Tag Archives: Apple

Welcome to the AppleNet

Your addiction to shiny new consumer electronics will fund Apple in it’s mission to erode your freedom to consume the content you want through the channel you want at the price you want.

You will not be allowed to access some content on Apple devices regardless of its merit. Apple will apply this content censorship at a hardware level based on nothing more than the format content is published in. This censorship will include the music, videos, games, books and applications that you consume, use and own now and those you may want to access in the future.

You will pay whatever Apple tells you to pay for Apple sanctioned content, but will only be able to purchase it through an Apple sanctioned mechanism. You will put up with this because Apple says it’s going to be better that way, easier, it will just work.

This will all be fine, because the content that is deemed worthy will all be based on ‘open’ standards and technology.

Welcome to the AppleNet.

Steve.

I am an iPhone owner. This is my confession.

I have become a member of an insignificantly small (at the moment), yet very vocal and very visible sub-group of mobile device users. That’s right, I have an iPhone, and you know what, I’m not too disappointed using it. Some (well, ok, most) of the time. Frankly there are some things that quite frankly rock so much on the iPhone it’s silly. Especially if you get it on a decent data tariff.

Firstly is the fact that I am able to have written all this more than comfortably as I queue at the post office, while simultaneously enjoying my mp3 tunes, all from the one device. Class.

The second thing that I really hadn’t realisd was how good (no. Fantastic) the web browsing is on the iPhone. I did use my n95 for browsing, but the using direct touch input does change the experience entirely. My mobile web usage has certainly increased with the iPhone.

Just about at the counter now…..

Thirdly since owning my iPhone my personal data has never been more ‘in sync’. The docking of the device and syncing of information to my MacBook Pro just works so, so so well. I am by no means an well organised person, but thanks to this device and the way it syncs so painlessly with iTunes, iCal, Address book and Mail is great.

These three thngs are absolutely fabulous. I love them. Thank you Apple.

However. Something I noticed soon after I took ownership of an iPhone was the number of other iPhone owners who would great me thus “So you got an iPhone then, what do you think?”. It was as though they had doubts about there own purchase, like they wondered if they were alone in feeling disapointed with it at times.

Don’t get me wrong, the iPhone really is a ‘pretty thing’ and some of what the iPhone does, make no mistake, it does far better than anything else out there. Then on the other hand, Apple have really screwed the iPhone up. They have missed off some things that any fool could see are now standard issue on even the most basic devices on the market. The conspiratorial side of me would even say that, maybe, the iPhones short comings are missing by design.

Here for me are the things that are unforgivable for their absence from the iPhone.

1. No replaceable battery, in this day an age there are so many reasons this is wrong. There is no more blatant example of planned obsolescence than seen in the iPods and iPhones from Apple. At some point in the future, you are going to have to replace this device, or pay Apple a lot of money to change a battery. Ridiculous. There is part of me that is really disapointed at my self for supporting a company that is so morrally irrisponsible to encourage such a thow-away mentality.

2. No copy and paste functionality really sucks, there appears to be no reason for this not being present. Its a useful feature that has been present and available to even the most basic computing devices for as long as I can remember. Heck even the earliest of calculators had the equivalent of copy and paste in the form of “memory recall” its shocking to think that apple are so sloppy to have over looked such a fundamental feature. Remember form follows function.

3. No forwarding of Contact details. Again something that has been possible on every phone I have owned for the last 8 or 9 years. No sending of business cards, no vCard forwarding support. It bites.

4. No tethering. Apple I hate you for this.

5. The camera is shockingly low spec for a device of this price range. low quality, no video. Once again the only real reason seems to be to form a culture of upgrading the device.

I know none of this is new. The fact is, I knew all about these things, I knew they would suck. I knew I would still rely on my N95. A 2 year old device that I still think is more capable as a modern mobile device than the iPhone 3G, but you know what, I already feel better for having got it off my chest. It may even help me enjoy my iPhone more now that I have ‘put it out there’. My Name is Dave. I am an iPhone owner. Its been 3 minutes since the last time i bitched about my new device…

Apple’s App Store heads towards Orwellian Nightmare for iPhone Users

Following my recent post musing as to The Real Reason Flash Isn’t on Apple’s iPhone?, more news of how Apple is tightening its grip over the iPhone, its developers and its users began to filter through. I don’t think there could be any confusion as to the intentions of Apple and the control they have over App Store and the Applications that they sell on or through it. Apple are willing, ready and able, to block any trouble makers that might upset Apple’s new ivory tower.

First came news of Apple’s ‘Kill List‘ that could allow Apple to remove ‘unwanted’ apps from the iPhone. While it is said to be for the removal of malicouse applications, there is no real reason it would not be used for any iPhone application. This could presumably be regardless of wether users may have paid money for them or actually want the applications them on their iPhone.

Second came the news that Apple had removed Nullriver’s NetShare application from the app store, and that it was unlikely to return in North America. The application provided a way for iPhone users to ‘tether’ there iPhones to a laptop, while iPhone user may have found this functionality useful. Unfortunately Apple felt it was best not to allow its iPhone users that choice.

Finnaly came news of the removal of the “Podcaster” application from App Store. This time the reason would seem to be it competes with Apple on its own platform! There are som many comments and comparisons that could be made here with another software company that took a step to far in flexing its anti competitive muscles thats its not even funny. Cough “M$” cough “anti-trust” cough.

If iPhone users want to spend $999 on a red ruby application. I say let them!

In the real world if you can’t find the product you really want in one shop, you walk next door, or up the road, or go online until you find it. But what if there is only one shop? you don’t have a choice! Apple’s App Store is that one shop as far as iPhone applications go. Unless you jail break your iPhone and invalidate you warranty.

All the control Apple are now beginning to wield over its iPhone, iPod Touch and App Store developers and users is, of course, in the best interest of the consumer and their user experience. It is certainly NOT a terribly slippery slope that is already eroding consumer choice. Where does it end?.

The Real Reason Flash Isn’t on Apple’s iPhone?

Recently Wired posted an interview with The Mozilla CEO John Lilly. Towards the end of the interview Wired asks the question.

Wired: Are you going to develop a version of Firefox for the iPhone?

and the response?

Lilly: No. Apple makes it too hard. They say it’s because of technical issues — they don’t want outsiders to disrupt the user experience. That’s a business argument masquerading as a technological argument.

After dwelling on this I thought, this response could be applied to any number of technologies and applications. Not just Fire Fox. Everyone is now familiar with Apple’s response to the Flash Player going on the Apple iPhone. What if that response was also nothing but “a business argument masquerading as a technological argument”?

On the flip side if Apple were to make it easy for any such ‘outsiders’, as Lilly puts it, to get on its beloved new device then it could be the thin end of the wedge. For arguments sake if Apple were to allow Fire Fox with its XULRunner offline runtime engine on to the iPhone, then surely there is room for Adobe (Flash Player), Sun (Java Runtime) and even Microsoft (Silverlight) to all call foul play?

I dont know the technical capabilities or requirements to each of these runtime technologies. But making it diffiicult, or saying it technically cant be done does make for an easy way to keep a platform closed. I am not sure the advantage to Apple to shut these other technologies out? Is Apple acting in the best interest of its iPhone users and the user experience they receive? Or is something more sinister going on? Is it an attempt to lay claim to the mobile web, blocking out the competition while pulling those lovely user experiences and interfaces over our eyes?

What ever the reason, currently the message seems clear, with Apple and their iPhone, regardless who you are. Its do it Apple’s way or not at all. Maybe iPhone doesn’t need flash, but as a flash platform developer and an Apple user, it seems a shame that its missing to me.

Does Apple’s new 3g iPhone Still Suck?

Back in November I posted a post titled “9 reasons the iPhone Sucks!“. It was a quick link to some comments a friend made regarding the iPhone being ‘a little disapointing’ when he first took delivery of Apple’s shiney new device. At the time I only had 3 gripes with Apple’s original mobile device.

Since Apple has released the 3g iPhone I have read a number of online posts & articles as well as hard copy newspapers & magazines all detailing the new device. To be fair you couldn’t read much else than stories about the iPhone for a while.

Also, since November I have ben using my trusty Nokia N95 more and more, despite its age. As a result I feel I know more about my personal mobile usage requirements and am more knowledgeable about my expectations of a mobile device now as well.

Following a new comment posted on my original “9 reasons the iPhone Sucks!” post I thought I would revisit the subject, referencing the 3g iPhone this time.

In my original post the three issues I had with the iPhone were as follows.

  1. 2 mega pixel camera with no video. Nokia N95 has a 5 mega pixel camera and full screen video recording and tv out playback. Result.
  2. No 3g internet connection. Nokia N95 once again comes up trumps in this department with 3G and HSDP access. Result.
  3. No decent Data package, 18 month contract. N95 on T-mobile with web & walk max. 10 gb data voip and 3g. Result

Ok so the lack of 3g connection is now null and void, well done Apple. Or is it. Over the last 9 months only a small percentage of my 3g connection usage has been ‘On Device’, most of my mobile 3g usage has been by hooking the N95 up to my Mac Book Pro as a 3g Modem, either over BlueTooth or USB. Despite the iPhone being from the same company as my laptop, apparently there is no easy way to make it work as a 3g modem? DOH!

You could argue I may be able to complete some of the tasks I use my laptop for on the iPhone, for example email and web browsing. I remain unconvinced they will be as easy to complete though, I fudge the on screen keyboard alot for one thing, I know I have tried many times in store.

There are however tasks I know full well I will not be able to accomplish, Flex development linked to a live data source while traveling on the train down to Devon for example. For those tasks I will still need a 3g modem connected to my Mac Book Pro.

The next thing is the 2 mega pixel camera on the Apple iPhone versus the 5 Mega pixel camera on the Nokia N95. Well Apple havent done much there the camera is still 2 mega pixels, despite reports that say the chipset should support 5 mega pixels. Over the last 8 months I have been using the camera on my Nokia N95 more and more. As with anything, you can never go backwards to an inferior product. In addition I quite like sending photos of the surf down in Devon to people I know are still in London 😀 . Sorry Sean. I understand this isnt so easy on the new 3g iPhone either?

Finnaly the data package. I will be honest, I am not sure if I even need the 10gig of data transfer I currently have availible on my current mobile tariff, I havent looked too much at the new mobile data tariffs from O2 to compare them to t-mobile either.

So there is no way I will be getting the new phone either, right? Weeeeeell there is one issue. As Tink mentioned in the comments on the original post. The coverage of t-mobile is sketchy, particularly in Devon. It might be that the fact I need to be able to do a simple thing like call people on my mobile phone, regardless of which device it is, means I swap to O2, wich has great coverage ‘down south’. If I was doing that anyway, it would be rude not to upgrade 😀

Moving Application Windows in OS X via Apple Script

Those of you lucky enough to have multiple monitors hooked up to you MacBook or MacBook Pro when you work may have come across this issue. When you remove that extra monitor some applications don’t get re-positioned back on to your laptop display. I had this with one particular application that I use frequently, KeePassX. Well somewhere along the way I dug up this use full terminal/apple script that solves the issue.

property processesToIgnore : {}
tell application "Finder"
	set _b to bounds of window of desktop
	set screen_width to item 3 of _b
	set screen_height to item 4 of _b
end tell
tell application "System Events"
	set allProcesses to application processes
	set _results to ""
	repeat with i from 1 to count allProcesses
		set doIt to 1
		repeat with z from 1 to count processesToIgnore
			if process i = process (item z of processesToIgnore) then
				set doIt to 0
			end if
		end repeat
		if doIt = 1 then
			tell process i
				repeat with x from 1 to (count windows)
					set winPos to position of window x
					set _x to item 1 of winPos
					set _y to item 2 of winPos
					if (_x < 0 or _y < 0 or _x > screen_width or _y > screen_height) then
						set position of window x to {0, 22}
					end if
				end repeat
			end tell
		end if
	end repeat
end tell

I don’t recall where I may have dug this up, but if you think you know, please let me know in the comments so I can give credit.

DVI != DVI

A few weeks ago as I was preparing to present at the OnAir event I had a rather untimely hardware failure on my Apple MacBook Pro. As a result I had to rather hastily prep my wife’s MacBook Black to present from. One of the preparations was to make sure I would be able to connect the machine to a projector, as any apple laptop owner will know its important to carry a DVI to VGA connector at all times.

However the MackBook black uses the mini DVI connector, as a result I thought it would be a snap to just pick up a Mini DVI to CVI connector, and then from there I could use the DVI to VGA connector I already own. Not so. Despite the packaging suggesting otherwise, the DVI result from the apple mini DVI connector is not a standard DVI out. There are 4 pins “missing”. The pictures Below explain better.

AppleScript Fix for Error 51: Unable to communicate with the VPN subsystem on Cisco 3000 VPN Client

Over at Ian Talks Tech my friend Macca recently posted a fix for the “Error 51 : Unable to communicate with the VPN subsystem” error from a cisco vpn client. I had also encountered the same problem some time ago and it brought my own memories rushing back. I had initially discovered a fix for the error 51 problem over at a different site, Anders.com . Since finding the one line terminal command answer to the issue that my cisco 3000 client had thrown up I thought no more of it. Ian’s post jogged my memory about my own search and I immediately put my copy and paste skills to good use to come up with an apple script that you can run to fix this cisco vpn client error.

All you need to do is open the apple script editor.

“/Applications/AppleScript/Script Editor.app”

Then paste a similar line of code to the commands that Macca and Anders mentioned:

do shell script "ifconfig fw0 down" with administrator privileges
do shell script "ifconfig fw0 up" with administrator privileges and password
do shell script "/System/Library/StartupItems/CiscoVPN/CiscoVPN  restart" with administrator privileges and password

Feel free to run the apple script to test it, just note you will be asked for an administrator password for the script to run.

Once you are happy you should compile and save the script to keep it safe, or “save as” and choose application. Alternatively, you could just download the AppleScript Fix for the “Error 51: Unable to communicate with the VPN subsystem” problem, that I have pre compiled as an application.

Credit where its due.
Ian Talks Tech for jogging the grey matter.
Anders.com for solving my problems when I had them.
Apple for showing me how to do shell scripts in Apple Script.

Adobe CEO: We’re bringing Flash to the iPhone!

This just popped into my news reader from ZDNet.

Well, you really believe that Flash is synonymous with the internet and frankly, anybody who wants to browse the web and experience the web’s glory really needs Flash support. We were very excited about the announcement from Windows Mobile, adoption of Flash on their devices and the fact that we’ve shipped 0.5 billion devices now, non-PC devices. So we are also committed to bringing the Flash experience to the iPhone and we will work with Apple. We’ve evaluated the SDK, we can now start to develop the Flash player ourselves and we think it benefits our joint customers. So we want to work with Apple to bring that capability to the device.

If the mountain wont move to you..

Go Adobe!

Read the full ZDnet article here
Read the SeekingAlpha transcript here

Apple Introduces the iPhone Dev Center

This morning I received an email from Apple letting me know I could now log into the iPhone Dev Center

The iPhone Dev Center will provide quote.

  • iPhone Reference Library
    Access documentation, guides, and release notes on developing web applications and content for iPhone.
  • Web Development Guidelines
    Get the latest development techniques on mobile browser-based user experience design and development.
  • Sample Code
    Learn techniques for interactive and standards-based design on iPhone
  • iPhone Tech Talk Videos
    Hear from iPhone experts on interface design and processes in optimizing web applications and content.
  • Safari Compatibility
    Download Safari 3 Public Beta and design your web application to create the optimal iPhone user experience
  • Web App Submission
    Once your app is ready, submit it for possible listing in the Apple web apps library.

Find out more at the iPhone Dev Center.