Archive

Archive for June, 2010

Camera Connection Kit with iPad and iPhone Review

June 25, 2010 13 comments

The main accesory I wanted to buy with my iPad was the camera connection kit. Unfortunately this was sold out in New York, so I tried again on launch day in the UK. When the kit sold out in a couple of hours here it was time to place an order through the Apple online store and wait three weeks like everyone else. I’ve now had the kit for two weeks and can give some thoughts on it’s use.

The camera connection kit comprises two small adaptors that plug into the iPad dock connector, providing an SD card slot and a USB socket.

The intended use for these two items is to transfer photo and video content from your digital camera to the iPad for viewing, storage and subsequent transfer to a computer. The first thing I tested when the kit arrived was its ability to import media from my Panasonic LX3 camera. Jpeg and RAW images preview and copy to the ipad correctly, and the camera’s 720p video is also fully supported. This wasn’t a huge surprise as much has already been written about the functionality of the kit, but being able to copy party video’s quickly to the iPad for immediate viewing was one of those ‘wow’ moments for the guests. Read more…

Jailbreaking a 3GS with iOS4

June 23, 2010 Leave a comment

With the iPhone Dev Team’s release of PwnageTool 4 yesterday (and the 4.01 update today) I was ready to jailbreak my iPhone 3GS. It’s been running the iOS4 beta 4/Gold Master since that was leaked, but being on iOS4 already had prevented the use of the beta jailbreaks available before the public release of iOS4. There were still several steps involved to achieve the jailbreak, as stipulated in this condition from the Dev Team’s blog:

If you have a Jailbroken iPhone 3GS with the OLD BOOTROM and you DID NOT use Spirit to jailbreak then you can create the ipsw with PwnageTool 4.0 and restore with your jailbroken recovery mode

My 3GS uses the old bootrom, so OK there. The requirement for a jailbroken 3GS NOT using Spirit meant the first step was to downgrade the firmware to 3.1.2. That’s an easy step if Cydia has your SHSH stored for the previous firmware, as mine are.

The next step was to jailbreak the 3.1.2 install using redsn0w 0.9.2. Once this was confirmed to be working correctly (just look for Cydia to be installed) PwnageTool 4.01 was used to produce a custom iOS4 ipsw. The iPhone was then put into DFU mode, and iTunes used to pick the custom ipsw to restore.

Both times I restored a firmware during this process a 1015 error was given after the restore. By that time the restore had successfully completed but the iPhone was stuck in recovery mode. The freeware RecBoot utility was used to get out of recovery mode and back to normal startup.

A backup had been made by iTunes before starting the jailbreak, so this was restored once the jailbreak was completed. I now have SBsettings back on my iPhone, giving fast access to 3G and WiFi on/off to help conserve batter power. There’s a few other useful jailbroken apps that haven’t been updated for iOS4 compatibility yet, but hopefully that will be done soon.

Once again thanks to the iPhone Dev Team for redsn0w and PwnageTool, and to Saurik for Cydia and enabling the downgrade to earlier firmware.

DIY iPad stand

June 22, 2010 6 comments

After returning from America in May with an iPad I hit an immediate snag: how will it stay in position on my desk? I hadn’t picked up the Apple dock with the iPad and it wasn’t available in the UK for a couple of weeks. Time to improvise. The first thought was to use a plate stand as these are very cheap, but the ones I found didn’t look very stable. Not a good idea for a $600 gadget. Read more…

Categories: ipad Tags: , ,

The Hackinfireplace

June 21, 2010 2 comments

I’ve been working on my latest hackintosh for a while now, with the last finishing touches taking much longer than anticipated. They’re all in place now so it’s time to reveal the hackinfireplace. That’s it in the video above, showing a couple of the HD videos that are launched using the function keys of a small wireless keyboard/trackpad. There’s a kitchen plinth heater hidden behind a removable piece of skirting under the display for those rare occasions when a bit of extra heating is needed.

The birth of this project was a visit to a DIY superstore as part of gutting and decorating the Lounge/Living Room. The choice of wall colours was easy, Oak floor agreed on and a new Leather Sofa and chairs a given. The choice of fireplace was more problematic. The existing fireplace was old, but not in a good antique way. Modern hang on the wall electric fires can look tacky with their fake flame effects, and the more expensive electric and gas wall mounted fires can get very costly. Most of those I saw with relatively easy fitting hung on the wall, protruding anywhere from four to six inches. They look fine from the front, but not so good from the side. What I really wanted was a fire flush with the wall, but that’s the point the cost starts rocketing. While in the DIY store myself and Mrs Basshead saw an LCD wall hung fire. A 19 inch screen played video’s of various fire’s, and there were also a few other scenes available. A remote control selected the video’s and also operated the 2kw heaters . A nice idea, but still wall hung not flush. The available video’s were also not great quality and the screen was not very high resolution. Read more…

10.6.4 tested on hackintosh

June 17, 2010 3 comments

My original hackintosh has now been updated to 10.6.4, and as was the case with the past few updates a new version of sleepenabler.kext was required to prevent a kernel panic during boot. The 10.6.4 sleep enabler is available from Insanelymac.

The Snow Leopard Mail application has received an update to version 4.3, showing the above dialogue when first launched. The upgrading of mail messages took only a few seconds, unfortunately it was followed by this warning.

Letterbox is a Mail plugin that adds a widescreen view with the message preview pane on the right of the window. Fortunately developer Aaron Harnly already has an update to Letterbox 0.24b7 which is compatible with 10.6.4.

10.6.4 released

June 16, 2010 Leave a comment

Apple has today released the latest update to its Snow Leopard operating system, 10.6.4. Full details of the fixes included are available at support.apple.com/kb/HT4150, and details of the security content at support.apple.com/kb/HT1222. A quick look at several hackintosh forums showed mixed upgrade results. A new 10.6.4 version of Sleepenabler.kext is available to try, and further compatibility  details will be posted once I have installed the update on my three applicable hackintosh systems.

Sensationalising Apple news

June 10, 2010 Leave a comment

I saw a fine example of the way news is reported today, with a story presented in two very different ways. Here’s the headline and first few sentences from the two stories.

Massive Apple iPad data breach reveals 114,000 subscriber emails

An iPad security breach in the US has revealed 114,000 email addresses of AT&T subscribers, according to the hacking group Goatse Security.
Goatse has previously identified holes in web browsers such as Safari and Firefox, but this is perhaps their biggest profile security hole find to date.

And the second story:

AT&T website scraped to reveal iPad 3G owners’ email addresses

Unfortunately for AT&T’s security infrastructure — and equally unfortunately for customers who bought and activated iPad 3G units on the company’s network — a freelance security research team has reportedly scraped two key tidbits of information from thousands of iPad registrations. As Gawker reports, the hackers exploited a script on AT&T’s site by feeding it ICC-IDs (the GSM SIM card’s identifier code) harvested from iPad user screenshots and interpolated to cover a wider range. The AT&T site obligingly gave back the email address associated with each of the ICC-IDs.

Seeing the first headline certainly got my attention, is there a problem with the iPad? Has Apple screwed up? Then the second followed a few posts down my RSS feed list, calmly stating the facts. Can you tell which site I trust for news?

Categories: apple, ipad Tags: , , ,

iOS 4 thoughts

June 10, 2010 Leave a comment

An Engadget post yesterday revealed the gold build issued at WWDC works on any compatible iPod/iPhone without the device being registered for development. A quick search of the usual places such things are found turned up the latest beta of iTunes 9.2 required for the restore process, as well as the ipsw packages for the iPhone 3G/S and iPod Touch 2g/3g. Since these are far from official sources everything was scanned for nasties but the clean results meant it wasn’t long before my 3GS was running iOS4.

After a day of playing with the next year’s OS the initial stand out additions are multitasking, folders and the unified Mail inbox. Multitasking, even in the current state of only being fully supported by Apple apps, is a big improvement in speed and ease of use. Opening a link in Mail takes the user straight to Safari but a quick double click of the home button and a tap on the mail icon and you’re back to where you left off in Mail. Folders means an alternative to page after page of app icons, and the unified inbox is such an improvement you just wonder why it wasn’t like this from the start. There are some problems and inconsistencies with the new additions, so read on for more details and screenshots. Read more…

Upgrading an O2 iPhone

June 10, 2010 Leave a comment

Over the past two days O2 has released details of its upgrade offers and eligibility. While better than last year’s pay off your contract in full deal they represent a significant additional outlay for those prepared to sign up for another 18 or 24 month contract. Here’s what we know so far. Read more…

Categories: apple, iPhone

iPhone 4 announced

June 8, 2010 1 comment

On 7th June Steve Jobs took the stage at the 2010 WWDC to announce the fourth version of the iPhone hardware. Full details of the improvements over the 3GS model have been well covered elsewhere, so here’s a brief summary:

  • 960 by 640 pixel display with 800 to 1 contrast ratio using an IPS (same as iPad) panel
  • A4 processor, also same as used in the iPad
  • Adds 802.11n wireless
  • Up to 7 hours talk time (3G), 300 hours standby, 10 hours WiFi internet use, 40 hours audio playback, 10 hours of video playback
  • 16 or 32Gb storage
  • Available in white or black, with colour edge covers offered
  • New 5 Megapixel backside illuminated camera sensor for better low light images
  • 640×480 front camera for self portraits and video calls
  • LED flash
  • 720p video recording
  • Three axis Gyroscope
  • iMovie software available to run on the phone for $4.99

The standout features for me are the improved camera and 720p video recording. The Apple iPhone camera page has some un-retouched samples at the bottom of the page that can be zoomed to full size. While none of them are really low light (there are a couple of low light smaller examples near the top) they offer quality good enough for holiday snaps. The popular phrase “the best camera is the one you have with you” doesn’t present too much of a compromise for the average consumer. The availability of iMovie for iPhone 4 is a big bonus, though it appears to be limited to the new iPhone with no word on backward compatibility with the 3GS.

My hope is that Apple will provide some way of transferring photo and video from the iPhone 4 to the iPad, where a version of iMovie and iPhoto would provide much easier editing. The iPad camera connection kit could easily do this, and both devices offer wireless connectivity that would make it a cheaper option.

Uk networks O2, Orange and Vodafone have announced availability of the iPhone 4 on 24th June, but have yet to release details of pricing. O2 have promised a limited time offer for those in existing iPhone contracts wishing to upgrade. Hopefully this will match the AT&T offer to cancel up to six months remaining contract if the new iPhone is taken with a new two year contract.

Price wise the new iPhone is $199 for 16Gb and $299 for 32Gb. No word yet on UK pricing but I’m expecting £170 and £260 if the same conversion as the iPad is used.

Categories: apple, iPhone, movie, photo Tags: , , ,