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Category Archives: iPhone

This is a quick DIY procedure for Apple Mac users who want to create, store and stream movies (converted from DVD, downloaded online or from TiVo etc.) to their Macs — or at some very nominal cost, to iPod Touch, iPhone and/or iPads too. I do this to time-shift videos in a format that works for me, so I can watch them on demand — whenever, wherever and however I find the time to enjoy them.

When streaming a movie from server to client the movie is not downloaded — it plays on demand. No need to take time out to copy videos to the client device before watching them — using up valuable disk or RAM space in the process. The videos are stored in one location, the server, and are available for playback on one or more remote clients — on demand (just wait a few seconds for the initial buffer to set up). In lieu of the video being locally stored, you need to have a good network connection to your server. Read More »


In December I experienced a slew of problems related to using my legacy email address. Find my iPhone stopped working and mounting my iDisk and MobileMe became erratic. I could find nothing on the net suggesting there was a problem — let alone addressing it. Long story short, I had to change all my logins, on my mac and on my iPhones to (the fully qualified email address, not just my account name) to resolve the problems.

Possibly answers the questions “Why did Find my iPhone stop working?”

In a previous post I warned: 3G owners beware, iOS 4 slows things down and I would not recommend it to you — especially since most of the new features won’t work on this model (but folders, threaded emails and a unified inbox does work). I strongly suspect that my battery life is now also worse. Read More »

UPDATE 10/12/2011: My experience upgrading my iPhone 4 to iOS 5 was very different, it went flawlessly. It’s a phenomenal upgrade. My iPhone 4 runs faster and I have more functionality, what’s not to like? Want to know how to work around a slow iOS 5 update? Read Anticipating a slow iPhone/iPad iOS5 update?


If your iPhone OS 4 update hangs, read on: My iPhone update to iOS 4 downloaded quick enough then the process seemed to hang on “backing up”. The progress bar was farther along on my first attempt but after a couple of hours I felt something was wrong so I canceled and started over again. Two hours in I’ve barely made any progress.

The Restore process described here worked well for me. Your milage may vary. My apps, music in playlists, movies, photos in albums, contacts, calendars, email accounts and contents were all restored. Restore brought back all the app data I care about like Shazam tags, Flight Track info, Geocaching saves — and I remained signed in on FaceBook, Urban Spoon, Qrank and many others besides (Pandora excepted, I had to sign in again and I had to key in my PIN number again for AT&T voicemail).

FOLLOW UP: How to legally downgrade an iPhone 3G from iOS 4 to software version 3 (and extend your warranty by 90 days) …

FOLLOW UP: Here’s a story which blames Spotlight for the sluggishness Turn Off Spotlight Search For Performance Boost on iPhone 3G Under iOS 4.

WARNING: 3G owners beware, iOS 4 slows things down and I would not recommend it to you — especially since most of the new features won’t work on this model (but folders, threaded emails and a unified inbox does work). 3Gs users seem to happier with performance and benefit from most of the new features. I strongly suspect that my battery life is now also worse. Read More »

This article describes a fairly simple method of using iTunes and free software on an Apple Mac to convert DRMed audiobooks into .mp3s that you can either burn to disk or use on players that are not compatible with DRM schemas. A method which does not involve decrypting, removing, reverse engineering or breaking the DRM — a questionable practice fraught with legal complications and consequences. Read More »

This post describes a quick way to create your own custom iPhone ringtones using iTunes on your Mac …

  • Load your soundtrack into iTunes.
  • Create a temporary playlist to work in and then copy your soundtrack into this playlist.
  • Listen to the track and figure out the in (start) and out (stop) points of the just the part you want to convert into a ringtone — make a note of those times.
  • File>Get Info on the track and switch to the Options tab. Change the Start Time and Stop Time fields to the in and out points you worked out earlier (maximum 45 seconds as a ringtone for iPhone) and then hit the Ok button. Play the track to test that you have specified the right portion. Keep testing and adjusting the Start Time and Stop Time until you have the perfect segment specified. Read More »

The iPhone’s spell check tries to correct your spelling of iPad by offering up uPas? Hopefully the next iPhone OS upgrade will update the dictionary.

BTW I’m perfectly happy with my iPad nano — the iPhone itself!

Trying to time shift (download and convert) video from the internet to watch later on you iPod/iPhone? Players that download a file to cache and play from there are easier to capture. Those that stream to a player in your browser window are more difficult to harvest. Here are some sites with services, tools and information that have helped me … Free conversions (just five each day) for,,,,,,,,, and, for premium/paid users also,,,,,,,,,,, and — yup I scraped that complete list from their website, not to advertise my porn preferences. No, really! File formats include 3g2, 3gp, asf, avi, flv, m4v, mkv, mov, mp3, mp4, mpeg, ogg, rm, wav, wma and wmv. Protocols are ftp, http, mms, mmsh and rtsp. Not included amonsgt them is Adobe’s rtmp protocol.

MPlayer is a free and open source media player. The program is available for all major operating systems, including Linux and other Unix-like systems, Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X. MPlayer supports a wide variety of media formats and can also save all streamed content to a file. The MPlayer OS X Extended version for Mac OS X can be downloaded from

From Mac OS Hints, instructions on how to Save Flash video files from local cache with additional information in comments for Leopard.

The audio levels on my iPhone movies are too low. My music is loud enough and can be increased beyond my comfort levels. Movie soundtracks are, however, too soft even when the volume control is maxed out. Why the disparity in sound levels? Not sure. I’m time-shifting movies from DVDs using Handbrake, perhaps this app is to blame?

Here’s how to work around it …

iTunes volume adjustment

In your iTunes Movies library, before you synch up your iPod or iPhone …

    Select all movies
    File>Get Info
    Select the Options tab
    Slide the Volume Adjustment up from None to 100%
    Click “Ok”

If asked, acknowledge that you’re changing multiple files through this action!

Of course you can and probably should change the settings on individuals movie files as you add them to iTunes.

Synch up! Your movies should be loud enough, although still not equal to the maximum volume you can crank your music up to!

So here’s something that Apple’s GUI gurus didn’t get right: How to save draft email in the iPad/iPhone’s Mail application.

iphone mail draft save 1

Stop writing. Hit “Cancel” (1), yes, I know, that doesn’t feel right or comforting. But then up pops the option to “Save” (2) your email. You’ll then find it in your “Drafts” (3) folder.

If you have multiple email accounts, you may need to back out of “All Inboxes” and then scroll down to the specific email account you were sending from — before navigating into the appropriate “Drafts” folder.

Short cut to retrieve a draft: As long as you don’t restart your iPhone, there’s a short-cut to retrieve the last last draft you saved: Simply press and hold the button to compose a new email — until you draft reappears.

DoubleTwistJon Lech Johansen, famous for having reverse engineered the CSS DVD-copy protection scheme, makes headlines again with DoubleTwist, an application which which removes DRM from iTunes so you can play your music on any device — not just those approved by Apple: “With doubleTwist, it’s a breeze to put your media on your devices and share it with your friends. Grab it for free, or learn more on the website. It’s time to play!” Download doubleTwist here.

serversman logoTurn your iPhone into a web server using ServersMan’s CyberDuck application. Uses 3G or WiFi.

serversman dashboard wifi Caption: CyberDuck here seen serving over a WiFi connection.

Why would you want to set your iPhone up as a web server? Good question. I’ll try to address that in my conclusion. It would seem more useful to be able to edit and administer a web server remotely with your iPhone: The server remains up when you use your iPhone for other tasks. When the iPhone is the web server you’ll need another computer to edit the files on it and you lose the iPhone’s primary functions as a smart phone. But I’ll show you how to do it anyway. Read More »

itunesA colleague at work today told me her son had noticed that Apple’s iTunes Terms of Service prohibits the use of iTunes to make a nuclear bomb …



I loaded up my iPhone with the free Urbanspoon application some months back and since then I’ve discovered several good restaurants where I live, work and play. It uses the phone’s GPS to be location aware. The key is to find like minded foodie friends so I’m inviting you to follow me on Urbanspoon by linking here. An account is free if you haven’t signed up yet — and there is no kickback or financial incentive for me to promote Urbanspoon to you. Read More »

Flight Control Captain 176

UPDATE October 20th, 2009: The tips and cheats evolved here are working. My high score landing at the Beach airport is 176 and I’m now a Captain. Please share your own winning techniques in the comments.

flight control v1.2 beachUPDATE June 3rd, 2009: Fight Control update 1.2 is out today, on iTunes! There are new fields, including an aircraft carrier, to land on and new craft to land, some on water! Plus you can submit your high scores.flight control v1.2 aircraft carrier

flight_control1An iPhone game has kept me company these past few days as I nurse an allergy that turned into a cold. It’s Firemint’s Flight Control. A retro illustrated flight controller game, easy to play but logarythmically difficult as time passes and more aircraft come in to land. It’s 99c. No question. Buy it! Read More »