Apple announces new iPod Touch, iPhone firmware and iPod Nano

As well as iTunes 8. Pretty comprehensive announcement, and the short word is that the new iPod Touch is pretty cool. Has speakers and is very thin. The pricing is somewhat sensible. $199 for a iPhone 3G 8GB, $229 for an iPod Touch 8GB but it doesn’t have a rate plan, but looks close. Then $299 for iPhone 3G and iPod Touch 16GB, so the same price. Probably the 16GB is the best price. It now has a speaker in it.

* Odds and Ends: New Shuffles, In-Ear Headphones, First Impressions, and More
* 2nd Generation iPod Touch: 2.1 Firmware, Speaker, Thinner
* iPhone 2.1 Firmware Coming on Friday: Bug Fixes, Connectivity and Battery Life
* 4th Generation iPod Nano: Accelerometer, Genius, Colors, Taller
* iTunes 8: HD TV Shows, Grid View, Genius Playlists, NBC

Canon Pro9000 printing on an Time Capsule

Just a reminder on how to print to a Canon Pro9000 via an Airport Extreme or a Time Capsule. This is actually tricky. You have to download the generic Canon IJ Printer (http://www.usa.canon.com/consumer/controller?act=ModelInfoAct&fcategoryid=182&modelid=12892#DownloadDetailAct)

This has pretty tight requirements:

* Mac OS X v10.5.3
* Latest version of Airport firmware
* Pro9000osxcp10120ej7.dmg which is the 10.1.2.0 version driver.

iPhone 3G Power Control

The first sensible explanation of what is going on with Iphone 3G. Basically, it has bad power management firmware when talking with the 3G network. Every phone in a cell has to have the new 2.0.2 firmware for drop calls and slow speed to get solved.

The Inside Deets on iPhone 2.0.2 and Dropped Calls — RoughlyDrafted Magazine

The iPhone 2.0.2 update “fixed power control on the mobile,” the source told RoughlyDrafted. UMTS, the technology used to deliver AT&T’s 3G network, refers to phones and other client devices as “UE” for user equipment, and the base transceiver station towers as “Node B.”

Why the iPhone 3G dropped call

“In UMTS,” the source said, “power control is key to the mobile and network success. If the UE requires too much downlink power then the base station or Node B can run out of transmitter power and this is what was happening. As you get more UEs on the cell, the noise floor rises and the cell has to compensate by ramping up its power to the UEs.”

“If the UE power control algorithm is faulty then they will demand more power from the cell than is necessary and with multiple users this can cause the cell transmitter to run out of power. The net result is that some UEs will drop their call.

Blackberry Bold coming on AT&T

AppleInsider | New BlackBerry suffering same 3G connection drops as iPhone

early testing of the Bold, which uses the same 3G network standard as current iPhones, finds the device with just as unstable a connection as that reported in the US and elsewhere for Apple’s handset, with data sometimes dropping to the slower EDGE network or even cutting out entirely.

“We had a few occasional 3G signal dropping troubles at some locations,” Suva writes, “especially on high-rises building streets on our 34th floor… which may be why AT&T has yet to launch the product.”

And while Rogers Wireless in Canada has already launched Research in Motion’s new smartphone, the researcher suggests that an American launch may hinge on either a patch for the Bold’s firmware or straightening out network issues with AT&T, which will be the phone’s sole carrier in the US.

iPhone and iPod Touch Firmware 2.0.1 available

It is a 256MB download, so hope you have a fast connectionApple Releases iPhone Firmware 2.0.1 – Mac Rumors

Not clear what has changed, but early claism are

– Backup process for the iPhone is much faster.
– Netshare still works
– SMS typing faster

Apple releases iPhone 2.0.1 Software Update – AppleInsider has a forum thread and here is what users are seeing:

-Contacts are now more responsive.

Sync problems are fixed. It will backup the first time you sync after the update. The updates after that for me have only synced data in about 15 seconds rather than requiring a backup on every sync before.

fixed the lagging keyboard in e-mail and texting

iPod lags are much improved as well.

Email loads appear to be quicker.

Browsing names in the address book, switching between the keypad, addressbook, voicemail is instantaneous. Thank God! Much faster all-around. The camera boots up in half the time it used to.

iPhone 2.0 Tips, tricks and traps

Well, after two weeks of using the iPhone 3G and its 2.0, here are my notes for what works and what doesn’t. In general, this is the best phone I’ve ever used and for the first time in 12 years, I’m not using a Blackberry which is kinda of amazing. First the good, then the bad, then the ugly:

The Good

# The internet is really faster. 3G does seem to work and more importantly, the Wifi switching seems to be really effective (unlike my XP machines which are always hunting or even the Mac OS X which has its problems).
# The Exchange ActiveSync is amazingly bug-free and very fast. I was able to sync 1,000 calendar events and 7,000 contacts in a minute or so. Way faster than the Blackberry or for that matter Entourage (Entourage 2008 takes a day and a half to do a full sync with Exchange).
# White 1tGB. Call me a geek, but I actually like the white color and 16GB is *alot* of music and video.
# The Apple Remote from iPhone seems incredibly nerdy, but is super useful. Controlling your iTunes from your phone and then having Apple Express to control your stereo means you can run your home system from anywhere and you never lose your remote!
# Pandora is a terrific application because you don’t need to sync your music. Don’t know how I lived without it. Midori is also terrific because it lets you see YouTube videos of songs you like. Biggest thing missing is podcast streaming. There was mobilecast on jailbroken 1.x firmware and I really miss that application! I just never want to dock my iPhone ever again and we are very close to it!
# The location stuff really works. Now we just need turn by turn directions!

The Bad

# Syncs with iTunes are now way slower. I don’t what they are doing in backup, but is super slow. No fix in the latest 7.7.1 unfortunately. Of course, with me, I”m wondering why they are backing up at all. After all all the music is on the computer and all the email and so forth is on servers (you really want to use Imap or Exchange).
# Appstore really does work. I’ve got 5 screens full of new icons and the installation and runing works, but the applications are definitely unreliable. In general, before important phone calls and each day in the morning and evening, I completely turn off and reboot the machine.
# Regular reboots. There look like lots of memory leaks and other problems in version 2.0. So you have to treat the phone more like a computer. Regular reboots really help. However, on some reboots, the phone doesn’t acquire the wireless network correctly, so sometimes you have to do twice
# No copy and paste or dialing things that look like phone numbers.
These make it impossible to blog or to copy email somewhere. Also
Blackberry has this totally cool feature where if it looks like a phone
number in a email, you can click to dial it.
# No IM client. I used Twitter which is buggy and crashes unfortunately. And I need to try Paringo on iTunes Link which reportedly able to do Google Talk which is what I need.

The Ugly

# Contact searching is incredibly slow. The screen can lock for 10 seconds in the contact application with 7000 contacts. Blackberry is always keystroke fast as is Mac Mail (great job on indexing), but this is even more miserable than Outlook contact searching and don’t even talk about how slow Entourage is. The solution for that one is to use Google’s keystroke fast application as noted in http://www.iphoneatlas.com/2008/07/30/a-workaround-for-slow-contacts-in-iphone-os-20/
# Battery life is really terrible. Right now, I charge the phone all night. I charge it whenever I’m at work. We actually bought chargers for our conference rooms so folks can charge. I charge it in the car. So, net, net, this is something that can never really get fixed with this version of the 3G chipsets (it is a problem with all modern phones), but it is like going back 20 years where you discovered a dead phone is a useless phone. In those days at least there was another battery pack you can put in, but not with the iPhone. I’m sure someone will make a really ugly gigantic battery pack or cradle, but for me that is not the point of the iPhone.

Jailbreaking iPhone 3G with 2.0 firmware. Not!

_Be careful, I did this on my iPhone 3G and everything seemed to work, but the phone network doesn’t, so I’m restoring my iPhone now to vanilla 2.0. Too bad, I like Mac Pacman!_

“iClarified”:http://www.iclarified.com/entry/index.php?enid=1558 has a tutorial for jailbreaking your iPhone 3G so that you can load all kinds of cool games. As if the appstore with its 900 applications isn’t enough 🙂 As an aside, there is a tiff with “Zibri”:http://pumpkinpat.ch/zibri_rant.html about different methods of hacking iPhones. Good reading.

# Download Pwnage “2.0.1”http://www.hackint0sh.org/forum/mirror/PwnageTool_2.0.1.zip
# Download iPhone 2.0 Firmware “5A347”:http://appldnld.apple.com.edgesuite.net/content.info.apple.com/iPhone/061-4955.20080710.bgt53/iPhone1,2_2.0_5A347_Restore.ipsw IPSW
# Start Pwnage 2.0.1 and select Expert Mode and browse to find the IPSW file
# Select Activate and Disable partition wipeout
# Select Cydia and click on download package, this is used to create a custom IPSW that will be restored onto your phone. OpenSSH for instance let’s you get into your phone later.
# Click on Build and it builds a your own IPSW restore file
# Now connect your iPhone to the USB port and restart it in DFU mode that is hold the Home button and power simultaneously for 10 second. Then release the power and hold the Home for 10 seconds
# Now start iTunes and it will see your iPhone in DFU or “recovery mode”
# Hold the Option key down and click on restore and you will get a dialog box that will let you find your custom IPSW and let iTunes restore it.

Airport Firmware 7.3.2 Problems

Apple just release “7.3.2”:http://www.apple.com/support/downloads/timecapsuleandairportbasestation80211nfirmware732.html which is an update for the firmware and the airport utility running on Macs and Windows. Not clear what it has besides bug fixes.

As with most Airport Extreme and Time Capsule fixes, it isn’t seemless. “Pokrface”:http://episteme.arstechnica.com/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/8300945231/m/726007513931 has problems with it hanging the access points. Going back to 7.3.1 fixed that problem, but the issue appears to be with locking the Ethernet WAN port to 1000/full. The default is autodetect which should work most of the time. This causes the Airport Utility to hang while reading configuration.

“Yves Nadon and others”:http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=1580385&tstart=0 also reports that his Airport Utility refuses to recognize his Airport Extreme. It also hangs with a “Reading Configuration” message and you get an flashing amber light. So a reset and return to 7.3.1 if you have this issue. Also many times, you have to manual power cycle (that is pull the plug and have it start again after you upgrade the firmware). As with the note agove me7486 has figured out this has to do with the WAN or uplink connection. RJW365 reports that he manually uninstalled the utility on his Mac and this seemed to work. Some had to factory rest their Airport Extreme. You do this by disconneciton power and pushing in the tiny reset button on the back when you connect the power cord and keep holdin it until the light flashes fast.

Here is how you reset at Apple – Support – Discussions – Problems with 7.3.2 …

Start Airport Utility, select your airport (do not double click) and press the button labeled in the main window. After “Reading airport configuration” the summary page should show. Go to the menubar and select the menu item named “Base Station”, select “Upload Firmware” from the menu list. A window showing Current version (7.3.2) and Upload Version (7.3.2) should appear. If you have the 7.3.1 firmware stored on your airport you can just select it from the pop-up list and press “ok”. If not you’ll have to select “Check for updates” from the “Airport Utility” menu while pressing the key (on windows, the key). This will allow you to download an earlier firmware version. I’d recommend that you use a wired connection to the airport when performing this.

MacBook Air SuperDrive jammed and will not eject so shake it!

Hat tip to “TUAW”:http://www.tuaw.com/2008/06/24/mod-use-your-macbook-air-superdrive-on-any-machine/ apparently, “Tnkgrl”:http://tnkgrl.wordpress.com/2008/06/24/macbook-air-superdrive-for-all/ has figured out how to open up a Superdrive, replace a part and thus make it universally compatible with all computers. Great geekout. OTOH, why go to all the trouble :-)? The “photos”:http://www.flickr.com/photos/tnkgrl/sets/72157605790040071/ are really useful so you can disassemble it. The short version is the black bottom comes out if you slip a credit card in the seam. Then you can look the LEDs and see if the drive is lighting up. (Mine was). In the end, I shook it enough that it seemed to unjam the drive. So give that a try before returning.

Some other tricks are noted below that are software related

The short story is that although some folks think it is incompatible with other computers because it needs more current (1 amp is needed to burn, although much less to read). There isn’t specail firmware either. You can take apart the SuperDrive and mount it into a PC and it works fine. What happened is Apple hacked into the IDE-to-USB bridge and make special firmware. The slime!

“Apple Discussions”:http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=1550094&tstart=0 has other frustrated people with the same problem. Apple – Support – Discussions – Disc stuck into superdrive AND won’t …

I have just bought a MBA. I managed to install windows ans other software through the superdrive. Now I’ve just put a DVD into it to watch a movie and it got stuck into the superdrive. I browsed on the forum, tried to reboot while holding the trackpad button but the disc is still stuck… at rebooting the superdrives “becomes alive” but it looks like it has no force to eject it (and I have tried rebooting both with and without the power cable connected to MBA)

There is a rumor that holding the mouse button down while it reboots will work. Also that holding down the “C” key when booting might help.

Now here is what I think it happening, it is trying to eject (you can hear the drive spinning and it trying to hiccup). Apple – Support – Discussions – Disc stuck into superdrive AND won’t …

Does it sound Like it’s trying to eject? These new SDs are so thin that it is common for them to get out of alignment. The DVD rubs against the top of the case and stops ejecting. It happens often on the MacBooks and maybe this is the case with the USB drive.

With the aluminum MacBook Pros Apple ships a spatula to adjust the case. It’s under warranty so you should take it back in any case.

As an aside one strange thing is the drive doesn’t appear at all in the “System Profiler”:http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=262108 and they also suggest resetting your “PRAM”:http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=2238 or “PMU”:http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=303319. Most folks are just replacing the SuperDrives though on MacBook Pros as this example shows.

Do Not Upgrade to your TomTom to 7.481

I just updated to the latest version of the firmware and now the TomTom hangs when search for a POI. “Tomtom Forums”:http://www.tomtomforums.com/showthread.php?s=85c58a2c63c0f09ae1ed4748c4fcfe4d&t=8710 reports lots of these problems. Basically, when searching a POI, it hangs on “Wait a moment…” amd then when you try to Find, you get a grey screen.

The above was for the 920, but this is with my 720. Sigh. Sometimes updating to the latest isn’t such a good idea particularly when there isn’t an obvious way to downgrade.

They report the easiest fix is to “roll back” to firmware before 7.481 and restore all directories. Of course I didn’t back anything up, so I’m SOL. One fellow reports downgrarding to 7.221 works. Apparently these are known issues with 7.481 and there isn’t a fix

Here is how you downgrade:

# http://www.oldboy.me.uk/TomTomUpdates/ Go here to find 7.221
# Decompress this to a directory on your computer
# If you have XP, then you can just drag it all to the root of your TomTom (don’t use their cheesy application, do it from the Explorer)
# If you have a Mac, then you have to go to each subdirectory and do this because the Mac replaces an entire directory with the new one, while you just want all the files in them updated.

One fellow did report that deleting some of the POIs may help (I have buckets of POIs from various sites).

http://www.tomtomforums.com/showthread.php?t=8710&page=3 while TomTom support claims that you can fix this by going to http://www.tomtom.com/6221 and downloading the TomTom Clear Flash Tool. Run it three times and this fixes the problems. Most other folks think that this is baloney and won’t work.