Monthly Archive for September, 2008

30-second review: Pogo Stylus for iPhone/iPod touch for the fingernail-challenged

The Pogo Stylus is an aluminum stick with a small and fuzzy hairdo on one end that can be used in lieu of your fingertip to interact with iPhone and iPod touch screens.

The stylus comes with a slide-on holder to keep the stick close at hand yet isn’t exactly comfortable to hold in because it must be positioned midway or below rather than near the upper half of the iPhone (doing so presses on the volume keys, a no-no).

While my iPhone 3G responds to my fingertip with the lightest touch, the Pogo Stylus requires a firmer press to get the iPhone to recognize it. Bottom line: Unless you’re sporting fingernails of the Cat Woman variety that prevent you from making contact with your device, hang on to your $20 and let your own fingers do the touching.

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One-Minute Review: More-Thing Ultra Slim Silicone Case for iPhone 3G is as flimsy and useless as a used condom

The title of this post is actually gentler than my initial title idea: “Objects are shittier than they appear.” And let me tell you, the More-Thing Ultra Slim Silicone Case is a piece of shit. It’s as flimsy and formless as a pair of stretched-out, decades-old Fruit of the Loom briefs (which are actually more useful than this crappy silicone case).

Don’t let the More-Thing website fool you: Those gorgeous, Penthouse-quality Vaseline-dabbed-lens beauty shots of the Ultra Slim Silicone cases in all their throbbing-colors glory with names like Tomato and Liquid Blue are bullshit. Ditto for the colorless choices like the black one I ordered for $11.90 plus nearly as much for expedited shipping from Hong Kong.

The fit is loose and anything but tight, and the finish – if you could call it that – is shameful. As the picture shows the cutout for the iPhone 3G headphone jack is just that – a crudely cut opening – and nothing like the cleanly round hole shown in the website pictures. Only after receiving this crappy case and slipping it onto my iPhone like a used condom found on the beach and then immediately removing it did it occur to me to check for other opinions and reviews. Low and behold, the company’s own product page for the crappy case revealed many other unhappy buyers.

Thanks for nothing, More-Thing.

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iPhone 2.1 update and my first bug: Apple iPhone Bluetooth headset travel cable isn’t compatible…then is

Since every gadget site on earth already spread the news that the iPhone 2.1 firmware update is now available to download and install there’s nothing more to say on that front in general.

But I do have a weird 2.1 update quirk to share.

After downloading and installing the update and restarting my iPhone 3G, I received the message: ”This accessory is not made to work with iPhone.”

(Also weird: When powered on the first time my iPhone 3G’s speaker is mute when I tap my password into the “Enter Passcode” screen to unlock my iPhone.)

The only accessory attached is my iPhone 3G is the Apple iPhone Bluetooth headset travel cable, and I find it hard to believe that at least some of the testing engineers at Apple aren’t users of the headset themselves, which means they’d experience the same hiccup. What’s more, the battery icon showed that the iPhone 3G was getting juice to charge, yet the Bluetooth Headset icon was missing.

Then again, my the travel cable is plugged into a powered USB hub (by Belkin), so maybe that had something to do with the bug. After all, the powered hub on its own doesn’t even recharge my iPhone 3G unless I have it plugged into my MacBook, so maybe the hub was the culprit.

Guilty as charged?

Guilty as charged?

First, I unplugged the iPhone 3G from the travel cable (still plugged into the hub) and plugged it in again, and this time I received no accessory incompatibility error (and the headset icon appeared).

I wondered if maybe the bug only occurs when powering on the iPhone for the first time. To find out, I powered off the iPhone, unplugged the cable from the USB hub and plugged it directly into my MacBooks spare USB port.

I powered on the iPhone 3G and once again I received the accessory incompatibility error.

And once again I unplugged the cable, plugged it back in, and as before received no error this time (and the headset icon appeared) – but still no sound when I typed in my passcode.

I powered off the iPhone, powered it on again, and I got the error again – yet this time there was sound whe I typed in my passcode.

Weird, right?

I’d be curious to hear from others about their own Weird iPhone 2.1 Update Tales.

UPDATE (10:51 AM): Further adventures in weirdness: When I power off my iPhone 3G and plug the Bluetooth Headset travel cable into the wall charger then power on the iPhone I still get no sound when I type in my passcode, and though I don’t get the accessory incompatibly error, the iPhone Bluetooth headset icon is absent until I unplug the iPhone then plug it back in.

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Facebook for Palm smartphones arrives

Though I’m an iPhone 3G owner, I’m still a fan of Palm’s Access-based Palm smartphones like the Centro – so much so it would be my smartphone of choice if I wasn’t using the iPhone.

As such, I’d be really pleased about Palm’s release of Facebook for Palm smartphones. When it comes to getting *anything* done on a smartphone, nothing beats mobile-tweaked apps over their general web counterparts.

To download Facebook for the Palm Centro, Treo 755p and Treo™ 680 click here. 

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How-to: Reorder iPhone email accounts to your liking

One thing that bugs me about the iPhone’s email program is the inability to rearrange the order of email accounts to my liking.

Unfortunately there’s no “Edit” button like Phone Favorites to drag names up or down to reorder them.

But there is a way to reorder your email accounts to your satisfaction. Here’s how:

  1. Plug in your iPhone and launch iTunes.
  2. Select your iPhone in the Devices column on the left, then click the Info tab at the top of the screen.
  3. Click “Sync selected mail accounts:” if it isn’t already selected.
  4. Uncheck any mail accounts that may be selected except the mail account you want to appear at the top of your email accounts list.
  5. Click Sync.
  6. When iTunes finishes syncing leave the prior mail account checked then check the mail account you want to appear as the next account on your email accounts list.
  7. Click Sync.
  8. Repeat step 6 for each additional mail account until you’ve synced them all.
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iPhone 3G protection match made in heaven: Invisible Shield and Griffin Elan Form

I’ve sung the praises of Zagg’s Invisible Shield screen protector for iPhone and most recently, for the iPhone 3G. Invisible Shield provides a nice touch and slightly watery effect that’s pleasant view, and most important of all it hides those ugly fingerprint smears. In my recent review of the new iPhone 3G shield I reported on how glad I was to see the new version closed the circle around the Home button, however I bemoaned the upper and lower flaps that gave me such a hard time I wound up slicing them off for my third (and successful) installation.

Good news: Zagg’s new revision ($14.95 for front shield; $18.95 for back shield; $24.95 for both) says goodbye to the flaps altogether. Nice.

In related iPhone 3G protection news I picked up Griffin’s Elan Form ($29.99) case a few weeks ago. The hard polycarbonate plastic case is finished with nicely textured leather that feels good in the hand – and integrates so tightly you’d think it was Apple’s own design. The lower half detaches to allow the iPhone 3G to stand in a dock, and though my retrofitted iPhone Bluetooth headset dock can accommodate my 3G, I’ve taken to using the travel cable instead rather than be bothered with removing and reattaching the lower half each time I reconnect my 3G. The Elan Form also comes with a shiny clear plastic shield (which shows finger smears) to protect the screen, but I’ve left that off in favor of the Invisible Shield.

Combined, these two iPhone 3G add-ons inspire a new take on the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup line: Two great fits that fit great together.

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