Toys


So I went to the Apple Genius Bar today with my iPhone 4 issues. It was a fairly unsatisfactory experience, especially compared to when I took my iPhone 3G back when dust* started appearing on the screen and they replaced it without question.

Before my Genius Bar appointment I compared the performance of my iPhone 4 with the others in the shop. There was only one iPhone on O2, so that was the only one I could really test.

From what I could tell my phone is not atypical, the one in store that I tested behaved exactly the same, huge drop off of signal and download performance when held lightly in my left hand. I took my 3G with me as well, it suffered no such problem held the same way.

Read on for the gory details of what followed.

Apple have come out with a formal response to the alleged iPhone 4 reception issues.

And of course John Gruber has come up with a brilliant translation of it.

Here is my take on it as an iPhone 4 owner.

I’d been hoping (and really expected) that there was going to be a real fix to this. As such I had been avoiding testing the issue too much, until now…

Updated: I did some more testing that shows the problem doesn’t occur in very, very good 3G signal areas, see the end of the article.

See what happened when I took my iPhone 4 to the Genius Bar.

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Squeezebox owners who also own iPhones or iPod Touches have been patiently awaiting the arrival of native apps to control their Squeezeboxes. The iPhone was an obvious candidate as a remote control for the Squeezebox and the iPeng web based remote interface has been available for quite some time.

While the iPeng web remote was very good, it was just too slow. Mobile Safari can only throw data around so fast.

In the last couple of weeks we suddenly have a flood of Squeezebox control apps hitting the App Store. The one I was waiting for is the native version of iPeng. It finally became available today for £5.99 ($9.99 in the US).

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This is the second part of my review of of the Squeezebox Duet, though all of this part focuses on the Controller part of the package. Part 1 is here.

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I’ve had an MP3 player for my car since I bought my first empeg back in 1999. The empeg is an absolutely brilliant MP3 player, but I’ve never had anything that compared for the the home.

I own a bunch of Rio Receivers, which were designed by the same team as the empeg, but the software on them is just too flawed (largely thanks to the Rio marketing department I fear) to make them anything other than mediocre MP3 players.

I’ve looked in the past at the Sonos system, but it is always looked very expensive and restricted in its functionality. I also looked at the previous SlimDevices players, but the big problem with those was that even though they had a clear bright screen I can’t read the screen from across the room without first finding my glasses.

So when I saw that SlimDevices (now owned by Logitech) were working on a system similar to Sonos, with a screen-less player and a Wifi enabled remote with a screen, I was very excited. So I bought one as soon as they became available.

Anyway, enough of the waffle, on with the review (the Duet has a lot of functionality, so we are going to be here a while).
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The Plan

I had hoped to give my parents a Wifi enabled digital photo frame for Christmas. For it to be usable by my parents it had to be very easy to use and robust.

Ideally I want to just point it at a set of RSS feeds and have the frame cycle through random images from them. It would be nice if it could fall back to local storage if the Wifi connection isn’t present (my Dad likes to turn off his router when he isn’t using it).

After researching various Wifi frames, I settled on the i-mate Momento 10 inch one. (more…)

Why are there no USB based WiFi adapters that work with Mac OS X?

I bought a Mac Mini earlier this year, much to the surprise of my PC loving friends. I needed it for a contract I was working on, porting Gigajam’s music tutition software to the Mac.

When I bought it I opted to get the version without built-in WiFi and Bluetooth, a decision I now regret. I now want to use it in out living room to play video files on the TV (thanks to it’s almost silent operation it is perfect for this).

I don’t want to run Ethernet cables as it would involve drilling through the wall into the garage. So I thought I would WiFi enable the Mac.

I thought it would be easy, a quick trip down to PC World (I know, I know, but on a Sunday afternoon it is the only place open) for a USB WiFi adapter. But no, I couldn’t find any USB WiFi adapters that claimed to support Mac OS X.

After some searching on the net I finally found one that supposedly works with Mac OS X. It is the DLink DWL-122, though you have to download the drivers from the chipset manufacturer’s website. Some comments on the MacOSXHints site are people having problems getting these drivers to work.

I was about to buy one when I realised that it was only a 802.11b device, which for streaming video over SMB isn’t going to cut it. I really need a 54G device :(

So I guess I’ll either have to get an Ethernet-WiFi bridge or run a cable (or get an internal AirPort card fitted, but I think that would be the expensive option).