How-to: Clean iPhone 4 Bumper Case

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The Bumber is a sleek case made by Apple for your iPhone 4. It only goes around the edges, and is mainly made to protect your phone from scratches (not-so-drop-proof).

The edges of the case are made of hard plastic; the front and back edges, however, are made of a soft rubber – which tends to hold on to a fair amount of dirt.

On the web there’s lots of different suggestions that were said to fail. However, I found a solution that seems to work quite well.

Materials:

Sink

Warm, running water

Windex

Dish soap

Goo-Gone/Goof-off/Orange based stain remover

Sponge

Towel/Rag

Instructions

First, remove the case from the phone. Please don’t skip this step – if you do, I can’t be held responsible for any damages that will inevitably result.

Next, start the hot water running. Add in a bit of all three ingredients – a few sprays of Windex, a squirt of Dish soap, and a few sprays/a pour of the goo-gone/goof-off/orange citrus based cleaner.

Stop the water when the sink is about half full.

Next, let the sponge soak some of this up and then submerge the bumper in the sink. Scrub the edges clean with the sponge.

Once the bumper is clean to your liking, drain the water. Run cold water and rinse off the bumper well.

Then use the towel to dry it off.

Congratulations, your bumper should be clean as new!

Parrot AR.Drone

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The AR.Drone is a french developed electronically advanced quatracopter. It’s a helicopter, but it has three blades. It is controlled via an iOS device through WiFi.

And It’s fun, but hard to fly.

I could go farther into depth with this, but I’m not going to.

Although it’s cool, it’s also ridiculously time consuming and expensive. Now, the AR.Drone itself is only $300. But over the course of three weeks it’s costed me over $500. Did I mentioned that I probably only got about two hours of time being able to fly it?

The real reason it’s so expensive is the repairs. You’re going to break every single piece of this thing, and the pieces aren’t too cheap when they all add up.

First, I broke a crosspiece. $30, plus two days shipping and an hour replacing it.

Then, I busted a gear. $30 later, I waited two days and spent about ten minutes replacing it.

Next, one of my batteries went bad. $40 and two days later, I fixed it.

And now, my main board is bad. But after all of those repairs, I’m not going to even order the replacement, as it’s $160 and would of course take another two days to come. Then I’d break something else and pay for another part.

This thing is fun when it works, but that’s a very small amount of time. That’s why I’m not going in to detail about it, as I’m going to save you the trouble to tell you this: Unless you have a college fund built up to repair it, don’t buy an AR.Drone.

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.

Oh, How Far Computers Have Come

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Computers have come a long way in the past half century. I’m going to compare two computers, one from 1946, the other from 2011.

Lets start out with one of the earliest computers, the ENIAC. ENIAC stands for Electronic Numerical Integrator and Calculator. It was able to do simple equations, like find the circumference of circles. It was able to process at 0.1 Mhz. To put this into perspective, the iPhone can run at 800Mhz, which is 8,000 times faster! The ENIAC weighed 30 tons, used more than 18,000 vacuum tubes, had 3000 switches, and produced the same amount of heat as 3,000 lightbulbs. Yet, it could only hold 20 numbers at a time!

Here’s a picture of this goliath dinosaur.

Now I’d like to introduce the new Habey SOM-6670 E6XX Tunnel Creek QSeven computer module (quite a name, right?).

Check out the size of this little thing:

The orange thing is post-it notes.

 

That little thing can pump out a bit more than 1GHz, which is 10,000 times faster than that ENIAC. And look at it’s size!

This tiny little computer is capable of decoding two 1080p HD video streams simultaneously to an external monitor. That ENIAC could barely contain 20 numbers!

If you don’t believe me, check out this video.

Pretty awesome, right?

As you can tell, computation has come extremely far in 65 years. Yes, the ENIAC was created in 1946!

And the speed of computer evolution only increases as time goes on. In only a few years, we will have some ridiculous technology. It was only a few years ago that laptops were big, bulky, and not so powerful. And now we have computers like the MacBook!

I’m quite excited for what the future of technology holds for all of us!

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!

 

Jailbreak iPhone 4 Verizon

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Yes, I got an iPhone 4.

Do I support apple’s business ethics?

No.

Do I think the iPhone is pretty and shiny? Yes.

Now, don’t think that I’m immediately jumping on the Apple bandwagon.

The very first thing that I did with this was jailbreak it.

If you have one of these suckers and are looking to jailbreak, I’m about to make it WAY easier for you.

But JUST so you know how much easier I’m making it for you, here’s the traditional way of doing it.

Traditional

You’ll need a few things: PwnageTool 4.2, the original IPSW for the Verizon iPhone 4, and the Pwnage bundle for 4.2.8.

First, download everything mentioned above. Unfortunately, all of the links on every other website are all dead. That means you have to go on a search on the internet looking for all of the above.

Then, open the package contents for PwnageTool 4.2, go into Contents>FirmwareBundles and click and drag the Pwnage bundle for 4.2.8 in.

Next, open up PwnageTool and select advanced. Drop in the IPSW for the Verizon iPhone 4, And hit continue, continue, continue, wait for ten or so minutes. In the end you’ll have an IPSW that you need to use.

In PwnageTool, select Put phone into DFU Mode to put the iPhone 4 into DFU. It gives you step by step instructions on what buttons to press and for how long. Once you’ve put it into DFU, open up iTunes and it will tell you that it detects an iPhone in recovery mode. In iTunes, select your iPhone, then hold down the option key while clicking restore. It will give you a selection window, where you need to browse to find the custom IPSW that you made with pwnagetool. Then, let it work its magic. After the restore is complete, you will have a jailbroken iPhone!

Easier way.

Time to make this much easier!

I am going to give you the custom built IPSW and the download for PwnageTool. That means that all you have to do is the very last paragraph! :)

Download the files

Now that link right there will download a ZIP of the Custom built IPSW and a copy of PwnageTool.

Then, just follow these directions:

In PwnageTool, select Put phone into DFU Mode to put the iPhone 4 into DFU. It gives you step by step instructions on what buttons to press and for how long. Once you’ve put it into DFU, open up iTunes and it will tell you that it detects an iPhone in recovery mode. In iTunes, select your iPhone, then hold down the option key while clicking restore. It will give you a selection window, where you need to browse to find the custom IPSW that you made with pwnagetool. Then, let it work its magic. After the restore is complete, you will have a jailbroken

The NEX-5 Revisited

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You may remember this review of the NEX-5 that I did.Well, it’s quite a while later and I just wanted to revisit this camera.I feel that the NEX-5 is proof that the size of your camera doesn’t mean that it’s more or less capable of taking great photos. The NEX has taken some amazing photos, and I never have to do any staging, fiddling with settings, or laboring by carrying a huge 10 pound SLR. Here’s a couple of the photos that I’ve taken with the NEX:

Long exposure shot from my backyard.

As you can tell, the NEX can take some dang good photos. It’s a small and compact camera, but it is still capable of taking amazing pictures without much effort. It’s a nice balance between the ease of use and size of a compact digital camera, but has near equivalent picture quality and advanced features as a full SLR. When you hold the camera in your hand it feels great, as it has some weight to it, but isn’t a huge SLR that’s a pain to carry. It’s nice to be able to have extremely great picture quality without having to go through the pain of carrying a bulky SLR.
And as you can tell from the pictures above, the NEX can take SLR photos without all of that bulkiness that advanced users may have gotten used to.
If you are interested in the NEX-5, please click here to read my full review and purchase it.

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!