iPhone 1.1.3 unlock and jailbreak

Well, “iphone.unlock.no”:http://iphone.unlock.no seems to have the best advice for what to do and it is a great FAQ. In short:

# If you have 1.1.2 unlocked and jailbroken, then there is now an official 1.1.3 jailbreak. You don’t need to re-unlock since 1.1.3 didn’t change the baseband firmware. Main thing is _DO NOT USE ITUNES_ to upgrade to 1.1.3
# You can now downgrade the pesky bootloader in an out of the box 1.1.2 (that is V4.6 bootloader) to a more amenable version 3 bootloader. Unfortunately, you have to disassemble your phone and touch some “test points” on the motherboard, so it is not for the faint of heart!
# If you have an unlocked 1.0.2 phone or have a bricked 1.1.1 phone (IMEI is 0049) then you need to repair the phone by virginizing it. This is now easy, you just add _http://i.unlock.no_ as a Source in the Installer.app on your iphone, then make sure BSD Subsystem is installed from the System category and The Virginizer is installed in the Unlocking Tools category.

As an aside, the very best iphone hacking sources seem to me to be:

* “i.unlock.no”:http://i.unlock.no
* “ModMyiFone.com”:http://ModMyiFone.com

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MacBook Air Reviews

Well, the Macbook Air shipped today and everyone from “Engadget”:http://www.engadget.com/2008/01/25/macbook-air-review/ and on are running reviews. Not much new to report except that folks love the keyboard, the screen and the thinness and folks really don’t like:

# Battery life is only 2.5 hours. I only get about 2.5 hours with my MacBook Pro, but it is depressingly far away from five hours. My old Sony VAIO 2.5 pounder did a real five hours with a bright screen, but it was minature at 11″ vs 13″ and the processor was mindblowingly slow. Basically enough for one h.264 movie and a little internet browsing.
# The headphone jack is so recessed, you have to start chopping away like the iPhone at your various headphone jacks. I did this for my Etymotic and it is a pain and the USB is so recessed that you can’t fit lots of flash adapters or 3G modem adapters. Sigh.
# The 80GB is slow at 4200 rpm, so folks are saying the 64GB SSD (solid state disk) should be better, but it hasn’t shipped yet so no comparisons.

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Books on CD ripping…

It’s been a while, but if you want to backup an audiobook that is on a CD, you don’t have to record it in full 44KHz glory, instead, you can use reduced settings. Here’s a guide for doing it with iTunes….

# Choose iTune/Preferences on the Mac (on the PC, it is Edit/Options I think)
# Goto the advanced tab and select MP3, Custom… and pick 64Kbps, mono and 24KHz (this actually gives you 32Kbps mono as the dialog is a little strange), make sure you do *not* select VBR as at these low levels, variable bit rate actually increases file sizes.
# You should get about 4 minutes per megabyte with this encoding and it will sound with human voices
# Start up iTunes. Insert your CD iTunes now uses GraceNote to find the CD title
# The CD titles should now come up and ask you to import, say yes and it now converts it to .mp3 files and puts them into your iTunes library
# Now download “mp3merger”:http://www.sofotex.com/Mp3-Merger-download_L43041.html or “mp3 merger”:google
# Load all the various files in and make it one big mp3

BTW if you like the Lame MP3 encoder (the best!) rather than what Apple uses, there is a free utility called “Audion”:http://www.panic.com/audion/ which includes the Lame encoder.

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Tom tom 720 Corruption

Finally got a replacement TomTom 720, here is what you do if you corrupt the software on it. This is very easy to do with the TomTom software. So, before you do anything, you should first connect the TomTom and copy the entire contents of the “Internal Drive” folder to your computer hard disk somewhere. The nice thing is that the entire operating system is just a FAT file system so you can edit it wiht any Mac or PC by plugging it into a USB port. That is very smart.

But if you corrupt it which can happen since the TomTom download software doesn’t have error checking in it, you have to follow these instructions to essentially wipe both the download image on your PC and also the operating system on the device

HELP! Broken After tomtomhome did update – TomTom Forums.com – Unofficial Site of TomTom for North America

It sounds as if the update has corrupted the application, so you need to rebuild the 23MB or so of operating system at the top level of the 2GB flash in your TomTom.

Connect the device to the PC. Close TomTom Home application. Now open My Computer. The Tomtom will be recognised as a mass storage device with the name INTERNAL by default.

Go to that drive, explore it and delete all the files that are not in folders. Note you don’t need to delete any folders as these are just data.

On a Windows machine, you go to the Tom Tom Home v2.0 directory in c:\program files. . Delete the Preferences/Folder preferences/Downloads/ folder. Exit TomToHome and then open it again ( this will create a new downloads folder)

On a Macintosh, go to your home directory and look for Documents/TomTom/Home/Downloads. Delete this directory and remove it from the trash, then create a new Downloads directory.

Log-in again and click on download your updates

In Home reinstall the application update and this will be rebuild the operating system on the device .

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Whistler Trip Planning

Well just about everyone is going to be headed up there the february break, so here is a compendium of notes:

# Unless you have a Nexus card, don’t just go to Blaine and pray. Consider taking one of the alternative like the Aldergrove-Lynden crossing which is about 10 miles further inland on WA-539/Canada-13 or if you are really conservative, take the Sumas-Abbotsford which is even farther in at WA-9/BC-11. These are less crowded
# In terms of eats, check out “Earls”:http://earls.ca, we’ve been to the one in Chilliwack, but there are lots on the way to Whistler along Trans Canada Highway 1. For instance in “Surrey”:http://maps.google.com/maps?q=10160+152+Street%2CSurrey%2CBritish+Columbia at 10160 152 Street, Surrey, British Columbia or “Burnaby”:http://maps.google.com/maps?q=3850+Lougheed+Highway%2CBurnaby%2CBritish+Columbia just off exit 27 at 3850 Lougheed Highway, Burnaby.

Now is the time to make reservations for dinner since it will be so crowded, some top choices from “Whistleralacarte.com”:http://www.whistleralacarte.com/dining.html or as “Scuba Mom”:http://www.scubamom.com/travels/whistler/restaurants.htm mentions, most of these restaurants deliver. There is also a big grocery store in Village North.

# “Trattoria Di Umberto”:http://www.umberto.com/truck.htm has fine northern italian food and you can reserve online or at 604-932-5858
# “Teppan Village”:http://teppanvillage.com has the great throwing of food Japanese thing. Lots of fun. Unit 304 of 4293 MOuntain Square at 604-932-2223
# “Quattros”:http://www.quattrorestaurants.com/. Also italian but a little more expensive

There are a bunch of places that are fine if you like meat and fish and don’t like pasta like “Araxi”:http://araxi.com but not so good if someone in your party only likes food that isn’t meat or fish.
Now if you are mid week and want something fun and simple then there is:

# Earl’s again at Whistler
# Old Spaghetti Factory. They don’t take reservations
# Mongolie Grill. Which is a mongolian grill, it is fun and casual.
# Shushi Village is that is all you want. The Combination A platter is the best choice.
# Avalanche Pizza is probably the best place for a ‘shroom ‘za
# Southside Diner. Apparently, decent mac and cheese. In Creekside.
# La Brasserie Des Artistes. “Virtual Tourist”:http://www.virtualtourist.com/travel/North_America/Canada/Province_of_British_Columbia/Whistler-911656/Restaurants-Whistler-BR-1.html says the best place for breakfast

The mountain of course is itself huge, but “Skinet”:http://www.skinet.com/skinet/travel/article/0,26908,933430,00.html has a good summary of how to optimize times on busy days. The main idea is to get up early to be at the gondola at 830AM, have an early lunch at 1130 and then get off the mountain early. They also have some great recommendations for where to eat on the mountain as it is so huge and cold that you’ll need to stop a lot!

Day One Early risers can track laps on the day’s best snow before lift lines get clogged. Blackcomb is easier to navigate, so start there and get at it early. The ticket window under Whistler Village Gondola opens at 7 a.m., one hour before all other ticket outlets. Get in line for Blackcomb’s Excalibur gondola between 8:15 and 8:45. Take the Accelerator chair, then cut over to Solar Coaster Express. Check the lightboard and ski warm-up laps on whatever has been groomed in the Solar zone. Then fan out to Seventh Heaven, Crystal Chair and the Glacier Express. For a taste of the high alpine, intermediates should try Seventh Heaven’s Cloud Nine. Advanced skiers with powder skills will be awed by a wide-open cruise down the middle of Blackcomb Glacier. Experts will have their dance card booked with Couloir Extreme, Secret Chute, Pakalolo and the four big, steep bowls (Garnet, Diamond, Ruby and Sapphire) accessed via Spanky’s Ladder. Lunch on Blackcomb is best eaten early (before 11:30) or late (after 1:15). Crystal Hut is the most charming. Or, make a reservation for white linen dining at Christine’s in the Rendezvous (604-938-7437). Throughout the day, keep your eyes on the lightboards, and go wherever it’s least crowded, making sure to avoid Seventh Heaven completely when lines are long.

Day Two Again, ski early and rest later-you won’t regret it.Today, it’s Whistler Mountain. Take the Whistler Village gondola to the Roundhouse. Skate over to the lightboard to look at the daily grooming map. Take your first several runs off the Garbanzo, Emerald or Big Red chairs on whatever is freshly groomed. Intermediates who want to cruise should continue to explore the vast offerings in between the Roundhouse and Olympic Station. More adventurous skiers should head to Harmony (for intermediates and experts) or The Peak (experts only) to access Whistler’s six high-alpine bowls. For lunch, ski to the Creekside base area via Franz’s or take the new Peak to Creek runs and have lunch at Dusty’s or Zen Sushi. After lunch, head up the Creekside Gondola, then the Big Red Chair. If the afternoon is bright, experts should head back into the high alpine. If the weather is bad, stay midmountain and ski the trees.

Day Three If it’s a Monday, sleep late and don’t worry about beating the crowds. Head back to Whistler and play in the bowls. West Bowl is a good bet for powder. Harmony’s Horseshoes are for those who like to show off. Symphony Bowl is readily manageable by intermediates. Take your lunch and cocoa breaks at the Roundhouse Lodge or the Chic Pea.

Monitoring the crash

As stocks fall around the world, I’m using the Apple OS X default widget from Yahoo. Main issue is you can’t sort the entries and it doesn’t allow you to look at overseas markets. Fortunately, “Maba”:http://maba.wordpress.com/widgets/ adapted a version that uses Yahoo’s international feed and “Qing Wang”:http://www.apple.com/downloads/dashboard/business/chinastockwidget.html has a dedicated Chinese Stock market widget.

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Photomatix is amazing

“Outbackphoto”:http://www.outbackphoto.com/CONTENT_2007_01/section_workflow_basics/20071213_ToopTools_2007/ has a good review of phototools on top of the standard Photoshop. I just tried “Photomatix”:http://www.outbackphoto.com/workflow/wf_a106/essay.html and have to say it is easy and amazing. Just get a tripod, take five bracket exposure, then you generate an HDR and map it. Comes out easily. What does it do? Well, it makes really amazing color photos. Right now JPEGs are typically 8-bit images (that’s a little misnomer, actually, that means each of the red, green and blue colors are 8 bit, so 24 bits in all). If you are a pro then you know a camera can normally take about 12-bits worth of brightness levels, so if you take a bunch of different exposures, you can get really amazing images. You want them to be pretty different, say -2, 0 and then +2EV to get the whole range, Photomatix then combines them into a 32-bit image (really 32-bit x 3 colors) and then you have to compress that down since no monitor, printer or set of eyes (on a human at least) can see so many colors.

The results are just awesome. Taking a lancscape, you go from seeing a bright sun, to seeing the sun and then amazing detail in the photos, instead of just washed out black. BTW, if you like it you can get 15% off by referring to Digital Outback Photo and entering DOPphotomatix when you “order”:http://www.hdrsoft.com/order/tmpi_discount.php

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Sleeping Bags

Brett says, the “Western Mountaineering”:http://westernmountaineering.com bags are really the best for light and warm. The “Highlite”:http://www.westernmountaineering.com/index.cfm?section=Products&page=Sleeping%20Bags&cat=ExtremeLite%20Series&viewpost=2&ContentId=16 is an amazing one pound in weight yet works down to 35F is a good example. Or for two pounds, you get the “Alpinlite Super”:http://www.westernmountaineering.com/index.cfm?section=Products&page=Sleeping%20Bags&cat=ExtremeLite%20Series&viewpost=2&ContentId=28 which is two pounds and good to 20F.

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Identity Theft

Well, if your wallet does get stolen, it used to be folks worried about the money in it. Now the game is different, it’s about identify theft. So here’s the check list:

# Cancel your credit cards. In the US, every credit card issuer has a cancel number. Do it right away. But in any case, your liability is legally limited to $50. The hassle is that you have to prove you didn’t make the transactions. Also, sent a certified letter to each of your card issuers so you have proof you notified them.
# Call the police. They won’t do anything, but record the case number so you can prove that you did everything that you could when your wallet is lost or stolen.
# If you have a check or something like that, then you are in bigger trouble. Close the bank account as soon as you can.
# If your drivers license was there, then they can start to build an new “identity”:http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/idtheft/consumers/defend.html and open up credit card accounts and so forth. So, you have to call “Equifax”:http://equifax.com, “Experian”:http://experian.com and “TransUnion”:http://transunion.com and setup a 90 day credit watch where they will see if this happens. Legally, if you notify one, they have to notify all three, but I would get on the site and notify them all.
# Get a new drivers license. In certain states, you can change your drivers license number
# File an FTC “online complaint”:https://rn.ftc.gov/pls/dod/widtpubl$.startup?Z_ORG_CODE=PU03 if you think the thieves have used your numbers. Again, this won’t do anything, but forms a record that you tried everything you could do.
# For $10 in Washington State, you can freeze your creidt report. This means that no one can access your credit history and thus not open things in your name.

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