You do what Stefanie Gordon did yesterday on her Delta flight from New York City (LGA) to West Palm Beach (PBI) and takes several photos of the Space Shuttle Endeavor's last lift off from Kennedy Space Center (KSC). That single action did not gain Stefanie her celebrity status but what she did when she got to West Palm Beach did. After getting onto the Delta flight in LaGuardia (LGA) she sent her last tweet and turned off her iPhone 3GS, because she decided not to pay for in-flight WiFi, and then proceed to sleep through most of it. Until the plane began its decent to Palm Beach International Airport (PBI) and the pilot came on announcing the Space Shuttle Endeavor has just lifted off KSC.

When Stefanie landed and got to a WiFi hotspot she sent the following tweet. This tweet and the photos she took were picked up by local and national media within minutes, resulting in numerous telephone interviews. The media even interviewed her father before she made it to her parents' home from the airport. Stefanie's Twitter account gain over 2500+ followers within one day. This surely demonstrates the power of social media.

You can see some of the photos fellow Flickr community members; including Stefanie's (brand new Flickr account), took of the historic flight.

Along with the minor iOS 4.0.1 update for the iPhone 3G/3GS/4 that Apple made available last night, Apple has also released the iOS 3.2.1 update for the iPad. This update should appear in iTunes when you plug in your iPad; whether it is a WiFi or WiFi+3G version.

If you do not see the update in iTunes you can click on the Update button in the Summary pane with your iPad plugged in. Still having problems getting this massive 456.9MB payload from Apple? You can try getting it directly from Apple Support page.

If you opt for the manual method, with the iPad connected to your computer, go to iTunes's Summary pane for the iPad hold down the Option key (OS X) or Shift key (Windows), then click on the Update button while the iPad is connected to the computer.

Unfortunately, this is also a minor iOS update for the iPad, we will have to wait until the Fall 2010 to see the iOS 4.x update for the iPad. I hope Apple will align the iOS versions on the iDevices this Fall. The last thing Apple wants to do is eliminate their wall-garden advantage over Android OS's disparate hardware and manufacture.

If you think the iPhone camera is not up to par, you may want to think again. Lee of FStoppers.com decided to proof that you can take very beautiful fashion shoot style photos with any camera, even the one from his iPhone 3GS. So he recruited a few friends.

You can check out the before/after versions of the above photos on their Flickr page.

Lee and friends also documented the photo shoot in a video.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TOoGjtSy7xY

If this is the kind of results a group of professionals can do with an iPhone 3GS, imagine what they can do with an iPhone 4.

Posted
AuthorVinko
Categoriesiphone

I was made aware of InfoXenter's recent released iPhone application called "TimeSqueeze". It is a simple app; like any iPhone app should that focuses on performing one task and do it well, in this case the task is creating time-lapsed videos/photography on the iPhone 3G or 3GS running OS 3.1.2 or later. At the moment it does not support the iPod Touch. After displaying its title page the user is brought into the Main screen of the application where it awaits the creation of a time-lapsed video.

On the Main screen you will find several controls in the toolbar at the bottom of the screen. The first icon will begin the recording of the video, before the second icon is a bar that controls digital zooming that is enabled during video recording. The second icon will bring up a Project List containing the recorded time-lapsed videos. Lastly is the Setting icon that brings up the speed up slider, which allows the adjustment of the amount the resulting time-lapsed video is sped up.

The speed up formula is as follow:

5 X = a 60 seconds video will be sped up resulting in a video that is 12 seconds long. 1000 X = a 24 hours video will be sped up resulting in a video that is 90 seconds long.

1000 X being the maximum speed.

After these time-lapsed videos are recorded in MPEG4 (the default and only format available) they can be uploaded to YouTube, Facebook or YFrog, the latter by sharing the video through Twitter, as YFrog is the current default service used to host videos shared with a tweet.

Note: if you like to save the video out to the iPhone's Camera Roll along with other recorded videos on the iPhone, you will need to click the "Save to Library" button. I believe this button may need to be changed to "Save to iPhone's Camera Roll" to make it more obvious what it does.

Clicking on the YouTube button will bring up a screen to enter the information: Title, Description, Tags and Category, these are all fields that YouTube requires when uploading a video. TimeSqueeze automatically used the Project title as the video Title, entered "Timesqueeze", "iPhone" and "Timelapsed" as default tags and "Comedy" as the default category.

After these mandatory information are entered you can then click on the Upload button at the top of the screen to bring up the YouTube Credentials/Upload screen.

TimeSuqeeze is not using YouTube's OAuth API to authenticate the user's YouTube account but requires the user to manually enters the Username and Password. Fortunately, TimeSqueeze saves these credentials between use/uploads.

During my test of a 57 seconds video that was converted into a 11 seconds video, it took several minutes to upload (on a 3G network connection). Unfortunately, my test failed with an error message and the video was not uploaded. After trying several times I gave up.

I uploaded it manually, by first saving the created video into my iPhone's Camera Roll, connect my iPhone to my Mac, import the video using the iPhoto application, then uploads the video using a browser connection to YouTube.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qlgM7qUWWR0

Clicking on the Facebook icon brings up a screen to enter the information: Title and Comments (optional), these are information Facebook requires when uploading a video. TimeSqueeze automatically used the Project's title as the video title.

Here TimeSqueeze uses Facebook Connect to authenticate the user with his/her Facebook account. Afterwards clicking on the Upload button will theoretically uploads the said video onto the user's Facebook account.

Unfortunately, my test upload also failed with an error message.

Clicking on the Twitter icon brings up the screen to enter the body of the tweet and the user's Twitter credentials. It is unfortunate, that TimeSqueeze is not using Twitter OAuth to authenticate the user's Twitter account, but fortunately it saves the entered credentials for subsequent uploads.

I had reported both of the errors encountered during upload attempts to the developer and he assures me that both functions work properly as expected. He is now investigating the issues I had encountered.

The Negatives

I wish the application would use the respective OAuth services for the corresponding sites to authenticate the accounts. This can be done in the applications Settings either within the application on in the iPhone's Settings app.

There should be a way to change the recorded video's sped up speed after recording and before saving to the iPhone's Camera Roll. Alternatively, a copy of the original video should be saved within the application's storage space. Understand this can be storage intensive but most videos are one-shot-deal and cannot be retaken.

The application should recognize the orientation of the iPhone when recording so that upside down videos would not result as in the example below.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oktt8aRaWyE

Conclusions

As mentioned this is one of those iPhone app that lives up to the true nature of apps on the iPhone. iPhone app should perform one or a few tasks best it can and does not try to do too much unlike a typical desktop application. That is one of the main differences between iPhone "app" and regular "applications".

Although I was not able to get the upload features working, I do have confidence in this developer because of past experiences. He is always very good with following up any bugs in his programs and actively improves applications he creates. So I am certain those the bugs I encountered will be corrected.

This application makes creating time-lapsed videos/photography on the iPhone very straight forward and I believe all iPhone 3G or 3GS users should have this in their photography app library.

Where To Get It

At the moment InfoXenter is asking USD1.99 for the application via the iTunes App Store.

After using the Nexus One for 7 days I came to a conclusion on whether Nexus One is suitable for me. That was several weeks ago, My Transformation to Nexus One, and based on the title of this post you can guess what my conclusions are. I will attempt to explain my position in this post. First and foremost, I do agree that Google's Nexus One is one of if not the best Android phone in the market; at the moment. This is mainly due to the version of Android OS (2.1.x) it is using; 2 versions ahead of any other released Android phone in the market at the time of this writing. For the Nexus One there are no other layer above Android's UI to obscure the user experience as Google had intended, this latter point may be an advantage to some and a disadvantage to others. As Google is not famous for developing the best User Interface.

Being a Macintosh user, one of my main reasons for not liking the N1 is its poor integration with the Mac. I rely on various applications and tools on my Mac every day. iTunes to manage the music and podcasts I listen to every day. Contact information for everyone I know and in touch with are stored in my AddressBook application. My photos are organized in iPhoto.

Using the N1 I cannot sychronize the play count of songs, making the Smart Playlists I have in iTunes useless. As I have Smart Playlists that automatically gather songs that I had not listen to in the past 2 days. Making the need for a large music storage device unecessary. It also does not sychronize the position within the podcasts I listen to, making it difficult for me to get through all the podcasts I need to. Neither of these issues can be resolved by the Mac application DoubleTwist, which I use to synchronize the music between the N1 and my Mac.

For contacts information the fields in Google Contact are much less detailed than the ones in my AddressBook application on my Mac. Google Contacts doesn't separate First and Las names of contacts, or have the number of additional fields that AddressBook offers. Fortunately there is SpanningSync on the Mac to help mange this.

For some reasons DoubleTwist was not able to synchronize the photo albums in iPhoto with the N1. So any photos I need from iPhoto onto the N1 will require first mounting the N1 via USB as an attached drive, then drag the desired photos into the appropriate folder on the N1.

As you can see I had to use various "workarounds" to accomplish my day to day tasks on my "mobile personal device", currently the N1. Which I did not have to do when that was the iPhone.

Aside from the above there are also some general user experiences that I do not like about the N1, which makes my use of the N1 clumbersome.

For over two years we were waiting for Apple to introduce Copy & Paste; that they invented on the Macintosh over 24 years ago, to the iPhone. When it finally arrived it quirky became part of my daily use of the iPhone. On the N1 there is Copy & Paste but these features are not available when you needed it most. Like copying an URL or phone number from a SMS or email. The N1 will not even allow you to copy text within the builtin browser.

My conclusions about the three platforms of smartphones: Windows Phone (aka. "Windows Mobile"), iPhone and Android are as follow.

For Windows Phone the user must think and learn the way Microsoft do thing on the phone.

For the iPhone, Apple considers all the different ways of performing various tasks on the phone and think for the user so the user can focus on the task at hand.

For Android phones, Google wants to be as flexible as possible, and does not want to restrict it's users so they just don't think and allow the user to customize the phone the way they want. To accomplish the task the users want.

My opinion is that the N1 is not suitable for the layman users and is more suitable for the technical types. I am definitely a technical person, although when I use my "mobile device" I do not want to deal with the technical aspect of the device, but just focus on the tasks I want to accomplish. The iPhone allows me to forget about the technologies and focus on the tasks.

This is why I am selling my Nexus One. If you do not agree with me and like to purchase a barely used N1 please let me know.

Posted
AuthorVinko

Starting January 23, 2010 Smartone-Vodafone (SMV) will become an official Apple carrier partner in Hong Kong, along with 3 HK. May be this will mean that the two long awaited features: "Visual Voicemail" and "Tethering", will also be officially available to SMV customers (old and new). I was not able to get an official confirmation about this, as everyone I spoke to are keeping the SMV iPhone tariff plans and features very secretive. When Apple released version 3.1.2 of the iPhone OS, they disabled the long enjoyed tethering feature for iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS users in Hong Kong who are not 3 HK's customers. This arguably is not the right thing to do and does not make sense. As 5 out of the 7 carriers in HK offers iPhone tethering plans for their customers. Plus all iPhones purchased through official Apple channels are fully unlocked and full featured. When I spoke with AppleCare about the disappearance of tethering on my iPhone 3GS, they admit that tethering should be working for me (a SMV customer).

This is especially frustrating when a friend of mine who purchased his iPhone 3GS from 3 HK, but has since switched to SMV. He is able to see the "Enable Tethering" feature on his iPhone using the SMV SIM. Putting his SIM card into my iPhone 3GS, or replacing my SMV SIM card with a new one, did not correct the problem.

I hope my hypothesis about tethering and Visual Voicemail coming to SMV customers is correct, I guess in a bit over 1 week we will all know.

As most readers know I conducted a joint test of Smartone-Vodafone's HSDPA network last week; which I now found out it cost me HKD60.00 in data charges, as I had detailed in my post, Smartone-Vodafone HSDPA Network Speed Tested. At the time Smartone-Vodafone technicians did not have the data correlated until today. SMV Network Test with SpeedTest These results are from running the SpeedTest iPhone application on each of the iPhones used in the test.

SMV Network Test with Websites These two data chart were provided by Smartone-Vodafone, so it has the tendency to show Smartone-Vodafone network as the faster network.

I would not have averaged out the speeds of the test on site by site bases, as we are talking about different locations on Hong Kong island at different time of the day. The better way to look at these data is to average out the browsing speed on a per site, per location bases. Below is the chart showing the speed in number of seconds to completely load the respective web page. SMV Location View As you can see from the chart above. It is not that web browsing speed of the iPhone 3GS on the Smartone-Vodafone network is always faster than the iPhone 3GS on the 3 HK network. The important thing is that the browsing speed is much more consistent for the iPhone 3GS on the Smartone-Vodafone network.

Having a consistent speed is much more important than having a fast downlink or uplink. I hope that this will provide consumers in Hong Kong a close to real life comparison of the two mobile carriers' 3G networks.

3 HK LogoSmartone-Vodafone logoToday a reader, Stephen C., sent me a video of a test he and his friend conducted ("un-scientifically) with two iPhone 3GS's connected to two different 3G networks on two (3 HK and Smartone-Vodafone) of six mobile carriers in Hong Kong.

The result are a bit surprising, especially for customers of Smartone-Vodafone. The video had been sent to Smartone-Vodafone Customer Service and hopefully we will receive an official respond.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ns0DdKNee3E

Posted
AuthorVinko
Categoriesiphone

It appears that Apple has composed a Knowledge Base article (HT1937) to list all the mobile carrier partners around the world who are selling iPhones. In this list Apple has indicated whether "official unlocked" iPhones (carriers without a check mark in the "Locked to Carrier" column), and more importantly, the carriers who will offer "official unlock of iPhones" (carriers with a check mark in the "" column). This carrier performed "official unlock" of the iPhone may result in a fee, and this may be as much as paying out the remainder of a 24-month contract, depending on the carrier.List of iPhone Worldwide Carriers

Posted
AuthorVinko
Categoriesiphone

iPhone3GSThere was an article on Engadget about the mainland China version of the iPhone. I thought it was necessary to create my own post to clarify the situation as I see them, after reading the postings and comments on various sites like Modmyi.com about this Engadget article. First of all, there have been real [manufactured by Apple] iPhones available in mainland China for some time; since 2007. These grey market iPhones came from both Hong Kong and else where around the world. In the past, Hong Kong versions; prior to iPhone 3GS, were more expensive than its counter parts from other countries. With the introduction of the iPhone 3GS, the Australian and New Zealand versions had also became desirable, due to their equally SIM unlock feature.

It is true that the Chinese government requires WAPI authentication in all wireless devices: client, access points, and routers, but this requirement caused an up roar among Chinese and foreign businesses, who would have to equip their employees requiring to travel to China with dual WiFi standard devices. In 2006 the WAPI proposed standard was rejected by ISO as an International standard in favor orf 802.11i.

China disclosed the WAPI technology to only 7 Chinese companies, and required any foreign companies to work with one of these 7 Chinese companies if they want to build WiFi devices for use in China. Of course, these foreign companies will also have to pay WAPI licensing fees. It is only recently; this year, that China was allow to resubmit the WAPI standard to ISO. So China's insistent on the WAPI standard rekindled.

Mainland China also has a different 3G mobile technology, TD-SCDMA. It is mainland China's attempt to create yet another 3G standard in the world. With the largest number of mobile phone consumers in the world, China believes this is possible. China Mobile was tasked but was not able to create a working 3G network until early 2008 and tested it during the 2008 Olympics. In early 2009 the China government granted a TD-SCDMA license to China Mobile, but at the same time also granted WCDMA license to China Unicom and a CDMA-2000 license to China Telecom. The latter two licenses is probably because the world's 3G mobile phone manufactures did not want to support yet another 3G technology, making choices of 3G mobile phone handsets limited. Yet mainland China consumers do have a great desire to follow the brand names; like Nokia, Sony Ericsson, HTC and Apple.

Like most GSM mobile phone manufactures, Apple's iPhone is a WCDMA 3G mobile phone. If the rumors of an iPhone being available on the USA Verizon Wireless network is true, that will mean a CDMA-2000 iPhone may be in the works. Apple's initial discussion with Chinese mobile carrier was with China Mobile, but as talks fell apart and the discussions shifted to China Unicom, so did a TD-SCDMA iPhone. So for Apple to create a version of the WCDMA iPhone for China without WiFi, is most likely Apple's desire to make available as soon as possible, an iPhone officially in China without changing the design or their manufacturing processes.

Mainland China does have a market for the iPhone, even if the prices of grey market iPhones are high; more than most workers' annual salary. The iPhone does not need an officially santioned iPhones to be popular. What the partnership with China Unicom will do, may be to make the iPhone more obtainable by the general public. As the price of the official iPhone from China Unicom will probably be much lower than the grey market iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS from Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand, especially if it will not have the WiFi radio built in.

3 HK LogoIn the past several days I had been trying to trouble shoot why a follower ("Ms. iPhone") on Twitter cannot get to iTunes Store from her iPhone. This was the iPhone 3G model on the 3 HK, Apple's carrier partner in Hong Kong, network. Ms. iPhone finally complaint to 3 HK Customer Service, and today she tells me what 3 HK Customer Service has told her:

All iPhones purchased in Hong Kong cannot access iTunes Store. The only iPhones that can access the iTunes Store are iPhones purchased outside of Hong Kong and hacked for used in Hong Kong.

What a ridiculous statement.

As many of you know Ms. iPhone's problem with her iPhone not having access to iTunes Store (music and movies) via the iTunes application on her iPhone is not because she bought her iPhone in Hong Kong. Ms. iPhone problem is that her iTunes Store account is with iTunes Store Hong Kong and iTunes Store HK does not have a music and movie section.

This sort of statements from people selling Apple products is what Apple tried to avoid with the establishment of Apple Store worldwide. Unfortunately, there is no official Apple Store in Hong Kong. Several years ago there was one Apple Authorized Reseller who take pride in delivering good service and doing it the Apple way. Their sales staff would never make up an answer to a customer to a question they do not know the answer to, but simply tell the customer they do not know and will get back to them after they seek out the answer. This sort of sales staff and companies are hard to find.

Aside from the above story, WinAndMac just posted another story about 3 HK that adds to the reasons we should not choose 3 HK as our mobile carrier.

The kind of statement from staff of 3 HK and tactics like those described in WinaAndMac's article are just two of the many reasons why I recommend people NOT to choose 3 HK as their mobile carrier in Hong Kong. People living in Hong Kong has 5 other carriers to choose from for the iPhone.

Frequent readers of my blog and anyone who have visited Apple Online Store HK will know that officially "SIM unlocked" iPhones are available directly from Apple there and all Authorized Apple Resellers in Hong Kong. All of these iPhones are capable of accessing the iTunes Stores they have access to on their personal computer version of iTunes.

Posted
AuthorVinko
Categoriesadvice, iphone