Oct
6

Home Page Tributes to Steve Jobs

Posted by Aaron West at 12:11 PM in iPhone, Mac

I thought it was pretty cool big sites (and in some cases competitors) like Google.com and Amazon.com posted tributes to Steve Jobs on their home page. I looked around to see which other sites were doing this and have posted some screenshots after the break. If you know of others please let me know in the comments.

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Apr
6

I'm three days late blogging about this, but if you haven't seen Christian Cantrell's blog post of the same title you need to check it out. He shows an application he wrote that runs on five screens including Mac, Windows, Linux, iPhone, and Android. I'd argue it's more like seven screens given the different device operating systems. Christian says he wrote the application code once and different wrappers for each operating system. I know this is supposed to be possible given the Flash Player runs on Windows, Mac, and Linux and Flash Professional CS5 can compile a Flash app to native iPhone code. This would get his app onto iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. But Christian says his app is able to run on all the devices because it's built with AIR. Ok, cool. I want to see /how/ though.

Christian promised to release his code as open source so inquisitive developers like me can learn more about this.

Feb
24

The Adobe Connect team has announced the availability of Acrobat Connect Pro Mobile. I just downloaded (iTunes link) and installed the app and it's pretty cool. For me, it's cool because it was built using betas of CS5 and the new compile to native iPhone app functionality. But, it is hard for me to see how the app will be used to attend presentations. I created a new room using the Nashville ColdFusion User Group Connect Pro account and then logged into the meeting with my iPhone 3GS. When I shared my screen from my MacBook Pro I was able to see the screen on my iPhone but there was no detail and the resolution was so small I could barely see what was going on. As I moved windows around on my desktop it took a good 10-15 seconds before the change showed up on my iPhone. Admittedly, this delay could be due to the poor Internet connection I was connected to. In short, the app works but I'm not sure how practical it is. Hit the link below to continue reading what the Adobe Connect team has to say about this new application. Or, you can click here to watch a quick demo video of the application in use on iPhone.

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Jan
9

I recently configured my iPhone with a new Google Sync account. Using Google Sync requires iPhone 3.0 software and includes advantages like push e-mail and e-mail, calendar, and contact syncing in one setup. The setup uses the Microsoft Exchange account type and allows you to choose what you want to sync. Google Sync works with regular Gmail accounts and Google Apps accounts. For a Google Apps account to work the domain administrator must enable Google sync.

The first day I set up my Google Sync account I noticed my iPhone battery life suffering. Thinking it was an anomaly I ignored it. Now, a week later I'm convinced using Google Sync has dramatically impacted the battery for the worse. I did some research and found a Google help page where they mention Google Sync (ActiveSync) may affect the life of your mobile device battery. Here's a screenshot.

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Jan
3

This is just a quick post to let everyone know I've been posting content - what I'm calling "digital bytes" - on Tumblr. A friend recommended I use Tumblr a few months ago and I've been posting content ever since. I like how easy Tumblr is to use and how there's an iPhone app (iTunes link) I can use to post photos, videos, and links. The reblog feature of Tumblr is also quite nice. If I see something someone else has posted that I really like I can reblog their content, placing it on my Tumblr page, with a few clicks of my mouse.

I view Tumblr as sort of a mini-blog and will continue to post content I think is relevant and interesting. Check it out and be sure to follow me if you also use Tumblr.

Sep
20

Taking a break from preparing my Adobe MAX 2009 BYOL instructions, I was reading a few news items I had starred in Google Reader. I came across a Wired article on cellphone radiation and decided to see how much closer I've become to lab rat status from using an iPhone for over two years. The article mentions the specific watts per kilogram (W/kg) emitted from various iPhones but I wanted to see how my device stacked up against others. Fortunately there was a link to the Environmental Working Group's Web site where they have a database of devices. After pressing the link I was greeted by the following (press the thumbnail for a larger image):



Developers, please be careful when crafting your error messages and for the love of all that's good in the world, don't expose critical information about your server or Web application. It doesn't matter if you're building a simple ColdFusion application or a content management system like Drupal. You never want to expose system paths, server configuration, usernames/passwords, or application settings like datasource names. Doing so is like shouting: "Hey, come hack me! I'm right here."

Jul
31

I'm a pretty big calendar user at both work and home. No I'm not one of those folks who manages every life event or task in a calendar, but I use them pretty heavily. I basically follow the GTD / David Allen use of calendars storing events or tasks that must happen at a specific point in time. Keeping all this information organized is nice but it's pretty useless if you don't have it everywhere you go. Back in December I blogged about synchronizing my work calendar in Entourage with Google Calendar and ultimately my iPhone. I discussed two ways to set it up. One was a free solution using off the shelf software, and the other a fee-based solution using the popular Spanning Sync. I'm happy to report seven months later everything is still working very well with Spanning Sync.

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Jun
28

When the iPhone 3.0 software was announced earlier this year I was excited to hear about the Find My iPhone feature. I've been a MobileMe subscriber since it launched alongside the original iPhone and the prospect of finding my iPhone if it were lost was intriguing.

In order to use the feature you first turn enable it on your iPhone, which must be running iPhone software version 3.0. To do this, go to the Settings screen and tap Mail, Contacts, and Calendars. Ensure Fetch New Data is set to Push. Next, access your MobileMe account in the same settings screen and make sure Find My iPhone is turned on.

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Apr
1

QuickTime on iPhone?

Posted by Aaron West at 8:30 AM in iPhone, Mobile & Devices

I'm not sure if I've discovered a hidden feature on the iPhone but as of this morning dot wav files embedded in iPhone Mail can be played. I currently use Vonage for my home phone service and anytime someone leaves a voicemail Vonage sends my wife and I an e-mail with their message embedded as a dot wave file.

We've had this set up ever since moving to Vonage over a year ago. Until today I would listen to the wav files in Apple Mail on my Macbook Pro. Always the optimist I'd click the wav file in all voicemail e-mails but would consistently be met with the message: "This audio type is not supported."

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Mar
26

I upgraded my Grand Central account to Google Voice this week and I've been playing with the new features. Here are a few of my favorites.

The interface (not a favorite but thought I'd mention it)



The Google Voice interface will feel right at home if you're a Gmail user. There's an inbox, a history menu, trash, and a filter to show starred items, all of which are present in Gmail. The SMS view (more on this later) shows in threaded format which is one of the strongest features of Gmail. Overall, it's nice to see Google finally do something with the interface. The Grand Central UI was quite bad and while Google doesn't have the best user experience folks on staff they do a better job than most.

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Feb
8

I'm pretty much addicted to my iPhone but I believe I would've sold it for $50 the other day. It'd been several days since I updated my installed applications so I visited the app store to see what was new. I had 10 updates. Thinking nothing of it I began downloading all 10 application updates. After the updates were ready I connected my iPhone and started a sync. Halfway through the sync iTunes crashed.

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Feb
8

If you're a commandline cowboy like me you probably spend a fair amount of time jockeying your keyboard over an SSH connection. I have two different VPS setups, one with VivioTech and one with my super favorite Linode. Most of the time I can get done what I need to right from my Macbook Pro. But on occasion I'm out and about and my only connection with the networked world is via my iPhone. Fortunately, there are several SSH applications for the iPhone.

Today I'm going to talk about TouchTerm (iTunes link) and show off a few screenshots.

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Jan
2

As much as I like and enjoy my Apple TV it has a tendency to frustrate the crap outta me. I've experienced two recent situations that made me wanna remove the thing from my closet and chuck it out the window (where it would probably land softly on the grass outside).

Blue screen? No, white screen!
I typically rent movies from Netflix but sometimes it's nice to rent something from iTunes. So after renting Hit Man and waiting a few minutes for the HD movie to queue up I was pretty surprised to be greeted by a glaring white screen. Audio was working fine but the video was a big mess of white nothing. I tried the immediately obvious things like fast forwarding, rewinding, and stopping and restarting the movie. I also adjusted the video display settings on the Apple TV to ensure it wasn't some funky HD setting. After none of that worked I used my MRF850 system remote to shutdown my entire home theatre system which basically amounts to power cycling equipment that is turned on (except for the Apple TV). The movie continued to display only white. It wasn't until I unplugged the power cable for the Apple TV (there's no on/off switch) and plugged it back in that the movie actually showed video. Lesson learned: reboots aren't just for Windows devices anymore. =(

Apple TV 2.3 iTunes 8.0.2 Syncing Issue
Apple released an update for Apple TV (version 2.3) that promised new features like AirTunes Streaming, additional third party remote support, better playlists compatibility with iTunes and enhanced music volume control (they didn't mention the Remote app on iPhone getting this feature but it does. And it's cool). What they didn't tell you was that a number of people were going to have some significant problems with the update. I was one of them.

After upgrading my Apple TV it no longer showed up in iTunes. I wasn't able to sync any new music, movies, or photos but I could still play all the content that was already on Apple TV. What was puzzling was my Apple TV continued to show up in iTunes Apple TV list which seemed to indicate my computer and Apple TV were able to see each other. To further add to the frustration my iPhone Remote app wasn't able to see the Apple TV and control content playback. After doing some searching I tried several of the solutions other sufferers had success with. I even wiped the entire thing and attempted to start over and resync all my music, movies, and photos. I was able to perform the factory settings reset but iTunes still wouldn't see my Apple TV.

While trying to remotely connect to my 1TB Time Capsule to check IPv6 settings (one of the suggestions from the previous link) I noticed my computer wasn't able to recognize the Time Capsule. Naturally, I power cycled the Time Capsule by pulling it's power cable. After it came back up I was able to connect via Airport Utility and surprisingly iTunes was now able to see the Apple TV. After all this fuss I was able to set up my Apple TV all fresh and anew and sync all my data (which took over 3 hours). Lesson learned: reboots aren't just for Windows devices anymore. See a pattern here?

Dec
15

I posted earlier today about synchronizing an Entourage calendar to other macs and to my iPhone. Well, I've found what I believe is a better solution though not free. Spanning Sync is software made specifically for synchronizing your calendars and address books across multiple macs. What's nice about this solution is you only need Spanning Sync on your computers and nothing on your iPhone. This solution does assume you're already using MobileMe for calendar syncing. The problems I mentioned earlier, namely Calgoo Connect crashes and calendar changes not filtering back to Entourage, are not present with this setup.

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Dec
15

Let me set the stage. I have two Macbook Pros. One is used at the office and one is my personal machine. They're both laptops so they each see a fair amount of travel. And while one is primarily for work there is some overlap in what I do on the machines. For the most part though having two macs makes it easier for me to separate what I work on and how. Where this separation sucks is when you start looking at my calendar. I use Entourage 2008 on my work laptop (insert long, drawn out rant about Microsoft software. Yes there's OpenOffice and other MS-ish solutions but they all suck when you need serious collaboration with others using Microsoft products) for e-mail and calendaring. I use iCal on my personal laptop and on my iPhone. Up to this point I've somehow managed NOT being able to look at my work calendar unless I was sitting in front of my work laptop. This has halfway worked for a year but it's just not cutting it anymore. So this weekend I set out to do some research on calendar syncing solutions that would ultimately get my Entourage calendar from my work laptop to my personal laptop and iPhone.

The solution I'm laying out below doesn't cost a penny and for a lot of people that's incredibly important. However, there are caveats. In the near future I'll discuss a second option that isn't free but might provide more stability and features for those who need them. Stay tuned. The free solution involves the use of software from Calgoo and Nueva Sync. The first six steps below are done on the computer with Entourage. The rest are either done on an iPhone or other Mac computers.

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