It is almost the year 2010.
It seemed as though it was yesterday that we were all waking up to see if the world had ended on January 1st, 2000 from the dreaded and mega hyped Y2k bug.
Technology is moving faster than ever.
A tweet as a verb now describes an internet status update instead of the sound a bird makes. Facebook is no longer a material thing high school students use to keep in touch but instead a social networking site with more "citizens" than most countries have people.

And you no longer need to be a computer genius to use a smartphone.

Just ask the millions of people who are being drawn to new devices such as the iPhone or Palm Pre. The Motorolla Droid is the latest phone to focus on ease of use and as prices come down, and people become more connected via social networking, smartphone purchases go up.

Whats Good for the Goose, Not Good For The Gander

When apple announced the original iPhone years ago, they included a set ammount of applications (apps) for common tasks. They also announced that although the iPhone would be a smartphone like no other with an extremely robust set of hardware underneath the hood, there would be no access to outside developers to program for the phone.
This caused independant software companies and developers cry foul, claiming that Apple was limiting the device itself. Apple counterclaimed that by closing the phone, they were ensuring all users a flawless experience

When Apple announced the AppStore would launch and developers would be able to finally develop and publish apps for profit or for free, the same developers cheered briefly until learning that Apple would test and either approve or deny all apps. Apple needed no reason to deny an app and had no obligation to explain or justify their decisions.

All the while, an underground community was brewing. Through unofficial channels, so called "Hackers" and "Crackers" were finding new ways to bypass the locks which Apple had put into place. They were gaining root access (the deepest part of the software that runs the iPhone) and enabling the installation of unauthorized apps. Even before the existence of the AppStore, there were new games, apps and modifications available for the device.

And Then There Was Google.

Shortly after the launch of the iPhone, Google announced an open sourced phone platform called "Android." Android would allow developers to put an operating system on any device which would be open to developers and free to develop for. In addition to the Android version of the Apple AppStore, the Android store would never deny any apps submitted unless they were obviously in blatant violation of terms of service regarding hate speech, sexual content etc.

People have started to use the Android Platform and it is not a failure by any means, but it is still not able to compete with the Apple AppStore.

On December 14th 2009, it was announced that Google would be launching a brand new phone, known as the Nexus One.
The Nexus One would not have any restrictions. Google has promised that the phone will be the first ever completely open version of it's Android OS. They claim that various carriers (such as Verizon with the Droid and T-Mobile with the MyTouch) have put restrictions in place in order to keep customers from the full potential of the Android platform.

This has created some buzz in the industry.

But Back to Those Who Just Want a Nice Phone

I fix iPhones.
I do it for friends of friends of friends.
Many times the phones come to me and need to be reset because some "ghost in the machine" has caused a problem. Nothing serious, just go in and backup the phone (if possible) and restore it via iTunes.
More often than not, the iPhone comes to me with either a picture of a Russian Steve Jobs (the Apple CEO) or what is commonly known to the "Jailbreaking" community as a PwnApple.
Jailbreaking is the process of opening your iPhone up to enable hacks, mods and other things that apple does not allow.

Two indications of a jailbroken and "broken" iPhone

Are these users who have to bring their phone to be repaired gaining anything from their user experience by having their device "crash" or are they simply limiting their enjoyment they can have from the phone itself?
These users take a device that "just works" and hack it to make it "just a little better" and in the end suffer down the line.

You Say You Want a Revolution... But do You?

So to what level does the common user need to access the deepest levels of a device?
And what works best for the average joe who just needs to make calls?

When Google launches the Nexus One in early 2010 we will see how successful they can be with an completely unlocked and open platform.

Until then, we will just have to wait.

Bing! For iPhone

Earlier this year Microsoft made waves on the internet when it released Bing, a search engine that looks to compete directly with Google by offering up all services in a single portal such as search, maps, local content and also real time results which Google has only recently rolled out.

Earlier this week, Microsoft submitted and was approved for the Bing app to appear on the AppStore.
How does it compare to the Google mobile app?
Are we ready to drop our California cousins for big brother in Washington? Only time will tell.


The first thing one notices when they first use the Bing app is that it takes a minimalistic approach to the portal it is attempting to be.
Merely a bottom navigation bar and center starting point for images, movies, maps, news, business and directions.

The Bing homescreen. Very clean looking.

Behind it is a wallpaper which changes. Touch the wallpaper and the menu dissapears and squares appear leading you to interesting searches you may want to check out.

The main menu fades to reveal random photos with interesting trivia

Bing is also location aware and will access your gps if you give it permission.

The app also works completely in landscape mode. This is important to many, including myself.


Microsoft uses it's own search engine technology and results feel useful. Perhaps not as useful as google but as an alternative bing and google compliment each other well.

Search as you type suggestions work well.

A nice feature is Bing's real time as you type suggestions. This helps you fine relevant searches faster and more conveniently.

Bing remembers your search terms so you may return later and find common searches quickly


One major comparison Bing will face is it's speech recognition. Google mobile also has this feature however Bing had integrated it i to every part of the app, making voice searches always available.

The top right of the screen has a microphone making for easy access to a voice search at any time.

I was never able to perform a search this way. I was on the Las Vegas strip with a normal level of background noise (traffic, people etc) and was unsuccessful time and time again.


Bing's other features are business searches, movie times and maps.

All of this is straightforward. Maps are powered by Microsoft and driving directions are included. Bing is not a full blown GPS but like google maps it can help to get you to and from locations.


Bing does a good job at combining the net as a portal app.
I personally like the feature set of google more but the layout and ease of use in bing makes it perfect for the casual user.

Download both. They cost nothing and together they will ensure you get the best search results possible.

As apple opens to the doors to even more and more different types of iPhone applications, there are more and more fun things to install on your phone or iPod Touch.
Each app you install takes up an icon on your home screen, and the iPhone OS only allows you so many home screen icons.

It is true that apple has a limit on how many home screen pages you may have.
In the new version of the iphone os (3.0 and later) there are eleven pages of apps you can have on your home screen.

However not all is lost and the apps that you cannot see an icon for are indeed still installed on your device.

Here is how to get them:

on your iphone, there is a hidden page that you can get to easilly. It is the "spotlight search" that allows you to search any contacts/music/app or email installed or downloaded on the phone.

In order to access this you must be on the first page of your iphone home screen. To do this, simply press the home button to end whatever activity you are doing (such as playing a game, surfing the net or anything else) so you see all of your app icons, then press the home button again.

 The iPhone "HOME" Button. Your Best Friend.

The phone will reset your view to the very FIRST page of apps you have installed. Once again press the home button or swipe to the left and you will see a search field n the top of the screen and a keyboard on the bottom.
From here you may search for any app on the phone, as long as you know the name of the application.

The iPhone OS Search Page. It Finds as You Type!

Keep in mind that the iPhone OS can accomodate up to 180 app icons. That is ELEVEN PAGES.
Eleven pages, you must really love your apps!

There is a way to rearrange your home screen applications in iTunes 9 or greater, but that requires your phone connected to your computer, and it is another post for another day.
These instructions are the only way to actually access your unseen apps from your iPhone when you would like to use them.

If you have any tips, be sure to comment about them here!
Thanks for reading as always.

It took them a little time but the TomTom app is finally a reasonable price of $49.99 on the US app store.
TomTom is the GPS company that basically popularized GPS for automobiles a long long time ago.

TomTom for iPhone
They then thought it was a great idea to launch an overpriced iPhone app that sold for $99, the same price as a dedicated GPS you could buy at your local Best Buy.
Good idea huh?
Finally they dropped it today to a nice $49.99
Still does not beat xWaves xGPS which is 100% FREE from Cydia which is definately not as refined as TomTom but nice and free.

xGPS For iPhone or iPod Touch (free on Cydia)

Got a favorite GPS app you want to share?

As more and more people find the iPhone a more and more affordable option for an everyday phone, the ammount of people jailbreaking and modifying phones has increased.
Let's face it, people want to use their phones whichever way they want to use them. They do not generally like a company like Apple or Microsoft to tell them how to use a device.
Would the PC or Mac world exist if Microsoft or Apple told companies what software could be installed on the Windows or Mac OS?

But I digress.
This is not a post about why or if people should be allowed to jailbreak their iPhone's or iPod Touch. If you secure it, they will break into it. A cat and mouse game, and the mice will always find a way to win.

I am asked over and over again by these new iPhone jailbreaker's which sources I use to get my hacks, mods, and alterations.
There are a few good sources, and I will cover a few of them here.

Anything you want to add here? Please post in the comments!

*please be advised that if you install any third party modifications to your phone, you technically violate apple's warranty. All of this is at your own risk


Modmyi is the repo for the popular iphone/ipod touch site.
It is dedicated to themes galore, with many bosspaper packs as well as complete themes, lockscreens, and ringtones.


iClarified offers many different mods to customize how the phone and messaging functions on your iPhone are maaged. There are call log tools, sms (text messaging) tools and other modifications.

One repo I will not post the address to:

There is one other repo.
Both of which offer great wallpapers, fonts and themes.
This repo however also offers different content that allows users to install other apps that I cannot talk about here because it may or may not violate my adsense account.

The site is
and I will leave it at that.

But those are the two you should always add to every jailbreak.
I hope this was helpful.

In the past day or so, just in time for the Christmas season, the childrens classic "how the grinch stole christmas" appeared in the AppStore.

It sells for $3.99 and has two modes for story telling (it reads to you) or more traditional story telling.

The book is not your average kindle offering as it has full color illustrations from the original book.

The perfect Christmastime story at the perfect time for what I feel is less than a most perfect price. $3.99 maybe a little expensive.

This is the story of three:
iPhone 3.0.0
AT&T fail
But first:
To thether:
The ability for a laptop or desktop PC to connect to the internet via a WiFi-capable phone.

First, pdanet.
The original AppStore was launched in july of 2008 along with the iPhone 2.0 software. For the first time the small developers had a real marketplace for applications. A centralized hub for selling.
A month or two after the launch of the AppStore an app called pdanet was released. Pdanet had existed for palm phones and blackberry handsets and was an app that allowed for a dead simple way to tether your handset.
Within a few days, the pdanet application was pulled from the AppStore without any explanation. The app was released on the cydia store where jailbreakers were free to install and enjoy.

This is also the story of March 17th, 2009.

This was the day that apple held it's keynote and announced that the newest iphone software would be released. This new software would enable users around the world the ability to tether their phones with the ease of a simple button tap on iphone. People were elated. Everywhere around the world people were happy. Everywhere but in the united states where att would announce at some later date how much extra would be charged to their existing iphone accounts for the ability to tether.
Att was at the time running an ad campaign for their service that allows users to connect to the exact same 3g network at the exact same speed as an iphone 3g but uses a USB dongle and charging an extra fee per month.
iPhone users already pay an additional $30 a month for the unlimited internet service on the iphone, but att would not allow for the phone to tether, no no no. that would be out of the question
Within a few weeks, the friendly folks at had managed a dead simple way to enable this "missing" feature on the iPhone, and the battle was partially being won for the good guys. The next iPhone update plugged this work around, and while the rest of the world enjoyed their free iPhone modem connection, american users languished under the Att money squeeze.

But this is also the story of another Att fail.

So what conclusions do we draw?
It could be said that att knew that the ability for user to buy a $5 application and get online on a laptop anywhere would basically shatter an already extremely fragile network. They simply put pressure on Apple to remove the original PDANet application from the app store.
This undoubtedly caused people to jailbreak their devices to install the now somehow "rouge" application and use their phone as they saw fit.

It should also be pointed out that technically att is not "wrong" in this. They can dicate how much internet you use. Rumor has it that there is really a "cap" on that "unlimited internet" and this has been proven without an official statement by way of att handing out phone bills worth $28,000.00
So beware. It isn't your device. This is what att is telling you. Those that want to tether, be advised that the rumored soft cap (the one they don't HAVE to enforce but can CHOOSE to enforce) is somewhere around 5 gigabytes a month.

Keep an eye on it. I don't tether (anymore, havent for two months) but surf heavilly and listen to plenty of streaming audio all the time.
Can't wait until att calls me and tries to charge me an overage on my "unlimited" iphone data plan.

So you are an AT&T user and are sick of the dreaded three beep sound. You know, the sound your phone makes when your call fails for no good reason?

If you call AT&T directly you will likely get a rep who will admittedly be very nice in mist cases but who will simply trouble shoot your device and do little to resolve the issue.
Here are four steps you should take in order to get your account actually credited for the poor service you are getting:

**THE BELOW ASSUMES YOU HAVE AN IPHONE COVERED UNDER THE ONE YEAR WARRANTY OR APPLECARE PLAN - it requires you getting a replacement phone if you can.

1) get a new sim card from AT&T (u lose no data because none is stored on the card)

2) backup your phone in iTunes (plug it in and SYNC IT) which backs up text messages, call logs and contacts. Not music though.

4) restore the phone in iTunes (optional but xtra ammo for apple to replace your phone as they will blame software for dropped calls while AT&T will blame the sim card we replaced or the phone itself)
3) take it to apple. Be nice. Tell them AT&T replaced the sim. U restored it etc and get a new one. If there is no apple store where u are call 1-800-MY-APPLE and they will send you a replacement or u can get one from the AT&T store.

4) sync your phone at home to get your contacts etc back on it

5) call AT&T and tell them all of these steps. At this point there is no possible excuse for your issues other than the network itself.

Be sure to remind AT&T you have a 3g phone and you pay an extra $30 a month per line of iPhone service so you should be able to use that service.
At some point they SHOULD offer you a credit. If they do not then simply keep complaining and they will. Almost all of them can offer a credit to you. If you feel ok asking go ahead but that is not my style personally.

TIPS: never EVER tell anyone you jailbreak or unlock your phone if you have jailbroken it. This is against your contract and they will give you nothing ever!
If you hack and do a restore your phone looks as good as day one
Also if you have physical damage to the phone you will be out of luck. Apple does now cover physically damaged phones unless you are an amazing talker. I've had them replace a shattered screen phone but it wasn't easy.

Also: The head of the genius bar is the equivelant of a GOD at the apple store. He has final say over all replacements. Talk to him only if you must but apple is an incredible company that is great to their customers (too bad AT&T is so poor)
They want to retain you as a customer so keep that in mind.
Good luck! Post comments here...

Earlier on today, a new app appeared on Cydia and the ModMyi repository called iMuzik.
I usually could care less for music streaming and download services, podcasts and streaming are more my source of audio on my phone.

That being said, I just had to try it out.

What is iMuzik?

iMuzik is an attempt to offer a free to use download and streaming application for your iPhone or iPod Touch.
Its authors use Cydia to distribute it as Apple prohibits any sort of downloading audio files to the iPhone itself.

After installing, quit Cydia and return to the phone screen and run the application by tapping it's icon. This is not a modification to the phone, just an application for music.

The first thing that you notice is that this app is more hip hop than it is country or rock and roll.
The second thing which you may notice is that this app went from "1000's" of songs in the Cydia description to "100's" in the app itself.

The main screen gives you an overview of how to use the app, where to get music, and twitter links.
Continue to click on the Music tab and get to the music available.

The next screen we see is an alphabetical list by artist. There is no way to tell how many artists are under a specific letter, you have to click on a letter and try your luck. Either the artist you want is listed or it is not.

Clicking on the letter "A" brings almost no music. We are luckier with the letter "E" and get two artists. This is misleading because it looks as though there are three "ALBUMS" from Eminem available.

These album listings look very promising. However when you click an album you find that to the contrary there are no more than a few tracks listed for download or streaming

The rest is logical as can be. Click a song and be taken to a download service where the audio file is located. Assuming that you have the Safari download plugin installed you can download the files and listen to them at a later time.
That requires you to have dTunes or a different media player installed as there is no player build into the application. If you do not have the download plugin installed, the default iPhone quicktime player will stream the song for you. When it is finished playing it will return to the application.

Worth Your Time?

I can see only one case where you would want to use this application. If you were on the road and cannot get to a computer. All you have is a wifi access and do not want to stream music. You can simply download files to your device and then play them later.

As there is no integration with the native iPod, you must have dTunes or a different player installed to listen to downloaded files.

This is a good start and could be a great service if given proper time and the ability to play files from within the app itself.
Other than that, the lack of any search functionality or ability to truly download full albums keeps me from using it as a replacement for streaming music apps such as Pandora and

The developers are open to suggestions though, which is a great thing. Given time, this app could be something great. For now, I would sit and wait to see how it develops.

Here is a brief summary of last week. Better than it has been. I am going to assume that this is due to the lack of tourism in town as the National Finals Rodeo was in town for ten days.

More later on some cydia apps.

So who is to blame for the bad call quality and failed calls on the AT&T network?

Certainly not AT&T!

No. It would seem that even though the Verizon network has the most coverage and best call quality, AT&T has decided to come to it's own conclusion that since statistically they have the fastest 3g network that therefore they have the best 3g network.

According to a study that was done and reported on in the NY Times, the main reason that the iPhone has issues is due to a faulty wireless interface. This means that AT&T is basically saying in a matter of words that there is no problem with the network, it is indeed the iPhone itself.

AT&T know not to bite that hand that feeds it (aka, the iPhone which has generated millions of new subscribers) and it will do everything it can in order to point out that it is indeed not the one to blame for the major issues plauging iPhone users in the United States.

But where does that put iPhone users, who have countless dropped calls and issues with call quality and connectivity?

According to the study, iPhone's may have issues when connecting in congested areas. If that is the case, why then do we not hear subscribers in other major global cities complaining?
It would seem that people in Tokyo, Manila, and London would also be having connectivity issues with iPhones if the case was the hardware. Instead the only reports come from the United States.

The problems seem to be localized.
The author of this blog lives in Las Vegas Nevada, a place with anywhere between 100,000-250,000 extra people a day and I see regular problems with connections when in the tourist heavy strip corridor.

So who is to fail? AT&T will never admit it, but the network is partially to blame, no matter how they want to spin it.