Posts Tagged Apple

Can’t add reminders on iPhone with iOS 6

Take a look at the following reminders screenshot and you’ll see there’s no plus button for adding a reminder.


I’d been banging my head against the wall trying to fix this, but I found a fix.

First, go to Settings > iCloud and turn Reminders on.


Now, go back into the Reminders app, and the plus sign should appear.


After this, you can go back and turn the iCloud Reminders setting back off if you’re concerned about battery usage. The plus sign will remain.

Another potential solution is to tap the list icon in the top left corner, then search for a list. The results will come up empty, but then you can tap the edit button and create a new list. This will also fix your reminders app.

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How to read and export iPhone SMS text messages on Windows

First, you want to do a local backup so that you have the SMS database on your computer.

Open iTunes, and select your phone from the list at the left, such as mine appears below:

Next, under the summary tab, make sure the backup option is selected to “Back up to this computer” and encrypt backups is turned off, like so:

Now, perform a backup of your iPhone.

Here’s an updated screenshot from iTunes


Second, download a SQLite editor so that you can open the database.

I used SQLiteSpy, available here:

There are other SQLite editors, but this one was the one I was able to get to work.

Next, open the database

Click Start > Run, and paste the following line to open the backup location.

%APPDATA%Apple ComputerMobileSyncBackup

You should see one directory for each phone you have synced to your iTunes.

When you open this directory, and then open the Snapshot directory within it, you should see a file named


This is your SMS backup database.Open it in SQLiteSpy (or your editor). The rest of these steps apply to SQLiteSpy. If you’re using a different viewer, adjust for yours.

Select File > Open and select the file. You should see the list of tables appear in the left pane.

Now, paste the following SQL query in the top right pane, which will query the database and return correct date/time stamps as well as the destination phone number:

SELECT datetime(, 'unixepoch', '+31 years', '-6 hours'),, message.text FROM message, handle WHERE message.handle_id = handle.ROWID;

This will return the correct date and time (you may have to edit the ‘-6 hours’ statement to reflect your local timezone) as well as the other phone number and body of the text message.

Reference image:


Now, click Execute > Execute SQL (or press F9) to run it. Your results will be displayed in the bottom right pane.

Tested on an Apple iPhone 4S and iOS 6.0.1

Comments and feedback are welcome.

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MacBook optical drive dust cover causing stuck CDs

If you have an older MacBook and are having problems with CDs getting stuck in the drive, the drive itself might not be to blame. In the case of one particular MacBook that I’ve worked on, it was the dust cover of the drive itself. It had hardened enough over time from dust and dirt to put resistance on the CDs enough to keep them from ejecting.

Below you can see two photos of the dust cover on the MacBook, showing the dirt buildup on the dust cover:

So, the first step is to disassemble the MacBook and get access to the dust cover. Follow this YouTube video for the disassembly, right down to removing the optical drive

Once the optical drive is removed, remove the four screws shown in the following photos, and then remove the dust cover assembly.

Carefully pry the dust cover assembly off. It will be stuck to the plastic base with adhesive, so the use of a tool is recommended.

Here’s a shot of the dust cover, removed:

The dust cover itself is little more than fabric glued to the magnesium bracket. You can easily peel it off. This one only left a little reside and I was able to easily clean it with some alcohol.

Mag bracket, dust cover removed:

Now, just reinstall the bracket, and reverse the above.

You’ll notice the small gap where the dust cover used to be, but CDs no longer get stuck! I’m sure it wouldn’t be hard to fabricate a replacement for the dust cover.

Feel free to comment below. 

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How to install wget in Mac OS X

wget is a really handy command line utility, but unfortunately not included in OS X. Curl could be a suitable replacement, but frequently scripts are written with wget, and it can be difficult and time-consuming to convert them to using curl.

Below are the steps required to install a working wget on Mac OS X. This has been tested on OS X 10.6 Lion.

Install XCode from (at this time, it’s a 1.5GB download.)

Launch XCode, updating if necessary.

Go to Preferences > Downloads, and install Command Line Tools

Now open a terminal and perform the following steps at the command line one at a time to download, extract, configure, compile, and install wget:

curl -O
tar xvzf wget-1.14.tar.gz
cd wget-1.14
./configure --with-ssl=openssl
sudo make install

You should now have a working wget installed in /usr/local/bin. Confirm by trying

$ wget
wget: missing URL
Usage: wget [OPTION]... [URL]...
Try `wget --help' for more options.

Feel free to comment below. Thanks!

2/7/2016: I got an email from someone who says this no longer works and gives the following message:

configure: error: –with-ssl=openssl was given, but SSL is not available.

If anyone has advice, please contact me. Thanks!


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Using Synology DS211j as an AirPrint Print Server for Brother HL-2170W

I have a Brother HL-2170W printer that I’m using as a wireless printer. One thing I wanted to do was use AirPrint from my iPhone to print if the need should arise, as it does from time to time. My Synology DS211j includes a USB print server with Bonjour and AirPrint support, so I knew I could plug my printer into it via USB and use it as a print server, but there was the issue of the already-configured wireless clients.

I wondered: Since I’m already using my printer wirelessly, can I just plug the printer into the NAS using the USB port and use both USB and wireless? The answer to that is actually yes, according to this post at UbuntuForums. You can use USB and either wired or wireless at the same time, but you cannot use both wired at wireless at the same time.

Now that I had that important issue aside, it was time for setting it up.

First, physically plug the USB cable from the printer to the NAS. You should be able to verify that the printer shows up in Control Panel > External Devices as shown here:

Once that’s done, click the printer to select it, then click USB Printer Manager > Set Up Printer:

Since the DS211j didn’t have a specific print driver listed for this model, I took the known-working driver configuration from my “Ubuntu and Brother HL-2170W” post, and set it up as shown below:

  • Mode: Network Printer
  • Advanced Settings: Enable AirPrint
  • Printer Brand: Generic
  • Printer Model: Generic PCL 5e Printer

After that, I hit Save and then Close, and I was able to print a test page successfully by clicking on the printer and then clicking USB Printer Manager > Print Test Page. One thing to be aware of is that the DS211j is a bit lacking in RAM, so print jobs can take a bit (up to 5 minutes) from the time they’re sent to the server until they come out of the printer.

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Why Carrier IQ is doomed

“Carrier IQ: How the Widespread Rootkit Can Track Everything on Your Phone, and How to Remove It” — That was the title of one of LifeHacker’s posts this Wednesday, which is just one of countless articles on the now-controversial carrier metric-gathering tool Carrier IQ that some are calling “rootkit” and “spyware.”

” … a hidden application on some mobile phones that had the ability to log anything and everything on your device—from location to web searches to the content of your text messages. The program is called Carrier IQ, and … it actually comes preinstalled by the manufacturer of your phone.” — LifeHacker.

Developer Trevor Eckhart posted his YouTube video detailing the proported workings of the Android software, which demonstrates Carrier IQ monitoring keypresses, SMS messages, and browsing, even when the phone is not connected to a carrier network, and transmitting this data to Carrier IQ’s servers. Supposedly this data is then aggregated and then transmitted to the carriers for network and user-experience improvements. Though it’s not necessarily what it is doing, it’s about what it’s capable of doing. Read Eckhart’s detailed article here for his detailed breakdown the capabilities of Carrier IQ.

So I’ll say it once more — Carrier IQ is doomed — at least in its present incarnation. It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when.

LifeHacker, HowToGeek, TechCrunch, BBC News, and others have all run articles on Carrier IQ, typically with one main focus: Detecting it and allowing the user to remove or disable it.The U.S. Senate has started asking questions, and it’s fairly certain that there will be lawsuits. After all, it’s not what you’re doing, it’s what you’re capable of doing:

“Senator Al Franken … has asked Carrier IQ to clarify exactly what its software can do. Franken specifically wants to know what data is recorded on devices with Carrier IQ, what data is sent, if it’s sent to Carrier IQ or carriers themselves, how long it’s stored once received, and how it’s protected once stored.” — The Verge.

If you want Eckhart’s app for checking/removing it on Android, you can get it here. Non-root users, or those having trouble with the above tool, can get a tool that detects but cannot remove Carrier IQ here.

What will be the end result?

If the lawsuits have their way, Carrier IQ is likely to have it’s functionality reduced at the very least, as well as a full disclosure to its presence. It could also mean a visible option to disable it — and that’s if handset manufacturers and carriers continue to use it. At the very most, it will be a huge, drawn-out ordeal, which is very likely. Update: The lawsuits are already underway:

“Carrier IQ, the new poster child for (alleged) smartphone privacy violations, has been hit with two class-action lawsuits from users worried about how the company’s software tracks their smartphone activity.” — ArsTechnica.

If the tech blogs are of any influence (and they are), people will start removing Carrier IQ from their handsets, or switching away from Android to handsets that don’t have Carrier IQ on them. Apple has already stated they are planning to drop Carrier IQ completely in future versions of iOS. RIM has stated that they never had Carrier IQ on BlackBerry handsets to begin with. Microsoft states Windows 7 phones don’t even support Carrier IQ.

Phones aren’t the only devices Carrier IQ may be installed on. Users have started asking questions about tablet devices such as the Nook as well, and the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7 can be rooted to check for the presence of it.

Highly motivated consumers may even choose to switch away from AT&T, Sprint, or T-Mobile, who use Carrier IQ, to Verizon, who states they do not.

You can bet that, over time, the pressure from customers and negative press towards Carrier IQ will cause the carriers to reconsider the value of it, especially since they might be the ones paying for it in the first place. If you want one last laugh, be sure to read John Gruber’s “translation” of the Carrier IQ press release from November 16th.

Have any thoughts of your own to share regarding Carrier IQ, or would like to share what devices you have or have not found it on? Please feel free to share them in the comments below. Thank you!

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Google Music vs iTunes Match

Google and Apple each brought their own services which allow users to upload their music library and stream it to their devices in the form of Google Music and iTunes Match, respectively. But how do those services compare?

Let’s take a side-by-side comparative look at some of the features:

Feature Google Music iTunes Match
Number of songs 20,000 songs not purchased from Android Market 25,000 songs not purchased from iTunes
Price Free $25/yr
Supported devices Works on common browsers on Win / Mac / Linux / Android / iOS (1) Works on Win / Mac running iTunes; iOS devices supporting iCloud
Sync Automatically sync music to Google Music using Win / Mac / Linux client Automatically sync music to iTunes Match using iTunes
Sync Selection Select which songs to upload using sync client All songs from iTunes library are synchronized.
Local Storage Save music to your Win / Mac / Linux / Android device for offline playback Save music to your Win / Mac / iOS device for offline playback
Uploading Every song must be uploaded Matching is performed prior to upload; Only unmatched songs are uploaded
Supported file formats Mp3, AAC (m4a), wma, flac, ogg (source) Same as iTunes
Excluded formats None 24-bit audio; Bitrates under 96 kbps; File over 200MB (source)

(1) Although Google Music is reported to work on iOS devices, I wasn’t able to get it to display any of the songs in my library — (screenshot). UPDATE: I can confirm it does work on iOS (iPhone), but only as the desktop site (which is clunky and requires zooming on an iPhone screen). Screenshots one, two, and three. The mobile site still shows I have no music in my library.

As you can see, Google Music is aimed at the Android crowd, while iTunes Match is aimed at the iOS crowd. However, a few of the major points in Google Music’s favor that I see are that it supports playback from a web browser, has a Linux client, and is free.

I’m interested in everyone else’s opinion as well. Which streaming music service do you prefer, and why? Please feel free to share your opinion in the comments below. Thank you!

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