O'Grady's PowerPage » Chris Barylick

The Apple Core: All the Protection Your iPhone Can Get

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Date: Tuesday, September 4th, 2007, 12:26
Category: The Apple Core

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One of my tech clients called last night and dropped one of those sort-of-hopeless problems in my lap. His beloved iPhone had been in his gym bag and decided to mate with the contents of a bottle of Gatorade.
Despite the blissful encounter, it wouldn’t turn on. And aside from telling him to dry it out and take it to the Apple Store, there wasn’t much I could do at the moment, much less over the phone.
PowerPage head honcho Jason O’Grady probably loves his iPhone even more than my client, perhaps to an irrational degree. Still, after a four-foot drop in which his iPhone suffered a few nicks, Jason’s decided to wrap his first-born digital baby in a ToughSkin for iPhone from Speck Products.
For the full details and his impressions, check out The Apple Core.
If you have a preferred iPhone skin, case or protection system of choice, let us know about it over in the comments or forums.


O2 Rumored to Have Locked Down European iPhone Deal

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, September 4th, 2007, 08:23
Category: Rumor

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With the iPhone due for release to the European markets in the next few months, the question as to which wireless carriers will be chosen to support the device has created fevered speculation.
According to Mobile Today, a major retailer stated that wireless carrier O2 has “taken the deal on the table from Apple”. Rather than haggling over strict terms, the company may have accepted an initial offer.
So far, no official statements have been made to confirm the deal, although there is a rumor that such an announcement would be made at O2’s opening of its Carphone Warehouse store in the Oxford Street area.
Apple has not responded to calls for comment.
If you have any thoughts or ideas about this, let us know in the comments or forums.


Adium X Updated to 1.1.2

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, September 4th, 2007, 08:49
Category: Software

On Monday, Adium X, the open-source instant messaging client with support for multiple programs (including AOL Instant Messenger, ICQ, Jabber, MSN, Yahoo! Google Talk, Bonjour, etc.) was updated to version 1.1.2.
The new version, a 13.9 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:
-Added preference to turn off the contact list animations (Preferences->Advanced->Contact List).
-Option+Close now closes all other tabs.
-Fixed a memory leak and potential visual glitch when viewing tooltips for contacts.
-Fixed display of AIM contacts after they return from being mobile via ‘forward to mobile’.
-Fixed retention of the ‘docked’ status of the contact list across launches.
-Fixed drawing glitches and improved performance in the Events preferences pane and Events tab of the Get Info window.
-Fixed default showing of offline contacts, which was turned on in 1.1. As of 1.1.2, this is off by default, as it was in versions of Adium prior to 1.1. This can always be changed from the View menu.
Click the jump for the full story…


Labor Day: 30 Years of Not-Quite-Wisdom

Posted by:
Date: Monday, September 3rd, 2007, 09:03
Category: Opinion

Welcome to Labor Day, 2007, here on the PowerPage.
The puppy in the picture has nothing to do with the iPhone.
With the rest of the country going through a national holiday, we’ve decided to do the same and queue up stories for tomorrow. Or at least use the opportunity to form a crude shanty town around our local Apple Store locations in anticipation of whatever they release by way of the new iPods at the special event slated to occur this week.
My 30th birthday was four days ago and, looking back at things, this was definitely one of the best ones I’ve ever had. Granted, I think I fit somewhere in the genus “Geezer” at the moment, but I’m calling it awesome on the whole. Between friends, family, assorted geekery and a cake that can become breakfast for a week (when you’re over 18, this is allowed) and a Clocky robotic alarm clock that flees from you via its wheels when you go to hit the snooze bar a second time, I’m calling myself ahead for the moment.
Here’s what I’ve learned in 30 years (there’ll be news galore tomorrow):
-The PowerBook 5300 series was a cruel, cruel joke and any remaining units should be hurled into the sea or the molten core of Mount Doom at the first available opportunity.
-When smoke rises from a SyQuest EZ135 drive you’ve hooked into a laptop running Windows 95, you’ve done something wrong.
-The eMac is a boat anchor. Anyone who tries to convince you is lying or already has too many anchors for their boat.
-Friends with OCD make for a strange mix. For this, I’m citing a friend who, in the dead of night, decided to get up and spend two hours reorganizing my living room. Upon waking up and wandering into the room, I found he’d moved my furniture, hooked up an unused speaker system to my tv and sorted my DVDs by title, genre and quality. He’s a good friend, but will one day reorganize and glue my office’s rolling chair to the ceiling to improve the room’s feng shui.
-Richard Dreyfuss probably fulfilled his role in the universe when he volunteered to be shark bait in the first “Jaws” movie.
-If you date a girl who’s willing to spend part of a weekend you to solder points on a circuit board, you’ve earned geek points.
-Jonathan Ive remains the best thing to happen to Apple’s design division. And if Apple needs to give him his own island-nation to keep him on staff, they should do so.
-There’s a good reason to have kids: their toys are going to be even more awesome than anything you grew up with. Never forget this.
-Perhaps the best thing ever:

-The top five arcade games of the 80’s, in no meaningful order: 1.) Dragon’s Lair. 2.) Spy Hunter 3.) Paperboy. 4.) Robocop. 5.) Gauntlet.
The Mighty Boosh and Elephant Larry remain some of the best comedy to come around in a long time.
-The iPhone seems to be running on the “Six Million Dollar Man” and “Bionic Woman” development cycle. Give it time, training and enough interest from the development community and they will make it the coolest thing ever. On the day the iPhone becomes truly mighty, it will get its own Steve Austin-esque track suit.


Ambrosia Releases iToner 1.0.0

Posted by:
Date: Friday, August 31st, 2007, 15:36
Category: iPhone

In other news, Ambrosia Software released version 1.0.0 of iToner, its custom ringtone transfer utility for the iPhone.
With iToner, users can drag MP3 or AAC format files onto the iToner application window, click the “Sync” button and port the ringtones to the iPhone. Ambrosia has stated that the ringtones will continue to function even in the face of iPhone firmware updates.
iTones retails for US$15 and is available as a 2.7 megabyte download.
The application is programmed as a Universal Binary and can run at native speeds on both PowerPC and Intel-based hardware. iToner requires Mac OS X 10.4.10 or later to run.
If you’ve tried the program and have either positive or negative feedback, let us know in the comments or forums.


Flip4Mac Beta Released

Posted by:
Date: Friday, August 31st, 2007, 08:03
Category: Software

It’s one of the most useful chunks of shareware out there and where Windows Media Player for the Mac went south so many years ago, this filled in perfectly.
Flip4Mac, the popular shareware collection of Windows Media components for QuickTime, has been updated via a public beta of version of the software.
The new version, a 7.6 megabyte download, resolves an issue with failed exports in Sorenson Squeeze.
Flip4Mac is available for free but can go as high as US$179 depending on the version purchased. The new version requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later and QuickTime 6.5.1 or later to run.
If you’ve tried the new version or have two cents to chip in about Flip4Mac, let us know in the comments or forums


User’s iPhone Explodes During Unlocking Effort

Posted by:
Date: Friday, August 31st, 2007, 07:32
Category: Hack

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Whether you feel it’s right or not, successful iPhone hardware hacks have been reported around the world. Some of these hacks have worked and the users seem pretty happy with the results.
Others have backfired and caused damage that’s nothing less than impossible to explain to the nice person behind the Genius Bar as accidental or the dog’s fault (such as the Wi-Fi or Bluetooth now refusing to work or the iPhone itself refusing to power up).
According to iPhone Atlas, a more severe example has arisen.
A relatively anonymous post to the Hackintosh forums provided this comment and showed this picture:
“We were so happy, all the software part was done, so we started opening the iphone. The antenna cover was a bit tricky but eventually it came off. Then we started to open the metal cover (after taking out the 3 screws) and PUFF, up it went in smoke, I think my collegue must have touched something. It literally went up in black smoke. I was so hot that when I tried to pick it up I burnt my fingers. So, this is for sure the most difficult part of the whole process. I don’t know what he did, as I had just stepped out of the room to fetch something when I heard a scream…they got such a fright.”


Although the iPhone is severely cool, there are certain provisos to follow when opening it up and trying to modify it: as in, be extremely careful, follow the directions and if you find US$499/US$599 wafting to the ceiling in the form of black smoke, try to have a sense of humor about it after the fact.
If you have any thoughts or feedback, let us know in the comments or forums.


Apple Publishes Five New Patents, Three Relating to Wi-Fi iPod Systems

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, August 30th, 2007, 12:50
Category: Patents

On Thursday, the United States Patent and Trademark Office published five new Apple patents under the titles “Methods and apparatuses for pixel transformations, Interface for defining aperture”, “Power management in a portable media delivery system”, “Dynamic power management in a portable media delivery system” and “Media delivery system with improved interaction.”
According to MacNN, the final three patents focus on Wi-Fi functionality in an iPod. Such a feature has been anticipated for some time and may come to light with the new iPods due out on September 5th.
Patent details are as follows:
“iPod Wi-Fi: Power management in a portable media delivery system”
Click the jump for the full story…


California Law May Ban Cell, Laptop Use in Cars by Teen Drivers

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, August 30th, 2007, 09:12
Category: Legal

A new bill which just passed the California assembly on Monday by a 62-5 vote may ban California drivers under 18 from using a cell phone, pager, text messaging device or laptop while driving.
The amendment aims to improve driver safety, one of the cited studies finding that while teenagers make up 6% of licensed drivers, they compromise 16% of auto accident fatalities.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the bill, which was previously approved by the state senate, will head back there for expected final approval of amendments before being placed on Governor Schwarzenegger’s desk. It’s unknown as to whether the Governor is expected to sign or veto it.
Opponents of the bill have argued that other distractions, such as CDs and music, continue to exist. Others have cited that hands-free devices, help remove the danger from using a device such as a cell phone in the car.
Click the jump for the full story…


DLO Releases OpenFM Application

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, August 30th, 2007, 08:49
Category: Software

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Filling in the category of “unexpected but kind of neat”, accessory manufacturer DLO has released OpenFM. The application, which is available for free, functions as a web site and allows web-based and iPhone users in the United States to find top-performing radio frequencies in their area.
OpenFM allows users to search by zip code or city/state and pulls up results from an active database of licensed FM broadcasters. According to MacMerc.com, the program uses a set of algorithms to match the database’s information against known locations of radio towers to determine the best FM frequencies to use. Returned results are categorized from “Best Bet” to “Good” to “OK”.
In addition to the iPhone application, DLO has also announced that it will be offering a web-based version as well as a widget version of OpenFM for Mac and Windows in the coming weeks.
If you’ve tried OpenFM or similar programs and have feedback, let us know in the comments or forums.