Goodbye iPhone

My iPhone 4 was feeling a bit long in the tooth and sluggish, and with a renewal credit available through my cell carrier I decided to upgrade.  With the lack of a jailbreak available on the iPhone 5 (which I view as mandatory for such things as ad blocking), among other reasons, I decided to go back to an Android phone.

Apple stymied me in two regards on my way out though:

  • iPhoto refused to transfer the last month’s worth of photos off the phone.  I used i-Funbox to transfer the photos over USB.
  • Trying to wipe the phone from the Setting menu merely resulted in a hour+ of the spinning wheel.  Wiping from iTunes wants to install the new iOS… sigh.

Not being able to use the hardware I’ve paid for kind of pisses me off.  Goodbye Apple.


Sorting out non-responsive home button on iPhone

This morning the home button on my two year old iPhone 4 stopped working.  I tried the rebooting and the software “recalibration” fix involving going to the “slide to power off screen,” but it didn’t do anything.

Some people reported that a bit of isopropyl alcohol on the button would do the trick so I put a drop or two of 91% isopropanol on the iPhone button and pressed it a bunch of times and it was fixed right away.  I wouldn’t mind an excuse to open the phone, again but there was need to replace hardware this time.

UPDATE: The fix was short-lived.  Blowing vigorously into the dock connector seems to help, possibly clearing dust out of the button.

UPDATE 2: Still kind of flaky.  I ordered a replacement button.

UPDATE 3: Replacement button installed and working, what a difference!

Great iPad case

For the last three months I’ve put a lot of heavy use into the The Joy Factory SmartSuit3 Stand/Case for the iPad. Even though I have the “white/silver” version, it’s showing almost no signs of wear or dirt after being used almost daily around the home and taken on over a dozens of flights. The magnetic wake/sleep feature works great with the latest iPad 3 and all the ports and jacks are easily accessible. Highly recommended.

Blocking Ads under iOS

I always aim to jailbreak any iOS device I have (iPhone, iPad, iPod, etc.). Primarily I do this because I believe consumers should have full control of the hardware they own, without having to operate under the constraints of the Apple nanny. Also, jailbreaking is the only way to effectively block distracting advertisements that eat mobile bandwidth. The AdBlock app on Cydia (the “app store” for jailbroken devices) only seems to work on the native browser Safari which I don’t use anyway. A repository once existed at with an app with nice ad-blocking ability, but the modyouri repo has been down for several months.

I was pleased to recently discover the Untrusted Hosts Blocker which works neatly by modifying the /etc/hosts file to block not just connections to ad servers, but also to other servers that might undesirably collect private information. It has been working well for me so far.

Foreflight and the new iPad

I was excited to try the Foreflight app with the latest iPad 3 having a “retina” display with 2048×1536 resolution, four times as many pixels as the old hardware. Version 4.4.2 of Foreflight was at least partially updated for the new iPad, but still wasn’t optimized as you can see in the below images.  The problem is, at some zoom levels of the charts,  the display uses chunky graphics instead of taking advantage of the full resolution.

Here is a cropped-in screen capture at one of the “good” zoom levels, with all the graphics nice and clear

Now here is a shot with the same chart zoomed out a little bit, where the display of the chart becomes blurry, jagged, fuzzy, etc. although the text above the chart remains very clear.

Most of the zoom levels are at in-between levels of clarity.  I can understand that it may be difficult to push around enough pixels to reach full retina resolution at all times, but maybe Foreflight can at least allow users to click between high-clarity zoom levels in order to take advantage of the new display.

Recovering lost photos from an iTunes backup

So I carelessly wiped clean my old iPad before copying all the photos from it.  A lot of them did not exist elsewhere (transferred from a digital camera and then cleared the memory card), so I wanted to recover them.  There was an iTunes backup of the iPad still on my Windows 7 computer, in a folder under c:\Users\<UserName>\AppData\Roaming\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup

Some paid software offered to make it easy on me, but to try and save about $25 I figured I would try another route.  Searching on the net revealed that Apples stores the photos as individual files, but with different file extensions, which makes things easier.  I mass renamed all of them in an old school DOS prompt command window with “REN *.* *.JPG”.  Thumbnail view in Windows file explorer, sorted by size to try and get the photos generally grouped together, let me pick out what I wanted.  Happy day!  This ought to work on an iPhone as well.