iOS7 is ready to install!

20130919-095455.jpgOK, iOS7 is finally here after much hype and banter from all sides of the park. I went ahead and took the plunge on my iPhone 5 and installed the new OS last night. This is a bit different from my normal way of doings because usually I wait a bit to see how it all shakes out. That way if there are major issues with the launch, or the OS itself, or whatever, I can wait until all the issues are resolved before jumping in.

OK, now I have already been hearing a lot of talk from folk on the ‘net about the new OS. I have been hearing grumblings from iDevice users that installed the upgrade (mostly about the way 7 looks), from Android fanbois that just want to trash anything Apple they can, and even users that like the upgrade and have positive things to say. I’m in the latter category, although you never know, things may change as time goes on, we’ll see.

I am going to continue to learn more about iOS7 (all I can really) and I will report back with everything that I can. From my impressions and advice, to tips and tricks, and whatever else I can think of.

Now, make no mistake, this upgrade is huge, and very different in how things look, how they work and how your device does things and responds to you the user. However, after having spent a few hours with the upgrade, I like it a lot and I plan on going into why that is in more detail in subsequent posts here soon.

For now, if you feel adventurous try it out, otherwise it sure as heck won’t hurt to wait a few days or more to see what things are like after it’s been out for more than one night. Stay tuned, more to come!

Love the iPhone, but not the battery life?

That’s me!  I love my iPhone, but I don’t consider myself to be one of those blinder wearing fanbois either.  I have had various and sundry mobile phones over the years, with one of the best being my Motorola Timeport.  That thing lasted me five years and could still get better reception than anything else around it.  To bad it finally came apart one too many times for me to put back together, gravity is a bitch lemme tell ya.  Anyway, I made the move into “smart” phones with a Blackberry (didn’t everyone else when they came out? LOL).  I had, had PDAs before, but this was my first adventure with a PDA/phone combination and I was hooked, I mean I loved it.  I went through several Blackberry models both at work and with my personal ones.  Including a stint with a Blackberry storm at work, man did that thing suck, it was awful.  I had wanted an iPhone and had almost gotten one back in my Blackberry days, but I really figured that they were all pretty much the same.  Boy was I wrong!  I finally switched from a Blackberry to an iPhone (3GS) and I am never going back.  It is an amazing work of art, both the hardware and the software that goes with it, although I am not a big fan of iTunes (not on a PC anyway).  Even when I compare it to the Droid side by side, I just don’t see the iPhone killer that everyone talks about.  However, that discussion is for another day.

I said all that to say this, the one thing that does bring me down a bit about the iPhone is the battery life.  I know, you thought I was gonna say AT&T but that’s not a bad thing either, I already had AT&T and the service is great, way better than Verizon, and the prices are nice too.  No, the only thing weak on my iPhone is the maybe 24 hour lifespan of the battery.  My Blackberry Curve that I had could go a freakin’ week on a charge, it was awesome!  So, to help this, I just ordered a nifty little product called a Mophie Juice Pack Air.  It’s essentially a hard shell case for the iPhone with a battery incorporated inside that is supposed to double my battery life.  While not a week, I’ll take 48 versus 24 hours any day.  Once I get the little rascal, I’ll put up a proper review for anyone who might be interested.  If you have one, or have used one, drop a comment and let me know what you thing about it.  There are a few options available nowadays, but this one seemed like the best fit for me, and the prices have come down a lot compared to when they first hit the street.

So, check back in a  few days, and hopefully I’ll have a cool review and maybe some pics too for ya.  Later …

Keeping Up With Business Cards

If any of you are like me and deal with/meet lots of vendors and salespeople, keeping up with the mountain of business cards can be a job in and of itself.  Whether you keep them in some kind of binder or Rolodex, or maybe just piled in a shoebox, they can be a real pain to sort through when you want someone’s number.  Plus, heaven forbid you want all of their information in your PDA or PC because then you have to type it all in by hand and that’s no fun either.  Instead of paying $300 or more for a business card scanner, I found a nifty little app for my iPhone that takes advantage of the camera to take a picture of the card and then OCR all of the info, even categorizing it properly as well.  So email addresses get put into email address fields, and phone numbers in phone number slots and so on.  You get a chance to verify that it recognized everything correctly, and it even compares it to the section of the scanned card it got the info from, very easy.  Once that is done, the contact gets shoved right into your contact list, easy as pie, it’s great!  Now I am sure Blackberry and other platforms have similar apps, this post is partly to rave about the concept of doing this on your smart phone/PDA, but also for iPhone users out there to give a nod to the application “WorldCard Mobile”, because it works really well.  It’s currently priced at $5.99 in the app store and worth every penny and more, really.  So check it out if you have a need for something like this.  If you already have an iPhone, $5.99 is cheap compared to that business card scanner!  Read more about it here

*Note: This is not a paid endorsement, I am posting this because I like the app and felt it would be beneficial to share.

Linux, your iPhone and your pictures

I suppose this might work for an iPod touch as well, but the ones I have and have seen don’t have cameras.  OK, on to the tip!  Recently I wanted to get all of my pictures copied off of my iPhone and onto my computer running Linux, specifically Debian 5.0.  Normally with something like a USB thumb drive this is easy, once you plug it in, even if it doesn’t auto mount itself you can at least look in your messages file to see the actual device path in order to mount it manually.  However, what I noticed with my iPhone (3GS version 3.1.2) is that not only did it not auto mount, my messages file didn’t list any information about a device path for me to mount it manually.

From here naturally I turned to Google, but everything I came across talked about installing iFuse and some kind of ipod-convenience package or said it couldn’t be done, or my favorite that you had to have a jail-broken phone in order to do it.  Now, I didn’t want to install a bunch of packages I wasn’t familiar with just for this, and I darn sure didn’t want to jail-break my phone either.  If for no other reason than because I was convinced that if I could do it in Windows (connect to my iPhone and copy my pics off), there had to be a way to do it in Linux too, without having to alter the device.  I am hard headed that way, but in this case it worked.

Now this might be obvious and simple to everyone else, and if so I am sorry to bore you, but it wasn’t something I was familiar with.  I did have an inspiration though, something so simple I just knew it wouldn’t work but I decided to try it out anyway.  I fired up gthumb which was conveniently installed already, and is a tool for doing just what I wanted to do, importing pictures from a digital camera among other things.  I then plugged in my iPhone and gthumb picked it up immediately and started pulling up a list of all my pics on the phone.  From there I could import, rotate, delete originals and more, easy as pie.  It worked perfect, and was very simple, just like it should be.

In the end, I found that I didn’t have to install any software hacks or jail-break my phone, just use the right tool for the job.  Ain’t Linux grand?

Transferring Apps From Your iPhone To iTunes

I have my older model iPod, before touch screens and all that, and it’s a great gadget as I am sure anyone out there with one already knows.  However, I recently purchased an iPhone 3GS and frankly it’s pretty much the best phone/PDA/PIM/etc that I have ever seen or had, and I started with my first PDA (Windows based Sharp) in the late 90’s, but that subject is for another day.  The big thing that really sets the iPhone (and iPod Touch) apart from it’s predecessors and many other phones, is applications.  Let’s face it, as cool as the iPhone is, it is loads cooler because you can choose from literally hundreds of thousands of applications to download and use, and the majority are either free or priced very low.

So, what does that have to do with my post?  Well, the only “problem” that I ran into, or that irritated me (aside from the fact that I can’t mark all email read), was that I did most of my app downloading on the iPhone itself.  This means that my iTunes would always have merely a fraction of the apps showing compared to what I had installed on the iPhone.  This made syncing less than fun, especially when I really wanted a copy of all of those apps that I paid for in case at some point down the line they dropped off of the store and I needed to re-install.  Let me tell you, if you haven’t already tried it, doing that manually by comparing the two and installing the deltas one at a time sucks.  Major.

Then I learned of a little feature in the iTunes app manager that saved the day, once you have your iPhone or iPod Touch plugged in (I disable automatic syncing of the device by the way) and the icon for the device is in the list above your playlists, simply right click there and choose “Transfer purchases”.  Check the picture where it’s highlighted red. Voila!  All of your apps get zinged over to iTunes from your iPod!  Ain’t that just slick?  That one tip has saved me hours of work, so I just had to pass it on to my readers.  This by far seems to be the easiest (and only) way to transfer your apps from your iPhone or iPod Touch over to your iTunes library.  Enjoy!