Favorite Posts of the Week: Aug. 24 – Aug. 30

30 08 2008

Here are my favorite posts for the week of August 24th through August 30th.

This list isn’t in any particular order.  However, if I had to, I would say that Ubiquity was the most interesting and best link in the list.

iPhone 2.0.2

19 08 2008

I’m glad that Apple is taking steps to improve iPhone 2.0. The 2.0.2 update was released today, just two weeks after the 2.0.1 update was released.
Apple doesn’t give much information on what it fixes, the only description given is “bug fixes”. There is hope that people with the 3G models will see their connectivity issues fixed. (Since I’m still using the older model, I haven’t experienced these problems.) There is also hope that the lag in the keyboard will be fixed (which irritates me to no end!)

Just to download the update takes a while to complete, and expect the backup and installation to take a while too. I’ll let you know what changes once mine finishes.

It seems like there are not any major changes, which I was not expecting anyway. Applications are loading a little bit faster, and the lag that I’ve noticed with the keyboard seems to be fixed. I usually had this lag when using the search feature in my contacts list, now this comes up a lot faster and the letters appear as soon as they are typed. Let’s give it a couple of days and see if these improvements in speed are fixed for good.
It’s also being reported that 2.0.2 provides a temporary fix for a few of the 3G problems — maybe. Read the article at Ars Technica.

Update – 8/21/2008:
Some iPhone 3G users have reported that they do not have the ability to make calls after updating to 2.0.2. Read the full article on Infinite Loop (Ars Technica).

Update – 8/22/2008:
I was really excited after updating when the keyboard lag I had been seeing seemed to disappear. But, like I said when I initially wrote this post, I would wait a few days to see if the “fix” was permanent. Yesterday, I was using the search function in my contacts, and it went back to taking forever to come up, and the letters didn’t show up as soon I typed them. So, that was only “fixed” for a couple days. *sigh*

iPhone 2.0.1 Update

5 08 2008

Apple released the iPhone 2.0.1 update yesterday. The update brings us bug fixes, so I’m hoping my phone (and anyone else who has had the same problems) will stop restarting on its own and stop running so slowly.

While I’m still in the process of updating my phone, I’ve heard from others that the update does NOT bring copy and paste, unfortunately. Considering that the version number did not change that much, there are probably not going to be any big functionality changes. I think that it will take a few days to realize what bugs have been fixed.

Update – 8/13/08:
I noticed today when I synced my music that this update seems to fix one of my biggest pet peeves. Before, syncing would literally reinstall your applications, making it necessary to reorganize your icons to your desired setup and login in again to any applications that needed it. After syncing my phone today, though, all of my applications are in the same spots and on the right homescreens. Also, I stayed logged in to all of my applications. Thank you Apple for fixing this!

Problems with iPhone 2.0

29 07 2008

I, like many others, was looking forward to iPhone 2.0 and 3G day. Many of us stuck it out while Apple’s servers wanted to collapse from all the traffic. We downloaded app upon app, figuring out which ones were useful, novelty, or just plain pointless. Well, after we all praised our new phones and software (with the exception of MobileMe), we started to realize that everything wasn’t so perfect after all.

Here are the things that I find most annoying about my iPhone after the 2.0 update. I’m putting the 4 that are freshest in my mind, but as I think of more (because I’m sure there are more), I’ll add them.

1. My battery life has gone down the drain. Before the update, I didn’t think that the battery life was too bad. I mean, sure it could have been better, but it wasn’t as bad as it is now. Everyday I am down to 20% of battery life. Is this a scheme to get all of us to buy a second charger or a car charger? I hate more than anything when my phone dies, and it is just too often of an occurrence now.

2. Syncing has now become a pain in my ass. If I want to sync anything else (pictures, music, etc.), I have to “re-sync” my applications. What I mean by this is you HAVE TO select that you want to sync your applications, otherwise it will delete all of them from your phone. But once you re-sync, all of your logins are cleared from your applications, and everything is in a different order than it was before. So you waste your time putting it in again when all you really want to do is use the application. Why isn’t there an option to not sync them, but in a way that just leaves everything the way that it is?

2b.  Another thing that is sort of related to this is the process of updates for applications. Here is an example: Pandora is on homescreen #4 on my phone and NetNewsWire is on homescreen #1. I updated both of them today. Well, it’s nice that it gets rid of the old version of the application, and it’s great if the application you are updating is the last icon of the first homescreen, like my NetNewsWire is. However, Pandora was now placed in the last spot of the first homescreen. Why doesn’t the application just get updated and stay in the same spot that it was in to begin with? It almost makes all of the organization pointless since it constantly has to be redone.

3. Why do we not have copy and paste? I know that Apple stated it was not top priority, and I know that MagicPad (still waiting for approval for the app store) can do copy and paste. Mind you, this is only copy and paste within that one application, it doesn’t work with Safari or Mail. It just kills me that one of the most basic text-editing functions hasn’t been included yet.

4. My phone seems to have a mind of it’s own, or it’s just really unhappy. Before iPhone 2.0, my phone would RARELY restart on it’s own. After the update, I can’t even count how many times it’s just restarted randomly. I’m just using an application, or closing one down, and everything goes black. Eventually I see the silver apple, and I know my battery didn’t die, at least. But why does it do this? And I switching between applications too fast?

With all the problems I, and many other iPhone users, have been having, it’s not suprising to read an article titled “Is Apple Becoming Microsoft” (which is similar to this article.) The main points that the first article makes are:

  • hardware shortages of extremely popular products
  • computers crashing during activation at Apple and AT&T stores
  • buggy 2.0 software, which Apple “inflicted” on their customers
  • formal apology for MobileMe performance
  • installing software on user’s computers without their knowledge

Ok, I think it is a little harsh, and I wouldn’t necessarily go so far as to say that Apple is becoming Microsoft. However, I do believe that some of the things that they have done could have been handled better. To me it seems like some more planning could have been done. But just because of that doesn’t mean they are now Microsoft, because there a plenty of companies out there that could have benefited from a better plan.

Finally, I know that this is not Apple’s fault, but it is so sad to see a really cool application be unusable by anyone because of the city that they live in. I live in Reno, NV and sure, it’s the “biggest little city in the world”, but it’s not THAT small. And it’s sad to not see us on the list of supported cities in some of these applications.

The one that I was most looking forward to was UrbanSpoon. I think this is an awesome application, and something that I would actually use. (Somehow I am friends with people who are all just like me – extremely indecisive when it comes down to where to eat, or even what kind of food to eat.) When this first came out, instead of telling the user that their city was not supported, the application just crashed. They have since come out with an update, which tells you your city is not on the list and asks you if you would like to suggest a city. Why, yes, I would! I applaud them for trying to make this application better (but I still wish I could use it NOW!)

What are the things that bug you the most about the software update / iPhone 3G? Do you think Apple is becoming Microsoft? And what applications have you been unable to use?

Coolest iPhone Application

18 07 2008

Ok, so I have downloaded several applications and have only had problems with a few of them. And generally, my favorites had just been versions of websites that I use on a daily basis (Myspace, Facebook, Yelp). But I found the coolest application and I am so glad that I did! Here’s a little preface: I have a lot of mixed CDs from friends, that aren’t tagged with song titles, artists, or albums. I like my music library to be really organized, and mixed CDs are always a nightmare if I don’t know who the song is by. What I would normally resort to is listening to each song, pulling out a sentence or phrase from the song, and googling that. Usually that will come up with the artist and song name. Then I would go to Amazon and look up that artist’s albums. I would go through each album looking for the name of the particular song. Needless to say, this was a horrible way to do it!
Well, along comes Shazam (free). You just tap the “tag now” button, and it listens to the song and will come back with the artist, name of the song, genre, label, and album. Wow, what a time saver! So, I tested it out with some songs that I already had the information for. I tried some well know artists, and some lesser known or older artists. Shazam got it every time! So, I moved on to tagging a CD full of G Love songs, which are all from different albums. It got every single one of them. If I had more time today, I’d finish my entire music library, but I have quite a few unknown songs!
Anyway, point is, if you find yourself in the same predicament as me often, then this is definitely an App to check out!

For real this time

11 07 2008

Alright, so now that I have made it through what Gizmodo was calling iPocalypse, I can finally give you my thoughts.
After your data is restored to your iPhone, you will get a message telling you that your phone has been activated. You will then get a message telling you how to rearrange the icons on your homescreens. The update forgets any of the rearranging that you may have done in the past, and puts all of the icons back to their default positions. For instance, I had placed my SMS in the dock instead of having mail there. But the update puts mail back in the dock and SMS back in the homscreen. Also, any other icons that you had on other homescreens move to fill up the empty space on first homescreen. Not that this is really a big deal, but it is just a little annoying. I will probably be getting rid of most of the non-default icons right now anyway because most of them now have App-equivalents.
Obviously, the App Store icon is new. Clicking it takes you to the “new” section (which still cracks me up, because they are all new for the time being”), and then there is also a “what’s hot” section. I was hoping that there would be some way for the App Store to know what I have already downloaded through iTunes, but there wasn’t, so I guess that has to be done through sync.

Well, on my way to go the sync, I’m running into the same iTunes error message again, and the “Accessing iTunes Store” message that goes on forever. What do I need to go to the store for? I’m already activated? I just want to sync!!!! Is this going to take another two hours? I really just want to see how it all works… I guess in the meantime, I can talk about other stuff.

There is another new icon – Contacts. Which is nice because now you don’t have to go through the phone icon in order to view your contacts. Search in contacts is great and will be a total time saver! But I recall that tapping the top of whatever screen you are on would take you to the top. For example, if you were in the ‘V’s of your contacts, tapping the top where it says ‘All Contacts’ would take you back up to the ‘A’s. But, this doesn’t seem to work, so is this is just a feature if you bought the new phone?
Update: I realized that you actually click up top where the time is shown, and that will take you to the top.
The Calendar has a change too. When you are tap a day that has an appointment, it would usually just show you the start time and the title of the event, and you had to click on it to see anymore information. Now, underneath the title is the location of the event.
One of my biggest pet peeves with maps was that it gave you the option to view traffic. But in my area, it never worked. If I scrolled over to the next big city it was fine. I never really understood this because I don’t live in a small town… but that’s a topic for another day. But now maps tells you if traffic is unavailable. The area you tap to change views and see traffic has changed a little bit, but it’s probably just for aesthetics, not functionality. When looking for current location, you now get a message stating that maps would like to use your current location, and asks you to deny or allow. Interesting too, that bus stops and the direction the street goes are now shown in map and hybrid views.
Because the phone is now “location aware”, camera also asks if you want it to know your current location. This is awesome, because I can now see how it ties into Apps like WHERE and Whrrl.
None of my alarms were restored after updating. Not that big of a deal, but still would have been nice if I didn’t have to reset all of them.
Calculator in vertical mode looks a little different, and as we know, turning it horizontally will put it into scientific mode.
Settings has a couple of changes as well. Support for MobileMe to sync everything in the “Fetch New Data” area. Mail, Contacts, and Calendars is all in one area now. And any applications that have settings will now show up in Settings (for example, SmugShot has a spot in there.)
I think that’s all, I think I’m going to watch guided tour again, because I honestly don’t remember all of the changes that were going to be made. And if I do remember them, then I can’t remember how to do them.
What I would have liked to see:
An option to set an alarm to go off everyday, without having to manually select every day. I think there should be an option that literally says “Every day”.
Traffic in more areas. Why doesn’t Reno get traffic, it’s not that small!

Need a break… back later with thoughts on Apps

Ok, I’m back…
I downloaded several Apps, so here is what I think of them as I go setup and play around with them:
Friend’s profiles look exactly like what you would see in the iPhone’s contacts area. Tapping on a physical address opens Maps, tapping a phone number immediately calls the person instead of asking if you want to call, and tapping an email address opens Mail.
I think the Facebook App is setup very nicely and is very easy to use.
Very cool! MUCH MUCH MUCH better than the online mobile version. You can do pretty much everything on the App that you can on the actual website. You can also search for people by their name now, instead of just an email address. I love it! But the only thing that I noticed after playing with it for a while is that it doesn’t tell you that you have new comments.
Right off the bat asks you if you want it to know your current location. Again, this is because it is now “location aware”. You then get a message asking if you want to setup an account (ie. for people who already have an account… kind of misleading.) The alert noise honestly scared me when it first happened… not sure if I will keep it.
Easy setup of new account. May take some getting used to when actually using. We’ll see…
Update: I did end up getting rid of this App.
Very slow to load. There are a lot different thing integrated into this though, and it seems like it is better setup that Whrrl to be honest. They are pretty similar in what they are aiming to do. But I thought I’d get both and decide what I liked best. Using WHERE will probably eliminate my need for the Yelp! App. I can honestly see myself getting a lot of use out of this App and I’m really excited to use it!
Like I just said, WHERE will probably eliminate my need for the Yelp! App, but may as well take a look at it anyway. However, I can see where it could useful when looking for something specific. Maybe I’ll keep it on there for now and see if it meets a need.
I think this is an awesome concept. But how much would I use it on my phone? Especially with out a way to select text? I could definitely see myself using it on my desktop. So maybe I’ll hold off on this until I use it on my computer.
I didn’t have a Jott account before, so I had to register for one. Annoying thing: you have to tap in the middle of the text box in order to use it… weird. After registering, you are sent a SMS in order to validate your account, this takes a while. Waiting….. Waiting….. Still waiting….. Ok, well, since Evernote also has the ability to do voice notes, I got rid of Jott. Never did get that text message…
I know some of this is kind of scattered brained. But I hope it helps someone.

Later in the day I ended up adding a couple more applications. I haven’t had the time to try them out yet, but if I feel that you’d benefit from what I have to say, I’ll write a blog.

Today is the day!

11 07 2008

It’s July 11th everyone, and we all know what that means – iPhone 2.0 software and iPhone 3G day! While some of us (ie. me) aren’t getting a new phone, we can still look forward to the new software, including the App Store, which launched yesterday.
I downloaded iTunes 7.7 yesterday and looked through all of the free apps (not ready to commit to buying apps at this point.) I downloaded a few, but had to wait today to actually use them. (Ok, I know, there was an unofficial release of the update yesterday, but for the same reason that I never jailbroke my iPhone, I decided to wait until the official release.) Speaking of jailbreaking, there is news that iPhone 2.0 has already been jailbroken (that was quick!). The Lifehacker article was particularly good.
Anyway, back on track, I’m sure everyone has their own personal opinions on the new software, but here’s mine:

It took a while to back up, prepare, and restore both software and firmware on my iPhone. But I guess so does reformatting a computer, so I should be used to it. I guess I was just really excited for it that my normal impatience was even worse waiting for this.
Once it finished restoring, it had to restart, and I assumed it would be something like when you first got the phone, and you had to go through all sorts of setup. Well, I was waiting, and waiting, and waiting while it accessed the iTunes store and then I got this error message:

Ok, so try again. Nope, same error message. *Sigh* how long is this going to take?
I guess me and my opinion of the apps are going to have to wait until I get this figured out.
More to come…