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iPad iOS 4.2 new features

November 10, 2010 1 comment

iOS 4.2 is due any time now for the family of iOS devices, and the GM (Gold Master) for iPhone, iPod and iPad is available now from several places for those who want to try it. The iTunes 10.1 beta is required to activate and sync with a device running 4.2. I found both at gumballtech, and have been running the Mac version of iTunes 10.1 beta and iOS 4.2 on my iPad for the past week. The features introduced with iOS 4 for iPhone are now available on the iPad, and it’s doubled the amount of tasks I do on the iPad. Presented here are some screenshots and details of the new features I have used. This is certainly not a complete list of new features, so if you you have any requests for more information leave a comment.

Multitasking
Just as with the iPhone, the addition of multitasking to the iPad makes it a joy to use. Tapping a link in the Mail application takes you straight to Safari to open the link, then a double press of the home button and a tap of the Mail icon takes you back to where you were in Mail. Being able to quickly jump between apps makes iOS 4.2 much faster to navigate. Read more…

Xmarks to end sync services

September 29, 2010 Leave a comment

It’s always sad seeing a useful service shut down, especially when it’s one as good (and free) as Xmarks. The bookmark/password/history/tab synchronisation service has announced it is to end operations in January 2011. It appears a failure to turn Xmarks into a financially viable business is the cause, and a buyer for the service could not found.

I’ve used Xmarks since it first became publicly available as Foxmarks, and while the bookmark sync across firefox and safari on Mac and PC was great, the real killer feature was password synchronisation. I’ve recently moved password sync to LastPass for the mobile platform support, but will continue using Xmarks for bookmarks until Firefox sync goes mainstream. Farewell Xmarks, and thanks for the great service.

JailbreakMe.com for iOS4 (and 3.2) devices

August 2, 2010 Leave a comment

The iPhone Dev Team has announced that jailbreakme.com is now live offering a Safari based jailbreak for iOS4 devices, as well as iPads running 3.2.1. Their blog post states the site will jailbreak iPhones, iPod Touches and iPads so it may work with older software versions but details are a little scarce at the moment.

The screenshots above and below show the simple jailbreaking process on my 3.2.1 iPad which now has Cydia installed as well as the marvelous iFile. Read more…

iOS 4.0.1 and iPad 3.2.1 released

July 15, 2010 1 comment

Software updates for the iPad and devices running iOS 4 are now available through iTunes.  iPad OS 3.2.1 includes fixes for Wi-Fi, handling of PDFs in Mail and video playback, as well as adding Bing to Safari’s search options. iOS 4.0.1 for iPhone 4, 3GS and 3G lists an improvement to the formula used to calculate the signal strength bars as the only change.

I’ve just updated my 32Gb WiFi only iPad to 3.2.1, losing the Spirit jailbreak. I’ve found the benefits of a jailbroken iPad to be limited so far, so intend to wait a few months for the bugs to be ironed out of existing jailbroken apps.

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.

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.

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…

Stanza updated for iPad

June 4, 2010 1 comment

The iPhone version of eBook reader Stanza has today been joined by an iPad version with the 3.0 release. Support for PDF, DjVu, and Comic Book Archive format media has been added, expanding Stanza’s abilities to include Comic books and anything that can be saved as a PDF. The organising of media into groups is a little clunky so I still prefer using Goodreader for PDF’s, Cloudreaders for comics and Stanza for Books. Where Stanza really shines though is in its display options, offering a huge range of fonts and control over page layout. Fast access to night mode for those lights out reading sessions is also a big plus. Version 3 also adds more online sources for free and paid ebooks.