Category Archives: Tech

Technology is great.

Why the iPhone 5 name makes sense

Please stop complaining about the iPhone 5 name. There is no reason for Apple to drop the number and call it “the new iPhone” at all. Consumers want to be able to differentiate between models. Especially when multiple models are being sold simultaneously.

There’s this stupid graphic floating around the internet showing the iPhone generations all lined up next to each other, numbers 1-5, with the iPhone 4S being number 5. It’s stupid and dumb and I hate it. Let me explain why this is the proper name for the phone.

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How to avoid becoming the next Mat Honan

In case you missed it, former Gizmodo contributor @Mat Honan’s Twitter, email, and iCloud accounts were all hacked a few days ago, leading to @Gizmodo‘s Twitter also being under the hacker’s control. Mat noted on Twitter that while he had originally believed the hackers had guessed or hacked his password, he later found out that they actually called Apple tech support claiming to be him and got his password reset. After that, they used “forgot my password” links on Twitter and other sites to have password reset emails sent to his iCloud email address, which they now controlled. Then they used Find My iPhone to remote-wipe his computer, iPhone, and iPads. He didn’t bother keeping a backup of his computer and lost several years’ worth of data.

I’m going to teach you how to learn from his mistakes avoid becoming the next Mat Honan.

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The iTunes support team is way too enthusiastic

Yesterday I emailed iTunes (actually the Mac App Store) support to try and get something straightened out with my copy of iLife. Their responses were polite and VERY quick. Also, they were incredibly enthusiastic. Like, too enthusiastic. Check these replies out.

Initial response to my support ticket:

Hi Mike,

Good day! Thank you for contacting iTunes Store Support. I’m [Name] and it’s a great pleasure to assist you with your concern.

I understand that you would want to convert your iLife DVD apps to App Store version. I know how eager you must be to have this issue resolved. Rest assured that I will do everything I can to assist you with this.

Mike, in order to make sure this was thoroughly investigated I contacted a senior advisor regarding your case. We would like to advised you that only apps purchased on the Mac App Store can be updated or accepted through the Mac App Store. Apps that were purchased at retail stores or websites cannot be updated via the Mac App Store. Apps purchased from the Mac App Store cannot be updated using the Apple Software Update feature in Mac OS X.

When a new update is available for an app you’ve purchased on the Mac App Store, the icon for the Updates pane at the top of the Mac App Store changes to indicate the number of updates available. These updates can be downloaded and installed through the Updates pane of the Mac App Store, free of charge.

Thank you for understanding this matter. If you have any other questions and concerns regarding this matter, please feel free to email me back. Thank you for choosing the iTunes Store. I hope you have a fantastic day!

Sincerely,

[Name]
iTunes Store/Mac App Store Customer Support

I love the part where they know how “eager” I must be to have my problem solved. I’ve never gotten an email like this from Apple before. Usually they’re short and polite, but they’ve never automatically assumed I’m eager to have my issue resolved. It’s not bad, just unexpected.

Click here to read the rest of the emails

Why Cydia is better than the App Store

If you’ve been alive in the past five years, you’ve definitely heard of Apple’s iOS App Store. If you aren’t into modifying your iPhone, you may not have heard of Cydia, an App Store alternative for software that Apple would never allow because it changes how the actual operating system functions to add or change features.

I’ve been using the App Store since it was created. I’ve also been using the Cydia Store (the paid section of the Cydia app) since it was launched. Over the years, I’ve come to trust the Cydia Store a lot more than the App Store. That’s not just because the software available in Cydia can do things the App Store apps can’t. It’s about more than that. Let me explain…

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Why Apple’s product update cycle is genius

A lot of people had this dumb idea in their head that Apple would be announcing a new iPhone at WWDC this year. Not sure why, but that somehow became a popular opinion. It obviously wasn’t going to happen, but nonetheless, people seemed to genuinely to believe that Apple would screw over iPhone 4S buyers by releasing a phone so quickly. Today I got to thinking that maybe Apple pushed the iPhone 4S back to the fall so that they could use the summer for announcing Mountain Lion, and suddenly everything made sense.

This is the update cycle Apple is sticking with this year. At the beginning of the year, the iPad got an update. Next, the Mac notebook lineup was updated in the summer. OS X will also be updated in the summer. Finally, the new iPhone is widely expected to launch around the same time the iPhone 4S did last year, in the fall.

If you think about why they would update those products at that time, you’ll realize there’s a very good reason for it. I’ll explain all on after the break.

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Twitter vs. Third Parties

Yesterday, Twitter posted a new entry on their developer blog talking about their desire to deliver a “consistent Twitter experience” across platforms.

Twitter is full of crap. What Twitter really wants is to push ads in your face. Recently, they started running “Sponsored Tweets” in user timelines online and in the official Twitter app for iPhone. These tweets are not regular tweets that you might see in your timeline. They are tweets that companies paid to put in your timeline. They are advertisements.

Twitter isn’t pushing these ads in third-party apps, though—at least not yet. Many developers are worried about yesterday’s “ominous” blog post, and see it as a potential threat to their software and API usage.

Let me ask you a question. If Twitter truly cared about delivering a “consistent” experience, would they really have so many different interfaces across platforms? The iPhone, iPad, web, and Mac versions of the “Twitter experience” are all so different that I really can’t begin to fathom how Twitter could possibly claim to care about uniformity or consistency.

For screenshots and the rest of this post, click here

How to answer the question “When did he follow me?”

I get lots of followers on Twitter. Sometimes they’re famous tech writers or actors. When someone like that follows you, you may not always notice a push notification or other message informing you of that. For example, I had no idea Walt Mossberg had followed me until I decided to scroll thorough my followers list. I couldn’t tell you when he followed me. I have no idea. I do know when Adam Baldwin followed me, though. It was at 2:46 AM on April 18, 2012. I know that because the email is timestamped.

If you want to get an email every time someone follows you, just head on over to your Twitter account, go to the settings page, click on the notifications link in the sidebar, and turn on the emails for new followers. Now as soon as someone follows you, you’ll get an email informing you of that, like the one you see above.

Of course, emails are annoying, and the ones from Twitter are the worst. If a horde of spambots follow you, like what happened to me the other day, well… it’s a pain. Don’t worry though, I know how to fix that. Hit the link below to keep reading.

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Customizing Your Twitter App Name

Oh you fancy, huh?

Update July 10, 2012 – Tweetbot 2.4.1 was released today. This update removes the settings panel required to complete this tutorial. If you want to keep your custom settings, do not update to Tweetbot 2.4.1 or higher.

Jailbroken users can keep their customized settings on Tweetbot 2.4.1 by following this tutorial from @ReagentX.


A few days ago, a secret settings panel was discovered in Tweetbot, a popular Twitter client for iOS. One of the settings in that panel was for changing the Consumer Key and Consumer Secret the app uses to authenticate with Apple. Most people didn’t know what that was for. Most still don’t. And those who do seemed to be having issues getting it to work. Well, thanks to @dakotadallen, I’ve gotten it working on my phone, and I’m going to show you how to do it, too. All you’ll need is Tweetbot (iPhoneiPad) and a Twitter account.

Read the full tutorial

Eliminating the Finder

Since the dawn of time (or shortly thereafter), people have been using things like Windows Explorer and Finder to locate and manage their files. I find this system to be annoying. I have so many different folders and files that it’s difficult to always remember what I put where. Sure, I could just use Documents, Pictures and the like for storing those files, but I need more sorting than that, or I’ll never find anything. Unfortunately, no matter how hard I try, it’s too hard to keep my ever-growing collection of documents sorted.

Keep reading to see my solution