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September 25, 2013

iPhone 5S Unboxing Through Google Glass

I had to...

September 17, 2013

The Biggest Flaw In iOS 7

ios7-icon.pngI've had iOS 7 since the beta came out and one thing I thought was a bug, an oversight was how the iOS notification preview/roll out completely prevents you from using hundreds of apps.

If you get an email while writing an email. If you get a Facebook or Twitter notification while using an app. And if you want to continue using the app, most of the time, you cannot.

For example, here I am composing an email I want to send. But as you can see, when a notification comes in, it covers up the Send button at the top right of the app.

Here is an animated GIF which demonstrates how the SEND button is completely taken over by the couple second notification that came in.

ios-7-notification.gif

This is incredibly annoying for me. Incredibly.

Technically, you can try to flick up the notification roll over to get rid of it but try to do that without tapping it.

September 11, 2013

Apple: Observant Jews Can't Buy The iPhone 5S On Launch Day

jewish-iphone-5s.png

Yesterday, Apple disappointed with their announcement of their new iPhones. But they also disappointment the observant Jewish community with the announcement of the release dates of the iPhone 5S.

If you are an observant Jewish individual, you will not be able to get the iPhone 5S on launch day. You cannot even pre-order it days before to be delivered on launch day. Why?

Well, unlike with previous launches and even their iPhone 5C, you cannot preorder this one on September 13th, this Friday. With the 5S, you can either pick it up in a store or order it online on September 20th, which is a Jewish holiday.

Starting Wednesday night, September 18th through Saturday night, September 21st, orthodox Jews in America will be offline. They won't be able to go to a store or turn on their computers to buy the new iPhone 5S.

For me, this is upsetting - being that I've had virtually every iPhone on launch day since the original iPhone was released.

I guess I can pay someone to wait on a line outside a store for me or ask someone to order it online for me that day, on the 20th. But first I will have to see if I am allowed to do so and then if I am willing to give someone access to my Apple or AT&T account.

Apple, why not let us preorder it on the 13th like you are doing with the 5C. This is very upsetting.

I should sue for religious persecution... Okay, I won't do that... But come on!

Note: Comments don't work on this blog anymore. It is an old MovableType blog from 10 years ago, I kid you not. Need to upgrade this to something else one day.

October 4, 2012

AT&T LTE iPhone 5 Doesn't Work Over Voice Either

A couple weeks ago, the day prior to the iPhone 5 release, Verizon Wireless admitted that you cannot use data LTE and talk on the phone at the same time on the iPhone 5. It was upsetting, it actually made me stick with AT&T and not switch to Verizon Wireless.

But after owning the iPhone 5 for a bit and using LTE a lot this week, and using it while tethering with my Mac, I noticed AT&T Wireless also doesn't support LTE and voice at the same time!

Basically, when I am on LTE and I get a call on my iPhone 5, the network switches off LTE and onto 4G. Yes, I still can talk and use data but I am not using LTE, I am using 4G.

Here is a screen shot of using LTE while off a call:

4g-att-lte.jpg

Then I received a call and it switched to 4G:

4g-att-lte-voice.jpg

I tested this dozens of different ways and no matter what, using AT&T LTE and voice does not work simultaneously. I can only use AT&T 3G/4G and voice at the same time.

So when I am working remotely at a conference and looking stuff up on the internet when on a conference call on my iPhone 5, I am on the slow 4G network, not the LTE network.

Has anyone else written about this? I cannot find it.

Note: Comments don't really work here, feel free to comment at Facebook, Google+ or on Twitter.

May 23, 2012

My Next iPhone Will Be On Verizon After 5 Years With AT&T

iphone-verizon.jpgI switched to AT&T Wireless almost five years ago when I bought the original iPhone. Now, after five years, I will 95% switch back to Verizon Wireless - but not for the reason you think.

Call quality doesn't mean a lot to me. My area, it works fine and I hate talking on the phone. So I actually enjoy when my calls drop, so I can not have to talk on the phone.

AT&T's 3G, especially on the the 4S, is super fast 3G. But when 4G comes out, the speeds between AT&T and Verizon should be comparable. It should really put Verizon and AT&T on the same wave length in terms of data and data features (i.e. talking and using data at the same time).

So why am I switching?

I want to unlock the SIM and use it internationally. AT&T will only do it on devices out of contract, which I have plenty of. But they won't do it on devices in contract. Verizon will reportedly unlock the SIM component when you travel internationally for customers in contract.

I have historically had every single new iPhone that has come out, so if I keep that trend up, I would never have a phone out of contract. Yea, I can take an old iPhone or Android phone and pop in a SIM, but I want my phone with my data when I travel, not a different device.

So after 5 years with AT&T, and 5 devices, the iPhone 4S, iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 3G and the original iPhone - my next iPhone will likely be on Verizon.

Oh, and all the other phones on my AT&T plan (3 others) will be out of contract by the time the new iPhone comes out. So leaving AT&T won't cost much.

November 25, 2011

Add Fun Characters To Your iPhone Keyboard: emoji

I thought I knew everything about my iPhone, but one of the most basic things I had no clue about. It is the emoji keyboard, which gives you the ability to send funny faces, funny icons and representative icons.

You basically need to enable a new "international" keyboard on your iPhone to activate it. After you do that, you get these characters, plus a heck of a lot more, as options when sending text messages, emails and so on.

TS2404_01--emoji-001-en.png

emoji-keyboard-iphone.png

How do you add it?

(1) Tap Settings > General > Keyboard
(2) Tap International Keyboards
(3) Tap Add New Keyboard
(4) Locate and tap Emoji

Then when the keyboard is open, hit the globe on the botton, near the left of the space bar. You will be able to toggle through your various keyboards that way.

October 10, 2011

iPhone: Waiting On Line Online Instead Of On Line Offline

iphone-line.jpgYou know I ordered the iPhone 4S, in fact, I woke up at 3am EDT Friday morning to try to be one of the first on line to order it online.

It ended up taking me over an hour to order and I ordered it from AT&T, not Apple.

First, I feel bad not ordering from Apple. Every single iPhone I purchased for myself was ordered from Apple. Yes, all 4 iPhones I owned were Apple ordered. This is the first iPhone being shipped from a non-Apple order.

But after over an hour of trying to order from the Apple Store online or via the phone, I gave up and ordered via AT&T's web site. I feel bad, but I had to go back to sleep and make sure my order went through before it was sold out.

That being said, in the past, I had camped out a bit at the Apple Store to get the iPhone. I did this twice in the past but this year, I am not able to because the pick up day is this Friday, which is a Jewish holiday and I will be offline.

So instead of waiting on line offline at the Apple Store, I waited on line online at the store.apple.com last Friday.

Orders are reportedly shipping now, it would be nice if mine arrived Wednesday, since I'll be offline Thursday and Friday, but not counting on it.

And yea, Apple sold over a million iPhone 4S devices, which surpasses their 600,000 unit record. I am honestly shocked by that, since I know a ton of people who told me they aren't upgrading because there isn't enough of a difference, compared to last year where almost everyone I spoke with wanted the 4.

October 4, 2011

Fine, I'll Get The iPhone 4S & I Qualify

step0-iphone4s-title.pngSo you heard, iPhone 4S is available for pre-order this Friday. Which is a good thing, because pick up in store is on a Jewish holiday. So I can order it this Friday, have it delivered to my office and then pick it up from there after the holiday.

That being said, this is the first time I am not *excited* to get the new iPhone. It is not 4G enabled, I am so unhappy. I guessed it would be the iPhone 4G, I also said it wouldn't be the iPhone 5 - so I was both wrong and right - it is the iPhone 4S, without the 4G connection.

But I will get it, because I've always got the new iPhone, every single new one since they were released. And yes, since it is not 4G, i'll stick with AT&T because Verizon's 3G stinks.

I have the iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 3G and the original iPhone. So it would be a shame to let that streak go.

Here is what it looks to be eligible:

iphone4s-eligible.png

Here is what it looks like not to be eligible:

iphone4s-noteligible.png

August 4, 2011

Special Discount For iPhone Siddur

Just a heads up, it is the 3rd birthday of the iPhone Siddur and we have knocked down the price for 50% discount. So go get it now.

June 10, 2011

Car Navigation Systems: I Want My iPhone Notifications On My GPS

I upgraded my iPhone to use the beta developer preview of iOS 5 and I am in love with many of the features, especially the notifications. (Yea, Android people, I know - stop there.)

One thing I want is that my car's navigation system be more integrated with my iPhone or even Android phone.

iphone ios5 car navigation

(1) I want the notifications to stream from my phone to my navigation.

(2) I want to ditch my car's GPS and use the GPS built into my phone.

(3) I want live Google Maps traffic to display from my phone to the navigation.

(4) I want to let my wife and kid watch movies streamed from my phone on the navigation while I am driving.

(5) I want to be able to stream anything via Airplay or USB from my device over my navigation.

Am I asking too much?

This has been a dream of mine since driving to Toronto in 2006. I just wanted this data streamed to my car's navigation.

March 14, 2011

Goodbye Verizon MiFi, Hello AT&T iPhone Hotspot

iPhone Personal HotspotI've owned and tried to use a Verizon MiFi for 16 months and 18 days now and today is the last time I try to use it.

I have consistently had issues with this wireless data device. I rarely had issues when I didn't need it. But I always had issues when I needed it, i.e. at conferences. Everyone I know who has a MiFi at these events have issues also, they include Danny and Lisa. I spent countless wasted hours with Verizon tech support. For some reason, the device constantly disconnects and then reconnects, killing my sessions during my tasks. I lived with it by tethering via USB, but that is pointless, the device is meant for wireless access.

In any event, today I cancelled the device, which cost me $95 but ultimately will save me money. I spent $60 a month on this device and it barely worked, so $95 to break a contract that ends in October will save me about $325 over the course of those months.

But I can't go wireless free, can I? Well, since iOS 4.3, AT&T now supports the iPhone personal hotspot feature. So technically, I can use the 3G connection on my iPhone to power my other devices. I can use it over USB, Bluetooth and more importantly, over WiFi!

iPhone Personal Hotspot
That is not my password, by the way...

This adds on an additional $20 or so per month to your wireless plan, assuming you have the 2GB plan already. It gives you an additional 2GB of data for the personal hotspot. The cool thing is, if you do not need it, you can downgrade your plan and save the $20 or even lower your plan down to the 200MB plan and save even more.

So instead of the $60 per month, I will just activate the extra $20 or so when I need it. AT&T will prorate stuff and adjust my bill for my actual usage and I can save a bundle with this.

Even more importantly, I've tested this out on Friday and it works. I do not disconnect, it is fast and it is easy to use. Plus, I tested it with using the phone at the same time, while checking email on my phone and surfing the web on my laptop, all off the same 3G connect. It all just works! (Note: Verizon Wireless can't currently do simultaneous phone and Internet but AT&T can.)

I've used the Nexus S with Android's hotspot feature when in Israel and that worked well. I was very happy to not have multiple Internet devices. I can empty my bag of one more internet device and really have a single device for it all, an iPhone.

February 8, 2011

Weird: A Verizon iPhone

So one of the guys at RustyBrick was crazy enough to wait ~3 years for the iPhone to come to Verizon. And he got his last night.

He showed it to me and it was really weird to see "Verizon" at the top left of the phone. So weird.

Verizon iPhone Bars

I've travelled with the iPhone and I've seen other networks, such as Orange, Cellcom and others. Just Verizon is weird to me.

January 17, 2011

iPhone User Gives Android Two Weeks

Cross post on the RustyBrick Blog.

nexus sAs some of you may know, I was in Israel for the past 10 days or so. It was a family vacation and hosting the SphinnCon Israel SEM conference.

For this trip, I decided to not go with the AT&T International plan for my iPhone and instead use an unlocked Nexus S phone with an Orange IL pre-paid SIM card. The reason was two fold:

(1) It would save money on the data plan because the Orange data plan is cheaper than the AT&T international data plan. Plus, I can use the phone as a hotspot for my other devices, which I couldn't do with my iPhone, causing me to rent a USB card.

(2) I wanted to give Android, the latest and greatest Android OS and Google phone a real shot. 10 full days using it as my primary smart phone and barely using the iPhone.

When I arrived in Israel, I popped in the SIM card and was immediately able to make phone calls. But the data simply did not work. I spent some time on the phone with Orange's support, but they could only email me a document with settings. When I finally got to the hotel and was able to download those instructions, they did not work. So I Googled for help and found a Google thread with the answer I needed. At that point, I was up an running with data.

The mobile hot spot on the device was probably the single best feature of this phone. I used it more than I talked on the phone. My wife used it, my 19-month old used it, and it worked well. The data was a bit slow, but that was 3G speeds and it was good enough. We connected my MacBook Pro to it, our iPhones, iPads and even gave others access to it when they needed it. Yes, the iPhone will have the mobile hot spot feature soon with Verizon and rumored to be coming to AT&T soon as well. For now, Android had the edge here.

It's open! The Nexus S let's me put any SIM card (GSM required) I want in there. And I did that. I couldn't do that with the iPhone, well, I could, but then I would have to jailbreak the device and thus kill my warranty. That is a huge plus for the Nexus S and Android.

My iPhone 4But overall, even with running Android 2.3, I felt I was missing something. Even after 10 days of using it, I still felt tasks such as email, browsing the web and even phone calls, were taking extra time. It felt like I had to take more finger taps to get what I wanted done on Android when compared to those same actions on iPhone. One is example is deleting emails: I right swipe over the email on iPhone. With Android, I have to click on the email or a check box and then click delete.

Finally, the battery does not compare with the iPhone. I can run all day on my iPhone without an issue. The Nexus S and Android 2.3 maybe lastest 75% of the work day. I use it a lot but so do I with the iPhone.

Now, I am way more accustomed to using an iPhone. I have been using one for 3.5 years and I really love it. So giving Android 10 days is likely not a fair test.

The bottom line is that when I landed in New York, I was thrilled to have my iPhone back. That was until AT&T couldn't connect to the network and the data wasn't working. But in regards to the user interface and the friendliness of the device, I was happy to return to my iPhone.

Now that the iPhone is coming to Verizon, I really do not see a real reason to recommend Android to people. When people said they won't get an iPhone due to AT&T, I bought that. I said, great - so get an Android device. But now that Verizon has the iPhone, there is no excuse. Get yourself an iPhone, you won't be disappointed.

July 19, 2010

Active iPhone Siddur Users Spike To Almost 1,000

I was checking out the Siddur Map on the iPhone Siddur today and noticed that it was steadily climbing. During the time Israel was using it for Maariv tonight, Tisha B'av, there was close to 1,000 users using it at the same time.

I wonder if it will spike up to well beyond that number tonight?

iPhone Siddur Map

It was spiking up to over 875 at one point, and then I received a phone call and stopped checking. It is now back down to about 600. Maybe it reached 1,000, I am not sure. But maybe it will blow past 1k tonight.

It is so cool to see so many people using this product at once. Most iPhone Apps are use it, get bored of it, never use it again. This app, people use every day, a few times a day! So proud to be a part of it.

Meanwhile, did you know English for Sefard is out?

July 12, 2010

Vintage Apple Logo Skin For My iPhone 4

200px-Apple_Computer_Logo_rainbowToday is an exciting day. Not as exciting as getting the iPhone 4, then dropping it and getting a second one but still exciting.

I got my iPhone black bumper today, so I am less concerned about breaking it. But more importantly, I got a skin that turns the back of my iPhone 4 white and sticks a vintage colorful Apple logo on it. When I saw it on TUAW, I had to recreate it. Here are pictures:

Vintage Apple Logo Skin for iPhone 4

Vintage Apple Logo Skin for iPhone 4

I left the front alone:

Vintage Apple Logo Skin for iPhone 4

The nice thing about the Gelaskins is they seem to come off, even off the InvisibleShield I have on my phone. So when I get bored, I can take it off.

To recreate this yourself, you can download my PSD file and to sharpen it up grab the Apple logo from Wikipedia. Note, you may want to also change the name to yours. :)

June 30, 2010

I Got My Second iPhone 4

iPhone 4 BrokeLast night, the Apple Store called me and told me my "replacement iPhone was ready" and I can pick it up. So I ran over there a few hours later and picked up my second iPhone 4.

I felt guilty while picking it up. There are many people out there really wanting a single iPhone 4 and I got one then dropped it and got a new one a couple days later. For free!

I got lucky, some stores are replacing smashed or chipped iPhone 4s for free and some are not. I got lucky.

So when I got the new phone, the first thing I asked was - do you have any cases. They said no. So I ran to best buy and bought some pink cases - that is all they had. I then also but another InvisibleShield, but this time, I had the guy in the kiosk install it for me and that went well. I didn't want to leave the place without it being protected, even if it meant sticking plastic on it and walking around with a pink case.

Best Buy said I can return it within 30 days and I will. I am waiting on In Case to release a case for the iPhone 4.

I hear lots of people are dropping their iPhones and it smashing. Here are picks from Gizmodo of some damage and read Andy Ihnatko's review where he dropped it and it smashed, and talked about other drop cases. I need a bumper but they are no where to be found!

In any event, I do feel bad owning two different iPhone 4s within a single week.

One day, I need to write a blog post just on walking into the Apple Store. Should be funny...

June 29, 2010

I Chipped My New iPhone 4!

On Friday, I was showing off my new iPhone 4, making all of you jealous of my Apple sweetness. I feel I had a right to, being that camped out for six hours to be one of the first to pick it up from the Apple Store.

But then the unthinkable happened. I dropped it! I keep my iPhone in my shirt pocket for accessibility. Friday afternoon, I was outside, I bent over to pick up something from the floor and my iPhone slide out of the pocket, and bounced on the concrete walkway.

When it fell, I didn't think anything of it. It maybe dropped a foot and a half and I am sure my other phone has dropped a lot worse. But when I picked it up, I noticed the top left corner was chipped off. The glass was chipped! Here is a picture:

iPhone 4 Glass Nick'ed

Here is another:

iPhone 4 Glass Nick'ed

I kind of freaked out. Not only was it chipped, the phone didn't detect the SIM card. So I turned off and on the phone and the SIM card was again detected, but the chip was there.

My wife asked me what was wrong and when I told her and showed her the damage, she gave me a weird look. You know, the look you get when your man-hood is in question. I then decided to man up and try to let it slide. But it was bothering me the whole weekend.

Then someone I know told me, he dropped his phone, the back shattered and Apple is replacing it for him. So I stopped by the Apple Store yesterday, and they said, they will replace it for me for free.

I got a work authorization and the Apple Store will call me when new iPhones come in. When they come in, they will give me a new one and I'll give them this one. They said they are doing this for people, since the phone is so new.

Of course, didn't Apple play up how durable the new screens are? I have owned 3 iPhones prior to this one and I never had an issue with the screen before. I am hearing reports of people cracking iPhone 4s all the time now. I wonder if there is a design flaw or something larger.

In any event, I will make sure to have a case in hand by the time I pick up the new iPhone. It won't leave the store without a case protecting it.

June 25, 2010

Pictures Of My iPhone 4

It is weird saying iPhone 4. I had the original iPhone, it was called the iPhone. I then upgraded the year after to get the iPhone 3G, which makes sense - it supported the AT&T 3G network. Then the year after, I got the iPhone 3GS, so they made is faster, add an S for speed.

This is my fourth iPhone, so technically it makes sense - the iPhone 4. But just sounds weird to me. In any event, I am already looking forward to the iPhone 4G, cause I hate EVO users!

Since I documented unboxings and/or pictures of all my iPhones, I'd figure I do it again. I didn't do an unboxing this time, so here are just some pictures I took of the iPhone 4 on my desk:

My iPhone 4

My iPhone 4

My iPhone 4

My iPhone 4

My iPhone 4

My iPhone 4

Yes, I bought the dock. I am a docker - many are not.

My invisibleSHIELD For iPhone 4 Experience

invisibleSHIELD iPhone 4 IssueIn preparation for picking up the iPhone 4, I ordered the invisibleSHIELD For iPhone 4. It has been sitting on my desk for about a week, and yesterday, when I got the phone, I placed it on the iPhone 4. Actually, I ordered two, one for me and one for Ronnie, so I did it twice.

I did the step by step instructions but still had a horrible experience.

The top of the shield was placed at the very top of the iPhone. It was perfectly fitted at top, exposing the ear piece and front facing camera. But when I placed the rest of the screen down, the bottom of it was too far. It overlapped on the home button and also ran over the bottom of the iPhone.

We had the issue on both phones. Ronnie tried trimming the excess off.

We both took them home and when resting in our shirt pockets, the bottom of the shield peeled up and became ruined. I tried to fix it but it was a loss cause.

Ronnie even tried to cut it more after that but no success. Here is a picture of how the bottom of the screen was ruined over time:

invisibleSHIELD iPhone 4 Issue

As you can see, he cut it, but the shirt pocket stuff got all over the back of the adhesive side of the screen.

That also happened to mine, even without cutting the screen. Why? Cause the screen seemed to be too long.

I got frustrated, so I ripped it off and threw it away. The iPhone 4 is too nice to make it look like that. I want to protect the phone but I don't want it to take away from its design.

As I write this, I see Danny wrote about iPhone Case options, after falling and buying his iPhone last minute. He is a big fan of the ZAGG brand. I have it for the iPad it is okay. But for the iPhone 4, it simply did not work!

I didn't mind placing my 3GS, 3G and original iPhone in cases. I went through many iPhone cases.

June 24, 2010

iPhone Madness Over Past Few Days

RustyBrick on iPhone 4 Day at Apple Store Tice's CornerMy writers block was due to all the iPhone madness over the past fews days.

In summary, on Tuesday, 3 of 6 of us who pre-ordered the iPhone 4 found out that the Apple Store did not have our reservations on file. They had us come to the store, with our pre-order confirmation emails and put us on a "managers list." I was afraid to blog about it then, because I didn't want to cause even more confusion prior to the iPhone 4 being released.

This morning, I am glad to say we got our iPhone 4s. At around 6am, Suzy from that Apple Store went through the people on the pre-order line. She had us all down on either the normal list or the "manager list." But there were some people who were not on either list and some of those people were not allowed to get the iPhone via that list. They were moved to the walk-in line, which was 200 people long or so at 6am. So I am glad we took care of our mess on Tuesday.

That being said, you can see some pictures from the lines and at the store at the RustyBrick Blog.

June 15, 2010

Pre-Ordered iPhone 4 For Store Pick Up

My kid woke me up about 4am, so I was able to pre-order the new iPhone 4 at about 4:30am. It took several tries, but it finally went through around 4:30am.

Yes, I decided that since the stores open at 7am, I'll do an in-store pickup. I didn't do this last year, but I did it for the launch of the 3G. Well, the 3G you had to get in a store, there were no other options back then.

I'll have more details about which store later on:

iPhone 4 Reservation

June 14, 2010

AT&T Now Lets Me Upgrade Early: Sweet!

I am nuts, I check to see if I can upgrade my iPhone 3GS, which I bought a year ago, like every day. On June 7th, AT&T moved my upgrade date from October 2010 to February 2011. I did not call and complain, I just did what any blogger would do and blogged it.

I was all set to spend the $399 or whatever it was to upgrade early, without being eligible for a two-year upgrade discounted price.

I logged in this morning and also dials *NEW# on my phone to double check... I am now qualified for a new iPhone 4 for the full discounted price of $199:

iPhone Upgrade Early!

AT&T iPhone Upgrade

I am a bit concerned there is some sort of bug - but hey, I am so happy now!

Tomorrow is pre-order day - the big question I have is do I wait in line at a store (Apple Store or local Walmart) or have it delivered on June 24th?

June 7, 2010

AT&T Moved My Upgrade Eligibility Further Away

So, today is the big day. The iPhone Worldwide Developer Conference. Big news, very excited.

But while many are saying their early upgrade dates are now, mine was pushed from October of this year to February of 2011!

Yes, last week when I checked when I was able to upgrade for a "full discount," AT&T told me it was October 20, 2010. Now, AT&T is telling me February 20, 2011. This is for a customer who has owned an iPhone July 11, 2007 and owned the new one every single year.

AT&T normally gives me a full discount for the new iPhone but I guess not this year. This year, instead, I get a "discounted iPhone upgrade at a higher price, along with a 2-year commitment and an $18 upgrade fee." Or whatever that means.

AT&T iPhone Upgrade

Who knows, maybe they will surprise me. Either way, I am buying the new one.

June 1, 2010

Pretending To Be Calling From The Office With Your iPhone

Acrobits SoftphoneLast week, Ronnie and I were testing out various softphone solutions for our IP based phone system. After some research, looking at the features, reviews and number of updates to the app, we picked the Acrobits Softphone (aff link). Ronnie did his review of the softphone iPhone app in a new weekly series of blog posts at the RustyBrick Blog.

On Thursday night, for fun, I decided to call some people as if I was in the office.

Let me step back a bit. Since we use an Asterisk based IP-based PBX provided by Fonality (which I am still very happy with after 4+ years), we can use softphones from anywhere in the world with our PBX. So when I go to Seattle next week and want to get on conference calls or tell someone to call me in the office, I can. I don't have to give out my cell phone number, I don't have to forward my phone calls, all I have to do is open the iPhone app and it will start receiving phone calls as if I am at my phone at my desk.

So to have some fun, I made some phone calls last week. I called my mother at about 10pm one night and the first thing she said was "you're still at your office?" I said, "yea" but eventually came clean after laughing. I called a few more people who said the sound quality was pretty good, at worse, it sounded like I was on a speaker phone.

Sound quality has little to do with the app and more to do with the broadband available both on my iPhone and in the office. Making the calls from my home over Verizon FiOS was no problem at all. The office's connection wasn't great, but it was fine - all the calls via this SIP protocol go over the T1. Cable blocks them, unless it is through their own phone system.

But when I tried to make phone calls over AT&T's 3G connection, the sound quality was horrible. Again, not an issue with the app but more of an issue with 3G just not being strong enough to handle a solid phone call.

There are some free SIP iPhone apps you can play with, but this app seems to be updated frequently and have some nice features.

Make sure to check out Ronnie's review on the RustyBrick Blog.

May 18, 2010

Got Five Bars with AT&T

We just installed an AT&T MicroCell at RustyBrick and now I have five bars. How cool is this? Let me show you...

Before:

5 Bars with AT&T

After:

5 Bars with AT&T

Both pictures were taken in the office, but one before MicroCell and one after.

April 28, 2010

Jobs Can Really Hold The Ten Commandments In His Hands

There are tons of pictures depicting Steve Jobs, the CEO of Apple, holding the iPad(s) in his hands as if he were moses holding the tablets (ten commandments) in his hands. Yesterday, we launched the iPad Torah, so now technically, Jobs can hold the ten commandments in his hands. For a bit of a fun read, check out FrumSatire's review of our product.

I thought it would be neat to post all the images I found via Google for these depictions of Jobs with the Tablets. All images can be clicked on to find the source:

moses-ipad-steve-jobs-apple-390x220

jobs

iPad Torah on FrumSatire.net

moses_pad

Moses-Jobs72-273x300 (Unity Games)-420-90

moses-jobs-ipad

moses-ipad-tablets

ipad-moses

tumblr_kx33w9cf3S1qah7kqo4_500

ipad-timeline1

6a00d8341d417153ef01287737f5ce970c-800wi

April 23, 2010

Even My Parents & In-Laws Can Use An iPad

I am sure most of you have seen the video of the 100-year-old using and loving the iPad. If not, I posted it below. Point being - hey - mom and in-laws, you can figure it out to.

Of course, they will reply to me and say - buy it for me as a present and we will use it.

March 18, 2010

Let Your iPhone Keep Track of Your Celebs & Stars

Full disclosure: This iPhone app is an app we built for a client...

Back in December, we launched an iPhone app for a client named WorldLive Mobile. The app was focused around compiling and aggregating the Tweets and MySpace feeds of their favorite HipHop stars. It not only showed you these feeds, but also hooked up to the iTunes Music Store, the artist's web sites, their Facebook and MySpace pages, included their YouTube channels and had concert dates and listings.

The app literally rocks. It has a sweet coverflow like interface with tons of ways to customize the artists you love. It gives you an easy way to stay on top of your favorite Hip Hop artists. You can download it for free and it is named WorldLive Hip Hop.

Since then, we released three more apps that work in a similar fashion but for different areas. For example, we released WorldLive Country, WorldLive Pop and WorldLive Hollywood. So Country and Pop are similar to Hip Hop, but the Hollywood is obviously focused on TV and movie stars.

Here are some pictures of each app:

WorldLive Pop:

WorldLive Pop

WorldLive Hollywood:

WorldLive Hollywood

WorldLive Country:

WorldLive Country

WorldLive Hip Hop:

WorldLive HipHop

All these apps for free and I would really appreciate it if you would download it and give me feedback.

Download them at:

February 18, 2010

Get Your Updated iPhone Megillah

iPhone Megillah AppApple approved a semi-large update to our FREE iPhone App for Purim, the Megillas Esther iPhone App. We made some big improvements to this holiday app, just in time for Purim, which is just about a week away.

First change we made was to add the brachos (blessings) before and after the reading. Here is a picture of the bracha before:

iPhone Megillah App

We also bolded the sections the congregation repeats:

iPhone Megillah App

Also, we added the ability to add 6 more sounds for 99 cents. We wanted to play with in-app purchases, so for only 99 cents, you get 6 additional sounds. The additional sounds include a telephone ringing, a car crashing, guns, bombs, air raid horn and a whistle.

There are some other small changes we made to the app, so I hope you like it. You can download it for free by clicking here.

Also, we released a new Siddur update today, which I will talk more about when it goes live.

This is a cross post with the RustyBrick Blog.

December 21, 2009

More Anti-Semitism in iTunes App Store

I first wrote about the anti-semitic "reviews" in the iTunes iPhone App Store back in September 2008. Some were never removed until Apple changed the policy that you need to download and install the app before writing a review. This was not just an issue with the Apple App Store, it we also so anti semitic reviews on the Palm Pre store.

It has been a long time since we had this pop up. But last night I was notified of an anti-semitic review on our iPhone Hebrew Translator app. Here is a picture of it:

Anti Semitism in iTunes App Store

I think Apple needs to pull a Google and place an ad above their reviews, like they did for both Michelle Obama images and for the search jew.

December 11, 2009

Recruiting iPhone Coders via an iPhone App

We at RustyBrick are looking to hire a few more developers, including iPhone and PHP/MySQL developers. We don't bother posting jobs on job sites anymore, it leads to way too much spam - so we use expensive recruiters. Recruiters, please do not call me - we have one exclusive recruiter we use. We decided to get a bit more creative about hiring and built an iPhone App that helps us do the recruiting.

We named the app RustyBrick Hire Me and it basically takes someone through three questions to qualify them before having them submit their resume and come in for an interview.

First it asks you the type of position you would like to apply for:

RustyBrick Hire Me iPhone App

After that, it asks you a single multiple choice question to qualify that you technically know your stuff.

Then it makes sure you are able to work in our office.

RustyBrick Hire Me iPhone App

Finally, if you pass the three previous steps, it asks you for your email address so we can contact you.

Check it out the RustyBrick Hire Me app or download it iTunes now for free.

November 19, 2009

Bleeper: Share Funny Bleeped Out iPhone Voice Recordings on Twitter & Facebook

Last night, our latest crazy iPhone app was approved. It is named Bleeper and all it does is allow you to record yourself and click on the "bleep" icon to play that bleep sound. Yea, kind of funny and pointless - but perfect as an iPhone App, don't you think?

The neat part is you can share you "bleeps" on Twitter, Facebook or via email. That is where it can get fun. Let me take you through the app, step by step.

Here is the main screen. You basically click "record" start talking and then click the "bleep" icon in the middle to make the bleep sound where you want. When you are done, hit the "stop" icon (which is what the record button turns into after you hit record):

iPhone Bleeper

When you are done, you can hit "play" to listen to your most recent recording. If you are happy with it, hit "share" and you are given three options. Share on Twitter, Facebook or E-Mail.

iPhone Bleeper

Sharing on Twitter requires you to enter your username, password and a short message to be sent in your Tweet.

iPhone Bleeper

Then you hit share and it sends it:

iPhone Bleeper

You can then access all public Tweets from Bleeper by clicking on the Tweets icon:

iPhone Bleeper

Clicking on the arrow on the right of the shared Tweets plays the audio right in your phone using the movie app:

iPhone Bleeper

If you listen to the Tweet in the timeline on Twitter.com, such as displayed here:

iPhone Bleeper on Twitter

If you play it from here, on your desktop, it takes you here:

iPhone Bleeper TWAUDIO

How about Facebook? We use Facebook Connect to send a status update to your Facebook profile.

iPhone Bleeper

Type in a message:

iPhone Bleeper

Hit Publish:

iPhone Bleeper

It is then shown on your Facebook profile page:

iPhone Bleeper on Facebook

With a little audio player:

iPhone Bleeper on Facebook

Sharing it via E-Mail basically attaches the wav file to your outgoing email:

iPhone Bleeper

That is basically how Bleeper works. You can download it for free on iTunes now.

October 23, 2009

Ordered Verizon MiFi to Help iPhone Work in NYC

verizon mifiI've had the Verizon Wireless V740 ExpressCard for over two years now. It lets me plug the card into my laptop and have Internet virtually anywhere I go. It is rock solid, in fact, I used it on a drive all the way from my office to Albany and back with no issues at all. I actually do it often enough and use it at all conferences and when I travel or go places where I don't want to tap into the open Wifi.

I didn't want to upgrade the plan, in anticipation of AT&T coming out with a tethering plan, so I can connect my iPhone to my computer and use the Internet from my iPhone to power my laptop. The issue is, AT&T is way too unreliable for that, especially in places such as NYC and at conferences (where there are tons of iPhones) to bank on it. So I decided to get a MiFi router from Verizon today.

MiFi is a tiny little wireless router that is basically like the card I have, but acts as a wireless router. The concept isn't new, it is old - but they are becoming more popular these days. The reason I went with this, over a new plug in air card, is that I can share it with multiple people and devices. If and when my iPhone doesn't work at conference or in meetings in NYC, I can let it access the MiFi wireless, along with my laptop. Plus, I can let my fellow bloggers (up to 5) connect to it, so they also can have internet, when they don't.

I don't have the device yet, but when we get it, I'll report back on how I like it. I will also have Ronnie write about the features of the MiFi router at the RustyBrick Blog for those who are interested in how configurable it is.

Just sad I feel the need to get a Verizon MiFi to make sure my iPhone can connect to the Internet - don't ya think?

October 20, 2009

AT&T iPhone Call Fade Issue Was Cell Tower Hardware Issue

celltower.pngA week ago, I complained about my iPhone & AT&T fading away my calls. It turned out that it had nothing to do with the software update released the same day.

AT&T called my brother and told them the issue was fixed this morning at 11am. The issue was with the cell phone tower. Some hardware in the tower that powered the phones in that area, was broken.

They supposedly fixed it today.

The thing is, I thought they fixed it on Monday. The fading issue went away on Monday - at least for me.

Maybe they fixed it yesterday but didn't get confirmation of the fix until today?

In any event, the iPhone software update had nothing to do with the fading calls. It has to do with the cell tower hardware issues.

October 15, 2009

Augmented Reality: You Say What?

I catch myself saying terms that people sometimes do not understand. Not big words, just new words. The latest word is Augmented Reality. Augmented Reality is a fancy way of saying using computer driven technology on top of real world elements. Got that?

Urbanspoon recently updated their iPhone app to include a "scope" feature. You click on the "Scope" and your iPhone's camera turns on (note, this only works with the 3GS). The point is, you are to go outside, open up the app, turn on the scope feature and look at the world in front of you with the camera. Then, Urbanspoon overlays their restaurant data on top of what you see through the camera.

Here are two pictures:

UrbanSpoon Augmented Reality UrbanSpoon Augmented Reality

The device knows where I am and using the compass, it knows which direction I am pointing. So Urbanspoon is able to overlay their restaurant data to show me nearby places to eat, how much people like those places (based on their reviews) and how far the place is to my exact location.

People have asked me if we will add this to our iPhone Kosher Restaurant database. It would be cool, but I am not sure how many people would appreciate it.

So if you see someone walking down the street, looking through their iPhone or other mobile device - they are not crazy, they are using Augmented Reality. Walk over to the person and yell, "AR!!!"

October 13, 2009

iPhone OS 3.1.2 Fades My Calls Away

iPhone OS 3.1.2 Calls StinkLast Thursday, Apple released an updated OS for the iPhone, with a carrier setting update. I updated immediately cause I am like that - really, that is how I am.

I am sorry I did.

Ever since then, my phone calls fade away for a few seconds and then fade back in. I spoke to a few other people who have updated and they experienced the call "fading" that I have experienced.

I can be speaking to someone, and then I hear nothing. A few seconds later, I hear them talking again, but I missed several words. Often, they have no idea they faded away, so I don't say anything. But I may have missed several words that are important.

Dropped calls are nothing new to the iPhone and AT&T, but call fading is something I have not experienced until 3.1.2.

Update: The issue had nothing to do with the software update but rather an issue with hardware on the cell tower in my local area.

October 2, 2009

I Need Your Vote: Please Make Our App, The Gap iPhone App

Vote IntuApps at MobClixMobClix was contracted by Gap to run a contest for iPhone App developers, to allow them to build their app and the winner gets to be the official Gap iPhone app. So the contest is now live, please, please, please, go vote for us (IntuApps). Vote for the top middle one, made by IntuApps, which is a company RustyBrick partially owns. Go vote with all your email addresses, as many as you have, please!

Personally, I was not into the idea of building an app for a company with a 'chance' to win. I don't like contests, but I was over ruled (which is rare) and we developed the app. If you want to learn more about the story on why we went ahead to build the app, go read Ronnie's blog post at the RustyBrick blog.

The app really deserves to win. It really gives you the whole Gap store experience. From selecting clothes, to the Gap store music and atmosphere to neat ways on actually buying the clothing. Finally, it even has a cute game to ask you to name the price of the product. Just check out our video demo of the app:

Again, please vote, you will see this screen, vote for the IntuApps app and please tell your friends. Please Vote IntuApps!

September 25, 2009

MMS on iPhone Now: Download in iTunes, Sync & Reboot Device

Lots of people are now getting the iPhone AT&T MMS update via iTunes. To make sure you get it on your device, make sure to:

(1) Download update in iTunes
(2) Sync your iPhone with iTunes
(3) Then reboot your iPhone

You will then see it in the messages section.

Here are screen shots:

MMS iPhone Update Download Carrier Settings

MMS iPhone Update Download Carrier Settings

MMS iPhone Update Download Carrier Settings

September 23, 2009

Sending Email on iPhone Prompts a Phone Call on my GPS?

Lexus Phone Bluetooth IconI jumped in my car to pick up yet another salad (I am good).

I decided to check my email while sitting in the car. I hit reply to that email and the GPS screen changed as if I was making a phone call. I first thought that I called someone by accident, but that wasn't it. I then figured out that every time I hit reply or new email, the iPhone sent a command via bluetooth to my car's GPS that I was making a phone call.

This is the first time something like this happened to me. I honestly think this is a quirk. But if it happens again, I'll update this post. If not, then it was a one time quirk (if that is even possible).

This happened in at least three cases:

  • Hitting Compose Email
  • Hitting Reply to an Email
  • Clicking in the search box and searching for an email

August 27, 2009

Went To The Pizza Store Naked...

Today, I went to the local pizza store to pick up food for some of the guys and myself. Yes, the same pizza store that was broken and where I witnessed a big accident.

I get in the car and pull away, off to the pizza store. I then realize, I forgot my iPhone!!!!

I considered turning back and getting my iPhone, but then I thought - the whole trip will take me a total of 15 minutes. I thought, I can survive without my iPhone, access to my email, RSS feeds, my phone and so on for a total of 15 minutes. So I continued onward to the pizza store.

I survived, but let me tell you - I felt naked the whole way there, in the pizza store and on the way back. Yea, I don't touch my iPhone every week for a 25 hour time period, due to Shabbat. But driving a car, being in a store during the week, it just felt incredibly weird that I didn't have my iPhone.

Yes, I felt like I was in the pizza store completely naked. An awkward feeling for me, and I am sure it doesn't look that pretty to outsiders. :-)

In any event, I did survive to blog about this experience. Like I did when the Israeli Consulate seized my iPhone from me back in March.

August 21, 2009

RB's 1st Interactive E-Book for the iPhone

Today we announced a new iPhone app we built under our IntuApps brand named Goldilocks. It is a interactive and fun iPhone book available in the iTunes store for 99 cents. You can download it by clicking here. If you want to win a free copy of it, be one of the first to comment on Ronnie's blog post and he will give you a redeem code to download it.

I made a video of this app, because words don't do justice in describing it. Here is the video:

August 7, 2009

RB iPhone App Gets AdSense

When Google announced AdSense for mobile apps, I bugged Google to let me in. They did and finally, our iPhone Hebrew Translator app now has AdSense in the app. It is actually performing extremely well, I think because we dynamically load the translation terms into the AdSense system. In the example below, I translated iPhone, which then showed an iPhone related AdSense ad.

Prior to Translation (we feed generic keywords):

AdSense in Our iPhone App

After Translation we feed the keywords from the translation:

AdSense in Our iPhone App

So far, this is way out performing AdMob.

August 3, 2009

Matisyahu Uses RustyBrick iPhone Apps

Matisyahu Uses RustyBrick AppsMatisyahu, the popular musician known for his Jewish reggae and for being a Chabad/Lubavitch Jew uses our iPhone Apps.

How do I know? Last night, he tweeted that he is looking for kosher food in Japan. A guy name Ross, replied to him, telling him to get our Kosher iPhone app. Matisyahu then replied to that saying:

wow I have the siddur but didn't know about kosher

So, Matisyahu, the famous musician, that has over 600,000 followers on Twitter and a huge following in the real world, uses our iPhone Siddur and probably now has our Kosher iPhone app. I bet he will be excited to learn that the next version will have an enhanced Chabad siddur. Update, it seems Matisyahu doesn't want to "box" himself into the Chabad sect, see more at Wikipedia, pretty interesting.

Matisyahu Uses iPhone Siddur

July 29, 2009

Returned the Palm Pre (Captured on iPhone Video)

Since I took video of me buying the Palm Pre on my iPhone, I thought I take video of me returning the Palm Pre on my iPhone.

I didn't take video while driving this time, as per my wife's advice. The video is pretty bad, cause I was in a huge rush.

No more Pre for me. The keyboard actually was damaged from extremely little use, in less than thirty-days. The phone hardware is JUNK, the software is neat, but coding for it is advanced JavaScript and not fun.

iPhone Siddur 4.1 Adds Official Chabad (Nusach Ari) Prayers, Speed Improvements & More

We just posted version 4.1 of the iPhone Siddur which has many improvements, but the two most significant changes is a way to upgrade to the official Chabad (aka Nusach Ari) prayers from Kehot Publication Society and major speed improvements.

The Chabad Jewish sect has been waiting for this and we finally worked out a deal with the copyright owners of the Nusach Ari Siddur. Kehot Publication Society technically owns the rights to that Siddur, so we were not able to publish the full text until they gave us their approval. The deal is simple, we ask those who want to have the official Nusach Ari siddur to pay an additional $5 and it adds the official text to their iPhone Siddur. Of the $5, Apple takes 30% (like they do with all apps) and Kehot gets 70% - RustyBrick is not taking a dime extra for this, we are happy with 70% of the $10.

Let me show you how the upgrade process works (using Apple's "In App Purchases" feature).

Go to the Nusach Ari text of the Siddur and notice the blue button at the top right that says "Upgrade."

Kehot Upgrade Button

You are then taken to a screen that explains the price and details of the upgrade:

Kehot Upgrade Landing PAge

Click "Upgrade" and Apple asks you to confirm (your iTunes account will be charged):

Kehot Upgrade Are You Sure

Click "Buy" and then the transaction should go through and you will know you have been upgraded if you see the "upgrade" button turn into a "Kehot.com" button:

Kehot Web Site

That is how you upgrade.

The other changes are speed improvements, including downsizing the overall size of the application and speeding up the loading of the Siddur. The Siddur sometimes uses the Internet and when the Internet connection is slow, it slows down the Siddur. We finally made that part run in the background, which seriously improves load times throughout the application. It was a major issue this morning when AT&T had an outage and it took a minute or so for my Siddur to load (due to the time out we set).

Other improvements include:

  • Added Today Button to Luach
  • Added Favorite Tefilot Feature
  • Overall Speed Improvements & Downsized Application
  • Misc Changes to Edut Mizrach & Sefard
  • Bug Fix for Luach & Mizrach Orientation Alert
  • Updated Minyan Database

It can take a week or so for Apple to approve this update, so expect it to come out soon.

July 3, 2009

iPhone Siddur Version 4.0 HD Demo

Today, we released an update for the iPhone Siddur, which Apple has to approve. The changes include:

  • Added Mizrach Compass (iPhone 3GS Only)
  • Added Luach Calendar Subscriptions & Alerts
  • Revised Luach Event Management
  • Revised Map Feature using Native Apple Maps
  • Setting to Turn Off Nekudot in Siddur (for speed)
  • Setting for Turning Off Sleep Mode in Siddur
  • Force Portrait Layout for Luach & Mizrach Compass
  • Cleaned up Benching in Ashkenaz and Sefard
  • Shows Tachnun After Shavous by Default
  • Bug Fix for Rosh Chodesh
  • Bug Fix for Nusach Ari text in Benching and Al Hamichya

Also, here is a video demo of the 4.0 iPhone Siddur.

561 Planes Landed in Flight Control

I thought 189 was a good score. Well, today I played the game and I scored a 561!

Flight Control 561

This game is more than just a game. I play against clients and colleagues for bragging rights.

June 30, 2009

Improved Map Feature for iPhone Siddur

One thing we were able to improve on the Siddur due to the 3.0 iPhone software release was the map feature. We added a native Apple Google Map directly into the Siddur and plotted where some of our Siddur users are using it right at the moment that you are looking at the map.

The main difference that you will notice is the speed of the map loading and the responsiveness of the zoom and panning through the maps.

Here are the new maps:

New Map Feature for iPhone Siddur

Zooming In:

New Map Feature for iPhone Siddur

What did the old version look like?

Siddur Users Mapped

June 24, 2009

Preview of Mizrach Compass for iPhone Siddur

Mizrach Compass for iPhone SiddurOne of the features we always wanted on the iPhone Siddur, but could not bring to until the release of the iPhone 3GS was a Mizrach compass.

Basically, Mizrach means east and that is the direction most Jews pray, depending on your current location. In America, you point eastward because that is the direction of Jerusalem or the Kodesh Hakodashim. When you are in Israel, you might not pray eastward, depending on your current location. So this compass plots the longitude and latitude of the Kodesh Hakodashim (the most widely accepted opinion) and then based on your current long/lat and direction (based on the digital compass in the 3GS), we point you in that direction.

Here is a preview of how it works on my iPhone 3GS. We hope to release it shortly.

June 23, 2009

iPhone Safari's Huge Issue With Hebrew Fonts

We were incredibly excited for the 3.0 iPhone software to come out, but it was a major let down for us. Yes, Apple now officially "support" Hebrew, but the Hebrew support is a joke. We wanted this update because many of our applications are Jewish focused. In fact, Hebrew rendered fasted on 2.x then it does in 3.x. The vowels (aka Nekudot) are still off, and the speed is horrible.

We built an application that loads a page of Hebrew text in mobile Safari. I put two iPhone 3G devices next to each other, one running 2.x and the other running 3.x and you can see how much slower the 3.x is running. In fact, it is a full 7 seconds slower.

Just how crazy is that? I submitted this bug to Apple time and time again. The bug ID is 6869094 and you can also submit it at this page.

June 19, 2009

How to Activate Your New iPhone 3GS

iPhone AT&T Activation FailureI have been plagued with the wait 48 hours to be activated message, like many of you. So I was reading the Apple forums and they said, you need to speak to an activation person at AT&T. So I did and it worked. Do this, step by step:

(1) Call 800-331-0500

(2) Dial 0 and then 0 again

(3) Ask the customer rep nicely to activate you.

(4) Give them your SIM Card # and IMEI. To find this quickly, go to "Settings" on your iPhone, click on "General," then "About." The "ICCID" is your SIM card and the one above that, IMEI is the other number they need.

(5) They will ask you to shut down your phone, wait 30 seconds and turn it on.

(6) When the phone turns back on, you should be activated.

LAST item is to make sure your voicemail works. Just call your number, with area code and leave yourself a voice. It will then prompt you a minute later to enter your voicemail password and then your voicemail should work.

Enjoy!

iPhone 3GS Producing "High Quality" YouTube Video

So I just got my iPhone 3GS (3.5 hours ago) and still having activation issues but I thought I test out the video camera.

So I captured two videos with this iPhone. One I uploaded directly from the iPhone to YouTube and the other I downloaded to my desktop via USB. The direct to YouTube does not produce as high a quality video, as compared to the desktop downloaded version. In fact, the one I downloaded from my iPhone to my desktop over USB is HQ (high quality) compatible with YouTube. The one I uploaded directly to YouTube via the iPhone was compressed more and not HQ compatible.

Here is the HQ one:


Notice the "HQ" button in the play bar after you hit play.

Here is direct to YouTube via phone:

I am a bit sick, so please excuse my appearance.

iPhone 3GS Activation Delay Due to AT&T Volume

I just got my new iPhone and I go through the steps to activate it. Guess what, I am told that AT&T's servers are too busy with activating iPhones. I will have to wait for mine to be activated. Let me take you through the unboxing and then failure of activation message.

Unboxing the iPhone 3GS:

Unboxing iPhone 3GS

Unboxing iPhone 3GS

Unboxing iPhone 3GS

Now I plug it in, to activate:

Unboxing iPhone 3GS

Step 1:

iPhone AT&T Activation Failure 1

Step 2:

iPhone AT&T Activation Failure 2

Step 3:

iPhone AT&T Activation Failure 3

Step 4: FAILURE!!!

iPhone AT&T Activation Failure 4

iPhone AT&T Activation Failure

June 18, 2009

Jewish Press Features RustyBrick's Jewish iPhone Apps

RustyBrick iPhone Apps in Jewish PressA couple weeks ago, Yoni Glatt, a writer from the Jewish Press spent about an hour interviewing us about our iPhone apps, specifically about our Jewish iPhone Apps.

That article is now live on both the web and print version. If you do get the Jewish Press or want to pick up a copy (only a $1), you can find the write up on page 27. If you have no way of buying a copy, you can see the web version titled How Apple Made Me A Better Jew. It is an extremely nice and positive article about our apps, as well as some of the other Jewish apps available in the iTunes store.

I personally love the introductory paragraph, which I actually hear often from our customers:

Over the past few weeks, I've become an improved Jew. I learn more, say more brachos, bench more, and didn't have a problem remembering the day in the Omer. I haven't been to Israel recently, didn't have a near death experience that reawakened my spiritual side, nor did I feel empty in my life and decided I needed to search for more meaning. So what caused this recent growth spurt in my Judaism? I got an iPod touch.

Thank you Yoni for the write up!

June 17, 2009

Siddur iPhone OS 3.0 Tested

We got lucky, Apple approved our iPhone Siddur today, the day of the release of version 3.7 of our Siddur. This version is officially 3.0 tested by Apple. Here is a screen capture:

Siddur iPhone 3.0 Tested

Version 3.6 runs incredibly slowly in OS 3.0, so make sure to upgrade to version 3.7 immediately. The only issue is that Apple's iTunes Store seems to be having major issues, so hopefully you will be able to get the update soon.

The next version we release will have many more features and we will label it version 4.0 (that is unless we need to sneak out a quick update for bug fixes to 3.7). To suggest changes to the Siddur, please use Google Moderator.

Apple/AT&T To Refund Me $200 For iPhone 3GS

I was completely prepared to pay the $200 premium for the new iPhone 3GS, when I heard rumors that AT&T and Apple would refund people who are eligible (or close to it) the $200 premium).

Just minutes ago, I received an email from Apple telling me they will refund me $200 within 5 days. In fact, this would make a total of $500 in refunds for all my iPhone purchases. With my iPhone 2G, AMEX gave me $200 back and then Apple gave me $100, totally $300. Now, I am getting a $200 credit for the 3GS, totally $500 back in total.

Last year, the phone sold for the discount anyway, so no official refund on those.

Here is the email:

To Our Valued Apple Customer:


On June 17, AT&T announced a change to their upgrade eligibility policy
and ‘best upgrade pricing’ for qualifying iPhone 3G owners.

Based on AT&T’s updated qualification criteria, we are pleased to inform
you that you are eligible to receive a refund on your recent
iPhone 3G S purchase.

Your Order Acknowledgment and Shipment Notification emails will reflect
the original purchase price. However, Apple will issue you a refund in
the amount of $200.00, which is the difference between your original
purchase price and the new qualifying price.

Apple will process your refund in the next 5 days, and will send you an
email when this has been completed. We will process your refund based
on your original payment method. See below for details.

No additional action is needed on your part for you to receive the
refund. These activities will not impact your estimated delivery dates.

You can view the most up-to-date status of your order, including
monitoring the details of your refund, at online Order Status
.

Thank you for choosing Apple.

Sincerely,
Apple Online Store Team

June 9, 2009

iPhone Developers Must Rate Apps: Here Is How

Now, us developers need to rate our apps in iTunes Connect. We click on the rate this app icon and then are taken to this screen:

iPhone App Ratings

The App Rating icon in the screen shot above, top right icon, changes as you select different radio boxes.

Here are the rating grid info:

iPhone App Rating Grid 2

iPhone App Rating Grid 2

Order New iPhone 3GS Today

iPhone 3GSYea, I am a sucker. I ordered the new iPhone 3GS, even thought it will cost me more than $299.

I ordered the 16GB black one, which is the same size and color I have now. I currently use only about 10GB anyway. $100 extra for twice the size was appealing, but I couldn't justify it. In fact, I couldn't justify buying a new one, but I did it cause I am an Apple fan boy that is a sucker for new gadgets.

It started with the Treo. I had the Treo 650 and then I had to get the Treo 700p for the ability to talk on the phone and use the internet at the same time (tethering was key then). Then a year later, I caved and bought the original iPhone, then a year later, I line waiting and purchased the iPhone 3G.

Today, I pre-ordered the iPhone 3GS online and Apple promises to deliver it to my office on June 19th, the same day it becomes available in stores.

No one in my office is surprised I bought the new one. None of my friends or family are surprised either. I am so cheap when it comes to certain things, but with gadgets, I am such a sucker.

June 4, 2009

Neater iPhone Ad for Jewish Apps

Our first ad was pretty neat, but we thought we change it up a bit and make a new version. Does this ad format look similar to something you have seen?

iPhone Jewish Apps Ad

Larger version over here.

May 25, 2009

Running First Ad For Our Jewish iPhone Apps

There are dozens of Jewish newspapers, so we decided to test an ad in one of them, to see if it helps spike up the sales of our Jewish iPhone Apps.

Most the ads in these magazines are cluttered and very salesly. We went with an Applistic approach (at least we hope). Our ad will be on the back cover of the Front Page (a New York based weekly circulation):

RB iPhone Jewish App Ad

How about this. If you are one of the first five to take a picture of yourself with the ad and email it to me barry at rusty, I will give you a free app of your choice from the RB selection.

May 22, 2009

Our App Makes Top 1 Spot for Free iPhone App

Remember the other day I shared stats of the Urinal App with you? Well, I checked yesterday and it made it to the number two one spot in the App Store for free apps.

Update: Now number one as of Saturday:

#1 Free iPhone App

Here is a screen capture:

Urinal Test #2 Top Free iPhone App

That number two app was made by us. How cool!

May 20, 2009

Urinal Test iPhone App Top 9th Free iPhone App

Moving on up! For the first time in our iPhone development history, we have an app that hit the top ten spot in the iPhone App Store. The Urinal Test App built under the IntuApps brand for publisher Hachette is now number 9 in the App Store top free apps list. Here is a picture:

Urinal Test #9

To celebrate, I thought it would be fun to share the scores from those who participated in the game. Top score is 25, here is the chart:

Scores on Urinal Test

Here is some of the breakdown:

  • 19% or most people scored a 22
  • 18% scored 21
  • 15.5% scored a 23
  • 13.5% scored a 20
  • 9% scored a 24
  • 8.75% scored a 19

Those are the top occurrences for scores on this app.

May 14, 2009

OMG: 189 on Flight Control

I need a life. I just played Flight Control after learning that my high score was beaten by a client and I scored a 189!

189 on Flight Control

So I was promoted to a captain:

189 on Flight Control

To become a "test pilot" I need to land 280+ planes!?!?!

Someone actually landed 261 planes? Wow, those are fast fingers.

189 on Flight Control

May 5, 2009

Overwhelming Press on Swine Flu App News

Newspaper BoxesLast week, I gave you all a preview of our Swine Flu app and didn't expect much from it.

We built it, because there were tons of desktop and browser based mashups to get information on the Swine Flu. So we thought it would be both useful and cool to create a location-aware version for the iPhone. So we did.

I then blogged about it and decided to tip off TechCrunch about it. TechCrunch was kind enough to write about it minutes after I tipped them off. The title TC used was awesome: Want To Avoid Swine Flu? There's An App For That Too.

After that, the news took on like wild fire - kinda like an epidemic (pun is intended). CNN covered it, Fox News, TG Daily, and so many more magazines and publications. The BBC actually did a phone interview with me, I assume to broadcast on BBC Radio or TV (we did it over Skype). Plus, I have almost 200 comments on the original blog post.

This was not through Digg or Reddit or Twitter, this was through mainstream media.

Honestly, I did not think it would cause so much discussion or press. I am a bit in awe and shock.

I really wanted more press for our iPhone apps and I guess we got it. But seriously, did not think it would come from this.

Update: Here is some (not even close to all) the press about the app:

Update: Here is the audio interview from the BBC's Newshour on May 4th, 2009 the clip starts at 32:30 or so. Here is the trimmed down version, thanks to @syneryder:

May 1, 2009

127 on Flight Control iPhone App

Update: I beat this score and I am now at 187 planes landed, yippeee.

I am a bit addicted to the Flight Control game on the iPhone. The point of the game is to land as many planes in a row without crashing them into each other. You set the flight path and have them land on the correct run way.

In any event, my high score is 108 127, how about you?

Update: Someone commented asking for the "fligh traffic" so I decided to play again and I hit 127. Here is the current flight traffic during the time of the crash... Doesn't look that busy during the crash, but I landed like 6 planes within seconds of each other right after the crash...

127on Flight Control

127 on Flight Control

Flight Control Score : 108

Beat that!

April 30, 2009

Swine Flu iPhone Application

Under our IntuApps brand, we released a new iPhone app that has data on the Swine Flu outbreak. Let me take you through the app, which has yet to be approved by Apple. Note, if you want to be notified when the app is live, leave a comment below with your email address and I will notify you.

Starter Page, something simple:

Swine Flu iPhone App Home

Threat Level Page, a web page that takes info from the WHO's threat level page:

Threat Level - Swine Flu iPhone App

Mapping Swine Flu cases through a Google Maps RSS feed:

Map of Swine Flu iPhone App

Clickable Map details, by clicking on a pin, you can read more details:

Swine Flu iPhone App Map Details

Swine Flu Facts:

Swine Flu iPhone App Facts

Swine Flu Alerts pulled from WHO, CDC and HealthMap Twitter accounts. We actually used Yahoo Pipes to consolidate the feeds and host the RSS, which you can see over here. Here is a picture:

Alerts Swine Flu iPhone App

Again, to be notified when the app is live, leave a comment below with your email address and I will notify you.

April 29, 2009

Urinal Test iPhone App

We released a new app under the IntuApps brand today named the Urinal Test. It is basically a game that challenges men to pick the right urinal.

The decision on which urinal to use when in a public bathroom is not always clear. This game tells you if your first instinct is in fact correct or not. We place men in various urinals and you pick which urinal you would use, based on where the other men are standing.

Urinal Test App

Just click on the urinal you would use. There may be more than one correct answer. The test is 25 questions long and it is for Hachette's The Man's Book.

Urinal Test App

You can download it for free at iTunes. Hope you enjoy it.

April 28, 2009

iPhone Use Phones for Personal Use? Common!

Google iPhone SearchA Compete report mentioned by the NY Times blog says that 73 percent of iPhone owners used their mobile devices primarily for personal reasons, such as entertainment. I find that incredibly high, but what do I know.

Personally, I would say I use my iPhone for 90% work. I am constantly checking email when using my iPhone. I am constantly reviewing Google Reader, adding topics to RustyBudget to blog about later. I frequently use my phone for calls with clients. Okay, so I check stocks, weather and on occasion use TwitterFon.

I have downloaded many games, but I rarely ever use them. I rarely even use the iPod, except when flying when I download movies. I rarely ever watch movies, so when I do watch them, it tends to be on planes on my iPhone.

I do use my iPhone to pray three times per day on. I use the iPhone Siddur for weekday prayers every day, except on Shabbos (Saturday). So outside of the Email, Safari, Phone and Siddur, I don't use many other apps on the iPhone.

Again, 90% of my usage would be classified as work related.

TechCrunch gives more insight into the study saying:

The Compete survey reportedly found that 73% of iPhone owners used their mobile devices primarily for personal reasons, but what isn’t detailed is how much time in total they are using their phones - which I imagine is a whole lot more than on other smartphones - and how much more efficient it makes them when they actually do use it for work.

How one classifies work usage in the study can be a big difference.

April 2, 2009

Branded iPhone App Timeline Widget

There are lots and lots of iPhone apps out there and many are backed by big brands. Lilly Gold on her new blog named App Store Marketer posted a Branded iPhone Apps Timeline that plots all the apps release into the iTunes App Store since day one.

Here is that timeline:

iPhone's Jewish Radio Now Available

iPhone Jewish RadioLast night, Apple approved the iPhone Jewish Radio application we built back about 20 days ago.

It was first rejected because it worked over 3G and Edge. Apple made us make it run over Wifi only. I am not sure why. But we do have a loop hole to get it working on 3G and Edge, if you really need it. ;-)

In any event, we had people already submit new radio stations that we will be adding to the next version. Feel free to submit more!

You can get the iPhone Jewish Radio by clicking here, it is only 99 cents.

Hope you like it!

March 17, 2009

My Thoughts on iPhone 3.0 Software Update

iphone 3.0 softwareApple held a developer preview of the 3.0 software update coming to the iPhone. I was watching it on the various live blogging platforms, but primarily on Gizmodo. I felt like a kid in the candy store, almost the whole time, minus some of the demos. It won't be available to most people until the summer time, but I am a developer.

The single biggest feature from a user perspective, for me at least, is the Cut, Copy and Paste. I missed this feature so much, since leaving my Treo and getting the iPhone. In fact, I have learned to totally not expect to copy and paste anything, where now, it doesn't bother me when I need to copy and paste anymore. Weird and scary, but true. So, having this missed feature will do wonders for me.

The new home screen, search and push notifications will also be a major change in how I use the iPhone.

On the developer side, the things we can now add to our products seem to be boundless. Push will be huge, we can do notifications for alerts. Our users will love this. We can also likely integrate calendar data with the iPhone's calendar, again, big plus. I know adding the native maps to our apps, including the Kosher Restaurant app and Siddur user map will be a huge plus.

Now, accessories and how they integrate with apps has blown my mind. They showed a blood pressure machine hooked up to an iPhone, so the machine sends the data to the iPhone for data storage, sharing and charting. A plug in Shofar? A real virtual menorah? A compass accessory for the Siddur for which way is east? Ha!

Also, as a developer, we can now sell upgrades within the app itself through Apple. So if I ever do work out a deal to add English or translation to the Siddur, selling it at an extra "upgrade" fee is possible. Plus, selling app data on a monthly subscription is possible.

Anyway, I just covered some of the many features coming to the iPhone. More details can be found at the SDK page.

March 16, 2009

iPhone's First Jewish Radio Program

Our next app is named the iPhone Jewish Radio. It basically streams a dozen or so free Internet radio shows in the Jewish music niche. I have more details over at rustybrick.com/iphone/jewish-radio and you can sign up to be notified of the new app when it is available over here.

Here is a video demo on how it works:

Feel free to use the HQ version to see it in higher resolution.

March 13, 2009

Apple Approves Fluke Music! Get it While It's Hot

After well over a month in the Apple review process, Apple has approved Fluke Music. I thought it would not be approved, but I was wrong.

Here is a video from a while back on how it works:

You can download it now, for free over here. I hope you like it and tell your friends!

March 12, 2009

iTunes iPhone Reviews Updated: Version Specific Reviews

This morning, I checked my iPhone to see the reviews for my products and I noticed they said, "no reviews" for virtually all of them. Here is a screen capture:

iTunes iPhone App Reviews Gone

Figured a bug in the system. Then I remember iTunes upgraded last night. So I checked the iTunes Store and I noticed Apple now breaks down reviews by two categories:

(1) Average rating for the current version, and
(2) Average rating for all versions

Here is a screen capture:

iTunes Reviews

You can then see the current version reviews. As a developer, this is great news and I assume consumers like this as well. Version 1.0 is often not as good as version 5.0. ;-)

To see it in action, check out the siddur app on iTunes.

March 11, 2009

iPhone Siddur Called "Amazing" By Meir Weingarten on JM in the AM Radio

Someone informed me this morning that the Jewish radio station here, JM in the AM, talked about the iPhone Siddur for about four minutes.

Meir Weingarten said he finds it to be "amazing" and seems to really love it. I always love hearing unsolicited comments about our products, especially when people love them. In fact, the iPhone Megillah was a huge hit over Purim.

If you are interested, listen to his review below:

Keep in mind, he only touched on a few of the many features in the iPhone Siddur.

We actually released a new version of the iPhone Siddur yesterday with some updates. It should be released within the next several days as a free update.

March 9, 2009

Always Connected to Internet While in Israel

travelcellWhen I went to Israel a couple months ago, I was ecstatic to to have an international data plan for my iPhone. It really let me enjoy my time in Israel, knowing that I can be connected all the time, where ever I went.

But it is not enough to be connected to the Internet on just my iPhone. A couple months ago, I used the hotel's internet, which was pretty expensive (I think $15 per day) to connect my laptop. Then with the international plan at about $10 a day also, it added up.

I will be heading back to Israel via a Blogger Delegation via the NY Israeli Consulate. This time, I can take advantage of renting a wireless data card.

I received an email from TravelCell.com a few weeks after I returned from Israel that they know how internet cards PDF available for Israel at an unlimited data rate. So I just signed up for the weekly plan, which includes a free cell phone rental (minutes are extra but free incoming).

Will the internet card be too slow? I am not sure. I did some speed tests in Israel over my iPhone and it was actually faster then my brothers Israel internet. So I hope it isn't too bad.

I will report back my experience.

The only downside right now is that they charge your credit card for $500 as a security deposit. You got that, they do not just "authorize" the card for the deposit, they actually charge you $500. Then when you return it, they promise to refund the $500. Outside of that, so far so good.

And I have learned to activate my AT&T international plan on the way to the airport, as to not pay for days that I am not overseas.

March 5, 2009

Passover Coming, Get Your Free Sefirat Ha'Omer App

Passover is now just around the corner and in preparation for that, we have built a free Sefirat Ha'Omer iPhone application to help you Jews count the omer between Pesach and Shavout.

It is a fairly simple application. You open it, it shows you the blessing, the day to say and the ending brachot, with the day included.

It changes every day at about 3pm (your local time).

Here is a picture:

Sefirat HaOmer - ספירת העומר iPhone App

Sign up to be notified at the Sefirat Ha'Omer iPhone app page.

February 27, 2009

Apple Removes Thousands Of iPhone App Reviews

Nasty Jewish Review on iTunesA couple days ago, I noticed the number of reviews for the iPhone Siddur dropped from 101 reviews to 79 reviews, over night. I scratched my head and forgot about it.

The next day, I saw a comment from my post about anti-semitic comments in iTunes that Apple has removed them because they removed reviews from people who did not pay or download the app.

Apple must have removed tens of thousands of reviews. MacRumors said that SEGA's Super Monkey Ball count dropped from 4197 reviews down to 3710. So logically, if you add up the apps and the possible number of fake reviews, those numbers are probably very high, probably in the tens of thousands or more.

Personally, I am just glad they got rid of the anti-semitic iPhone app review that has been on some of my apps since September 2008.

February 25, 2009

Will Apple Reject Our Killer iPhone App? Fluke Music?

Fluke Music & Apple iTunesSome of you know about our pretty popular iPhone app named Fluke. It basically find random apps and let's you explore them. It is a fun and useful app to discover new apps, when you have the time.

So we decided to release a new app, just like it, but for music. We named it Fluke Music and it randomly finds music, and allows you to filter by category of music (i.e. Jazz, country, rock, etc.) The cool part of the app is that it streams 20 second samples of the tracks over the Internet. So you open the app and it just plays music and random, which is very fun, imo. The purpose is to help music lovers discover new songs, that they may have not discovered otherwise.

Great concept, right? Well, it seems to me that Apple doesn't think so. It seems to me that Apple might forever keep this app in the "In Review" status. Why do I think that? Well, we released a couple apps after submitting this app and those were either approved or rejected already and this one just remains stuck in this status. No response from Apple. We had a similar issue with a client app and it is still not resolved. Do you think Apple doesn't like this app because it plays music samples?

Here is a video that demonstrates the app in action:

Do you think they don't like it because it links both to iTunes and Amazon (a competitor) to buy the song? I am not sure. Maybe I am thinking up conspiracy theories?

February 23, 2009

Verizon Brings Remote DVR to Mobile (iPhone)

Gary Price tipped me off... This is so cool! I can now record shows on my DVR from my iPhone. I was excited when they allowed me to do this via the web with FiOS Remote DVR, but now it even works on my iPhone.

Here are screen by screens from my iPhone:

My Verizon Mobile home page:

My Verizon Mobile Home

FiOS TV Central mobile:

FiOS TV Central Mobile

Now, I login with my Verizon account (notice it now says "Sign Out" at the top right):

Signing In to FiOS TV Mobile

I can now scan TV listings in my area:

TV Listings on FiOS Mobile

I can view a listing by clicking "more info":

A TV Listing on FiOS Mobile

And I can even record a show:

Recording a show with FiOS Mobile

I checked and it is actually scheduled to record on my DVR box!

Other features include:

  • Record Shows by searching for the show name
  • Bookmark new videos on demand
  • Change parental controls
  • Browse TV listings, noted above
  • Browse top purchased videos on demand
  • View status of your set top boxes
  • Browse or record prime time shows
  • Browse or record top tv shows

Below I will include more screen shots. I am sure these menus will change over time.

What can't you do that you can do on the non-mobile site? One thing I see is the ability to delete DVRed shows but I am sure there are other things.

iPhone Controlled Car by Ringspeed

Ringspeed iChangeI am a strong believer or adopter of using technology to increase efficiency and utility. Automation, streamlining, and efficiencies are core to my way of working. In all honesty, I am a bit of an efficiency nut. Even the way I enter or leave my house, is done so with the most efficiency as possible, to not waste a second. I am crazy.

So when I see car concepts from companies like Ringspeed named iChange, I get excited. iPhone-controlled car to demo at Geneva Motor Show via MacWorld explains that Ringspeed is demoing a car that using the iPhone as a way to control certain elements of the car. It replaced your keys, and I already have those smart access keys for my car and I would love to ditch them, and my other keys, in place of my iPhone. Yes, access control can go wrong, as I experienced first hand, but I would much rather put up with those issues on a rare occasion than to have to carry extra keys. Let me do away with all my keys!

Back to the iChange, here is a picture of the inside of the car, take a look at the left top of the picture, the iPhone holder:

Ringspeed iChange

The iPhone will also turn on and off your headlines (which I am not impressed with, because that should be automated based on if it is raining or dark outside).

The cool thing is that this care is the "world's first car whose body adapts to the number of passengers on board." Now that is cool!

February 20, 2009

Releasing a Purim iPhone App: Book of Esther iPhone App

In time, we hope, for the Jewish holiday of Purim, we submitted a new (FREE) app to Apple's iTunes iPhone App Store. The new app is named Megillas Esther. What does it do?

(1) It has the Book of Esther in Hebrew so you can follow along Purim night and morning at Synagogue.

(2) It has five different noise makers, such as a machine gun, firecrackers, air horn, crowd booing and a gragger.

Here are screen captures:

Intro Screen:

Purim iPhone App

The app itself:

Purim iPhone App

To activate the sounds, you click on the related icons at the bottom. For a random sound, you just shake it. :)

Anyway, you can get it now in the iTunes Store.

Happy Purim!

February 19, 2009

Mikvah iPhone App Is Live

Mikvah iPhone AppFor my Jewish iPhone people out there. The Mikvah iPhone application is now available for purchase in the iPhone.

I guess the best way for me to show how this app works is to do a video. So here it is:

You can buy this app by clicking here.

February 5, 2009

Quick Demo of iPhone Analytics App

If you are a web analytics junkie like me and you use Google Analytics for most of your tracking and you have an iPhone (got that). Then you will love this new app from Michael Jensen named Analytics App. I did a 3 minute video demo of the application. This is really worth the $6, if you meet the above criteria. More discussion on the app can be found at Techmeme.

This is a great app for people like me. Thanks Michael!

February 3, 2009

Very Annoying iPhone App - Feedback

Apple just approved one of our most annoying iPhone apps. So annoying, I think it will do incredibly well. It is called Feedback and it is available for free on iTunes.

Basically, it produces that feedback sound you get from speakers. You know, the ear piercing, annoying sound, when you put a microphone next to a speaker.

I created a quick video to demonstrate it, here it is:

February 2, 2009

Jewish Family Purity iPhone App

Jewish Family Purity iPhone App LogoBased on popular request, we have built a new application for the iPhone that is named the Mikvah iPhone app. But it does a lot more than look up the closest Mikvah. It has Mikva'ot Database, Vestos or Taharas Mishpacha Schedules, Mikvah Zmanim, Family Purity Guidelines, Mikvah Checklist, Contacts and Privacy with Password Protection.

For those of you who are not observant Jews or Jews at all. This is called Taharas HaMishpacha. In short, this tool is to help observant Jews practice the strict laws of the relationship between a man and wife. There are tons and tons of laws around this and I won't get into the details, but if you want to read about it, in pieces at Wikipedia on Niddah, Mikvahs and Jewish Marriage.

Outside of that, I am way too tired to write up the screen by screen again, so just look at what I wrote and the screen captures at rustybrick.com/iphone/mikvah. A ton of work went into this program.

Here are some of those screen captures:

January 22, 2009

3G on iPhone in Israel Not Too Bad

I am in Israel now and I have had time to really test out my iPhone using local ISP speeds but why not post the speed results I get on my iPhone in Israel.

Here is a speed test result set from the Speed Test app for the iPhone:

3G Speed in Israel

The first 3G result set is the 3G speeds I am getting in Israel. Max 471 down and 181 up. The WiFi result, directly under that is my brother's wifi connection, which is slower than the 3G at a max of 440 (average of 138) down and 53 up. You can see, I ran it twice and the speed is more like 140 down, which is much less than the 3G network here. The next 3G result is from New York area, which is about the same as in Israel.

Speed Test

Here is a later subset of results that shows speeds much higher. In some locations in the US, the 3G network got as fast as 1120 down. But my FiOS connection is super fast showing 5764 down and 3049 up, which is slower then my previous report of 12664 down and 3149 up.

January 20, 2009

Got My International Data Plan for iPhone

I just signed up for the Data Global Add-Ons for Smartphones, PDAs and iPhone from AT&T for my iPhone. Yes, I was very excited to learn that this was expanded to Israel recently. Today, I ordered the most expensive option, because I need to assume I will use what I use here in the states, on a high day for my trip to Israel.

Normally, I am on WiFi networks here. But on Sunday's I notice my usage on the data network spikes. So I picked the highest usage, which is about 6MB and went based on that. I signed up today, which gives me 80MB of usage until I get back to the states. Here is a picture of my data usage bar in my account for this international plan:

AT&T International Data Plan

I will use the data plan probably 10 days, maybe less. Also, 4 of those days, I will be around wifi networks, most of the day. So I should have plenty of data to not go over the plan. If I do, I get hit with a fee of $.005/KB - which can get bad, quickly with the iPhone.

Now my only concern is battery life...

January 16, 2009

iPhone Shabbos Clock or Auto-Shut Off Alarm Clock

iPhone Shabbos ClockApple just approved two new apps we released recently. They are virtually the same app, but one is named the iPhone Shabbos Clock and the other is named iPhone Auto Shutoff Alarm Clock. Let me explain how they work.

On Shabbos, religious Jews are not allowed to use the iPhone, amongst hundreds of other things. So we cannot set a normal alarm clock to wake us up for morning services on Saturday. Why? Because we cannot shut the alarm off from beeping. So they make special alarm clocks that turn themselves off after X seconds or minutes.

So we built the same idea, as an iPhone app, and named one for the Jewish crowd (i.e. iPhone Shabbos Clock) and one for the non-Jewish world (i.e. iPhone Auto Shutoff Alarm Clock), if it is helpful for non-Jewish people to have an alarm that turns off by itself.

Now that you understand the need for it and why we have two of the same app, just named for each market, let me show you how it works...

You can set up to three alarms:

iPhone Shabbos Clock

You can then set how many seconds the alarm should go off for:

iPhone Shabbos Clock

Once you set it, the time will show in landscape mode only:

iPhone Shabbos Clock

Important things to note: Touching the screen will not do anything, except for hitting set alarm. We do this on purpose, because we don't want you to do anything by accident to the phone when it is on Shabbos. Turning the phone won't change the orientation, again - a shabbos thing. Also, make sure to keep your phone or iPod Touch plugged in, because it keeps the app open and doesn't shut off the phone or sleep it, while it is on. Also, the App must be open for it to alarm. Finally, make sure your volume is loud enough to wake you. Got all of that?

You can get the Shabbos version over here for 99 cents and the Standard version over here for 99 cents.

January 14, 2009

Breathalyzer for the iPhone

It is possible for the iPhone to become a Breathalyzer? Well - not yet, but we can fake it.

We recently built the Breathalyzer Test for the iPhone. It is basically a really life like hoax. This is how it works.

Step 1: Set the hoax on your friend, so set how drunk you want them to be. It has a random setting also... Hit Done.

Breathalzer iPhone App

Step 2: Give the iPhone to your friend and tell him to hit the green blinking button in the middle of the device and then breath a slow, steady blow into the microphone.

Breathalzer iPhone App

Step 3: The results will come back with what you set and your friend will laugh.

Breathalzer iPhone App

If your friend does not breath for a steady 3 seconds, it will return a fail message:

Breathalzer iPhone App

Just press the green button again to start the test again.

This has sound effects, it really detects breathing and it is really convincing.

There is another test like this out there now (launched the same day) but it doesn't detect breathing in the mic, it doesn't have sound effects either.

Get it for 99 cents at iTunes.

January 8, 2009

Stealing iPhone Apps

piracySoftware piracy is a huge business, it costs software developers a lot of money, but it also costs software consumers a lot of money, because it is built into the price of the software.

Software piracy is not only an issue with desktop software but with mobile software, like iPhone apps. I read an interesting write up named Game Developer Confronts iPhone Software Cracker. It basically discusses the rational of why software pirates feel they are entitled to steal and distribute the stolen software, for free, to those that do not want to pay for it. It is a must read.

When we found out that our iPhone Siddur was on the torrent list of apps stolen and being distributed, we were actually some what excited. I mean, if your app is good enough to make a list of apps that people want to steal, well - that says something. But the article above doesn't agree with that rational. So now I don't know what to think. I mean, 99% of our users gave us five star reviews, so clearly, the app is worth the $10 to 99% of the folks out there.

Anyway, I keep track of our sales and I also know how many people have the iPhone Siddur on their iPhones. I can tell you that there are about 30% more Siddurs on iPhone than what was paid for. This can happen for two reasons:

(1) They stole it via a torrent site or
(2) They use the same iTunes account as a friend or family member and downloaded it on their iPhone as the same iTunes user.

What I find nice is that several people have either emailed us or called us asking us permission to do #2. I always say yes, and I really appreciate the email. Some have even gone as far as to send us money, not through Apple, because they felt it was the right thing to do. Again, appreciated.

But for iPhone Developers to continue making products and improving them, we need the income. I do believe that stolen releases lead to other people buying it. Overall, I don't think this is a major issue for most of my products but I can see this being an issue for other developers.

January 5, 2009

Perfect iPhone App for the Toilet: Fluke - Random App Finder

iPhone Fluke AppOver the weekend, our latest app was released. This app is named fluke - random iPhone app finder. In short, it will show you a random app each time you shake the phone.

I consider this app to be the perfect app for the toilet.

I know, I know, I am very against using your phone in a public bathroom, very against it. But honestly, there are tons of people who do it. So instead of yapping away on your phone and disturbing the guy or gal next to you in the other stall, use this app. It is quiet, easy to use, fun and you can strike gold with it.

You basically shake it, it finds a random app, and you can either click over to the App Store from it, email it, or look at your history of what you saw. In addition, you can filter what you want to see (i.e. free apps in the lifestyle and entertainment categories), if you so please.

You can get the app for free at rustybrick.com/iphone/fluke/get/.

December 17, 2008

iPhone Siddur 3.0 Done: The "Social" Release

So you know we have been working on what we are calling the "social" version of the iPhone Siddur. You saw the Misheberach lists where you can add and share the names on your Misheberach list with other iPhone Siddur folks. Well, let me show you some of the other features we added to 3.0, but let me say, there are more social features coming in future 3.x versions.

You can now add custom events to the Luach (Jewish Calendar). It was one of our more popular requests. Here is how it works. You go to Siddur, click on "More" and click on "Luach Events". You can then add or delete events. Here is me adding Rav Moshe Feinstein's Yahrzeit, but you can add any event you want.

iPhone Siddur : Add Yahrzeit, Birthday and Anniversary Calendar

You can set it by Hebrew date or English date, but it always uses the Hebrew date for going forward (i.e. it converts English date to the matching Hebrew date). It then adds it to the list view and also to the other views. If you view it, it looks like this:

iPhone Siddur : View Yahrzeit, Birthday and Anniversary Calendar

FYI, you can add up to three events and if there are other white bars of information, it will override the bottom three, if it must. This does not support notifications via integration of the iPhone calendar or via email. When Apple allows us to integrate this information, we may do that. We might also release a standalone Luach app that has many more features with email reminders and so on - so stay tuned.

We also added a "Map View," which will show you who is using the iPhone around the globe. Don't worry, this can be turned off in the settings, but even if it is on, we don't share your information. We just plot you as a pin in the Google Map. Yes, you can zoom in and out with the multi-touch gestures.

iPhone Siddur : Map View

For all the features in 3.0, see the version history page. We submitted it a couple hours ago, hope it is approved soon!

More Press For RustyBrick iPhone Apps

Remember I was thrilled to see MacWorld mention our app? Well, they did it again.

This time in an article iPhone apps round-up: Wine reviews, Hanukkah apps, and the inauguration where we get a second mention.

Also we got another mention to add to our iPhone Siddur Buzz from the JTA.

We have some cool social features coming down the pipe for the Siddur, so it should be an attention getter.

December 15, 2008

Get a New Years Horn for Your iPhone

Download the New Year's Blowout Horn in time for the New Years! It is an app we built for a company we co-own named IntuApps. In short, it is a app you can blow into, and it will replicate the sound and action of a new years party horn. It is free and can be downloaded for your iPhone at the iTunes store.

Here is a video of it in action, I hope the glare isn't too bad:

Little BlackBook Gets Big Review

AppVee has reviewed the Little BlackBook iPhone app. He did a fairly thorough review and I am happy with his comments. The video is below.

December 12, 2008

Making iPhone Siddur More Social: Step 1; Mishaberachs

We are currently at version 2.8 for the iPhone Siddur, that is 12 upgrades in a short period of time. I live on this Siddur, it is incredibly useful and even interactive. The Jewish iPhone community, overwhelming, loves it.

For 3.0 features, we want to make the Siddur more "social." The first step is a much requested feature, called Mishaberachs. A Mishaberach is basically a way to say a prayer for sick people. Now, many folks, unfortunately, have someone they say a Mishaberach for. But at the same time, it is a wonderful thing to say Mishaberachs for people that you don't necessarily know.

So we built a Mishaberach system that not only lets you add your own list, but also:

  1. Let's you share the names with the iPhone community
  2. Lists your Mishaberach list in the siddur in the relevant places and/or lists the public Mishaberach list in the siddur in the relevant places

Let me show you how it works...

(A) We replaced the "Help" icon on the bottom right navigation with a "More..." button, it opens up and gives you the Mishaberach option, Settings option (which just explains how to access your settings) and the Help info.

Mishaberach in iPhone Siddur

(B) Click on Mishaberach and you are taken to pick either "My List" or "Public List." Public list requires internet....

Mishaberach in iPhone Siddur

(C) You can then enter a name into your list. First name and Mothers name (currently Hebrew only), person a male or female and if you want the name on the public list or not. If you select public list, you must have internet access to submit the name (if not, you can't submit it to the public list).

Mishaberach in iPhone Siddur

(D) Here is the "My List" view, right after you added a new name. See the confirmation prompt. Behind that, you see the list view. You can either delete, change the order or add a new one. You cannot edit right now, instead, just delete the name and add a new one (same thing), just more time for you typing.

Mishaberach in iPhone Siddur

(E) Here is the public list view (not much you can do here) and yes, you need Internet to see it:

Mishaberach in iPhone Siddur

(F) "My List" names appear directly under the portions of the Siddur text where they come into play. Shemona Estri and Torah Reading:

Mishaberach in iPhone Siddur

(G) If you have Internet, it will give you a plus sign and link to open up the public list: Clicking on the plus sign will open up a list of names, the number of names is based on your settings, and the names are random and should never show yours in the public list:

Mishaberach in iPhone Siddur

(I) In the Settings area, we added two options for Mishaberachs. The first is if you want to see the public list option (the hyperlink and plus sign) in the Siddur. And the second is, if so, then how many names do you want to show there?

Mishaberach in iPhone Siddur

That is the first true "social" feature of the Siddur. We hope to add a bunch more in the 3.x versions including added features to the Luach for Yahrzeits, Birthdays and Anniversaries. More social Minyanim features. And then something really cool that you will think is really cool - but I won't share yet. :)

Once 2.8 is approved, we may release a 2.9 with small revisions or may just release 3.0 with this feature and some small text revisions - it depends on if there are pressing issues with 2.8.

Incase Replacement for Replacement In

Incase Slider for iPhone Cracks - Again!Remember I told you my replace Incase for my iPhone broke? Yea, the case I got to replace my original ripped case, is now in. I got the slider again, they were quick, I am happy again.

Wish I had more time to expand on this, but honestly, what can I say.

Well, I am a blogger, so I can say alot about nothing... But I have like no time and I want to blog a few more things before sundown.

December 9, 2008

Need to Restore iPhone, Again! 2nd Time in 5 Days

This is the second time in 5 days that I have to restore my iPhone to factory settings. I have no idea why. First time was Thursday night, right before leaving work, I was going to sync my iPhone with iTunes. I plug it in, and iTunes pops open a message that reads, "iTunes cannot read the contents of the iPhone "XXX iPhone". Go to the Summary tab in iPhone preferences and click Restore to restore this iPhone to factory settings."

Here is a picture:

iPhone iTunes Restore Necessary!

Thursday night, I ended up staying two hours later at work (about 9pm) and wasn't able to do something I needed. It was bad timing.

This morning, well, I just hit restore, let it go and then sync it up again. It can run, I don't have to worry about needing to go somewhere. I do have meetings, but they are all in the office today - so no worries for me.

I am currently up to the resyncing my apps part.

I suspect there is something corrupt on my iPhone and I may have to start from a really old back up, like from my original iPhone backup. But I really don't want to. In all honesty, I use MobileMe for my contacts and calendar, so that data - appears to be safe. I can alway re-download the apps I want. And then reconfigure my preferences, but I rather not go through that. This process of restoring takes a couple hours - but it is more hands off. The process of starting over, well - that can take days and is very hands on.

I am not the only one with this issue, just check Google and see all the complaints.

December 4, 2008

Macworld Writes About RustyBrick's Menorah App But...

macworldYou don't know how excited I was to see the iPhone Menorah that we built at RustyBrick, included in a review at Macworld named Review: iPhone holiday apps.

Heck, Macworld magazine is one of the few magazines I read offline. And to see one of our apps mentioned, well - it is really nice.

However, yes - there is a but... Our mention is only at the wayyyy bottom of the article in a short two liner under the title of "Not just Christmas." The author, Ben Boychuk, wrote:

I would be remiss to not make note of a handful of Hanukkah-related applications. In addition to Andrew Grant’s Hanukkah Holiday List app, LilBros and RustyBrick sell Menorah lighting applications.

Not only that, we did not even get the privilege of getting a true Macworld review, you know, the ones with those little mice, from one mouse to five little mice. How sad...

But overall, I am happy!

Hebrew Translation via Google API for iPhone

Hebrew to English Translation for iPhoneWe decided to enable people to translate Hebrew to English or English to Hebrew. There are English to Hebrew dictionaries and translators, but not Hebrew to English. Why? Cause no one made a keyboard that was approved by Apple, until us. So we made it work from Hebrew to English, in addition to English to Hebrew.

We used the Google Translate API to do the translation. That means two things:

(1) You need internet to make the app work.
(2) This app is free, cause the terms says "the service may be used only for services that are accessible to your end users without charge."

Here is one screen shot, more at Hebrew / English Translator iPhone App:

Hebrew/English Translation for iPhone

To be notified of when it goes live, go to the Hebrew / English Translator iPhone App and sign up there.

December 3, 2008

Searchable Tanach for Your iPhone or iPod Touch

Tanach (תנ"ך) on your iPhoneWe did it! We made a complete Tanach for your iPhone. You can read all of Tanach, directly on your iPhone. But not only that, you can also search it! I posted the details at rustybrick.com/iphone/tanach, and you can sign up there to be notified of when it goes live (or to download it directly when it does go live).

Here is a screen by screen demo:

Browse through the Tanach, including Torah (Chumash), Nevi'im (Prophets) and Ketuvim (writing or scriptures) and all the books within them:

Tanach (תנ"ך) on your iPhone

Search for specific words or phrases of Tanach:

Search Torah on iPhone

Email or Bookmark verses by clicking on a verse:

Search Tanach on iPhone

Here is the bookmarks page:

Ketuvim (כתובים, "Writings") for iPhone

Here is a look at the text, this Megillah of Esther:

Nevi'im (נביאים, "Prophets) for iPhone

Here is viewing the book of Bereshit (בראשית) by parsha view:

תורה for iPhone

Here is the same book but by chapter view:

Torah Chumash for iPhone

We put the "settings" feature in the app, so you can adjust your font size:

Tanach for iPhone

So happy that the Hebrew iPhone Email was approved, cause that gave us the go ahead to build the Tanach iPhone App.

Again, to download it go to rustybrick.com/iphone/tanach.

First Five Comments Get Free iPhone Apps from RustyBrick

iPhone App Promo CodesLast night, Apple gave developers the ability to give out promo codes for their apps, so they can give their apps out for free to certain people.

You are limited to 50 promo codes per application, per version. People are complaining that this is too small of a number, but honestly, 50 per version, not per developer and not per app, per version of an application. So as long as you release a new version, you get a new 50.

That being said, I want to give the first five people who comment a free app from the RustyBrick selection. So go find an app you want, comment below with your app preference and make sure you use your email address, so I can email you the code.

The first five comments that are approved get a free RB iPhone app.

To redeem the codes you go to US iTunes Store > Redeem (right) > Enter Code > App Downloads instantly.

December 2, 2008

Ronnie's @ iPhone Tech Talk in New York

iPhone NY Tech TalksRonnie today is at the iPhone Tech Talk right now in Millennium Broadway Hotel.

From what I hear so far, it seems like he is learning a thing or two. Plus he is meeting important contacts and so on.

Topics being covered there include:

  • iPhone Development Overview
  • Introduction to Objective-C and Cocoa Touch
  • iPhone User Interface Design
  • Getting Started with iPhone Web Applications
  • Technical Q&A
  • iPhone Development Tools Overview
  • iPhone Game Development Technologies, part 1: Graphics & Video
  • Using Advanced Web Technologies on iPhone
  • Developing iPhone Applications with UIKit
  • iPhone Game Development Technologies, part 2: Audio, Touch Input, Accelerometer, and Multiplayer
  • Integrating iPhone with IT
  • Advanced UIKit and Device Features
  • Maximizing Your Application's Performance on iPhone
  • In-house Application Development for iPhone
  • Submitting to the App Store using iTunes Connect

Great Review from AppCraver on iPhone Siddur

AppCraverWe take a lot of pride in our iPhone Siddur, I mean, really, there is nothing that comes close to it in the app store and we are constantly improving it and adding new features. It shows.

The folks at AppCraver.com reviews our Siddur and gave it a nine out of ten, which is pretty up there for their reviews.

The best part of the review is that he had his wife give it a spin. I'll quote you:

To get an idea of just how intuitive Siddur really is, I handed my iPhone to Lorri and told her to take it for a test spin. To Lorri a phone is something you talk to people on. Apps? She couldn’t care less. Within minutes, she was able to put the app through its paces and declared it a winner.

Building out a logical user interface wasn't easy when it came to building on a new platform. But over time, it really started to click and it shows.

Not only is this Siddur incredibly packed with tons of features, those features (seem) to be easy to use and logical to use.

Thanks for such a wonderful review.

My Incase iPhone Slider Case Breaks, Again!

I take my iPhone out of my pocket this morning and I noticed it cracked. Very very upsetting. The bottom piece has a crack in it. What is crazy is that this is not the first time this has happened.

My original Incase ripped and they kindly replaced it with a more sturdy and solid slider case version. But this more solid version cracked also, in a similar position.

Here are some pictures:

Incase Slider for iPhone Cracks - Again!

Incase Slider for iPhone Cracks - Again!

Incase Slider for iPhone Cracks - Again!

Off to contact them to see if they can replace this one also.

November 25, 2008

Hebrew Keyboard for iPhone Mail Client

One of the top requests is to build a Hebrew keyboard. The Hebrew keyboard is not officially supported by Apple yet, so we built one based on an image. Why is this important?

Now, people can type, email and search in Hebrew. Well, kind of at least.

Our first app that supports the hebrew keyboard is a simple app that basically allows you to type an email subject and an email body, in Hebrew, and then sends that data to the native Apple email client.

Here is how it works:

Hebrew Email iPhone App

Gray bar is where you enter in the subject and the white area is the body of the email. There is no spell check or auto complete. :)

When you are ready, you hit "Send to Mail" and it puts that content directly in the Mail application on your iPhone or iPod Touch.

Hebrew Email iPhone App

If you want to add English or numbers to the email, here is where you do it.

There are Hebrew keyboards for the iPhone but only through Jailbreaking your iPhone.

Now, if Apple approves this, then this should be the first Hebrew keyboard approved for the iPhone. In addition, it gives us tons of possibilities for other apps. Such as a way to search tanach, and other jewish texts. It also gives us the ability to create more interactive Jewish and Hebrew apps.

Very excited to get this live. We posted this tonight to Apple for 99 cents. Again, this app is more of a test to see if Apple will approve it and if so, we can take it from there.

November 24, 2008

Screen Shots of Siddur 2.7 Changes

A lot of people who are interested in the changes we make to the iPhone Siddur also want to see screen captures. So, we just released version 2.7, which will likely be available for download by the end of the week. Changes include:

* Changes Location Manager to Scroll Wheel
* Zmanim & Minyanim use same Location Manager system
* Location is remembers from previous setting
* Location Manager opens automatically when location can't be found
* Clicking on date at top of Zmanim will open up date selector tool
* Upload revised Chabad Krias Shema
* Added in missing portion in Chabad Benching
* Misc text corrections
* Updated Help Documentation

But here are pictures:

iSiddur 2.7 Update

Here is what it looks like to scroll through locations:

iSiddur 2.7 Update

Adding/Editing/Sorting/Deleting Locations:

iSiddur 2.7 Update

Date Selector:

iSiddur 2.7 Update

Same features on Minyan screen:

iSiddur 2.7 Update

Removed several redundant options from Settings screen:

iSiddur 2.7 Update

Keyboard Edition of Twinkle Twinkle

I played Twinkle Twinkle on the Ocarina on my iPhone, how about on the keyboard on my iPhone.

Here it goes:

Playing The Ocarina on my iPhone: I'm a Musician

Saturday night I downloaded and shared the Ocarina instrument for your iPhone. In any event, I have been messing around with it a bit, maybe 30 minutes of time from then until now. I can play music off a sheet.

Here is me playing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star:

And the coolest part is not my music abilities, but the ability to watch others play music on this application around the globe:

How cool!

November 22, 2008

Amazing: Can Your Phone Do This?

I am in awe. Just downloaded Ocarina for my iPhone, I am in awe. Two videos below show you how it works. Well, kinda - cause it is even cooler than this.

November 21, 2008

iPhone Kosher 2.0 Update

We just pushed version 2.0 of iPhone Kosher app to Apple. Hopefully it will be published soon. The update is pretty significant. Here are the details:

(1) Added hundreds of restaurants from Israel, England and France.
(2) Added a start screen signup/settings
(3) Users can now add reviews
(4) Users can now add/edit/delete restaurants
(5) Users can now read detailed reviews

Now for the screen captures:

(1) Things we ask as start up:
Kosher 2.0 iPhone Update

(2) Notice the update button on the top left (it can also run automatically on start up), notice the plus button on the top right. This is what it looks like when it is updating:

Kosher 2.0 iPhone Update

(3) Confirmation it has been updated:

Kosher 2.0 iPhone Update

(4) Action buttons to add/read review, change data, add/remove from favorites:

Kosher 2.0 iPhone Update

(5) Adding a review slides up this first page:

Kosher 2.0 iPhone Update

Clicking next slides up the next page:

Kosher 2.0 iPhone Update

This is the third and last review page, at top right, you can post the review or hit the back button to cancel that:

Kosher 2.0 iPhone Update

Confirmation:
Kosher 2.0 iPhone Update

(6) Reading Reviews:

Kosher 2.0 iPhone Update

(7) Modifying Restaurant details gives you the details in edit mode. There are three or so pages of details that can be modified. All modifications go through our approval. Yes, you can also try to delete on place.

Kosher 2.0 iPhone Update

(8) Adding a new place gives you a blank form to work with. Again, we approve them all manually:

Kosher 2.0 iPhone Update

Those are some of the new features that should take this app to the next level. I am very excited to enable the iPhone users to contribute to this app and database.

November 20, 2008

Anti-Semitic Comment on Apple's App Store Review Still There!

When I wrote about the Anti Semitism on iTunes App Reviews I know that more than one of you went to iTunes and reported the comment as offensive. In fact, I know at least five people did. I am sure more did, especially after I pointed it out.

Guess what? It is still there!

Here is a screen capture I took last night of the review in iTunes:

Nasty Jewish Review on iTunes

Apple, what do I need to do? Call Steve Jobs?

November 19, 2008

Kosher iPhone App Now Live

Getting hungry just thinking about it! You can get the new Kosher iPhone App by searching for "rustybrick" or "kosher" in the App Store or by using this link.

Kosher App Live

The price is only $1.99 now, but the next release will give you the ability to add new kosher institutions, edit them and even review them, as long as you have Internet. You can use the app without internet, but you need Internet to add/edit/review. The next will release will cost more money, so if you download this one now, you will lock yourself into this price.

November 18, 2008

Introducing the iPhone Menorah: Just in Time for Chanukah

We uploaded the iPhone Menorah to Apple's App Store today, I assume it will be approved by the end of this week and available for FREE download to your iPhone or iPod Touch. Here is a preview of what it does....

Login screen:
iPhone Menorah

Tells you when Chanukah is:
iPhone Menorah

Has the blessings and prayers in Hebrew:
iPhone Menorah

English:
iPhone Menorah

And Transliterated:
iPhone Menorah

On the night of Chanuak, it tells you how many to light and in which direction (we use our custom for this, sorry):
iPhone Menorah

And you see that "audio" button? Well, if you click it, you hear a beautiful recitation of the blessings. Honestly, it is really nicely done by our friend Moshe Kiss.

To be notified when it is available, fill out your email at iPhone Menorah page.

November 11, 2008

My Parking Meter App Shames the iPhone? Gary Marshall, Wake Up

Pointless Apps?We have built several iPhone apps over the course of a few months. Some are more useful than others. But to call one of my apps "pointless" or "shameful" to the iPhone, well - that just crosses the line.

TechRadar's 16 totally pointless apps that shame the iPhone, which is on the front page of Digg now, claims that my parking meter app is pointless.

I'll quote you:

11. Parking Meter

If you really can't remember where you parked or when the meter runs out, you've probably forgotten how to drive too. Get off the road!

This guy clearly does not drive or own a car in a city with more than 100 people. I live in NY, when you park your car at a mall or any large parking lot, they label the parking spots in color, numbers and letters for this purpose. How many times have you received a ticket cause you were in a meeting, lost track of time and forgot to fill the meter in time? How many times have you had to walk around a parking lot longer than you wanted to, because you forgot exactly where you parked. Heck, there is even a Seinfeld about this!

Several comments at Digg back my app already. But comeon people, back me up.

This Gary Marshall guy must wake up! NYC makes a ton of money on expired meters, its a business and to say that people who have let the meter expire have "forgotten how to drive too" and "should get off the road," is plain dumb.

November 10, 2008

The Kosher iPhone App

We are almost done building out a Kosher application for the iPhone. Here are some screen captures. Note, we get our data from a new site named notjustgefilte.com and they have over 2,000 records in their database. They are constantly adding more and this application should add a ton to their database. Here are the screens:

Start Screen:
Kosher iPhone App

Nearest Kosher Restaurants to my current location (uses GPS):
Kosher iPhone App

Search for specific locations, like where I am going now:
Kosher iPhone App

Kosher Restaurant detail view (we will make it prettier):
Kosher iPhone App

Kosher Symbols database:
Kosher iPhone App

Kosher Symbols detail page:
Kosher iPhone App

Blessings for before and after you eat:
Kosher iPhone App

Yes, there are more blessings when you scroll down.

Also, there will be a favorites section, I just didn't show it.

We hope to release it shortly.

November 6, 2008

Yippee! Tethering Coming to iPhone "Soon"

iphone to tetherGot back from a meeting recently and got pretty excited to see the news on Techmeme that AT&T is working with Apple to bring a tethering option to the iPhone.

What that means is that you will be able to use your iPhone as a wireless modem for your computer to connect to the Internet (over 3G where available). I had this with my Treo, where Verizon Wireless charged me $5 more per month to add the "tethering" package. But now, with the iPhone and AT&T, I was unable to do this (at least legally). So I had to buy a wireless broadband card from Verizon Wireless to make sure I have Internet access on my laptop everywhere I go.

I will "soon" be able to drop the Verizon Wireless service ($60 per month) and just add on a tether option to my AT&T iPhone plan. Can't wait!

iPhone With Physical Keyboard

Via CrunchGear, here is the video demo of a hacked in keyboard for the iPhone:

November 5, 2008

Introducing: The iPhone Little Black Book

I am very excited to announce that today, we posted the first release of the iPhone Little Black Book. The name says it all. It basically is an application to securely keep track of your dates. It is a database application that hooks up the contacts to the places you took them and also to gives you details about each date. So if you went out with Jill 3 times, you can add where you took Jill and write about each of those three dates. As you build up your database, you can rate the contacts, the venues and the dates themselves. The beauty is that you can search this for later and quickly find a hot date or great place to take a date, at any time.

Let me take you through some of the screens of the iPhone Little Black Book:

Cover screen, pretty no?:

iPhone Little Black Book

Individual contact screen has the ability to take a new picture or use a picture from your photos. You can copy a contact from your contacts or add a new one. You can rate the person, tag the person and add notes, plus more. As you can see, the contact has a link the "dates" you went on with this person and "places" you took this person. Clicking on those buttons will filter the results by this contact for the places or dates.

iPhone Little Black Book Screens

Venue detail screen: As you can see, this is a record for a venue. You can enter in the venue's location, pictures, web site, rate it, tag it, and so on. Here is a screen shot:

iPhone Little Black Book Screens


Dates in List View: Here is a screen capture showing the dates you went on in chronological order and by favorites order:

iPhone Little Black Book Screens

iPhone Little Black Book Screens

Customized Skins: Right now we offer three different "skins" to choose from:

iPhone Little Black Book Screens

Secure & Lock Down: You can lock down the app to a secure it with a password:

iPhone Little Black Book Screens

As you can imagine, there are tons of way to expand this application. This is just the beginning and I am excited for Apple to approve it.

To be notified for when this 99 cent app goes live (introductory price only), sign up at the iPhone Little Black Book page.

November 3, 2008

Wish: Organize Your iPhone's Home Screen Via iTunes

iPhone Home ScreenI let my home screens, all 8 or so of them, get messy. I am way too lazy to move my iPhone icons around until they are perfect. The way you do it on the iPhone is good for one or two changes, but not for mass app movement.

So, a feature request for Apple would be to be able to organize your iPhone apps on your desktop. Probably part of iTunes or something.

You load up iTunes, click on your iPhone, then click on "Organize" or something like that. Then you are shown all your home screens on one screen. You can then move each app from one location to a different location, all via your mouse.

That would seriously speed things up for me.

I doubt it is on the top of Apple's todo list and I honestly should submit it as a request, but maybe if others agree, we can all submit this as a request to apple.

Connections? Why Can't I Get More Buzz For Stuff?

BuzzThis morning, a friend of mine, pointed me in the direction of a New York Post article named FAITH GOES WIRELESS. The article praises (no pun intended), a product called JewBerry. It is basically a Jewish prayer book for the BlackBerry.

Why am I a little upset with the NY Post article? Well, to be honest, the iPhone Siddur uses technology that JewBerry hopes to use in the future, according to the article. The iPhone Siddur already uses GPS and localization features to locate the nearest minyan, it already uses GPS to figure out the times to pray (including into that, altitude), it had all the features and more. In fact, we might even add in the feature to find a minyan now (although most people don't request it, it was an idea I had on day one).

So why did JewBerry get the feature and not the iPhone Siddur? Don't get me wrong. Jonathan Bennett, the creator of JewBerry is an awesome guy. In fact, we shared with him our minyan technology, and he hooked us up with some Chabad nusach text. He is a really nice guy and deserve it.

My only question is, how do I get major publications to cover the iPhone Siddur? Almost all of the buzz already created around the iPhone Siddur is either Jewish paper related or blogs. How do I get it into a major publication?

October 29, 2008

Some of the iPhone Siddur Buzz

iPhone Siddur BuzzBelow are some of the articles, blog posts and discussions I found around the iPhone Siddur since we launched it. If you have ways of getting more buzz out to the appropriate market, please do.

Of course, there are reviews at iTunes (mostly positive) and discussions at the Google Groups.

October 20, 2008

For Real: Qik for the iPhone

I cannot wait for when Qik comes out with a legit version for the iPhone. Kevin Rose blogged a video of Qik for the iPhone, which will be available in the iTunes Store for free soon. Here is his video:

Can't Wait!

October 10, 2008

Expecting iPhone Launches - Really Comprehensive Pregnancy Aid

Last night, our iPhone pregnancy tool - Expecting was approved and posted to the iTunes App Store.

It is fairly more advanced than any of the other pregnancy tools. Not only does it a due date calculator, but also walks you through each week of your pregnancy. It gives you week by week tips and what to expect. It allows you to add notes to each week and even take pictures for each week. Helps you remember your next doctor's appointment. It has a checklist tool, a contraction timer and a contacts database with 1-click calling.

For more information on this nifty tool, check out the Expecting page, it has screen captures and so on.

Also, to access it via iTunes and maybe even by it for $4.99, see go here.

September 29, 2008

Finally! Must Own iPhone Apps to Review Them

Over the weekend, Apple changed their policy in iTunes to only allow those who own the application to review them.

Now, if you try to review an App that you don't own, you get this:

Own to Review - iTunes Apps

I am very happy about this. Why? Well, it stops people from giving bad reviews to apps solely because they won't pay for them. It also may slow the amount of anti-semitic app reviews.

Glad to see this.

September 26, 2008

Changes to Siddur's Luach & More in 2.2 iPhone Siddur

We are working on version 2.2 of iPhone Siddur, you can see all past version information if you like. But here, I wanted to demonstrate some of the new features in 2.2.

(1) We changed the user interface of the Luach a bit, and also added Hebrew dates. As you can see, you can select "English," "Hebrew," or "Upcoming."

New iPhone Siddur Luach Layout

Here is the Hebrew view:

New iPhone Siddur Luach Layout

New upcoming view drops the shake feature for a button, it was confusing people. Plus, you can click on a date and the top changes to show more detail:

New iPhone Siddur Luach Layout

Note, horizontal does not work.

(2) Skip/Jump or Font Controls in the Siddur:

Skip & Jump Controls for Siddur

The right or left arrow can either (a) right to left from section to section, (b) left to right from section to section or (c) make the font larger or smaller.

The down arrow will skip you to sub-heading directly in that a section.

Outside of these changes, here are the changes for 2.2:

  • Siddur Jump & Skip navigation controls added
  • Turn off landscape mode option added to settings
  • Luach Modified to allow both "Secular" and "Hebrew" date searches
  • Luach removed Shake for List View and added button, which shows more details
  • Add וידוי for ashkenaz before תחנון for Mondays and Thursdays (only for in Israel)
  • Fixed error in edut hamizrach-shacharit-psukei d'zimra, just before 'Baruch She'amar' in "Lamenatseach"
  • Fixed error in edut hamizrach benching, skips last lines of 3rd bracha and first lines of 4th bracha
  • Removed more side borders
  • Added Candle Lighting and Havdalah times for Yom Tovim
  • Settings for "Arrow Behavior" Left-to-Right Sections, Right-to-Left Section, or Font Size
  • Setting for KM or Miles
  • Add email catcher to see if user wants email updates
  • Fix Israeli cities, missing a ton of records
  • Replace Hashem's name in Edut Mizrach with the full name
  • Upload new GoDaven.com Database

Fun stuff, while this economy and market crashes.

Oh, we just added "Over the internet (air) Minyan Updates." So in version 2.2 and beyond, all GoDaven.com data can be updated without a new version. We check if you have an active Internet connection, then check to see if there is a new Minyan database update, if there is, we push you the new data without you noticing anything...

September 24, 2008

Incase Sends Replacement Case, The Slider Case

A couple weeks ago, my Incase iPhone case ripped and I was sad. After I blogged it, Incase commented telling me to call them to replace it for free. They replaced it for free.

In fact, they actually let me try a different case. They recommended I try the Slider Case. I was told it is less "grippy" then the Protective Case, but stronger and has the ability to quickly pull off the bottom to dock on your dock.

So I got the new Slider Case today and I will be giving it a try. Honestly, I am very concerned that I will be missing the grip factor I am used to on my old case. That case simply stayed put. Never slide on my car's arm rest area, never slide on the dashboard, and most importantly, it stayed in my shirt pocket when I flushed the toilet. So we will see.

Here is a video of me demonstrating the case and docking it. The dock feature is something I like, so I have to weigh the pros and cons. Incase is cool enough to let me decide.

iTunes Links on iPhone Don't Work Since 2.1 Update

I am not sure if you noticed, but when you click on an iTunes link from your iPhone, it doesn't open the App Store anymore. This started happening when Apple posted the 2.1 software update. I noticed it a few times when clicking on a link from an article about an App, and the page not coming up. I brushed it off as a bug with the URL and then forgot to buy those apps.

But it is not a webmaster or App developer issue. It is an Apple issue. I tried this will several links from my iPhone, from several developers, using the LinkShare link or the iTunes Store link, the same issue happens.

When you click on a link, it tries to open it in Safari and send you to the App Store on your iPhone, but it does not. Instead, you get:

iTunes Link Broken on iPhone

If I wasn't lazy, I would check the useragent and tell any iPhone users to search for the app in the App Store, as opposed to clicking on the link. But I am lazy and I hope Apple just fixes it soon.

But many are complaining about this issue at the Apple Discussions forum.

September 19, 2008

Shabbos iPhone App Now Live

Shabbos iPhone App LiveLast week, I blogged about the Shabbat Shalom app we created for the iPhone or iPod Touch.

Well, now it is live and free at iTunes or App Store. To get it, click here.

Note, we found two minor bugs. So we will wait for feedback to collect over the weekend. And then release a new version some time early next week.

This app is really out there for free to (1) help Jews learn about Shabbos and (2) promote the iPhone Siddur app.

Please post your feedback at this Google Groups thread, please.

September 18, 2008

iPhone Takes the Cake, Literally

Via LaughingSquid Nick Bilton and Danielle Bilton's iPhone cupcakes won the Cupcake Decorating Championships.

How tasty do these looks?

iPhone Cupcakes

My two favorite things; iPhone and Cupcakes!

My Office on Earthscape - Google Earth Like for iPhone

So cool!!! Arrington blogged that the Earthscape iPhone app is now available for FREE.

So I downloaded it and it is basically Google Earth desktop on your iPhone. The neatest part is you can upload pictures directly to the app, which makes it incredibly easy for folks to picture-up the earth...

Here is a picture of where I work:

My Office on Earthscape

I did upload a picture, but since I was indoors, it geotagged it not exactly near my office building...

Here is a demo on how it works (I did not make the demo):

My email woes are getting better, but still things are not 100% right.

September 16, 2008

Sportacular - Awesome iPhone App

This Sunday, I had to leave the TV during the end of the grueling Jets game. I wanted to know if they can make a come back at the end, but I could not watch it. So I opened my iPhone, dialed into the Sportacular app and went to the Jet game.

It gives you great details for the game in progress, here is a screen shot of one of the pages that I frequently refreshed:

Sports Tacular

I love the simple illustration of where the ball is, who is on offense, what down it is, how many yards to go, the score, etc.

Anti Semitism on iTunes App Reviews

This morning, I was checking out the latest reviews on our iPhone Siddur and I noticed our first anti-semitic review. Here is a picture:

Racism on iTunes

I reported the review as "offensive" this morning, about 3 hours ago. It is still there. I assume it might take a couple days to be taken offline, if it ever does get taken offline.

I have been writing about search stuff, in the public eye, for about six years now. I have written thousands of articles. Most people who have read stuff about SEO or SEM or even Google have seen my name. I have never received a racist or anti-semitic comment before today. I do not keep my religion private, I am very open about it. But I guess Jewish apps are being targeted by some people.

Does it bother me? Honestly, no. The thing that bothers me is that the review may hurt the overall average. :) I know better not to let ignorance bother me. I got touch skin from writing so much. :)

How can you help? Well, go to the Siddur iTunes via this link and report that guys review (sort by most recent) and then if you really want to make me happy, review that app and the rest of our apps. Here is a link to all RustyBrick iTunes apps.

September 12, 2008

It's Time For Shabbos: iPhone Shabbat Times App

Update: This is now live and can be downloaded for free. More details over here.

שבת or Shabbos or Shabbat is the every Friday night through Saturday night. It is basically the time Jewish people don't do work, we pray, learn, eat and sleep. Shabbos starts and ends at very specific times and it is important that we don't do work related activities on Shabbos, so knowing the time we need to stop working is important.

In addition, knowing not to call someone on Shabbos is important. So if you have your in-laws in St. Louis, like I do, I know that they end Shabbos later than I do, but at what time exactly, would take time to look up.

So, we decided to make an iPhone App, similar to Yahoo's iPhone Weather App, that tells you the time for Shabbos anywhere. This way you can scroll from page to page, to find out what time Shabbos is here, or in St. Louis or in Jerusalem or anywhere.

Here are some screen captures of what we are calling the Shabbat Shalom iPhone App:

Starter Screen:
Shabbat שבת iPhone App

Times Screen that shows the location, Jewish date in English and Hebrew, the local time, the parsha, candle lighting (configurable), Havdalah (configurable), R' Tam Havdalah, next week's candle lighting and parsha (smaller):
Shabbos שבת iPhone App

Clicking on the "i" at the bottom will open up the edit screen. Right here you can add, edit, delete and reorder the pages you have on this app:

Shabbos שבת iPhone App

Adding a location looks like this:

(1) Search for your location and...
Shabbos שבת iPhone App

(2) It populates the information, which you can override:

Shabbos שבת iPhone App

Flip away....

Shabbos שבת iPhone App

I will personally find this very useful and hopefully the Jewish community will also.

Oh, the price is free (it is a promo product for the Siddur) and you can sign up to be notified when it is available over at the Shabbat Shalom iPhone App page.

September 10, 2008

Apple Issues First iPhone Developer Payouts via iTunes Connect

This morning we received emails form Apple that they have issued some of our financial reports for the past month, August 2008. Here is a screen capture of the reports currently available in iTunes Connect:

iTunes Financial Reports

They issue a report for every currency, I guess. And more are coming in.

I am not sure if this means that I will find a deposit of funds in my bank tomorrow of if it will take an additional X days for the funds to appear. All I know is that these reports state how much Apple will pay us for the month of August.

September 9, 2008

New iPhone Siddur Demo in QuickTime & YouTube

iPhone Siddur Demo on iPhoneWe just published a QuickTime demo of the iPhone Siddur. You can view the demo within the iPhone look, at this page or on your iPhone or iPod Touch on this page (clicking it will open QuickTime on your iPhone). Just click the iPhone graphic, "launch video."

If you don't have QuickTime, then here is a different video that I put on YouTube. Hopefully, one of the three versions will work for those who want to check it out, but don't have an iPhone or iPodTouch.


Note, if the video says it is not available, refresh the page, it should work. YouTube has a weird annoying bug that does this, way too often.

There is no sound on any versions.

September 8, 2008

Rosh Hashanah Time: The iPhone Shofar

iPhone ShofarWe are now pushing out these applications like wild fire...

Next up, in time for Rosh Hashanah, is a Shofar for your iPhone or iPod Touch. A Shofar is a type of horn used by Jewish people during the month before the Jewish New Year and on Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish new year) and Yom Kippur.

It is a positive commandment to listen to the Shofar on Rosh Hashanah. This iPhone app will not replace it for two reasons. (1) You need to listen to it live and from a real shofar (not a recording) and (2) you can't use your iPhone on Rosh Hashanah.

Here is a video of me using it:

The application will be free and we can notify you when it is live, if you sign up over here. We feel it compliments our other apps:

Introducing The iPhone/iPod Touch Parking Meter Aid

Wanted to let you guys know that we release a new iPhone or iPod Touch app named the iPhone Parking Meter.

It has several features, including a timer countdown, camera snap shots, location notes, GPS tracker, vibration alert (only when app is open), SMS Alert (3rd party fees may apply), some neat graphics and, of course, Maps & Directions integration. Let me explain that if the app is not open, it will not vibrate or yell at you, a limitation of the iPhone App SDK (for good reason).

Here is a walk through:

Set the meter by clicking on "set meter." On this page, you set how much time you have on your meter and you can enter a location note. At the same time, if you allow it and if you have location services on, it will locate your location (as best as possible) and mark it.

iPhone Parking Meter Screen Shots

When you hit "set meter" it will bring you to this page, which shows you the time remaining and blinks green and red (red means your over).

iPhone Parking Meter Screen Shots

iPhone Parking Meter Screen Shots

Note, the "View Map" words will link you to the Maps application, with the destination point being set at the coordinate defined when you clicked the set timer.

We did add reminders in, with some limitations. You can set an email reminder or a on phone reminder. If your phone supports SMS to emails, like yournumber@txt.att.net, then you can use that but clearly, text messages may cost money...

iPhone Parking Meter Screen Shots

We also added an on app alert that will vibrate and play a sound, but it only will work when the application is open. Apple doesn't allow you to trigger alerts when your not in that application. I assume they dont allow it because it can cause issues with other applications and give a hacker a way into your phone - somehow.

iPhone Parking Meter Screen Shots

Finally, what I mostly always do is snap a picture of where I parked or jot it down. Snapping a picture of a street sign or a parking garage sign, always helps me locate my car, especially if I go away for a few days.

iPhone Parking Meter Screen Shots

The application is not yet on the iTunes App store, but we submitted it a few days ago. So if you want to be notified when it goes live, go to iPhone Parking Meter page and fill in your email address.

September 4, 2008

Sad: My Incase iPhone Case Ripped

I am a bit sad. My trusty iPhone Case, the Incase iPhone 3G Protective Cover ripped this morning. Here is a picture:

Incase iPhone Case Broke!

Here is a picture from the back:

Incase iPhone Case Broke!

I love this case, I had a similar one for my original iPhone. It basically sticks, sticks to my dashboard, stays put in my breast pocket when I bend over, it doesn't slip out of my hand, it is a great case. But now it ripped!

I spent $30 on this puppy and I had it for only a couple months. Do I go out an buy a new one or contact Incase and see if they will replace it?

September 3, 2008

AT&T Network Outage Affected Me

att logoThousands of people like me, with an iPhone in the Northeast, were without our mobile connectivity this morning, due to an AT&T Wireless outage.

There is tons and tons of coverage on the news. What happened? DSL Reports has a statement from AT&T:

There was a routing issue affecting some wireless data use in the Northeast region. AT&T technicians determined the cause and restored service at 11:56 a.m. EDT. Voice calling, text messaging and BlackBerry email were unaffected.

I noticed it this morning before I got to work. I was not on a wifi network and I wanted to check email. It just said "connecting..." but nothing happened. I closed it out and figured it was another small outage or 3G overage issue. Soon after, I got to work and downloaded my emails on my computer. So I forgot about it.

But now I am seeing all the reports surface. It should have been resolved by now, which is good. AT&T still has a lot of work to do. Why did so many people buy the iPhone! :)

August 29, 2008

New iPhone Siddur Feature Preview

It has been a while since I shared some of the new features we have been working on for the iPhone Siddur. Again, you can see the full feature request list over here. We have not yet released a new version, we are hoping to fine tune this version to a solid 2.0 version. So here are some of the more visible things, besides for a lot of code cleaning and minor bug fixes.

(1) Gave the user the ability to specify their Candle Lighting (when Shabbat starts) times and Havdalah (when Shabbat ends) time. Go to settings and you'll see this:

iPhone Siddur - Zmanim Preferences

Tap your finger on the time to change the "default" to anything you hold.

My congregation does 45 minutes after sundown:

iPhone Siddur Now Havdalah

(2) You can also change the font style in preferences. Note, only two fonts work with nekudot, so here they are:

iPhone Siddur - Font Preference

(3) Finally, you can now see upcoming holidays on the Luach. How? Well, open the Luach:

iPhone Siddur - Shake It

Now, shake the iPhone or iPod Touch. Yea, give it a little shake and presto, it flips to this list view:

iPhone Siddur - Upcoming Events

Can't see all the info? Just rotate it horizontally and you can view more.

Those are some, not all, of the new features coming to iPhone Siddur 2.0.

August 28, 2008

AT&T Expands iPhone Data Plans to Israel

Last year, I took my iPhone to Israel, but turned off all data services, while only using WiFi. I was bummed that a year ago, AT&T didn't support Israel for just the iPhone when traveling. Meaning, they didn't have a plan you can buy for when you travel to Israel, like they did for the BlackBerry.

A couple days ago, AT&T announced that they expanded the international data offerings for iPhone users to more countries. One of those countries includes Israel. Not only that, because of the manner the iPhone downloads stuff, they added more packages with higher download capacities.

You can see the new international packages at the AT&T site, they include:

  • $24.99/month: 20MB Data Global Add-On gives you 20MB of usage within over 65 countries
  • $59.99/month: 50MB Data Global Add-On gives you 50MB of usage within over 65 countries
  • $119.99/month: 100 MB Data Global Add-On1 gives you 100MB of usage within over 65 countries
  • $199.99/month: 200 MB Data Global Add-On1 gives you 200MB of usage within over 65 countries

The best part is, that you can only buy the plan for your stay, so before I leave, I activate it and then when I get home, I deactivate it and only pay for the time I was in Israel. I don't think this means I get voice, just a discounted data plan. I would probably opt for the highest plan:

200MB Data Global Add-On Overage rate is $.005/KB within the over 65 discounted countries. Rate outside these discounted countries is $.010/KB.2 Does not include data usage within the U.S. Qualified domestic plan required.

The AT&T Travel Guide wizard confirmed that the iPhone 3G is compatible with these new discounted roaming rates.

AT&T, iPhone & Israel

In any event, I seriously need to get planning SMX Israel. :)

August 21, 2008

Improving Location Manager on iPhone Siddur

One of the biggest points of confusion in the iPhone Siddur was editing your location manually. Beforehand, we asked the user to provide their zip code and GMT offset, if they were based in the US. If not, they needed to provide their GMT offset and their longitude and latitude. Besides for this causing confusion over daylight savings time, no one really knew their longitude or latitude, let alone their altitude.

Hence, version 2.0 of the location discovery tool. To access this tool, you go to Zmanim, Click on the location at the top and it opens up this "edit" screen:

Location Finder in Siddur Better

You flip the auto-location feature to the off position and type in the new location. You can be very specific, like a whole address, or just a city name, it will try to find the best match:

Location Finder in Siddur Better

I am heading to Boston soon, so I plugged that in and clicked on "done".

It then uses your Internet connection, yes this is the only piece of the software that absolutely requires Internet, to get the data. It calls the Yahoo Maps API to get the longitude and latitude of your search. Then, we need to get your time zone and altitude, so we use the GeoNames WebService to get that data. In short, we make three quick API calls, to two different provides, to get this data into the application, for you.

Here are the results the APIs returned for Boston, MA:

Location Finder in Siddur Better

Then I clicked on "Save" and it took me back to Zmanim with the times for that location, plus it put "Boston, MA" at the top:

Location Finder in Siddur Better

At the same time, it updated the Settings section, to use this location. Clicking on "About" will show you the Zmanim data points:

Location Finder in Siddur Better

Pretty cool?! Yes, the times are accurate.

Not done, it also changes the Minyanim data to be based off this location.

Location Finder in Siddur Better

Of course, you an always change it back to any location easily.

That is version 2.0, location manager.

Comments and question also at Google Groups.

August 20, 2008

Tefilla Pack Added to iPhone App Store

iPhone / iPod Touch Tefilla PackWhy not, we just released a fairly comprehensive iPhone Tefilla Pack for the iPhone and/or iPod Touch. It basically has a collection of popular prayers (tefillas) and 'segulos' that Jews say. Yes, we have three version; Nusach Ashkenaz, Sefard, or Edut Mizrach. How much? Only $1.99.

Here is what is included:

  • Perek Shira (פרק שירה)
  • Shir HaShirim (שיר השירים)
  • Nishmas (נשמת כל חי)
  • Iggeres HaRamban (אגרת הרמב"ן)
  • Tefilas HaShlah (תפילת השל"ה)
  • Parshas HaMann (פרשת המן)
  • Parshas HaKetores (פרשת הקטורת)
  • Tefila for Parnasa (תפילת על הפרנסה)
  • Segula for Finding Lost Object (סגולה למציאת אבידה)
  • Birkas HaMazon (ברכת המזון)
  • Birkas Me'ayn Shalosh (ברכה מעין שלוש)
  • Borei Nefashos (בורא נפשות)
  • Tefilas Haderech (תפילת הדרך)

Here are two pictures:

iPhone / iPod Touch Tefilla Pack

iPhone / iPod Touch Tefilla Pack

More information at http://www.rustybrick.com/iphone-tefilla.php and feel free to sign up for notification.

Remote Desktop on iPhone

I know they have VNC, SSH, etc, and those are all incredibly useful, but they just released Remote Desktop Lite for the iPhone. I use a PC for very limited tasks, so Remote Desktop for those purposes are great. In fact, I blogged about switching from Parallels back to Remote Desktop, due to speed.

But now I can do the same thing, just smaller, on my iPhone. Here are screen captures of the program and me using my PC on my iPhone:

The Start Screen for the Program:
Remote Desktop on iPhone

My PC's desktop, I zoomed out by pinching:
Remote Desktop on iPhone

Zooming in on IE on my PC:
Remote Desktop on iPhone

Typing with the keyboard on my PC:
Remote Desktop on iPhone

This phone can really do everything, it is just amazing.

August 18, 2008

Version 1.8 of iPhone Siddur Submitted to Apple

We have tested and submitted version 1.8 of the iPhone Siddur. I have updated the version history to reflect the changes, but let me demonstrate them here, with pictures. First, let me explain that many of the features came via the discussion groups and emails we received, so keep sending them and we will add them to the list and try to knock them off as often as possible.

iPhone Siddur 1.8, what is new?

(1) Major updates to the Siddur for Edut Mizrach (Sephardic) version. We not only fixed a ton of mistakes, we also added a lot of Brachot. I am sure there are still issues, so keep them coming. We do hope to add Nusach Ari/Chabad, but we have no ETA for that yet.

(2) Altitude always worked with the Zmanim, if you had a GPS mode, but we never showed you the actual elevation, now we do, if you click on "About these times."

Zmanim with Elevation

Note, I tested this a lot, and often it comes up with zero. I think it is a limitation on the GPS device. It does work, but not all the time.

(3) Rotating the phone to landscape mode, no longer looses your place. So if you are at this point:

iPhone Siddur Version 1.8 - What's Coming

And now you want to rotate it, it will keep you at the same point:

iPhone Siddur Version 1.8 - What's Coming


(3) We added two more times to the Zmanim, the most popular version of Magen Avrohom. If you want more, for now, go to a web version. We may add more, but later on.

iPhone Siddur Version 1.8 - What's Coming

(4) Greatly improved the Minyan database, thanks to working hand in hand with GoDaven.com. So check this out:

(A) Ranks minyanim nearest to your location:
iPhone Siddur Version 1.8 - What's Coming

(B) Cleaned up the detail view, added functionality and added a lot more data. So, it looks nicer, loads faster, no web access is needed to view the data. The address hyperlinks to the iPhone Maps application, so you can get directions. Email and URL, if available, work respectively with a tap of the finger.

iPhone Siddur Version 1.8 - What's Coming

Scrolling down, you see the times of the various prayer services. Yes, I know it says "zman" but it is hard to dynamically replace those words with a real time, because the words are used differently by different shuls and locations.

iPhone Siddur Version 1.8 - What's Coming

Scrolling down, more times (it only shows you times that are available, to not waste scroll time). It also has the Nusach, the long/lat (clickable) and the source of the data, which is hyperlinked to Safari.

iPhone Siddur Version 1.8 - What's Coming

(5) Added more settings options:

"Smart Siddur" is default on, but only really works in Ashkenaz now. We will add it to other Nusachs for version 2.0. "Hebrew Systems" is a switch for those who installed a hebrew keyword on their phones, which reverses some of the texts.

iPhone Version 1.75 Settings Page

Added an elevation override, more overrides, including the "Limit to Miles" for the Minyan database:

iPhone Version 1.75 Settings Page

Other changes include:

  • Added Torah portions added to all Nusachs
  • Remember last location when you close Siddur (might have some bugs)
  • Changed hebrew date format in Luach
  • Add kidduah livana
  • And more minor things

Released this now and will continue to fix up things and hopefully release another version as soon as the end of the week. Obviously pending how quickly Apple approves this version.

August 15, 2008

Just in Case You Missed it: Version 1.5 is Live

Siddur 1.5 LiveJust in case you missed it, version 1.5 of the Siddur for the iPhone is now live. All those fancy features you wanted, is now up.

So, if you have not got yourself a copy, go get it now! Who cares if you can't read Hebrew, okay - well, that might be an issue. But if you can read Hebrew and you do pray during the week, oh, and you are Jewish and observant, then... maybe, oh wait, you need an iPhone also... then... maybe, you might want to pay the 10 bucks for this.

Are we done? Far from it.

Our active feature list is over here. We make changes as we go.

The Smart Siddur for Ashkenaz text is done and being tested. We even added an "easter egg," or in Jewish terms, a "Mazah Ball" to the program. I won't tell you what it is, and it will only come up every 28 years or so.

August 13, 2008

Preview of "Smart Siddur" for iPhone

We promised to keep developing the iPhone Siddur despite the slow post dates to the iTunes App Store. So let me show off the new "Smart Siddur" feature for the iPhone.

The Smart Siddur basically will show you the texts or prayers you need to see for that day, and skip the rest. So if it is Rosh Chodesh (new month), you will see those prayers. If it is Monday or Thursday, we will show you the torah reading prayers plus the actual parsha (torah text). Let me take you through it step by step.

(1) Smart Siddur by default is set to on, in the settings:

Smart Siddur for iPhone

(2) If you open up Shemona Esri, you will see it automatically knows it is the summer months and shows me the summer portion:

Smart Siddur for iPhone

This is done throughout the whole siddur.

(3) Also, we put in the actual torah reading selection for the weekday. Here is a picture, as if it was tomorrow (Thursday):

Smart Siddur for iPhone

(4) As a side note, we also added Parsha info to the Luach:

Smart Siddur for iPhone

Now what? Well, we test it. There are tons of locations that require testing and tons of scenarios. So we made a trick to change the date and test it that way. Once we are okay with it (I am sure there will be mistakes) we will lock it down to the real date, test it again and then release it to Apple.

So, version info time... 1.0 is on the Apple Store, 1.5 was submitted already and it should be approved soon (I hope by tomorrow). We will likely release a bug fix release, call it 1.6, before releasing the Smart Siddur version. Let's call Smart Siddur, version 2.0.

I am personally excited to use this tomorrow.

iPhone / iPod Touch Tehillim App Now Available!

iPhone / iPod Touch Tehillim AppI told you it was coming and now it is here!

To buy it in iTunes, go to http://www.rustybrick.com/iphone/tehilim/get or search for "Tehilim" in the iPhone App Store.

The first release has the following features:

  • By Chapter/Perek, By Day of Month, By Day of Week
  • English and Hebrew Texts
  • Easy to make up for previous days portion
  • No need to flip through pages, you get what you need
  • No Internet Access needed

What's Coming?

  • By Occassion
  • Extra Prayers

How much is it? Only $0.99

iTunes Store Not Made For Apps :: Here is Why

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Scroll down to the bottom, if you do not want to read this, I have a request for you at the end.

As many of you know, we have been busy building out a version 1.5 for Apple's approval. Version 1.5 had added features, including an added version of text, Minyainim database, Jewish Calendar and more.

So when we submitted version 1.5 to Apple, we had to update our meta description in the iTunes store to reflect that version. The problem is, Apple showed that description on the version 1.0 download. The problem is, Apple doesn't have a way to say, show this description for version 1.5 and this description for 1.0. So, what I did was put a note in the description that certain features are coming soon in the next version. Here is a screen capture:

iTunes App Store Issues

Not only that, we have placed a version info page on the RB site, showing feature by feature, with date submitted, approved and published to Apple. The way people can find this page is by either going into the Siddur in their iPhone and clicking on the "More" tab. Or they can click from the iTunes Store on the Support button, as shown here:

iTunes App Store Issues

When uploading a new version to iTunes Connect, Apple does not give you a way to submit a new description for just that app. At least, not currently. Maybe they will soon. So when we submitted the new app description, we did so based on the version we just uploaded to Apple, stating that some features are FREE in the next version. So almost a week later, it still sits in review:

iTunes Connect Issue

So, that leaves some consumers angry. They say, I paid for all the features and I only got X. Not fair!!! I don't blame them for being upset. All I can do is do what I have done before, be as detailed as possible about what the versions have and do not have.

Here is one of the first bad reviews we got. Not that he didn't like the product, but more like he thought I was lying to him.

iTunes App Store Issues

What can I do? If he emailed me or called me or read the description fully, or even clicked on the support link, he would have learned right away that version 1.5 is being reviewed by Apple and should be available any day. But he did not, and we got a bad review.

Can you help me? Yes. :) If you like, go to the iTunes Store and rate the Siddur app for us. :) You do not need to buy it, which is another limitation. Why? Because people are reviewing the price and not the product, saying it is too expensive, it should be free and then giving us a bad rating. I won't argue with that, but it shows you can review the app without buying it. If that is the case, feel free to go to rustybrick.com/iphone/siddur/get, it will open up iTunes, to the Siddur and you can create your own five star review for us. If you want. :)

August 12, 2008

Hottrix Threatens Me: I Notice a Month Later

Update: Steve, the CEO of Hottrix called me. He is confused by all of this. Like I said, I am sure this was just an oversight. Things happen. It just gave me something to blog about.

I get tons of spam in my YouTube inbox. I never look at it, really, virtually never. But today, I decided to scan through it. What do I find? I a letter from the people at Hottrix about my iPhone Popcorn video that I blogged about a year ago. Here is the letter:

We would really appreciate it if you could remove any comments or references on how to get our video for free. Also, on your website as well (I think you only had one link posting it for free and our lawyer will take care of removing the download from his site.) It is copywritten material we created and should only be for sale on our website. We do not mind performance videos, just not the "freebie" comments. Heck, you should sign up as an affiliate and link to it from your site and make some money, it looks like you have a good following. Typically we just flag these videos, but you do have a lot of viewers so I really don't want to do that to you.

Thanks in advance.
The sleepless crew at Hottrix.

Then I got this the same day:

Sorry, I just noticed someone else in our office already flagged your video. Others in our copyright watch are asked to flag copyright violations.

Two things:

(1) If you want to threaten me with a lawsuit, do not send me a message via YouTube.
(2) I have never said it was free, in fact, your CEO gave me at least one video for free (not the one above) so I would blog about how I got it. Which I did, at The Truth Behind my iPhone Popcorn. I guess someone in the comments talked about freebies, but I am not going through the 1,247 comments on my video to weed them out.

Is it that you are upset that my video outranks your promotional video for iphone popcorn? Is it because you are upset my video has 1,365,034 views and yours only has 741,179? What is it?

I am sure it was an oversight, so I won't continue giving you a hard time, Hottrix. I am sure you just had one of your people, go through YouTube and send this letter, via copy and paste, to every mention of videos related to your product.

iPhone Popcorn Google Results

This legal email has been sitting in my YouTube inbox for over a month. Good going.

August 8, 2008

iPhone Tehilim (Psalms) Application Submitted to Apple iTunes Store

iPhone TehilimUpdate: This is now available at the iTunes Store, more details can be found over here.

We just submitted the iPhone Tehilim (aka Psalms or תהילים) (Wikipedia definition) application to the iTunes store. Note, Apple needs to approve it. So if you want notification of when it is available, make sure to go to the iPhone Tehilim or Psalms page and give us your email address. Everyone will ask, how much? We are charging $0.99, so enjoy!

Here are some screen captures:

iPhone t
By Chapter

iPhone Tehilim
English & Hebrew

iPhone Tehilim
You can pick defaults, i.e. default view (by chapter, by day of month or by day of week) and select language (english, hebrew or both english and hebrew).

Now, I have something to do while waiting for the elevator in the morning and when I need it. ;-)

What is Coming in iPhone Siddur Version 1.5

I wanted to illustrate the changes we have posted to the Apple Store, as of yesterday, for version 1.5 of the iPhone Siddur. Note, we already started working on the next version. Adding some features, fixing bugs and fixing texts in the Sefardic Edut Mizrach, where I messed up big time (I am sorry!). I am documenting a list of changes at the version history page also, but a picture is always helpful.

(1) We added a starter screen, since it takes a sec or two to open, why not look at something pretty:

iPhone Siddur 1.5 - What's Coming

(2) We added a lot more text to the Siddur. Including adding Edut Mizrach (with mistakes, sorry), and a bunch of brachos and other prayers. Note, version 1.5 will have mistakes in Edut Mizrach and will have mistakes in the brachos for Edut Mizrach. Besides for fixing many (not all, yet) of those mistakes in the version after 1.5, we have added a few more brachos.

iPhone Siddur 1.5 - What's Coming

Here is a favorite, one of the hardest blessings to say. Bedtime Shema. Now it is easy, just pull out your iPhone and do it in bed. No light required cause we are backlit.

iPhone Siddur 1.5 - What's Coming

(3) Zmanim looks the same, but it has a few more features. You can override your location by zip code or long/lat. Also, you can easily change the date. In the version after 1.5, we added an "elevation" setting, just in case you do not have the GPS model. Elevation can make the times off by over 5 minutes, so this is important.

iPhone Siddur 1.5 - What's Coming

(4) We have the minyain database in version 1.5. But I am excited to announced that GoDaven.com has agreed to work with us to provide us with structured data. So version 1.5 has a lot of data, but once we plug into the source data, the database will be expanded from 2,000+ minyainim to over 3,000. In addition, we might be able to say, "I am looking for a minyain, within X feet, that starts within X minutes." This is coming, but right now, in version 1.5, you do get local minyanim (just not all the extra flare).

iPhone Siddur 1.5 - What's Coming

iPhone Siddur 1.5 - What's Coming

(5) Here is the Jewish Calendar, Luach. The next version will have the date as a Hebrew character and not a number. Plus, this version (1.5) will have a rotating bug. The next version, after 1.5, will fix that bug.

iPhone Siddur 1.5 - What's Coming

(6) In version 1.5, you can now control the overall "settings" of the application. To do so, click on the "settings" icon on the iPhone's home screen and then select "Siddur" from the list:

iPhone Siddur 1.5 - What's Coming

You can set the default Nusach, if you are in Israel, font size (with a slider), turn on/off auto-discover location:

iPhone Siddur 1.5 - What's Coming

When you change auto-location off, you can enter in the zip code, latitude, longitude, GMT offset and give it a name. We forgot to include "Elevation" or altitude, and that can make a huge difference. That will be included in the version after 1.5, it is already coded in, we just need to submit it to Apple.

iPhone Siddur 1.5 - What's Coming

Also, I did email the Shmash.org kosher database team to see if they want to work something out. So who knows, maybe a kosher database will be added soon, as well.

So that is a recap of the features in 1.5 and some of the features and bug fixes coming in version 1.6 and beyond.

August 7, 2008

My iPhone App Did Not Get Prime "New" Feature Spot

iTunes New AppsNot to complain, but just to point something out... My app went live officially last night, on August 6th. But the application was actually approved on the 4th. So when the contracts were approved on the 6th, the application was marked as "Released" on August 4th.

Since it was officially posted to the iTunes App Store on the 6th, if you were watching "new releases," in the store in via the unofficial RSS feed, then you would not have know the iPhone Siddur went live. Why? Because my app was on page 7 or so when it was posted to the iTunes Store, not at the top of page 1. Why? Because it was officially approved on the 4th but not legally approved until the 6th.

We submitted the next release of the iPhone Siddur today. So when it is approved, it should make it to the top of the list. The new features can be found in the version history page, it will be worth the wait.

August 6, 2008

iPhone Siddur is Live!

iPhone Siddur is LiveYipee! The iPhone Siddur is now live on the Apple iTunes App Store. To get it, via the iTunes App Store go here.

This release has:

- Siddur for Ashkenaz and Sefard for weekday
- Zmanim based on location, with a location override

The text needs to be cleaned up for Sefard.

The next version release, which will be very soon (like tonight or tomorrow), will have:

- Siddur text for Sefarad Mizrachi
- Minyanim database, finds nearest shul to your location
- Luach for Jewish Calendar
- Cleaned up Ashkenaz and Sefard siddur text
- And more.

Then version three will have bug fixes and a Jewish Calendar, Luach. We are also going to try to add automatic prayers, so you will only see the prayers you need to see based on the date.

Hope you like it, we are charging $9.99 - but the next few updates will all be free.

We have so much we want to still add and we will keep pushing out updates. Any feedback, for now, go to The Google Group.

Apple Replies: "Normal Turnaround Time is 21 Days"



I just received an email from an Apple "iTunes Finance" representative in response to the ETA of contract approval. He said:

We are in the process of setting you up as a vendor in our financial systems globally (SAP) to accept the sales postings to your account. Due to volume, we can only setup about 2,500 per week in five regions. The normal turnaround time for this process is about 21 days, but we are trying to get this down to 10-14 days.

Unfortunately, it takes time to establish your retail presence in more than 70 countries, but I can assure you this is a one time wait. After your contract(s) are activated, the process becomes more automated.

If you have any further questions, please don't hesitate to contact us.

So does that mean, Apple is setting me up right now? "We are in the process of setting you up as a vendor." Or in general, your in the queue, and it takes "about 21 days." If it is 21 days, then that would be as long as August 14th (a week from tomorrow). That is, if that is not business days.

As you can see, the wait is killing me.

So from the wording in the email, you think sooner or later?



Apple, The Wait is Killing Me!!!

Still "Pending Contract"I have a tab open in my browser, I refresh it like a hundred times a day. The tab is the page that shows the status of the iPhone Application we submitted, the iPhone Siddur, Zmanim, Minyain app and soon to have "Luach" (Jewish calendar).

As you can see, we submitted it on July 25th. On August 1st, it was rejected for a feature being missing. We then resubmitted it, with a batch of new features. The application was then approved on the 4th, but it is still pending the legal team to approve my contracts.

Now the contracts are all digitally signed documents, with EFT for banking. It is mostly automated. But it seems like an Apple legal rep needs to manually review each before the account is allowed to sell apps on the Apple Store.

So now, we wait for Apple to give us legal approval. I keep refreshing the page, over and over again. Why? Cause we want to push this version out so we can release the next version, which is awesome!

If you know anyone at Apple, please see if they can expedite it for me. Please? :)

August 5, 2008

Minyan Data Added to iPhone Siddur

We added some more features to the iPhone Siddur. The new feature is a way to find the closest minyan (prayer group) to your current location.

Here is how it works. We uploaded a database of minyainim (shuls and locations of Jewish prayer groups). Then using the iPhone or iPod Touch's localization feature, we find the Minyain that is nearest to you.

Here is a picture of the closest minyainim to my current location, that are found in our database:

iPhone Minyan

Clicking on a result will bring up more information:

iPhone Minyan

If a phone number is available, it will hyperlink the number so you can initiate a call:

iPhone Minyan

Notice also the "View Map" button at the bottom left. Clicking it, will open up the native Google Maps program, plotting the points for this minyan, so you can use Google Maps directions to get there:

iPhone Minyan

The "More Info" button will link you to the GoDaven web site, for this result, it takes you over here. GoDaven will likely have more information on the result, in case you need it.

Also, for those Sefardic / Edut Mizrach Jews, we finished adding the text for your prayers. Here is a preview of the available "Nusachs."

iPhone Siddur Nusach

Note, everything mentioned here will be a free release to all those who purchase the iPhone Siddur. Note, we are currently waiting for contract approval, although the application itself was approved. Was we get legal approval, then the application will go live. We will then release a new version that must be approved by Apple again, and when it is live, you will automatically be notified of the update.

AT&T Expanded 3G Network into My Area (Rockland County)

I woke up this morning and look at my phone and I see the 3G icon at the top left of my iPhone. I rub my eyes and look again, and it is still there. I never ever had 3G in this area, ever. Here is a picture:

3G in My Area

So I leave my home and drive to my next stop and yes, I still have 3G showing up. Email, web browsing, etc seems faster. By this time, it is late enough to text my brother to see if he sees the 3G icon. So I do so.

At first, I thought this had to do with the iPhone 2.0.1 update that I installed last night, but when I asked my brother - he said he didn't upgrade his phone yet. And yes, he saw the 3G network also.

So now, from my home to my office and probably beyond, I have 3G. That means, I can surf and download faster, but more importantly I can be on the phone and still use the Internet!

Here is a Google Maps view of where I am, technically, I was in the building so the GPS did not work. Also, I am at the lower left corner of this map, not even in the circle (but the 3G does work in this whole map area):

AT&T 3G Now in my Area

I then brought up the AT&T 3G coverage map and it still shows my area as EDGE only, not 3G. Here is a picture:

ATT 3G Network

As a point of reference, the Route 87 in the middle of the AT&T map (going from left to right) coordinates with the two roads (one is green) at the bottom of my Google Maps screen shot. I.e. the roads between Tallman and Monsey is Route 87.

So as you can imagine, I am a very happy camper to have 3G enabled in my area only a few weeks after getting my iPhone. So happy.

August 4, 2008

iPhone Siddur App Approved But Contract Pending?

The iPhone Siddur / Zmanim application is now officially approved by Apple. We got an email last night from Apple saying:

The status for the following application has changed to Ready for Sale.

But when I checked the iPhone App Store, it was no where to be found. So I logged into iTunes Connect and noticed that Apple said we are now "pending contract." Here is a screen capture:

iPhone Siddur Pending Contract

But I submitted the contracts on day one, over a week ago, on July 25th. They were all marked as a checkbox and green. Here is a screen capture:

iPhone Siddur Pending Contract

Everything looks good from that side. So I called Apple, they said I need to email the legal team. So I did that this AM.

There is an Apple support thread that has many others complaining that they are in the same status we are in. Pending Contract... One said that they spoke to Apple who said:

I contacted Apple, and yes, it is normal for the state to stay at "in process" for some time.

I am paraphrasing here: because part 2 of the contract setup and the App review are done manually, they can take several days/weeks depending on the volume of items in their queue.

Please bear in mind that I am answering this to the best of my knowledge as an external person and that I have no authority whatsoever on the subject. I'm just reporting what I was told.

So I hope it is not too much longer until it is pushed out to the Apple store. In fact, I hope to finish up the Sefarad Mizrachi text for prayers and we are also almost done adding a "Minyainim" database, which finds the closest Minyain (or shul).

August 1, 2008

Good News & Bad News on iPhone Siddur / Zmanim

The iPhone Siddur is coming out incredibly well. The iPhone Zmanim is all native to the application, so it does not need to call the Internet to get accurate times. In fact, currently, none of the features require Internet. This is a key feature because we did not want to compete with the iPhone web based applications that run in Safari.

The Zmanim does utilize GPS or location services but it is not required. We made a zip code and time zone offset, with a data changer, if you need to change that. I.e. your flying to a different location and you want to know the zmanim there before you get there. Otherwise, it defaults to your current location and date.

Okay, first the bad news. Last night Apple said we had to remove the "Mizrach" tab because it was a "feature-limited version." So we got rid of it and resubmitted within the hour. I am not sure if Apple will review the application right away or if it will take an extra week. So I am sorry.

But there is good news to this. The previous version we uploaded was very limited. The zmamin were not 100% complete, the siddur text as not so clean, the zmanim date picker and changers were not available and the explanations were missing. The new version (binary) we resubmitted to Apple last night contains all these additions. Keep in mind, the Ashkenaz version looks awesome, but the Sfrard is not 100% cleaned up yet and Mizrachi Sfrard has yet to be added (we are working on that now).

In any event, we have added some more screen captures and details to the official iPhone Siddur page. Make sure to check it out and sign up there if you want notification of the release. We hope it is released soon and we have a lot of interest already (a lot, I am not kidding).

July 29, 2008

iPhone Zmanim Now Accurate & Complete

Update: To be notified when the iPhone Siddur is available, please go here and fill out your email address in the box at the top right of the page.

The siddur texts are still being cleaned up and that is going well. But while we do that, we are also working on improving the iPhone Siddur, what we have done so far.

Now the Zmanim (Jewish times) are complete and accurate, up to +/- a minute based on sea-level elevation.

Here is how it works.

(1) Click on Zmanim at the bottom and you will see the program use the GPS or Cell towers or Wireless routers to detect your location and give you a longitude and latitude:

iPhone Jewish Times - Zmanim

When those are obtained, the Zmanim come up. If they are not found (i.e. your in a bomb shelter or airplane mode on), you will be able to manually add your zip code and specify the date.

(2) Here are the correct times for my area, here is the top of the page:

iPhone Jewish Times - Zmanim

Bottom of the page:

iPhone Jewish Times - Zmanim

(3) Clicking on any of those times will give you more detail. For example, here is the explanation for Alos:

iPhone Jewish Times - Zmanim
yes, we will fix that typo

(4) On the bottom, we added an "About These Times" button, when clicked, it will give you the date for these times and it currently gives you the longitude and latitude, plus the required disclaimer:

iPhone Jewish Times - Zmanim

List of To Dos:

(1) Continue cleaning up texts for the siddur
(2) Enable the edit button to change your date and location
(3) Add a settings feature for the siddur, so it remembers if you are Ashkenazic or Sephardi

After this is all complete, then we can work on some really cool features.

July 28, 2008

WAV File Voicemails Work in iPhone

The one thing I really hated about the email client in the iPhone was that it did not let you listen to WAV formatted attachments. So, my office voicemail system and home voicemail, which both emailed me my voicemails could only be heard on a computer or via calling into the voicemail.

With the new iPhone 2.0 OS, that has changed. I noticed this soon after I first got the iPhone but I decided to blog it now...

When I get a voicemail, it shows the attachment. I then click, download and once it downloads, I see the file below the email, like in this screen capture:

iPhone Supports Voicemail WAV Files
(Oh, that was Dice calling trying to sell me some programmers. Listing their phone number, I assume, is not a big deal. I am sure if you need coders or IT staff, calling that number will be welcomed.)

Now, click on the file and it will open up QuickTime audio/video player and play the voicemail via the speakers on the iPhone:

iPhone Supports Voicemail WAV Files

This feature alone is awesome!

Cleaning Up Texts For iPhone Siddur

iPhone Siddur iconUpdate: To be notified when the iPhone Siddur is available, please go here and fill out your email address in the box at the top right of the page. Friday afternoon, we launched version 1.0 of the iPhone Siddur. We did so, so we can get it out there and get it approved by Apple, so we can work now on cleaning things up and adding features.

My brother, in Israel, has been working on cleaning up the texts, to make them look more readable. He has been doing an awesome job. Here is a screen capture of Shemona Esrei (or the Amidah) within Mincha, after he cleaned it up.

Mincha Amidah on iPhone Siddur

We got the header color going, we got small text for certain text, we got small italics for instructional text, we shade the background of holiday/special texts that aren't used daily. This makes it much easier to read and follow. So we are almost done going through all the texts to make them all clean. We still have a few more on the Ashekenaz side and then the Sephardi to go. It just takes time to go through all of it. If you want to contribute to the texts and add more, do contact us and let us know.

We also will be working on more features, immediately:

  1. More zmanim including alos, tzais, earliest teffilin, and more...
  2. Add explanations (on click event) for the zmanim
  3. Add calendar feature to zmanim (so it just doesn't show today)
  4. Add ability to change your location (so it just isn't based on your GPS location)
  5. Add more texts
  6. Add a settings feature for the siddur, so it remembers if you are Ashkenazic or Sephardi.

So we will continue to develop the application out. We do hope Apple approves us quickly. In fact, I do not want to change the application (i.e. add these improvements) until Apple does approve version 1.0. Once they approve 1.0, we will release a 1.x version.

July 25, 2008

iPhone Siddur 1.0 Uploaded to iTunes Connect

Update: To be notified when the iPhone Siddur is available, please go here and fill out your email address in the box at the top right of the page.

We have uploaded the first release of the iPhone Siddur to the iTunes Connect system. As you can see in the screen shot below, Apple now needs to review it. When Apple approves it, it will then be available in the iTunes Store for download.

iPhone Siddur in Review of iTunes Connect

I told you it was coming, and now it is here. We were able to get most the weekday texts in, they do need some cleaning up. We have someone working to clean up all the texts over the weekend. We were able to get most prayer times, but we are still working on "Alos Hashachar" and "Tzais." We cannot get Mizrach (which way is east) working until the rumored iPhone 2.1 software comes out, which is expected very soon. So we will work on that also.

We got the barebones up, including:

(A) Texts - Prayers

  • Shacharis, Mincha, Maariv and Brachos
  • Both Ashkenaz and Sfarad

(B) Times - Zmanim
  • Location Lookup for long/lat
  • Sunrise
  • Latest Shema
  • Latest Tefilla
  • Chatoz
  • Mincha Gedola
  • Mincha Ketana
  • Plag HaMincha
  • Sunset

We tested all the times in our local area, so we hope it works well elsewhere. If it doesn't, I am sure we will hear about it. Here is the official iPhone Siddur page.

Very excited about this and can't wait to show you more. Here are some screen captures:

iPhone Siddur Application

iPhone Siddur Application

iPhone Siddur Application

July 24, 2008

I Might Be an Apple Fan Boy, But I Am Not Nuts!

T3 reports that Creative Coffins has created an iPhone coffin! Here is a picture:

iPhone Coffin

Okay, I am an Apple Fan boy, I admit it. But I am not this crazy to put myself in one of these when I die.

In fact, I don't think it is in accordance with Jewish law to be buried in one of these. In any event...

I guess people say, who cares what people say about you once you die. Or is it the opposite? ;-)

July 23, 2008

Preview of the iPhone Siddur Application

Update: To be notified when the iPhone Siddur is available, please go here and fill out your email address in the box at the top right of the page.

Update: We submitted this to Apple for review, more details at this page.

As promised, I wanted to give you a preview of the iPhone Siddur application. I got it running on my phone, to test it. The icon was designed by our design and looks like this:

Preview of iPhone Siddur

We need to make the "S" capital.

When you load it up by clicking on the icon, it defaults to the actual prayers. You can select the sect (only two right now):

Preview of iPhone Siddur

Clicking deeper will then give you the actual options, morning, afternoon, evening, generic brachot, etc and then this is what an actual text looks like:

Preview of iPhone Siddur

Yes, you can expand it by using the touch expand feature and you can change to landscape view.

That is all pretty standard stuff. The cool stuff I demo later, but here is a hint:

Preview of iPhone Siddur

Siddur is what I showed above. Clicking on "Zmanim" will automatically figure out your location using the GPS tools. It will then figure out the various times you are allowed to say the specific prayers (earliest tallis, earliest teffila, mincha, etc.), automatically. And the "Mizrach" option is basically a compass, it will tell you which way is Jerusalem, so you know which way you should pray. That will come in handy when I go to conferences and I have no idea which way to stand.

I'll be showing off more previews soon, I hope.

Oh, I have a few more features in mind - that I won't be telling you just yet. But they will make this application a must have for all Jewish orthodox iPhone users.

July 22, 2008

We're an iPhone Developer But...

iphone-dev-logo.pngUpdate: To be notified when the iPhone Siddur is available, please go here and fill out your email address in the box at the top right of the page. We, RustyBrick, is now an iPhone developer, and the first thing we plan on releasing is a Siddur with a lot of cool features. A siddur is a Jewish prayer book. It is mostly built, but we have a few neat feature we want to add. I'll blog about that when it is live.

But we are having an issue. The computer that is running the code is bugging out when we try to connect the iPhone to it to load the app directly on the test iPhones. We get an error that reads, "XCRemoteIPhone isBigBear" - yea, descriptive.

Here is a picture:

XCRemoteIPhone isBigBear Apple iPhone Developer

We are not the only ones with this exact error, another developer posted this issue at Apple's Discussion Forums. I hope we get a response soon.

In the mean time, we keep developing. This Siddur is going to seriously rock.

Use Your iPhone As a Modem For Your Computer

One thing I miss is the ability to tether my phone's internet connection to my laptop and use that as a way to connect to the Internet. I was legally able to do with with my Treo, Verizon and my MacBook Pro, without having to spend an additional $60 (it cost about $10 extra a month legally).

The Apple iPhone does not have a way for you to tether your phone to your laptop to use it as an Internet connection. Since I got the Apple iPhone, over a year ago, I also tacked on a Verizon Broadband card for $60, so I can fire up the Internet on my laptop. If the iPhone and AT&T allowed you to tether for even $45 more per month, that would make sense for me.

But there is now a way to do it, at least, illegally. Cre.ations.net has posted the details and the process includes:

- Jailbreak your iPhone 3G
- Install 3Proxy and Terminal
- Create an ad-hoc Wi-fi network using your laptop
- Join the network with your iPhone
- Find the iPhone's IP address
- Open Terminal and run the proxy program
- Open Safari on your iPhone and open a web page
- Configure your browser to use the proxy

Visit Cre.ations.net for more information but beware - I am personally not going this route.

July 21, 2008

Saying Goodbye to My Original IPhone

My iPhoneToday is the day that I say goodbye to my original iPhone. I am shipping it out to my brother, who lives in Israel.

I had my original iPhone 376 days. I had my new iPhone for only 10 days. In fact, I got my old iPhone on July 11th and my new one on July 11th - just realized that now.

In any event, I don't think Israel is a supported country for the iPhone. So what he does with it there, is up to him.

I know people in Israel have the iPhone and use many of its features. I do hope Israel begins to support the iPhone officially, soon. I hope I can get AT&T at a normal data rate when I travel there sometime in January 2009 - for SMX Israel. ;-)

Goodbye original iPhone. I am sending you to a better place now and I am sure you will be treated well. ;-)

July 18, 2008

Just Kidding, Again: This Time AT&T

Ugh, AT&T Told Us they would be giving us free Wifi to all iPhone users. Well, that was a mistake.

AT&T mistakenly announces free Wi-Fi for iPhone users...again from News.com reports that they made a mistake.

But Wes Warnock, an AT&T spokesman, told CNET News that the notice was published in error.

"We have not made any announcement regarding free Wi-Fi and iPhone," he said in an e-mail. "The Web page was posted in error and is being removed."

Crazy thing, this is the second time they did this. And the second time I was fooled this week.

Free Wifi From AT&T For iPhone Users

iPhone Wifi FreeIt is about time! AT&T has thousands and thousands of wifi hotspots nationwide and they are finally opening up those networks for iPhone users, for free.

Free is relative. Yes, we pay AT&T for phone service, but I have been paying for a year without the free wifi. So now, we have free wifi, which should help if I am not in a 3G network and don't have my own wifi connection.

You can see AT&T's hotspots over here and this also includes all Starbucks locations.

July 15, 2008

I Told You So, Danny! You Apple Fanboy

Danny is an Apple Fan BoyDanny Sullivan, I am disappointed, disturbed and a bit ashamed to hear you had a change of heart.

Time and time again, both on the radio and via personal and private communication, Danny told me he would not be getting an iPhone. Not until it gets a keyboard and/or you can tether.

Danny, the iPhone can not do either of those things yet, I hear via Twitter, you will be getting an iPhone. And I quote:

dannysullivan heaven help me, i think i want an iphone of my own now. 04:15 PM July 14, 2008 from twhirl
dannysullivan @sugarrae i know! but with 3G, the phone seriously makes sense. and crash nitro cart. and twitterific is awesome. and safari's cool. and and 04:18 PM July 14, 2008 from twhirl in reply to sugarrae
dannysullivan verizon kindly offered to cut my termination fee in 1/2 to port over to at&t so nothing stands between me and my iphone tomorrow. cept stock about 1 hour ago from web

But this is the same Danny who said he won't be getting this phone. Why do I care so much? I don't - I just want to rub it in, because I told him I would when he gets one.

Honestly, I thought it would take at least 3 months to convince him. But 4 days! Only 4 days!

I told Danny, and I quote:

when u move, ur so getting an iphone

In reply, Danny said:

nope

I then replied:

i give u 6 months from when u move

I was so wrong! 6 months! This is 4 days!

So Danny, you are now the ultimate fan boy...

This post is just a joke, meant to *rub it in* as an "I told you so. I am sure Danny will pay me back some day. In reality, I am very happy he is getting an iPhone. It should make my life a bit easier, in terms of the blogging we do together.

July 14, 2008

What Was That Song? Shazam for iPhone Tells You

Ever listen to a song and forget who sings it? Ever listen to a song and want to buy it but have no idea who sings it? Shazam will tell you. If you have an iPhone, just load up Shazam via the iTunes store and run it. Here is a YouTube demo of me playing Stevie Ray Vaugn's Little Wing and Shazam listening to it and giving me the artist's name, song name and where I can buy the song. Amazing:

Here is the output of Shazam, after it finds the song:
Shazam in Action

July 13, 2008

iPhones Sold Out at Palisades Mall Apple Store

Happened to be in the Palisades Mall, cause wife needed to return some stuff. So I paid a visit to the Apple Store to see this sign at the entrance.

Palisades Apple Store Sold Out of iPhones

I hear they get nightly shipments and most stores are sold out. So hopefully, those who didn't want to wait, will get one soon. I am in love with mine.

So check out local stores at apple.com/retail/, to check availability before going.

July 11, 2008

No Third Party Push Email with on iPhone Using MobileMe

MobileMe & Non-.me Accounts Wont PushDamn, I just learned from an Apple rep that the only push email available is at a me.com or .mac address!

Here is the chat transcript:

You are chatting with Craig, a MobileMe Support Representative
Hi, my name is Craig. Welcome to Apple!
Barry Schwartz: I have the new iPhone 3G 2.0, I am on MacBook Pro with latest OS updates, I use Apple Mail, I also have mobileme and I am syncing contacts, bookmarks and calendars just fine. But can I also sync and push my gmail account?
Barry Schwartz: hi btw
Craig: Hi Barry, how are you?
Barry Schwartz: good
Craig: Give me just a moment to take a look at your request, please.
Barry Schwartz: k
Craig: Thank you.
Craig: I do know that Gmail offers Push and IMAP email access, but you will have to contact Gmail for that issue. Unfortunately, I can't provide support or directions for third party email accounts.
Barry Schwartz: on the iphone i mean, right now when i add a calendar event, it automatically is pushed to my iphone
Barry Schwartz: your saying, mobileme won't support push email for gmail accounts?
Craig: Hold please.
Craig: I'm taking a look for this information. I'm not sure and don't want to give you an incorrect answer.
Craig: Thanks for your patience.
Barry Schwartz: no problem,
Craig: Thanks.
Craig: I'm sorry for the delay. Thanks for holding. I'm still looking.
Barry Schwartz: no rush
Craig: I appreciate your understanding.
Craig: Barry, it looks like this won't be possible through MobileMe. If Gmail support Push email, you'll have to contact Gmail about setting it up with your iPhone. We only support push email through @me.com or @mac.com email addresses.
Craig: You can also consult with iPhone support through AppleCare at 1-800-APL-CARE.
Barry Schwartz: thanks
Craig: You are very welcome, Barry. Is there anything else I can assist you with today?
Barry Schwartz: that is all
Barry Schwartz: good day

Got My iPhone 3G

I got my iPhone 3G. I got the black 16GB version. Everything is pretty much set up minus some MobileMe things that are having issues.

Here is me walking into the store:

Here is me playing Super Ball on my iPhone:

In Line At Apple Store at Tice's Corner

I am currently on line at the Apple Store at Tice's Corner, waiting for the iPhone 3G. I stopped by last night at 8pm and noticed only one person was waiting. In any event, I got here at about 4:30am on Friday morning and I am about number 20 in line.


Here is a picture:
Waiting on Line at Apple Store Tice's Corner, NJ

If you are in the area, stop by. :)

Only got 2 hours, 47 minutes, 27 seconds left until the store opens!

More pictures at 2 hours, 30 minutes, 24 seconds to 8am:

iPhone Line at Tice's Corner

iPhone Line at Tice's Corner

1 hour, 22 minutes, 20 seconds until iPhone, the line behind me:

iPhone Line

July 10, 2008

Scoping Out Apple Store Night Before

Slight change of plans... I am switching stores and going to a different one. About an hour ago, 8pm (EST), I drove by the store to see what is going on. There was only one person waiting and I know he has been waiting there since 5pm. So I plan on hitting this store at about 5ish in the morning.

Here is a picture:

Scooping Out iPhone 3G Line

You can kind of make out the guys head behind the shrubs.

So the count down continues...

July 9, 2008

Countdown Until I Get the iPhone

Here is a widget that shows how soon I will get the iPhone. Not sure if it shows based on your local time or mine, so adjust for EST. :)

July 8, 2008

Rules of Line Waiting? More Prep for iPhone 3G

So, I just got an email from Apple, confirming the rumors that the Apple stores will also start accepting orders for the iPhone 3G at 8am on July 11th.

Apple iPhone Sale 8am July 11

So, I am still up in the air on sleeping over at the mall or just going to the mall really early on Friday morning. I honestly do not want to sleep over, really. In any event, either way, I am expecting to wait in a line. And part of planning for iPhone day, is what to expect.

So I know that I will wait in a line, I also what to expect once I do get to a sales rep. Just go see apple.com/retail/iphone and you will see 8am, is when sales begin and credit card, social security number, valid government-issued photo ID and my current wireless account number and password.

But questions I have is what is the proper line waiting rules? If you need to use the bathroom, I assume your place is saved? What about getting a bite to eat? Does anyone know the rules for line waiting?

July 2, 2008

Planning For iPhone Day

I am really working myself up about getting the iPhone on July 11th at 8am.

I called the mall to find out if they are open 24/7 and they are. So now I need to decide if I dare sleep in the mall or just get there extremely early.

The mall does have both an Apple Store and AT&T store. I prefer to go to the Apple store, cause that is part of the whole experience. So that will be my first choice. The Apple Store is F1 (labeled with the green bow), the AT&T store is H1. They are both on the same level, each about 5 minutes from each other.

Palisades Center Mall Floor Plan

I'll have my computer and wireless broadband card with me. So I will do my morning blogging from the mall. I will also provide cover the iPhone day event from the Palisades Center Mall.

I still have several decisions to make:

(1) Sleep over?
(2) If not sleeping over, what time to I get to the Apple Store?
(3) If Apple Store is a zoo, do I take the risk of trying the AT&T store and lose my spot at the Apple Store?
(4) If it is a long wait, do I pack food?
(5) Do I get the 8GB or 16GB version? White or black? (probably black).

July 1, 2008

iPhone Goes on Sale at 8am, July 11th

AT&T released a press release stating that the iPhone will technically go on sale at 8am at AT&T stores.

AT&T Inc. today announced iPhone 3G pricing for new and existing AT&T customers, several attractive voice and data plans, and tips on how to be "iReady" when iPhone 3G goes on sale at AT&T retail stores at 8 a.m. local time on Friday, July 11.

Yea, that is 8am local time.

So I just emailed the guy I had a meeting with on July 11th to postpone. Hope he is cool with that.

As of right now, I will be a line waiter, waiting for the iPhone, on July 11th.

If you want to wait with me, please do let me know.

Update: Meeting officially postponed!

June 24, 2008

Oops, Scheduled Meeting for July 11th - iPhone Day

The iPhone is available for purchase on July 11th. I was strongly considering waiting on line that day. Today, I realized I accidently scheduled a meeting for that day.

I just heard rumors today that they go on sale at 8am, local time. This comes via Boy Genius, who has the rumor. But 8am make sense, being that you have to activate the phone in the store.

So, I'll likely move the meeting to a different date.

June 16, 2008

Google Reader Returns "See Original" Link to iPhone Version

About 24 hours after complaining about Google making it hard to get to the original entry of a item in Google Reader via the iPhone, Google added it back.

The link is no longer on the footer bar, instead it is added below the body and above the footer of the item. Here is a screen capture:

Google Reader Original Link

I am a happy camper. Without this, my weekend would have been a pain. :)

Thank you Mihai Parparita.

June 13, 2008

Google Reader for iPhone Makes it Harder To Get to Original Entry

Last night I said that Google removed the "original item" link from the Google Reader iPhone version. Well, I was partially correct. They removed the link from the bottom but enabled the circle/chevron image next to the title of the entry as a hyperlink to the original entry. In fact, a Google Reader Engineer pointed this out to me.

To be honest, I tried that out before even complaining, but my finger had issues clicking on the tiny icon. So after Mihai Parparita of Google told me that is the link that takes you to the original entry, I tried harder. If I use the corner tip of my index finger, I can trigger the link to open to the original entry - but it isn't easy. Here is a video of me trying to do it:

This is the icon you have to click on: Google Reader Circle Icon

On the iPhone, it is really really tiny.

Maybe Google can make the title a hyperlink also?

June 12, 2008

Google Reader for iPhone Drops Original Entry Link!

I am so upset. (1) My AC stopped working again and (2) Google Reader for my iPhone dropped the "see original" link.

Here is what the new links look like:

Google Reader iPhone Missing Original Article Link

Notice there is no "see original" link!!!! How do I see the original article and the original site?

Here is an image from Google from the version before, notice the link is there:

Google Reader iPhone Before

Give it back, please!

Update: The Google Reader folks are on top of these things, as expected. They picked up on this blog post and commented. So I wrote a new entry named Google Reader for iPhone Makes it Harder To Get to Original Entry with a video demonstration.

June 11, 2008

I Don't Like Sharing My Gadgets

flickrWhen it comes to sharing my gadgets, I am a bit of a germy. I just don't like people touching my laptop, my iPhone or any of my gadgets. I am very possessive about them and I admit, it is a bit selfish.

Why don't I like sharing my gadgets?

(1) I am very protective over them, very (see my cartoon above, it has my bag, I always have my bag of stuff with me).
(2) Fear of breaking it
(3) Fear of losing it
(4) My life is on my gadgets
(5) I need to always be able to use my gadgets at any time, even if I won't need it a 100%

Last week or so, I found a study that shows I am not alone. Spotted via Science Blogs reports that Mac users are way more possessive then PC users. Yes, I am a Mac user and I guess I fit in that group.

The poll found "there's a dramatic and statistically significant difference between how much PC and Mac users let friends try out their new devices."

So TUAW posted their own poll:

How willing are you to let others use your new gadget?

  • They must not touch said 389 Mac users (12.3%)
  • They can hold it, but not press any buttons said 159 Mac users (5.0%)
  • They can try it out for a few minutes while I supervise said 2166 Mac users (68.5%)
  • They can try it out for up to an hour, unsupervised said 362 Mac users (11.4%)
  • They can borrow it for a couple days said 65 Mac users (2.1%)
  • They can have it -- I didn't really want it anyway said 20 Mac users (0.6%)

I replied "They can hold it, but not press any buttons."

May 29, 2008

Syncing My Contacts from Apple's AddressBook To Google's Email

Google Contacts Apple SyncNot sure if I told all of you, but I made the plunge and switched not only my corporate email to Google Apps, but all my clients (several hundred) email accounts to Google Apps. In fact, via Slashdot, DreamHost who hosts 700,000 web sites, is encouraging their customers to switch email from them to Google Apps. Honestly, I switched for the same reason I switched off PHPAdsNew to Google Ad Manager. I don't have to patch for security, I have no server load for hosting it, the data is up in a cloud, I don't have to worry when there are issues and it has awesome features. So, I switched. Kind of scary.

Now, back to my contacts. I use Apple's Address Book application for managing my contacts. Of course, it syncs with my iPhone. But I also wanted that data in a cloud, just in case I need to access it when I don't have my phone or computer (yes, extremely rare for that to ever happen). In addition, it is backed up in a cloud (yes, I am obsessive about running backups with my computer, but still...). I was waiting on SpanningSync to come out with their tool to sync my address book to Google Apps, but last night, Apple released OS version 10.5.3, it came with support to sync your address book to Gmail (Google Apps).

I followed the instructions at the Google Mac Blog and I was set. Oh, if you are not an iPhone user, Lifehacker has a hack to enable you to sync your stuff to Gmail. I am not sure why it was restricted to iPhone users only but it is, without this hack.

Schedule wise, I do sync some of my calendars to Google Calendar, but not all. I might begin syncing my full calendar to Google Calendar, so I can easily share it with everyone in my office.

I can't believe I am giving over virtually all my data to Google. But in exchange for the convenience, piece of mind and ease-of-use, I couldn't resist. Good job Google!

May 21, 2008

Who Will Wait In Line With Me for New iPhone?

LinesSo it really looks like the 3G iPhone will be released and available as soon as June 15th.

I know I can hirea professional line waiter but I honestly want to totally geek-it-out and wait on line, myself.

So, if you want an iPhone or just want to hang out online at an Apple Store with me, let me know...

So, if the iPhone is for sale starting on Sunday, June 15th. The Apple Store near me is the Apple Store Palisades in West Nyack, NY. Typically, the Apple Store opens at 11am on Sundays. If it opens earlier for the iPhone rush, that is cool - if not, then I would get there as soon as the mall opens to wait on line there. Anyone want to wait with me? :)

I am not sure why I want to wait on line for it, but I do... Last time, when I bought the iPhone, I waited three weeks until after it was released and then gave it to temptation. Now, I can't wait. In fact, I heard 1 in 4 iPhone owners will buy a new iPhone, not sure where I heard that, so don't quote me.

Tick, tock, tick, tock....

May 14, 2008

How Do I Spew Out Useless Stuff All The Time?

randomLast night I was thinking... Wow, how do I come up with about 2 - 4 things per day to write at this blog. In fact, I have written over 1,800 blog posts here since I started the blog on July 20, 2006.

Honestly, I think I write too much here. Heck, I barely even write about search stuff here - I write dozens of articles per day on search at the Search Engine Roundtable and Search Engine Land.

On top of that, I write about the most random stuff here. Yet, I continue to spew this stuff out on a daily basis, with virtually no "bloggers-block." Lucky, I guess. Not so lucky for you, who subscribe and read it. ;-)

Maybe this is a good time to share my top pieces of content on this blog since January 1st:

  1. Macbook Air Song By Israeli Yael Naim
  2. Comcast Plays Porn Instead of Cartoon on Disney Channel
  3. Google Sucks! Google Maps Got Me Arrested!
  4. Shaky iPhone Home Screen Icons
  5. Need Advice on iPhone & Verizon
  6. Practice Parking Your Car Online
  7. The Truth Behind my iPhone Popcorn & Goldfish
  8. MacBook Pro Keyboard Issues
  9. America's Most Drunk Cities
  10. How To Make Your Own iPhone WebClip Bookmark Icons

Here is to another two years of spewing out this stuff here. :)

May 7, 2008

3G iPhone Coming June 15th?

iPhoneIf so, I am so on that. Yes, The Boy Genius Report has an internal email to AT&T employees that implies that Apple will be releasing the 3G iPhone on June 15th.

In short, the emails tells AT&T employees to not take vacation between June 15th and July 12th in anticipation for "an exciting product launch." Everyone and his dog are buzzing that this "exciting product launch" has to do with the 3G iPhone coming out.

Will I get it? I certainly will, unless something comes up where I can't. I did buy my iPhone on July 11th, so it would be just under a year from when I first got it. It honestly feels like I got my iPhone a few months ago, but not, it has almost been a year. I've written about the iPhone dozens and dozens of times. I honestly have no regrets in the iPhone purchase. I will also likely be one of the first to order the 3G iPhone, pending on my schedule of availability.

Note, the Apple Developer Conference ends on June 13th, two days prior to the June 15th announcement. Now, I fully expect the SDK to go live then, but everyone else thinks it will also be the 3G iPhone.

April 9, 2008

Have My RSS Reading Habits Changed?

It has been over a year since I switched to Google Reader and 11 months or so since I posted my RSS reader trends. So I thought I take a look back and see if my RSS reading habits have changed over the course of the year.

The green bars new-gr-legend.png are my new RSS reader stats and the redish bars old-gr-legend.png are old stats.

Note: Overall, I am reading a lot more posts per day, tracking more feeds and subscriptions. The charts overlay nicely because they are normalized. So I am using them to show a pattern - it will make sense as you read:

Time of Day: It seems like I am viewing less feeds closer to midnight then I have about a year ago. I guess I am going to sleep earlier? Ah, I now consume a lot of my RSS on my iPhone, so I have less to read when I get back home late after basketball. That explains it, I think...
Compared: Time Of Day RSS Reader Stats

Day of Week: Looks like, although I am reading more feed items per day, the pattern of the number of feeds on a daily basis is the same. I.e. I read the most amount of feeds on a Tuesday, like I did a year ago. Not sure why...
Compared: Day of Week RSS Reader Stats

Last 30 Days: This chart doesn't really show much, except that I didn't take a day off this month.
Compared: Last 30 Days RSS Reader Stats

Have your RSS reading habits changed over the course of the year? Mine really haven't, in terms of when I read. I do consume more, about 200 more feed items per day more (if I read the charts correctly).

April 4, 2008

Dream iTunes Feature: Add To iTunes Via Radio

itunesHow often do you hear a song in your car and say, hey - I want that in my iTunes music collection? If you are like me, at least once a week.

But how often do you forget to actually download the song after you get to your computer? If you are like me, 99% of the time.

I wish there was some type of feature to dynamically add a radio song from my car (or even my iPhone, via the iTunes store, to be prompted to download later.

One night I pulled up to the gym to play basketball, heard a song on the radio and instinctively went to the iTunes store on my iPhone to add the song to my iPhone. Of course, without wifi access (Edge isn't enough), it wouldn't let me access the iTunes store. Why not? Why not let me search for songs, click a button to download later when I am on Wifi or on my computer on a fast connection? Why? WHy? WHY?!!!

March 7, 2008

Google Reader for iPhone Error?

Since last night, I keep getting the "invalid stream name" when I visit Google Reader on my iPhone. Going directly to Google Reader works fine, it is when I click on the "Tags" tab, when I get this error. I closed it out and tried again, but still doesn't work. Here is a screen shot:

Google Reader iPhone Issue

Matt Cutts, did you notice this as well? I am a huge Google Reader mobile user and this is painful. I don't see anything reported on Google Groups yet, so I posted my own.

March 6, 2008

iPhone SDK Seems Solid: So Solid, I'll Build an iPhone App

iPhone SDKSo today, Apple held their iPhone developer thing...

I watched several blogs live blog the event, but for you, I think Engadget does a great job if you are just catching up now (they use the oldest to newest format, so it reads the right way for you guys not watching live.

In short, the SDK seems to rock. Rock so much that if you have an idea for a cool iPhone application, let me know and I will try to build it.

So leave your suggestions for the iPhone application you think would be cool and we may just build it for you.

Some ideas I had include:

- Prayer book for Jews (current one I use only works when you are online)
- QuickBooks application to look up customer balances, invoices, etc.

Any other thoughts? It is hard for me to think of desktop based applications. I am more about web based apps...

More info can be found at iPhone Developer Connection and iPhone Enterprise (which I didn't mention here).

March 3, 2008

iPhone Stop Watch Hits 1,000 Hours & Keeps Ticking

I love this. These kids document what happens when the iPhone stop watch goes beyond 1,000 hours. They kept it going for 1,000 hours! And I thought I was geeky, these kids rule.

Watch it, watch it and then keep watching it. Shall we try 10,000 hours?

Apple Macs Are Everywhere!

apple logoIf there was one non-search trend I saw at the SMX West conference it would have to be Apple Macs. It seemed like almost everyone had Apple MacBooks or Powerbooks at the event.

I remember the days when I was doing live blogging in 2003 and I was like the only one with a Mac. In fact, the paid wireless didn't even work on my Mac cause it wasn't supported. Those days are long over. It really seemed like the majority of those in the conference were using Macs.

The Search Engine Land team had a meeting and three of the six of us had MacBooks on the table. Vanessa Fox, Rob Kerry and myself all had Macs. Tamar just purchased a 17" MacBook Pro. Danny Sullivan just told me he caved and purchased a MacBook Pro. What has the world come to?!

Heck, even Louis Monier (the man behind Alta Vista) took out his iPhone during his keynote at SMX.

Now, get this. Last night, my brother-in-law called me to tell me he is also going to cave. He said he is going to buy a 17" MacBook Pro tomorrow (today), fully loaded. He plans on doing the dual boot and run Windows mostly and mess with Mac OS X for fun. It won't be long until he switched to Mac as the primary, imo.

My main concern -- are you guys all really ready? ;-)

If you need any support, you know who to call... Not me, by Apple Care ;-).

I am afraid I can't say, "Buy a Mac" anymore when people have computer issues. Now they will buy a mac and call me for help!

Update: Danny blogged about hell freezing over just a few minutes ago.

February 19, 2008

My Old Cell Phones: History of my Mobile Phones

When I was driving to work this morning, the whole 7 minutes, I was thinking about my old cell phones. It is a shame, I think I forgot about some of the phones I had in the past. So I thought I document what I remember now, before I forget it all. Hopefully, I will remember to update this blog post as I upgrade.

My first cell phone was when I spent a school year in Israel when I was 17 or so. It was the best mode of communication. I don't have a picture of the cell phone, but let me describe it. It was almost like a brick. I used to pretend it was a back pack. Why? Because my friends had these small cool phones, I had this huge phone that looked like it came from Zack Morris on Saved by the Bell (I am impressed I remember that show). In any event, it worked semi-well. I remember when I was in the old city, with a ton of brick all over the place, I had to walk to certain areas to get reception. In any event, it lasted me the year in Israel. How I wish I had a picture of that phone.

When I came back from Israel, I attended Baruch College, and needed a cell phone to communicate while I was in NYC. I also ran the early stages of RustyBrick while in college. So a cell phone was necessary. In any event, I remember having a Motorola flip phone. It worked well, no real complaints that I can remember. Again, I wish I had a picture of it or remember the name of it.

After that phone, I got myself a StarTAC phone. Those phones were the coolest phones back then, I was a little late to get one but I got it eventually. It worked well and I liked having it. I had a gray cover on mine but here is a picture of one.

StarTAC

After that, I think I had one or two, maybe three, phones - but I can't remember what they were. During this time, I also had palm pilots, I had many different ones - so I was addicted to mobile pant to hold all my gadgets comfortably.

treo_700p.jpgEventually, I upgraded to a the Palm Treo 650 and I was part of the smart phone group. After about a year or so, they came out with the Treo 700p and I got it on August 17, 2006. I really loved that phone - well, not the phone part but the mobile email stuff. I did a ton with it, including tethering the phone to my MacBook so I can use the Internet connection when traveling and it worked.

Then, in July, I broke down and got the Apple iPhone.

Google's New iPhone Interface

By far, this is my favorite phone. The web browsing is really web browsing, not fake web browsing. The email is awesome, there are some things I miss from the Treo - but its worth it. The phone is a 100X better than the Treo. The iPod rocks to have in one device. I live on this phone. Google Reader, Email, RustyBudget, text messaging, stocks, weather, photos, calendar, etc - it all syncs with my Mac perfectly.

What is next? I suppose a new iPhone when the 3G model comes out. But time will tell.

January 29, 2008

Hebrew Mobile Phones: Amigo

Amigo PhonePart of my international geek travel guide is to rent a mobile phone that works in Israel. Last year, I went with Travel Cell and I was very happy. This year, I am going with Amigo.

Why Amigo? Well, this year, unlike last year, I am going with a bunch of family. The Amigo phones have this annoying "Push to Talk" feature (like the Nextel Walkie Talkie feature). So we can easily talk for free to each other via the PTT feature, instead of using minutes. We all got the Amigo phones so that we can do this. We all picked up the phones last night from an authorized dealer.

Last night, I began programming in the phone numbers of our other family members so that I have quick access to the PTT information when needed. I soon realized the phone is in Hebrew. I am sure I could switch it to English, but why not leave it in Hebrew.

I then added my wife, ישע, then my name to her phone, ברי which is pronounced Barry, as opposed to ברוך, my Hebrew Jewish name. Then my mom, אמא and dad, אבא. Then my sister, גק', and brother-in-law דו. I am sure I spelled the English versions of their name wrong. Well, for my mother, no way am I going to try to spell אדרין or for my dad, ליון. Of course, I could of used their Jewish Hebrew names, but this was a bit more fun.

I am without a phone that checks email over a cell connection when in Israel. I will have my iPhone which will connect to wifi networks and I have my laptop which does that as well. My hotel will have Internet, it will be slow. The blackberry like services in Israel, I hear, are a fortune.

January 28, 2008

International Travel as a Geek

lego airplaneI already wrote about Geeks & Airline Security, so this is going to be my international version. Yes, there are new things I need when traveling international.

Here is a list of geek items I need for the trip:

  • plug converters
  • monitor cables
  • ear phones
  • iphone earphone adapter
  • batteries
  • extra laptop battery
  • airline computer plug
  • apple remote
  • extra power cord
  • wireless travel modem
  • ethernet cable
  • airline ear phones
  • electronic tickets
  • digital form of hotel vouchers
  • passport
  • confirm kosher food on flight
  • rent mobile phone
  • send out emails to family/friends/co-workers/clients with ways to be reached

That is my list so far...

What is up with the lego plane? More on that over here.

January 21, 2008

Using RustyBudget on Your iPhone

If you are a blogger and have yet to try RustyBudget out yet, you are missing out. I honestly can't describe how much time I save every day by using it. Of course, it was my idea and RustyBrick built it, so I am biased, but at the same time, I built it around my specific needs. FYI - Danny Sullivan lives and dies by it every day as well, maybe one day he will blog about it.

In any event, I am often on the road and want to be able to add items from Google Reader directly to my various budgets. Based on watching the using delicious on your iphone, I had one of those "Doh!" moments. Just add the bookmarklets I need to my Safari browser, and then sync my iPhone. Presto - I can add items from Google Reader directly to the budget I want.

Here is me showing that off:

Step back!!! What is RustyBudget? Well, I wrote about it over here and over here. I am honestly shocked more people have not gotten on the bandwagon. Only 337 authors? Only 12,500+ topics added. Maybe it is too confusing?

Anyway, give it a shot at RustyBudget.

iPhone Now With 75,000 Text Messages

iPhone SMS Messages Almost Full!Remember how upset I was that I was about to reach my iPhone text limit of 1,000 text messages? I actually had to delete a bunch of those text messages, and they are now forever gone.

Then the Missing Sync for iPhone came out, and enabled me to save all my text messages to my computer. This way, I can delete stuff from my iPhone and still have it on my desktop. Great!

Now, with the latest iPhone update, 1.1.3, Apple has allowed up to 75,000 text messages to be stored on your iPhone. That is 74,000 more than we had with version 1.1.2. I wonder how long it will take me to fill that up. :)

January 18, 2008

Israel Trip is Soon: More iPhone Usage Thoughts

I keep talking about taking my iPhone to Israel.

On one hand, I want to be able to check emails throughout the day when I am roaming the streets and doing tourist-like things. On the other hand, I don't want to be hit with a huge bill when I get home. Since AT&T has yet to support an international plan designed for Israel and the iPhone (they have for the Treo and Israel), I don't plan on making calls from my phone or using data.

But what about the wifi option? Can I get away with using just that?

The iPhone Tips for International Roamers describes how you can use Wifi to get data on your iPhone while traveling internationally. But what scares me is the language is not very encouraging...

When I go ahead and look at Keep Data Roaming "OFF" section under Settings > General > Network > Data Roaming, it reads:

When abroad, turning off data roaming may avoid roaming charges when using email, web browsing, and other data services.

The word "may" is what concerns me. Here is a picture:

iPhone Keep Data Roaming "OFF"

If I was in Israel today, I bet I would follow the instructions, and try to just use Wifi only and make sure the data roaming is off. But I know I would check my AT&T account the day after to see if I was being billed.

January 16, 2008

How To Make Your Own iPhone WebClip Bookmark Icons

Yesterday, I showed you how to add bookmark icons on your iPhone's home screen. Today, I am going to show you how I added support for custom icons on Search Engine Roundtable and RustyBrick.

As per the iPhone Developer Center, it is very simple.

Step 1: Create custom icons that are 57x57 and save them as PNG files. They can be larger, but Apple will scale them for you.

Step 2: Rename the file to apple-touch-icon.png

Step 3: Upload them to your root directory on your server.

STOP - what if you don't have access to your root directory? Well, you can add a <link> element similar to <link rel="apple-touch-icon" href="/customIcon.png"/> within the <head> element of the page.

Then you go to your site and follow my directions on how to add bookmark icons on your iPhone.

Here are the three I added:
Cartoon Barry Apple iPhone Icon Search Engine Roundtable Apple iPhone Icon RustyBrick Apple iPhone Icon

Here is what it looks like on my iPhone:

iPhone WebClip Bookmark Icons

Pretty slick, don't you think?

OK, I am obsessed this week with the iPhone - sorry.

January 15, 2008

Shaky iPhone Home Screen Icons

Along with the iPhone Google Maps Triangularization, there is this new feature that let's you customize your home screen.

You basically hold press down one of the icons for a second and then the icons or buttons on the screen begin to dance and shake. Here is a video...

Gotta love how those icons shake...

So I set up a new page on my iPhone home screen just for certain web bookmarks I use very often. In the past, I left about 5 bookmarked pages open in my iPhone's Safari tabs. I believe this solution may be a tad quicker. Here is that screen devoted to just web bookmarks, at least for now...

Customize iPhone Home Screen Icons

FYI, I got to give myself credit for taking such a great picture of my iPhone. Normally, these pictures come out all shaky and hard to read. I got so lucky with this one...

How Accurate is iPhone's Google Maps Triangularization?

I installed the latest iPhone update, which was released just a few hours ago. The first thing I tested out was the Triangularization technique for the iPhone to figure out your location and then plot it on Google Maps, within your iPhone.

This is a video of the first time I tried it:

Measuring from one side of the circle to the next, is about 1 mile long. Now, the pin, which represents my real location, is probably a few hundred off the center of the circle. But at the same time, I have horrible reception in my office with AT&T.

I tried it a second time and the pin was smack in the middle of the circle, which is what you want to see.

I know this feature will be useful when I am out and about and not in my car (i.e. without a GPS).

Update: I ran this at home and the radius was maybe 300 feet and the center of the circle was dead on!

Disappointed by MacWorld Keynote

Apple Time CapsuleWell, the Apple MacWorld Expo Keynote is now over. I am a bit disappointed with it.

Let's go through my predictions even thought I normally don't do predictions...

(1) The "Tablet MacBooks" I predicted is actually a MacBook Air. Although you can't touch the screen, the touch pad, is a "multi-touch." That means "you can pinch, swipe, or rotate to zoom in on text, advance through a photo album, or adjust an image." So it is somewhat tablet like, with that feature and it being extremely thin.

(2) Apple Cinema Displays with iSight's built in :: I was dead wrong

(3) Something with an iPhone (bigger space, maybe 3G?) :: They have a new software update out, 1.1.3. It pretty much covers the rumored version. It is free, unlike the iTouch update which is not.

(4) A Mac pet to walk around your house, call it the iApple or something (kidding)... I was joking about this...

They did come out with Time Capsule, Apple's answer to the lack of NAS support for Time Machine. So, you have to buy an Apple storage device to allow other Macs to back up on a single drive. The wireless is cool. They come in two versions, 500GB for $299.00 or 1TB for $499.00. I am happy with my solution and don't plan on buying Time Capsule. Cute name...

Live Coverage of MacWorld Expo On Twitter

TUAWIf you love Apple or even hate them, but want to get live coverage of the MacWorld Expo, where the keynote is happening today, you can get that via Twitter.

One of my favorite Mac blogs announced they will be providing live coverage of the event via Twitter. Their Twitter account is at TUAW, so just follow it and make sure you have a solid Twitter app to be on top of it.

The coverage should start at about 12 EST today.

My predictions or more of a wish list?
- Tablet MacBooks
- Apple Cinema Displays with iSight's built in
- Something with an iPhone (bigger space, maybe 3G?)
- A Mac pet to walk around your house, call it the iApple or something (kidding)

January 14, 2008

Men Sitting, Women Shopping: Conversation Policy

SittingSaturday night, my wife convinced me to drive her to a mall so she can return something and buy something else. After a bit of a struggle, I caved and drove her.

We enter the store and conveniently there are two large chairs to sit on. One of the seats was occupied by a man using his iPhone. I smiled, sat down, took out my iPhone and began replying to some emails, checking RSS and then even some YouTube videos.

The man left, after his wife made her purchase. I remained, waiting for my wife. I continued my iPhone usage, until this other man came and sat down in the open chair. He said hello, so of course I responded with a hello. But then he began making conversation. I responded kindly, but tried to make sure he noticed that I was on my iPhone. He didn't stop. I know where he was from, how often he goes shopping, recent parties he went to and a bit more. Then his wife came over and signaled she was done --- yippeee! He got up, said goodbye, and left.

Now, am I wrong here? It seemed like the previous guy got it right. When men are waiting for their wives as they shop, they do not need to converse. God invented iPhones for that reason. :)

Here is a poll on the topic, let me know your thoughts...

January 3, 2008

What Websites and Programs Do I Use to Get Things Done

Michael Gray tagged me on What Websites and Programs Do You Use to Get Things Done. So, I thought I share with you the most uses sites and programs I use on a daily basis.


safari(1) I couldn't do what I did without a browser. I live and die by my browser. My preferred browser is Apple Safari. It is super quick, has built in spell check, grammar check, and dictionary. It just runs smoothly for me and it doesn't get bloated like Firefox. Don't get me wrong, I also use Firefox for specific reasons, but Safari is my core browser.
rustybudget(2) RustyBudget is my key web application through out my blogging day. It is the place I organize all the topics from this blog, for the Search Engine Roundtable and where all the authors manage the topics at Search Engine Land. Heck, we even use it to manage our crazy conference schedules. I know, I built this application, but I built it around my needs and it is honestly the most powerful tool I use each day for my blogging needs.
google reader(3) Google Reader is where I get 95% of my news information from for Search Engine Land. I subscribe to like a billion sources and news searches, and Google Reader makes it possible for me to digest so much information. I go to Google Reader probably 50 to 100 times per day on both my laptop and iPhone. It is one of the most used applications on my browser.
apple mail(4) Apple Mail, my email client. I get several hundred emails per day and reply to hundreds. Without my email client and all the rules I set up for it, I would be lost. I am a nut when it comes to my inbox. I call it email OCD and that is exactly what I have. Between the blogging emails, work emails, personal emails and spam - I got plenty to keep me busy.
adium(5) Adium X, my instant messenger client. I use AIM, Gmail and Yahoo Messenger and it is the way I stay in touch with some clients, SEO buddies, blogging colleagues, family and even employees. Yes, I am often too lazy to walk into the next room to say something and Ill just IM them instead. IM is simply an awesome collaboration tool.
Inquisitor(6) Inquisitor X, I did a blog post on this in the past. It basically has my quick ways to find most the information I may search on throughout the day. That includes finding stories I wrote about at this blog, or at Search Engine Roundtable or Search Engine Land or Google, Flickr, Yahoo, News, and so on. It saves me a few seconds each time I use it, and I really appreciate that.
flickr(7) Flickr. What can I say about Flickr. It is the place I keep, organize and share all my photos. I use it mostly for blogging, sometimes for work, and also for family. I love how it works, I love the social features, I love the stats and new editing features. I love Flickr. It integrates will with a plugin, in iPhoto. It helps me do my job every day.
twitterific(8) Twitterific helps me manage all my Twitter conversations. Without it, I doubt I would use Twitter all that often. It is this little application that floats in a corner of my screen, where I watch the various Twits that go by. I am sure I miss many, but it helps me spot some.
itunes(9) iTunes is on at my desk all day. Between all the people in my office, I can probably listen to a new song every day for several months without any duplication. But honestly, when it comes to music, I love duplication. I enjoy my Neil Young, my Led Zeppelin, a bit of Rush, Jimmy Buffet, Bob Dylan, Satriani, and so on. It helps the day be a little more enjoyable, not that I need a more enjoyable day. :)
iphone(10) Last but not least, 100% not least, is my iPhone. I love my iPhone. Email, the web as it should be, phone, text messaging, stocks, weather, youtube, and an iPod all in one. The usability of the phone. The coolness of the phone. I just love it.
I think that covers the core ten programs and web sites I use on an average day.

Other programs or sites I use all the time but didn't have time to highlight include Movable Type, dozens of forums, custom built RB software to manage RB stuff (its huge and powerful), QuickBooks, Quicken, Snak, Word, Excel, iCal, iPhoto, Photoshop, TextEdit, BBEdit, Transmit FTP, Parallels Desktop, SuperDuper and more.

January 2, 2008

iPhone SMS Limit Resolved with Missing Sync for iPhone

missing sync iphoneRemember my problem with maxing out my iPhone text messages limit? It was a huge bummer having to have to delete some of those text messages.

Well, I didn't delete them all and now I have a way of exporting those SMS messages to my Mac, through Missing Sync for iPhone. It not only gives me a way to back up all my text messages and SMS messages, it also allows me to quickly browse them on my Mac and even search for them. Not only that, I can also reply to SMS's via email, if I want to. More on that over here.

Included is also a way to organize and search iPhone notes and search call logs.

So now I can delete more SMS messages off my iPhone and not worry about them being gone forever.

FYI - this isn't a real sync, it just pulls data from the iPhone over to your Mac.

iPhone, Israel, Cell Phone: Advice?

iphone israelI pledged not to take my iPhone to Israel. Well, now AT&T has posted their international iPhone rate plans. It appears for me to use my iPhone in Israel, I have these rates to worry about:

- $2.49 per minute for voice
- $.0195/KB for data
- $0.50 per text message sent

What worries me the most is the data portion. I think I would pay $100 to know that I can use my iPhone to check email the week or so Ill be in Israel. But I don't know how many KB I use or would use.

I called AT&T and they told me about the Data Global Plans for iPhones which can give me 20MB Data Global Plan gives you 20MB. But it isn't covered in Israel, so it doesn't apply to me. AT&T got wise after a ton of issues with users who traveled overseas. They created a iPhone Tips for International Roamers.

How iPhone Users Can Minimize International Data Charges:

  • Utilize WiFi, available in many international hotels, airports, and restaurants to browse the web or check email.
  • Keep Data Roaming "OFF": Be sure to download the Version 1.1.1 upgrade to iPhone. This software update will enable the ability to turn on/off data roaming when traveling outside the U.S. By default, this setting will be in the "OFF" position. The path is: Settings > General > Network > Data Roaming.
  • Turn off your phone's "auto check" function, and check email manually when needed, using WiFi.
  • Reset the usage tracker to zero when you arrive overseas and monitor your data usage.
  • Consider purchasing an international service plan that includes discounted international data usage.  AT&T now offers two discount international data packages. The 20 MB package is $24.99; the 50 MB package is $59.99.  See att.com/wirelessinternational for details and international roaming rates.

My plan?

Go with a place like Travel Cell and just use a cell phone from them. What about email? Hope for free Wifi spots. :) I got wifi in my hotel...

December 31, 2007

Judaism & Technology: How I Use or Don't Use Technology in Judaism

LED KippahTodd has an excellent idea, to write this post. How do I use or not use technology when it comes to my religion, Judaism.

There is a lot one can't do on Shabbos, so in order to be efficient with not leaving on lights or the heat, we use technology to aid us without committing a "sin" on the day of rest.

Shabbos Technology:

  • Heat Programmable Thermostats to lower or increase heat at specified times
  • Central A/C Programmable Thermostats
  • Wall timers & Light timers
  • Timer to turn on hot plate for Shabbos day (warms food)
  • Shabbos switch for Alarm (so beams don't go off)
  • Turn off light motion detectors
  • Mechanical door locks so no key is required to carry
  • Crock Pot for cholent (which is a new word added to the Oxford English Dictionary

Online Tools:

  • HebCal, best online hebrew calendar system
  • Mincha.com, a site that has PDFs of prayer services, great for my iPhone, when on the go.
  • My Zmanim, excellent site to look up zmanim (times), since in Judaism, certain tasks need to be done by specific times, this site gives me those times.

Since I am writing this "off the cuff," I am sure I am missing a ton of things. Maybe I'll continue to add to this post as time goes on, if I remember.

Let's not forget the LED Kippah I ordered almost a year ago and never received.

Note, this is a simplified list. There are books and books on this subject. In fact, although it is forbidden to drive a car on Shabbos (for many reasons)... If you must drive for life or death reasons, there is even a proper way to drive the car on Shabbos.

December 24, 2007

The Truth Behind my iPhone Popcorn & Goldfish

Remember my posts on the iPhone popcorn and goldfish on my iPhone? Remember those?

Well, it is time for me to come clean. I really can't make real popcorn on my iPhone. Nor are there any real goldfish swimming around in my iPhone. I am so sorry for lying to you all. I feel ashamed and I feel like I stole from you. So it is time for me to come clean!

These are all tricks. They come from a company named HotTrix. They are basically iPod movies you download to your iPhone and then play. Here is a video demonstrating how to play these videos after you download them to your iPhone.

Steve, the CEO of HotTrix emailed me asking me if I wanted to test more tricks. Why? Well, because my video has way more views than his video. Why do I have more views? A Google search on iphone popcorn returns my video at the top:

iPhone Popcorn Trick

He has many more tricks, so check them out at HotTrix today!

December 20, 2007

I Got a Goldfish for My iPhone

One of my best presents for the holiday season, a new goldfish. This goldfish lives on my iPhone. Take a look of it playing and eating:

December 12, 2007

TIME Magazine Calls iPhone #1 Gadget of 2007

Not much to say here, let TIME do the talking:

The iPhone changed the way we think about how mobile media devices should look, feel and perform. The design is exceptional inside and out: It's got a slick glass-and-stainless steel case and an elegant touch screen loaded with eye candy. It's an iPod and a 2-megapixel camera. Images and video clips display vertically or horizontally — they reorient themselves depending on how you hold the thing. When the phone detects a wireless network within range — your own home wi-fi set up or somebody else's — it lets you tap once to connect, and then proceed with your Web surfing, Google mapping, emailing and other activities that can otherwise be painfully slow over AT&T's cellular network — the only one, unfortunately, that carries iPhone calls.

December 10, 2007

My iPhone SMS Message Limit is Almost Full

This past week, I started noticing this message pop up.

iPhone SMS Messages Almost Full!

"Your SMS mailbox is almost full. Please delete some messages."

So yesterday, I finally deleted some messages and then looked up the info at Apple.

Apple says you can have a max of 1,000 SMS messages. Doesn't seem like enough. I don't want to delete my SMS messages. In 5 months since I got my iPhone, I used about 1,000 SMS messages. I guess Apple is afraid someone might fill up their 8GBs with text messages?

There is a large thread at Mac Rumors about this and how many people are upset. There is a hack to download your SMS messages, but I'm not going to use that. This is a bit upsetting, to say the least.

November 8, 2007

Professional Line Waiters - How Much Can You Make in a Year?

There is almost a profession for anything. Now, there are Professional Line Waiters, and they are utilized for just that.

Remember the iPhone craze? Well, it is now going on in the UK as the lines begin to fill up for the release of the iPhone in the UK. You pay these guys to stand in line for you and buy the item you want.

How much do they make? Reports say they make about $250 per day.

Yes, it is a hard job:

"Professional Line Waiter"

So how much can that turn into for a year? Let's say you work 300 of the 365 days per year, all of it, waiting in line. That is $75,000 per year for waiting in line.

November 5, 2007

AT&T Upgrades Me to Non-iPhone Plan (Bill Spikes)

AT&T Upgrade my iPhone PlanLast week, I noticed my text messages were going to go over the alloted minutes I signed up for. So I called AT&T, and asked for more text messages.

I described to the customer service agent that I am about to go over on my minutes. He asked if I had an iPhone, I said yes. I said, I need a plan that gives me more text messages, the next tier up. He said no problem and updated my plan.

I look at my wireless usage over the weekend and notice my "Internet" usage was in the red. I thought to myself, I better call AT&T and find out why. So just about an hour ago, I called, while prepping the SearchCap.

Here is part of that convo:

Barry: It appears that I am over my Internet usage, but I should have unlimited. I think it might be due to me having you guys upgrade my text messages last week. Can you look at my account and tell me what is wrong?
AT&T: Let me have a look.
AT&T: You are on an non-iPhone plan. Why?
Barry: I don't know why. I called last week and said I need more text messages and he upgraded me.
AT&T: You should of added more text messages when you activated your phone.
Barry: But I didn't know I would need more text messages then. So now, I know I want more text messages and I asked to upgrade my plan.
AT&T: Why didn't you do it on iTunes when you activated?
Barry: I activated months ago, I can upgrade my plan on iTunes also? Cool!
AT&T: No, you can't upgrade your plan on iTunes. I understand now, let me look.
Barry: Thanks!
AT&T: Wow, you eat up a ton of data. iPhones do that. I better back date your plan and fix this.
Barry: Thanks!
AT&T: Um, it seems like you went over last month due to this issue. In the 6 hours between the time you changed the plan and the time your cycle ended, you accrued over $60 in data fees! In just 6 hours.
Barry: Cool!
AT&T: I'll credit you for that and back date the other plan.
Barry: Thank you.
AT&T You are all set now, sorry for any confusion.
Barry: Not a problem, thank you so much for your help!

I enjoyed that call. I was able to do blogging stuff while having the customer rep deal with the issue the right way.

I am still amazed I used $60 of data in about 6 hours. I wonder what would of happened if I did not call AT&T and waited until I got my bill at the end of this billing cycle. 6 hours = $60. I use my phone 12 hours a day, 6 days a week.

$60 * 2 (for 12 hours per day) = $120 per day
$120 * 6 days per week = $720 per week
$720 * 4 weeks per month = $2,880 per bill.

Not bad.

November 2, 2007

My iPhone is my Light Source: Shows Me The Way

My iPhoneSeriously, my iPhone is my light source when it is dark.

In the early AM, when I leave the house and there is no light, I use it to show me my way. It is just so dark outside and no light at all is in the house. I can turn on some lights, but I don't want to disturb my sleeping wife (I am so nice).

So instead of turning on a light when I need to walk down the stairs, I use my iPhone to light my path.

I can't tell you how I am looking forward to switching the clocks tomorrow night. It is wayyyy toooo dark in the mornings.

October 30, 2007

SpamSieve Saves Barracuda Time & Time Again

spamsieveEmail spam stinks, really stinks. I personally have the Barracuda spam filter sitting on the server level, which is supposed to block email spam. It does block a lot of spam, but simply not enough.

Sitting on my email client, Apple Mail is a desktop based spam filter named SpamSieve. It works absolute wonders and blocks what Barracuda doesn't block. Here are stats I pulled from SpamSieve just a few minutes ago.

Filtered Mail
33,789 Good Messages
12,826 Spam Messages (28%)
42 Spam Messages Per Day

SpamSieve Accuracy
122 False Positives
185 False Negatives (60%)
99.3% Correct

Corpus
2,348 Good Messages
2,871 Spam Messages (55%)
233,887 Total Words

Rules
486 Blocklist Rules
4,562 Whitelist Rules

Showing Statistics Since
1/1/07 1:17 AM

Not bad for 11 months of work.

Thanks SpamSieve!

Now, if you could only work on my iPhone. :)

October 12, 2007

Blackberry Sporting the iPhone Theme

My brother-in-law is a Blackberry guy, yea - I know, one of those...

He downloaded an "iPhone theme" to his phone and I snagged a picture. Here is my iPhone side by side to his Blackberry with the iPhone theme.

iPhone vs. Blackberry iPhone Theme

But Blackberry users, there are tons of iPhone themes out there for you guys. Just do a search and you too can try your best to be an iPhone user. ;-)

October 1, 2007

My iPhone Got a New Button: WiFi Music Store

iPhone iTunes WiFi Store ButtonOver the holiday, Apple released the iPhone 1.1.1 update. So I was able to read a lot of the reviews telling me not to upgrade, if I hacked the phone.

I did not hack the phone, so I upgraded.

The upgrade failed and I had to restore my iPhone to its factory settings. I did not panic. I restored and then it automatically put back most of my settings. I then synced once more and all my data, music, etc were back on the iPhone. The one thing that was not back to the way it was, were my wireless pass-codes for my various locations. So that is annoying, but the backup and restore, worked well otherwise.

So what is new with this upgrade?

The big thing is I have a new icon on my iPhone for the iTunes WiFi store. Yippi, not! :) I think the calendar icon is now a bit more colorful also, just compare it to an older picture and you can see that. Outside of that...

  • Louder speakerphone and receiver volume
  • Home Button double-click shortcut to phone favorites or music controls
  • Space bar double-tap shortcut to intelligently insert period and space (will use often)
  • Mail attachments are viewable in portrait and landscape
  • Stocks and cities in Stocks and Weather can be re-ordered
  • Apple Bluetooth Headset battery status in the Status Bar
  • Support for TV Out
  • Preference to turn off EDGE/GPRS when roaming internationally
  • New Passcode lock time intervals
  • Adjustable alert volume

That is about it. Fun.

September 17, 2007

$233 Credited to AMEX Card for iPhone Purchase

American Express LogoI got a letter over the weekend from my new favorite company, American Express.

They politely informed me that they have credited my account $233.00 for the claim I filed over my iPhone. $33 more than I had initially expected, was credited to me based on the "Purchase Protection Plan." In fact, AMEX noted the credit as a "GOODWILL CREDIT:PURCHASE PROT CLAIM" on the statement.

Not only did a get $233 back from AMEX, in pure cash. I also got a $100 credit from Apple for the iPhone purchase.

So the iPhone that cost me $599 now cost $333 less, or $266. that is about $35 less than it costs to buy an iPhone now. Pretty sweet.

Now who is looking smart?

September 11, 2007

And We Are Back - Hacked iPhone Ringtone

That was quick! I just described how to make an official iPhone ringtone and that it killed my hacked one.

Within the hour, TUAW reports that this Mac application now works with iTunes to make these hacked ringtones.

Convert the file to ACC, open the application and drag it on the icon.

Make iPhone Ringtone

My iPhone ringtone, with the iPhone commercial theme song, is back on.

Making an Official Apple iPhone Ringtone

Alright, so the other day I hacked a bit to get an unofficial iPhone ringtone, now that Ringtone is dead, due to an update. I am sure I will be able to get it back later. But I wanted to test out getting a ringtone the official way, for 99 cents.

The initial tricky part is knowing which songs you can put ringtones on. You have to change your iTunes view preferences to show the ringtones column. Then click on the ringtone icon and presto.

Here is a list view of some of my songs, some that have the ringtone icon:

Apple iPhone Ringtones

Click the ringtone icon and then agree to this:

Apple iPhone Ringtones

Then you get the music selection tool, to pick which part of the song you want:

Apple iPhone Ringtones

I picked this part of Neil Young's Down by the River:

Apple iPhone Ringtones

I clicked "buy and then it showed up in my ringtones section in iTunes:

Apple iPhone Ringtones

It also showed up in my iPhone's Rintones tab:

Apple iPhone Ringtones

I then hit the "sync" button and the song was now on my Ringtones list under Settings > Sounds:

Apple iPhone Ring Tone - Neil Young

Here is another picture showing the song selected:

Apple iPhone Ring Tone - Neil Young

And here is a video of me calling myself:

Cool...

Now I need to get that other ringtone back on my phone!

September 10, 2007

Reminder: Don't Take iPhone to Israel

iphone israelI plan on going to Israel early February for my nephew's bar mitzvah. But I do not plan on taking my iPhone with me to Israel.

Hewlett Harbor man racks up $4,800 iPhone bill from Newsday reports Jay Levy took his iPhones to Israel, but did not turn them on, and still managed to receive a bill from AT&T for $4,800.

Jay Levy and his family took their iPhones on a Mediterranean cruise. Now the Hewlett Harbor entrepreneur feels as if he got taken for a ride, receiving a 54-page monthly bill of nearly $4,800 from AT&T Wireless.

Supposedly, if you turn off the phone, it doesn't mean the phone is really off. The iPhone continues to check back at home base to see if you have email messages, even while off.

I do suspect this is not the case if Airplane mode is turned on, but I do not want to be the test bed for that theory.

AT&T charges $24.99 for 20 megabytes in that region. Apple's statement:

Apple spokeswoman Natalie Kerris said the company adequately discloses the potential charges on the Web site and when the phone is activated.

Note to self, do not bring iPhone out of country.

September 7, 2007

Free Custom Apple iPhone Ringtones

Apple iPhone RingtonesSpotted via Mac Rumors, you can convert your iTunes files for free into ringtones for your iPhone.

How? Really simple and I did it.

Convert your ACC iTunes file to a M4R file (just duplicate the source music file, change the extension to .m4r) and then readd that file to iTunes.

I personally opened a file in Apple QuickTime, then clicked export to to ipod and renamed it there. Then I double clicked on the file and presto, I was able to add it to my Ringtones.

I just did this for the iPhone commercial theme song. I will have no patience to make other songs into ringtones.

But nice to know this is a way to do it.

September 6, 2007

Apple Comes Through: $100 Credit + $200 AMEX = $300 iPhone

Steve Jobs came through also, offering a $100 credit to iPhone buyers. Sweet!

Therefore, we have decided to offer every iPhone customer who purchased an iPhone from either Apple or AT&T, and who is not receiving a rebate or any other consideration, a $100 store credit towards the purchase of any product at an Apple Retail Store or the Apple Online Store. Details are still being worked out and will be posted on Apple's website next week. Stay tuned.

So, now with the $200 from AMEX and the $100 from Apple, I got myself an 8GB iPhone for only $300!

Beat that!

AMEX Comes Through: $200 Back for iPhone Purchase!

I can't believe it. AMEX, American Express, just gave me $200 back for my iPhone purchase.

Tuaw updated us saying that AMEX is now giving iPhone customers, who used their AMEX card, the $200 back.

I just got it back!

I called the American Express Return Protection line at 1-800-297-8019 and the nice customer rep said:

Do you want a credit or a check in the mail?

I said a credit is fine!

I should get the credit in about 14 days!

AMEX, you finally came through for me!

Digg users, I turned off comments - the comments were killing the server. So go back to Digg and comment there. Thanks.

Am I an Apple iPhone Sucker?

If you were stuck in a hole yesterday and missed the news that Apple dropped the price of the iPhone by $200 bucks only after 60 days of it being released then stop reading. Ok, you can continue to read.

As you can see by my first two lines, I am a bit disturbed with Apple. But I guess I have myself to blame. I bought an Apple iPhone about 1.5 weeks after it was released. I paid about $600 for the 8GB iPhone. 55 days later, the iPhone's price dropped by $200. The same exact phone. So I lost about $200.

Of course, owning the iPhone early, as an early adopter, gave been bragging rights. It also gave me a lot to write about at this blog. But I am out $200.

Tuaw offered possible ways to get your $200 back. I personally tried the AMEX price match reward, but AMEX wouldn't let me use yet another rewards, because they discontinued that program. I feel used once again by AMEX.

Apple, well, it was expected but not so soon. This morning I wrote at Search Engine Land, Google Fight: Nokia & Apple Ads Trade Blows Over iPhone Price Cut. Yes, Apple and Nokia go at it using Google AdWords Search Ads:

Nokie & Apple on Google over iPhone

Very funny, oh make sure to check the comments on the SEL post. Some good ones. ;-)

So I am an Apple sucker, so?

Update: See AMEX Comes Through: $200 Back for iPhone Purchase!

September 5, 2007

iPhone Alarm Helps Make For Happy Marriage

iPhone Alarm ClockSome times, my wife asks me to give her a wake up call.

Back when I had my Treo, that required me to make a new event or use a 3rd party alarm application. This resulted in me often forgetting to call my wife to wake her up at the time she specified. She learned to not trust my wake up calls.

But now, that I have the iPhone, I am now a trustworthy wake up call specialist. She gives me a time, I plug it in, it buzzes and me, I call and we are all very happy.

The iPhone, a device that makes for happy marriages.

It is pretty cool how it works. You go to the clock application, then click on the alarm icon at the bottom. Then you add a new alarm and you can schedule it to repeat on specific days, customize the alert tones, add if you want a snooze option and then scroll the little time pad up and down to the time you want the alarm to go off.

It is pretty neat.

August 30, 2007

17-Year-Old Unlocks Apple iPhone & Sells it for Car

George Hotz Unlocks iPhoneMajor geek factor here.

A teen hacked the iPhone so that it is now unlocked and working on a non-AT&T network. The teen is 17-years-old and Glen Rock, N.J. Which is not too far from me.

Teen Trades Hacked IPhone for New Car from the AP writes:

The 17-year-old Hotz said he will be sending the three new iPhones to the three online collaborators who helped him divorce Apple Inc's popular product from AT&T's network. The job took 500 hours, or about 8 hours a day since the iPhone's June 29 launch.


View Larger Map

His name is George Hotz.

George made a deal with CertiCell. CertiCell is giving George a Nissan 350Z plus three 8GB iPhones, in exchange for the unlocked iPhone.

He unlocked the iPhone on Friday, Aug. 24, 2007.

Now that is one killer summer gig.

August 27, 2007

The SES Sphinn Meetup Quickly Changes to iPhone Meetup

Danny Sullivan, a want to own iPhone individual, organized the first Sphinn Meetup while at SES.

So Matt Cutts and I, the two cool people who own iPhones, came to the meetup.

Danny quickly felt threatened by his phone-hood and decided to challenge the iPhone'rs to a browser challenge. So Danny and Vanessa Fox who had primitive phones challenged Matt and myself to a war.

Matt had 99% of the page rendered before any of us, I was a bit delayed because they started the contest while I was replying to an email. Vanessa, I think, came in second. But Danny didn't want to fess up that although Matt's iPhone had the page visible, since parts of the page may have been still loading (i.e. pixels for ads or something), that Vanessa's phone actually won.

iPhone Meetup

There is a picture provided by Lee Odden.

In any event, I find it funny that Danny's Sphinn Meetup turned into this makeshift iPhone Meetup.

August 20, 2007

My iPhone Movie Was Aired on Airplane!

iphoneSo, I am all excited to play movies on my iPhone for this trip. I download an undisclosed movie, a get ready to start up the movie on the plane yesterday. The overhead screens come down and show the featured presentation.

Guess what is playing?

Figure it out yet?

Yes, the movie I downloaded to my iPhone!

What a waste! So I opted to listen and watch the movie on the plane screens. Why waste the iPhone's battery?

In any event, I did listen to my music and music videos on my iPhone after the two movies aired. But I was laughing inside.

I thought to myself, wouldn't it be funny if the movie on the plane would be the movie I downloaded to watch. And then seconds later, they showed the movie.

Too funny.

But at least the Bose earphones kept the snoring sound on my left out of reach.

August 14, 2007

iPhone Thumb Surgery

ThumbTalk about crazy...

Surgically alters thumbs to better use iPhone from North Denver News reports Thomas Martel, a 28 year-old, had his thumbs surgically altered in a form of "whittling." This surgery allowed him to easy type on his iPhone, since he had large thumbs.

"From my old Treo, to my Blackberry, to this new iPhone, I had a hard time hitting the right buttons, and I always lost those little styluses," explains Martel. "Sure, the procedure was expensive, but when I think of all the time I save by being able to use modern handhelds so much faster, I really think the surgery will pay for itself in ten to fifteen years. And what it's saving me in frustration - that's priceless."

The surgery involved "making a small incision into both thumbs and shaving down the bones, followed by careful muscular alteration and modification of the fingernails." The Doctor said "We're turning plastic surgery from something that people use in service of vanity, to a real tool for improving workplace efficiency."

August 9, 2007

Mock iPhone Demo: "I Love You" Ending

Check out this mock demo on how copy and paste should work on an iPhone... The best is the ending, where he said, "I Love You." Made me really laugh...



iPhone Copy and Paste from lonelysandwich and Vimeo.

Via Via Via Engadget..

August 7, 2007

Play Super Marios Bros on Your iPhone

Yes, there is now an NES emulator for the iPhone, just amazing.

Here is a video of someone playing Super Mario Bros on their iPhone:

There is still some way to go, but this is just amazing.

Smart Phone --- yea.

July 26, 2007

Speed Dating for iPhone Users: iDating

idating

Too funny... iDating Goes Warp Speed with iPhone via iphonesavior.com.

Just when you think you've seen it all, singles groups across the country find new hope for romance via iPhone speed dating."iDating" parties have become so popular in some cities like San Francisco, California, adding multiple nights and still packing in standing room only crowds. "The iPhone makes speed dating more user-friendly, because you're rejecting a photo not a real person." said Niko Atuna who co-hosts her own iDating parties in the downtown San Francisco area for $25 a person.

So now we have speed dating made for iPhone lovers. :)

More coverage at MyiTablet.

July 20, 2007

iPhone סידור - Jewish Prayers on iPhone

Update: I have launched an iPhone Siddur for the iPhone / iPod Touch 2.0 software. More at http://www.rustybrick.com/iphone-siddur.php or search at the Apple iTunes store for Siddur.

Practicing Jew? Got an iPhone? Stuck in an airport without a pocket Siddur (prayer book)? No worries.

Jewish Prayers on iPhone

Say your תפלות on your iPhone סידור by just going to mincha.com.

To bad, isiddur.com is taken...

Ask Launches Bloglines For iPhone

Ask.com has launched a iPhone version of Bloglines...

It is available at i.bloglines.com. Here are some screen caps.

The Home Page:
Bloglines on iPhone: i.bloglines.com

Feed Summary View:
Bloglines on iPhone: i.bloglines.com

Viewing a Feed Item:
Bloglines on iPhone: i.bloglines.com

Pretty cool.

Maybe it is time to switch back to Bloglines now?

I actually wrote a pretty detailed write up on Comparing Google Reader to Bloglines: The Mobile Edition, maybe it is time to amend it.

July 19, 2007

My iPhone Can Make Popcorn

This phone keeps getting cooler.

I actually learned how to make popcorn with it. Check out the video to see how it works.

Pretty cool, eh?

July 18, 2007

Quick Way to Delete Email on Your iPhone

I know I have been posting a lot about the iPhone, but I am still amazed by it. Anyway, today, I accidently found a new way to delete email while using your iPhone's mail program.

When you are in your list view, displaying your emails... You simply glide your finger from left to right over one email message. Up comes a delete button.

Here is a video demonstrating it:

This saves you a step or two.

Either you have to click on the email and then click the delete trash can button at the bottom of the email. Or you can click the "edit" button at the top right of the list view and then click the red circle icon on the left of the email and then click the delete button on the right of the email. So this is a third way to delete email.

July 16, 2007

Your Finger Print on the iPhone

When I first tried iThumbPrint on my iPhone, I thought it might be real. But then I got smart. Try it on your computer and you get the same thing. :)

iThumbPrint

At least it makes for a conversational piece, when people get bored of the iPhone itself.

My iPhone Bookmarks

iphone-bookmarks.pngBookmarks are critical when it comes to using your iPhone. :)

I have set up iTunes to sync my Safari bookmarks with my iPhone. Right away, I set up a folder named "i" as the first folder within my Bookmarks Bar. Then I began adding bookmarks within that folder both on my iPhone and while I am surfing on my Mac.

These are the bookmarks I have come up with so far.

I subscribe to a few blogs where I find these new iPhone Safari web applications. Two that I like are iPhone Application List and My iTablet. But there are some good static links at BarCamp / iPhoneDevCampApps.

Have any to share?

July 13, 2007

Happy Stats on iPhone

iphoneiPhone buyers have no regrets from USA Today reports on a survey by market researcher Interpret of Santa Monica, Calif. The survey surveyed 1,000 cellphone users between July 6-10th. It found good things about Apple's new iPhone.

  • 90% of 200 owners said they were "extremely" or "very" satisfied with their phone
  • 85% said they are "extremely" or "very" likely to recommend the device to others
  • Three of 10 buyers were first-time Apple customers.
  • For 40%, iPhone is their first iPod.
  • Half the buyers switched from another carrier.
  • Of those, 35% paid an average $167 to break a contract.
  • IPhone owners surveyed expect to pay about $35 more in monthly service fees compared with their previous cellphones.

Very interesting statistics. I personally am a fan of my iPhone. I am already typing with two thumbs after a day. Also, I am typing with one thumb while driving (don't tell anyone).

Here is a picture of my iPhone on my desk, near my Apple MacBook Pro.

iPhone Pics

Annoying Interference on iPhone from External Speakers

iPhone StaticI use to have this problem with my original Treo 650. When I got my Treo 700, the problem went away.

For some reason, the iPhone causes interference with my external speakers. Now, I am not even connecting the iPhone to the speakers. The interference is random sometimes and is also triggered by when I get a phone call or text message or when I sync with my Mac.

I am far from the only one who is experiencing this interference. There is a large thread at Mac Rumors on this topic. Also, MacWorld covered the issue.

The image at the top right is an setting you can configure when you hook up your iPhone to speakers. Note, I do not get this option, because I am not hooking up my speakers to the iPhone. It just causes crackling and popping noises that come out of my speakers. Turning off the speakers don't help. I can turn on the airplane mode feature, but then I won't get calls, text messages, emails and web.

One person said, you will just get used to it...

blackberries do this all the time. After a while you just get used to the sound

I try to put my phone a good distance from my speakers, which helps a lot.

July 12, 2007

Video of Me Playing with my New iPhone

Here is a video of me playing with my iPhone. I recorded it with sound, but for some reason, it did not come through.

In short, I show several iPhone applications and how I am using them. Hope the silent video shows enough...

July 11, 2007

Writing Blog Post on iPhone

This is my first blog post written completely on my new iPhone. This phone seriously rocks

I was not able to do this on my treo.

Hey, I am also listening to the ipod!!!!

Got the Apple iPhone

I got the Apple iPhone, as many of you encouraged me to get.

All synced up and ready to play. My number even transfered within minutes...

Here are pics, more details later, I need to go play.

My iPhone

My iPhone

My iPhone

My iPhone

My iPhone

My iPhone

Need Advice on iPhone & Verizon

rateplans_attlogo20070626.pngI think I may have figured out a way to get the best of both worlds.

vzw_v740.jpgCurrently, I have a data and voice with Verizon Wireless. If I removed the voice service from my plan but kept the data plan, I can then get an iPhone. Work with me on this...

My voice and data plan with Verizon cost me about $120+ per month. The data plan is $60 from Verizon. If I just use the data plan, buy myself a Verizon Wireless V740 ExpressCard for my laptop and drop the voice plan. That will save me about $60 per month. Now, I can add iPhone/AT&T's cheapest plan of 450 minutes - which is plenty for me and I am back at $120 per month.

The major draw back is that my cell phone number would change. Because I would have to keep my current plan, i.e. my current number, with Verizon not to be charged the early termination fee. But then again, it doesn't bother me if I have to get a new number. So people who haven't called me in a while, they won't know how to reach me. Not a big deal, seriously.

Thoughts?

July 10, 2007

iPhone The Musical from NY Times

This is cute:

Via NY Times.

June 27, 2007

iPhone Reviews Are Out; Mostly Positive

The iPhone reviews are out and overall, the reviews are mostly positive. Here they are:

The iPhone is Breakthrough Handheld Computer, Wall Street Journal

Expectations for the iPhone have been so high that it can't possibly meet them all. It isn't for the average person who just wants a cheap, small phone for calling and texting. But, despite its network limitations, the iPhone is a whole new experience and a pleasure to use.

The iPhone Matches Most of Its Hype, New York Times

But even in version 1.0, the iPhone is still the most sophisticated, outlook-changing piece of electronics to come along in years. It does so many things so well, and so pleasurably, that you tend to forgive its foibles. In other words, maybe all the iPhone hype isn’t hype at all. As the ball player Dizzy Dean once said, “It ain’t bragging if you done it.”

Apple's iPhone isn't perfect, but it's worthy of the hype, USA Today

The mania over Apple's iPhone launch has created stratospheric expectations that are near impossible to live up to. Yet with a few exceptions, this expensive, glitzy wunderkind is indeed worth lusting after. That's saying a lot. After months of hype, Apple has delivered a prodigy — a slender fashion phone, a slick iPod and an Internet experience unlike any before it on a mobile handset.

At Last, the iPhone, Newsweek

Certainly all those people lining up to buy iPhones will find their investment worthwhile, if only for the delight they get from dazzling their friends. They will surely appreciate the iPhone’s features and the way they are intertwined to present a unified experience. But in the future—when the iPhone has more applications and offers more performance, with a lower price—buyers will find even more value. So smart consumers may well wait for that day. But meanwhile they can only look with envy as the person sitting next to them to them on the subway, or standing ahead of them in the Whole Foods line, is enjoying the phone that finally fulfills the promise of people-friendly palm-top communication and computing.

Crunchgear is updating with these reviews often.

June 26, 2007

I'm First for the Apple iPhone

apple iphoneYou guys know I am having second thoughts on the iPhone...

Appleinsider is reporting that there are two guys already on line at the Apple Manhattan store, since Monday - four days before the iPhones go on sale, to get themselves an iPhone first.

Gizmodo has posted a video of an interview with the first two people who camped out for the iPhone.

Supposedly, this guy is a "veteran camper" who was one of the first to get the PS3 and so on.

Vicarious Music has a picture of the guy with a sign.

Now that is dedication - or simply crazy.

June 20, 2007

Second Thoughts on Apple's iPhone

apple iphoneI was so upset when I learned Verizon turned down Apple as a provider for the iPhone.

Then, I couldn't imagine leaving Verizon, because of their solid network. But after hearing all the buzz, watching all the demos and learning that the phone does support a high-speed broadband wireless network - I am having second thoughts.

It is just a really cool phone. Really cool. I am a native Mac user, so I suppose all the applications on the phone would sync directly with my Mac. I assume Mail, iPhoto, iTunes, Safari, Address Book and so on would all sync natively. But I am not 100% sure if that is the case.

So I seriously want it, and want it now. But I know deep down inside, I should not get a first generation product. Why? because there is always something buggy and wrong with gen 1 products. So, I will try to be a good boy and wait it out, until gen 2 comes out.

Don't get me wrong, I still love my Treo. Heck, I wrote about it enough! But there is something very appealing about the iPhone.

By then, maybe, just maybe Verizon Wireless will support the phone. If not, goodbye Verizon and hello AT&T.

Here is a quick poll for you:

Feel free to also comment! Oh, I bet the image aligned left really threw off frequent readers. :)

June 15, 2007

As An Apple Enthusiast - The Keynote Was Disappointing

All I have to say is big deal on making Safari PC compatible. They did it out of convenience.

I was disappointed with the keynote.

I am excited for Leopard, but not for the time machine feature.

I would love to try the iPhone, but its wireless speed does not support a broadband network. So that is that.

January 29, 2007

Verzion Turned Down Apple's iPhone! Say It Ain't So!

Verizon Wireless and Apple's iPhoneWhen I read, USA Today's Verizon rejected Apple iPhone deal, I was begging the article was not true. I so want the iPhone, but I would not switch to it, unless two conditions be met.

(1) It runs on the Verizon Wireless network
and
(2) It has the high speed broadband network

Right now Cingular is the exclusive wireless provider for Apple's iPhone. Plus, it won't support the EVDO network.

But when I read that Verizon turned down Apple, "almost two years ago", because Apple "wanted a percentage of the monthly cellphone fees, say over how and where iPhones could be sold and control of the relationship with iPhone customers." It made me sad.

I honestly, would jump at this phone if it was on Verizon and used the high speed network. But I guess now I will have to wait probably two years to get it. Which is probably good anyway. Right now, I am very happy with my Treo, it does everything I need.

But as a Mac guy, this phone fits perfectly with my applications and style. It does not currently fit with my need for speed and wireless provider.

Why Verizon, it works best in my area here - plus it is solid where ever I travel. I am loyal.