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Apple iOS

Information about the wondrous Apple iPhone and iPod Touch ( fondly referred to as the iTouch ).

Written By: Gary on March 5, 2010 No Comment

I don’t even know how to describe the Everyday Looper application for the iPhone. It lets you makes loops live and you sing along with them. I can’t sing along, but maybe you can.everydaylooerapp.png

Hmmm… Here’s a better description: Remember in elementary school when you sang “Row, Row, Row your boat” and someone else would chime in so they were singing the previous sentence at the same time? This seems like it would let you do that, but with yourself (and do it live). If you still don’t get it, just watch the video.

Direct link to the video.

Looks like a complicated interface to learn but a very impressive video! I do not have this app but I thought it the video was very cool

Written By: Gary on December 5, 2009 One Comment

If you’ve thought about Scrabble for the iPhone (or iPod Touch) it might be time to try it, if you play Scrabble on Facebook it’s past time to try it!

scrabble-push-sm.pngI’ve always been a Scrabble fan and on my Palm Treo I used to play Scrabble all the time. While this version by Electronic Arts is excellent, I think the Palm OS was a little better; I think because the stylus made it easier to play, on this version they zoom you in and then you have to zoom back out (which works much better than it sounds).

They advertise that you can play with someone on the same WiFi network, but that’s no big deal to me, if they’re that close, just set up a board! The amazing part of this program is how it interfaces with Facebook, you can have multiple games going and it keeps track of them all and you can invite people to play and all that stuff, it works great. I did not play Scrabble on Facebook previously but I liked the idea of playing someone from a distance. I haven’t challenged anyone that I haven’t played in real life, but I will. The problem is that I don’t spend that much time on Facebook it’s inconvenient to keep checking to see if it’s my turn?

scrn_iphone_scrabble02.jpgFor a while the game has been popping up with a tip saying it works with push notifications (but it didn’t). I’ve only been using the app for a week and the latest version (that I think came out yesterday) now supports push when it’s your turn. At least when it’s your turn on Facebook they’ll send a push alert to your iPhone or iPod touch (I’m not sure about playing someone on the same WiFi network). I also noticed if that it’s alerted you that it’s your turn when you launch the app it takes you right to the game board!

This is great but it’s a little odd, there are three kinds of push notifications: alerts (text pop-up), sound and badges (alters the app icon, see below) but they chose to not to implement the text alert; while they may have had a reason to think you don’t need them you do have on/off options for all the different notifications. I can see how it would be overwhelming for those who are playing 20-50 games at a time, for me, I’d like the text alert since if I don’t hear the sound (not likely) I have to keep peeking at the app icon/badge (which is way better than having to launch the application). The push alerts aren’t perfect (they don’t always show up), but I’m think that might be an Apple thing and not a Scrabble problem.

scrabble-badge-notification.pngI’ve not played with the computer much, but some people complained that it’s too easy (the Palm OS version had 3-5 levels) and I’ve had no one to play with on WiFi but I suppose it’s probably similar to Facebook play.

Available on SCRABBLE

Written By: Gary on December 4, 2009 One Comment

The iPhone eats battery power. The more you use it the more it eats. As a result, the more you use it the unhappier you get when it dies.

Maximal Power External Battery for i-Phone, i-Phone 3G, and Ipods (Black) Maximal PowerSo I picked up this 1900mAh external battery and it was a great investment.

I keep it in my bag and it’s great when I need it. It’s not just powering your phone, it’s charging it! So once you remove it from the phone, it’s been charging your phone in the meantime.

Honestly, it doesn’t snap on very well, so it’ll fall off if you place it in a jacket or suit pocket and aren’t careful, but it won’t fall off if you’re using it for most non-gaming applications. It seems to fits well with my Seidio case (review).

For $14 (at Amazon), this is the best stocking stuffer you could get the iPhone enthusiast in your life (or iPod Touch or any iPod device I guess); if only it came in colors!

It always seems to have a charge whenever I need it. Although it’s rare more than a few weeks go by when I need it.

It you plug in the battery into a charger and the iPhone into the battery it’ll charge both. This brings me to my biggest complaint: I wish that when it was on the phone and plugged into the sync cable it’d charge both devices and pass through the data so I could sync at the same time.

This works with the current Amazon bonus of $5 worth of MP3 downloads with purchase (I think this is good only once per cart, not for multiple items in the same cart).

Written By: Gary on December 1, 2009 No Comment

So Fring lets you do video calls via their Skype connection. The software is free so it’s worth trying out.

iPhone_video-fring.jpg
The problem is you can only receive video. They say it’s because the iPhone doesn’t have a camera on the front, but I’d rather send video to the other person. I’ve got the portable device, I’m probably somewhere more interesting then they are, right? (Unless they are on their phone too).

I could still be filming where I am while watching their face (or whatever their camera is pointed at) so it seems silly to me. Or send my video when I’m talking (and vice-versa).

The other downside is that it only works over over WiFi, not cellular (no surprise there) another reason to consider a MiFi instead of paying AT&T for tethering.

Here’s the direct link.

Two other things:
If Apple has the API open, it seems like they could check the sensor that detects if the phone is near or away from you (the one that checks if the phone is by your face and turns the screen off) and figure if the camera is facing you or away.

The Fring App uses my BlueTooth headset (which also does A2DP) for sound effects but when a call starts it only uses the regular phone part.

Written By: Gary on November 27, 2009 One Comment

So I tried out CoPilot Live North America GPS turn-by-turn software. First off let me point out it’s on sale for $24.99 through December (and then it goes back to $34.99) and it appears to include free quarterly updates (with no time limits listed as of today). Secondly please note that North America is defined as USA and Canada. FYI, if you don’t have an iPhone and you’re hoping to get one for the holidays, buy it now! It should work later just fine (at least all the sale and free apps I bought before I purchased worked fine.

copilotapproad.jpg

It’s awesome! You can use it in spoken turn-by-turn mode with or without the street names, only one voice (Frank) does the full street names, but I don’t like that on GPS devices (I get long names like “turn right at next exit Grand River / US-5 / 10 mile road”) and it’s too long for my attention span so I use Lisa (or John). In short mode I think it should speak the highway exit numbers though, it actually sounds truncated the way they do it.

It’s really easy to pick addresses from your address book and save as favorites, it did give me a little problem with my home address the way I had it in my address book but not any of my others (I’m not sure why). If you’re typing in an address it’ll let you use zip codes which I like. You can also search by business name (such as Detroit Science Center) and it’ll add to favorites or even make a call for you. It’ll also show routing for cars, walking or biking. It’ll let you play back your tracks, which would be great for hiking but this has got to eat your battery though.

copilotappsettings.jpg

My biggest complaint is that while it integrates the iPod player into the application, it doesn’t pause the iPod part of the iPhone when it’s speaking; but this is listed as one of the next upcoming features. My second biggest complaint, is that sometimes I don’t feel like they followed iPhone interface guidelines and you have to think sometimes when picking out and typing things (mostly in the search areas).

The 2D maps will let you pinch / zoom like many iPhone map programs will. And it works in landscape or portrait modes. While I like portrait better, the fonts of turns show up bigger in landscape.

It’ll give you live weather for where you are too!

It’s probably the biggest app I have, it’s 1.3 GB, that’s a 1/12 of your 16 GB phone! You can get more info here: http://www.copilotlive.com/iphone/

CoPilot Live North America

Bottom line: If you don’t have a turn-by-turn GPS for $34.99 this is a great deal. For the $19.99 sale price (for only a few days) it’s an even better bargain.

Accessories: I’d recommend a car charger or external battery to charge your phone when walking or biking.

Written By: Gary on October 25, 2009 No Comment

Great day outside on Hines Drive today. Lots of great colors as fall approaches. Here’s a panorama I took with my iPhone (and stitched it on my iPhone with the AutoStitch Panorama app on the phone too!).


fall-colors-hines-drive-thumb.jpg

I think it took eight or nine images to build the whole thing and it came out to 4000×506 pixels. This program works quick: I took the photos with the camera app, ran the AutoStich program, clicked the photos, it built a tiny thumbnail, I clicked the stitch button and few minutes later I’ve got the panorama on the screen!

Click to enlarge panoramic image, if it doesn’t load correctly, here’s a 1024 wide image.

Written By: Gary on October 24, 2009 No Comment

I shot, edited (titles and transitions) and uploaded this video from my iPhone. I used ReelDirector for the editing. This is my first attempt but it was way easy to use. reeldirectorvideoThe video was shot on the iPhone, edited on the iPhone and e-mailed to YouTube for uploading. It’s five short stiched-together videos (which I was able to trim when I imported them) with some text at the beginning and end. I used the same transition (blur) for all the transitions since it was easy to use (you can customize this per transition). You can rearrange the videos once they are in there, but I pretty much picked them in the order that I wanted them in.

This is from the balloon festival from a few months ago. The first speaker is me talking as I shot it. The rest is whatever voiceover was going on at the time. Nothing fancy at all.



Direct link to the video is here.

I didn’t time it, but I’d guess it was about three or four minutes (on the iPhone 3gs 3.01 OS) to stitch and build the one minute video. My biggest complaint is I couldn’t extend the time for the titles and credits and the time is too short). I also wish I could have inserted some photos too (but then there wouldn’t have been audio behind it). The strangest thing was that it didn’t save the video back to the phone, I didn’t see any way to get it out of the program other than e-mailing it to myself (or YouTube) but that worked fine (the iTunes page says this works in 3.1). it’s very cool software but it’s a little pricy at $7.99 for $3.99 (since iMovie came out); I used an iTunes gift card that I got last month for my birthday which made the (old $7.99 price) a bit more digestible…

Written By: Gary on September 25, 2009 2 Comments

Playing around with the new MMS on your iPhone? You can use text4free.net to send yourself a MMS text to test it out. Actually, it’s not just for texting to yourself, it will let you send texts around the world for free!

textforfree.net.jpgIt’ll send a picture or audio file. I sent a few, some went quick, some took a few minutes. It says it’ll send video too, but I haven’t tried video yet.

There is a maximum file size of 1 MB and allowed file types are .jpg, .png, .jpeg, .wbmp, .mid, .midi, .mp3, .mp4, .wav, .wma, .3gp, .mp4

This will work with phones other than an iPhone, I just brought up the IPhone since MMS got turned on for all the US AT&T users today.

Written By: Gary on September 24, 2009 One Comment

What I don’t like about my Bluetooth earpiece for my iPhone is that it only streams audio from the phone calls. Why Apple (all cell makers) don’t let you use BT audio from other parts of your phone, I don’t understand. I have a pair of semi-bulky BlueTooth stereo headphones that and they stream the iPod music, podcasts, sound effects from games, and everything (but they’re bulky). My normal bluetooth earpiece just fits in my shirt pocket for when I’m not using it so I rather use that. The trick is to find an earpiece that supports A2DP.

Plantronics Voyager 855 Bluetooth Headset (Black) PlantronicsI decided on the Plantronics Voyager 855 Bluetooth Headset for three reasons: they were inexpensive, I’ve had good experience with Plantronics in the past and they came with a second earbud (earplug?) for your other ear if you want stereo sound.

So now I can listen to podcasts or news (or whatever) while waiting for something (doctor appointment, a movie to start, anything) without having to cover both ears (and not have to carry anything big around to do it). The same goes for videos or watching YouTube. Or if I’m playing a game I’ll still get sound, it’s nice to have audio feedback even for simple puzzle games, but especially for puzzle games. Your device must support A2DP for audio other than phone calls.

I think my main uses for this will be phone calls, listening to audio (books, The Economist and podcasts, streaming some radio) and some games. I can walk pretty far from the phone when listening, when I head upstairs (most amount of wall/stairs interference) it cuts out a little, but once I’m upstairs it still sounds great.

I think I’ll rarely plug in the second earpiece but I’ll keep it in my computer bag just in case. It’d be great if I knew I was going to be somewhere loud, but it might be too loud for them to hear me. Obviously I can use these for music, but I rarely listen to music via headphones, I generally listen to music at home or in the car, but I guess I now have the option (sort of).

The packaging was very nice, I couldn’t believe these were a $35 from from the box. In the box was a nice manual, not some teeny tiny thing that you’ll never find again. The BT headset, a nice carrying bag, two ear loops, 3 different pairs of ear gels (plus a weird pair foam ear pieces), a wall plug charger and some weird strap (unidentified in the manual) to dangle it from your neck (like a neckless, I guess).

So this BT headset gets a two thumbs up from me. No real minuses on the headset at all, but this is my first few hours of use and I really enjoy them so far.

I’ll probably do a follow-up in a few days, so if you have any questions, leave them in the comments.

Written By: Gary on September 21, 2009 4 Comments

Replace my laptop? Not a chance! But the more I use it…

Previously I took my laptop everywhere. The iPhone has easily cut out 20%-25% of my dragging around a laptop; my rule is generally don’t leave home without it.

With my iPhone, I’m still connected to the world. I can read, I can forward and I can bookmark things and type (if I have to), it’s more than the basics. Of course I can watch and listen to all the “stuff” that’s on the iPod portion of the iPhone too. If I could get a bluetooth keyboard (or even a wired keyboard the plugs into the dock) I think I could drop carrying the computer around to 50% of what I used to do. I don’t really want to JailBreak my phone to do this. (FYI, this feature is now is iOS 4 for several iPhone models)

apple-bt-iphone-keyboard.jpg
This keyboad looks huge, but it’s really the tiny wireless one from Apple.

I don’t even need the keyboard to work in all the applications (although I’d like it), I can just type in a special keyboard application then copy and paste into the program where I need the information.

I’d need an external battery pack for the iPhone though. I thought I’d already need to, but I generally leave it in the charger at home and I charge it in the car. It’s pretty rare that I notice that I’m running really low.

It’s been a while now that I’ve had the iPhone, but it’s still a new toy so I use it a lot but it’s pretty rare when I “need” to bring laptop along. The laptop is mostly just for typing these days.

Photo from Geeky-Gadgets and the linked page has a video of this working on the JailBroken iPhone…

Written By: Gary on September 11, 2009 No Comment

image650862516.jpgI can be anywhere in the country and watch the space shuttle land live on my phone. It amazes me every day.

I can’t imagine what the next few years will bring :)

PS – I’m writing and posting this from my phone after capturing the image while watching it live!!!

Written By: Gary on September 10, 2009 No Comment

So if you have any older iPod or iPhone accessories or chargers many of they don’t charge properly. I’m not sure what they changed but it’s a pain when it’s a nice speaker dock or your car stereo won’t charge our battery (and instead drains the battery).

Enter the Scosche Charging Adapter for iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, iPod touch 2G and iPod nano 4G! This device plugs in between the cable and you iPod of iPhone. I plug my iPhone into the adaptor and then into the cable in the car and now I can listen and charge my iPhone. So I can actually stream audio over the air (network) and pipe it straight into my stereo in my car, it’s awesome!

I’ve picked up the adaptor for $24.99 at Amazon. They also make an adaptor that plugs into some docks/stands that does the same type of thing (available in black or white).

It was well worth it for me, I think my car stereo is less than 18 months old so I didn’t need a new one and they’d probably have charged me at least $50 labor just to run a new cable (assuming Alpine even makes one for my stereo, which I couldn’t find). So this was a no-brainer.

If it’s a short ride and I’m just listening to the iPhone via the iPod application then I don’t use the adaptor so that I’m not just charging for only few minutes. I try not to charge my phone (or any device) if I’m really not going to need it, the iPhone is probably only good for a certainĀ amount of charges so I try not to waste the number of charges.

FYI – In my experience plugging the Scosche adaptor into the iPhone first before the other device works better; otherwise (at least my car stereo) sees it as 1/2 an iPhone and gets confused.

Written By: Gary on August 9, 2009 No Comment

So the rumors this week are that in iTunes 9 that Apple is going to add Application Management. My iPhone would be a lot more useful for me if it had that, I’m always installing and trying apps and it messes with the order of everything. Here’s a concept that someone ut together a few months ago.


View iTunes App Management on Youtube

It’s very Apple-ish but some of it’s pretty complicated for what Apple likes to do.

The above is pretty close to what I’m looking for. But I’d take something way more primitive…

Written By: Gary on August 7, 2009 No Comment

So I made a plea a few weeks ago looking for a case for my iPhone (zero responses). Just couldn’t find the one for me, I want something not too bulky but I wanted the screen to be protected. I was worried about damaging the screen, I’m not so concerned about scratches to the case (or even around the edge of the screen). Although when you try to take things in for warranty repair, I’ve learned the less damage to the case the better.

Seidio Innocase II Surface Spring Clip Holster Combo for iPhone 3GS, 3G (Black) SeidioSeidio Innocase Holster for iPhone 3G and 3GS - Black SeidioI think this is the case for me, it’s the Seidio Innocase II Surface Spring Clip Holster Combo for iPhone 3GS and 3G. When they say combo it’s really two products in one it’s this holster with a separate form fitting case for the iPhone that fits in the holster. What I really really like about this is that the screen faces in. I loved my cheaper holster but the screen faced out and that made me nervous.

The form fitting case is nice because it’s not too big and it makes the darn iPhone a lot less slippery! It’s easy in and out of the holster. And the holster has a stopper on it so that the phone cannot slide and release the pressure of the spring clip, it pretty much has to be intentionally released to remove it. I love it and since I’ve been using this I’ve stopped looking at other cases for my iPhone.

The case fits so tightly if you’ve got a screen protector on your iPhone make sure it’s on perfect or it’ll hit the case, I had to peel it back (it wasn’t perfect) and trim it back (now it looks bad). And I think it definitely runs a little hotter with the case on.

Here’s the problem: Since I’ve got the case now it doesn’t fit in my car holder and it’s a little tight on my bicycle holder (a future post). And it fits so tightly it takes way too much time to remove.

So if you think this is the type of case you want, it’s definitely worth the extra money and it seems very well built. Just make sure you pick the “combo” so you get the holster and the case; the phone doesn’t fit in the holster without the case.

Written By: Gary on August 1, 2009 No Comment

They’ve now released 12cast to record and post video to 12seconds.tv for the iPhone 3gs. And it’s free! This lets you shoot video and upload directly or upload video that you’ve already shot. It’s interface is very simple (see below) although I think it could use a few more features (see below).


12cast test on my iPhone on 12seconds.tv

I’ll probably be testing this a bit this weekend so keep an eye on my 12seconds.tv channel http://12seconds.tv/channel/garylapointe/ and feel free to subscribe.

If this seems fun to you, you better go get 12cast before Apple pulls it from the store for some reason!

FYI – If your iPhone doesn’t do video you can still use the original 12seconds which lets you narrate 3 photos to make a 12secons.tv video. Here’s a sample I did.

12cast.pngNeeds a few really quick features:

  • Show me today’s 12seconds.tv challenge!
  • Needs to give me an option to upload it to 12seconds without going to Twitter.
  • Needs to let me type tags (and remember tags from previous upload!).
  • Needs to let me use update location (and autofill with GPS!).
  • This one probably isn’t so quick: Need a way to trim the video. Mostly if I’m trying to record myself it’s always jumpy at the begin and end. (Apple needs a way to set the API so you can click a button to “start recording in 3 seconds” and have it countdown.)

I really wish they had combined it with the older three photos application, I’ve got so much crap on my iPhone I really don’t need an additional application, but I can see some use of the other app too.

Written By: Gary on July 30, 2009 No Comment

Apple has finally released the iPhone iDisk application for the iPhone! Bottom line is that you can browse your iDisk from your iPhone. You can view PDFs, Office and iWork docs.

idisk.pngPros:

  • It’s Free!
  • You can view PDFs, HTML, Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) and iWork docs.
  • It’ll view images and stream video and audio (Apple supported formats).
  • It will cache files to the iPhone for faster access and you get to define how much space to use.
  • You can search to find your files.
  • You can share files right from the iPhone.
  • You can delete from the phone (oops, maybe this is a con!).
  • Works in landscape mode.
  • Keeps track of files you recently accessed via the iPhone.
  • You can access other member’s public folders.

    Cons:

  • You can’t view text clippings (why not?!?).
  • You can only view by alphabetical order.
  • HTML links are not clickable.
  • Can’t see full filenames sometimes (landscape helps) or file creation dates.

    All together, if you’ve got MobileMe and use the iDisk, this is a no-brainer to download.

  • Written By: Gary on July 29, 2009 2 Comments

    I never imagined getting my memos (just text notes) from my Palm Treo 755p could be such a hassle. First let me point out how important some of these memos are to me, they aren’t just from my Treo 755p: before that they were on my Treo 700p, before then they were on my Samsung SPH-i500 (best phone ever!) and also my Samsung(s) SPH-i330 and SPH-i300 (from 2001, I think). So some of these note have been around for a while…

    Googling around there is no good solution to get them on the phone into the iPhone Notes application, lots of people looking for solutions. The simple solution (but not what I wanted) was just to open Palm Desktop (for the Mac) and print all your memos to a PDF file and e-mail it to yourself and you can always open that later (or store it on your iDisk if you have MobileMe).

    Here’s the steps I went through to get them into the iPhone Notes application (I’ve only been using an iPhone since OS 3.0 so I don’t know when they added the Notes feature):

    phoneview.jpg1- Export your memos from the Palm Desktop software (I did this on my MacBook) choosing exported as tab delimited (you can turn some of the columns off if you want, I only exported the title and the body of the memos).
    2- Then I opened this text file up in the Mac’s TextEdit application, did a few search and replaces of any goofy characters.
    3- Then I used PhoneView from ecamm to view the notes on the phone.
    Here’s the mundane part:
    4- I highlighted the title and body of a memo.
    5- Dragged the selected text into the PhoneView application and let go.
    6- PhoneView created a memo with the first line of text being the title which was exactly what I wanted.
    7- Go back to step 4 and repeat for every memo you want. I only kept about 60% of my memos and more than a few of those might be out of date (but I have them!!!).
    8- Click the Apply Changes button in PhoneView to save the changes to the iPhone.
    9- I then exited the application and synced with iTunes.
    10- I then checked the Mail application on my MacBook for my Notes (why are notes kept in the Mail application?) and they were all there.

    PhoneView has a free demo, but I don’t know if any limitations will stop you from doing this. I already owned the application so I don’t know about this. If you’re reading this far, you obviously owned a Palm OS handheld so if you ever owned BeamPro, this is the company that wrote that software. And ecamm is the same company that wrote CardRaider which saved my Chicago photos last summer.

    Obviously, PhoneView isn’t made by Apple so I’m sure if it screws something up, it’s not covered under warranty. But a restore from your backup should make it all happy again if something happens.

    More ramblings about this process:

    This will take you a while if you have thousands of notes, so I thought I’d mention a few things.

    After step one (1) I was able to import this document into the spreadsheet in Google Docs and it put the title in one column and the body in another, so if you can manipulate it from there you might be okay. If I recall correctly if I could save each memo as it’s own text file I could just drag that to the Mail application Notes area (or PhoneView) but I didn’t have a way to separate the memos easily. Otherwise I think I just could have dragged 100 notes files in very quickly (Mail didn’t want let me drag TextClippings in nor could I view them via the iPhone iDisk application).

    Remember, the notes only get synced with iTunes, no wireless syncing with MobileMe (not even an option to view in MobileMe).

    Written By: Gary on July 20, 2009 No Comment

    I mentioned the anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing earlier today. Here’s a few other “space” things that caught my eye:

    themoon.jpg

  • Apollo 11 restored HD video.
  • Send your name to Mars and get a certificate.
  • For your iPhone and iPod Touch get SkyVoyager and SkyGazer for free today (normally $17.98 combined).
  • Photos of the Moon landing sites from the LRO.
  • And Google has added the Moon to Google Earth (desktop application).
  • That’s it for now. Please post any recommended links in the comments below.

    Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

    Written By: Gary on July 12, 2009 One Comment

    Apple iPhone 3G Holster Clip BoxWave CorporationSo I have a holster for my iPhone that looks like this (I think it’s this same case with different branding). And it’s a great case! It’s plastic and holds the phone in just perfect, the clip at the top keeps the phone from bouncing out (the clip is important to me). But it’s got the screen exposed…

    What I want is for the iPhone to face inward, to protect the screen. That’s what I had for my 755p and I really liked that. Any suggestions?

    I’ve only found one and it doesn’t look like it has a clip at the top, not sure how it rotates without phone falling out.

    Honestly, I’m tempted to get a heat gun and make it a little bigger at the bottom so it’ll fit face forward. I just don’t know how much more fragile that will make the plastic. Plus, there isn’t anything soft on the plastic to protect the screen.

    UPDATE: This is the Seidio iPhone case and clip that I got.

    Written By: Gary on July 11, 2009 No Comment

    autostitch-icon.pngSo one of the coolest programs I’ve downloaded from the iPhone App Store is AutoStitch. It takes a bunch of photos and stitches them together. Alex Lindsey talked about this on MacBreak Weekly a few weeks ago. He spoke so highly of it, I plopped down my $1.99 and started using it immediately.

    autostitch-screen-capture.PNGYou take a bunch of overlapping photos and it stitches them together, it does this completely automatically, there is no user intervention. You can use pictures you’ve taken with the iPhone but you can just as easily use pictures that you’ve synced with the phone. So this can work for the iPod Touch too, just sync some photos and when you’ve got some spare time, stitch them together. It does an amazing job.

    I first used some photos that I shot on my Canon SD1100, it that just happened to be synced to the phone and did a great job of stitching them together. So you don’t need an iPhone, an iPod Touch with photos that you’ve synced works great too.

    Above you can see a sample screenshot from the program where I chose 22 photos and it stitched them together (click it to enlarge). Remember all I did was pick the photos and a few minutes later it churned these out. All these photos were taken with the iPhone 3gs. If I cropped some of the edges of the photos, it’d look like I took there with a really wide angle lens.

    Here are two samples:

    detroit-cityfestjaggies.JPG
    I chose this one specifically so you can really see how it pieces these together. It’s got gaps in it, (I think) this is the one I took 22 photos for the image; just the part with the people on the blanket in the middle is 3 or 4 images.
    Click the image to enlarge to 2,500 by 800 pixels.


    detroitcityfest.JPG
    This one is more complete as I took many up and down photos to go with it. That’s the Detroit Fisher Building on the left.
    Click the image to enlarge to 2,000 by 1,000 pixels.

    These pictures were taken at CityFest in Detroit this summer.

    I’ve used it multiple times and only once had a problem; it got confused when I did a 360 panorama when the same type of railing showed up several times, this was because all the condos where I live are similar so it really couldn’t match things up. There are some matching issues with color/contrast and people moving, but this is really great!

    This software is well worth the $1.99! I think I got that much fun out of it in the first hour, let alone all the time since then. ZZZ

    Written By: Gary on June 21, 2009 No Comment

    I’ve had a few people just happy that the iPhone phone dropped to $99 (for 8GB) and are tempted to get that instead of the $199 model with more features (and 16 GB). They want to know if it’s really worth the $100 more.

    Here’s why it’s worth it (and I’m not even going to point out the things that you think I will):
    3gornor3g.pngJust a few weeks ago there was $100 difference between the $199 (8 GB) and $299 (16 GB) iPhone 3g models and the only difference was 8GB of storage. Right now the $99 model is 8 GB and $199 is 16 GB so it’s the same $99 for 8 GB. The 8 GB iPod Touch (it’s an iPhone with no phone, no GPS, no camera, no microphone and lots of other stuff too) is $229 and you don’t get much at all! Here’s my countdown list on why to get the 3gs, please note that compass, video and better photos are the last three reasons, not the top three. This list is really for those who are making a purchase that think they don’t want the compass or better camera w/ video; this is not a reason to upgrade from the iPhone 3g, that’s expensive.

    Here’s everything between the $99 iPhone 3g and the iPhone $199 3gs:

    • 8 GB of storage (flash) memory – twice as much storage memory for apps and videos and music and audiobooks.
    • 256 MB of RAM – twice as much memory for applications to run in (more efficiently which makes it seem faster).
    • Faster Processor – The main processor is 50% faster and a faster graphics chip, Apple says this gives you up to twice the speed.
    • Better battery life – For just about everything but phone calls and 3g network use.
    • Faster network – This will utilize AT&T’s faster network (once it gets installed) which should improve battery life according to Apple.
    • Oleophobic coating on screen – more fingerprint resistant (geeky oleophobic details from Bill Nye
    • Photos – 3.2 MP with tap to focus (instead of 2 MP).
    • Video Recording – This is new, not on the other models. You can directly upload to YouTube, MobileMe and (I assume) email to someone.
    • Compass – Maps will orient the right way and I think people will come out with some cool applications utilizing this. I think thinking astronomy applications first, point at the sky and it identifies what you are viewing and offers links to more information or you ask it for a star or planet and it points it out for you (I predict this won’t take long at all, scroll down on this page to see this for G1); maybe even point out satellites as they travel across the sky. Then I’m counting on being at a national park or a big city and point my phone at something and it will supply all sorts of information about that landmark. See this page for a sample tourist image or imagine this (see video) but overlaid on top of live images of where you are. Or this interactive view of Wimbeldon.

    Did I leave anything out? How far did you have to go down the list before you decided it was worth $99?

    The first four are really the biggest value: Twice the storage, twice the memory (this will help), faster processor and better battery life!

    Notes: I do understand that Apple is only charging $100 for 16 GB more memory in the $299, but since you don’t want to spend that much, we’re really not going go there.

    Written By: Gary on June 16, 2009 One Comment

    tweetdeckiphone.gifSo in my attempt to start using Twitter more I installed TweetDeck today. Coincidentally, later on today they also released a free iPhone/Touch version of TweetDeck today which will sync with your columns (you need to download the new desktop version for the syncing). Syncs with multiple desktop clients too.

    It seems like a great iPhone/Touch client even on it’s own: Take photos and immediately post to Twitter (via TwitPic etc.), shake to refresh, reorder columns.

    tweetdeck.pngAnd TweetDeck appears to support multiple Twitter accounts (I don’t think that feature was in there earlier today).

    Later: Looks like it only syncs columns you create after installing the new version. At least that’s the only way I can get it to work. And I manually had to sync, it doesn’t seem to be persistent, but I’m not changing my columns that often so no problem for me. (I relaunched to test but still no joy, maybe I just need to wait?)Not getting any syncing between my “columns”. I think I’m doing something wrong(?).

    Even Later: So the iPhone version is syncing when it loads today (it was not doing this yesterday); it actually asks before adding a column. But the desktop version (for Mac) isn’t asking me to do this.

    Written By: Gary on June 9, 2009 2 Comments

    mms3.pngMost of the iPhone OS 3.0 features aren’t anything new, they were announced months ago. So much of yesterday’s keynote dealing with the iPhone was not a surprise. What was a surprise was how stupid that AT&T looked when they weren’t ready for tethering or MMS!

    I think 29 countries are ready for MMS but not AT&T in the United States and 22 countries are ready for tethering but not AT&T in the United States. What does this say about contracts and exclusivity with they way they are marketing this phone? If some other carriers had this phone they’d be selling like hot cakes as people would be trying to get away from AT&T…

    tether3.pngPersonally, I don’t see me ever using the MMS (especially if it costs more), I just send my attachments as an e-mail. But the tethering is what’s holding me up from getting the iPhone.

    FYI, when the 3.0 beta came out, it had the tethering in it and some people were able to turn it on, so this works. It’s just a matter of AT&T selling it to the customers.

    Written By: Gary on June 3, 2009 No Comment

    So as I’ve mentioned before, I’m really counting on a new iPhone announcement next week. Actually, I’m counting on a new release…

    Here’s a sign that’s been hung at the WWDC (World-Wide Developer’s Conference) for next week.

    Another big bonus would be Steve Jobs showing up at the end of the keynote for “just one more thing”.

    I think they’re going to have lots of surprises for us next week. Apple’s good at that.

    wwdcsign2009.png

    Banners (WWDC 2009), originally uploaded by adamjackson1984.

    And when Apple makes announcements, they usually have time lines and actually come through. Unlike (as I heard the other day) Microsoft who does demo’s of whatever shiny object has their attention at the time (releasing it in a timely manner is a whole different matter).

    FYI – Here’s a graphical iPhone image with all the rumors on it that someone put together.

    Written By: Gary on May 22, 2009 No Comment

    Assuming we get new iPhones at the WWDC in early June, I’ve got a few guesses. June 9th is when it’s assumed Apple will release the new 3.0 Operating System and announce (or release new phones). I think the upgrade is supposed to be free for iPhone users but not for the iPod touch users; I find this completely bizzaro since I think you’ll need it to purchase applications, so Apple is cutting out their market of potential iTunes App sales.

    Apple iPod touch 16 GB (2nd Generation) Apple ComputerThey could just announce new phones, but people’s contracts are running out so I assume they’ll have something to release or announce with product in the next few months (there are July 17 rumors too, but it could just be the same rumor re-tweeted over and over). I’m just talking about features for the physical phone, the software has been out in beta and I don’t think there will be too many surprises there.

    1) I think we’ll get a new phone with a new camera. It’s never had the best camera and rumors say Apple has been buying 3 MP and 5 MP chips. I’d really hope it’s the 5 MP as the main camera, but sadly I’m not sure what else they’d use the 3 MP chips in. I’m assuming this would also allow you to record video. But 3 MP is pretty low when you consider the quality of everything else that goes into the iPhone.
    2) I’d love it to have two cameras, one on the back and one of the front for video-conferencing. I don’t think we’ll get that with this refresh (maybe on ‘the iTablet’?), but if they offer it, I definitely pick up that model.
    3) I think they’ll start offering an iPhone with more memory, they’ve had more memory in the iPod Touch (up to 32 GB v.s up to 16 GB)for a while so this is a no brainer (IMHO). But will they stop at 32 GB or go all the way to 64 GB?

    Other stuff:
    Lots of rumors on a faster processor and if Apple wants to make this a gaming machine it needs a little more power. Rumors indicate faster chip purchases, but these could be for ‘the tablet’, but then again maybe they need it for the rumored video recording capabilities.

    Apple iPod touch 32 GB (2nd Generation) Apple ComputerI feel if Apple starts releasing very different model iPhones, people will start getting confused on which models to get. So far the only difference has been color (do they still make the white?) and storage. If they try keeping a cheaper model with less features, a mid-range with with a better (or two) cameras and another with faster processor will just confuse the masses. Even more confusing if each higher step doesn’t include every feature of the “lower” models. Nothing says “don’t buy” more than confusion between models.

    And speaking of the iTablet, which I think will be more of big iPhone/iTouch than a low power tablet or netbook computer, I’m not sure why the iTablet would need a better camera than the iPhone (I’m really hung up on the 3 MP / 5 MP chip rumors). I’d like the tablet to have to ability to be a phone to use my SIM chip from my iPhone for data. They better not release a tablet with a phone from a competing company so I need to buy another plan for wireless data for this other device.

    So I’m ready to transition to the iPhone, I’ve been playing with the iTouch (yes, I know it’s an iPod Touch) for a few months and I need the data “on” all the time. As long as they announce a way to tether my laptop to the Internet via the phone, I’m in!

    Written By: Gary on May 6, 2009 One Comment

    Testing the WordPress Client for the Touch and iPhone.

    A few extra features with editing categories and pages, but I can’t figure how to use a current category. You can publish or keep local drafts too. Looks like it will post more than one photo (unlike iBlogger).

    Sample screen below…

    I like this, it’s free and it appears to work well off-line. It supports multiple blogs. It attaches the photos at the bottom but I think after posting it, you could easily edit the html (while still on the handheld) to move it. Still not sure how to use an existing category. I like the ability to publish drafts so I can possibly edit them on the computer before finally posting.

    It also lets you approve/spam comments! This is a great feature!

    (By default this showed up in the “uncategorized” category, but then it showed that cattegory so I changed the category to “blogging” )

    Written By: Gary on April 6, 2009 One Comment

    Apple iPod touch 16 GB (2nd Generation) Apple ComputerOverall, I really love my iPod iTouch. For those of you who don’t know what it is, it’s an iPhone without the phone, GPS or camera, but without the monthly prices! And while I love it I’ve got a few complaints:
    1) Why isn’t it called an iTouch? It’s the obvious name, I will continue to call it that even though it’s wrong.
    2) The music playing isn’t iPod-ish enough. I’ll be playing an audio file and I can’t see how long it is or how far I am into it (or have to go). It’s got more than enough room on the screen. And I need a better way for fast forwarding and rewinding, I should be able to drag a slider across the screen, not the old-fashioned hold and press on the virtual button. Give me a virtual scroll wheel in the middle of the screen or some configuration changes in the options…
    4) I need a better way to manage the applications screens. I know you can drag them but it’s a pain. Any new applications just get dumped in the first free space. Let me create some categories and sort them hierarchically (like my music) but I need to put some items in multiple categories (or at least a category and a “favorites”).
    3) No cut and paste! I’ve type my name, zip, and e-mail about a million times in the last week. I know they are adding it this summer but it too two years! They really need another button next to “cut, copy, paste” that says “shortcuts” where I can put the stuff I type all the time.
    5) Needs some more applications for viewing info off-line. Mail works great, a few work decent, the rest require a connection.
    6) No built-in microphone.
    7) This thing really sucks the power! It really needs an easier way to turn the WiFi off (how about clicking the WiFi icon on the screen!).

    I’m sure I’ll add some more basic complaints and I will be praising this (and applications) in future posts.

    Written By: Gary on March 4, 2009 2 Comments

    Amazon released a Kindle for iPhone and iPod Touch application (that link is to the US iTunes store, not sure about international release).

    With Kindle for iPhone, you can:
    * Buy a Kindle book from your Mac, PC, or iPhone using a Web browser and wirelessly transfer the books to your iPhone.
    * Read first chapters of any book for free before you buy.
    * Download the Kindle books you already own for free (they are automatically backed up on Amazon.com).
    * Adjust the text size, add bookmarks, and view the annotations you created on your Kindle device.

    Kindle for iPhone also includes Whispersync, which allows you to seamlessly switch back and forth between your Kindle device and Kindle for iPhone while keeping your bookmarks and reading location synchronized between devices

    kindleapp.jpgWow! Now you don’t even need a Kindle now to read the eBooks. I’m assuming the “digital paper” display is easier to read on the Kindle, but this is very cool. I wonder if the images look better than on the grey-scale Kindle? It looks like it will “show books in color that were developed that way“. I’ve liked the idea of a Kindle but not the cost and I’ve also been afraid of not having it with me everywhere; if I can start syncing to other devices that’d be very useful. Even if you don’t want to read a whole book on your iPhone/Touch, you can read the first chapter of all the Kindle books for free! ANd it doesn’t appear to sync magazines or newspapers, only books.

    And did I mention that it’s free at the Apple App store? Of course you have to buy the books.

    Update:

  • A lot of nice screenshots at the iPhone Blog.
  • It looks like to buy books you need to use Mobile Safari (or a computer) and not the Kindle software. That’s not ideal, but it’s workable.
  • Written By: Gary on January 24, 2009 One Comment

    So twenty-five years ago today, Apple released the Macintosh computer. And as far as I’m concerned, they changed the world.

    oldmac.pngI was never an Apple II person, I was an Atari 800 guy. Then I used PCs for a while (DOS and Windows 3.1). For years I couldn’t understand why I should switch from my cheaper PC-Windows machine so it took me a few years (8) to get one (after using them in my graduate education program at MSU) but I’ve been a convert ever since. That’s not to say I don’t own a Windows machine (or two) but they’re usually doing mundane tasks, which my Macs are for creative tasks and what I want to use for my everyday stuff.

    Here’s a YouTube vid of Steve Jobs demoing the Mac back in a 1984 keynote (wearing a bow-tie).

    I think my first Mac was a used Macintosh Plus (with an add-on external hard drive), then a classic (same shape way more power), a PowerPC 6100 (pizza box shape), a tower PowerMac G4 (the first one with a DVD burner) and I owned a few used ones that I picked up here and there (a IIci and IIcx and a Quadra 605 that had been upgraded to a PPC). I paid way too much for the two PowerMac desktops, I did a few processor upgrades to get some more life out of them.

    But I’ve also had a few Apple laptops: The PowerBook Duo 280c which in my opinion was the best laptop ever; more of a sub-notebook (1.5″ x 10.9″ x 8.5″) and you could get a dock you could stuck it into (like a big floppy) and it would use the monitor(s), keyboard, mouse and anything else plugged into the dock (hard drive, CD, etc.). I eventually upgraded the motherboard in that to turn it into a PowerPC 2300c and used that for a while. After that I had a PowerBook G3 luggable laptop, it was huge but had power, memory, storage and a beautiful 14 inch(?) display; fully loaded I think that was over $5,000 but it was a heavy beast to lug around. Since then I’ve stuck with smaller 12-inch models: an iBook (I got the iBook instead of the PowerBook because I wanted a smaller model), the first 12-inch PowerBook and the last 12-inch PowerBook (the 12-inch PowerBook is probably my second favorite after the Duo). My latest is a white 13.3-inch MacBook (the fastest plastic model from just before the uni-body models) and it seems like a monster compared to the 12-inch model but I love it, I don’t leave home without it.

    Since the Macs were more expensive I generally did a few things to save money. I’d upgrade the memory myself from Other World Computing (they’ve always be notoriously expensive for memory upgrades). I usually used some other brand monitors (even though the Macs have traditionally been better). And I usually used non-Apple printers except for the Apple StyleWriter which was an excellent printer; my first was an old NEC 8023 dot matrix that I purchased an adaptor for, also some HP and Epson ink-jets, a used QMS laser, a used HP lasers and a new HP laser (my current).


    To make sure you watched it, here’s a question:
    What’s wrong with the above version of the ad?

    I’ve also had an Apple Newton (it was way before it’s time) and two iPods. I’m craving an iPhone (or a Touch) and considering the plunge.

    So that’s my personal Apple Macintosh computer history. I really didn’t realize I had so many different machines. Out of all of those I had two problem machines: the ultra expensive laptop (2 bad motherboards, but after the second replacement it was perfect) and the iBook (a lemon, multiple problems, eventually the agreed to give me a brand new one). The other laptops have been great and I’ve always beat the hell out of them (scratches, gauges and drops) but they’ve held up quite good.

    Lately, I’ve been using the laptops more than the desktops, my last desktop was from 2001 (I’ve boosted memory, hard drives and processor since then) but the last few laptops have been faster than the older desktop so I’ve neglected the desktop. I’d like a new one, I just haven’t been able to justify the dollar$ for a new tower desktop and the MacMini just hasn’t had enough juice (it’s more like a fast laptop) and the Mini really needs a refresh/upgrade from Apple.

    So (like the guy in the ad) I can say “I’m a Mac”.

    Written By: Gary on January 20, 2009 No Comment

    So I’ve never been happy with most digital calendars. I’ve used them for years, but never been completely satisfied with them, they’re just always missing a few things. Usually I use what’s on my Palm Pilot, a slightly modified version of their calendar with a week view. Sadly, this is virtually the same datebook they’ve had for years and never had a decent weekly view (handspring had a version for a while) so you have to add a program on to do this. FYI, if you don’t have a Mac or don’t use a calendar this post might get pretty boring (even if you do it’s probably not the most exciting) but if you are on a Mac and use Google Calendar and/or a Palm it might be useful.

    jan20ical.pngI don’t like more of the desktop software that I’ve tried. If I find something I really like, generally the one thing that puts me off is the view of the days (either one day or a week) they generally show me a 8 or 12 hour block, this is useless to me when I have something outside that block of time, when I glance a the week view, I can’t see appointments that I have in the evening (and those are probably the fun things!). I have so few things on my calendar, I’m not booked for something different every 15 minutes, it’s easy enough to squish things together. It’s computer software, they should be able to do it.

    What I’m currently doing is syncing iCal with Google Calendar. It’s pretty quick and has worked well with all the testing I’ve done today (I’ll tell you how at the end).

    calendar_goog.gifGoogle’s calendar shows me about 12 hours so I have to scroll to see if I have anything going on. iCal for the Macintosh gives me a nice 24 hour view, but they could easily compress the 1 am-6am section to something even smaller to give the rest more space (I’ve got nothing going on all week at those times) and even the on-line version does shows you all 24 hours. Another minus is that iCal doesn’t have a way to set a default calendar, I want it to chose the one I’m syncing with Google, I can sort of cheat for that but I see that not sticking all the time, but a option to set a default seems simple enough.

    iCal and Google lets you subscribe to other calendars; kind of like a live feed that it’s updating to your calendar. When on-line it generally seems easier to add other items to my Google calendar (like when a site lists their upcoming events). While iCal doesn’t make it easy to copy from one category to another (it’s main category to my Google category specifically).

    My end result is getting the Google Calendar synced with iCal and then syncing iCal with my Palm, thus having my appointments everywhere (preferably on the Palm and on the Laptop). And then I can use the desktop application for entering info.

    If I just sync in iCal I guess they’d be on the web (in MobileMe), but I’d rather have them in Google Calendar. I can do more with Google while I’m on-line and easily add others events to it and subscribe to other calendars but with iCal I can’t see my subscribed calendars in the MobileMe web interface. I could just always use Google Calendar all the time, but not if I’m off-line, I guess that’s why I need iCal. If I got an iPhone this would be less of an issue, I’d just sync iCal with an iPhone and be done with it. Hmm…

    FYI to get Google Calendars to talk to iCal I used Calabortion (from Google). I don’t know if you actually need it (I think you can type everything in by hand) but it’s a tiny application that makes configuring a breeze (just need your Google address and password). It’ll even add your subscriptions (go to preferences) but since it’s read-only it’ll yell at you when you sync.

    Written By: Gary on January 6, 2009 No Comment

    So it looks like some nice stuff:

    • iPhoto and iMovie with some nice updates.
    • The geo-tagging in iPhoto looks cool. Will someone please figure out a way to sync my GPS with my photos for the location they were taken!!!!
    • iWork on-line looks great and that it’ll give GoogleDocs a run for their money.
    • And a way cool app to use your iPhone or Touch as a preview remote for slideshows!
    • The 17-inch MacBook Pro looks great, but 17-inches is just too much of a hassle to haul around. I still think my 13.3 inch MacBook is huge compared to my 12-inch PowerBook.
    • Non-Removable battery for the MacBook 17-inch MacBook Pro. But it lasts 8 hours and 1,000 recharge cycles (triple the standard). It’ll be interesting to see how this works out…
    • The new MacBook has a matte option on the display (that’s for me!) and up to 8GB of RAM!
    • Looks like all music with be DRM free by the end of the year at the iTunes store (I’m not sure if by default it’ll be DRM or if you still have to buy the ‘iTunes Plus’ version or if everything is ‘plus’). And pricing will change older stuff is cheaper and some newer stuff will be more.
    • But they will still have the iTunes plus at a higher bit-rate for more money (I think). Isn’t that how you got the DRM-free before, was with the iTunes Plus?

    Check out the MacWorld Keynote Coverage from Engadget, start at the bottom and scroll up.

    No new Mini’s, iPhone Nanos or anything that I need.

    I was hoping for tethering for the iPhone (connecting the computer to the iPhone to use it’s 3G internet) and a model with more memory…

    Written By: Gary on September 18, 2008 One Comment

    So I saw this preview for Trism a few months ago, it looks like a cool game and shows where some games are going with motion sensors in the game unit itself.

    Looks like a fun smart thinking game, I’d probably buy it if I had an iPhone or iPod Touch, it’s only $4.99.

    But that’s old news, why am I bringing it up today? Because Steve just tweeted that since July 11th (10 weeks ago) he’s made $250,000 from the iPhone Apps Store!!! I’m assuming that’s before Apple’s cut, which I think is 30%, but that shows that innovation (and fun) sells. Plus, the Apps Store make it easy to sell your product and also makes it hard to steal your product (you can only download and install from the store). (Robert Scoble pointed that tweet out in his feed)

    Written By: Gary on March 5, 2008 One Comment

    Apple has released or upgraded/refreshed something new every Tuesday since MacWorld. This week there was nothing. The stranger thing is that I didn’t hear much (anything?) about it. I did recall him saying something at the keynote like ’50 more weeks to go’ and it was just odd at the way it sounded, so when they kept rolling things out I thought that was pretty great and maybe it was a weekly thing.

    But I see that Leo Laporte just mentioned an Apple Event tomorrow, so maybe there will be something announced there…

    After Google-ing around, I’m guessing it’s just the SDK kit for the iPhone / iTouch. Although if it’s not an actual product, it’s still not following the pattern.

    LATER REVEALED: I haven’t watched the Steve Jobs presentation yet. But it looks like it’s the SDK that was expected, it’s $99, I’m not sure if that was expected and it’s free (see comments). Also they have a way to be in the “Enterprise beta” program, but I don’t know if I’d want my enterprise testing new software if it’s not finalized yet. But the “remote wipe” sounds like a great option if you’ve got secure data. The “Exchange Sync” looks nice that’ll convince a few BlackBerry users to jump; is it coincidence that Google released an Exchange / Outlook to Google Calendar Sync yesterday?

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