iPhone 3G Electrocution – Non intended functionality

Sunday, September 21st, 2008 | Personal | No Comments

In an alert posted on September 19th, 2008 on the apple website, Apple Announces Ultracompact USB Adapter Exchange Program.

Yup, for any of you dedicated iPhone users who waited in line, or bought it early.  Good for you, now go hand in your AC adapter before you get shocked.

This really sounds like something that has a very low risk of occurring.  No injuries have yet to be reported.  

I think the only injuries would be when one of the prongs falls off in the outlet, and someone retrieves (errr.. tries to) it with a metal fork.

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Chrome – Holding Steady

Sunday, September 21st, 2008 | Business | No Comments

I had posted earlier that I had setup Google’s new Chrome browser.

Now it’s been at least a week that I’ve been using it and I wanted to post some comments.

First of all, I don’t consider a “beta” browser.  I know whenever I test out a new browser it feels like it’s almost unusable for a period of time.  It’s been getting much better since the IE4 days, but there’s still always a sense of “this isn’t ready yet”.

Being a web developer, I dread new browsers because … thats just one more environment you have to test in.  

With this browser, I feel like it is already a final product.  Already I’m excited about the integration of “Gears”, the slim application like interface when you “Create application shortcut”, how fast it seems to run, and the possibilities it introduces for Javascript and AJAX online.

Some minor issues I would, however, like to raise are:

  • I had a tab freeze, and the other tab froze as well — I had thought each tab was supposed to be entirely independent from one another in processor space and prevent this.  Maybe I’m misunderstood?
  • It seems the great “V8” team that Google had put together is in competition with SquirrelFish Extreme in terms of pure performance.  Needless to say, I’m no expert in this, and it’s probably one of those benchmarks that highly favors a browser, or isn’t indicative of the complete functionality of an engine.
  •  This is entirely a subjective point, but I don’t like the way the Taskbar icons look.  I know I’m tuned into Firefox and IE’s icons for the web, but I always get confused with the 3 colors in the Chrome taskbar icons.  
  • Whos’ taking advantage of the new functionality the most?  I remember years ago seeing links to who was taking advantage to IE4’s new capabilities, does anyone have a list of site’s that are built to embrace Chrome?  (maybe an idea for a future project)
Overall I’m impressed with the new browser.  It feels clean.
Chrome is slowly becoming my browser of choice.  
I know lots of early adopters tried and switched back (check out this interesting review of Chrome adoption and usage at Arstechnica, it is useful information).

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iPhone 3G has a hidden data matrix code

Thursday, September 18th, 2008 | Personal | 1 Comment

Broken by the folks at engadget, they have found a hidden data matrix behind the camera about an inch below the camera.

iPhone 3G’s hidden data matrix code

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No more javascript mouseovers? CSS can do it!

Thursday, September 18th, 2008 | Business | 2 Comments

I grew up in the early HTML world with Tables, Font tags, and transparent pixels.  As such, doing mouseovers always required a basic javascript function to preload the images, and swap on a mouse over.

That still works, code doesn’t look too great, but it works.

On the flip side we now have the option to use CSS to handle all mouse overs. Yes, the simple A:hover style can be very effective in enabling things like this.

Simply setting the indent of the text (since there will be placer text will remove that pesky text from view).

Your new mouseover link image looks like this:

<div class="goButton"><a href="somelink.html">Go</a></div>

And your CSS can now just have:

.goButton a {background:url(images/someGoButton.gif) top left no-repeat;display:block;height:20px;width:20px;}
.goButton a:hover {background:url(images/someGoButtonOver.gif) top left no-repeat;}

Easy solution, and it allows faster code execution, more friendly when viewed in a basic text only browser (with no CSS / images downloaded or applied, it just says “go” instead).

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iPhone 2.1 Follow-up

Wednesday, September 17th, 2008 | Personal | No Comments

It’s been almost a week withe the iPhone 2.1 firmware.

So far so good.

I’ve been able to up my mail checking to every 15 minutes (I used to set it to every hour to save battery life — this really helps a lot).  With that it had lasted an entire weekend without a charge (Saturday early morning, to Sunday late night) which it was never able to do.

As far as dropped calls?  Not one yet.  We’ll see how this keeps going.

Unfortunately, either by coincidence or not, iTunes will no longer let me update my applications.  My apps are up to date thanks to the iPhone updating it on it’s own, but I get a slowly growing number next to “Applications” in iTunes.  I get “We could not complete your iTunes Store request.  An unknown error occurred (5002).” when trying to update applications in iTunes.

I had read up on various solutions from deleting applications that need to be updated (which I don’t know which they are) and re downloading them (as the iTunes store doesn’t charge you again, it thinks it’s just an update), to calling Apple and telling them there’s a problem.  Supposedly it’s a problem with broken applications OR a problem with something in your cart.  Traditionally the cart problems sound like they relate to products that are in the cart, but discontinued.

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iPhone Firmware 2.1 available!

Friday, September 12th, 2008 | Personal | No Comments

Just clicked in iTunes to check, and it was available at 9:18am!

You can read some notes on MacRumors

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iPhone 2.1 firmware

Friday, September 12th, 2008 | Personal | No Comments

A few questions…

Why did Apple release 2.1 for the iPod seperately from the iPhone?

Why do we have to wait for Apple to publish the 2.1 update?  Can’t they just give us a time so we can get things done?

Why do I feel the need to download software updates just a few hours before it becomes officially available?

My biggest hope is that the Backup / Restore process is made much less painful.  Yesterday it took me 5 hours to restore my iPhone after the whole AT&T debacle.

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Frustration with AT&T’s Customer Support, and setting up a second iPhone

Thursday, September 11th, 2008 | Business, Personal | No Comments

Over the last few weeks I have been trying to get another line added to my AT&T service so I can connect my old iPhone to my account (officially, although I did play, successfully, with jailbreaking the old iphone once I had my 3G iPhone working).

To summarize my experience in one word, miserable.

The process started off with a pleasant phone call (conversation #1 ~30 minutes) to AT&T sales (always the easiest to get a hold of) with an agenda of:

1) Confirm new address (I had just moved)
2) Confirm pricing of an additional line
3) Confirm that with a new SIM card I can easily upgrade my old iPhone.

Of course the call was great, he helped work through everything, confirmed prices, and told me the process I had to go through.  All I had to do was get a SIM card shipped (3-5 business days) and when it was received, plug it into the old iPhone and — it would work.

WRONG.

Start off with, at the end of the call, an official disclaimer that I had to listen to.  You got that right — those disclaimers that no one reads and always clicks through, well, they said I had to listen to it after the call.  I said ok. Alas, 15 minutes later I hung up on it.  It was just obnoxious.

Fast forward exactly 10 business days after the initial call.

Tuesday (9.9.2008) I call AT&T (conversation #2 ~15 minutes) to ask what happened to my SIM card.  They had no record of it ever being shipped.  Nor did they have a record of anything we talked about in my initial phone call. The guy was just saying things and didn’t actually DO anything.

So the following day I go to pick up the SIM card (free of charge, gee, thanks) which took about 20 min. to get there, 20 min. to get back, and 5 min. in the store (running total is up to 90 minutes).

The man at the store says he cannot access my second number to enable the SIM card and that I’d have to do that by phone.  I said “Ok” and went off to activate it by phone in my car. 

I like to give these Support personnel the benefit of the doubt, they aren’t the monster, they just work for them.  This phone call was a little rough explaining my situation (getting a new SIM card to install on an old iPhone with a new phone number), but it was going well.  Until at the end of the call when I was told, “You will need to call the Terms and Conditions phone number, which is … uhh … 866-895-10” …. no signal.  I thought that since she said it was no problem, and I just had to call that number I could go home and get it sorted out.

From that point on it would be approximately 17 hours until that phone worked again.  It is STILL “Restoring iPhone from backup”

Personally, I believe she had disabled the SIM card on my main phone (the 3G iPhone) but I would never get confirmation on that.  That is, except for that the ultimate fix was to install the new SIM card in my current phone, and get yet another SIM card for my “old” iPhone.

Overall that night I spent 3.5 hours on tech support with AT&T and 3 different representatives.  The first few contacts were clueless and told me I had to go back to the store to turn anything on.  They would transfer me to that Terms and Conditions number, at which point I would enter my phone number, it would say I’m already activated and it would hang up.

I kept telling them that I really believed it had to do with the CS rep from the earlier phone call, as it happened to my main phone, when she was supposed to be doing something similiar to my old phone — changing the SIM card.

No one would listen to that, they kept trying to troubleshoot.  Turn this off, try that.  I told them it said “No Signal”, but they kept wanting me to try to call my own voicemail.  Can’t any intelligent person understand that it wouldn’t work?

Finally they whipped out a checklist and said “Well, we tried to reboot your phone, we reset your account with us, we have determined this is an Apple specific issue”.  They gave me the Apple Customer Support phone number (which is available anywhere) and said “We would be happy to hear that we resolved your issue.” 

To be fair, the CS rep I had the last time at AT&T was very nice.  She was patient, she understood how frustrated I was and herself volunteered to escalate to a manager (this was when their Terms & Conditions didn’t work, she did the call with me to verify, and she was trying to find out what she could do for me).

I had to tell her that I still wasn’t satisfied, as my problem hadn’t been solved, and I thought I was just being handed off because they didn’t want to deal with me anymore.  However, I figured I’d have to go through Apple to get them to respond any further to me. 

So I did.

Apple was quick to the point.  The rep had me reset the phone, and call back.  When I called back nothing had changed in the phone (there was still the “No Service” label in the top left corner).  They got AT&T on the phone for me, and came back with the following, “We have decided that it can only be one problem, the SIM card needs to be replaced.”

Another trip to the store and I finally get everything back up and running.  The store employee took my SIM card from my original iPhone and put it in my new iPhone 3G (which was the phone that had traditionally been working).  To me this means — the original CS rep disabled my 3G iPhone’s SIM (which wasn’t to be changed at all in this whole process), and AT&T didn’t know how to check this.

I felt like Apple was really trying to help — they even got AT&T on the phone.  That shows me that they really wanted the issue solved.  The Customer Support representatives from AT&T just wanted to get me off the phone.  They wanted to fullfill their obligation to test certain things, and then hand me off.

I’m very UNHAPPY with the way AT&T treated the issue.  Especially since it’s one they caused.  My phone worked before calling in, after it failed, and I had to spend a total of 5 hours and 45 minutes of MY time dealing with this issue.

Please let me know if anyone has had similiar experiences.

I’m not an Apple fan boy myself, actually I’m one of those rare “happy” Windows Vista users with no desire to switch over.  This is just how I saw this specific incident.  I do, however, love the iPhone and iPod products.  It’s a problem.

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iPhone interoperability

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2008 | Business, Personal | No Comments

As a follow-up, it has been confirmed that the iPhone WordPress application on iTunes works very well (at least for me).

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jQuery?

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2008 | Business | No Comments

Why did jQuery redo their site to look like a comic book?

UPDATED: At least they removed the comic book like monster on the home page in the last few days.

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