Apple

iPhone 3G S with Stereo Bluetooth (A2DP)

Posted by Mike Brittain on June 12, 2009
Apple / Comments Off

I bluetooth audio this might be one of the most interesting features to me in the new iPhone… the ability to stream music using Bluetooth to an audio headset or car stereo.  Love this idea.  I’ve gone through two of those FM transmitters, which I think are a pain to use especially in a metropolitan area with only small areas of unused FM air space.

Last weekend I was looking at my stereo and thinking, “When was the last time I actually put a CD in this deck?”  I also thought, “Why does this stereo have a tape deck, anyway?” (it’s a 2003 model, by the way).

The article states a number of potential issues with it which I’m hoping will get cleared up.  Of course, I don’t have a bluetooth receiver for my car either, which could be a drawback.

Syncing Google Calendar and Apple iCal

Posted by Mike Brittain on December 05, 2008
Apple, Google / 3 Comments

At long last, there is CalDAV support in Google Calendar so that it can properly sync with Apple’s iCal.  This has taken so long that I’ve pretty much moved completely into using Google Calendar 100%, and don’t even bother opening iCal.  In the end, that’s what I believe Google wants — total reliance on web-based apps.

In any case, the announcement was made a few days ago on Google’s Mac Blog.  There is a small app that Google is distributing for making the setup process super easy.  I’m going to give it a shot and see whether this will get me using iCal again.  It certainly would be nice to have this calendar available on my iPhone, especially when I’m somewhere that Google Calendar won’t load due to lack of network connectivity (which seems to happen pretty often for me).

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iReport Wrecks AAPL’s Price This Morning

Posted by Mike Brittain on October 03, 2008
Apple / Comments Off

CNN’s “Unedited” and “Unfiltered” news site, iReport, is showing a false story this morning about Steve Jobs being rushed to the ER.  Apple’s stock price showed a volatile reaction to the news following a pretty decent climb after the market opened this morning.  Someone made money on this — criminal.  I’m all for citizen reporting, but CNN sends mixed signals by attaching its brand to false news and rumors.

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Translate Words and Phrases on Your iPhone

Posted by Mike Brittain on April 27, 2008
Apple, Mobile, WWW / 5 Comments

Screen shot of iPhone TranslatorI’ve been working on learning Japanese over the last two years, and have been making a better stab at it recently. What I realized would be helpful is a quick translation tool on my phone from English to Japanese. I tried whipping one up with the Google Language API.

Try out this iPhone Translator in your browser or on your iPhone.

  1. Open http://m.mikebrittain.com/tr in your iPhone.
  2. Select a combination of languages you want to translate between, e.g. from English to Japanese.
  3. Bookmark the translation page for quick access when your out on the run.

I have a trip planned to Vienna later this year, and it would be really nice to have a quick German to English translation tool on hand. This would be promising if only I had an international data plan.

Other supported languages include Spanish, French, Italian, Russian, Portuguese, and Chinese.

Please try it out and leave feedback in the comments section below.

(Thanks to DryIcons for the icon I’m using on the site for iPhone and iPod Touch home screens.)

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Interesting Ad for MacBook Air

Posted by Mike Brittain on April 14, 2008
Apple, Gadgets, Mobile / Comments Off

This YouTube video for the Salesforce and Google Apps Integration uses the MacBook Air as the hardware platform that demonstrates the new applications.  The cool thing is that this is where we could be in a few years as more and more data resides online, and not on your hard drive — lightweight, mobile, thin-clients.

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Why SSH is Slow to Connect on Mac OS X Leopard

Posted by Mike Brittain on March 30, 2008
Apple / 1 Comment

According to this post at Jungle Disk, my SSH connections to some servers are stalling (for nearly a minute) because of changes in the DNS resolution in OS X Leopard.  The root cause it probably in my router, which I need to dig into.  In the short-term, I added OpenDNS to my list of DNS servers and that seems to speed things up considerably.

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Due to an overwhelming demand to our products and services…

Posted by Mike Brittain on October 26, 2007
Apple / Comments Off

I just called AppleCare for some help with my MacBook. Seems that my DVD/CD drive has shit the bed. The response I got from the phone line was, “Due to an overwhelming demand for our products and services … you’ll have to call back later.” Now, I don’t know what’s worse, being told “the average time on hold is 48 minutes,” or “please, just go away.” I feel like I should at least get to take a number or something. I think there’s something else that burned me about this message (and I love Apple products), the tone in the guy’s voice came across as, “our products are so in demand, that we don’t have time to deal with your crumby issues.”

Hmmm… thumbs down, I think.

Google Phone coming right after I’ve bought an iPhone

Posted by Mike Brittain on September 19, 2007
Apple, Gadgets / Comments Off

Oh well, what can you expect. There’s always something around the corner. I had a lot of reasons that I wanted to wait before buying an iPhone, but in the end, I blame Howie… and the Installer app.

Extending Lazarus

Posted by Mike Brittain on October 11, 2006
Apple, Gadgets / Comments Off

Since I “upgraded” my iPod, it seems that it eats up its battery faster every day. I was pretty certain when I replaced the 20 GB drive with a 30 GB drive that the power consumption would also grow. Additionally, lithium ion batteries are known to have a limited lifespan, as charge capacity dissipates over time. By last week, my iPod’s battery seemed to hold about enough charge to get me to work and would die shortly after that. Moreover, if I changed course in my playlist (e.g. changing artists or songs in mid-stream) more than once or twice in an hour, the added seeks on the hard drive would cause the batter to expire even faster.

The battery meter was never quite right, either. Directly after charging the battery, the meter might read less than 1/4 full. As music played, the meter would rise for a bit. Or, sometimes when the meter was at about 1/2 full, the battery would suddenly quit.

I named my iPod Lazarus. When I replaced the broken hard drive, it got a 2nd life. (No that doesn’t make me Jesus, that’s not where I’m going.) It was time to revive this little guy one more time.

I bought a new battery on eBay. There are a number of suppliers who sell new batteries that fit all varieties of iPods. These come with plastic tools that are useful for prying open the case. I only paid about $12 for this battery, including shipping.

It took only about 10 minutes to open the case and replace the old battery. The new battery actually has close to 50% more capacity than the original battery. It easily holds a charge through 8 hours of play. Good as new… more or less.

My iPod is just over 2 1/2 years old. It’s now had 2 major surgeries and purrs like a kitten. As far as I’m concerned, this thing could easily last another 3 years with regularly scheduled “maintenance”.

Who needs video, anyway?

Automatic Time Sync in Parallels Virtual Machines

Posted by Mike Brittain on July 29, 2006
Apple, Microsoft / 4 Comments

I’ve been running Parallels on my MacBook so I can boot up a few of the Windows applications I still rely on… which I can tell you is a dwindling number. I noticed a few weeks ago that the clock in Windows XP had gone out of sync on the machine. Basically, if the virtual machine was not running, the Windows clock was completely asleep.

For the first few weeks of running Parallels, I solved this by writing a very simple .bat file that would execute at startup of Windows XP. It ran the Windows time manager and told it to check one of the time servers on the Internet and reset the time on my laptop. I don’t run on a domain or any fancy network at home, so I don’t have a local server I can use for syncing the time.

Anyway, here’s how to set that up:

  1. Open a new text file in Notepad
  2. Paste the following command (without the quotes) into the file: “w32tm /resync /rediscover”
  3. Save the file as synctime.bat. You may find that Notepad automatically helps you by adding on the default .txt extension. If that happens, just rename the file and take off that extension.
  4. Put the file somewhere in your path, maybe c:Windowssystem32.
  5. Create a shortcut to the synctime.bat file and put it into your Startup folder.

When the operating system is restarted, a command prompt will briefly appear showing the w32tm process running, and then it should go away after your clock has been updated.

Voila!

Well… not exactly. After running this for a few weeks with no trouble, I found that the clock was no longer updating. I opened the command prompt today and entered the w32tm command manually and found the following error:

The computer did not resync because the required time change was too big.

A quick Google search landed me at Microsoft’s TechNet article for Windows Time Service Tools and Settings, which provides in-depth detail on the switches and parameters for using the w32tm utility. Since I’m not running my own time server, most of it was irrelevant to me. I found a couple of registry settings that would correct the issue. These are MaxNegPhaseCorrection and MaxPosPhaseCorrection, and they are found in the registry at:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetServicesW32TimeConfig

The default (decimal) value for both of these keys was 54,000, which is 15 hours. This means that if your local clock and the Internet clock that you are syncing to are within 15 hours of each other, the time on your PC will be updated. If they are more than 15 hours apart, forget it.

The TechNet article highlighted a special case for this setting: “0xFFFFFFFF means always make time correction.” So fixing this issue is just a matter of editing a couple of Registry keys.

  1. Open up the Registry Editor. (From your Start Menu, select “run” and enter “regedit”.)
  2. Browse down to the “config” key to find the phase correction settings.
  3. Double-click on MaxNegPhaseCorrection to edit the value. It will read “d2f0″ in the hexidecimal value, or 54000 in the decimal value. Select “hexidecimal” and enter “ffffffff” in the field.
  4. Click “OK”.
  5. Make the same change for MaxPosPhaseCorrection.
  6. Close the Registry Editor

Re-run the synctime.bat file and you should fine that the time in Windows has been updated.

If there is a better way to do this, or a different setting that should be used, I’m happy to hear about it. This seems to have fixed my problem with time syncing in Windows, but I’m also pretty new to how Windows manages time syncing on a local network or on a managed domain.

If you have a better suggestion, please post it in the comments area below.