Copy-Paste: The saga of the inferior clone

I love reading two blogs – EggFreckles and Marco.org. Both these blogs talk about technology but are highly personal, reflecting the blogger’s perspective on topics.

Yesterday, I read a recent Marco Arment post talking about his latest offering – The Magazine. The Magazine is a high quality biweekly that has the unique distinction of being an iOS only app. Notice how I’ve used the words magazine, app and biweekly in the same sentence. That’s because this new service, like everything Marco touches, has created a new space for itself. It’s not just a print magazine being published on the web/mobiles *also*. It’s not just an app that has articles, that’s a job for the Kindle or the Instapaper apps. It’s not just a news stream or a ragtag collection of articles from all over the web. Continue reading

iOS 6? Not yet.

As I was returning from lunch today, sitting in the car, I saw Burlington Coat Factory. In fact, it was a very specific Burlington Coat Factory. It triggered a memory. Two years ago, When I was fresh in the US and our sweaters were proving to be no match for the Colorado Winter, I and a bunch of friends had come to this particular outlet to buy winter wear because it was supposed to be pretty cheap. We got great deals, of course, but the journey, both to and fro was arduous. We were required to change many buses and coordinate the timings of all of them to ensure that we had minimum exposure to the cold. Back then, I was totting an iPhone 4 with a 200 MB data plan. Needless to say, my WiFi toggle was always on and looking and my battery was the fastest to dry out. Some others in my group also had smart phones, but I was either the most careful one not to waste my 3G or the more adept one at finding routes and bus time tables, so the task of ensuring everyone walked fast enough and didn’t waste too much time shopping was entrusted to me. I cannot, of course, claim that I was much better than any other one of them. It was the magic of Google Maps that ensured that we knew exact what bus to take and when.

More recently, about five months ago, I was roaming the crazy, confusing streets of San Francisco and was having trouble understanding what bus to take or rather, if it was supposed to be a bus I had to take at all (electric-powered buses? Who would have thought?!). My friends were looking at the real world and trying to understand where to stand while I was zoomed deep into Google Maps, finding the virtual corollary. Unable to find a satisfactory answer, I asked a passerby. He whipped out his iPhone and started zooming in. I felt somewhat surprised. He looked at my face and immediately offered, “I have the beta of iOS6, so my Maps are very different from yours.” I understood and for a second, shared a glance at the latest and greatest piece of tech from Apple. He showed me where to go and what to look for (a yellow patch on one side of an electric pole will tell you, unsuspecting traveler, that this is the bus stop you are looking for) and went his way. My friends teased me about not having the coolest OS but I shrugged it off.

Actually, I am awfully fond of my jailbreak and the convenience that comes with it. I wait for months at a time even after the release to update, because I wanted to keep my jailbreak. I’ve even gone through the tethered jailbreak phase. All because I love the tweaks that Cydia offers. When I heard about iOS 6 and the features it offers, I was very happy and hoped to upgrade pretty soon. But then two things happened –

1. iOS 6 Maps is the worst software ever written. Yep, someone told me that. I take that on face value. In fact, I was told that the Maps don’t have proper public transit information. I rely heavily on public transport, despite Boulder being a small city. So for me, a world where I can’t get the bus timings at the click a button would be a nightmare.

2. The jailbreak Dream Team broke up. I don’t know exactly what’s happening in the jailbreak scene right now. I haven’t followed it in the past few months. But I know that not much is happening, except for an iconic tweet by @chpwn showing Cydia on an iPhone 5 and then confirming to @i0n1c that it’s a jailbreak. Apart from that, the community has gone silent on A5 and A6 devices, with a tethered jailbreak available on A4 devices. Either they’re working hard on something or they’ve departed an increasingly ugly scene where common users had no respect for these devs who put their time and money into the project.

Either ways, I’m on iOS 5 on my iPhone 4S right now. I’m jailbroken and happy about it (and it’s legal too! :P). I’m not going to upgrade until at least one of the above conditions are met. Till then, I’ll gladly wait.

Year of Social

The season is changing and here, in Boulder, Colorado, it means colder nights and shorter days. It’s time for animals to wrap up their food gathering operations and finish working on cozy homes for the all too familiar winter.

 

This hibernation is also coming to a very important aspect of my life. Last year, at about the same time, I dumped Facebook in favor of Twitter. I had been inactive on the micro blog since long and returned to it, only to discover so many new and amazing connections and services. I found people worth talking to and got help where I needed it. I also posted a lot on this blog here, taking it through many iterations, themes and (free) hosting providers. Now I’ve moved it to a paid provider – NearlyFreeSpeech in order to maintain a better uptime ratio.

Continue reading

App Review: Everyday.me

Whenever a trend comes to the social network scene, it comes with a flood of apps and services that do the exact same thing. I recently signed up for a service called TimeHop. It’s a neat service that emails you every day with details of posts that you made on your various social networks exactly a year ago.

 

Everyday.me is an iOS app that connects to your Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts and basically records everything you post online every day. Also, the service sends you emails every few days reminding you of things you did a few years ago. Sounds familiar? Yep, TimeHop does pretty much the same thing. What’s the difference? Well, Everyday.me collects all that information that you post daily and saves it ON THEIR SERVERS. Awesome way to have your data protected isn’t it?

 

Anyways, Coming to the most important part of this blog post, Am I keeping this app? Points –

1. Beautiful UI

2. You can see all you do in a stream, from across all your social networks.

3. You can tag your  posts for your own reference since all of it is totally private

4. All your data that’s kept on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram will now also be stored on their servers.

 

So? Am I keeping it? No. It’s out of my phone. Sorry guys!

AT&T 4G Issues

I faced a strange problem today. I have an iPhone 4s with iOS 5.1.1 on AT&T’s 4G network in Boulder, Colorado.

I tried opening this blog of mine on my phone today. I tried multiple times when the bus was moving over many miles and also when I had stopped at a particular location. No show. I asked a friend to open it on his Samsung Galaxy Note (which is also on AT&T’s 4G network) but again, no show.

The blog was constantly giving us a 502 Bad Gateway error, meaning that either AT&T’s or my hosting provider’s servers are configured badly. When I reached my office, I opened the blog on my computer. It worked like a charm. At the same time, it did not load on my phone right there and then.

Upon digging a bit, I found that this is a problem for a lot of people all over the country, specifically on AT&T’s amazing 4G data network. Wonder what else doesn’t work!

Google Chrome for iOS – A great big benefit

Google launched their Chrome browser for iOS (iPhone and iPad) yesterday. Within minutes of the launch, the Internet was full of news of how laggy and useless the browser was because of the many restrictions on third party browsers by Apple. One blogger even went on to show with HTML5 rendering tests that Chrome was twice as slow as mobile Safari.

Great, so you found bugs in an app that’s just been released. I found a feature. I was doing some research last night about WordPress. I left the tabs open in my laptop’s Chrome browser and slept off. Today, while standing at the bus stop waiting for transportation, I whipped out my iPhone and opened Chrome. Under the “Other devices” section, I quickly found the tab that is open on my computer and continued my research. Simple as that.

I know that the browser has its faults but not because of something Google did. In fact, Google fulfilled a long running request – to bring the Chrome browser to iOS. It is Apple’s heavy restrictions that do not allow Chrome to function so well.

After Apple’s shifting away from Google Maps in iOS 6, there’s not much goodwill left in the companies *in my opinion* (in case you’re about to refute, I know Google pays millions to Apple to be the default search in Safari). I say Google et al should sue Apple for monopoly over the iOS browser as Netscape vs Microsoft was.

WordPresser: An HTML5 iOS blogger tool

WordPress is a great blogging tool. It has a lot of potential and in it’s more recent updates, it has grown from simply a blogging tool to a content management solution. I use wordpress on this blog for two purposes – blogging and tweeting. You see, twitter is a great service but the 140 character limit is a pain. There are thus a lot of services that allow for longer tweets. But I prefer using my blog for long tweets using the hash tag #LongTweet.

To tweet quickly from my iPhone, I want to use the WordPress app for iOS but it’s not adequate. So, I’ve built WordPresser. It’s a web app that uses HTML5 and XML-RPC to post to your wordpress.org blog. The link you need is – WordPresser. Open this in your iPhone or iPod’s Safari (opening it in any other browser doesn’t do much). Once you’ve opened it, save it to your Homescreen, it’ll save as a web app with the name “WordPresser”.

Before you go further, there are two things you need to do with your blog. One is conventional, the other, not so much. Continue reading

Rethinking Folders in iOS

When I first came across the Mac OS X, one of the reasons that immediately set it aside from other OSs I’d used was the way the UI was constructive towards doing work better. A simple example of that was the way I could scroll the window which was behind my work window without needing to click on the background one. This meant that I could refer to a document and type in my current window at the same time.

The other feature that really struck me was the concept of stacks in the Dock. The way stacks work is that I can choose recent documents, recent applications or just a list of favorite items to sit in the dock for easy access. That’s not all. The best feature of stacks is that they’re highly unobtrusive. Stacks don’t need a window for themselves, they’re just floating on the screen and as soon as your attention goes elsewhere and you click, the stacks disappear. That way they’re really hidden, but at our beck and call. Compared to a folder, that requires your full attention and even needs to be specifically closed when not needed, stacks are a great resource in the OS X. Continue reading

Absinthe 2.0 and troubleshooting the Jailbreak

If you’ve been awake since the past few hours, you would have found out that french hacker pod2G and his dream team have released the latest jailbreak for iOS 5.1.1 on most devices. Those who have tried to jailbreak have also faced a couple of problems.

 

Simple steps to solve your issues for the jailbreak are –

1. Do a full restore of your iOS device from iTunes and do not put the data back into the device from your iTunes backup.

2. Try jailbreaking using Absinthe. If you’re on a Mac and you get stuck on the “Waiting for reboot…” screen, dump Mac and download absinthe for Windows and jailbreak on the windows device.

3. Be very patient. If your device has data on it, it can even take up to 40 minutes for the jailbreak to work.

 

I managed to jailbreak my iPhone 4S on iOS 5.1.1 today. All the best to you too!

 

 

 

Awesome iPhone Game Now on Java!

My favorite iPhone game, the brilliant Doodle Jump, an addictive and amazingly engrossing game is now available for all you Java-based mobile gamers out there! Yes, I’m talking to you, you Sony Ericsson and few-Nokia-models owners(not to mention HTC, Spice etc), who hoped at some time to own a piece of the iPhone Lifestyle one day. You’ve got some awesome stuff headed your way…

Doodle Jump Game

http://gallery.mobile9.com/f/1357032/

Get to this site and download this game for your Java phone and install it

(Simple instructions for Sony Ericsson phones – Use Bluetooth on your Laptops or use My Phone Explorer to put the game which is a .jar file into your phones and access it from there to install)

and after you’ve installed this super-awesome game, you’ll forget everything else for sure!!!

This concludes my tutorial of how to get one of the Best iPhone games on your Java phone

p.s. the view that “Doodle Jump” is one the Best games for the iPhone is held by the author and you can’t do much to change it 🙂 🙂 🙂