Power Support HD Anti-Glare Screen Protector for iPhone 4

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When I first got my iPhone 4, the screen seemed really durable. Through the first couple of weeks I didn’t have a single scratch. I wasn’t worried or careful about it, and that still hasn’t proved a problem.

However I was definitely sick of all the smudges and fingerprints, and how if there was enough fingerprints on the screen it would get difficult to even move my finger across the screen.

I didn’t think I would benefit from any kind of screen protector until I was at a class and tried a friend’s.  The anti-glare cover made it much easier and smoother to run my finger across the screen. It also didn’t attract fingerprints. Cool!

I got one of these for myself, and I’m quite happy with it. As I said, it doesn’t attract fingerprints, and makes it much easier to move my finger across the screen – two things you will benefit from every time you take the phone out of your pocket.

It all sounds good, right?

Well there’s only one drawback: having the screen protector will make your screen the tiniest bit blurry.

No, it’s not terrible – you can still easily read the text, and it doesn’t make much of a difference. But if you are picky about super sharp edges on everything, this may cause a problem to arise.

Sometimes people have a VERY hard time installing the protectors, usually because of lint and air bubbles.

Well, this screen protector has something new: a sticky, clingy sticker thing that you press against the screen and remove, bringing all of the dirt and dust with it.

However, if you’re buying this at an Apple store, you can usually get around all of that. They will install it for you, and they’re pretty good at it, too. They know all of the tips and tricks, and actually installed my screen protector FLAWLESSLY. Yes, there’s not a SINGLE SPECK of dust under that screen protector, and it lines up perfectly.

If you’re looking for a screen protector, this is the way to go. However, if you’re picky about your sharp lines, you should look into a crystal style screen protector, which, in addition to providing sharper edges, attracts more fingerprints.

The Power Support Anti-Glare Film Set (a pack of two) is available online here and at most Apple Retail Stores for only $15.

How-to: Change fonts in iOS

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Almost everyone is very used to the default iPhone font – Helvetica. It’s plain, simple, and easy to read.

People are usually just fine with Helvetica – but if you’re jailbroken, it might be a nice unique touch to change your font. And because text shows up EVERYWHERE in iOS, you’ll always get to enjoy your font change.

To change the font(s) on your iPhone, you’ll need an app called BytaFont from Cydia. Just open up Cydia, go to search, and type BytaFont and install it – no additional repos needed ;). If you have a Verizon iPhone 4, click here to read my post about 2 step jailbreaking.

After you’ve downloaded BytaFont, you can tap “Browse Fonts” to get a few options for browsing: Staff picks, most recent, most downloaded, most appreciated, alphabetical, and by category. Unfortunately it’s as hard to navigate as it sounds. The fonts under most appreciated are nearly impossible to read, and looking through a huge list of fonts (where all you see is the title of the font in Helvetica) doesn’t help me determine which font I’m looking for.

There are tons of fonts that are available for you to use (all for free, of course) from BytaFont. Some of them are basic, like Tin Birdhouse. Some of them are complex, like Halo 3 (which I simply just can’t read).

I decided that I liked the Ubuntu font. It’s clear and still easy to read, but it’s still different from boring helvetica. Here’s how it looks in a few situations on iOS.

Google+ iPhone App Awaiting Approval

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Google+ is already available via the web and an Android app, and now Google has submitted their iPhone app to Apple for approval into the app store.

Everyone knew that Google was going to develop an iPhone app for Google+ eventually, but we weren’t aware that they had already created a full app and submitted it.

If all goes well, the app will be available to iOS users in about two weeks.

But…

Who was here for Google Voice?

You may remember that the Google Voice app sat waiting for approval for months, and was eventually rejected.

Then google resubmitted it, this time not so happy. Apple finally approved it, and I currently have Google Voice on my iPhone.

I hope that Google+ doesn’t end up going down this same disapproval tunnel…

Only time will tell if Apple wants to really battle Google in this way, which could be cause for some kind of lawsuit from Google.

(Personally, I just want to get Google+ on my iPhone, lawsuits not necessary)

(via Mashable)

 

App of the week: Tiny Tower for iOS

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Tiny Tower is a simple, 8-bit graphics game. You own a tower in an urban metropolis, and your goal is to make money and build floors.  You start out by making a residential floor and moving people in. Then, you make a store and give the people who live on the residential floor jobs at the store. You make money from the store, and have to constantly keep the items in stock (and pay and even wait to restock it).

Once you have enough money, you can build another floor with another store.

And you just keep going trying to make your tower as high as possible. One of the coolest aspects of the game is that you have to wait; it takes time to restock supplies in your stores, and it can take hours to construct a new floor.

And having gritty, 8-bit graphics just makes the whole thing even more addicting.

Tiny Tower is compatible with the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad for a wallet-loving $0.

Click here to view it in iTunes.

Free WiFi Tethering with iPhone

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You may have read my post on tethering with Android.

However, I did switch over to iPhone!

Now, you can tether using the iPhone by paying AT&T or Verizon, and you’ll get a portable hotspot.

But that’s extremely expensive!

Here’s an easier way: MiWi.

MiWi is an application available from Cydia (you need to be jailbroken, if you have a Verizon iPhone 4 click here) for $20. That may sound expensive, but it’s much cheaper than spending $20 each month! If you have read elsewhere about the Sinful repo, you can get it for free, but that’s cheating the developer out of what he has earned, so I don’t encourage it.

Installation

If you know how to get apps from Cydia, skip this paragraph. If you don’t, continue reading. To get MiWi, open the Cydia app from your homescreen, wait for all of the data to “reload,” and click search. Type in MiWi, and tap the result. Then, click “Install” in the top right corner, followed by “Confirm.” Let it install, and then click the big black button at the bottom. MiWi will now be on your homescreen.

Use

MiWi is an extremely simple app.

Upon opening it, you will be greeted with three tethering possibilities: USB, Bluetooth, and WiFi.

Bluetooth is advertised to use mainly with iDevices, however I don’t like bluetooth tethering as it is unreliable compared to USB and WiFi tethering.

USB Tethering only works with Laptops, and I had a terrible experience with it. Although it may boast a faster connection, you need to get it connected in the first place. That’s where I had my problems.

So that leaves WiFi. And let me just say, getting WiFi to work is painlessly easy.

You can easily setup a WiFi Password, change your SSID (network name), and even control which computers are on the network. Even better, you will get a notification bar at the top of your screen that tells you how much has been downloaded and uploaded. Handy!

The speed isn’t too shabby either! I was able to crank 1.0MB/s down, which isn’t too bad. It works great for email and basic web browsing, but I wouldn’t try to stream video over it.

Conclusion

MiWi works great for WiFi tethering. But I wouldn’t recommend it for USB or Bluetooth, as they are far less reliable.

MobileNotifier

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As Zach Orr mentioned in a post about iOS 5 Notifications, MobileNotifier is pretty nice until iOS 5 comes out. Here’s a more in depth review.

The Basics

MobileNotifier has three main features. In-app notifications, Lockscreen Notifications, and Switcher Notifications.

In-app Notifications

Nothing’s more annoying than having a big blue block-up when you’re trying to navigate an app. If it’s playing a game or replying to an email, having a big blue window that blocks everything else is quite obnoxious. Mobilenotifier solves that issue in an extremely elegant way.

Instead of that annoying blue box, you’ll get a little notification at the top of your window with the icon and name of the app the notification is from.

Unobtrusive notifications

The left button saves it for later. The right opens the appropriate app.

 

When you tap on the notification, it will tell you the notification text then give you the option to go to the app right now or just ignore it. Or, you can not interact with it at all and the strip will disappear after a little while.

Lockscreen Notifications

Normally in iOS the lockscreen notifications suck just as much as the in-app notifications. It gives you a blue window with a cute little list of notifications. MobileNofifier gives you a list that you can scroll through of all of your notifications. Much nicer than the normal iOS notifications! Unfortunately, you can’t select the notifications  to open the appropriate app. But it’s still much nicer than usual!

This list is scrollable!

 

Switcher Notifications

Notifications end up here in one of two ways: either they are ignored in app, or they came in when your screen was locked (that’s how you can get to the appropriate app of the lockscreen notifications). The interface is identical to the lockscreen interface, but you can touch the notifications to open their appropriate apps.

This list is scrollable and interactive!

Installation

As you can tell, this notification is pretty nice.

And luckily, the installation is pretty easy! :)

Go into Cydia, tap Manage, tap Sources, tap Edit, and tap Add. When it asks for the URL, enter http://phajas.xen.prgmr.com/repo. Once that’s added, click search. Enter MobileNotifier, and install the result.

That wasn’t too hard, was it?

Conclusion

Until iOS 5 is released, MobileNotifier is quite a nice notification system.

Now, if you aren’t jailbroken, click here to go to a post on how to jailbreak the Verizon iPhone 4.

Enjoy!

 

Notification Revamp for iOS 5?

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I’m not the only one that says the iOS notification system is in DIRE need of a revamp. Apple’s current notification system is flawed, to say the least. Issues that seem to plague the user range from lack of information, to disruption in the middle of a game or video, to a lack of management. A few users have even gone to the extent to draw up some concepts of systems they would like to see implemented. The rumor mill is spinning up with the addition of widgets and a notification system change. iPhone users everywhere hold their breath for a total redraw of the system. But what are the top things users are looking for?

 

Home Screen Availability

iOS supports being able to push notifications while the phone is locked, but you can only ever see one at a time. Users have to unlock their phone and scroll through all of the apps that might have sent them at notification in order to find what they were notified about. Many concepts have combated this issue by putting all the user’s notifications right on the home screen as they happen. They’ll offer a just enough information for the user to get a sense of what the notification is about (emails show sender/title, tweets show the mentioner and the beginning of the message, texts show the sender and the beginning of the text). However, these notifications should be hide-able by the user on their home screen, in order to keep a minimalistic feel to the iPhone, and as not to block your cute cat lock screen wallpaper.

 

Minimalistic Notifications

One of the most annoying parts of Angry Birds, despite missing that last pig, is when your gameplay is interrupted by an annoying text message or notification. These concepts tackle this issue by allowing a customizable list of applications that while that app is running, the user will not have any notifications pushed to them. Concepts of a redesign of the notification message altogether put the messages unobtrusively at the top of the iPhone screen, as opposed to stopping everything and putting them right in the middle. Clicking them will allow a drop down of your usual options.

 

Management Area

All of these concepts also show a management area for notifications. Users are able to see all of their recent notifications, and clicking on them will result in an appropriate action. This allows a quick and easy way for users to see what notifications they might have missed while watching a video or playing a game. This helps to streamline notifications from a black hole of tones and pop ups to short snippets of information relating to the user.

 

 

We’re hoping to see some, or all, of these changes in Apple’s notification system during WWDC. If you can’t stand using the current notifications (or, worse, if we don’t see an update at WWDC) and you don’t mind voiding your warranty, you can jailbreak your phone and download MobileNotifier, which seems to be the front runner in jailbroken notification systems. Ssshhh, but don’t tell Apple!

 

Using AirPort express for AirPlay alongside a Time Capsule

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You may remember that a long time ago I reviewed the Time Capsule. It’s a wonderful wireless AP, and all of my data is totally safe.

But the Time Capsule doesn’t have AirPlay. On AirPort extremes and expresses, there is a headphone jack, and when connected, you can wirelessly stream your music to your speakers from your iDevice.

I’ve had an airport express for a long time, but I stopped using it when I got my time capsule. After hearing about the AirPlay improvements, I decided to break the thing out.

The AirPort Express creates its own WiFi network, and if I’m connected to that then I won’t be able to backup to my time capsule. Luckily, it is now possible to plug the AirPort Express directly into the Time Capsule, and have them both work as the same wireless network. This means that I can stream music AND backup at the same time!

With this all settled, you will now see the AirPlay icon appear on all of your devices. From this point on, it’s all extremely easy. Just tap the icon and up pops a menu of all AirPlay devices on the network. Tap the speaker system you wish to stream to Voila, we have wireless music!

If you’re on a computer, however, you can only stream your music from iTunes. That is, of course, unless you have an app called AirFoil.

This allows any application on your computer to output sound to your AirPlay speakers.

However, there’s a small issue.

There is a two second delay between when you cause the sound to happen and when it actually comes out of your speakers. On the iDevices, the movies are in sync because they are decoupled 2 seconds back. When you change the volume on your computer, you will see the small notification popup, yet you won’t hear anything for two seconds. Quite annoying.

For videos, AirFoil has included the “AirFoil Video Player.” I don’t know if it’s very good, as I can’t even get it to work without freezing and crashing.

In general, this system is simple and functional. But if you’re trying to stream content from your computer, you will notice an extremely distinct delay. It’s not like that audio quality isn’t good, so all audio (including pandora and other streaming services) work fine.

AirPort Express

AirFoil

Sphero by Orbotix

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While at CES I paid a visit to Sphero.

Sphero, in a nutshell, is a small robotic ball controlled by your smartphone.

The ball itself measures a few inches across and can glow any color across the RGB spectrum.

This thing is pretty cool.
There is a simple (but not too intuitive) driving app on your phone (Android or iPhone) that can control the Sphero as it just rolls around. However because sphero has an open API, the hope is that developers can use the sphero and integrate it into their apps. This means that game developers could create some really cool augmented reality (AR) games. And because it’s open, anybody can integrate the code into their apps.

Because of this I got to be an exhibitor for them. No, not an official exhibitor, but since I was such a good driver I got a t-shirt, and next thing you know all of the people at the booth are asking me questions (which of course I could answer). That was a really cool experience because I got to see both sides of CES.

One of the most popular questions was: Where can I get this thing?

Answer: We’ll see.

These little robots are still in prototype form, and there are less than 17 (maybe more by now) in existence, and the shells are pretty fragile at the moment.

The release of these guys is going to be in late 2011, where they will be available for less than $100. Yes, less than $100.

HOWEVER, you can pre-order one for yourself at http://gosphero.com.

These little things seem to have a lot of potential with one of my favorite associations: OPEN SOURCE!

Cortex+tumblr+organ=beauty

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There’s always that random thing you want to share with your friends.

Pictures, text, a conversation you had, you’ll always come across something.

Now usually for this we use facebook.

But if you want to share with the public, you usually use twitter.

But twitter is only text. I mean, it’s only 140 characters of it. If you want a picture in it, you have to add in a link that people have to click.

That’s why people have blogs.

But blogs can be a pain to post to. You have to login, create a new post, add in the stuff, then post it. It’s really not worth the time.

And blogs tend to look kinda standard. I mean, they can look nice, but they all look the same.

I have a solution for this.


Part 1: The blog

tumblr.

Tumblr is a customizable and free blogging platform that is easy to use.

Unlike others, you can post text, but it gives you separate things for text, links, conversations, audio, quotes, and video. And they all show up in their nice ways (quotes have “s around them to make them look quoty). It’s flexible and postable by mobile, and you can have it post to your twitter, facebook, etc.

tumblr.com

2. Time

Cortex.

I did a review of cortex a little while back and let me just say that it is still beautiful.

Cortex is a chrome extension for sharing things really fast. Here’s a demo video that I made (and that was used in the review of cortex on mashable, let me have you know):

As you can see, there is that magical t for you to post to tumblr, so you could use that to publish things quickly to your blog.

One cool thing about it is that you can use it to yes, share just the link to the webpage, but if you click and hold over an image it will share the image (and it will post it to tumblr like an image too). Select text and click and hold over that it will share the quote from the webpage (and yes, it will post it to tumblr like a quote). Click and hold over a youtube video and it will share the video, not a link (and YES, it will ALSO post it to tumblr like a video). It’s nice to see the cortex is so well integrated.

As I said, cortex is a chrome extension, so if you are desperate for sharing you may have to switch to chrome (which really isn’t such a bad thing let me have you kn0w).

Cortex homepage

Cortex on Chrome Extensions

3. Blog appearance

While it’s nice to have a blog in reverse chronological order with one thing on top of the other, you can spice it up a little but with an amazing theme called organ.

What it does it makes everything in to skinny rounded columns (reverse chronological order from right to left) and does different things depending on what they are.

Every different type of post has differently colored columns.

Pictures it will take a strip of the picture and show it in the column.

Everything text (text quotes links) it will adapt the text to go with the theme and then mumble jumble it in big letters down/across the column.

Now you may say “what the hell, I can’t see any of the text!”. Well, there’s an answer. Hover over a column and it will expand to show you a little bit more.

Hovering over the text will make the beginning of it drop down sideways in a single line. Then, you can click on the arrow that shows up at the top of the column and see the full posting.

It’s nice because at first it shows you a lot of posts in a very small space, then when one looks interesting you can hover over it, and if it’s a dud you can hover over another (without having the page have to reload) and if it’s a good one then you can click on the arrow to expand it (and wait for the page to load but it’s probably worth it).

To get this theme on your tumblr, choose to customize your site, click on theme on the top bar, and scroll WAY DOWN to the free themes and find the one called organ. It will be near fluid. :)


Personally I use this system to share EVERYTHING, so my site ends up looking like brain vomit. Because it’s so easy, I post to it ALL THE TIME. It’s nice because it’s constantly updated and there’s no thought put in to it. Oh, I think this looks cool. SHARED.

To check out my site done this way head on over to tumblr.maxswisher.com!

3as1ly Charg3 Cr3d1t Card5

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You are a babysitter.

You are a bartender.

You are a photographer.

You made a bet with a friend over a football game.

All of these require payments. And while yes, you could take cash, sometimes it’s just easier with a credit card, as the money goes straight from their account to your account and you don’t have to deal with any of this green paper stuff.

Usually, you have to have one of those little thingies that they have at supermarkets with a single-purposed computer just for making a bill and accepting a credit card. But now, you can be on your way to accepting credit cards for a very small amount.

The key to this whole task is Square.

Square is completely free and consists of two parts: An app for your iPhone, android, or iPad, and the physical Square card reader.

Amazingly, the square card reader works with all of these. One model for android AND iPhone AND iPad. How you say? This picture should sum pretty much everything up.

So in case you didn’t figure it all out from that picture, basically the square is a little plastic thing that you plug into the headphone jack that has a slot that you can slide a credit card though. In the app, you can select how much you want to charge.

Now after you have put in an amount and swiped the card, you have to sign to authorize it. Of course that would usually be done with first a pen and paper, but now you can with a stylus on one of those thingamajigs in supermarkets. With square, you are supposed to use your finger on the touchscreen, but that can be hard as we are used to having pens. So that’s why in addition to your app and a reader, you need a pogo sketch to go along with it.

That should pretty much explain it.

Now after you are done with all of this swiping and signing and lolly-gagging, its time to print a receipt. I don’t think so. Instead, you can have the receipt emailed to a specified email address. cool, eh?

So wherever you are, at a wedding or the house of a small child, you can always accept credit cards and let people sign and get their receipts without ever seeing a piece of paper.

Square

Pogo Sketch

Phone Compatibility matcher

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This is a general question to ask. You need to get a new phone, so you ask “which phone should I get?”

And most people these days go for a smartphone. iPhone or Droid are the only choices. By droid, I mean collectiveley the whole droid incredible 2 and x series. That part is up to you.

So here’s how this goes. Print out the first sheet and put a check next to every feature you are sure you would use very frequently and woule be helpful. No matter what, don’t check every option!!

Some of the options have an OR. This means you can only check one of the two.

Once you have filled out the sheet, print the second sheet. Put a check next to each number that you had checked on the first page. Add up the total number of checks for each column and look below to see which column means which score.

Hope this helps you decide whether to get Android or iPhone!

PAGE 1

PAGE 2

P.S. This was inspired by my science teacher Ms. Nabokov who created a similar sheet that determined if you were a tactile, visual, or auditory learner. Good idea!