Dale Dietrich
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Category — iPhone

Best iOS 7 Enhhancement – DYNAMIC TYPE

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For years iOS has had a ‘system-wide’ font size option that allows you to set a font size of choice. Apps that support it will use the larger font size. Of course virtually no apps ever did support it and my aging eyes have been yearning for the larger screen Android’s out there.

I have had iOS 7 since August but didn’t know about its ‘new’ Dynamic Type option until today. Many apps have updates to be compatible with iOS 7. Flipboard recently included a feature that allowed the user to set a preferred font (Yay! Made it usable). Well, when Flipboard updated itself, it popped up a message that said “We see that you had set a font preference, from now on we will be using your system wide Dynamic Type preference”. Say what? I kinda ignored this until I noticed that my AnyList app (best grocery list app out there by the way) does the same thing. It now supports the system wide Dynamic Type choice. So, I looked it up in settings. In the past iOS gave you a choice of, maybe 6 or 7 font sizes – but, again, the only apps that ever supported that were email and messaging. The new Dynamic Type setting (see image) gives you a much broader array of font sizes to choose from. So, I set it to quite large.
CONTINUE READING →

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Fine Tip–Tip Calculator

Categories: developmentiPhonelifemobile apps
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Buy in the iTunes App Store – $0.99

I’m delighted to announce that the Apple App Store accepted my first iPhone app, Fine Tip – Tip Calculator, on my first try. You can use Fine Tip to quickly calculate your next restaurant bill’s tip and grand total. It’s fast and easy to use. Take a look at the demo/tutorial:

Fine Tip, Tip Calculator Tutorial

Features:

  • image_thumb5Fast, Elegant, Accurate, Full-Featured, Yet Easy to Use
  • All Controls on One Screen
  • Calculate Tip Based on Subtotal or Total: Calculate the appropriate tip on either the pre-tax subtotal amount (shown in image on right) or the after tax bill total.
  • Easily Adjust Tip Amount: As you slide the ‘Tip %’ slider up and down, the tip and grand total amounts adjust on the fly.
  • Round the Tip: Make it easy for the server to receive their tip. Use the + / – buttons to successively round the tip amount up or down in 25 cent increments (eg: to $12,00, $12.25, $12.50 etc.). The grand total (Total + Tip) amount and effective tip rate indicator adjust on the fly.
  • Round the Grand Total: Alternatively round the grand total (Total + Tip) amount up or down in 25 cent increments. In the example to the right, down to $100.00 even or, say, up to $101.00 even). The tip amount and effective tip rate indicator adjust on the fly.
  • Split the Bill: Use the ‘Split’ slider to split the bill between multiple parties and the applicable per person tip and grand total (Total + Tip) amounts will be shown.
  • Personalized Multi-party Tipping: Pass Fine Tip around to other people in your party so they can bump their personal tip or grand total amounts up or down as they choose.
  • CONTINUE READING →

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    Apple’s New ‘Podcasts’ App a Disappointment

    Categories: iPadiPhonemobile appssoftware
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    imageYears have passed with no significant changes made to the podcast functionality built into the iTunes (now Music) app.  As a daily consumer of podcasts, I had high hopes for Apple’s newly released (June 26, 2012) ‘Podcasts’ app.

    While some improvements were made – namely the ability to directly subscribe to podcasts from within the app – for several reasons, I will remain loyal to Downcast:

    • Direct Updates, But No Wi-Fi-Only Updates: The most important new feature of Apple’s new ‘Podcasts’ app is its ability to directly subscribe to podcasts from within the app without the need to physically connect the iPhone/iPod to a computer. Inexplicably, Apple provides no setting to limit such updates when connected to Wi-Fi only. Without this feature, Podcasts users will quickly see their monthly bandwidth allotments eaten up by podcasts downloads. This is a major fail!
    • 30 Second Skip & Instant Replay, But No Ear-bud Control: Finally Apple built-in the ability to skip forward 30 seconds. Instant replay has been built-in for years. But, surprisingly, you cannot trigger this functionality with the ear-bud controls. I listen to hours of podcasts every day through my ear-buds. While walking dogs, carrying a baby or out in the winter, I do not want to have to reach into my pockets every few minutes to skip forward or rewind a podcast. And there is no Siri control of podcast playback either.  Grrr!

    CONTINUE READING →

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    I Was Eligible for the Free 25GB SkyDrive Upgrade

    Categories: cloud computinginternetiPhone
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    image

    Yay, I was eligible for the free 25GB Skydrive upgrade (vs 7GB for new users). To see if you are eligible for the free Skydrive upgrade click here.

    Because I used Windows Live Mesh in the past (or maybe because I tested out Skydrive in the past, I don’t know), I was eligible for the free upgrade. Without this free upgrade I probably wouldn’t have used either Google Drive or SkyDrive because their free storage options (5GB and 7GB respectively) were not quite large enough to contain all the contents of my pictures (7.5GB) and key files (2.5GB) directories.

    While I was an enthusiastic early user of Dropbox, I prefer SkyDrive over the new Google Drive and DropBox primarily because I can sync any number of disparate existing folders from my PC. Google Drive and Dropbox limit your sharing to only one dedicated folder.

    [Update: After reading the Paul Thurrott piece listed below, I discovered that, unlike Live Mesh before it, Sky Drive does not yet allow you to sync multiple disparate folders Sad smile . It appears to have the same dedicated folder limitation that Google Drive and Dropbox have. Alas, while I’m happy to have the 25GB upgrade, it won’t be used until I can use SkyDrive to sync multiple folders.]

    CONTINUE READING →

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    Easily Rotate iPhone 4S Videos with Freemake Video Converter

    Categories: geekhow-toiPhoneresolving tech problemssoftwareutilitieswindows 7
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    image

    There is a known video rotation issue when importing videos into Windows 7 that were taken in landscape mode with the iPhone 4 and 4S . In Windows, iPhone videos will be upside down if, when you took them, you held the iPhone horizontally with the recording on/off controls at the top. Turns out that if you want your video to be right-side-up when importing them to the PC you will need to hold the iPhone upside down when taking the video.

    Also, all videos taken in portrait mode on the iPhone will appear sideways when imported onto the PC. There is no way to take portrait videos on the iPhone 4 and 4S without them appearing sideways on the PC.

    In the video below I show you how to use the terrific free ‘Freemake Video Converter’ app to solve this problem by rotating your imported videos to the proper orientation.

    CONTINUE READING →

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    Easily Rotate Locked iPhone 4 and 4S Photos in Windows 7 with the Free JPEG Lossless Rotator

    Categories: geekhow-toiPhoneresolving tech problemssoftwareutilitieswindows 7
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    image

    There is a known Windows 7  rotation issue with portrait photos taken with the iPhone 4 and 4S. Unlike with the 3G or 3GS, photos taken in portrait mode on the iPhone 4 and 4S do not auto-rotate when imported in to Windows 7. This is the case: (i) whether you sync your photos via iCloud; or (ii) whether you physically import them via USB; even when you explicitly set the Windows import utility to auto-rotate them on import. The issue is being discussed here, here , here and here on the Apple support forums and here on the Microsoft support forum.

    To make matters worse, a good portion of these photos end up locked in such a way that you cannot subsequently rotate them with the various photo rotate tools built in to Windows 7 (see error message in the image above).

    CONTINUE READING →

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    iOS 4.0.1 Fixes iPhone 3G Performance Problems Somewhat

    Categories: gadgetsiPhone
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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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    New iOS 4 (formerly iPhone OS) Features

    Categories: iPhonemobile
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    iOS 4 on iPhone 4 devices As with the rest of the world, I have upgraded to iOS 4. Straight from the update install screen itself, below is the list of new features included in this update.

    See Also: TiPb’s terrific iOS4 Walkthrough.

    * Requires iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, and iPod touch 3rd generation
    ** Requires iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, or iPhone 4

    Be Warned: Downloading and installing the update takes awhile. It took iTunes and my 16 GB iPhone well over an hour to be updated.

    —–

    This update contains over 100 new features, including the following:

    • Multitasking support for third-party apps*
      – Multitasking user interface to quickly move between
         apps
      – Support for audio apps to play in the background
      – VoIP apps can receive and maintain calls in the
         background or when device is asleep
      – Apps can monitor location and take action while
         running in the background
      – Alerts and messages can be pushed to apps using
         push and local notifications
      – Apps can complete tasks in the background
    • Folders to better organize and access apps
    • Home screen Wallpaper*

    CONTINUE READING →

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    How to Sync only Selected Outlook 2010 Contacts with Google Apps Sync

    Categories: cloud computinghow-toiPhonemobilesmall office
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    Google Apps Sync (see video below) for Outlook is a Godsend!

     

    Until recently I was using:

    Until Google Apps Sync I had no way of syncing contacts between Outlook and Gmail. When iTunes version 9.1 crapped out and stopped syncing contacts and calendar with my iPhone (this was fixed in iTunes 9.2 by the way) I made the decision to pony up the $50 a year for Google Apps Premier which includes Google Apps Sync.

    It was worth every penny. I am rid the sync hodge-podge described above. I now have an end-to end, email, calendar, contact sync solution across my PCs, Google Apps Gmail, my iPhone and my iPad.

    The Problem – How to Sync Only Selected Contacts

    I only want a relatively few current contacts synced from Outlook to Gmail, my iPhone and iPad – about 250 or so contacts. But, I have accumulated some 800 contacts including historic clients and colleagues from prior law firms, restaurants from when I lived in different cities, old friends I no longer keep in touch with and so on. I don’t want to lose these contacts but I also don’t want them cluttering up my Google Apps Gmail, iPhone or iPad contact lists.

    While you can segregate contacts within different contact folders inside the Google Apps Sync account in Outlook, all contacts such segregated contacts continue to sync into the unified Gmail, iPhone and iPad contact lists – regardless of the contact folder structure you set up inside of Outlook.

    CONTINUE READING →

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    Seesmic Twitter App for iPhone Not for Me. Sticking with the Official Twitter App (aka Tweetie 3)

    Categories: interactive mediaiPhonemobilesocial networking
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    seesmic iphone app icon I tested out the Seesmic iPhone App today. Seesmic on the web is my current preferred method of viewing tweets on the Twitter iPhone app icondesktop. While the iPhone app is a terrific start, given the deal breaker points discussed below (not remembering where the user leaves off in the timeline, no landscape viewing modes and no ability to adjust fonts), I’m sticking with the new official Twitter App (aka Tweetie 3) on my iPhone – bugs and all.

    Seesmic Pros:

    • ITS FREE
    • NICE INTERFACE: It has a terrific and elegant interface.
    • CLASSIC RT: It supports classic ‘RT’ retweeting.
    • EVERNOTE INTEGRATION: You can now post a tweet to your Evernote database with the click of a button. I love this idea! I hope more twitter apps (iPhone or desktop) add this feature in the future.
    • UNLIMITED LOAD OLDER TWEETS: It supports unlimited ‘Load older…” tweets at the end of the timeline (something that the Twitter App also supports in theory but is often buggy)
    • WICKED FAST: It is surprisingly fast when loading those older tweets. It is faster than the Twitter app, Tweetdeck and Echofon.
    • ADJUSTABLE ‘TWEETS LOADED’ SETTING: I like the ability to set how many tweets it downloads at a time. I always set these to the max – usually 100.

    Seesmic Cons:

    • DOESN’T REMEMBER WHERE YOU LEFT OFF ON START: I try to read every tweet from the limited number of people I follow. To do this I want my Twitter app to start up where I last left off. The Seesmic iPhone does NOT remember where I left off when I shut down the app and restart it – even if I shut it down for just for a minute and come back. THIS IS A CRITICAL FLAW AND DEAL BREAKER FOR ME!
    • DOESN’T REMEMBER WHERE YOU WERE WHEN RETURNING FROM LINK: If you are, say, 5 hours down your timeline, and then you click on a link in a tweet to read a linked story within Seesmic’s embedded browser, when you return, you are returned to the TOP of the timeline – not where you left off. You must scroll down and find where you left off in the timeline. If you left off beyond the 100 tweets loaded, you have to reload the older tweets. VERY ANNOYING & ANOTHER DEAL KILLER!
    • NO LANDSCAPE MODE: It’s all portrait all the time. This is especially painful when viewing websites within its embedded browser. THIS WAS ALSO A DEAL KILLER FOR ME (Twitter App & Echofon do landscape – Tweetdeck doesn’t)
    • NO USER SELECTABLE FONT SIZE: My aging eyes need this!! Another deal killer for me. I note Tweetdeck also cannot adjust fonts whereas the Twitter app and Echofon can

    CONTINUE READING →

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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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    How to Get U.S.-only iPhone Apps with Hotspot Shield

    Categories: canadahealthy eatinghow-toiPhone
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    hotspot shield logo With a few easy steps that take only minutes to complete, iPhone users the world round can get access to some (but not all) of the iPhone Apps that are only available in the U.S.. I’m surprised it took me so long to try this.  I just used it to d0wnload the Lose It! which was previously not available to me in Canada.

    [Note: Rogers is somehow still blocking Pandora and Skype even when I removed the SIM  card. Grrr! Here’s a Skype iPhone App workaround for Canadians – I haven’t tried it yet.]

    configuring a vpn on the iphone with hotspot shield Setup is a breeze. It took me about two minutes. You essentially set up a VPN connection to the U.S. through the HotSpot Shield servers. This, of course, would also be useful for safe surfing at coffee shops and other wifi locations.

    Once you have set up your account, configured and activated the VPN (see instructions below), navigate to the App Store on your iPhone. Search for the app you want and (if its there) download it. It’s that simple.

    Survives Desktop Sync

    I was concerned that if I downloaded apps this way, they would be wiped out after I synced my iPhone with iTunes to my desktop. Not so. The sync went fine and the apps remained on the iPhone.

    No Need to Keep VPN Turned On

    You only need to activate the VPN to download the app. Once downloaded, you can use the app with the VPN shut off.

    CONTINUE READING →

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    New iPhone 3G S Announced – Available June 19

    Categories: gadgetsinteractive mediaiPhone
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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

    Categories: gadgetshow-tointeractive mediaiPhone
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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

    Categories: gadgetsgeekinteractive mediaiPhone
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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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    Canadians Losing It! iPhone Apps Segregated by Jurisdiction

    Categories: canadahealthy eatingiPhone
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    lose it! iphone app The bloom has just been taken off my iPhone rose somewhat. Prior to today I thought all iPhone Apps were available in all jurisdictions. Turns out that is not the case.

    [June 25, 2009 Update: I was able to download Lose It! using Hotspot Shield on the iPhone. See my post: “How to Use Hotspot Shield to Get U.S.-only iPhone Apps” for details.]

    As a Canadian long suffering the woes of countless U.S. web-based and other consumer applications, products and services not being available here, I had been extraordinarily happy with the understanding that iPhone apps would not be blocked by national borders.

    After hearing so many comments on how terrific the ‘Lose It!’ iPhone App was, I decided to try it out today. When I tried to access it I got this error message:

    iTunes error message - your request could not be completed. The item you've requested is not currently available in the Canadian Store. 

    Sad, very sad!

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

    Categories: gadgetsgeekhow-tointeractive mediaiPhonesoftware
    Tags:

    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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    Bell & Telus Announce Canada-wide HSPA/GSM Network Starting 2010

    Categories: canadaiPhonepolicytelecom
    Tags:

    bell logo  telus logo

    Bell and Telus have announced the joint development of a long-rumoured, fast, nation-wide, HSPA wireless network to begin service as early as 2010.

    In the near term, the network will support both existing CDMA mobile handsets used by current Bell and Telus customers, plus GSM–based handsets.  GSM is the global standard currently used by Rogers in support of the iPhone, among other mobile devices.

    Over the longer term, this 4G network could ramp Canadian wireless download speeds to as fast as 100 Mbps. Current Canadian 3G networks have 7 Mbps maximum download speeds.

    CONTINUE READING →

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    Three iPhone Relaxation and Sleep Apps Reviewed

    Categories: iPhonelifemobile
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    imageSometimes I have difficulties falling asleep – I can’t seem to shut the mind off. For years I’ve considered purchasing rather high-priced sleep assist devices such as this white noise machine.  The idea is to help you fall asleep by distracting the mind with pleasing, relaxing sounds. But they always seemed too expensive and I was concerned they wouldn’t work.

    I was delighted to see the 99¢ “White Noise” app on the iPhone’s App Store “Top 25 Paid”  list. I thought for 99¢ I couldn’t go wrong. Turns out White Noise wasn’t so useful. So I went on to check out its competitors, Ambiance and aSleep, each of which are also 99¢.

    They  all provide essentially the same functionality – selectable looping sounds that can be set to turn off after a preset amount of time. But they all suffer from the same two problems:

    CONTINUE READING →

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    How to Sync ‘Work’ and ‘Home’ Email Addresses Between the iPhone and Outlook 2007 – Error Free

    Categories: cloud computinghow-toiPhonesoftware
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    iPhone to Outlook Contact Sync ExampleWhen adding contacts into each of the iPhone and Outlook 2007, there are built-in, distinct ‘home’, ‘work’/’business’ and ‘mobile’ telephone number fields. Yet, surprisingly, Outlook 2007 does not provide built-in, discreet ‘home’, ‘work’ or ‘other’ email address fields. Yet, the iPhone does!

    As a result of this disparity, you can get very odd results when synchronizing your iPhone and Outlook 2007 contacts. Unless you are aware of, and properly handling, how the syncing works, it will seem as if the iPhone randomly categorizes email addresses originating from Outlook 2007 as either ‘home’, ‘work’ or ‘other’.

    Happily, as described below, the Outlook and iPhone email fields do sync in a predictable way. With little effort, you can make sure that ‘home’, ‘work’ and ‘other’ email address fields are properly synched between Outlook 2007 and your iPhone.

    The Problem

    As you can see from the picture below (after the break), when adding new contacts in Outlook 2007, there are no built-in, discreet ‘home’, ‘work’, ‘business’ or ‘other’ email address fields. The only choice you have is the default non-numbered ‘E-mail…’ field, and the ‘E-mail 2’, and ‘E-mail 3’ fields (available from the pull-down menu).

    CONTINUE READING →

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    iPhone’s iPod Touch Features NOT Bricked with SIM Removed

    Categories: canadagadgetsinteractive mediaiPhone
    Tags:

    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

    Categories: cloud computinggadgetsgeekinteractive mediaiPhone
    Tags:

    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 App Development – Where to Start

    Categories: developmentiPhonemac
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    iPhone App Development - Harder Than You'd Think

    [October 4, 2012 Update]

    On September 27, 2012, Apple accepted my first app, Fine Tip – Tip Calculator (buy it here, read about it here) into the app store. For reasons I won’t get into, I abandoned iPhone app development back in the fall of 2009. In August 2012, I took up the torch again. Within one month I was able to complete my first app.

    Much has changed in three years. While most of what I wrote below still stands, ignore the book recommendations below. Instead, I strongly urge you to buy the two books below. Had they existed three years ago, I would have been able to develop my first app much quicker. I purchased them in August 2012 and had my first app done in less than a month:

    [End October 4, 2012 Update]

    [Original Post Last Updated: April 2009]

    How hard could it be, I asked myself. I’ve developed my own applications in Basic and C. I can configure an Apache Server, install and use PHP, MySQL and other server apps. I develop and maintain websites and blogs from my home server. Over the last 15 years I’ve taught myself HTML, PHP, MySQL, CSS and the basics of Java. How hard could it be to develop a small application for the iPhone?

    Let’s step back for a moment.

    I have a very particular program in mind that I’ve wanted for years. It’s a very simple program – perfect for the iPhone (more on that in future posts). I could whip it up in C or PHP in about a day. I’ve never owned, or even used, an Apple computer of any kind in my some 27ish years of computing. I regard the iPhone App Store as a revolutionary new idea that pries control of mobile device apps from the big-bad telco giants and puts it in the hands of average consumers and developers — where it belongs. I see cloud computing as a very important part of our collective computing future. I want to get in on the ground floor. If my first simple program works out, I want to develop an iPhone app to work with my wishhh.com service. After that, who knows.

    So, in August 2008 I registered to to join Apple’s standard developer programpurchased a Mac Mini (subsequently replaced it with an iMac) and set out to develop my first portable application for use on the iPhone.

    Minimum Hardware

    To develop for the iPhone you will need an Intel-based Mac running Leopard (OS X 10.5.3 or later). Any Mac released since 2006, laptop or desktop, should work.

    Piece of Cake for Mac Cocoa Developers

    If you have a solid grounding in Cocoa development (Apple’s Objective-C framework) with the xCode development on the Mac platform, developing iPhone Apps should be a breeze. Not so much for the rest of us.

    Learning Curve for the Rest of Us

    Below is a discussion of the  hurdles I have had to overcome and the online resources I’ve found useful in my bid to become the newest iPhone App developer:

    CONTINUE READING →

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

    Categories: canadacloud computinggadgetsinteractive mediaiPhone
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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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    Rogers Announces Expensive 3G iPhone Rate Plans – No Unlimited Access

    Categories: canadacloud computinggadgetsinteractive mediaiPhone
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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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