Category: Apple

iPhone MMS Message Send Failure

My iPhone 3G was doing very well with the new MMS capabilities until one day it wouldn’t send any. I didn’t update, add any apps, or change any settings. All I did was sync it with iTunes to backup the phone. I don’t know if that caused the problem or not, but it was the only thing I did besides normal usage of the phone. I was hunting for a fix online and saw a lot of suggestions for people who couldn’t get MMS working from the beginning, but none about how to get it working again after it had been working previously.

Some suggestions were drastic including a full restore of the iPhone, and others were annoying by suggesting that you call at&t customer support. All that noise sounded like way too much of a headache to me, so I just did a simple power cycle (turn off the phone, then turn it back on), and that fixed it. Amazingly simple. I’ve made it a habit to start with that as my first step of troubleshooting my iPhone, computers, routers, modems, cable boxes, etc. Sometimes it fixes it, and sometimes it doesn’t. It’s nice when it does.

Get Large Voice Recordings Off Your iPhone

The new Voice Memos app on the iPhone 3.0 software is pretty cool. It makes great sounding recordings, and it’s easy as pie to use. The only glitch I’ve run into is that you can’t get the recordings off if they are over 2 minutes. Now what?

There are two three methods. One is easy, one is for the geeks, and the third is an in between one.

Method 1: iTunes [easy]

When you plug your iPhone into iTunes, go to the Music tab and make sure that there is a check mark next to “Include voice memos”. This will automatically sync your voice memos into their own playlist in iTunes where you can then do whatever you’d like with them. Here’s a screenshot of where to look in iTunes.

Method 2: SSH for Jailbroken iPhones [geeky]

If you have your iPhone jailbroken, you can SSH into it and pull the recordings off manually. They’ll play just fine in iTunes or QuickTime and then you can convert them to another format if you want.

In your SFTP program (I use Cyberduck, it’s free), go to this path to find the recordings:
/private/var/mobile/Media/Recordings

Method 3: iExplorer [in between]

I’ve had a lot of questions about this, so I’m adding it to the post. If the previous methods didn’t work, this one is also pretty easy, although it requires installing iExplorer. It’s third-party software for Mac and PC and your phone doesn’t need to be jailbroken. Here’s a step-by-step for using iExplorer:

  1. Download and install iExplorer.
    • Version 2 is free, but version 3 has a demo mode that will allow you to transfer the memo for free. You can find both versions on the downloads page.
  2. Connect your iPhone via USB cable to your computer and open iExplorer.
  3. Click the arrow next to your iPhone’s name, and then navigate to:
    /Media/Recordings/
  4. Locate the voice memo you’d like to download. They will be named with the date they were created, such as:
    20110210 114619.m4a
  5. Once you see it, you can drag it to your Desktop or any other folder on your computer

If this has helped you, I would greatly appreciate a dollar or two, but no pressure. Either way, thanks for reading!




My Most Frequently Used Mac Apps

I wish I could count how many of these posts there have been over the years of blogging, but I can’t. A recent read from a friend of mine’s blog has convinced me that I need to make a list, also. These are the apps that I either love, find very practical, use most often, or all of the above.

Quicksilver – The website describes this free app as “A unified, extensible interface for working with applications, contacts, music, and other data.” Although that is true, it really doesn’t give a clear picture to the average Mac user about how useful this app is. The interface is activated with a keystroke (mine is command-space) and then you start typing. The power of Quicksilver is that you don’t have to take your hands off the keyboard to use it, so it’s always at your fingertips no matter what app you’re using at the time. The difficulty in explaining this app is that it can do so much, that it’s hard to describe what it is. So, with that in mind, here are a few examples of what I use it for.

  1. It’s an application launcher. I can be typing away, and then activate it, and start typing the name of the app I want to open. It finds it as I type, and then I hit return and it opens it.
  2. I reboot my Mac. If I need to restart my Mac for some reason, I just activate it, start typing “restart” and then hit return, and it reboots my Mac.
  3. Control iTunes. I can be typing an email or using another app that takes up the screen and realize that I want to skip the currently playing track in iTunes, so instead of taking my hands off my keyboard and moving around windows or apps to see my iTunes controller, I just activate Quicksilver, type “next” and hit return and it skips the track.
  4. FTP uploads. I really find this one useful. I frequently upload images to my server for posting on my friends’ myspace pages or other places. I activate Quicksilver, type the name of the image, then tab over to the action field, start typing “upload,” tab over to the selection of servers, start typing the server name I want, arrow over to the directory on the server I want it to go, then hit return. I know it sounds like a lot, but this action seriously saves about 2 minutes each time I upload an image.
  5. Bookmarks. It keeps a list of my bookmarks from del.icio.us as well as my browser, so I can activate it from anywhere and start typing the name of the bookmark, hit return, and off it goes in my default browser.

I know that still might not impress you, but the reality is that the more you use it, the more you’ll find how powerful it is and how much time it’ll save you. One caution: if you don’t know how to type by touch, you’ll probably hate this app.

Camino – This is my favorite web browser hands down. It’s a free and open source project by the same people who make Firefox. The difference is that Camino is made to fit in better with the Mac interface so you get the look and feel of a native Mac app. The part that I really like about it is how fast it is. The startup time of Camino is much faster than both Safari and Firefox. The rendering of pages is also much faster. I’ve noticed that the nightly builds are even faster than the latest stable release. It doesn’t have the addons that Firefox has, but it does come with the ability to block pop-ups and web advertising. Once you learn to live without some of the excesses of Firefox, you’ll find that it’s a lightweight browser that gets out of your way and lets you surf the web faster.

VLC – This is a video player that plays just about anything. It’s free and open source, so there’s no reason for it to be missing from your Applications folder.

ImageWell – This is a free (for basic version), lightweight image editor. It’s great for when you want to email a photo to someone. You don’t want to send the full-size image, but you don’t want to open iPhoto or worse, Photoshop, and resize it in there. This app opens quickly, lets you resize or edit your image with some great basic features, and then use the image wherever you want. It also has a great built-in FTP client that lets you hit a button and upload the image to a preset server on the Internet.

Handbrake – I don’t know how many of you watch movies on your computer or iPod, but if you do, then you’ll want this app. It’s a free and open source conversion tool that will convert a DVD or VIDEO_TS folder into an iPod-friendly MPEG-4 video file (.mp4). I use it to archive my DVDs to my iMac, which has Front Row, which is connected to my TV. Now I can browse my movie library on my TV with the remote. Nice, huh?

Adium – Some might say I’m getting too old for instant messaging, but I don’t care! 🙂 I still enjoy chatting with my friends all around the world through the various services: AIM, Yahoo!, MSN, GTalk, and ICQ. Adium is a free and open source app that connects you to all of these networks (and more) and combines all your buddies into one easy-to-customize list. It has a tabbed IM window so that you don’t have to clutter up your screen, but rather can have all your conversations in one window. There are easy shortcuts to jump from tab-to-tab so that you don’t ever have to take your hands off the keyboard. It’s still ironing out some difficulties with file transfers, but it’s come a long way in that area. Other than that, it’s the best IM app ever created.

Those are about the most frequently used apps on my Mac, aside from the standards like iTunes, Quicktime, Photoshop, and iPhoto. If you haven’t tried some of these, then I encourage you to give it a shot because you have nothing to lose. I strongly recommend that everyone download and start using Quicksilver weather you like it or not. Eventually, you’ll learn how to use it and be thankful that you took the time to get used to it.

iPhone Review

Well, I’ve had my iPhone for about 9 days now, and I’m getting pretty fast on it. There are several features that I love, and several features that I hate, and even still, several features that I feel are missing. Here are my compliments and gripes in no particular order.

Compliments:

  • Great design – it looks beautiful. Really. You think you’ve seen how cool it is until you see one in person and realize just how REALLY beautiful it is. It’s also smaller than I thought it was going to be. Not a whole lot wider than my SLVR, but actually thinner, and the same height as my SLVR.
  • Extremely fast interface – it zips around from app to app with no delay or processing time. Much, much faster than my SLVR or any other phone I’ve used.
  • On-screen keyboard – works great and knows what words I’m trying to type even when I miss the letter. It’s amazingly intuitive in its corrections. Very quick learning curve for people who know how to type on a QWERTY keyboard because you already know where the letters are located.
  • Threaded text messaging – it’s so convenient to view SMS in a conversation interface. I really appreciate this view and it’s a no brainer for any phone from now on.
  • Email anywhere – I know other smartphones have had email capability before, but this is just so much like the Mail.app from Mac OS X that it looks and acts beautifully, easily and handily.
  • Sync – Having a Mac, I feel that I get a little extra benefit from the iPhone being made by Apple. It synchronizes all my contacts from Address Book, all my calendars from iCal, any photos I want from iPhoto, music and videos from iTunes, and Safari bookmarks (not that I use Safari, but it’s nice that it does it). Sure, it can do that in a round-about way for Windows users, too, but for Apple users, the interface is so similar on the iPhone that it feels like you’re still at your Mac.
  • Google Maps – This is probably my favorite app so far. I’ve already found several times where I wished I had a map while on the road, and just pulled out my iPhone to save the day. The app acts just like the web version of Google Maps with the ability to drag the map around and zoom in and out. The coolest feature is that you can display live traffic information on the map. Seriously cool and useful.
  • WiFi – Aside from driving down the road, everywhere I’ve had to make use of the Internet on my iPhone, there has been an open network available. My home has one, work, my friend’s house, shopping centers, and the beach. Of course, I’m sure eventually I’ll end up somewhere that I won’t find a wireless network, but the point is that more and more are popping up everyday. It’s nice to have it detect that I’m using the Internet and automagically offer to use a hotspot that it sees.

Gripes:

  • No video recording – I had it on my SLVR and used it all of twice in over a year, but I still miss it on the iPhone. I would use it more now because I would have instant access to the web for uploading videos to YouTube or other services.
  • No custom ringtones – this one is a huge annoyance. I loved having whatever I wanted as my ringtone on my last three Motorolas.
  • No SMS to multiple people – I used to be able to send a message to multiple recipients on my SLVR, but not on my iPhone! Doesn’t make sense to me, but I can’t do it.
  • Camera quality – It looks about the same as any other camera phone… crap. Unless you are outside taking a picture at noon on a sunny day, you’re gonna get a grainy, hazy picture. This isn’t a big deal because most people who care about picture quality have a nice digital camera. About the only thing it’s good for is to take pictures of your contacts so that when they call, it will show you their pic.
  • Buggy – I have had various apps “crash” on the iPhone for a total of about 17 times so far. It just kicks me back to the homescreen, and then lets me back into the app immediately afterwards. I have two friends who also got iPhones on the first day, and they both say that they are not having the same problems. I don’t know if I got a lemon, or if I’m just pushing the device harder than they are. Either way, I hope Apple issues some updates or something soon to address these crashes. The one encouraging comment I can make is that every time I sync with my Mac, a box pops up and asks if it can send the crash data to Apple. This makes me feel better since others may be having the same issues and after enough feedback, Apple will fix it. The iPhone totally locked up on me the first time I tried to edit a contact’s information. I had to hard reset it, and then everything was fine.
  • EDGE network – Do you remember the days of dial-up? Well, imagine that on a handheld device. It feels slightly faster, but not really enough for it to be comfortable. It’s nice to know it’s there when you need it, like when using Google Maps in a pinch. If you’re serious about web surfing or watching YouTube videos while on the road, you better find another phone. For me, it’s fine, but for serious surfers, it would be a disappointment.
  • Speaker – The speaker on the bottom of the iPhone is used for the ringtone, speakerphone, and playing music. In all three areas it performs poorly. Once the volume gets slightly above halfway, it starts to distort making the song or person’s voice almost impossible to recognize or understand. The speaker on my SLVR was much better and could handle being all the way up without distorting. Hopefully, Apple will loosen the purse strings for the next generation and put a better quality speaker in the iPhone.

Most of these are widely agreed upon goods and bads, and I was well aware of most of them before I bought it, so it’s not as if I didn’t know about them or regret my purchase. Overall, I’m very happy about it, and really enjoy all the use I get out of it. Would I recommend everyone buy one? No. If you are a person who loves technology and Apple, and you have some extra cash saved up, then I would say you should get one. If you’re a patient person, then I would recommend you wait till the 2nd generation comes out, whenever that may be. Rumors point to Christmas, but who knows with Apple.

I think my roommate summed up the essence of the iPhone the night I brought it home when he said, “I knew it was gonna be cool, but I didn’t realize how cool until I played with it!” I think you’ll find yourself saying the same thing the first time you get your hands on one.