Posts Tagged iPhone
Most people reading this blog carry around a computer every day, whether its a laptop, tablet, or smartphone. Yet many of us still reach for paper and pen when it’s time to take notes.
For many of us, it’s because pen and paper are what we’re familiar with, and we know how they work. There’s a bunch of note-taking apps out there, and they don’t all work the same, or even similarly in many cases.
I recently decided that I was going to try to take notes in a digital format whenever possible and went on an adventure to see which of the most popular apps fit my needs. I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted when I started, and I’ve spent a few days trying to find an app that was just the right fit for me.
I put together a few apps I found and a list of the features that I directly compared between them below, and hopefully it helps someone in the same position that I’m in decide which works best for them:
|OneNote 2016||Evernote||Bear||Turtl||Apple Notes|
|Publisher||Microsoft||Evernote||Shiny Frog||Lyon Bros||Apple|
|Platforms||Windows, Mac, iPad, iPhone, Android, Web||Windows, Mac, iPad, iPhone, Web||Mac, iPad, iPhone||Windows, Mac, Linux, Android||Mac, iPad, iPhone|
|Cloud Sync||Yes, via OneDrive||Yes, via Evernote||Yes, via CloudKit (Subscription only)||Yes||Yes, via iCloud/CloudKit|
|Self-hosted sync option||No||No||No||Yes||No|
|Offline access||Yes||Paid plans only||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Local storage option||No||Yes||No||No||Yes|
|Organization||Notebooks, Sections, Pages||Notebooks, Notes||Notes, Hashtags||Boards, Notes||Folders, Notes|
|File attachments within notes||Yes||Yes||Images and photos only||Yes||No|
|OCR within attachments||Partial||Yes||N/A||No||No|
|Encryption||Yes, per section||Yes, selected portions of notes||No||Yes||Yes, per note|
|Encrypts media within notes||Yes||No||N/A||Yes||Yes|
|Sharing||Yes||Paid plans only||No||Yes||No|
|Drawing/Write anywhere||Yes||Mobile apps only||No||No||No|
|Markdown support||No||Partial, as typing shortcuts||Yes||Yes||No|
|Language syntax highlighting||No||No||Yes||No||No|
|Note history||No||With paid plan only||No||No||No|
|Import options||Print to OneNote, Import from Evernote||zip file||Apple Notes, Evernote, DayOne, Vesper, Ulysses||None||ENEX|
|Export options||OneNote, Word, PDF, XPS, mht||ENEX, HTML||HTML, PDF, DOCX, MD, JPG||None|
There are a lot more options out there than just these. In fact, there’s a whole Wikipedia page here.
I ran into an issue where I went into the iOS Reminders app and there was no plus button to add a reminder. Fortunately, 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 the Reminders app.
Since Google is discontinuing it’s ActiveSync services, which allowed iPhone (and other handhelds) to sync account data using ActiveSync, you may want to reconfigure your devices now, or simply remember how to do this for the future. Note these steps are iPhone-specific, but can be easily adapted for other phones.
I’ll explain how to delete the ActiveSync setup, then how to add an IMAP account configuration for mail and calendars, and a CardDAV setup for contacts. If you only want to add a new setup, simply skip the first section here.
Deleting the existing ActiveSync setup
You can delete the existing ActiveSync setup by going to Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars and locating the account under Accounts. Touch the account name, then scroll to the bottom and click Delete Account. This will remove the data associated with the sync from your phone.
Creating the sync accounts
You’ll want to create both a Gmail IMAP account (for mail, calendars, and notes) and a CardDAV setup (for contacts). If you want reminders as well, you’ll have to create a CalDAV setup.
Creating the Gmail IMAP setup
Creating this sync account is very easy on the iPhone. First, in Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars, touch Add Account…. Next, touch Gmail, and enter your account information.
Creating the CardDAV setup
Similiar to the above. Go to Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars, touch Add Account…, then scroll down and touch Other. Touch Add CardDAV Account. For Server, enter
google.com, and continue with the rest of your account information.
For CalDAV, choose Add CalDAV Account instead of CardDAV, and follow the same account information.
If you use two-factor authentication for your Google account, be sure to use your application-specific password instead of your account password.
Google Apps setup is exactly the same as a standard Google account, just substitute your full email address for the username.
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 184.108.40.206.
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.
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(message.date, 'unixepoch', '+31 years', '-6 hours'), handle.id, 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.
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.
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.
We’ve all seen apps which tout their usefulness, relevance, or popularity by their number of downloads, but does it really mean anything?
“Number of downloads” means exactly that — the number of people that have downloaded your app — it doesn’t even attempt to represent the number of people who found it useful or continue to use it. It doesn’t even represent the number or rating of user-submitted reviews.
So why do application developers keep using the number of downloads to infer things about the quality of their product? Here’s a few examples:
“According to Microsoft, more than 13 million copies of the Windows 8 Developer Preview had been downloaded since its release back in the fall. California-based Net Applications said that — based on the Developer Preview downloads — Windows 8 already accounts for three-hundredths of 1-percent of all PCs accessing the Internet.” — TomsHardware.
Microsoft states that Windows 8 is still considered a pre-beta product, and it’s use is discouraged on production machines.
“Since its launch in October, [RoadNinja] has been downloaded 82,987 times for iPhones and iPads.” — NBC33TV.
This article was published one month after RoadNinja’s launch; RoadNinja currently holds a 3/5 star rating in the App Store with only a total of 207 reviews.
I’m not saying these are poor quality apps — what I’m saying is that developers tout too loudly the number of downloads of their app and try to infer that its a good quality app. What the number of downloads means is that it is a popular app; not necessarily a good quality one.
I should add that I personally downloaded the Windows 8 preview to check it out in a virtual machine — something I haven’t even gotten around to doing yet. I also downloaded RoadNinja but found it impractical and uninstalled it shortly after.
Do you have any personal opinion on the quality of apps that market on the number of downloads they have? Do you have anything to share that you think I may not have covered in the article above? Please feel free to share in the comments below. Thank you!
“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.
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!
I’ve been delaying this post while I search for the real must-haves of the iPhone world, and after putting together this list, I went back and updated my must-have list for Android where some of these exist in the Android app store.
So here is my list of must-have apps for iPhone. Note that some of these application descriptions have been taken directly from the App Store where I feel the author has explained it better than I could.
With Google support for 2-factor authentication for both Google and Google Apps accounts, and now LastPass support for 2-factor authentication, this is an app that I keep on my phone always. The security it adds to my accounts is invaluable.
This app allows you to scan a number of barcode formats and then email or copy/paste them for use later.
Z-Bar Barcode Reader
A good, featureful alternative to Bar-Code. Allows you to email as text and csv.
This is one of those apps that once you have it you’re not sure ow you got along without it. Evernote is an easy-to-use, free app that helps you remember everything across all of the devices you use. Stay organized, save your ideas and improve productivity. Evernote lets you take notes, capture photos, create to-do lists, record voice reminders–and makes these notes completely searchable, whether you are at home, at work, or on the go. Since Evernote’s notes are synced to all of your devices via the cloud, you don’t have to worry about losing them. iPhone users have access to Evernote’s two new apps: Evernote Hello and Evernote Food.
No specific app to mention or link to here, just anything that offers to turn on the camera flash to function as a flashlight. You never know when it will come in handy.
Okay, yeah, it’s been said a dozen ways that the Maps app in iOS 6 is pretty lacking. Google Maps is an excellent alternative — when it’s on the App Store. It’s been pulled a handful of times as well. Waze (below) is also an excellent program, but suffers from some rather glaring bugs that I’ve noticed.
With fast and easy access to your LastPass password vault, the LastPass mobile app is a must-have. (Note: Requires a LastPass premium subscription – $12/year) For more information about LastPass, see the LastPass web site.
MyWeather seems to be the only app on the App Store that features push alerts for NWS severe weather alerts. This makes it the go-to weather app for me. Granted, registration is required, but it’s free and worth it.
Android has one thing over iOS devices — integrated turn-by-turn directions. Waze fills that need quite nicely, and goes way beyond, for free. Waze uses your devices GPS to not only provide turn-by-turn navigation, but also provides crowd-sourced traffic data to other Waze users about traffic, delays, police presence, accidents, and other road incidents. Waze allows you to report a road incident with just a few taps on the screen, and Waze works well in both portrait and landscape orientation. (Thanks Jeff T. for the recommendation!)
I know this is a rather short list, but I deliberately excluded the usual social media apps.
Do you have any iPhone apps that you consider must-haves? Please feel free to share them in the comments below. Thank you!
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|
|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,
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!
The iPhone 4S follows the previous iPhone 4 design of having a glass front and back surrounded by a steel band. I didn’t want to get a nice shiny new phone only to have it lose a battle with the concrete like my previous phone did, so I knew I needed a good… no, great case to protect it. But which?
I really like Seidio cases… I’ve used their cases before for a number of my previous phones and I’ve always been happy. I figured I would try the Surface for my iPhone 4S, which I ordered at the same time as I ordered the phone. (If you haven’t figured it out yet, almost any case which fit the iPhone 4 will fit the 4S, as long as it is marked either “any model” or “Verizon” or “CDMA” — read why here.)
So I got my Surface case and I was really happy… for a bit. The case itself seemed to start warping ever-so-slightly after the first few removals. (People keep asking to see the phone with the case off!) I didn’t care too much for this and decided to try something else.
I had read a few reviews encouraging the use of two-part cases — those with rubber or silicone wraps with a hard case that goes over the top — and decided to try the Otterbox Commuter. I can honestly say I didn’t care much for it. It never seemed to fit “right” and the rubber flaps which covered the dock port and the headphone jack were just downright annoying.
I went back to Seidio and found their equivilent — the Active X. It’s an awesome case! Everything seems to fit snugly and it tolerates being removed and replaced just fine.
If you’re looking for an iPhone 4 or 4S case that will handle a busy lifestyle, check it out!
Readers, what are your preferences or experiences with iPhone cases, or any other cases? Please feel free to share in the comments below. Thank you!