How to Ensure You Have a Clean iOS 4.2.x Upgrade?

This morning (Nov. 22 PDT US time) Apple made the latest version (v4.2.1) of iOS available through iTunes. It is one of the highly anticipated upgrade for the iPad and other iOS devices. Not only because this version brings features to the iPad that had been enjoyed by other iOS devices, it is also the first version of the OS to align all iOS devices to the same iOS version.

As a result many iOS device users rushed to download and upgrade their devices, causing slow downs to the iTunes upgrade servers. If you have trouble downloading the new update you can try the following direct download links [compliments of MacStories]

Before you upgrading your iOS device you should always back it up by performing a synchronization using iTunes. I cannot reiterate enough how important it is to do this on a daily bases. Since these devices are mobile and you carry it around, so there is a high possibility of the device being stolen or damage resulting in losing your stored data on them.

The other thing you may need to do if you fall into one of the following groups of users:
Continue reading “How to Ensure You Have a Clean iOS 4.2.x Upgrade?”

How-to Listen to New Tracks Every Day Without Overloading Your iPhone or iPod

Over the past years iPod and iPhone capacities have gotten larger and larger. Throughout these times I still advise friends to stay with the smallest size models in the iPod and iPhone lines.

You may say, “Isn’t larger the better?” Well in this case, that is not necessary true. Especially when people store mostly audio tracks: music and podcast, on these devices.

Some say, “I have a collection of several thousand tracks, how can I store them all on an iPod or iPhone with small capacities.” My question to that is, how many hours do you have in a day to listen to audio tracks? For most that is 8 – 10 hours during a normal day.

Continue reading “How-to Listen to New Tracks Every Day Without Overloading Your iPhone or iPod”

Exodus of Facebook and What to Do About It

Other than the “Red Shirt Movement” in Thailand there is also a movement to stop using Facebook.

This all started when Facebook announce their “Open Graph API” initiative. I am not going to explain the details of this API here, because there are extensive documentations on Facebook’s Developers web site. The reason for concern is not because Facebook has opened its API, but how Facebook is doing so and the side effects of these actions.

From the beginning, users of Facebook have used it as a private network where people share personal information with only people they desire and no one else. In recent days/months due to various changes to Facebook it has betrayed this trust that over 400 million Facebook users have placed on the site.

Continue reading “Exodus of Facebook and What to Do About It”

How-to: Enable Emoji Icon on iPhone Free [Updated]

iPhone Emoji Icon Keyboard

A month ago I wrote a post, Enabling Emoji On iPhone WITHOUT Jailbreaking, about enabling the hidden Emoji icon feature within the iPhone (with firmware 2.2 and later) without jailbreaking the iPhone. Back then the method involved purchasing an iPhone application that cost USD0.99.

If your iPhone (with firmware 2.2 and later) has been jailbroken, you can then use the 3rd party application called “Emoji” available on Cydia to enable the Emoji icon feature.

Now there is a free application called “Spell Number” available in the iTunes App Store that will enable the hidden Emoji icon feature in the iPhone (with firmware 2.2 and later). All you have to do is:

  1. Download the application
  2. Launch the application in your iPhone
  3. Type 9876543.21 91929394.59
  4. Quit the application
  5. follow steps 3 – 7 in my post Enabling Emoji On iPhone WITHOUT Jailbreaking

None of these hacks are relevant if you own an iPhone 3G from SoftBank in Japan, because Apple has enabled the Emoji feature for your iPhones.

You only need to use one of the above methods if you want to enter Emoji icons in text messages you compose, but if you only want to see Emoji icons in message that others send you on your iPhone, there is no need to do any of the above. You just have to upgrade your iPhone to firmware 2.2 or later.

If you do want to enter Emoji icons in text messages you compose on the iPhone, I suggest you use one of these methods as soon as possible, because Apple recently sent notices to developers, with applications in the iTunes App Store, that have this hidden Emoji enabling capability. Asking these developers to remove the feature or their applications will risk being removed from the App Store.

I hope Apple’s latest action is to comply with their policy of not allowing developers to hack the iPhone and that they will enable the Emoji icon input method in an upcoming iPhone firmware upgrade.

I personally see only one reason why Apple may not want to enable this function for all iPhone users. That is because when messages containing Emoji icons are received on devices or applications that do not support the Emoji icon character encoding, these icons will be displayed as little squares. Plus there are approximately 80% or more of the world’s mobile phones do not support the Emoji icon character encoding.

So true to Apple’s believes in a perfect user experience they will not want to enable the feature unless 90% or more of the world’s mobile phones can support it. That’s just the way Apple does things. They rarely pushes feature when the technology is not mature, except in the case when they want to drive a new approved standard.

[Updated: May 1, 2009]
The developer had updated his application to comply with Apple’s requirements to remove the emoji enabling code. Although, what the developer had actually done was changed the code. The new code is now 91929394.59

[Updated: September 5, 2010]
Since iOS 4.x Apple has been cracking down on emoji enabling apps. If you cannot get Spell Number working you can give “Emoji Free!” a try.

How-to: Handle iTunes’ iPhone Carrier Update Dialog?

You may have read in forums and elsewhere about the “iPhone Carrier Update” dialog presented by iTunes each time the iPhone is connected to iTunes 7.7 or later. In the past I had suggested that if your iPhone is “carrier unlocked”; not connected to one of the Apple carrier partners in your country, you should not apply this update when Apple’s dialog comes up.

The reason is because the “iPhone Carrier Update” will update settings relating to the “carrier partner(s)” within your iPhone, and if your iPhone was unlocked and your SIM card is not from one of the “carrier partner(s)” the APN settings (data settings) of your iPhone will be overridden, causing you to have to update these settings each time.

You can read other tips to know when owning an iPhone in Hong Kong by checking out my article, What to Know When Buying an iPhone 3G in Hong Kong or the more layman article 10 Things a Layman Should Know About Hong Kong iPhone 3G.

How-to: Enable Emoji On iPhone WITHOUT Jailbreaking

There is a new way to enable the Emoji icons on your iPhone with firmware 2.2.

The trick is to purchase the USD0.99 iPhone App 老地方冰果室 (aka “FrostyPlace”). This is an application that allows you to view the latest posts from an Apple discussion forum in Taipei, Taiwan. Therefore if you read Chinese it may be useful and if you live in Taipei it may also be relevant.

Continue reading “How-to: Enable Emoji On iPhone WITHOUT Jailbreaking”

How Does It Work? – Silica Gel Package

I hope “How Does it Work?” will become a regular category in my Weblog. I will start this new category of rant by asking the following question.

“How does Silica Gel package work?”

You must have seen those small gel packages placed inside food products to help prevent moisture inside the product. What I don’t understand is how they actually work? Many of these Silica Gel packs are sealed inside their own self contained package. So if they are sealed inside their own packages, how can they do its job of drawing moisture from inside the food product? I think I will have to seek the answer from a food manufacture.

Although I did find out a lot about Silica Gel and what it is. Silica Gel was invented prior to WWI and was used in Allied gas masks. During WWII it was used extensively to keep penicillin dry. It is the highest capacity adsorbent available today; something that is not normally associate with “gel”. Also not to be confused with “silicon gel”, silica or silicon dioxide (SiO2) gel is a porous, granular form of silica, synthetically manufactured from sodium silicate.

Silica gel can adsorb about 40 percent of its weight in moisture and can take the relative humidity in a closed container down to about 40 percent. Once saturated, you can drive the moisture off and reuse silica gel by heating it above 300 degrees F (150 C).

Silica Gel is mostly harmless that’s why it is used with food products.