Tag Archives: iphone

iOS 6.0 feature request

In 2007 I posted a long list of “seemingly obvious” missing software features on the iPhone, which ran what was then known as OS X Mobile and today Apple calls iOS. Since then, most were either implemented (video, VoIP, games, etc.) or are no longer desired (Flash, Java).

I thought I’d revisit now, a month away from WWDC where there is a good chance that iOS 6.0 will be announced, even though I don’t think any of these are “seemingly obvious” anymore.

  • Better Maps
    The Maps app has not evolved that much since 2007. Android has a lot more feature including crude 3D and driving instructions. Since Apple has purchased a bunch of mapping-related companies and the rumors point to it, this one may come soon.
  • Live Home Screen
    I had this in the original list as “Dashboard / Widget support”. Apps should have the ability to display live information on the Home Screen without the need to launch them. Right now only Calendar updates the date and items inside Newsstand update the front page. And I guess apps can show badges. Not enough. In addition, it would be nice if the icons could be of different sizes (1×2, 2×2, 2×3, etc.) for added flexibility.
  • 3rd party Notification Center additions
    3rd party apps should be able to display stuff inside Notification Center similar to how Stocks and Weather do it today.
  • AirPlay receiver
    It would be cool if you could not just send, but receive audio and video using AirPlay. This can be done through an app that you need to open, that’s cool.
  • 3rd party Siri integration
    This may be the most obvious one, but allowing apps to add feature to Siri can be really useful: “Weightbot, save today’s weight as 162.4”. “Domino’s pizza, order the usual to my house to be delivered at 8 PM”.
  • Unified Contacts
    The ability to gather and consolidate all your contact information from multiple sources, like Facebook, Twitter, iCloud, etc. WebOS has (had?) this as “Synergy“.
  • Simplified logins
    Have you ever restored your phone? You need to go to several different places to enter your password several different times. iMessage, FaceTime, GameCenter, AppStore, Home Sharing… it’s terrible! This should be streamlined!

Do you have any other suggestions? 

Font size bookmarklets

Last night I was reading some online documentation on Safari on my iPad and was annoyed by the small font size. On most web sites, the text is formatted in narrow columns and you just double tap to zoom in perfectly. In this case that wouldn’t work well because the text spans from edge to edge on the site. You’ve probably bumped into a similar situation on your iPhone or iPad.

This morning I looked around for a solution. I didn’t find exactly what I was looking for ; but I combined and modified some of the things I found and created two bookmarklets: one that increases the font size of the page you are in, and one that decreases it.

There are two ways to install them.

Method A

If you use iCloud to synchronize bookmarks between Safari on your Mac or PC and your iPhone/iPad, then the easiest way is to do this from your computer. Just drag the two links below to your Bookmarks Bar.

Let iCloud take care of the syncing for you.

Method B

If you need to do this from your iPhone/iPad because you don’t use iCloud for syncing bookmarks, then things are a little harder. I won’t describe the process here because others have already done a great job. The only difference is that you will use the code from my bookmarklets:


javascript:var p=document.getElementsByTagName('*');for(i=0;i<p.length;i++){if(p[i].style.fontSize){var s=parseInt(p[i].style.fontSize.replace("px",""));}else{var s=12;}s-=2;p[i].style.fontSize=s+"px"}


javascript:var p=document.getElementsByTagName('*');for(i=0;i<p.length;i++){if(p[i].style.fontSize){var s=parseInt(p[i].style.fontSize.replace("px",""));}else{var s=12;}s+=2;p[i].style.fontSize=s+"px"}

Once you have installed the bookmarklets, use them the same way you use a bookmark. I recommend putting them on the Bookmarks Bar for quick access, as shown:

Bookmarklets on iPad

This is how the original website looks:

Original font size

And this is how it looks after increasing the font size a couple of times:

After increasing the font size using the bookmarklet.

In order to reset the font size back to its default, just reload! Hope you find this useful.

My First iPhone App

Myself and some colleagues started going over the iPad and iPhone Application Development course. It’s a class taught over at Stanford University and available for free (as in beer) on iTunes U.

After two sessions, it was time to get my hands dirty. Today I completed my first assignment: An RPN Calculator.

Left to right: iPhone, Mac, Proud Developer.

Not much credit to me here, I was mostly following a tutorial (but unlike in the tutorial, I made the background gray).

Here’s a glorious screenshot:

I understand that if the App Store was an actual physical software store, all my readers would already be lined up to buy their copy. Well, the good news is that the App Store is not an actual store where you have to go get in line like a schmuck. The bad news is that this app is not going to be available for download at all. It’s really a piece of junk.

But I am already brewing (in my mind) what will become the app that will make me rich beyond anyone’s dreams. The brewing is not going well so if you have any ideas, please feel free to pitch in.

At some later date I may write a little bit about my impressions of Xcode, Objective C, Cocoa Touch and this whole iPhone app development thing.

The road to iPhone 4S II

…continued from The Road to iPhone 4S

October 13, 2011

T-1. I decide to call AT&T again. This time they are able to cancel my order. So why didn’t the last person cancel it? What changed? This further proves that when it comes to phone or cable companies, you can’t trust what you are told and just need to keep calling.

The representative does warn me: It will take 2 to 3 days for your contract to revert. Uh-oh.

Genius idea: since the phone is presumably unlocked, use my still valid AT&T SIM on it for 2-3 days until the contract reverts. Then start my phone activation and number transfer with Sprint.

October 14, 2011

I leave my house to work. Interestingly, my phone had no service. Common in the area. Later I realize that it was not just bad coverage, but it was dead. No service from AT&T. My genius idea goes down the drain. When I get to the office I try to log-in to AT&T:

I’m not about to cal. Two possibilities:

  1. AT&T’s guy canceled my account, not just my order. Potential problem: I could lose my number. Or…
  2. Sprint started my number transferred too early. Potential problem: My contract with AT&T still says I just renewed and they make me pay the full cancellation fee.

Then… I receive my iPhone 4S. It’s as beautiful as I had hoped. And my number is working! (which means it was #2). I test an AT&T SIM to see if it’s unlocked. Damn.

Launch-day Sprint iPhone 4S in NOT Unlocked

Today I got my Sprint iPhone 4S. Of course I had to settle the unlocked-locked-unlocked Sprint debacle. I popped in a good AT&T micro-SIM card from a colleague.

Then I rebooted… I managed to make it into Settings > General > About > Carrier and briefly saw AT&T. Then my phone rebooted into the Activation Screen.

My Sprint iPhone 4S with an AT&T SIM card. The original Sprint SIM it came with next to it.

When I tried to activate I got the following disappointing message:

Only compatible SIM cards from a supported carrier may be used to activate iPhone. Please insert the SIM card that came with your iPhone or visit a supported carrier’s store to receive a replacement SIM card.

Your AT&T SIM card is not welcome here.

Did anyone have different luck?


It wasn’t until I moved to California that all the AT&T coverage jokes made sense to me. In the less than 3 mile stretch between my house and the office, there are three dead spots where calls are guaranteed to drop and in some other areas I get knocked down to Edge instead of 3G.

If I lived in the middle of nowhere, I’d understand (maybe). But I work two blocks away from downtown Berkeley CA and the UC Berkeley Campus. I’ve seen lots of dead spots all over San Francisco, too. And of course, most of the BART stations (stations, not inside the trains) have no service at all.

They claim (yes, I called) some towers in my area are “under maintenance” and one is “under repair”. I don’t fully believe them. We’ll see.

And yet, I stay with AT&T… I like the ability of being on the phone and use data at the same time, I like the faster GSM download speeds (when there is service), I had good service all over Texas, even in the middle of nowhere (i.e. on the road to Lared0). I’m naive enough to believe they will improve here. Will they?

iPhone 4S

…and it’s here.

Let’s see what’s new and exclusive to the 4S (meaning, not part of iOS5):

  • A5 Processor: About 2x faster, 7x faster graphics
  • AirPlay mirroring
  • Siri, which looks like something out of a sci-fi movie
  • Much improved camera, and not just megapixel wise
  • 1080p video with image stabilization
  • Better battery life
  • Faster cellular download speed
  • World phone (CDMA and GSM)
  • Better antennas, presumably more resistant to the Grip of Death

As someone that had the 3G and upgraded to the 3GS, I can tell you how huge the camera and speed and battery life improvements were. They made the day to day use of the phone vastly better. And it was good to begin with. Sure, there were other things, but these three were the biggest (oh, and support for multitasking). So I’m really looking forward to the iPhone 4S.

Some people are disappointed because there wass no iPhone 5. Who cares? The only difference between the iPhone 4S and the iPhone 5 are the name and the form factor. I couldn’t care less about the name, and the form factor is already excellent, especially when compared to most of the gigantic and ugly Android phones out there.

Ready to pre-order.

Update: I use my phone’s camera a lot, so I was happy to see this sample, unedited photos taken with an iPhone 4S on Apple’s website.

Live soccer on Apple TV

I don’t know you, but to me this is a Big Deal™:

Veetle, a peer-to-peer video technology uses a proprietary plug-in in order to see their streams, usually at exceptionally high quality. On the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, browser plug-ins are not available. Thankfully, Veetle provides some of the videos using HTML5 and Apple’s HTTP streaming which in English means “live high-quality streaming video on your favorite toy’s browser”. The quality is top-notch.

Live soccer on Apple TV, courtesy of Veetle, iPad, and AirPlay

At some point recently, they enabled AirPlay on the streams in their website; or maybe it’s an iOS 4.3.1 thing, but it didn’t work last time I tried it. This means I can finally send live video from my iPhone/iPad to my Apple TV. Since the TV in my room is hooked up only to an Apple TV, this is great. And the quality is very, very good.

Bonus tip: Exit Safari to use another app or open another tab while the video is playing on the Apple TV. Playback will stop, but you can double click on your Home button in order to bring up the multitasking tab, swipe to the playback controls, and resume your video in the background!

Now accepting all major credit cards

I received my free card reader from Square a couple of weeks ago.  It’s a little doohickey that plugs into the headphone jack of my iPhone or iPad. Then, using their app, you swipe your credit card and can make payments, which get deposited into my bank account.

So part 1 of my business plan is firmly in place. Now for part 2: What am I going to sell?


Moi (I keep linking to his blog, which has gotten painfully boring) sent me an email telling me about DefaultCase. They are launching a new company and selling their cases for only $0.01 for a limited time. His email revealed some scepticism. Too good to be true?

Read the full post to find out…

Continue reading DefaultCase