Category: Review

Transfer Music From iPhone to Computer

I recently got a new iMac and wanted the music from my iPhone on it. I have tried several different apps that work well with iPods, but have trouble with the iPhone for whatever reason. Senuti used to be my go-to app, but it hadn’t been updated for the iPhone 3G, not to mention that they had started charging for the software. Yamipod is a great free app that does the job for getting music off, as well as putting music back on the iPod (although a little unrefined as far as UI goes and occasionally crashes), but it doesn’t work with the iPhone 3G either.

I settled on Music Rescue, which costs £10 to register, but you can download and try it for free.

When you first launch it with your iPhone plugged in, it automagically recognizes it and gives you the option to open it or QuickRecover. Pretty smart, eh? I chose to open it, because I didn’t know what QuickRecover would do. I’m ignorant. I admit it.

Auto Detect

After you open it, you can see the contents of your iPhone in a beautiful and very iTunes-esque interface. I’m not saying iTunes is the best, but at least it eliminates the learning curve. You have access to view and playback your music, movies, podcasts, and audiobooks. I didn’t have any TV shows on my iPhone, but it appears to handle all media on your iPhone. Probably not voice recordings, though.

Media Library

I was impressed with all the options in the preferences to customize how you want the app to behave. Very flexible and useful. You can even setup a profile for your device that will be stored on the device itself so that when you plug into other computers with Music Rescue, it will remember the settings. This could be useful if you want to keep two computer music libraries synced through the use of your iPhone.

App PreferencesProfiles

When you’re ready to start the copy, click the button in the bottom right corner that says “Begin Copy…” and you’re presented with some options of which media you want to copy as shown below. I love options and flexibility! I also love the little encouragement in the bottom left, “Don’t steal music.” Isn’t that Apple’s line?

Copy Options

If you use the software in the Demo mode, then you’ll be nagged every 50 songs with this little window which goes away by clicking OK. I love developers who tell you it isn’t free software, yet they let you use it for free. It’s like those companies that send you free return address labels, but then ask you to send in a donation if you plan on using them. Yeah, ok, I’ll get right on that.

Register Nag

It’s a small annoyance, but if you use this more than once, it would definitely be worth it to purchase a license key. After all your media is copied from the iPhone, it then opens iTunes and adds it to the library. If there are conflicts, it warns you and gives you options for overwriting, skipping, or merging data. How very thoughtful!

Overall, a very flexible, easy, quick, and painless procedure to get my music off my iPhone. I highly recommend this software to anyone in the same boat.

P.S. They also offer a Windows version, but I have not tested it. Let me know how it works for you.

Borders Books Online Reservation Feature FAIL

I’ve seen the “Everything is amazing, nobody is happy” video, and totally agree with it. I complain about way more than I should considering

how amazingly far we’ve come with technology. However, sometimes I just want to wring someone’s neck for being lazy or not caring.

Borders FAIL

I checked Borders for two items: a book by John Eldredge, and a Moleskine notebook. Both inventory reports for the Mission Viejo Borders said that it was “likely in store.” I reserved it online by putting in my name and email address, and the confirmation page told me to wait for an email within two hours to tell me if it was in stock or not. Well, I didn’t want to wait, and figured they would at least have one of the two in stock, so I drove down there.

When I got there, I checked my iPhone for an email, but nothing. I went straight to the Moleskine spinning display and found about 10 of the notebooks that I wanted. I grabbed one, and headed for the other book. I found the last copy on the shelves within about 5 minutes, and headed for the check stand. I checked my email again on the way to find the following email:

We’re sorry to say that the remaining stock of the item you requested has been purchased since our last online availability update. [Edited for relevance.]

The books were in my hands, so clearly the system kinda broke down somewhere. Apparently the website sends an email to the store, which is then taken by an employee to hunt down the request. When they don’t find it, they notify the website that they don’t have it and then you are emailed. When I asked the checkout clerk what might have gone wrong with the system, she said that it probably just got put on the shelves right before I picked it off the shelf. That means that when the employee looked for it, it hadn’t been stocked yet. This doesn’t make any sense because the website said that the book was “likely in store” which would mean that the system had some sort of awareness that the book could possibly be there.

My theory for what happened: Request landed in the hands of one of the lazy, coffee drinking, mohawked, minimum waged employees who wiped his nose with the paper, and then reported back that it wasn’t in stock so that he could go take another smoke break. He probably thought it wouldn’t matter because who would be stupid enough to go to the store when they told you they don’t have what you’re looking for? What he didn’t account for was my impatience… and maybe a little bit of my stupidity.

I guess it bugs me because it could have caused me some inconvenience had I waited and trusted what they said. If they didn’t have it, then I probably would have had to drive to a farther bookstore which would have wasted my gas and time. Or I might have ordered it online which would mean that I have to wait till next week to get it.

I know, I know, I shouldn’t complain because it’s pretty amazing that it’s possible for almost anyone to get their hands on virtually every written word in the world within a week. These huge stores provide vast amounts of learning possibilities and wisdom from millennia ago that would blow the minds exponentially of every reader going back thousands of years. It’s just a shame that forward progress can be halted by one lazy person.

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.