Archive for the ‘iPhone’ Category

Getting Green With Gadgets | Gravy | volume 1, issue 2 | Summer 2011

Getting Green With Gadgets
By Joe Hutsko

Some tips on minimizing your impact on the planet while maximizing the green that stays in your wallet in your wallet.

Turn to pages 104 & 105 in Gravy | volume 1, issue 2 | Summer 2011


View the two-page PDF here: Getting Green With Gadgets | Joe Hutsko | Gravy | Summer 2011.


Smart apps, smarter you | August 2011

Smart apps, smarter you
By Joe Hutsko

Smartphones are called “smart” because they do so much more than ordinary cellphones. Besides making and receiving calls and text messages, or snapping pictures and videos, smartphones let you do things you typically do on your computer—albeit on a Lilliputian scale. Pocketing either of the two most popular mainstream smartphone platforms—iPhone or Android—can often liberate you from having to haul a notebook computer to accomplish everyday tasks using your smartphone’s suite of built-in applications, or apps.

Continue reading: Smart apps, smarter you | August 2011.


Forceful Prediction: Apple Sunlight-Friendly Displays Would Scare The Daylights Out Of Competition

My first story for TechCrunch is up:

Forceful Prediction: Apple Sunlight-Friendly Displays Would Scare The Daylights Out Of Competition

With nary a peep on the possibility of Apple baking a seeable-in-sunlight transflective display into the rumored 11.6” MacBook Air that’s expected to come floating up from the Pulpit of Jobs at Apple’s “Back to the Mac” next week, I’d like to make a pretty safe prediction (read: offer unasked-for advice): An Apple-anything with such a display would make mobile-warriors’ and tree-huggers’ hearts flutter, and competitors’ hearts shudder…

Read the full story: TechCrunch | Forceful Prediction: Apple Sunlight-Friendly Displays Would Scare The Daylights Out Of Competition


Netflix for iPhone and iPod touch streams the big screen to the small screen

Last night my friend (and Flip Video For Dummies co-author) Drew and I crashed out in front around my iPad to watch John Cassavettes’ brilliant film “Husbands” (1970). Both of us were fading to black before reaching The End so we opted to pause and finish watching another night.

Drew this morning was saying how it would be cool if the Netflix app was available for the iPhone too so he could finish watching on the train, and low and behold, that feature (plus iPhone touch streaming) was added to the app today.

Key features of the Netflix app include:

  • Watch as often as you want
  • Resume watching where you left off on your TV, computer, iPad or wherever you last watched
  • Browse movies and manage your Instant Queue right from your iPhone or iPod touch (or iPad)

Download the Netflix app from the iTunes App Store here: Netflix.


iPhone OS 3.1 update available; organize apps in iTunes, download ringtones, MobileMe remote lock, anti-phishing and more

While everyone’s following the blogs covering Apple’s announcements today, I checked iTunes to see if there might be an iPhone update available before the show’s over.


Low and behold, I’m downloading the iPhone OS 3.1 Software Update and installing it on my iPhone 3G as I write this.

Here is what appears in the dialog  after you click Download, or Download and Install:

iPhone OS 3.1 Software Update

This update contains bug fixes and improvements, including the following:

  • Genius recommendations for Applications
  • iTunes 9 support
    • Genius Mixes
    • Organize your apps directly in iTunes
    • Improved syncing options for music, movies, TV shows, podcasts and photos
    • iTunes U content organization
  • Redeem iTunes Gift cards, codes and certificates in the App Store
  • Display available iTunes account credits in the App Store and iTunes Store
  • Browse and download ringtones wirelessly from the iTunes Store*
  • Save video from Mail and MMS into Camera Roll
  • Option to “Save as new clip” when trimming a video on iPhone 3GS
  • Better iPhone 3G Wi-Fi performance when Bluetooth is turned on
  • Remotely lock iPhone with a passcode via MobileMe
  • Use Voice Control with iPhone 3GS with Bluetooth headsets
  • Paste phone numbers into Keypad
  • Option to use Home button to turn on Accessibility features on iPhone 3GS
  • Warn when visiting fraudulent websites in Safari (anti-phishing)
  • Improved Exchange calendar synching and invitation handling
  • Fixes issue that caused some app icons to display incorrectly
  • Products compatible with this software update:

iPhone 3G
iPhone 3GS

The update completed just as I finished writing this post, and now when I check Settings > General > About I see Version 3.1 7C144) and Carrier AT&T 5.0. Stay tuned for more details.IMG_0715


iPhone & iPod touch tip: Undo accidental Home button press

It happens all the time: You’re using an iPhone app and you accidentally press the Home button, which takes you home whether you like it or not. Here’s an easy trick to undo an accidental Home key press:

Keep the Home button held down, then touch and hold on the screen for two seconds then let go of the Home button. You stay in the app rather than go home.


One Minute Review: InCase Bamboo Slider Case for iPhone 3G

After accidentally knocking my original iPhone off my desk, which caused the glass screen to smash into a pretty spiderweb-like pattern that, thanks to my Invisible Shield screen protector, allowed me to continue using the smart phone as I stood in line to buy an iPhone 3G when it went on sale the next day, I decided it was time to surround the new one with a protective case.

Although I initially went with InCase’s leather-wrapped Slider Elan, I later chose the InCase black Slider (pictured on the left) as my iPhone 3G’s protective partner. The case’s tight fit adds minimal thickness to the 3G, and its lightly rubberized finish provides just enough grip to prevent accidental sleights of the hand, so to speak. I’ve also used Griffin’s Clarifi for iPhone 3G, but only on the couple of occasions when I needed to take a close up snapshot, thanks to the Clarifi’s built in lens, which corrects the iPhone camera’s farsightedness.

InCase recently sent me their new Bamboo Slider for iPhone 3G, and having just finished Green Gadgets For Dummies, I welcomed the new model’s reduced carbon footprint, thanks to the case’s composition of 40 percent recycled bamboo, 60 percent polycarbonate construction.

InCase says the bamboo pulp used to create the case comes from “reclaimed bamboo shards of materials such as construction scaffolding and chopsticks.”

In hand, the Bamboo Slider feels like plastic, though a deep whiff of the case’s backside betrays plywoody hints that evoke memories of under-construction new homes and lumberyards.

Bottom line: The inclusion of bamboo is an interesting novelty, but the case’s less grippy finish was reason enough for me to stick with the lightly rubberized Slider that’s served me well since acquiring my iPhone 3G.


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.


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.


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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