Posts Tagged ‘Apple’

Apple iPhone 4 bumper – fit for purpose?

December 23rd, 2010 No comments

You would expect a mobile phone case to last at least a year. This Apple iPhone 4 bumper is only three months old, but is about to fail.

The first two images show how the edge around two diagonal corners have worn away. Interestingly, this has only happened on the rear, the front is OK.

iPhone 4 Bumper Case
iPhone 4 bumper case

On one of these corners, the hard section between the mute switch and the headphone socket has parted company on both sides, leaving the top of the case loose and floppy.

iPhone 4 bumper case
iPhone 4 bumper case

So what arduous conditions has this case been subjected to? Nothing more than in and out of my pocket during normal use.

These bumper normally retail for £25. Fortunately, this was one of the free ones issued by Apple after antennagate (something that doesn’t seem to matter outside of the US anyway). Had I paid for this, I would have returned it under the sales of goods act as not fit for purpose. When it fails I’ll have to replace it with something but I don’t like the idea of shelling out £25 every three months for one of these.

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Pairing iPhone 4 and TomTom Go 500

September 10th, 2010 2 comments

iPhone TomTom BluetoothI get a lot of search engine hits on a previous post about pairing the iPhone 3G with the TomTom Go 500, so this is just a quick blog post to confirm that the iPhone 4 (iOS4.1) also pairs with the TomTom Go 500.

The different experience of updating Applications on Windows and Mac

June 20th, 2010 No comments

I mainly use Mac OS X at home, but keep a PC running XP for a couple of apps. One of these Windows apps, DVD Profiler, today highlighted the gaping difference in developers’ thinking between Windows and Mac applications.

In today’s constantly connected world, we have become accustomed to updating programs on a fairly regular basis. Both minor and major updates are available on-line without resorting to retail boxed discs.

Applications can even check for updates when you launch them and many Mac OS X applications on launch, having determined that an update is available, will offer a dialogue box saying “A newer version is available” and offer to “download, install and relaunch” or “skip” – all very efficient and streamlined.

GarageSale Update Dialog

Today, however, I fired up DVD Profiler on the PC. Before adding a new DVD to the collection, the program will download the latest database, which it did but then complained “This database cannot be read as it is for a later version of DVD Profiler”. So why then did it waste time downloading 18MB of data if it wasn’t going to work? Surely it makes sense to check compatibility first. It did however ask whether I wanted to download the latest version; I said yes, but instead of DVD Profiler updating itself, it fired up my browser and dropped me on their download page to download and manually run the installer myself, which rather than a one-click update was the usual long-winded multiple dialog windows application installation process asking all the same questions the initial installer asked. Surely an update should pick up on the existing installation and work with that. I’m surprised it didn’t make me uninstall the previous version, something demanded of several Windows application upgrades.

The new version, as it happens, runs like a dog, so I may well be switching to Delicious Library on the Mac.

[iPhone OS Feature Wishlist] – Ignore App Updates

May 19th, 2010 No comments

App Store Update AvailableWhile it’s great to receive updates for iPhone apps, these are not always welcome as the update can often change the app’s functionality dramatically, such as when Occipital were forced to removed the Amazon results from their otherwise excellent RedLaser app; for many, this was the main attraction for using RedLaser, so did not want to update.

While you are not forced to do so, it means that you cannot use the ‘update-all’ button; you then have to individually install updates, which can be tedious with a large number of updates. It would be better to be able to opt to ‘ignore updates for this app’, but I can’t see Apple adding this functionality.

One reason for iPhone battery problems

May 15th, 2010 No comments

Although there are several causes for reduced battery life on iPhones, I found that this was my problem with a rapidly flattening iPhone battery.

iPhone Low BatteryWhen I first got my iPhone, I found that, after an overnight charge, the battery wasn’t even lasting until the end of the afternoon. The phone was also getting quite warm. I initially put this down to overuse of a new gadget, but even when I wasn’t using it much during the day it was still needing a top up to avoid it dying on the way home. Additionally, this didn’t happen at the weekend when I used the phone a lot more.

I then noticed that while I was at work, owing to the perfectly reasonable company firewall settings, I couldn’t connect to my .mac* or gmail email accounts nor send any email. In order to do so, I would turn off the WiFi to use the GPRS (I’d be lucky to get 3G on O2 despite being inside the M60). I then found that the battery life improved so that the phone would now last all day until late evening.

Basically, what seemed to be happening was that the iPhone was continually ‘banging its head against the firewall’. Rather than realising that it could not connect to the mail servers, it would continually retry, and in doing so and using the WiFi it was draining the battery.

Obviously, as I stated at the opening line, there are several reasons for reduced battery life, but check that your iPhone is not needlessly wasting power on futile WiFi connections.

* Yes, I know it’s called MobileMe now

iTunes ‘remove duplicates’ feature – is it any use?

December 26th, 2009 2 comments

iTunesIconOn the face of it, the iTunes ‘remove duplicates’ feature sounds like a great idea as you may well have the same track on an artist’s album, a greatest hits album and a ‘various’ compilation album and this is needlessly taking up space on your hard drive. Unfortunately, the feature is rather crude as using it means that two of your albums will now be missing tracks when you come to listen to them as an album (yes people still do that sometimes).

A much more intelligent functionality (Apple please consider implementing this) would be for iTunes to discard two of the files (thereby saving space) but re-link the remaining file to all occurrences of that track in your library. Without this, the feature is next to useless.

Printer Driver and Office Software

December 6th, 2009 No comments

hp_100As many will know, Snow Leopard changed the way printer drivers work in Mac OS X and Hewlett Packard decided to class several printers as obsolete, even though those involved are anything but. No doubt they’d rather you spend unnecessary money on a replacement HP printer; a strategy that may backfire if the sentiments in several forums is anything to go by.

Owning a perfectly serviceable Deskjet 995C, I found myself in this situation, however Apple had provided a fall-back in the shape of Gutenprint drivers, or so I thought. While the Gutenprint drivers are adequate, although slow, for printing letters or line-art, they are completely useless for photographs. The prints are washed out and no amount of tinkering with driver settings will fix it.

One step forward, two steps back

I had almost resigned myself to buying another printer when I decided to try the HPIJS drivers. You need to ensure you download and install all three packages (HPIJS, Foomatic-RIP and Ghostscript). Success, I could once again print photographs, but suddenly all my Microsoft Office v.X applications (Word, Excel and Powerpoint) crashed on startup.

officeI removed the new printer drivers but Office still crashed.
I checked for any Office updates and found I wasn’t quite running the latest version. Unfortunately, trying to run the updater resulted in a hung installer.
I tried using Time Machine to revert to a pre-HPIJS version of the Office folder but Office still crashed.
Even removing Office and re-installing from the original Office CD resulted in applications crashing.

I started to look at my options:
Microsoft have finally seen sense and realised that home users shouldn’t have to pay the ridiculous £400 for Office and have a Home/Student edition for around £70 but the latest version appears from the reviews to be unstable bloatware, so I have gone down three roads: I have downloaded and installed the free OpenOffice and I have also downloaded the one-month trial version of Apple’s iWork (around £60) and the one-month trial of Microsoft Office 2008.

The advantage of OpenOffice (apart from being free) is that it opens and saves MS Office documents directly whereas iWork has to ‘Save As’ in Office format for compatibility and still wants to save in iWork format; you don’t seem to be able to tell it to default to MS Office format; iWork on the other hand seems more intuitive but will involve a learning curve.

I think a new printer may have been cheaper and less hassle.

Snow Leopard will likely cost you far more than £25

September 5th, 2009 2 comments

Snow LeopardDisregarding the fact that at £25 (21.73+VAT), UK users have to pay 22% more than their US counterparts for the Snow Leopard upgrade, you will be extremely lucky if you get away with only spending 25 quid.

The problem is that while I experienced few problems moving from Panther to Tiger, or Tiger to Leopard, Apple’s latest incarnation of OS X appears to have taken more away than it added, and in doing so it has cut off several pieces of software and device drivers. While the PPC-Intel Babel Fish Rosetta is still available for install, this is no guarantee that older software will still run.

Trying to find updates and patches means trawling the net and it is interesting to see how support forums are populated by two polarised camps: on the one side you have those angry that [insert appropriate software company name] has not issued a patch to work with Snow Leopard, versus those who chastise the former camp for not having already upgraded to the latest version (and paid handsomely for it). Many understandably see no reason in spending hundreds of pounds or dollars on the latest version when the one they have “does everything I need thank you very much”; a situation repeated in the Windows world where a significant number of companies still run Office 2000 and even Office 97.

The following are my experiences so far with various pieces of software and devices:

Elgato EyeTV

EyeTV iconBefore applying the Snow Leopard upgrade I checked Apple’s list of incompatible software and Elgato’s EyeTV was the only one listed that affected me. Apparently versions 3.0 through 3.0.4 were not compatible; only problem was that I was running v2.5.3 which was not even mentioned. I had of course been offered to upgrade a while ago, but since I only use EyeTV for watching live TV, there was no justification for spending money on an upgrade to get features I wouldn’t use. Unfortunately, since Elgato would not be updating version 2 for Snow Leopard, it meant spending £29 or throw the EyeTV in the bin. Already the cost of upgrading to Snow Leopard has more than doubled.

Dreamweaver MX 2004

Dreamweaver MX iconDreamweaver simply won’t open. The icon bounces a few times and then quits with no error message from either OS X or Dreamweaver. Since Adobe have since moved to CS3 and then CS4 there’s no hope that they will do anything to sort this one. Users are even reporting problems with CS4. What’s odd here is that Microsoft Office v.X is working fine and that is older, but reading up on Adobe problems shows that Adobe are in the habit of hooking into undocumented OS functions, so it’s not surprising that even CS4 is causing problems. The solution? Pay £163 to upgrade, however, given the problems even CS4 users are having, and the fact that I use Dreamweaver mainly as a hand-coding environment, I have been looking at alternatives and Panic’s Coda is looking good; at $99 (about £61) it’s a lot cheaper than throwing more money at Adobe, but it still means that our previous total has once again doubled.

Printer Drivers

Snow Leopard is supposed to set up your existing printers but, just as with Tiger, both my DeskJet 995C and Canon CP-300 both disappeared. Fortunately, I was able to re-add them although the system is using the GutenPrint drivers which work fine. Good job as HP have announced that they are dropping support for a whole raft of older (but still in-use) printers.

CyberDuck ftp

At the time of writing a Snow Leopard version is only available in beta but it is available.


Silverkeeper just needed an update to v2.0.2.

Soho Notes

SOHO Notes iconVersion 6 is not compatible, but when I went to their website I found that I am entitled to a free upgrade to version 7 owing to the date I purchased version 6, otherwise that would have been another $25. Version 7 users need an upgrade to v7.0.5 owing to the underlying openbase needing upgrading.
UPDATE: OS 10.6.1 breaks SohoNotes 7.0.5 – you need to update to version 7.0.7 ensuring that you select the option to reinstall the database engine.’s Booksmart

Requires a patch.


1Password doesn’t work with Safari in 64-bit but there is a workaround by forcing Safari into 32-bit mode. Version 3 will work OK, but again there’s another $19.95.

X-Chat Aqua

X-Chat is showing garbage fonts as though some mapping is wrong. The official site doesn’t mention any problem.


Requires update to v7.3.4.

Other Software

No problems with Microsoft Office v.X, Reunion 8, iPulse, Photoshop Elements 4 or 6, GarageSale, Tweetie, Drobo dashboard,, FileJuicer, Little Snitch, or Mozy.

My Canon scanner (using Canoscan Toolbox X) and Nikon film scanner (Nikon Scan v4) are also both working fine.

Snow Leopard also reset my SSH port to 22 and overwrote my Apache httpd.conf file (as did Tiger).


Any OS upgrade is going to cause problems, but applications that play ball and use documented system calls will fair better than those that try to be clever using undocumented calls. While it is unreasonable to expect a software company to continue to support and update older versions ad infinitum, users often find they have to upgrade just to keep up, rather than receiving any real benefit, as although the software may have new features these may not be relevant or needed. The dropping of support for devices means that perfectly functioning equipment is needlessly thrown away because the company would rather you buy their latest (and not always better) model.

Snow Leopard resets SSH port back to 22

September 4th, 2009 2 comments

Snow LeopardIf you have changed your SSH port in Leopard to something other than port 22, be aware that the Snow Leopard upgrade process resets this back to the default port 22 without asking or warning you.

Aperture Download Pricing

May 18th, 2009 No comments

ApertureI recently downloaded the 30-day trial of Apple’s Aperture software and have been impressed enough to buy it. On clicking the ‘buy’ link in the software however, I was presented with the choice of a boxed version shipped to me for £126 or have a serial number emailed to me for exactly the same price. Surely, Apple should be offering a discount for the downloaded version: no box, no DVD, no shipping.
In the end I ordered it from Amazon for over six quid cheaper, and as it is shipped from the UK, as opposed to the ‘Grand European Tour’ that Apple products tend to take, I’ll probably get it quicker anyway.