IOS 4 on 2nd generation iPhone 3G

Posted by steve | Apple Software and Hardware,Mobile Phones | Wednesday 30 June 2010 11:06 am

I own and am quite happy with a 2nd generation iPhone, the iPhone 3G. The phone, since its release, has been superseded by the iPhone 3GS and now the iPhone 4.

Recently Apple made the iOS 4 system software available for the 3G and 3GS versions of the iPhone, although some features are unavailable on the older 3G model. As reported here, I upgraded my software and it went without a hitch. The new features are very nice and the price, free, is great.

Now that I’ve been using it for a week I have some concerns about this new software. I’m noticing just an overall drop in performance. It seems as if there are instances when the iPhone just stalls, sometimes for seconds, before it responds to an action: choosing from a menu or typing a key. It’s very frustrating. Also, there are more frequent crashes. Sometimes the 3rd party app I’m running will exit unexpectedly and sometimes the iPhone itself will reboot (you get a blank screen and the white Apple logo while it is restarting).

It could be that these problems may just be 3rd party apps that need a software update to work well with iOS 4. But whatever the cause it doesn’t reflect well on Apple’s iPhone. My wife, having the same model phone and also upgraded, reports the same frustrating performance issues.

I’m going to try a full restore this weekend and see if that helps. Here’s hoping this is a fairly common experience and results in a software update to resolve the problems.

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iOS 4 updated on my iPhone 3G

Posted by steve | Apple Software and Hardware,Mobile Phones | Monday 21 June 2010 8:21 pm

Apple released iOS 4 (formerly iPhone OS 4) today. And like most probably all other iPhone owners I was eager to install this free update.

By the way, this is still one of the cool things I admire about the iPhone. Every year there’s a free major software update. And it’s always a worthwhile update. I just don’t remember this sort of thing when I had a Motorola Verizon phone.

Holding back my enthusiasm, I did a little research first. A little reading around the internet yielded some general advice to actually synch with a backup and then perform a full restore (wiping the phone clean and the automatically re-installing all the apps, music, photos, videos, podcasts, …) you get the idea.

It took a little while to go through a full backup and restore. I then downloaded the free update and allowed iTunes to perform the firmware upgrade on my iPhone.

The update went without a hitch. I have to admit, and I’m sure Apple intends this to be a compelling reaction, after poking around the new iOS, I want the full new hardware that iPhone 4 brings. Patience, and wait for it.

In the mean time I really dig the new Folders feature and immediately went folder crazy and reduced how many pages of iPhone apps I have installed, in favor of convenient folders. But the really cool app was the new iBooks app for the iPhone made available with iOS 4. You need to go to the App Store and do a free download to get it. I was just playing around with it – downloaded 2 free books and 2 sample book sections. iBooks on the iPhone is quite functional and easy to read. Nice software.

I’m now sending myself some PDF documents via email. The iPhone email client will allow me to save these PDF documents to the iBook reader. Can’t wait to see how that works out.

All in all, the update was painless except that it took about an hour.

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These guys are printing gold

Posted by steve | Apple Software and Hardware | Wednesday 16 June 2010 4:36 am

Yesterday, June 15th, customers could begin to pre-order the new model of iPhone, iPhone 4, through either AT&T or Apple.

Later the same day it was announced that you could no longer order the new mobile phone anywhere. Here’s a quote I read from AT&T posted during the afternoon.

“Because of the incredible interest in iPhone 4, today was the busiest online sales day in AT&T history.”

That didn’t take long. And have you tried to find an iPad 3G anywhere?

These guys are printing gold.

It’s not just Apple’s marketing. They make great products and people know it. It’s not just marketing — it’s reputation.

I haven’t decided about getting an iPhone upgrade yet. The model I have, which is now 2 years old, still works great. There are compelling features about iPhone 4 that interest me. But I’m also unresearched into whether my data plan would really change or not. I know that it’s very likely I’ll upgrade, who are we trying to kid here? But at this point I’m undecided.

When the iPad was announced I was more ambivalent. And so I haven’t been giving it too much thought in the past. But then recently I’ve watched a few people I know, who already have one, using theirs. And I recently visited my local Apple retail store to try one out. I can understand the appeal of a tablet sized web browsing device. It’s pretty nice to see and use.

I guess it’s a good thing that there weren’t any in stock.

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Wireless Internet Access from hotel

Posted by steve | Apple Software and Hardware | Wednesday 29 April 2009 10:22 pm

After the long drive to Dallas, which was great until we hit that flash flood which closed down I-35, I was feeling tired enough to be in no mood to mess with internet access antics at the hotel. The hotel will remain nameless, but it’s a major chain. Melissa selected this place before hand when she made reservations because there were few options left and we liked the room features.

But the internet access was a little “tricky”. You had 2 choices for access. An ethernet connection for a fixed daily charge, unlimited use, or a wireless access which charged by the minute. And that per-minute rate was not cheap. Now Melissa and I both brought along our Macintosh notebooks with built-in wireless access and we both wanted to continue having internet access if possible.

I wasn’t going to put up with it. Having prepared for any possibility, I brought along an Apple Airport Express. I own 2 of these just for this kind of situation. They cost around $99 and are very handy. You can also use one as a wireless network repeater/extender. So I plugged it into the power outlet and connected the ethernet to it. Configured it to provide our own private little wireless network, and viola! A wireless network without a per-minute billing. Of course we still have to pay the daily wire internet access fee, but I felt better not having to “watch the clock” for wireless internet access.

There’s a second part of this post that I was pretty excited about. First, some background. My Apple notebook computer is now several years old. It has an 80GB internal hard drive. At the time the notebook was being made, that was a very reasonable size. More modern models have really increased the internal hard drive capacity. Now if we ignore that the need to free disk space is a recursive discussion, the reason this matters to me has to do with the size of my iTunes library. It’s pretty big nowadays. And there’s no way it would fit onto my 80GB drive. My music library is currently running around 300GB. The way I accomplish that is to have a large external hard disk. The trick is to have the drive mounted by my home network so that my iTunes can find it without me having to tether a hard disk directly to my notebook computer. Access is slower with this technique but it’s a solution.

Here’s the really cool thing. That external network drive, using Apple’s mobile-me services, appears on my desktop here from the hotel network.

WeaselBook as seen from the hotel internet access

WeaselBook as seen from the hotel internet access

That’s cool.

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Apple’s PowerBook and MacBook Pro keyboards

Posted by steve | Apple Software and Hardware | Friday 31 October 2008 12:15 pm

One of the features I’ve always admired in Apple’s Pro notebook line is the lighted keyboard.  Actually, the 12″ model has never had this feature, but here’s how it looks and works.

There’s a fiber optic lighting system built-in to the keyboard and there’s an ambient light sensor hidden behind one of the speaker grills.  When the light sensor detects that there’s not much light in the room it does two things automatically.  It dims the display brightness to make it less overpowering and it ramps up the backlighting behind each key so you can see them even in a dark room.  And it’s constantly monitored by the system as lighting conditions change.  For example, as the room brightness increases the display brightness increases and the keys brightness decreases.

So if you wake up early in the morning and think of something you need to type on your computer, you just wake it up and begin working without having to turn on any lights in the room.  Very handy if you’re inclined to not wake anyone else.

Here’s a tip I learned by accident.  I keep my Mac OS X system secure by having it configured to require a password whenever it awakes from sleep.  So for example, when I awoke this morning and wanted to use my Mac, it required me to enter in the correct password to access the system.  Something I’ve been annoyed about is that when the password dialog window pops up on the display when you first awaken the computer, if the room is dark, the keyboard lighting system does not kick-in.  So I usually tip the display inwards a bit so that I can see the keys until I get the password typed.  Then the system properly activates the keyboard.  Well what I learned is that if you wait and let the security password dialog time-out it closes and the screen goes dark.  And if you then type any key it wakes back up.  However this time it turns on the keyboard backlighting.  Very cool.

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