Anyone with a Macbook knows that the MagSafe (TM) tip for the charger is pretty cool – apart from the fact that you can’t get any third party accessories for it, because Apple don’t license it. My charger recently started getting rather temperamental due to kink in the cable. The damage was right next to the MagSafe (TM) tip, so I couldn’t just chop the cable and reconnect. I had a look on ebay, and discovered that there were some cheaper chargers available, and bought one. It turned up pretty quickly, and worked just fine. Once. I paid just over £20 for something that costs £58 from the Apple store (having just checked) so I shouldn’t be surprised that it wasn’t genuine Apple. I didn’t expect it to be made of cheese though. I cracked it open very easily, and desoldered the main lead and the tip with the intention of swapping it over to the original charger. No such luck. The Apple box was considerably better built, and resisted my attempts to open it. I ended up cutting the lead, and connecting the old wire to the new wire and tip (which at least appears to be reasonable quality). That worked perfectly, but next time I’ll just go to the Apple Store – particularly because subsequent googling suggests that they might actually have replaced it for free.

One day I’ll get round to reading the manual for all the devices I use on a day to day basis. No doubt I’ll then discover lots of things I never knew – and from then on, life will be more productive, but more boring. In the meantime, I can continue to bump into cute features that surprise me.

I just discovered that if you drag a file to the iPhone Simulator, then it will open (or at least attempt to) the file in Safari. It works for images – very useful for adding images to the PhotoLibrary. I’ve just tried it on a PDF, text, and HTML file, and they all worked as well. A lot easier than typing in the URL to your test site.

I am pretty network agnostic. If I were buying a new phone contract tomorrow, I would not really care which network operator I used. Obviously I’d check out the details of the contract – but the name of the operator is not significant. With one exception – they have to issue a PAC code over the phone. If an operator isn’t prepared to let me leave, then I’m not prepared to join them in the first place. Continue reading

Over here at Airsource, we’re not exactly retro, but we do care about computing resources, especially bandwidth. We like small sleek applications that perform well, not applications that use excess bandwidth, and run twenty times slower than necessary. With that in mind, I picked a relatively simple iPhone application that displays a currency exchange rate and a graph of recent historical movement, and measured its bandwidth usage. The results were amazing. Continue reading

I couldn’t get to sleep last night, so instead I did a quick pass through the new apps on the AppStore to see what exciting applications (or tip calculators) were now available. I noticed that “Pull My Finger” is now available, which, errr, makes noises. Whoopee, I thought! Just what I’ve been waiting for. Funny, though, I’m sure that was rejected by Apple not so long ago. Wonder if they’re having a change of fart, I mean heart?

Sure enough, a bit of digging showed that there are now several flatulent applications on the AppStore, all uploaded around 12-14th December. Seems like Apple may be loosening up

I just found another interesting article out there in the World Wild Web, over at Daring Fireball. Apparently, Google started publicizing the voice search feature some time before it actually reached the AppStore. The critical phrase in the NYTimes article is

“…Users of the free application, which Apple is expected to make available as soon as Friday through its iTunes store…”

which suggests, in Daring Fireball’s analysis, that Google may have have pressured Apple to accept their application even though it violated the SDK agreement. Continue reading

Google recently admitted to breaking the AppStore rules in their iPhone application, which fuelled a growing wave of resentment, prompted by the belief that Google were abusing their position as industry leaders to gain a competitive advantage in the market. The critics claim that a similar application submitted by anyone else would be rejected by Apple and never make it to the AppStore. Why should there be one law for Google, and another for the plebian masses? Shouldn’t the Google application be pulled from the AppStore until they abide by the rules, as others have been? Continue reading

Donald Knuth, famously, does not have an email account. Instead, he replies to correspondence (by snail mail) about once every three months. I’m starting to appreciate his motivation. Now obviously, Donald isn’t in the business of selling, and his needs are slightly different to mine. But do I need to check my email so often?

One of the first things I do when I get a new phone is to get it hooked up to my IMAP account. On my iPhone, this is a trivial process – and checking my email is even easier. The result is that I end up compulsively checking it whenever I’m walking along. This morning, I suddenly realised that I didn’t need to check it, that any email I had received was highly unlikely be so urgent that it required reading Right Now yet not urgent enough to warrant phoning me. So I left my phone in my pocket, carried on walking, and enjoyed the view, with my right hand twitching towards my phone every so often.

Replying to email on an iPhone is a pain anyway. I rarely use it to send or reply – if I get an interesting message, I’ll almost certainly read it again later on my desktop, and reply from there. The device, unlike the aptly named Crackberry, is simply not optimised for it. If you never get a chance to sit down at your desk and process your email queue, then sure, you need a good mobile email client – i.e. a Blackberry. The iPhone is a great all-purpose device which meets my needs; that is getting information on the move, and demonstrating smart applications to clients. I don’t need to check my email every five seconds when I’m on the move – and from now on I won’t.

Seth Godin wrote a similarly minded article today called “The High Cost of Now” – worth a look.

Last week, the BBC reported on an upcoming version of Ubuntu for ARM “netbooks”. Pity there’s no article history; the title (currently Ubuntu set to debut on netbooks) originally said “smartphones” and the meta tags still mention smartphones[1] even though the article itself mentions nothing about Ubuntu on smartphones, but I could spend all day reporting on inconsistent reporting.

Linux on netbooks is nothing new — the MSI Wind launched with SUSE (apparently SLED, but only on the U90) as an option and the Eee PC has a Linux option (Xandros, according to Wikipedia). Getting smaller, the N770/N800/N810 use Maemo. Smaller still, plenty of Motorola phones run MOTOMAGX, the G1 runs Android, and the Freerunner comes with less closed-source software than a typical PC.[2]

No, the real news is an ARM/Ubuntu deal culminating in an ARM laptop.[3] Continue reading