Royce Eddington

Nothing to see here. Move along people.

Category: iphone (Page 1 of 4)

NASA, Birds, Pigs and gravity : a new collaboration with the “Angry Birds : Space” game

The latest version of Angry Birds has a direct tie-in with NASA’s recent Mars / Curiosity rover mission in addition to adding NASA rovers and landers to the game dynamics.

Sneaking legitimate education and real-time events into a game about birds that shoot at pigs in space through gravity wells?!

Why… thank you very much!

Here’s today’s NASA press release in full…

RELEASE: 12-285

EPIC STRUGGLE BETWEEN BIRDS AND PIGS GOES ON WITH A MARTIAN TWIST

WASHINGTON — NASA is helping pigs and birds explore the Martian terrain and shed light on the agency’s missions to the Red Planet in the latest update to the game Angry Birds Space. Rovio Entertainment, creator of Angry Birds, announced the update Thursday, complete with a cast of agency rovers and landers.

Earlier this year, millions of gamers were introduced to concepts of microgravity in Angry Birds Space, which was supported through a partnership with NASA and includes links to a variety of education information.

“Rovio is teaching huge new audiences about NASA’s missions to Mars thanks to this collaboration,” said David Weaver, associate administrator for communications at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “It’s a great way to introduce both kids and adults to the wonders of the planet in a fun and entertaining way.”

NASA participated with Rovio on Angry Birds Space under a Space Act Agreement to share the excitement of space with the Angry Birds community, educate players about agency projects and programs, and collaboratively create interactive informational experiences for the public.

The game will include links to NASA web content about Mars exploration and NASA missions that are represented in the game. The content can be found at:

http://www.nasa.gov/redplanet/

“We’re huge NASA fans, and we were all cheering the Mars Curiosity rover as it touched down,” said Peter Vesterbacka, chief marketing officer of Rovio Entertainment. “So, working together on the Mars update was a perfect fit, especially since we got such an amazing response to our previous collaboration, the ‘Angry Birds Space: NASA announcement’ video, which quickly surged to the top of 2012’s viral video charts. We’re thrilled to continue working with NASA. Stay tuned for even more great fun and educational content coming up.”

For more information about NASA’s Curiosity rover and Mars exploration, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/mars

For more about NASA’s other missions and projects, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov

How to restore older versions of your apps in iTunes

One of my biggest pet peeves about Apple’s iTunes store is that it’s almost impossible to downgrade to a previous version of an App once it has been “updated”.

For example, let’s say a developer releases a free game. Then, in a fit of pure evil, releases an update that adds “in-app purchases” that are not even necessary. Once you update the game, though, you can’t go back to the previous version.

I recently found a way around this.

First, we have to do a little preventative maintenance.

STEP ONE: Launch iTunes and click on the APPS section under LIBRARY.

 

01 App Backup And Restore

01 App Backup And Restore

 

STEP TWO: Pick an app. Any app. It really doesn’t matter which. (In this example, I chose TIMENOTES)

 

02 App Backup And Restore

02 App Backup And Restore

 

STEP THREE: Right-click (or control-click) on the app and go to SHOW IN FINDER

 

03 App Backup And Restore

03 App Backup And Restore

 

STEP FOUR: A folder will open called MOBILE APPLICATIONS. (These are all of the apps you have ever downloaded in iTunes.)

 

04 App Backup And Restore

04 App Backup And Restore

 

STEP FIVE: Go to EDIT in the top menu and go to SELECT ALL. All of the items in the MOBILE APPLICATIONS folder should then be highlighted.

 

05 App Backup And Restore

05 App Backup And Restore

 

STEP SIX: Now go to FILE and LABEL and choose a label color. (I chose green). All of the apps in the MOBILE APPLICATIONS folder should then change to that color.

 

06 App Backup And Restore

06 App Backup And Restore

 

STEP SEVEN: Close the MOBILE APPLICATIONS folder.**

Now when you go to the iTunes store and UPDATE an app (again, in this example I used TIMENOTES)…

 

07 App Backup And Restore

07 App Backup And Restore

 

…when the UPDATE is done, open the TRASH in the dock.

 

08 App Backup And Restore

08 App Backup And Restore

 

There’s the OLD version of the app!!

The updated app is already in the Mobile Applications folder, but iTunes keeps a copy of the old version of the app in the TRASH for a limited time!

Drag it out and save it somewhere for safekeeping!

If you don’t like the “updated” app, just follow steps one through four and delete the “updated” version from the MOBILE APPLICATIONS folder. Then copy the old version of the app back into the MOBILE APPLICATIONS folder and re-sync your iPad or iPhone.

Done!

** Addendum: If you want to be extra cautious about backing up your apps, follow steps one through six and copy everything in the mobile applications folder to a external drive for a complete backup. You can also tell which apps have been recently updated because they will not have a color-label.

*** Addendum #2: For those of you who noticed, yes, I have a LOT of apps. In my defense, I’ve been with iTunes since it was a alpha, so I’ve had a lot of time to accumulate what’s out there.

A EULA for our own address books

If you haven’t heard by now, the iPhone apps PATH and HIPSTER have been copying every individual’s address book on every iPhone and iPad to their own company servers. I can’t imagine what they’re going to do with all that stolen information, but I’m personally furious these scumbags got away with it.

I don’t know of any way to block theft like this on a non-jailbroken iOS, but maybe putting up a digital equivalent of a “no trespassing” sign will keep future apps from trying something like this.

Tonight, I made a EULA for my own address book and contact list.

The first thing I did was go on my iPhone to SETTINGS, GENERAL, and ABOUT.

In the ABOUT page, I wrote down the NAME of my iPhone on the top of the page (REiPhone).

I then went to the bottom of the ABOUT page and copied my Serial Number for my iPhone (12345ABCD)

Then I went to Rocket Lawyer and threw together a custom EULA with my information.

To make this your own EULA, copy, paste and replace everything in a RED BOLD FONT. Specifically, you’ll need to replace…

1. REiPhone – serial 12345ABCD with your own iPhone’s name and serial number
2. REiPhone with your own iPhone’s name
3. TEXAS with the name of your State

—–

IPHONE CONTACT INFORMATION END USER LICENSE AGREEMENT
The contact database and address book content and information on REiPhone – serial 12345ABCD (“the Software Product”) and accompanying documentation is licensed and NOT sold or intended for sale. This Software Product is protected by copyright laws and treaties, as well as laws and treaties related to other forms of intellectual property. REiPhone or its subsidiaries, affiliates, and suppliers (collectively “REiPhone“) own intellectual property rights in the Software Product. The Licensee’s (“you” or “your”) license to download, use, copy, or change the Software Product is subject to these rights and to all the terms and conditions of this End User License Agreement (“Agreement”).
Acceptance
YOU ACCEPT AND AGREE TO BE BOUND BY THE TERMS OF THIS AGREEMENT BY INSTALLING, USING, OR COPYING THE SOFTWARE PRODUCT. IF YOU DO NOT AGREE TO ALL OF THE TERMS OF THIS AGREEMENT, YOU MUST NOT INSTALL, USE, OR COPY THE SOFTWARE PRODUCT.
License Grant
This Agreement expressly forbids you from installing and/or using any copy of the Software Product. In addition, you may not make any archival copies of the Software Product. The Software Product may not be on any storage medium of any type for any duration, and may not be used as a condition for the installation of any of Licensee’s product or any material provided from the Licensee. This Agreement does not permit the installation or use of multiple copies of the Software Product, or the installation of the Software Product on any computer other than the original REiPhone at any given time, or on any system that allows shared use of applications, on a multi-user network, or on any configuration or system of computers that allows multiple users. Multiple copy use or installation of the Software Product is not allowed under any circumstances.
Restrictions on Transfer
Without first obtaining the express written consent of REiPhone, you may not assign your rights and obligations under this Agreement, or redistribute, encumber, sell, rent, lease, sublicense, or otherwise transfer your rights to the Software Product.
Restrictions on Use
You may not use, copy, or install the Software Product on any system, or permit the use, copying, or installation of the Software Product on any computer. You may not use, copy, or install the Software Product on any system with identical systems as REiPhone or permit the use, copying, or installation by any user, or on any computer other than REiPhone. You may not decompile, “reverse-engineer”, disassemble, or otherwise attempt to derive the source code and components for the Software Product. You may not use the database portion of the Software Product whatsoever.
Restrictions on Alteration
You may not modify the Software Product or create any derivative work of the Software Product or its accompanying information. Derivative works include but are not limited to translations. You may not alter any files or libraries in any portion of the Software Product. You may not reproduce the database portion or create any tables or reports relating to the database portion.
Restrictions on Copying
You may not copy any part of the Software Product. You may not make any archival copies to be stored on any medium other than the drive physically installed on REiPhone.
Disclaimer of Warranties and Limitation of Liability
UNLESS OTHERWISE EXPLICITLY AGREED TO IN WRITING BY REIPHONE, REIPHONE MAKES NO OTHER WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN FACT OR IN LAW, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, ANY IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE OTHER THAN AS SET FORTH IN THIS AGREEMENT OR IN THE LIMITED WARRANTY DOCUMENTS PROVIDED WITH THE SOFTWARE PRODUCT.
REiPhone makes no warranty that the Software Product will meet your requirements or operate under your specific conditions of use. REiPhone makes no warranty that operation of the Software Product will be secure, error free, or free from interruption. YOU MUST DETERMINE WHETHER THE SOFTWARE PRODUCT SUFFICIENTLY MEETS YOUR REQUIREMENTS FOR SECURITY AND UNINTERRUPTABILITY. YOU BEAR SOLE RESPONSIBILITY AND ALL LIABILITY FOR ANY LOSS INCURRED DUE TO FAILURE OF THE SOFTWARE PRODUCT TO MEET YOUR REQUIREMENTS. REIPHONE WILL NOT, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, BE RESPONSIBLE OR LIABLE FOR THE LOSS OF DATA ON ANY COMPUTER OR INFORMATION STORAGE DEVICE.
UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHALL REIPHONE, ITS DIRECTORS, OFFICERS, EMPLOYEES OR AGENTS BE LIABLE TO YOU OR ANY OTHER PARTY FOR INDIRECT, CONSEQUENTIAL, SPECIAL, INCIDENTAL, PUNITIVE, OR EXEMPLARY DAMAGES OF ANY KIND (INCLUDING LOST REVENUES OR PROFITS OR LOSS OF BUSINESS) RESULTING FROM THIS AGREEMENT, OR FROM THE FURNISHING, PERFORMANCE, INSTALLATION, OR USE OF THE SOFTWARE PRODUCT, WHETHER DUE TO A BREACH OF CONTRACT, BREACH OF WARRANTY, OR THE NEGLIGENCE OF REIPHONE OR ANY OTHER PARTY, EVEN IF REIPHONE IS ADVISED BEFOREHAND OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES. TO THE EXTENT THAT THE APPLICABLE JURISDICTION LIMITS REIPHONE‘S ABILITY TO DISCLAIM ANY IMPLIED WARRANTIES, THIS DISCLAIMER SHALL BE EFFECTIVE TO THE MAXIMUM EXTENT PERMITTED.
Limitation of Remedies and Damages
There is no remedy for a breach of this Agreement or of any warranty included in this Agreement. REiPhone reserves the right to deny access to the information on REiPhone, as well as deny any form of replacement and/or remedy. All limited warranties on the Software Product are granted only to you and are non-transferable. You agree to indemnify and hold REiPhone harmless from all claims, judgments, liabilities, expenses, or costs arising from your breach of this Agreement and/or acts or omissions.
Governing Law, Jurisdiction and Costs
This Agreement is governed by the laws of Texas, without regard to Texas’s conflict or choice of law provisions.
Severability
If any provision of this Agreement shall be held to be invalid or unenforceable, the remainder of this Agreement shall remain in full force and effect. To the extent any express or implied restrictions are not permitted by applicable laws, these express or implied restrictions shall remain in force and effect to the maximum extent permitted by such applicable laws.

—–

After copying and pasting the EULA into your favorite text editor and making the substitutions, mail a copy to your iPhone.

Once it arrives, drag-copy over the entire body of the EULA and COPY.

Now go to CONTACTS and create a NEW CONTACT

Type for the First Name : IPHONE CONTACT INFORMATION EULA

Type for the Last Name : *AAA

Now tap on the ADD FIELD button at the bottom of the NEW CONTACT window and choose NOTES.

When the NOTES field appears, PASTE in the EULA and save the contact.

Now the first contact in your address book will be your own EULA. When you click on the contact for more information, you can scroll through the legalese even though only a few lines appear at first.

This might be as effective as throwing a match in the ocean right now, and I’m honestly not sure how effective this would be against a professional corporate rottweiler of an attorney, but maybe if another app steals my contact information and sees this EULA, the scumbag app’s legal department will pounce on the developers and demand my contact database be deleted out of “an abundance of caution”.

I have a feeling once a member of congress gets their private address book posted on a public forum, real Federal legislation will pass in that makes data theft an interstate felony punishable by some “bankrupt the company and their owners” kinds of fines. For now, I would settle for Apple kicking developers like this out of the App store and ban them from ever coding for iOS again. (Hey, I can dream!)

How to tell if an iPhone / iPad App is going to take too much time to enjoy

I’ve found a surprisingly easy way to tell if an app from iTunes for the iPhone or iPad is going to take too much time to play and won’t be any fun. Just check out the “Top In-App Purchases” levels. If the top tier is over $10, you’re not going to enjoy playing that game if you have a full-time 8 AM to 5 PM kind of job.

Take, for example, EA’s latest offering… Road Trippin’!

Looking at the app listing in iTunes, everything seems all Smurfy-Happy-Blue on top.

 

How to Tell an App isn't going to be fun - Exhibit A

How to Tell an App isn't going to be fun - Exhibit A

 

But if you look off to the left column, under the FREE APP button (or DOWNLOAD button if you’ve already grabbed the app before), there’s a section called “Top In-App Purchases”.

So looking at Road Trippin’s! top offering, I see to play the game with “everything”, I would need to spend…

 

How to Tell an App isn't going to be fun - Exhibit B

How to Tell an App isn't going to be fun - Exhibit B

 

..$99.99!

$99 dollars and 99 cents. Almost half the price of a console system! Just so I can play with “everything” this “free” game offers.

You don’t have to be in iTunes to see this. You can also find this info under the iPhone and iPad section of the game app by clicking on the “Top In-App Purchases” banner….

 

How to Tell an App isn't going to be fun - Exhibit C

How to Tell an App isn't going to be fun - Exhibit C

 

…where you will see the same $99.99 foolishness.

 

How to Tell an App isn't going to be fun - Exhibit D

How to Tell an App isn't going to be fun - Exhibit D

 

“In-App Purchases” are just things you can buy while playing the game to move along faster, or just get those missing “propeller-for-the-damn-airplane” kinds of parts and those oh-so special “air-strike to get that pickle-faced rat bastich sniper that’s been nailing me for the last three days” kinds of options.

Do you need to make in-app purchases? No. You can slog through the game, playing hours and hours and hours and hours on end just to nickel and dime your way to nirvana. No more “sneaking-a-game-on-the-freeway”. No more hanging up on someone just because a pop-up from the game appeared.

But, in my experience, playing games like this take months to “win”.

The wheeeeeee-fun part ends around day 12. The Spirit of Piss, Vinegar and Vengeance kicks in around day 21.

The more iOS games I play like this, the more I realize most of the “In-App Purchase” games are basing themselves on the good old Las Vegas slot machine business model.

  1. Put some money in the system.
  2. Push some buttons.
  3. Watch the beep-boop flashing lights.
  4. Your money is gone!
  5. Repeat Step One.

When a game company has priced the top-tier of their In-App Purchases insanely high, in my opinion, they’ve made the game overly hard and time consuming on purpose to get you hooked and make a grab for your money.

I’ll stick to the games without the in-app purchases banner. If a game does have in-app purchases, I’ll only install it on my device if the top tier is $10 or less (or to unlock the full-version of the game).

Like the old Vegas motto says… the easiest way to win these $100 games is not to play ’em.

Seagate GoFlex Satellite needs to go back to beta (review)

I have an upcoming project where I need to securely stream videos to multiple iOS devices for a training seminar, so I decided to give the Seagate GoFlex Satellite a try yesterday to see if it would do what I needed.

I should have known things were going to go bad just looking at the box.

SeagateGoFlexSatellite1photo
 

Somebody in Seagate’s art department needs to hold an iPad someday. This is ridiculous. A five year old can see this picture is wrong.

 

SeagateGoFlexSatellite2photo
 

I should have known this was going to be the start of something…. terrible. Something that would eat two hours of my day just to get set up and running.

 

SeagateGoFlexSatellite3photo
 

Right up front, I found out this fugness is NOT plug and play. The Seagate GoFlex Satellite is about as friendly as a crackhead rattlesnake on a burning cactus.

Once you take the Seagate GoFlex Satellite out of the box, you’re going to have to do some work before your iPad can see it (let alone use it).

I’ll skip over the 55 minutes of trying to get this thing installed and researching Seagate’s online tech support and just list what I had to do…

  1. Charge the Seagate GoFlex Satellite for 30 minutes into a wall outlet using the plugs they provide.
  2. While it is charging, go to Seagate’s download page and get your sync software for your platform (mac or PC) and install it on your desktop.
  3. On the iPad, while it is connected to a live WiFi network, download GoFlex Media (by seagate) AND 8player Lite in the iOS store. Install both of these apps on the iPad.
  4. After 30 minutes of charging, unplug the usb cable from the back of the Seagate drive
  5. Press the RESET button on the bottom of the device with a tack or pin for 5 seconds to clear out the factory garbage on it
  6. TURN OFF EVERYTHING IN THE AREA THAT AUTOMATICALLY CONNECTS TO WIFI NETWORKS. Not kidding. If anything auto connects to the Seagate during the next steps, the drive’s WiFi will never blink blue and update.
  7. Turn off the WiFi on the iPad (by going to GENERAL and WiFi)
  8. Connect the Seagate GoFlex Satellite drive to a PC – not a mac.
  9. Download the latest firmware update for the Seagate GoFlex Satellite from Seagate’s website
  10. Save the update directly to the root level of the GoFlex drive
  11. Safely eject the drive from the taskbar of your PC. (You can’t just unplug this thing straight. It may lose the update.)
  12. Hold down the power button on the side of the Seagate GoFlex Satellite for 15 seconds to turn it off.
  13. Wait 15 more seconds.
  14. Press the power button to re-boot the drive
  15. The power light on the drive will blink green and then go solid. Then the light under the WiFi will start blinking green… then stay solid green…. then blink again.
  16. After two minutes of this green blinkage, the wifi light will blink blue very briefly. This is where you MUST connect through WiFi on your iPad. (Miss this opportunity at your own risk!)
  17. While the GoFlex is blinking blue, on the iPad, go to GENERAL and WIFI.
  18. Turn the WiFi back on the iPad
  19. Under CHOOSE A NETWORK, pick SEAGATE GO FLEX WIFI
  20. Once the checkmark appears next to the SEAGATE GO FLEX WIFI network and the WiFi icon appears by the iPads’ name on the top menubar, go to the GoFlex Media app on the iPad and launch it.

Nothing to it!!

Once you have cleared the hurdles of connecting this device, these are the screens you will see in the GoFlex Media app on the iPad…

SeagateGoFlexSatellite0178
SeagateGoFlexSatellite0179
SeagateGoFlexSatellite0180
SeagateGoFlexSatellite0181
SeagateGoFlexSatellite0182
SeagateGoFlexSatellite0183
SeagateGoFlexSatellite0183a
SeagateGoFlexSatellite0184
This is what you will have to deal with. It’s not like having a external flash drive or a folder you can just tap-open stuff with. It’s definitely not a Mac-like app. What you see above is what you get.

Once you’re connected to the drive on the iPad, you can change the name of the drive as it shows up in WiFi as well as assign a password. That’s about it, though.

To get files on the drive, you will have to use that sync app that was downloaded to the desktop and connect the Seagate GoFlex Satellite directly to your mac (or PC). When you use the transfer app, whatever files Seagate’s app does not support will not get copied over. If you drag and drop files, the files will copy over, but the Seagate app will not list them in the VIDEO or PHOTO views. Also, if you try and drag-and-drop files directly to the drive, some files may not transfer depending on how your computer is set up for external NTFS disk write access.

You can download files from the GoFlex Satellite drive to the iPad in the app, but you can not send any files from the iPad to the drive. It’s strictly a one way street.

Also, Seagate’s GoFlex app also does not support .flv videos (among a few other formats).

Oh, and the drive is formatted NTFS. If you re-format it into any other type, it won’t work anymore. It’s NTFS or nothing.

Right. So back to the other app that was downloaded to the iPad – 8player Lite.

The reason 8player Lite was downloaded to the iPad is because Seagate’s own technical support staff recommends using this app instead of Seagates’ GoFlex Media app!! Not kidding. The techs’ comments in their own forums and on amazon.com constantly mention this app instead of their own.

It’s pretty obvious why. Launching 8player Lite will get you to a old-style PSP navigation system…

SeagateGoFlexSatellite0185
SeagateGoFlexSatellite0186

Click what you want and the icons appear under to list content, or to the right for hierarchy. To back up a level, just click to the left.

It’s exactly as I remember my PSP system’s navigation.

SeagateGoFlexSatellite0187
 

SeagateGoFlexSatellite0188

The best part is that this app will list everything you dragged and dropped. Everything.

This is really handy to see what you really have on the drive in a category pane, and I believe it’s how a file-management app should behave.

But what really sold me on the 8player Lite app was this…

SeagateGoFlexSatellite0189
SeagateGoFlexSatellite0190
 

It played .flv’s. This little app actually played everything I had… every format, every size, every medium.

That’s a pretty sad state of design when I would rather have an old PSP interface than the one Seagate designed in 2011 for an iPad.

OK, now for the bad part… you can’t get online while you’re using this thing. The ipad is only connected to the Seagate GoFlex Satellite through WiFi, and if you try to get anywhere in Safari, you will just wind up at a web-interface of the files you have on the GoFlex Satellite drive. To get back online, you have to break the WiFi connection and switch back to your original network in the iPad’s GENERAL and NETWORK settings.

(You can also just switch off the Seagate GoFlex Satellite drive with the power button on the side, but your iPad may or may not reconnect to the previous wireless network as quickly as you could do so manually.)

Let me tell you, no internet access gets old real fast.

So to sum up my complaints…

  1. This monstrosity is NOT plug and play out of the box! Connecting a WiFi drive should require no more than 5 minutes.
  2. NTFS only is a poor decision considering most iPad users are also mac users as well.
  3. There has got to be a way to surf the internet while the drive is connected. Maybe make this drive an FTP server that can get a DHCP address from a wireless network and let the iPad app act as a GUI FTP login? Or let the drive login to the network as a alternate configuration. (EX: if network named “X” is detected, then set IP address to “Y” and login with “Z” credentials.)
  4. A Mac-like GUI. Something for the iPad shouldn’t look like something from the Napster-lovin’-90s.
  5. There is no SEND TO DEVICE option. A storage drive that you must to connect to a desktop or laptop to load files to it is just ridiculous.
  6. There is no on the fly converting. Seagate needs to take a look at AirVideoFree on the app store to get an idea on how it’s supposed to be done.
  7. There are two green lights on this thing. The problem is one of these lights only turns blue and flickers when data is streaming or you have a window of opportunity to connect to the drive. IMO, this light should REMAIN SOLID BLUE when ANY device is connected and revert to green when NO ONE is connected. Ideally, it should also blink blue for every number of users connected and flicker blue when data is being transferred.
  8. User/password combos would be great.
  9. The getting started video is on the drive, and you can only see it after you have connected! This video needs to be put on the root level of the drive (or in a big TRAINING folder) so people can view it when they need it!
  10. No love for .FLV.

Right now, bottom line, the Seagate GoFlex Satellite stinks on ice. But the potential for this drive is enormous.

I think of this drive like one of those fantastic big-budget sounding movies, with characters you’ve always wanted to see on the big screen. But what got made was something with C and D-list actors and director who doesn’t know anything about the project or material they are working on. Just bad all around.

Once the damn thing is connected to the iPad the first time, it behaves. Somewhat. But would I recommend a Seagate GoFlex satellite right now? No. Absolutely not. It’s actually easier to “cloud” data than use this device as it is now.

It needs work to be iPad friendly, and it needs a complete overhaul to be actually useful.

If the software updates make major improvements, I’ll re-review the drive.

UPDATE : If anybody from Seagate reads this post, let me strongly suggest you call Verizon and Sprint. Team up with them to make a 4G WiFi server. Their WiFi hotspot devices (like the Verizon 4G LTE MiFi) and your drive tech. Think mobile 4g hotspot, storage, streaming and internet access. All on one local device, no cloud needed. You will not be able to make these things fast enough at the factory.

5 gig limits, .99 cent sales and the future

I am sick of wireless companies saying a 5 gigabyte data plan is “enough for most regular users”.

Bull!

Here’s a perfect example. Electronic Arts and Gameloft are having a .99 cent sale on the iTunes store this weekend. Let’s say I want to spend $10 and get the top 10 iPad games that are .99 right now. The top 10 .99 cent games are…

  • Monopoly – 69.3 MB
  • NBA Jam – 249 MB
  • Battleship – 17.7 MB
  • Scrabble – 15.2 MB
  • Asphalt 6 – 505 MB
  • N.O.V.A. 2 – 504 MB
  • Need For Speed Hot Pursuit – 431 MB
  • LIFE – 13.8 MB
  • Transformers Dark of the Moon – 116 MB
  • Battlefield Bad Company – 265 MB

For $10, I would be downloading a little over 2 gigs (2, 186 MB). That smokes about half of my 5 gigabyte data plan right there.

But let’s say I had a $20 bill burning through my pocket and I wanted the top 20 .99 cent games on the iTunes store. The next 10 are…

  • Dungeon Hunter 2 – 467 MB
  • Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12 – 259 MB
  • FIFA 11 – 1.24 GB
  • Dead Space – 427 MB
  • Tetris – 29.8 MB
  • Yahtzee – 18.3 MB
  • RISK – 21.3 MB
  • StarFront Collision – 605 MB
  • Sim City – 93.1 MB
  • Madden NFL 11 – 327 MB

For the top 10-20 games on the iTunes store, that would mean I would have to download over 3 gigs of data (3,487.50 MB).

To sum up, spending $20 for 20 video games for the iPad would also mean burning through a total of 5,673.5 MB, which is slightly beyond a 5 gigabyte wireless data plan “for regular users”.

With Verizon and AT&T putting data caps in their DSL and cable plans, I expect to see similar 5 gig plans as the “limit for regular use” coming soon to every internet plan regardless of connection medium.

So my question is, who exactly defines “regular use?” The gatekeepers collecting the money? The top four companies who provide internet access to the US? Ah, no, that’s not a good idea at all.

There simply MUST be a national average that is ADJUSTED over time that is set as a national benchmark. Think of the pricing of natural gas as an example. The rates vary per usage and per quantity delivered. The rates are fixed based on a true usage average and amount of supply available.

The internet is not a supply based medium that requires delivery and transportation (in the semi-truck to a warehouse sense). The only thing the internet takes up at a telco is a room full of computers. So logically, the only thing to determine is the true national data usage average as defined by the data use by individuals.

How hard would that be? Take the data use form the top 4 companies that provide internet access to the US. Divide the data usage by the number of users. Bam. There’s your target average for the next calendar year. Call that number the new “national average” and move on.

Of course the telcos will bitch and complain to high heaven about this. How dare we want a reasonable opportunity to have fair internet access? How dare we want a connection plan that adjusts for leaps and bounds in technology and education?

I hate to say it, but congress will have to get involved with this one. There just isn’t any way I can think of to ask for a modern telco company to do this on their own.

So the next step is finding a member of congress who understands the internet, who doesn’t mind pissing off all the major telcos, and can present this in a comprehensive bill to their peers.

Wish me luck, kemosabe. I’m going in.

[EDIT 07/03/11 : I am not in favor of government regulation of the internet. I am not in favor of government mandated tiered pricing or of tiered pricing in general. I do believe the current “data caps” are a scam from the telcos to squeeze money from consumers the same way the old style long distance charges were for land lines. (Why are long distance calls free on wireless phones and not on land lines anyway?) The infrastructure for internet data access is already in place. I truly wish for a return to the “drink from the fire hose” unlimited internet access from a few years ago, but I would compromise on a a sensible pricing plan for a reasonable amount of monthly data access. $10 for 30 gb of data is a baseline for what I have in mind. Putting a limit in internet access through exorbitant pricing is like saying you can only have so much electricity per month because it costs $500 per kilowatt hour. Make the pricing for internet access more realistic and let us, the consumers, decide what is “enough for regular usage”.]

[EDIT #2 07/03/11 : When (not if) data caps for internet use hit all the DSL and cable internet access subscribers, I  can guarantee all the “free WiFi” access will dry up inside of a year. No more open WiFi for neighbors to share when they’re costing you $200 a month in overage fees. No more mom-and-pop WiFi coffee shops when it is a direct hit to their bottom line every month. The only “free WiFi” access points I think will remain once this cap is in place will be the state sponsored WiFi (if there’s any available in your area) or from retail locations that have worked out a special corporate hosting-data management package deal with their internet providers. Seriously!]

TIL Verizon sets up 4G LTE passwords the old school way

Yesterday I got a Verizon 4G LTE mobile hotspot, and so far it has totally smoked the Sprint and AT&T devices I used before.

It’s an idiot proof device with one power button. Turn it on, wait for the blinky light to go solid, and you’re online. Easy! It is also very fast. Much faster than Sprint and AT&T’s service down here!

So today I went to verizon.com site and was setting up an account to keep track of my data usage. After I keyed in the mobile hotspot’s phone number, the site said it was going to send a text message to my device with a temporary login password.

Sending a text message to a mobile hotspot? A device with no LCD monitor? Wait, what?

An email that appeared as soon as I hit SUBMIT confirmed that “A temporary password from Verizon Wireless has been sent to your cell phone with number XXXX”.

Just to be sure I wasn’t missing anything, I logged in to my mobile hotspot directly and checked the logs and under every sub-menu. Nothing.

I called Verizon tech support and they said sending a temporary password to my device wasn’t possible since it was so new. However they would send me a password… through postal mail… so I could complete my setup.

Um… how about emailing it to me? SMS it to the primary phone number? Authenticate my ownership through the device’s MAC address? Confirm the sim card number and device ID over the phone and issue me a new password right there and then?

The technical support was very professional, answered my bandwidth question, and answered the phone fast, so I have no complaints at all about them. As a matter of fact, Verizon has been a five star experience so far, and I don’t rate much of anything five stars. But this old school throwback has me slightly surprised.

More app Bait and Switch – this time from the app store

I ranted before about how there are some apps on the iTunes store for iPhone/iPad that are full of Bait & Switch. They offer a “free” version of their app, but later REMOVE features and then have the balls to say these features are now only available in a “full version” you have to pay for.

This B&S has found its’ way into the Mac desktop app store. Specifically Breathing Zone Limited’s app “Breathing Zone Free”.

The first version of the app had no limit on time scheduling. You set the time…

BreathingZoneRipoff03


…and press play. Done.

BreathingZoneRipoff02


But the “new and improved”  update in the app store?

BreathingZoneRipoff01


Now there’s a 5 minute limit. Give up some cash if you want the original features back! Ha ha!

It’s sad there are companies like this out there. The only way I can think of to fight B&S like this is for Apple to have an option to NEVER UPDATE an app in their update que for their app store. That way the consumers win, and not the greedy B&S companies that remove features to justify charging for future updates.

Without this option, the customer has to cherry-pick the updates they want to apply. If the B&S company ever adds another “update”, the original warning about the feature removal from the first “feature update” is replaced with the news about the most recent update.

I sent this to Apple at their official iTunes feedback page, so hopefully some engineer gets it and goes “AH HAH! THERE’S MY 2011 PROMOTION RIGHT THERE!”

Apple iPhone suggestion #987

I found something (else) Apple can do to improve on the iPhone.

Let’s say I want to email a client a photo. Right now here are the steps I need to take on my iPhone to do this…

  1. Launch the camera app
  2. Take the photo
  3. View the photo
  4. Send the photo to the email app
  5. Compose the email in the email app
  6. Send the email

Hey Apple, how about this…

  1. Open the email app
  2. Take a photo WITHIN THE EMAIL APP LIKE I CAN DO IN THE MMS APP while I’m composing the message
  3. Send the email

Apple designers? Hello? Is this blog on?

Bypass the iPad passcode lock by restoring to another iPad

Let’s say you want to see the contents of somebody’s iPad but there’s a passcode lock on their device. There’s an easy way around this if you have a second iPad with equal or larger space you don’t mind erasing.

You will need access to the computer they sync their iPad on and about 20 minutes.

First, on the iPad with a passcode lock, connect it to the computer it usually syncs to and let iTunes load it on the sidebar. When the iPad appears in iTunes, check to make sure the “Encrypt iPad backup” is not checked in the OPTIONS section, and then right click on the iPad and go to BACKUP. This will create a current image of the passcode locked device that we’re going to restore to the second iPad. (NOTE: You don’t need to know their iPad passcode for the backup to work.)

iPad Bypass 01

While the iPad with the passcode is backing up, take the second iPad and go to GENERAL / RESET and ERASE ALL CONTENT AND SETTINGS. This will ERASE EVERYTHING and you will be warned two times about this before the iPad starts to wipe everything. (You should back up the second iPad on its’ own computer so you can restore it to it’s original state later.)

iPad Bypass 03

The format will only take a moment, and then you will see the “connect to iTunes” icon on the second iPad’s main screen.

iPad Bypass 04

When the iPad with the passcode lock is done backing up, disconnect it from the computer it was syncing to and connect the second iPad that has the “connect to iTunes” icon on the main screen.

When you connect the second iPad, you will be prompted by iTunes if you want to restore from a previous image. Say YES and choose the iPad name with the passcode lock that was just backed up.

iPad Bypass 05

In a few minutes, the iPad will be restored and restart. iTunes will then restore a few programs to the iPad and then finish.

iPad Bypass 06

iPad Bypass 07

After the iPad is finished syncing, the iPad will ask “would you like to set a passcode now?”. Say LATER and you’re in! You will have full access to the formerly passcode locked iPad’s apps, settings and documents!

iPad Bypass 08

NOTE : Some apps don’t back up their files locally, but require you to re-download content from their servers. Fortunately, everything will be clearly marked inside each app for re-download, and usually under a “restore all purchased content” button.

I’ve found you can re-download everything (and even make brand new in-app purchases) without needing to re-enter any kind of login or password from the original passcode locked iPad.

This isn’t a hack of any kind. It’s just that passcode locks on iPads don’t to squat. The only way to keep your iPad (somewhat) secure is to encrypt your iPad backups at the main iTunes window under OPTIONS.

iPad Bypass 09

A password encrypted backup will prompt for a password before restoring to another iPad and keep this trick from working. (But if you have access to their iPad and computer, you can always de-select “Encrypt iPad backup” beforehand and make a new backup and this trick will work just fine.)

UPDATE : This trick works for iPhones as well.

UPDATE #2 : If you try and make a purchase direct from the iTunes store, you will be prompted for the password from the original locked iPad to confirm the credit card information on the iTunes store.

Page 1 of 4

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén