August 24, 2010

More Reasons To Jailbreak the iPhone..Or Get An Android Phone

Well I just wrote a big long thing, clicked post, and BAM! Everything I wrote was lost.  This is stupid.

Here's my new theme.
Amazing.  Apple still sucks.  Jobs is full of crap.  Why can't Apple offer themes?  Why can't they update their text previewer to include what I discovered today...volume up + tap to the screen = quick compose text message, anywhere.

I'm pretty sure you all would have been annoyed that I'm still complaining about the iPhone anyway.  Android?  Can someone just bring a good one to AT&T?  AT&T is actually a lot of the iPhone's problem.  Service issues are them.  Tethering locked is them.  Good night.  This better post.

August 22, 2010

My Apple iPhone Saga Continues...Apple Still Annoys

Well fanboys, it looks like Apple is most likely going to get my business in the end.  One of my business partner (who "broke" her iPhone) ended up finding an iPhone 4 at an authorized AT&T dealer and made the purchase.  This sort of locks in our company for another couple of years with AT&T.  And, while I complain about my iPhone 3G to no end because I hate what it's become with Apple's RECOMMENDED UPDATE!, AT&T does not have a quality Android phone.  The Aria is the only one that makes my list of possibilities on the network (since Sony dropped the ball with the Xperia X10), but it is not as capable as an iPhone 4 with all that is available with the Jailbreak.

Besides some of the jailbreak features I've told you about in recent posts (here & here), my current favorite hacks are themes and an SMS text previewer that allows you to respond in multiple ways...even when the phone is locked.

First, the themes.  Because of good ol' Star Trek and the fact that a ton of phone features started with the communicators from the massive franchise, I thought I'd go with a Star Trek theme.  (I know, I'm a nerd.  I have a blog.  Hello.)
Besides the cool pictures, there are sound changes for everything.  That's right, the theme changed sounds from the standard, "unchangeable" ones from Apple.  The keyboard *beeps* like any console in the Star Trek TNG episodes, my received text sound is the sound of the Star Trek "doorbell", and everything from the voice of the computer telling me I have a message when I receive a voicemail to the intruder alert sound when my calendar alarm lets me know about a scheduled event, this theme makes my iPhone unique to me (and other Star Trek nerds, "Trekkies" if you will).  The point is, my phone is different from the other 51+ million out there because I made a choice to jailbreak a phone to allow it to do more.  I've unlocked some of the phone's potential.
You'll also notice there are 5 apps across the bottom, instead of 4.  This is nice.  I have more than 4 apps I use on a consistent, everyday basis.  Now I don't have to find which page or folder one more main app is on or in.  I wish there was more freedom with app icon placement.  5 across is nice.  I want the freedom to place the icons in any grid location (5 across and 6 down) that I desire.  I think it's doable, huh Apple?

Notice the conveniently located "date and time" now always on top.  I have access to the current date and time in almost every app now.  It's always there for me (unlike Apple).  This was a no-brainer addition.  Apple?  Next update?

How about HTC's "leap view (page 24 of the linked PDF)"?  It allows the user to pinch to zoom out and see all 7(on HTC) of the available screens as thumbnails.
That was a little rabbit trail.  Back to my jailbreaking ways.  An amazingly useful hack is the useful SMS/text preview function.  It allows the user to reply, call back, send a template, delete, etc. a received text from a locked screen or in any program without unlocking the phone or leaving the program.  The following images show this from a locked screen. My locked screen is a little different because of my theme.
Note in the images above, all the options available for reply.  You simply swipe right to left to reveal more options.  It's great!!!  Also, notice the profile picture on the received texts.  It takes the profile picture of the sender, gives it an artistic angle, and includes it in the preview.  Awesome and easy stuff for Apple to update, right?

So, in recapping my requests, Apple needs to... well, let me do this in my "letter to" format:

Dear Apple,

While I think you are arrogant and deaf to what users want (or just so greedy you don't care), please add these simple features to the next iOS update to make your product better.  Soon, Android may take the cake...or the gingerbread (refer to Android 3.0's code name).

1.  System sound changes, allowing the user to customize the sounds and alerts heard for each specific function of the phone.
2.  5 Icon across by 6 Icons down with freedom to place icons anywhere on the grid.
3.  Date and Time on the top status bar.  This can be optional.  Apple can use one of their clever toggle switches somewhere in system settings.
4.  Leap view (pinch to zoom access to thumbnails of all pages).
5.  Text preview and reply from a locked screen or within a program.  This should be a simple update.

From (not sincerely anymore),

James Guhn

Contact Juggling is Cool

I've never seen this type of juggling before today.  I guess it's called Contact Juggling because the juggler never "throws" the ball.  Instead it's always being touched, but it looks like it's floating.  This is cool.

August 21, 2010

Droid Incredible...It's Incredible

I finally went and did some hands-on research last night into the Droid phones on Verizon Wireless. I fell in love with the Droid Incredible by HTC. It works so well; probably the best Android phone out. From Google Voice to Flash, this phone was fast, smooth, and full of features.

A couple of things made me finally go last night. First, one of my business partners "broke" her iPhone 3G when, out of frustration, she threw it across the room. Apparently, Apple doesn't make a phone designed to take an anger throw (another flaw?). I also tried to look at Starbucks' Pike Place Coffee from my iPhone, since it's my new favorite coffee, but the site was Flash and I couldn't get the information.
Since I took my sons to a healthy meal at McDonald's, and there was a Verizon store right next door, I went in. My iPhone 3G runs so poorly that I've been reading about other options besides Apple's iPhone. Because AT&T doesn't have any good Android phones, the broken iPhone and my crappy running one led me to the Verizon store. I checked out the Motorola Droids (2 & X) and found them both pretty lame. One has a keyboard and the other has such a large screen the battery life sucked out in less than a day. Plus, both have the Motorola UI on top of the Android software that seems weak and glitchy. Then the saw the HTC Incredible.
Without wasting a lot of time with specs you can get here or at HTC's site, I thought the screen was beautiful, the software was smooth and fast, and all the available features and apps made is my current top pick. Because Android is written by Google, anything that is Google works seamlessly with the phone. You can made and receive Google Voice calls, SMS messages, and voicemails without realizing its a call forwarding system. You can edit any songs on the phone to be ringtones or any of the desired notification sounds you want. Free Google turn-by-turn navigation works with Google Maps. There are voice commands for everything from sending texts to getting directions to making calls to any other Google search you want.  Plus, it does Flash.  The Starbucks site loaded on the Verizon employee's phone.  Too bad my iPhone camera is CRAP!

August 15, 2010

Tweet Button Test

This is a test of the Tweet Button.

Wolfenstein 3D On My Jailbroken iPhone 3G

Wolfenstein 3D was one of the first first-person-shooters I played.  Awesome game.  And now I can play it on my jailbroken iPhone anytime.

August 11, 2010

Will My Next Phone Be a Sony? (UPDATED)

This phone has some great hardware, coupled with lousy Sony software on top of outdated Android software. It's sort of a joke. Android 1.6, NOT 2.0, 2.1, or 2.2. This is the kind of crap I don't understand. Why not bring a new phone to market with the latest and greatest of what's available. Check out this article sent to me by TechyTed.

I just stumbled upon this today; my next phone?  I've been a Sony fan for years (I know, Sony Ericsson is a little different than Sony), and I've seen some impressive displays and cameras on friend's cellphones from them.  Now, they are announcing "Smarter is Coming".  Is this the Xperia X10?  Is it an Android phone?  Is it a Windows Phone 7 phone?
 I'm actually holding my breath for this one.  I'm hoping for something great.  AT&T needs another great phone.  They need to add to the phone sales success they are having with the iPhone and add an alternative phone option for those of us fed up with Apple.

August 10, 2010

Will My Next Phone Be a Sony?

I just stumbled upon this today; my next phone?  I've been a Sony fan for years (I know, Sony Ericsson is a little different than Sony), and I've seen some impressive displays and cameras on friend's cellphones from them.  Now, they are announcing "Smarter is Coming".  Is this the Xperia X10?  Is it an Android phone?  Is it a Windows Phone 7 phone?
 I'm actually holding my breath for this one.  I'm hoping for something great.  AT&T needs another great phone.  They need to add to the phone sales success they are having with the iPhone and add an alternative phone option for those of us fed up with Apple.

August 9, 2010

A Funny Follow-up to Darth Vader's Day in the News

On July 24th, Darth Vader had a big news day.  If you don't remember, check it out here first.  Here is a follow-up video to the one posted on the 24th:

Grace Fail, Bowling Win

I found this on Fail Blog, but I think it's a funny win.  Sure the bowler is probably in a lot of pain, and I'm sure he's very embarrassed, but you can't do better with pin knockdown than that.

Moscow Car-nage! More People Who Can't Drive

Most of these "accidents" are due to the complete lack of adherence to the laws of the road.  Maybe they don't have those laws over there.

August 7, 2010

Top Gear USA?

I don't know if these doofs are the right guys for the job of Top Gear USA hosts, but this video is a pretty good first view of the show.  Good luck Top Gear USA.

If I Were CEO...Google

First off, there are people who either love Google or hate them.  Some people believe Google is going to try and take over the world, stating that Google is gathering every piece of private information about us.  These people think Google is a corrupt giant that is power and information hungry, and is an unstoppable beast.  And to those people I say, "if you can't beat them, join them."

I've joined.  Google has many applications I love and use on a daily basis.  From Gmail to Google's Search engine, I use something from them every day; even multiple times every day.  In fact, the list of products I use from Google includes:
AdSenseAlertsAnalyticsBloggerCheckoutDocsGmailGoogle BuzzGoogle LatitudeiGoogleMobileNotebookPage CreatorPicasa Web AlbumsReaderSitesSubscribed LinksTalkVideoVoiceWeb HistoryWebmaster ToolsYouTube

I love Google.  I'm still not sure I'm going to continue with Apple for my cell phone.  I may still switch to an Android phone, if AT&T ever adds a decent one.  I think the format of Gmail's conversation is so convenient for following a specific line of emails.  I love Blogger.  I love YouTube.  I love free services.  But this is an article about what I would do if I were CEO of Google.  This isn't about the insane amount of services I utilize for free. This is about what I would change.  So here we go...

If I were CEO of Google, I would start with creating a unified page for users to access all the different services they utilize.  There would be a centralized storage system for all the uploaded files, for ease in recalling the files and accessing them for use.  The storage capacity would continue to grow, just as Gmail's storage capacity grows, with the total available to a user based initially on the highest average used by a list of users created from the those who utilize the most the majority of Google's programs and have for the longest amount of time.  Obviously this number would be high, due to the high number of pictures, websites, and other files stored by this type of user.  I would also offer super affordable plans for expanding the amount of storage a user may want.  All this "cloud storage" would allow the user to access any and all types of files from any Internet enabled device, using web-based software to open, view, and edit these files as needed.  Documents, images, videos, music, emails, programs, etc. would all be available to the end user from their cloud storage location.  Secure access and security/protection services would be integrated with the storage of data, allowing users to easily and quickly back-up there systems whenever needed.

If I were CEO of Google, I would add to the list of free (or ad based) services already offered.  I would start with the rumored "Google Music".  I would design the program to help users organize their music and other media for use on any and all devices.  I would design a web-based version and a local version for both cloud and local storage.  I would make it intelligent, with smart playlist creation, song recognition (like Shazam), media editing capabilities, and a rating system.  User created playlists would be designed with ease in mind (drag and drop editing).  Android devices would work seamlessly with the program, but other developers and devices could be modified to work with it.  The designed program would go beyond music syncing and be more of a content syncing program, with the ability to storage any type of media on a connected device.  Music, pictures, files, etc. would all be available to the user as a list of items allowed to be synced with their devices.  I would design the music portion of the program to take a burned CD and apply track information automatically.  For CDs or tracks that do not have track information available, the song recognition software would listen to the track (or a portion) and apply the track information.  I would add listening features that would help match the decibel level of each song to eliminate the drastic changes in levels from artist to artist or era to era.

If I were CEO of Google, I would make Google Docs work more like an actual word processor, and less like a webpage.  I would look into providing an "Open Office" type of local client that saved the created/edited documents automatically to the user's Google Docs account in "the cloud".  I would have page view editing, where what is seen on the screen is very similar to how the document is actually going to print.  I would have more tools for merging, editing, drawing, designing, calculating, and image inserting simplifying the design and creation part of the document.

Customization, manipulation, and modification would all be continued themes.  Simple is better?  I think so.  And if I were CEO of Google, I would continue this way of business.  I understand that a company's success is based on it's ability to earn money.  I would continue Google's ad based business practice and provide minimally invasive ads that provided content applicable ads.  I would look into purchasing an ad based social network like Facebook, and synchronize it with auto updates similar to Google Buzz.  Ad content and exposure would increase exponentially with Google's content specific ads and the large numbers of users.  I would integrate the user's Google account and social networking account.

It is hard for me to really come up with much I would want to change or add to Google, because I already feel they are doing a lot of things correctly.  I think Google can become a location for users to store their files (whether it be music, pictures, documents, inc.), with the added benefits of file editing, use, and access from anywhere at anytime.

August 6, 2010

Dear Ford, Pick Jimmy the Gun

I'm on vacation for the next week.  This means (unless my wife makes me be social) I'll be getting some blogging off my chest.  I'm working on the next "If I was the CEO" post.  But first, taking two kids and my wife 500 miles in my car, with all our luggage and kid "stuff", made me long for an SUV.  And if you haven't followed my "More Stories" links or my Twitter updates, you've missed that I'm in love with the 2011 Ford Explorer.  This prompted my first vacation post, a letter to Ford Motor Company.  Enjoy and think good thoughts for me.

Dear Ford,

I have a small family, a small blog, but a rather large obsession with what you’ve done over the last few years.  I think my obsession started with the Five Hundred and the sedan “reinvented design” feel.  Ultimately, the Five Hundred took on the oh-so-famous “Taurus” nameplate and continued its move forward to what I consider the ultimate family sedan.  

Continuing in that form, you recently revealed the upcoming 2011 Explorer.  And from what I can see, you’ve done it again.  You’ve reinvented the SUV (I better check and see if you guys are using the term “reinvented” or something similar, so I don’t look like I’m attempting to claim ownership to it).

You’ve also impressed me with your success in a time where auto sales as a whole suffered, and even some companies made the choice to take money from the government.  You took a good look at your business model and made corrections and adjustments to avoid the need to be “bailed out.”  You’ve produced higher quality cars, listened to what customers want, and maintained a level of professionalism, honesty, and integrity in your business practices.  No misleading ads, no unclear messages about your financial situation, and no dependence on the government have all led me to my obsession with your company.

As a small time blogger, who writes about all sorts of passions, from tech to automotive and beverages to music, I’d like the opportunity to drive, rate, and write about the 2011 Ford Explorer.  I’d like the opportunity to use the Explorer to start my new series of blog posts about long term test drives.  I’ve chosen this as my first request, due to my current family size, my desire to move my blog forward into a more consistent product for my readers and because I want to do something to help spread the word about one of America’s greatest companies.

Obviously, I think of this request as a super long, long shot, but I’m on vacation this week from my normal every day job of making one of America’s greatest banks even better, so I have time to kill.  Whatever your opinion of me and my little blog, I think you are a great company, led by a great group of people, making outstanding decisions to lead your company into continued success.


Jimmy the Gun

August 5, 2010

Jailbreak Your iPhone OTA

You can jailbreak you iPhone right now over the air (OTA). I did it and I'm finding it works a little better than it did with iOS 4. I also have a few extras like a "go to my pc" app called LogMeIn.
And I have a wifi hot spot app, making my phone a router for my pc. Awesome stuff.
Sent from my iPhone