Category Archives: iPhone

Follow Up on Things I’d Like from Apple

It’s been a long time since I last wrote in this space and the blog had another name at the time. So it’s time to get back in the saddle. The world was in a much different place in April of 2021 than it finds itself in in June 2023, but some things remain constant, like the things we’d like for Apple to gift us with on iPhone, iPad, Mac and all the other Apple platforms.

Among the things I was asking St. Apple for in 2021 were the ability to use Excel formats natively in Numbers, a capability for the Apple TV make and receive FaceTime calls (with the use of an attached mic and camera), and an Apple display that did did not cost $5,000. So how did I do with my wish list? I score it 1.5 out of three.

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Keep Your Jailbreak and Fix the PDF Hole

Are you so concerned about the PDF exploit on all versions of iDevices that you’re considering squandering your Jailbreak to upgrade iOS 4.0.2?  Concern yourself no more you can have your cake and eat it too.  Saurik had just released a PDF patch on Cydia that will fix the exploit and leave your jailbreak intact.

PDF Fix Screen Shot

Now if only Apple would take the hint an push updates, not the entire OS every time there is a minor fix.

Windows Mobile 7 Shock and Horror

Since the release of Windows 7, contemplating the release of Windows Mobile 7 has been pleasant.  I thought we’d be getting capacitive touch goodness in a slick interface that was currently missing from Windows Mobile on top of the good things about the system like removable storage, direct access to the file system, the ability to side load applications, and the ability to replace core apps with anything you like.

To say the revelations of the last several days have been disheartening would be an understatement.  MS has revealed that apps will only be available through an MS run app store, that there would be no removable storage, no Flash or even Silverlight in the browser (despite the fact that Silverlight is a core part of the apps on WM7), that the applications would be heavily sandboxed, there will be no access to the file system, and applications duplicating core features will not be allowed.  Then the coup de grace; no copy and paste.

Really?  Why the heck would anyone buy this thing?  Its an iPhone without the Apple magic; with Ballmer instead of Jobs and a non-replaceable version of IE instead of Safari (that really hurts).  If MS wants to sell me a phone they need to be clearly better than iPhone both in terms of capabilities and openness.  This is not nearly as good as the iPhone is today and there will be an additional iPhone release in June/July before WM 7 phones hit the shelves.

Windows 7 lead me to expect better but this product will be late to market and not as good as the phone I currently have in my pocket.  That’s too bad because I’d love to ditch those control freaks at Apple.  I just can’t see replacing them with the Redmond version.

Its really bad when Google looks like the last, best hope for sanity in smart phones.

Epic fail MS.

Back To Jailbreak

With the release of blackra1n, it’s back to jailbreak for me. Download from It takes all of 30 seconds to work. I’m tempted to say it’s so easy a caveman could do it, but that would probably infringe someone’s intellectual property.

I’m glad to have adblock and winterboard back. As a side note, this post, including editing the iPhone screenshot, was done completely on the iPhone.


IMG_0306 It was just a matter of time, given who I am, that I would be unable to resist the lure to tinker with my iPhone.  This weekend I took the plunge and my phone is now well and truly Jailbroken.

I couldn’t ever find a site that told me, all at one go, what it means to Jailbreak a phone.  The answer is simple in concept (not necessarily in execution).  First there is an exploit, a way to get the iPhone to let you load random software to it.  This exploit is encapsulated in some sort of software, like the one I used Redsn0w.

Then there has to be something to load with the exploit.  So in addition to housing the exploit, Redsn0w takes a stock version of the iPhone restore file and patches the kernel it contains so that it will make the phone behave differently than the original software Apple installs.  Then Redsn0w uses the exploit to load the patched kernel and a program loader, like Cydia or Icy.

These software loaders are no more or less than iPhone versions of Debian’s apt-get.  These connect to various repositories and load the additional software Apple doesn’t want you to load, like software to run programs in the background and ways to pimp your phone’s appearance.

So, as you can see from the screenshot, you can do some interesting things, like put five icons in your dock and have a background picture on your “desktop”.  Here are some of the useful features I have found.

  1. Adblock for Mobile Safari – This is shareware software by Cocoamug and by far the most useful aspect of the Jailbreak.  In fact this one aspect probably justifies jailbreaking.  You’ve got limited bandwidth and screen real estate, why give up any of that to ads?
  2. Backgrounder – A free app that lets you run any application in the background.  This is helpful with apps like Pandora.  You can set it to play in the background and read with Kindle while the music plays. 
  3. Winterboard – A replacement for the iPhone app Springboard which is responsible for displaying the desktop and icons.  This lets you full theme/skin the phone and do other things like the 5 apps in the dock.

I also tried Categories which purports to let you put icons in categories, which it does, but it is a very poorly done app.  Not yet tried are the app that lets you turn an iPhone into a WiFi hot spot, an ssh server, and a file manager.

The question I have is what about these apps is so horrible, especially the three I am actually using, that Apple won’t let them in the App Store?

WordPress iPhone App

I finally got the WordPress iPhone working with SOD. Apparently the app did not like my theme, so I set the theme to default, configured the app, and switched the theme back. The app writers still have some work to do, but otherwise this is a great app.

iPhone Issues

I finally broke down and got an iPhone.  In the few weeks I have had it I find it really excels as a phone that does email and browses the web, which are the things I mostly do.  Because its heritage includes the iPod it is also a world class music player.  But there are several facets that, for a business user of the phone, leave a lot to be desired.

I’m talking about the lack of integrated calendar, to do list and notes functionality that syncs back to a desktop application.  Now I have most of that done.  I get my contacts back and forth from my desktop to my Gmail accounts using the Zindus Thunderbird plugin.  I get the calendar data back and forth between the desktop and Gmail using Gmail Calendar Provider.  Then I get calendar and contact data to and from the iPhone using the NuevaSync service.  This seems less complicated to me than it actually was because I came to these solutions incrementally.  If I had to do it all from scratch it would be overwhelming.  But now that I have it set up it works fine.

Not so for note taking and task lists.  There is no sync functionality with the native iPhone note taking app.  There are a plethora of note taking applications available, but all of them suffer from some fatal flaw.  Evernote has the sexiest functionality set and includes a Windows desktop client with good looks and a feature set that rivals OneNote.  But there is so much functionality that the application on the iPhone is hard to use and two big problems:  notes are not available offline on the phone unless you mark them as favorites and you can’t search your notes offline.  Curing those two problems would go a long way to making this a great service. 

Task lists are also problematic.  The task list leader is Remember the Milk (RTM).  The catch here is that its $25 per year to use with your iPhone (you need a pro account to get the iPhone app).  $25 a year for a task list, you have to be kidding.  For the price of the iPhone they should give me a task list that syncs with Outlook or the to do list on the Mac.  Same for notes. 

These are fundamental problems that need to be addressed if Apple is serious about moving into the enterprise.  What do they think enterprise users do?  The answer is, among other things, they manage their tasks and take notes.