Posts Tagged ‘ iphone ’

iPhone 3G upgraded to iOS4 – update

I’ve had the “redsn0w 0.9.5 beta” jailbreak on my iPhone 3G for a few days now so I thought I’d give my impressions. I’ll admit that there is a slight performance reduction but only on some functions and on balance I still think having the multi-tasking is well worth it. Strangely, the 2 functions that seem to suffer the most performance anxiety are the iPod and Phone functions. Opening iPod takes slightly longer than before and it demonstrates some reluctance to start playing with a hint of lag. Phone also has a bit of lag that it didn’t display before, taking some extra time when ending a call before it reverts back to the previous function. Allowing phone to remain open in the multitasking quicklaunch window affects performance the most so I just make sure I close it when I’ve finished my phone call. I don’t actually use my iPhone for making phone calls that often if I’m honest…

Other than this occasional lag I’ve found the performance to be much the same if not better than before. When you are in an application everything still works smoothly and instantly. And since yesterday the Facebook app has been updated to fully support multitasking which means that it is instantly available. Given that this was quite a slow loading app before multitasking that is definitely a win. I refer to Facebook quite a lot during the day… sad I know. Flicking to Twitter, Mail or Safari is also smooth and instant. My most used apps are Mail, Safari, Twitter, and Facebook and I tend to leave them open all the time. Other apps that I use occasionally such as Phone or iPod I will generally close afterwards to reduce the load on the processor. One does have to accept that the 3G wasn’t designed for this and some accommodations must be made.

So in summary, yes there is some small performance reduction in a few areas but on balance the multitasking is worthwhile. And I will be saving a lot of time because I no longer have to wait for Facebook to load!


iPhone 3G upgraded to iOS4

iPhone 4

Because I live in Belgium and we are usually the last country to receive updated products from the House of Apple I was fretting slightly about the upcoming iPhone4 launch and the fact that I would be forced to wait. I began plotting and scheming to either travel to France where they sell unlocked phones or to the UK when I heard that they are also offering unlocked versions. I was prepared to do anything to get one quickly. Anyone who read my previous rants about my iPhone might have noticed that I implied that I would never buy another Apple product. Yeah, I didn’t believe me either…

In the meantime, before iPhone4 launched, iOS4 was made available for download. This is the latest operating system for all of Apple’s mobile platforms, the various iPhones and the iPad and it can be installed on my old 3G. In the past I might have been found loitering around the Apple website poised to click on download the second the shiny new OS became available. However, this time I didn’t bother as I know from previous experience that the Apple website usually slows to a crawl or crashes during those first few hours as all the other (more dedicated than me) fanboys suck up all the bandwidth. Instead I stayed in bed.

In the morning, when it had been available for a few hours and was already installed on hundreds of thousands of iPhones around the world I got up a little early hoping to do the install before going to work. I downloaded the file in a few seconds via iTunes, plugged in my iPhone and clicked “Yes, I would like a shiny new operating system please” or words to the same effect… There was a warning message that this might take up to an hour but I hoped it would be quicker. Anyway, I left it running and went to take a shower and get ready for work expecting that it would at least be substantially done by the time I was ready.

You can see where this is going can’t you. Yep, it wasn’t. Not even close. It’s not the installation that takes time, it’s the damn full back-up that it insists on doing before it will begin the installation, something I don’t understand given that the iPhone is supposedly backed up every time you synchronise it with your PC. The little green indicator had barely moved and a quick mental extrapolation based on time passed vs back-up quantity achieved indicated that it would be finished at 8:32pm sometime in September 2012. I didn’t think work would appreciate me being quite that late so I cancelled it. Thwarted.

After suffering through a day at work knowing that I was currently one of the have-nots, I rushed home and began again. Again, the back-up began at a glacial pace. Empires have been built and overthrown in less time than this back-up was taking. And staring at the little green bar didn’t appear to be making it go any faster. I took a deep breath and decided to watch a movie to pass the time. I forget which movie it was as I was too busy checking the status of the excruciatingly slow-moving green bar over my shoulder.

Graphical representation of eternity

After about an hour, when the aforementioned green bar representing the back-up status reached half-way, the back-up was complete. Wait, what? Ahhh now I understand. Apple have employed the same technology in their green back-up status indicator that was in the fuel gauge of my 1980 Datsun Sunny. That would also move slowly through a smooth, confidence-inspiring arc from Full to Half Full as you drove along, at which point it would pause for a few miles before flicking straight to Empty accompanied by a coughing, spluttering sound from the engine as the car ran out of fuel… again. Clever.

With the back-up complete my iPhone began a complicated process of installing, rebooting, installing some more, and rebooting again until suddenly (magically if you believe Steve Jobs) it was finished. With trembling hands and a degree of trepidation I swiped to unlock and see what had become of my 3G with it’s new soul. If I’m honest, at that point, other than a new graphic under the lowest row of apps, it didn’t look any different. No wait, the calculator app has a redesigned icon! Woohoo!

Now I knew not to expect a huge difference as I’d already read that, although the 3G would get iOS4, some of the features would be disabled because it doesn’t have the processing power of the 3GS or the iPhone4. So no multi-tasking unfortunately. Having more than one application running at the same time on a 3G would make it too slow says Apple. It’s a pity as the lack of multi-tasking is my biggest bugbear on the 3G and the main reason I want to upgrade to the iPhone4. Hang on…

The other missing feature that is bundled into the multitasking functionality is the screen orientation lock, a very useful feature that I covet. This simple little feature locks the screen in portrait orientation so that if you are reading something lying on your side the screen doesn’t keep switching to landscape mode. Handy but also absent.

My iPhone

I’d been reading on various technology blogs how people were finding the performance of iOS4 on the 3G and it was a mixed bag. Some people complained that their 3G slowed to a crawl, others noted no difference either way, whilst some reported a slight increase in performance. I am happy to report that I fell into the latter camp and my 3G did in fact feel a little snappier in its transitions between screens and when opening applications. Still far slower than a 3GS but certainly no worse than it was before. And I am now able to arrange my apps into folders, a very convenient feature that reduces the number of screens I have to flick through to find my apps. I spent many happy hours organising and reorganising until everything was just so.

So you might think this is it, my 3G has been upgraded to iOS4 with no noticeable blunting of performance, and I have an extra couple of features that His Jobsness deems suitable for my out-of-date iPhone. I should be happy. And for a week, I was. But then yesterday I was reading Gizmodo, my favourite tech blog and I discovered a new jailbreak that enables multitasking on the 3G running iOS4! I scanned the comments to see how other people were finding this hack and there didn’t seem to be any horror stories. My confidence was buoyed by the fact that A, my 3G seems to perform quite well with iOS4 and B, I can always restore it back to factory if it all goes to hell.

So I downloaded the patch, followed the instructions (which incidentally require a level of button-pressing coordination that I usually only possess on Wednesdays), and installed “redsn0w 0.9.5 beta”. This went smoothly and took far less time than installing iOS4. And voila, my 3G now has multitasking and no, it has not become particularly laggy or slow. Swiping through the screens is still snappy and not at all like dragging my finger through treacle. Some screen transitions are maybe not quite as smooth as they were before but everything still works smartly even with 4 or 5 apps open at once and while listening to music. This really emphasises the over-controlling nature of Apple when it comes to product releases. I don’t see any reason why they couldn’t have released iOS4 for all iPhones with the proviso that performance on the 3G could be compromised and then allowed the users to choose if they wished to enable multitasking or not. Instead they simply deny us choice and force us to go for a black-market solution or jailbreak.

It is worth noting that at this point in time not all apps are properly enabled for multitasking, an issue that even iPhone4 owners will experience. Some like the Mail app, Safari, and Twitter are fully iOS4 compatible and when you switch away from them and then back again they are open immediately and exactly where you left them. Others, such as Facebook seem to need to reload each time even though they remain in the quick access multitasking window. I assume that more and more apps will be updated to be compatible with multitasking over the coming weeks.

Anyway, as I mentioned at the beginning of this missive, I was hankering after the new iPhone4. I don’t think I am in such a rush anymore. I still want it because I know it will be faster than mine and it has yet more features such as video recording and a superior camera. But my 3G no longer feels like it is missing essential features and I am more content. There have also been reports of significant issues with the iPhone4 such as reception problems, yellow spots or bands on screens, and the fact that they seem to shatter very easily if you drop them. Not that surprising given that they are made of glass I guess. I haven’t dropped my 3G in the 18 months I’ve owned it so that doesn’t worry me too much but I would like to wait and see what happens with the other issues before I cough up another 600€+.

And of course I should really be resisting such rampant consumerism for the sake of the planet. So for now, I’m happy with my illegitimately enhanced iPhone 3G. Let’s see how long that lasts….

His Jobsness

Apple whinge – update

Wet iPhone

I received my iPhone 3G back via Mobistar without any issue. It was completely dead flat so I’m not convinced that Dynafix even attempted to charge it before announcing it was water damaged. Anyway, I took it home and gave it a full overnight charge and it is functioning normally. The surprising thing is that the battery actually seems to be lasting longer now. Maybe it just needed a holiday. I can generally get through a full day at work (bearing in mind I don’t actually use it much at work) as it goes red about 4pm but then gets a top-up in my car charger so that there is enough juice for my gym session. I use the frankly brilliant iFitness application to record my workouts.

So anyway, long story short, I haven’t bothered to replace the battery or open the phone. While it is still functioning adequately I’ll leave it alone. If the battery life drops again like it did in the past then I will do something about it. I’m sure none of you will be surprised to hear that Dynafix completely ignored all subsequent emails requesting contact details to make a complaint. Very unprofessional and I’ve heard from a friend who works at an authorised Apple reseller that Dynafix are a nightmare to deal with and they have constant complaints from customers whose warranty claims have been rejected due to water damage.

Anyway, the new iPhone will likely be announced officially in the next few weeks so I am holding out for that. I know, sucker for punishment, but aside from the battery issues my 3G has been just so damn useful! Before I make any decision I will at least take a look at some of the new Android phones… and then I’ll buy another iPhone.

Zero emission houses available in Australia

One thing that Australia has in common with the USA is suburbia. The suburbs around Melbourne in particular stretch in all directions further than the eye can see. The city covers a staggering 8,806 square kilometres and most of the recent expansion has been on the fringes in the form of “estates” with names like Caroline Springs or Brookland Greens. These estates are generally filled with McMansions and surround manicured lakes and grounds and are billed as “the perfect family lifestyle”. All very nice, if you like that kind of thing…

However, all is not as idyllic as it seems. The environmental costs of these estates are huge partly due to the lack of public transport links and the sheer distance that people are forced to commute every day. But the main culprit is the amount of energy that these McMansions consume. Due to their large size (usually larger than 300 square metres), cheap, poorly insulated construction, and large arrays of electronic gadgetry, they consume electricity and gas like there’s no tomorrow (which there won’t be if this continues…).

However, I was happy to read today about a company taking the first step to changing this situation. Henley Properties Group in association with CSIRO, Delfin and Sustainability Victoria has built a zero emissions show home on the new Laurimar Estate outside Melbourne. Most homes in these estates are picked from a catalogue which is what creates the homogeneous look and the McMansion title but soon customers will be able to tick the ‘zero emissions’ option. This show home will be on display until September 2010 after which a family will live in it and their energy usage will be compared with other houses on the estate. Assuming it is successful (and I don’t see why it wouldn’t be), these features should then be made available as an option on all their standard house designs. Of course, if you are building a bespoke house there is nothing to stop you incorporating all these features yourself and many people do.

The show home has been designed to produce enough renewable power onsite to supply all it’s energy needs over the course of a year. It achieves this in a couple of ways, firstly by reducing the amount of energy used (70% less than a comparable standard home), and secondly by actively generating electricity. It also monitors energy use in real time which helps the occupants to manage and reduce the amount of energy they consume. The house reduces energy consumption through superior insulation, correct orientation to the sun, advanced sealing systems and energy efficient lighting and appliances. It has solar panels to generate electricity and a solar water-heating system and collects both rainwater and grey water for reuse. With all these factors combined it achieves an 8 star energy rating compared to the required 5 star rating for new houses in Australia.

The most innovative part of the whole equation is the energy management system, controlled via a touchscreen in the house or via the internet or smart phone. These systems can be retrofitted to most houses and are so effective because they make it clear exactly when the most electricity is being used and by what appliance giving the occupants much more information and incentive to change their behaviour. The system can also automatically switch appliances off at certain times of the day such as tv’s on stand-by when everyone is at work or school. It also (importantly for Australia) monitors and manages water use.

And, surprisingly, the price premium for all this energy efficiency isn’t as much as I expected. Around AU$20k on top of the standard price of AU$254k for the energy efficiency features and another AU$20k to add the solar panels. Sure, AU$40k isn’t a small amount of money but it still represents less than 14% of the total price of the house. And who wouldn’t want to be able to turn on the heating or lower their blinds from their iPhone? It’s the way of the future!

Source Article:

Apple whinge

Wet iPhone

I have an iPhone 3G which I bought a year ago and it’s safe to say I love it dearly and can’t live without it. I am also extremely careful with it even to the extent of always having a napkin on my desk for it to rest on so that it doesn’t get scratched. Anally retentive you ask? Mais oui.

Recently though, the battery performance had become steadily worse to the point a few weeks back when it reached the point of being “officially crap”. So, given that is still under warranty and the official specs say standby time of 300 hours compared with the 5 hours I was actually getting, I thought it was worth trying for a warranty replacement.

I gave the phone to Mobistar, the retailer I bought it from, and they sent it away to the Apple designated repairer, Dynafix. I was quietly confident given the pristine condition of my phone and the truly crappy battery life. However, a couple of days later I was dumbfounded to receive notification that my phone warranty was void due to water damage. Water damage?! My phone had never been anywhere near water unless you count the sweat from my hand when holding it on a warm day (and no, I don’t sweat that much!).

Accordingly I replied with dissatisfaction and requested a second assessment and explanation as to how my iPhone could be water-damaged when it has never been wet. Some days later I received the same standard un-thinking reply – water damaged, warranty void. I was offered the options of purchasing a replacement (non-current model) 3G for 385€ (US$500), having it returned unrepaired, or (kindly I thought) they would dispose of my phone in an environmentally friendly way.

I was feeling distinctly litigious at this point and I replied confirming they should send it back unrepaired and also requesting contact details of Apple so I could make a formal complaint about how, if my phone really is water-damaged, it is not fit for purpose. A week later my phone was returned to Mobistar and I, tellingly, received no reply to my email. I’ve just sent them another email strongly requesting they provide a channel for complaint. I’m always very suspicious of companies that will only provide email contact details and no phone numbers so you can’t yell at them!

My phone is functioning as it was when I sent it, perfectly normally yet briefly due to impaired battery life. I am planning to replace it myself as there are several places where you can purchase fresh batteries. I’m hoping this will actually solve the problem.

Of course, during this saga (why is everything in my life a saga…?) I consulted the Oracle (Google) on whether there were any other cases of battery failure being blamed on water damage. It seems there are… thousands. Including lawsuits (in the US) and general whingeing everywhere else. I am not alone! I guess there is not a lot I can do about it although I do intend to continue emailing Dynafix every day for the rest of my life until they reply. Can I automate that? I will report back on the success or otherwise of my iPhone surgery once I have the new battery. For now I just have charging points available everywhere – desk at work, desk at home, car, and next to bed…

I’d like to say that I now hate Apple and I’ll never buy another Apple product and I did actually tell Mobistar and Dynafix that in a moment of petulance, but I was lying. I still find my iPhone incredibly useful and I’m looking forward to the next enhanced generation with excitement. Let’s just hope it doesn’t leak as much.