Archive for category Apple

App Store cheats?

I like the iPhone App Store. I mean I really love all the different kinds of cool apps available 24×7 on my iPhone which I can install over edge or wi-fi anytime I want.

It takes real hard courage to go ahead and buy any app from the app store. Mainly because we (Indians) are so much used to free software that we take it for granted. The thought of buying software just brings LOL to our minds.

The app store changed all this. I saw people in India actually buying these apps! Forget everyone else, even I went ahead and bought a couple of .99$ and 1.99$ apps. Due to the sucky conversion rate to INR, they do cost us little more than they should. But still, I buy them.

After reading a lot of positive reviews, I gathered a lot of courage to buy the Moto Chaser game @ 5.99$. The game lived up to my expectations. You can read my review here .

But today after reading the news that the game’s price was reduced to .99$, I feel cheated. I mean lowering the app’s price for a few days might be a good marketing gimmick, but it fucks up the courage to buy new apps. I mean after seeing this, I am not gonna buy any app right away. I will probably wait for the developer’s birthday or any other stupid reason for the price to go down and then buy it.

Apple should do something about this, else people will stop buying the apps.

, , , ,

6 Comments

woikr – Because we can

woikr Logo

Excerpt from "The Cooper-Hofstadter Polarization " – The Big Bang Theory, Episode 9 :

Leonard (to Penny): Hang on, hang on. Do you not realize what we just did?

Penny : Yeah, you turned your stereo down with your laptop.

Leonard : No, we turned our stereo down, by sending a signal around the world via the Internet.

Penny : Oh. You know you can get one of those universal remotes from Radioshack? They’re really cheap.

Leonard : No, you don’t get it. Howard, Enable public access.

Howard : Public access enabled.

Penny (after a few seconds of nothing happens) : Boy, that’s terrific. I’ll see ya.

Leonard : No hang on, hang on… (The lights in the apartment star blinking) See?

Penny : No.

Leonard : Someone in Sichuan province, China, is using his computer to turn our lights on and off.

Penny (kinda frustrated) : Oh, that’s handy. Here’s a question… Why?

Leonard, Sheldon, Howard and Koothrappali (all together ) : Because we can .

With a plethora of technology blogs around, does anybody actually need another one? Maybe not.

So why woikr ?

Well, because we can ;-)

woikr team:

Anshuman Johri – A photography enthusiast, who aspires to be a world-traveler from Pune, Maharashtra, India.

Chirag Gupta – a geek, suffers from “never-ending-gadget-lust” disease and loves movies from Bangalore, Karnataka, India.

Setu Garg – another geek, an audiophile to be precise from Noida, UP, India.

Swaroop T G – an avid gamer, reads too much about technology than he needs to from Hyderabad, AP, India.

We launched woikr.com at 00:00 hrs on 15th Aug 2008 – The Indian Independence Day.

Happy Reading !

, , ,

No Comments

Review: Logitech Pure-Fi Anywhere portable speaker system for iPod

Logitech Pure-Fi Anywhere is the official successor of the largest selling iPod speakers, Logitech mm50. And this system truly deserve to be the rightful successor. Read on for more details.

Features:

  • 2-inch Max-X active, high-excursion drivers & 3-inch pressure drivers
  • StereoXL Technology
  • 10-hour rechargeable battery
  • Travel Case
  • AC (100V to 240V) or battery powered
  • Sockets for aux input (3.5 mm) & DC in at the back
  • 10 plastic dock adapters supplied for all kind of iPods
  • Fully functional wireless remote to control the iPod menu

Performance (Sound Quality):

Logitech pure-fi anywhere front

The system was tested using a set of songs encoded at 320 kbps. The sound quality is pretty good considering the size of speakers. The max volume is slightly lower than pure-FI express . However, the sound quality is definitely better in terms of bass and treble responses. This is another plug n play system. The sound is pre-adjusted for the best output setting.

This is a 4 channel speaker system. The highs and lows are perfectly divided between the two drivers. The 3” pressure drives reproduce low frequency (above 40 Hz only) pretty well even at high volumes. The 2” ones handle the middle and the highs in the right balance.  The system seems to look light but has an excellent build and some weight to keep it from vibrating and cause distortion. The legs do a good job at keeping the system steady.

If you want to experience the power of this system, hold it in your hands and then play the music. You will feel the vibrations.

Turn on the StereoXL and the sound fills the entire room. It is equivalent to the SRS WOW effect found in some high end speaker systems.

Logitech pure-fi anywhere side view

Rating: 4.5/5

Remote:

The remote provides access to all the ipod’s click wheel functions. However, you will have to come pretty close to the system to see whats happening in the iPod. So close that you will rather do it on the iPod. But this isn’t the remote’s flaw in any way.

The remote works pretty well from as far as 20 feet. It also has buttons for StereoXL on/off and iPod’s shuffle and repeat functions. The remote looks trendy with the silver round buttons.

Rating: 5/5

Looks:

Logitech pure-fi anywhere back view

This is one area in which this speaker system lacks a bit. Despite the shiny material used for the body, somehow, this system does not apeal to

the eye. This is probably due to the silver circles distinguishing the 4 speakers. Had there been a single grill, it would have spruced up this section a lot.

The system has a nice back ;) and looks classy sideways. The green light on the buttons faces up and does not bug you at night.

Rating: 3/5

Portability:

The speakers are built for people on move. They are the perfect companion for those hotel stays during business conferences or family trips. The supplied bag stores the speaker system, remote and the AC adapter. You can also slip in an iPod nano. The legs rotate 90 degrees to hide beneath the system.

The built in rechargeable battery lasts for as long as 10 hrs which is enough for long outings in the woods or a beach day. The system charges your iPod only when its connected to AC power. So remember to charge your iPod if you are planning to take this to a picnic. There is a battery indicator to indicate the remaining juice in the battery to avoid any surprises.

Rating: 5/5

Conclusion:

The price tag of this system was recently reduced to 99.99$ plus taxes. This makes it the best iPod speaker system in the sub 100$ range. Overall a very nice package and a worthy successor to the top selling mm50.

Pros:

  • Best sound output in its class
  • Full functional remote
  • International AC adapter (100 – 240V)
  • 10 hours rechargeable battery
  • Extremely portable

Cons:

  • Average looks
  • No aux cable (3.5 mm male to male) supplied
  • No video out port

Overall Rating: 4.5/5

, , , , , ,

2 Comments

Review: Logitech Pure-Fi Express iPod speaker system

I purchased the Logitech Pure-Fi Express today and checked them out. Here is my review of the speaker system.

Logitech Pure-Fi Express iPod speaker system

Features:

  • 2.5" Max-X™ high-excursion drivers
  • AC (100V to 240V) or battery powered
  • Sockets for aux input (3.5 mm), Video out & DC in at the back
  • Battery life: up to 10 hours using 6 AA batteries. No batteries supplied
  • 10 plastic dock adapters supplied for all kind of iPods

Performance (Sound Quality):

I tested the speakers by playing various songs encoded at 320 kbps. Sound is nice and crisp. The system produces balanced sound which is neither too heavy nor too soft. This is really a plug n play system. The sound is pre-adjusted for the best output setting.

Logitech Pure-Fi express iPod speaker system

The sound output is best when this system is kept in a corner. The air channels produce good bass in a corner. The bass might not be at its best outdoors. The system is loud enough though. I noticed that this model produces substantially loud sound compared to its competitors and siblings . Despite being loud it does not give up at high volumes. It maintains good bass and treble at high volumes.

Another noticeable thing is that the sound is best when you are at the same or at a higher height than the speakers. Hence, it is advisable not to keep the speakers at a higher level than your ears.

Rating: 4/5

Remote:

I believe that the remote should be able to provide all the functions of the click wheel sans the scroll. The remote which comes with Pure-Fi express fails in this regard. Sadly, the remote has only 6 buttons for power on/off, play/pause, forward, rewind and volume up & down.

Pardon me for the laziness but how the F am I supposed to browse the music on my 80 gig iPod without a menu button ? Seriously, getting up and reaching out to the speaker system every time I intend to listed to another album is not something I appreciate. I understand that playlists is a workaround. But hey, that is clumsy.

The sibling’s and competitor’s remotes provide these options. Why the F didn’t they give that remote with this?

Apart from the basic flaw above, the remote has a decent range and operates without any hassle. Who cares? There is nothing much you can do with it anyways :(.

Rating: 2.5/5

Looks:

This is one area in which this speaker system stands above the rest in its class. This system looks trendy as well as elegant. The volume knob surrounded by the amber light makes it look fancy.

This thing looks sexy with a black iPod. The actual product looks much better and more shiny than the product images above. Logitech should seriously consider hiring a new photographer.

Rating: 4.5/5

Conclusion:

If you can live with a basic remote, at a price tag of 80$ plus taxes, this is the best speaker system for iPod (and other MP3 players) in sub 100$ range.

However, if you are looking for a more functional remote and slightly better sound quality, and ready to spend 70$ more, go for JBL On stage 200ID *. Another alternative at a premium of 50$ is Logitech Pure-FI Anywhere . However, I will not expect considerable difference in sound quality from these.

Pros:

  • Very good indoor sound
  • Best sound output in its class
  • Killer looks
  • International AC adapter (100 – 240V)

Cons:

  • Remote suck. Doesn’t provide all the functions of the click wheel
  • Bass not noticeable outdoors
  • No aux cable (3.5 mm male to male), video cable supplied

Overall Rating: 3.6/5

*UPDATE:

The JBL Onstage 200ID does not run on batteries. I will consider that a major downer for a portable speaker system and certainly would have expected this feature at that price.

, , , , , , ,

8 Comments

Must have iPhone Apps

Here is a list of 3rd party iPhone apps that I would recommend everyone to install on their jailbroken iPhones. I have been using them for quite some time and believe that they will make your everyday life much easier. You can install them using the Installer application on your jailbroken iPhone. They are listed according to their categories in the Installer:

  1.  System:
    • Installer: You probably have this if you unlocked your iPhone using Ziphone. If not, use iBrickr to install it.You will need this to install the following apps.
    • BSD Subsystem: These are UNIX tools for the iPhone. An absolute must have as this is required by many other apps. This is a pretty big app. Install it over wifi.
    • Open SSH: Install this if you want to access your iPhone using SSH over wifi. You can do a lot of stuff using this as you can login as root. I don’t use it much but its kinda cool to have such an app. It does not add any icon on your screens and can be turned off using Boss Prefs (described below).
    • SummerBoard: Another absolute must have to theme up your iPhone. Another comprehensive alternative is the Customize application. However, I found it overwhelmingly comprehensive. So unless you want to change little details like the battery icon, go with SummerBoard.
  2. Sources:
    • Bigboss’s Recommended Sources: Install these to get access to a lot of useful apps from Bigboss.
    • Community Sources: Needed to get access to many of the below mentioned packages.
  3. Utilities:
    • BossPrefs: This is a great app to instantly turn on/off many of the settings of your iPhone. I use this a lot to switch on/off wifi, EDGE, Bluetooth & SSH. Saves a lot of taps.
    • Converter: This is a unit converter for the iPhone. Its handy in situations when you have to convert from US$ to INR. Or from miles to kilometers. It also has the capability to download the latest currency conversion rates from the internet. Neat !
    • Taskbar Notifier: This utility adds icons to the status bar (the bar on the top of the screen) when you have unread mail, SMS or missed call(s). This is extremely useful for email as you do not actually get to know that you have a new email unless you are at the home screen.
    • Touchpad Pro: This is a neat utility built using VNC to control your mouse using your iPhone. Well, actually more than the mouse. It lets you use your iPhone as a touch pad. You can move the pointer, click, double click, right click, drag and also type in using the iPhone’s keyboard. Great when watching a movie while lying on the bed.
    • Funiculus: This is a microphone based guitar (and many other instruments) tuner. It graphically tell you if a string is too high or low. You adjust the strings one by one to tune the guitar.
  4. Productivity:
    • Contacts | Home Screen: A small utility to put the contacts app to your home screen. Saves a tap to reach the Contacts.1.1.2 and above only.
    • PocketMoney: A comprehensive tool to manage your finances. Use this to keep track of the money you have lend to your friends.
    • MobileToDoList: A small ToDo list manager. Very useful to remember things to do.
  5. Network:
    • Bookmarklets: Adds useful bookmarks to Safari. iTransmogrify, Find text etc.
    • smartRSS: An RSS reader for the iPhone. I would recommend using the iPhone optimized Google Reader in Safari as it allows you to read the feeds in landscape mode as well. smartRSS is good for offline reading while in airplane mode.
  6. Multimedia:
    • CameraPro: Some professional features for the iPhone. Adds digital zoom. I particularly like the capability to take black & white photos.
    • iFlickr: Take a pic and upload it to your Flickr account instantly !
    • MxTube: A You Tube video downloader and viewer. A little buggy but useful.
    • SendPics: Send photos taken using the iPhone’s camera in full 2 MP resolution.
  7. Games:
    • Towers of Hanoi: The great game of the Towers of Hanoi. A must have for geeks. Great time pass. Always challenging.
    • Tris: The classic Tetris game with great visuals and innovative controls.
  8. Tweaks:
    • Smb Themes Fix: Yo need to install this only on 1.1.3 or higher iPhones for SummerBoard to work properly.
  9. Toys:
    • Flashight: This a small app which shows a blank white screen with maximum brightness. A little heavy on the battery but extremely useful to find something in the dark.
  10. Unlocking Tools:
    • ZiPhone iBrickr Fix: iBrickr does not detect ZiPhone unlocked/jailbroken iPhones without this. Install this if you want to use iBrickr to upload ring tones & files to your phone.

Thanks to the people who developed these !

Did I miss anything? Please add it to the comments.

, , , , , ,

6 Comments

iCopy – Copy/Paste in iPhone

All iPhone users want copy and paste functionality in the iPhone. Still, folks at Apple have not done anything. It seems Preston Monroe has finally answered our prayers. A new bookmark – iCopy enables you to copy and paste text or URL in your iPhone.

You have to first add it as a bookmark in your iPhone’s safari browser. Here are the installation instructions: http://www.biocow.com/iCopy/install.php

The installation is a bit cruel on your index finger. If you are too lazy to do it, wait for some time till it comes to the Installer app for jailbroken iPhones.

After installation, just use the bookmark to copy/paste a paragraph or url. You currently cannot select what you copy. It probably copies the text within a <p></p> or <div></div> or some other enveloping tags on a page.  But who cares! I can delete the unwanted text once I paste it.

Paste currently involves 2 clicks. First to set the copied content in a cookie and other to actually paste it in a text box or area. Well, it might not be the best way, but given that this works in a browser, I can live with that.

Note that the stuff you copy is sent over the internet. So refrain from copying secure data.

Here are the links to videos to demonstrate how this works:

  1. Copy & Paste Text
  2. Copy Text to Email

, , , , ,

No Comments

Upgrade 1.0.2 unlocked iPhone to 1.1.3

I recently upgraded my unlocked 1.0.2 version iPhone to 1.1.3 using Zibri’s Ziphone .

I tried looking for a guide for the same on the Internet. However all I got were comments from experts about the procedure and certain comments from people who had done this.

Here is what I did to upgrade. Note that these steps are meant for Windows users having 1.0.2 iPhone unlocked using the iUnlock method (prior to anySim ):

DISCLAIMER: The following steps worked fine for my iPhone. Try them at your own risk. I cannot guarantee that the process will always be successful.

  1. Back up your contacts and phone’s content in iTunes.
  2. Set auto lock to "Never" in Settings -> General -> Auto Lock
  3. Add "http://i.unlock.no" to Installer sources and refresh
  4. Go to Unlocking Tools in Installer and install Virginizer. This step will take about 15 minutes. Your phone will not recognize your Sim after this step.
  5. Download 1.1.3 firmware file from the link on http://iphone.unlock.no/#restore-firmware-files
  6. Connect your iPhone to the computer & start iTunes.  Once the phone is detected by iTunes, hold "Shift" key and click on the Restore button on the Summary page in iTunes. Select the file you just downloaded. iTunes will start restoring (read upgrading ) your iPhone to 1.1.3 firmware. This process will again take around 15 minutes to complete. Close iTunes after this step.
  7. Download Ziphone from http://www.downloadziphone.org/
  8. Install .Net Framework 2.0
  9. Start Ziphone & click on "Do it All" button. It will detect the phone and start the activate, jailbreak & unlock process. This will take approx. 5 minutes to complete. Close Ziphone after this step. The phone is now upgraded to 1.1.3 and is unlocked. It will have Installer installed. You can test by making a call.
  10. Once you are done, start iTunes. Set up the phone using the backup you took in step 1.

I had a small problem with wifi after this process. I used ad-hoc wifi at my home to connect to the internet from the iPhone. However, after this process, the iPhone wasn’t able to keep the ad-hoc connection. I reached out to the folks at the official Ziphone channel (#ziphone) on irc.ziphone.org and they helped me out. The solution is to connect the iPhone to a proper router based wifi hotspot. Once it is connected to the hotspot, it will be able to connect to ad-hoc networks as well. I was anyways looking for an excuse to get a wifi router. So I utilized this opportunity. The iPhone works perfectly fine with the router wifi.

In case you have any queries regarding the unlock process or Ziphone, I guess its best to reach out to the experts on the IRC channel. I do not have much expertise in this. I am posting the above steps to help out people looking for a guide.

Thanks to Zibri, Geohot & iphone.unlock team for coming with this.

Update: Thanks to Mr. Farooqi for the discussion. You can use the above process to upgrade to 1.1.4 as well. Just download the 1.1.4 firmware file in step 5 above. Rest of the steps remain the same. Enjoy!

NEW: Steps to upgrade & unlock iPhone 2G to firmware 2.0 on woikr .

, , , , , ,

146 Comments

Touchpad for iPhone

I am not usually impressed by any software. Because I usually know (or eventually find out) how the hell is it working. I am usually impressed by the things I can’t decipher (how they are built, how they work). Buildings in Dubai is an example of such things.

However, the touchpad for iPhone is a software that left me in awe. I have an idea about how it might be working, but I really respect & commend the person who actually thought about it.

The best part is that its a small software with great usability! Especially for lazy geeks like me. Even if I do not own a plasma, I just love to control my pointer wirelessly on my iPhone. Its great to watch movies lying all day in bed when you don’t even have to get up. You do have to get up to pee and bring some food, but who knows, we might even get something for that in the future!

You will need a jailbroken iPhone with Installer to install this. Find the installation instructions at http://touchpadiphone.blogspot.com

No Comments

Where are we going?

Sometimes I just wonder where are we all heading ?

Now I am obviously not thinking in philosophical terms and talking about tech here. When I turn around and look back at the year which has almost passed away, I see:

  1. A top notch software giant release a newer version of its operating system which is inferior to its own predecessor.
  2. Another software & hardware giant announce & release the invention of the year but soon become defensive about it and is now indulged in a cat & mouse game with a handful of god sent angels.
  3. A company ubiquitously called the synonym of the web releases an open source mobile platform which might make the mobile industry a little less “evil” but is certainly not a breakthrough (as expected from it).
  4. The Indian guy which gave a software giant the then invention for the web is challenging the same giant (now a copy-cat) with his another breakthrough invention.

These were the major news in the tech world which managed to stick in the feed xmls for the longest amount of time. I do not think that the motivation behind all the above was pure innovation. I see the 2 frogs in a well story going on here. Everyone is concerned about the competition so much that much of their resources are wasted in keeping pace with their competitors. Imagine what it would be like if all their resources went into pure innovation !

This reminds me of my first ever blog post :). Why do we compete ? Why can’t we just go our own way and do whatever we are supposed to and want to? This this this & this will tell you what I am talking about.

C’mon guys ! Its high time wake up ! Rise above the obvious stuff & make us feel proud that we were born in this time !

, , ,

2 Comments

Amazon’s iphone site

Just went to amazon.com from my iPhone to search for a bluetooth headset and was greeted with an iPhone version of the world’s biggest online marketplace!

Its good to see more and more websites developing an iPhone version.

I am just thinking about the future. Being a software developer, I have used quite a few CMS and frameworks which automatically deliver different versions of a page based on the user agent of the browser. Usually they have templates for kiosks, wml and flash/non flash versions of pages. I see another category getting added there. With the much anticipated launch of the Amazon’s kindle and Google’s android, the list is bound to expand as more and more buyers go mobile.

I would like for this process to be automated. I mean the app should be intelligent enough to detect the client’s profile and render the page without using a template.

Thats flexible :).

No Comments