

So on the weekend, I headed to an Optus store to see what options I had.   And amazingly, they had some “special weekend offer” where if I signed up for another contract, they would waive the remaining 4 months of handset payments, as well as early contract termination fees.    Sweet!  Basically, I keep on paying the “same” amount and get an iPhone 4.

How could I resist?

Wifey didn’t seem to mind – probably because she can’t wait for me to hand over my iPhone 3G.

So, in the end, everyone’s happy.   Now just to wait until they get one in stock so I can pick it up.    And to find a good plan for Wifey to go on.

When kids know more than you.. (and introduce you to We Rule)

An exciting change when your child passes the toddler ages and is in the Primary School age group, is that they start introducing you to new things.   Before then, the world as you knew it was as you knew it.   I imagined the information flow streaming from the parent to the child.  Even if they went to kindy or daycare, you knew what they were learning.

But once they hit Primary School and get older (like 9+ years), they explore other things, learn things that you never knew or can do.

Like seeing Miss 9 learn and play the saxophone.  I tried blowing through it and got a very unsatisfactory honk.  Or Miss 11 learning to read the tenor clef and thumb position on the cello.  I just look at the music notes and give up. 

I can safely say that my girls are now better than me at doing some things!   It’s a strange revelation as a parent when this happens – almost like your children have passed another stage of innocent childhood.    There’s nothing you can do but to encourage and support them grow.

Unfortunately, this has now also extended into iPhone/iPod Touch applications.

For a few weeks, I wandered why Miss 11 would rush to her iPod Touch at certain times of the day.  And then I saw a note next to her alarm clock “Carrots 7.30AM”.  What on earth was she up to?

I asked her a few times and she dodged the question like a politician.   But eventually she revealed to me that she was playing a game called “We Rule”, what I’ve now found out is a lot like Farmville on Facebook.

So a few weeks ago I decided to install it on my iPhone – of course primarily as a parental exercise to see if it’s suitable for her 😉

And lo and behold, I’m now ADDICTED to this time wasting game!!!  I’m not sure I can even call it a game, is there a winner?

But all I know is that I started pulling up my iPhone at certain intervals of the day, checking on my onions, pumpkins, magic cauliflower, building houses, buying shops, moving fences around, saving up for a stable, checking on my daughter’s kingdom and trying to out-do hers.   AAARRRGHHHHHH!!! What has she done to me!!!!??!?

An early snapshot of my We Rule kingdom

A week later I had overtaken her on the game…  I was so addicted to tending to my little kingdom that even my Wifey and Miss 9 got annoyed. 

Luckily I’ve recently toned down my tending, only once per day 😉 

Ahh, kids..   what will they introduce me to next?

iPhone Settings

Just a quick blog post documenting some solutions to problems I’ve had since installing iOS4 on my iPhone.   More for my own records in case I need to do this again.

But hopefully these tips might help others out there too!

iiNet IMAP

When reconfiguring my iPhone to get emails from iiNet’s IMAP server, it seemed that the iPhone kept on detecting the iiNet mail server as POP and not IMAP.   This frustrated me on no end – I’m SURE I had the email address correct but I just couldn’t find a place to convert the iiNet server from POP to IMAP. 

After some Googling, I found a workaround.    Here’s a trick to get around this:
http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/forum-replies-archive.cfm/1454945.html

Google Mail not logging in

For some reason, even though I entered the correct username and password to access my GMail account, it was not logging in successfully. I was getting the error “The user name/password for IMAP is incorrect”.  However, when I tried the same user name and password on the web interface, it worked?!?!    Seems that Google was not letting my iPhone in.   Here’s what to do to allow the iPhone to successfully log in.

http://www.madebymark.com/madebymark/2008/09/iphone-imap-and.html
https://www.google.com/accounts/DisplayUnlockCaptcha

iPhone Calendar only showing one calendar

This used to work on my iPhone before upgrading to iOS4.   I had a whole handful of calendars (my work one, my family one, Birthdays, etc) all being sent to my iPhone from my Google calendar.   After upgrading and reconfiguring GMail again, I only got my primary calendar only being sent to the iPhone.   Seems like you have reconfigure the other calendars you want to sync:

http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/Google+Mobile/thread?tid=6863c4bc8b1419a7&hl=en
http://www.google.com/support/mobile/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=151674

No Contact Sync’ing with GMail

After upgrading, I lost all my contacts.  Luckily, my contacts are stored on GMail so it’s just a matter of pulling them back down again from the “cloud”.

After configuring GMail, I still did not have any Contacts!!   I’ve come to realise there are TWO ways to sync GMail onto your iPhone and only the Exchange (Google Sync) method transfers Contacts at the moment.

The two ways to sync GMail onto your phone are:
1) Use Exchange method
2) Use GMail method

GMail method:
* Use Gmail profile
* Name: My name
* Address:  yourusername@gmail.com
* Password: Your gmail password
* Outgoing SMTP: smtp.gmail.com
* Syncs Mail, Calendars, Notes

But there is NO contact sync’ing!?!?  WTF?  

Exchange (Google Sync) method
http://www.google.com/support/mobile/bin/answer.py?answer=138740&topic=14252

If you configure your GMail account using the Exchange method (called Google Sync), then you WILL get Contact sync’ing, but no Notes sync’ing.     I guess if you want the best of both worlds, you can use both methods to get it all.

Upgraded to iPhone iOS 4!

Not sure if existing iPhone 3G/3GS owners are aware – but you can upgrade your iPhone to the latest firmware that comes on the new iPhone 4’s.   Yep!  New features!  FOR FREE!  And you don’t need to buy an iPhone 4.

There’s a whole ream of new small features.  But as I have an “old” iPhone 3G, I don’t get the whole lot.

What I like

Playlist management

Before this update, the only way to create a playlist on the fly was using the On the go playlist.   It was definitely not the best way of saving a collection of favourite tunes or tunes you wanted to listen to.

At last, now you can create as many custom playlists as you like!

But one feature that is missing – the ability to add the currently playing song to a specific playlist.  I would have thought that this would be a common use case – you’re listening to a song that you like, then want to add it to a playlist.  Aargghhh!

Merged Inbox

I have an iiNet account and a Gmail account both for personal use.  Previously on the iPhone I would have to navigate up and down the tree to check emails on both accounts.  Now, I don’t have to.  Fantastic.

Folders for applications

Alright – this is a great feature!  Hands up who had screens and screens worth of applications?  Me!

I’ve now re-organised my applications into groups on my first main screen.  The result is just 2 clicks to get to my most used applications and games.  Yes I hear people complaining that you can’t add more than 12 applications into one group.   But hey, if you had more than 12 I don’t think you’d save any extra UI interactions to get to the application you want – you’d need more than 2 clicks/swipes.

Too many folders

I’m just struggling with the most suitable way to group the applications.  Where should I put Flickr?  In an “Internet” group for internet related applications, “Photography” since it’s all about photos, or “Social” since it’s all about sharing and engaging with friends?

Expanded folders in iOS4

I started with heaps of folders on my home page, but then realised that I only really used a handful of these applications all the time, and I now introduced two clicks to get to them.  So I’ve now re-organised my applications so the most used are directly on the first screen, and folders can flow into the second screen.

Consolidated my folders

iBooks

Yay!  Another digital book application to add to my existing Kindle, Borders and Wattpad apps.   I spent a whole evening downloading as many free books as I could find thanks to Project Gutenburg – http://www.gutenberg.org/.

iBooks

What could be improved

No multitasking

I was really looking forward to this, just so I can swap between applications quicker.  A friend showed me how it works on his iPhone 3GS and it’s really quick to switch apps.

Unfortunately for him, he left a GPS application running in the background accidentally and it chewed up nearly all his battery without him realising!  Hmmm..

5x Digital Zoom

It’s responsive, but hey, it’s just digitally zooming a 2 megapixel picture so the result is quite pixelated, especially at the 5x end of the zoom.  I’m sure I would use a little bit of zooming if I can’t actually get closer to the subject I’m taking, but otherwise *yawn*.

Upgrade experience

So first thing I did was upgrade my iTunes, and then proceeded to upgrade the OS on my iPhone.  But the first thing iTunes does is backup your phone which took hours!  Then it puts on your OS, then puts all the applications back on it.  For me, I had to leave this to run overnight – it was just taking too long.

And then the next morning when I checked to see how it went, I found that I had lost all my email configuration and emails and contacts!  Even my Safari bookmarks were gone.  Basically all individual application data was lost.

Since then

Since upgrading, I’ve found that the UI can be a bit sluggish at times.   There was one time when my iPhone got “stuck” in the Phone application and pressing the Home button didn’t even go to the home screen anymore.

I decided to upgrade Miss 11’s iPod Touch to the latest firmware, and after that she found that she couldn’t play music anymore!   The iPod music application would keep on quitting.  A restore of a backup seemed to fix things.

So final verdict?  Don’t upgrade yet.   I’d recommend friends to wait until the next firmware update if possible so that these issues can be ironed out.

Loving the Hipstamatic App

I LOVE this camera app on my iPhone. 

The Hipstamatic 100 is a cheap plastic camera from the 1980’s designed to bring photography cheaply to the masses.   However, due to tragedy of the creators, only 157 were ever produced.   There’s some history here:  http://hipstamatic.com/2007/06/hipstamatic-history.html

But some clever application developers have now recreated the essence of this camera digitally on an iPhone. 

And what a great camera application!  People are loving how “analog” the photos feel.  This camera app also allows you to upgrade and change lenses, films and flash.  When the upgrades are priced cheaper than a can of Coke, it’s hard not to resist.

I like how they’ve even modelled the limited viewfinder and the view of the back of the camera when trying to take a photo.  It just adds to the realism of the experience, rather than seeing a normal full screen view like other applications.

The developers have emulated the camera even to the delay between each shot.  It’s a bit annoying at first since it limits how fast you can take consecutive photos (I wonder if it’s just a Sleep(5000) or whether the iPhone CPU is crunching away trying to process the photo).   But I’m beginning to love this – it forces me to think carefully before taking a shot.   Luckily they don’t limit you to taking a roll of 24 before developing your photos!!

I think the developers have stumbled on something great here.  I hope they are thinking of recreating other old cameras on the iPhone. 

Maybe the real reason I love this app is because it makes my mediocre snaps look great!

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Played with a fake iPhone

On Sunday, we managed to get out to Dim Sum at Northbridge Chinese Restaurant.  The crowd outside was massive for some reason – seems like the new “gold” tiles on the front of the restaurant are paying their way (how many Char Siew Pao’s would they need to sell for each tile?)

After nearly 30 minutes wait, we got our table.  My wife’s Uncle sat next to me and whipped out his latest toy. He said he was having some problems with the digital compass on it.

At first glance I exclaimed “Wow! You got an iPhone 3GS!”.    He just grinned.

But I did a double take – it seemed a bit fatter than mine.  Hmm.. the screen also looked slightly smaller too – only 3 rows of application icons instead of 4.  I turned it over, it had the same iPhone markings on the back – but it was clearly not a real iPhone.

Seems to look the same

And so I eagerly asked if I could have a play.

What’s Cool

  • It has 2 SIM card slots, but he was only using one at the time
  • The rear panel can slide out to access the removable battery and the SIM card slots
  • It also has a micro SD slot to add more memory
  • It was only about $150 AUD after shipping

Err..  unfortunately that’s about it.

What’s Not So Good

Same markings on the back

Touch Screen

OK, it’s got a touch screen, but at first, I couldn’t even swipe the screen to move to the next set of icons!  I eventually found I had to use my fingernail, and even so, the scrolling was NOT reponsive at all – it was quite jerky.  Apple definitely have perfected the way you interact with the screen by touch.  I let my wife’s Uncle play with my iPhone and he was just amazed at how much better it is…  and disappointed at how crap his $150 iPhone fake was.

No App Store

The fake iPhone comes with a few screens of applications and games.  Apparently they were all there when he got the phone. 

But that’s it. 

No App Store means a really limiting future after-sales experience.  The fake iPhone is then more like an older 5-10 year old Nokia phone with a limited set of games, than an iPhone which is more like a computer with thousands of games and applications that can be bought later, and continually upgraded.   Some of the applications that were on there had Chinese text.  I couldn’t find a way to change it to English.

Pre-Installed Applications

iPod

Unfortunately I didn’t have a laptop or headphones with me at dimsum, but the only music that was loaded on the fake iPhone were 3 Chinese songs.  The interface didn’t seem as swish as the iPod on an iPhone.  I’m not sure how music would be loaded onto the phone, but I assume you would have to copy it onto the microSD card which means no iTunes integration.

Digital Compass

I too tried to get this to work with no success.   The compass application loaded but North was everywhere!

What Works

Camera

The camera function worked, but the colours on the fake iPhone screen were more washed out than my iPhone side by side.  Not sure if this is the fault of the screen or the camera.  Without downloading it onto a computer to compare, it’s hard to tell.

Camera worked OK with washed out colours

Phone calls

Luckily the fake iPhone can make and receive phone calls, but my wife’s uncle did say that he has had a few call dropouts.  Hmmm…

I didn’t get to try the GPS out (if it even has one). 

So in summary, I was not impressed at all and nor was the owner.  From a bit of googling, it seems that there are a few different fake iPhones out there with different features sets, so if you really want to get one, I’d strongly advise trying it out before buying.  Living in Australia, that unfortunately is not an option.

In my opinion, not having access to the App Store is a deal breaker.   I hope to play with it again to see how the web browser works and if it supports Flash.

(Apologies for the quality of the pictures in this post – took them really quickly with my iPhone in dim dimsum lighting in between dishes.)