Dale Dietrich
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Category — gadgets

Bought a Doxie Scanner – Really Like It

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imageAs part of my ongoing move to a ‘ paperless’ office, I purchased a Doxie scanner. It’s small, easy to use and does exactly what I need – scan to an app or the cloud.

The key benefit of this scanner is that I can scan into any app that accepts images or documents. Most importantly for me, it scans directly into Evernote. I’m finally able to ‘easily’ get rid of any number of rag-tag pieces of paper that collect with odds and sods of information.

I have a Brother copier, printer, scanner but its too difficult to use. To scan documents on it I have to, place it in the scanner, close the lid, press a whole bunch of buttons, open the archaic Brother ‘Control Center 3’ software, scan in the document (at a glacial speed) where it store the document somewhere on my computer. From there I have to find it, sort it, open it and do something with it.

With the Doxie, on the other hand, I just place the paper in the scanner, press the Doxie button, it scans (faster than the Brother) then it asks where I want to send it (to Evernote, Flicker, Paint.net, Google Apps, most any app on my PC) and then it sends it to where I want it stored/used.  It’s so much easier. There is no file where the document/image is stored on my PC unless I want it.

The only issue I have with it is that I still have not found a way to scan directly into OneNote. For now I scan into Paint.net, then copy it over to OneNote.

Bottom Line, it’s fast, easy, and exactly what I need.

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iOS 4.0.1 Fixes iPhone 3G Performance Problems Somewhat

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Since upgrading to iOS 4 a couple months back my iPhone 3G has ran as slow as molasses. So frustratingly slow that I have been considering replacing it with an Android (though Android handset choices in Canada are few).

Today iOS 4.0.1 was released. As you can see below it purports to include iPhone 3G performance fixes.

iOS4 update

After futzing around with my updated iPhone 3G for an  hour I can report that the update has fixed the problem somewhat. Apps do start and function quicker than they have recently. But the device and its apps still run noticeably slower than pre-iOS4.

I’m still considering an Android but, for the time being,  am unlikely to completely abandon the iPhone. I’m  hoping future iOS updates continue to fix 3G performance issues. But, I’m not holding my breath.

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How to Stop iTunes from Starting the Auto Picture Sync Wizard when the iPhone is Connected to a PC

Categories: gadgetshow-tointeractive mediaiPhoneresolving tech problemsvistawindows 7
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Since purchasing my iPhone back in August 2008, every time I connected my iPhone to my PC (originally Vista, now Windows 7 RC), iTunes would automatically start the Windows ‘Import Pictures and Videos’ wizard (“IPVW”), regardless of whether or not there were any new pictures on my iPhone to import.

image

Since I connect my iPhone to iTunes every day (to update my podcasts, backup data, install new apps etc.), I had to cancel out of the IPVW every time I connected. This was a daily frustration!

Along the line I had collected up some 30ish pictures in my iPhone’s ‘camera roll’ for the following reasons:

  1. Originally, I had not set the ‘delete from iPhone when importing’ option in the IPVW, so those pictures remained on the camera roll even after syncing; and
  2. For some good pictures, I just wanted to keep a copy on my iPhone for viewing.

Strangely, there is no way to move  pictures from the iPhone’s ‘camera roll’ to an album in the iPhone’s native Photos app.

Most of the time I want pictures to be copied off my iPhone when I sync. As a result I had set the IPVW’s Import settings (see link in picture above) accordingly. To my mind, the iPhone should only automatically pop-up the IPVW when there are new pictures that a user might want copied over to the PC. That is not how it works.

CONTINUE READING →

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New iPhone 3G S Announced – Available June 19

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image

  • $199 for 16 GB in U.S. – $299 for 32GB version (on contract of course)
    • pricing only available to new AT&T customers
    • $700 Upgrade fee for current AT&T iPhone users
    • [June 10 Update: Rogers has announced that Canadian pricing will be the same as U.S. pricing – in Cdn $. So, $199 and $299 Cdn for the 16 and 32 GB units respectively. Only available on 3 year contracts again. No pricing for un-subbed units announced – un-subbed 3G iPhones still cannot be purchased in Canada. 8-GB, 3G Units will be decreased to $99. No word on 16GB units]
  • Available June 19 (U.S. & Canada)
  • $99 for prior 16 GB iPhone
  • “up to” two times Faster
  • Voice Control:
    • voice dialing
    • ask iPhone what song is playing and it will tell you
    • tell iPhone to play a song, or songs by an artist or a playlist and it will play it
    • developers can integrate into any app

image

CONTINUE READING →

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How to Listen to Video Podcasts with the iPhone Display Turned Off

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diggnation podcast - alex albrecht and kevin rose
While listening to audio-only podcasts, iPhone users can press the ‘Sleep/Wake’ button to turn off the display, yet still continue listening to the podcast. iPhone users can also click the iPhone’s ‘Start’ button when listening to audio podcasts, use other iPhone apps, and continue listening to the podcast uninterrupted.

Not so with video podcasts. Clicking the ‘Sleep/Wake’ button, or clicking the iPhone’s start button shuts video podcasts off. The inability to just listen to video podcasts has been one of my primary complaints with the iPhone’s iPod functionality. See my other major complaints here and here.

Why Would Anyone Want to Just Listen to a Video Podcast?

All video podcasts are not created equal. Some video podcasts such as CO-OP, demand that the user ‘watch’ them to get the most out of them. Other podcasts , such as the ‘Cranky Geeks’, Geek Brief TV and Diggnation can usually be enjoyed without ever looking at the screen.

There are several reasons why one might wish to consume a video podcast with the visual element shut off:

  • While Using other IPhone Apps: Since I can, and often do, use other iPhone/iTouch apps while listening to audio podcasts, I sometimes just want/need to just listen to video podcasts while using other apps. Why not?
  • Increased battery life: Video playback consumes an enormous amount of battery charge. If you don’t need to watch the video to enjoy it, why waste the battery?
  • Putting iPhone in Pocket: I often put my iPhone in my pocket while listening to podcasts. When the iPhone screen cannot be shut off, this becomes a bit clumsy. The act of putting it in my pocket (or taking it out) often results in unwanted screen clicks that can shut the podcast off, fast forward it, pause it etc.
  • While Driving: Who needs the video on while driving?

Bottom Line: Hardly a day has gone by since I purchased my iPhone last August, when I didn’t wish I could turn off the screen and still listen to my video podcasts.

Turns out that there has been a way to do this all along. It took me 8 months before I stumbled upon this trick.

CONTINUE READING →

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Variable Speed Scrubbing (Fast Forwarding – Rewinding) Coming to iPhone 3.0

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variable speed scrubbing on iPhone 3.0

Next to my ongoing desire for a podcast delete function, the next-most glaring problem I have had with the iPhone and iPod Touch’s iPod playback functionality is its janky fast-forwarding and rewinding (also known as ‘scrubbing’).

The two most common scrubbing issues I have with my iPhone are when I want: (i) to skip back , say 10 seconds, to re-listen to something i missed – like I can with TiVo’s instant replay button; and (ii) to jump forward past podcast commercials – I can only listen to so many Audible ads on the Twit Network.

scrubbing with scroll wheel on an iPod nano Scrubbing with the scroll wheel on iPods is a breeze. (See this ‘How to Scrub on Your iPod’ video, depicted in the picture on the right, for example.) You can easily jump back and forth to the exact desired spot within the song, podcast or video you are consuming by moving your thumb clockwise or counterclockwise on the scroll wheel as shown in the picture.

There is no scroll wheel on the iPhone or the iPod Touch. Instead, there is tiny round selector (see image above) on a small 1.25” horizontal scroll bar that you slide left and right to move around your media. This provides decent accuracy for short items such as a 3 minute song. For longer-form content, such as multi-hour podcasts and movies, the 1.25” scroll bar is too small to accurately select any given point of play. I personally consume long-form content the most. Such clumsy scrubbing has often left me 5 to 10 minutes away from the place I want to be.

The solution, variable speed scrubbing.

CONTINUE READING →

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How To Move the iTunes Library to a Home Server while Keeping its Underlying Media Structure Intact

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iTunes - dale's iTunes after move

Is the size of your iTunes music library starting to overwhelm your C: drive? Do you want to make your iTunes music library available to more than one PC over a network?

This post is about how to move all the files in your iTunes Music Library (including music, podcasts, videos, TV shows and audio books) from your PC’s drive to a network drive (or another drive on the same PC) while retaining both: (i) the integrity of the underlying file names and organization structures; and (ii) playlists, play counts, ratings etc.

This post is for the gear-head types like myself. Those that have spent time ‘under the hood’ organizing their music the way they want – naming the underlying files with names of their choice, organizing the files into directories of their choice, etc.

If you are like most people and let iTunes do its own thing (ie: let iTunes handle file naming and organization), this post is not for you. There are much easier ways to move your files if you let iTunes do this it’s way. See, for example, here, here and here.

Background

First PMP – The Creative Nomad: My first portable music player was a 32 Meg (yes, Meg, not Gig) Creative Nomad. I organized my music at that time with Windows Media player (‘WMP’).

Dale’s Early Music Organization: Over the years, I spent an enormous amount of time and energy ripping songs from my CDs, keeping my underlying music library file names, file organization/directory structures and meta data pristine. All the files were contained under my C:\Files\MP3 hierarchy, making it very easy to back up my media from time to time by simply backing up that directory.

CONTINUE READING →

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The Ultimate Gadget Recharging Cabinet

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ultimate gadget cabinet front 2Awhile back I watched this Cali Lewis Geekbrief podcast (episode 108) where she created a gadget recharging cabinet from a shoe organizer cabinet. It was OK but I didn’t love it.

Marc Spagnuolo (pictured in the third image below) was recently a guest on Leo Laporte’s TwitLive webcast. He was inspired by Leo to create TheWoodWhisperer podcast. He built this customized gadget recharging cabinet for Leo as a gift in thanks for  inspiring him to start his own podcast. Leo loved it. I like it.

[more pics after the jump – click on pics for larger views]

CONTINUE READING →

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iPhone’s iPod Touch Features NOT Bricked with SIM Removed

Categories: canadagadgetsinteractive mediaiPhone
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removing sim from iphone Back when I was doing my Rogers iPhone research, see here, I asked numerous representatives from Rogers (both on the phone and at the Rogers store) whether I would be able to use my iPhone as an iPod Touch-like device if/when I cancelled my iPhone service. The uniform answer was no! – that the iPhone would be bricked (wouldn’t even turn on beyond a warning screen) if I removed the SIM card.

Two months after purchasing my iPhone I set out to finally transfer all of my remaining contacts from my old Nokia phone to the iPhone. This required me to remove the SIM from my iPhone and put it back into my Nokia phone (the Nokia would not turn on without the SIM). In doing so, I tested Rogers’ theory that the iPhone would be completely bricked with the SIM removed. I discovered this was untrue.

CONTINUE READING →

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Best Demos at Techcrunch50

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TechCrunch50 logo

I just listened to the TWiT podcast 161 were Jason Calicanis described two of the most interesting demos shown at the recent TechCrunch50 conference – tonchidot and swype.  I also briefly mention the contest winner – yammer.

Tochidot:

tonchidot logo This demo, by Japanese “tonchidot”, got the best audience response at the recent Techcrunch50 show. Watch the demo here.

It starts off slow. It’s hard to understand the Japanese presenter. About 4 minutes in an English presenter takes over and describes the technology. The idea is really cool.

tochidot demo 
It’s an iPhone app that interacts with the world around it. As you are walking around the real world, and looking at the iPhone screen, tags (text/audio) about your surroundings, that others posted earlier, appear on the screen in real-time. It uses the iPhone’s built in GPS to know where you are and the iPhones accelerometer to know which angle and which way you are looking. Anyone can add tags about anything they are looking at that anyone later can read/listen too. Ultimately, if this catches on, the world around us could be tagged full of information left by users that went before.

Suggested uses include, restaurant/store reviews, site-seeing guides, museum/painting guides, tourist destination information. Restaurants could post their menus that users could read just by pointing their iPhone at the restaurant. Theatre goers can get reviews of the current show by pointing their iPhone at the theatre.

The question and answer period was hilarious because the presenters clearly could not speak English. “We have a puppet” was an answer to one tech question.

The obvious answer to the unanswered question-and-answer question (what happens when surroundings change over time?) is that the tags would/could be organized by date. The most recent tags would be presented first (to reflect the world as it is now – or most recently was) with the possibility to dig down to older tags to read/hear about how the thing/place you are looking at was in the past.

CONTINUE READING →

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iPhone Firmware 2.1 Promises

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iPhone 2.1 Software Update

I’m updating my 3G iPhone Software as I type this.  The installation screen above is promising the following improvements. I for one am looking forward to the “significantly improved battery life” – my only real issue with the iPhone 3G hardware.

iPhone 2.1 Software Update

iPhone version 2.1 contains many bug fixes and improvements, including the following:

  • decrease in call set-up failures and call drops
  • significantly improved battery life for most users
  • dramatically reduced time to backup to iTunes
  • improved email reliability, notably fetching email from POP and Exchange accounts
  • faster installation of 3rd party applications
  • fixed bugs causing hangs and crashes if you have lots of 3rd party applications
  • improved performance in text messaging
  • faster loading and searching of contacts
  • improved accuracy of the 3G signal strength display
  • repeat alert up to two additional times for incoming text messages
  • option to wipe data after ten failed passcode attempts
  • Genius playlist creation

I’ll update this after I’ve had a chance to test.

[Sept 17, 2009 Update: I've now had a few days to test and the battery life does seem to have improved. But not by as much as I first thought. My subjective guess would be that the battery is lasting about 10% to 15% longer than it has before the 2.1 firmware update.]

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I Purchased the 16 Gig Rogers 3G iPhone

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Dale Dietrich Poses With his New 3G Rogers iPhone On Wednesday August 13, I purchased a 16 Gig 3G Rogers iPhone.

Please see my “Rogers Canadian iPhone Plans – The Fine Print” post for the details on: (i) the actual (vs. advertised) hardware pricing; (ii) Rogers’ 30 day Buyers Remorse option; (iii) the applicable $125 to $500 Early Cancellation Fees (ECF); (iv) bricking on cancellation; (v) the jailbreak option/issue; (vi) the option to transfer the iPhone to a third party (and avoid the ECF); (vii) Canadian iPhone shortages; (viii) upgrading to future models; (ix) data roaming in Canada; (x) the 365 day warranty; and (xi) moving your SIM between phones.

Below I describe: (i) how I resolved my purchase impediments; (ii) the Rogers Buyer’s Remorse Option; (iii) my first impressions (I’m loving it); and (iv) the all-in Rogers iPhone and data plan cost.

Overcoming Obstacles to Purchase

In light of my strong aversion to cell phone contracts (let alone Rogers’ infamous 3 year iPhone contract) and early cancellation fees, there were several major obstacles I had to resolve before I felt comfortable enough to ‘purchase’ the subsidized 3G iPhone.

  • 16 Gig iPhone is Too Small – Upgrade Dilemma: I carry around about 25 GB of music, 50 or so podcasts at any given time, workout and a few other videos/movies on my current video iPod (most of the storage is used for music). I’ll need storage space for the App Store applications I download. Plus, I’ll need space for email, contacts, pictures and visual voicemail. To manage with a 16 Gig iPhone, I’ll have to give up carrying most of my music around. So, I will inevitably want to upgrade to a 32 GB iPhone when it comes out. Resolution: As you can read in my ‘fine print’ post, the Rogers rep assured me that future models will be released for purchase at retail (as opposed to subsidized under contracts as is the case now). So, if he is right,  at that time I’d be able to purchase and use the newer (larger capacity) unit under my current contract (and sell my 16 Gig iPhone). I rarely listen to music on my iPod anyway. Instead I use it mostly to listen to and watch podcasts. For now, I’ll use my current iPod for the rare times I want music while travelling.
  • Rogers Dataplan Issue: The initially announced Rogers data plans were ridiculous (see here). Resolution: I took advantage of the $30/month 6 GB limited time offer. Home WiFi data usage is not counted against 3G dataplan limits. The free Rogers/Fido WiFi hotspot usage is also not counted against 3G dataplan limits. I expect most of my data usage will be through WiFi so I’m hoping/expecting that the 6 GB limit should be enough for my needs – but I’ll only know for sure after a few months of use.

CONTINUE READING →

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Rogers Canadian iPhone Plans – The Fine Print [Rewritten & Updated]

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Rogers iPhone

[This post is a rewritten version of an earlier July 28, 2008 post. I 'purchased' a 3G iPhone on August 13. In the mean time I spoke at length with two Rogers representatives on the telephone and spent a couple hours of quality time with "Jay" at the Rogers Store at Bay & King in Toronto. Click here for my prior summary of the Rogers 3G iPhone Rate Plan Offerings]

$199 and $299 Price ONLY on New Activations

I was  unpleasantly surprised when I ‘purchased’ my 16 GB 3G iPhone, that they charged me $324.99 instead of the $299 advertised price. The Rogers rep (Jay) told me that the $199 and $299 prices are available only to new Rogers customers. I had been a month to month Rogers subscriber since November 2001. The representative explained that I was getting a special deal given that I’m a high-value customer. I was told that ‘lesser value Rogers customers’ face up-to a $50 premium over the advertised $199/$299 prices.  I didn’t feel special!

30 Day Buyer’s Remorse Returns

Summary: iPhone purchasers can return an iPhone for a full refund and without having to pay the Early Cancellation Fees discussed below provided all of the following conditions are met:

  1. the iPhone is returned within 30 days of activation to the store where it was purchased;
  2. you have used less than 30 minutes of airtime (no more than 29 minutes);
  3. you provide your proof of purchase (receipt – contract); and
  4. the iPhone is undamaged and returned ‘like new’ with all pieces and original packaging.

CONTINUE READING →

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How to Set Podcasts to Auto Delete From Your iPod – Updated March 18 2009

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ipod I’m writing this in the event there are avid iPod/iTunes podcast users that, like me, didn’t know they can set iTunes to auto-delete podcasts after they have finished with them.

I listen to/watch anywhere from 2 to 10 podcasts every day. For years it has been a pet peeve of mine that I had to use iTunes to manually delete podcasts that I have listened to/watched in order to delete them from the iPod. I couldn’t understand why Apple didn’t provide an option on the iPod to delete podcasts I was finished with.

Turns out that unbeknownst to me, auto-podcast-delete functionality has been there for quite some time – just not how I expected. iTunes has had a function to do exactly what I wanted it to do – auto delete podcasts when finished – since version 4.9.

 Homer - doh!

Note: These instructions are for Windows users. The process may be different on Apple PCs.

[March 17, 2009 Update: The iTunes software has changed since I originally wrote this post. Previously, podcast settings were set ‘across the board’ in the Podcasts tab from the the Edit/Preferences menu. Since the fall of 2008, iTunes allows/requires you to set such preferences for each individual podcast. Hence, I have two “Here’s How” sections below to reflect the changes.]

[March 22, 2009 Update: Josh Baltzell pointed out in the comments section below that there is a delete option on the iPod Touch and the iPhone. When viewing the episodes list on the device, you can swipe from right to left to bring up a red delete button. While it works (ie: deletes the podcast from the list), unfortunately it does not permanently delete the podcast or result in it being deleted in iTunes after the next sync. Indeed, unless you ‘finish’ the podcast (or fast forward to the end after listen) as instructed below, it will return to the list after the next sync.]

Here’s How- in iTunes 8 (post-Fall 2008)

With iTunes 8, there are no longer universal podcast settings. Rather you set your auto-delete and other preferences for each individual podcast as follows.

  • Allow Auto Delete for Each Podcast: First, right click on the podcast that you want to auto-delete and click on the “Allow Auto Delete” item (shown in picture below) from the menu. If the ‘Allow Auto Delete’ option is not available (you will instead see a ‘Do Not Auto Delete’ option) that means auto delete is already permitted for that podcast.

itunes - podcast - allow auto delete

  • Change Podcast Settings: With the podcast in question still highlighted, click the “Settings” button at the bottom of the podcast list.

iTunes 8 - podcast settings button

  • Keep All Unplayed Episodes: On the resulting Podcast Settings screen, make sure ‘Use Default Settings’ is unchecked. Then  select “All unplayed episodes” from the ‘Episodes to keep:” pull-down menu:

iTunes 8 - podcast settings - episodes to keep - all unplayed episodes

That’s pretty much it. Do this again and again for each podcast.

Now, when you have "finished" listening to/watching podcasts, the next time you sync, if you forced the finish (as discussed below) the play count for that podcast will increment to 1 (indicating it has been played) and the podcast will auto deleted from your iPod and iTunes. Note: Don’t forget to read the ‘Two Minor Gotchas” section below.

Here’s How – Pre Fall 2008 iTunes Versions

For those of you still using older iTunes software, on the "podcasts" tab in the the iTunes Edit/Preferences screen select the Keep: "All unplayed Episodes" (circled in red below).

iTunes - keep all unplayed episodes option

That’s pretty much it.

Now, when you have "finished" listening to/watching podcasts, the next time you sync, if you forced the finish (as discussed below), the play count for that podcast will increment to 1 and the podcast will be deleted from your iPod and iTunes.

Two Minor Gotchas

1. Need to Force a "Finish":

You’ll notice I put "finished" in quotes above. The reason is because, your being "finished" with it may not be exactly what iTunes needs for this to work. Read on.

In order to make sure that partially listened-to podcasts aren’t deleted before their time, the iPod will only delete the podcast from your iPod when it has been fully listened to/watched. So, if you are 3/4 the way through a podcast (or stop even a few seconds from the end) iTunes considers that podcast not fully listened-to. So it is left in your iPod list for you to continue listening/watching where you left off.

The problem: I usually stop listening to podcasts a couple minutes before the end. I don’t, for example, usually listen to closing outro music or to the podcaster’s goodbyes. So, when I stop and move on to the next podcast iTunes doesn’t consider this to be a fully listened-to podcast, does not increment the play count to ’1′ and therefore doesn’t automatically delete it.

Solution: When you are done with a podcast, before moving on to the next podcast, use the iPod’s/iPhone’s fast forward/scrubbing function, to zoom to the end of the finished podcast, thereby forcing the play count to increment to 1. This will result in an auto deletion during your next iPod sync.

2. Auto Delete in iTunes Occurs Only After Next Refresh

While the podcast will be deleted from the iPod on the next sync, it will not be removed from the iTunes podcast list until after the next iTunes podcast refresh.

Solution: If you really care, press the "refresh" button in iTunes after syncing. This will force the refresh which will then delete the fully listened-to podcasts. Otherwise, the solution is patience. Assuming your iTunes is set to refresh the podcast list at least once a day, it shouldn’t take more than a day for fully listened–to podcasts to disappear from the iTunes podcast list.

Bottom Line: If you follow the advice above, you’ll never have to manually delete a podcast again.

A Note About Podcasts on AppleTV

I inadvertently discovered the iPod/iTunes auto-delete functionality when I was looking into whether there is an auto-delete function for video podcasts watched on the AppleTV. Having to manually delete them with my current TiVo video podcast solution was starting to annoy me.

The same rules apply to podcasts watched on Apple TV. If you want synced podcast to delete from your AppleTV, fast forward to the end when finished.

Apple Please Give Us a Delete Button

For years now I have wanted a podcast delete button on my iPod/iPhone/AppleTV.  While there is a delete button option on the iPod Touch and iPhone, as of March 23, 2009 there is no permanent way to delete a podcast from these devices (and ultimately from iTunes) and no such function is planned for the iPhone 3.0 software release due out in summer 2009 that I am aware of. Now that we have ‘copy and paste’ its high-time we get a permanent podcast delete function. Don’t you agree?

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3G iPhone Reviews Rolling In

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Rogers Announces Expensive 3G iPhone Rate Plans – No Unlimited Access

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Rogers iPhone

Reference: Rogers iPhone Facts | RuinedPhone.com
[August 15, 2008 Update: Many of the questions and concerns discussed below are addressed in my newer post: Rogers Canadian iPhone Plans - The Fine Print]

[October 6, 2008 Update: As of October 3, 2008 Rogers has changed their iPhone plans again. Details are available here.]

Rogers has announced its (and its subsidiary Fido’s) long awaited Canadian 3G iPhone (details here) data plan pricing. The iPhone will become available in Canada, and around the world, on July 11.

Unlike AT&T and other international carriers, Rogers is not offering an unlimited data plan option. Rather it is bundling rather meagre data tiers to tiered voice plans at considerably higher prices than charged in Europe and the United States (see here). Here’s the details:

  • Minimum 3 Year Contract (AT&T offers U.S. customers the option: (i) of a 2 year contract; or (ii) to purchase of iPhone outright with no contract- see below)
  • $199 for 8GB 3G iPhone; $299 for 16GB (same as U.S. – announced by Steve Jobs but not yet officially confirmed by Rogers)
  • No Unlimited Data Plan. Rogers offers the following mixed monthly voice/data plans:
    • $60400 MB Data - 75 outgoing SMS - 150 minutes*;
    • $75750 MB Data - 100 outgoing SMS - 300 minutes;
    • $1001 GB Data - 200 outgoing SMS - 600 minutes;
    • $1152 GB Data - 300 outgoing SMS - 800 minutes;

*Minutes are weekday minutes. Rates do note include $15 or $20 a month for an options such as Caller ID, more text messages and call forwarding.

[July 9, 2008 Update: Rogers announced a limited time $30, 6GB iPhone data plan that can be added on to any Rogers voice plan. This offer expires on August 31, 2008]

By way of comparison the cheapest US AT&T data plan costs $30 for unlimited data and $39.99 for voice which includes 450 minutes, no SMS messages, and unlimited U.S. long distance (for a combined $69.99 total) (See U.S. Plan details)
[See also U.K./U.S./Cdn Price Plan Comparisons]

  • $6.95 monthly system access charge is charged by Rogers/Fido on top of data plans. (AT&T does not charge a monthly access plan but does charge a one time $36 activation fee for newbies, $18 for upgrades for existing iPhone customers)
  • 3G iPhoneAll Rogers plans include unlimited:
  • ‘Subsidized Only’ There is no option to purchase the phone at full price to avoid the 3 year minimum contract and cancellation fees (a practice prohibited in some European countries and under review by the U.S. FCC). U.S. users will be able to purchase their iPhone’s without a contract for  $599/$699.

CONTINUE READING →

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$35 Rogers iPhone Unlimited Rate Plan Leaked – Rumoured

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Rogers iPhone

[June 28, 2008 Update: Rogers announced its actual rate plans on June 27. Click here for the details. I'm leaving this rumour post as it was for posterity.]

This post on the ehMac.ca forum purports to have the details on Rogers/Fido rate plans for the 3G iPhone set for release on July 11. This was picked up by the Financial Post here, giving it enough credibility for me to blog about.

[July 20, 2008 Update: According to this article in the Toronto Star, the pricing plan set out below is wrong.  Here’s what the Star.com says:

Under the new model, smartphone users can choose between "flex" and "non-flex" plans with buckets of data that range in price from $60 for 1 gigabyte to $100 for 6 gigabytes. The plans are purchased in addition to a voice plan.]

[July 19, 5:28 pm Update: AppleInsider is questioning the veracity of this ‘leak’ here. They point out the purported leaked Rogers memo looks identical to an earlier AT&T memo. This could be a completely bogus cut and paste fake.]

Summary of the Salient Points

  • $35 Unlimited Data Plan: Rogers (and its subsidiary  Fido) will offer an unlimited data plan for $35 ($45 for enterprise customers), on top of your regular cell phone bill.
  • 3 Year Contract Commitment: Rogers will require you to commit to three years of service. No word on what the early termination penalties are.
  • “No ‘No Commitment’ Option: There will be no option to purchase a non-subsidized phone without a commitment.
  • $199 (8GB) and $299 (16GB) Device Costs: This is the same as in the U.S.
  • 30 Day Return Policy: If you don’t like the device you can return it within 30 days without breaking the long-term contract.
  • Mandatory In-Store Activation: Just like in the U.S.
  • No Word on SMS: Since SMS is nothing but data it should be included in an unlimited data plan. But, AT&T is charging extra for SMS messaging. Sadly, I’d expect Rogers to follow suit. This just means I won’t use SMS

This Would be Terrific

If this is true, it would be generally terrific news and a huge departure from the exorbitant data plan rates of the past. I concluded in this post that I would be willing to pay up to $50 a month for a decent data plan.

Long Term Contracts – Ugh

I do not like long-term contracts. I have always purchased my cell phones at full retail price to leave my exit options open.

There should be a law in Canada, as there is in France, mandating that carriers provide an option to purchase the device without a contract. This tried-and true carrier lock-in-by-contract technique is anti-competitive. It will keep Rogers/Fido users from switching to Bell/Telus when they start selling IPhones on their GSM overlay systems – due to be completed in a year or so.

But, if the penalty for breaking the contract is around $200 or less, I’ll take it. I’ll just consider it a cost of the phone.

Cross Border SIM Card Question

One big question I have is, can I take the SIM card out of the iPhone and use a U.S. AT&T SIM if/when I move back to the U.S. Yes, I know I’d have to pay the penalty to break my contract but I’d like to know if I purchase the 3G iPhone (especially if I pay the penalty) that I can take it with me if/when I move South. It angered me greatly when I returned from the U.S. years ago only to discover that I couldn’t use my the AT&T Motorola GSM phone that I payed full-retail price for on Rogers GSM network.

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3G iPhone, Yes But…

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3G iPhoneIn episode 147 of This Week in Tech, Leo highlights a few of the ‘yes, but… ‘ shortcomings of the latest 3G iPhone offering.

  • Limited 3G Availability: AT&T’s 3G HSDPA is only available in limited U.S. geographical areas (I don’t know how widespread Rogers 3G Network is)>
  • Higher Dataplan Rates: The unlimited data plan price for U.S. consumers has gone up from $25 a month to $30 a month (a price point Canadians still salivate over) .
  • 3G iPhone's New AppsSMS Not Included: AT&T will charge 10 cents per 140 bytes (characters). This is ‘odd’ because SMS is only data. But carrier’s excel at squeezing every last penny out of their users. This is clearly a cash cow they intend to milk as long as they can (Android, please come to our rescue).
  • Turn by Turn GPS Prohibited: Not only doesn’t the 3G iPhone not provide turn by turn GPS,  but Apple’s SDK prohibits developers from writing turn by turn GPS programs. My guess is Apple intends to launch a for-pay turn by turn service in the future. One wonders whether the SDK prohibition violates anti-trust laws.

CONTINUE READING →

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3G iPhone Coming to Canada July 11 – $199 – $299

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3G iPhone 
June 9, 2008 WWDC 2008 Keynote Announcing 3G iPhone

  • New 3G iPhone: “Twice the speed, half the price” – Details on U.S. Apple Website here (Canadian details here)
  • Launching on July 11: in Canada (on Rogers and Fido networks) and 23 other new countries  
  • 3G Speeds Approaching wifi Speeds: U.S. details here (Canadian details here)
  • Lower Pricing  (U.S. pricing – hardware price identical in Canada)
    • $199 for 8MB iPhone (to put this in context the 8MB iPhone launched at $599 just last year and was $399 up to today )
    • $299 for 16GB
    • $30/ month for U.S. Consumers AT&T unlimited data plan (on top of voice contract).
    • $45/month for U.S. Business Users.
    • [June 28 Update: Disappointing Canadian tiered data plan announced – see details)
  • Built in GPS: Satellite GPS supplemented by data from cell towers. U.S. details here (Canadian details here)
  • Increased Battery Life:
    • 300 hours (6 weeks) standby
    • 24 hours audio (music/podcasts)
    • 7 hours video
    • 5-6 hours 3G surfing
    • 5 hours 3G talk (10 hours 2G talk)
    • no GPS battery details yet

CONTINUE READING →

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