Saturday, October 15, 2011

How To Use Photo Stream On Your Desktop

One of the features of iOS 5 I was really looking forward to was Photo Stream.  For years, I've been manually transferring photos from my phone to my computer.  Occasionally I'd e-mail them to myself.  Maybe even use Dropbox.  But, all of those methods feel like there is one or more extra steps to get it done.  Also, you don't want your picture to degrade in quality.

That's where Photo Stream comes in.

You take a picture on your iPhone 4 and it automatically goes to your iPad, iPod Touch (with internet connection), Apple TV and desktop computer.  If you have pictures taken with a camera, you can download them to your iPad or desktop computer and it can be uploaded to your Photo Stream that will be viewable on all of your iDevices.  Imagine how much easier it would be to organize all of your vacation pictures!

It's easy enough to configure the iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and Apple TV to use Photo Stream.  For the most part, it involves going to Settings, going to the iCloud section and turning on Photo Stream.  But, there are no apparent instructions to see your Photo Stream on your desktop.  It's not at  Here's how to do it:

iPhone 4S Release Day

Two crazy iPhone days this week!  First, most of us encountered trouble updating to iOS 5, although it sounds like I got the better end of the deal on that one.  People - you need to BACKUP and then RESTORE that backup!

Anyway, yesterday was the release of the iPhone 4S.  On most release days, there are oodles and oodles of lines waiting for the latest iPhone.  At least here in Hawaii, lines were not that bad.  Perhaps it's because many pre-ordered for mail delivery and you could get an iPhone at the Apple Store, AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, Best Buy, Wal-Mart or Target.

The hardest part about the 4S release day was actually trying to activate your iPhone 4S.  It seems like AT&T was the hardest hit since it has the largest base of iPhone users.

A member in my family ordered the iPhone 4S and I was given the task to make it come alive.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

iCloud Setup & Wireless Backup

Wasn't that a crazy day?  The iOS 5 launch was swamped with problems.  Many of us won't forget Error 3200 anytime soon.  But, anyone familiar with OS launch dates know that there is a rush for about a half day after it comes out.  I was able to update my iPhone 4 by early afternoon Hawaii time and I updated my iPad in the evening.

The one thing I've been trying to do is have everything go to the cloud with the new iCloud service.  We got a taste of that back in June when Apple enabled us to sync our apps, music and iBook downloads wirelessly.  Plus, it became a lot easier to see our latest app purchases.

Now, the entire iCloud system has been rolled out.  I'll walk you through the setup:

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Getting Ready For iOS 5

iOS 5 is almost upon us.  I've heard rumors that it is dropping today at 1:00 p.m. EST.  I'll be checking that out.

UPDATE 1: iOS 5 was indeed available at the time predicted above.  There's a HUGE rush right now.  If you're willing to wait hours for this, go ahead.  If not, you can probably wait until you come home from work.

UPDATE 2:  If you're getting an "Error 3200" or something similar all that means is that Apple's servers are getting pummeled.  I did manage to get my iPhone updated to iOS 5 but not without a lot of headache.  I actually disabled my firewall and virus protection.  I also unplugged all of my USB devices except for my mouse, keyboard and iPhone.  I'm not sure if that helped it or I was just lucky to get in.  I never had to do that before.  Even on an iOS launch day. Later tonight I'll update the iPad.

Here's a list of what you need to do:

iPhone 4S Benchmarks - Impressive!

I hate to bring up technical benchmarks because the selling point of the iPhone has never been about specifications.

But, I keep hearing, "specs this," and, "specs that," and, "Why does the iPhone 4S have terrible specs?"

Well, here's a report that you use when the "spec" army comes to your door.  Anandtech posted benchmarks for the iPhone 4S compared with the iPhone 4 running iOS 5 and the iPhone 3GS in addition to popular Android smartphones.  The results may surprise you.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Facebook for iPad Is In The App Store

The wait is over.  The Facebook app for the iPhone is now a universal app that is optimized for the iPad.

Knowing the update was coming today, I installed the Facebook iPhone app on my iPad.  Getting the iPad-optimized version was just a matter of updating the app.

You have to log in once with the new app to get it going.  Once you're in, it's a great experience.

It reminds me a lot of MyPad+ with the swiping and sideloading windows.  But it also keeps the Facebook look just like Friendly Plus.

I don't think the Facebook app has any special function that the other Facebook iPad apps do not have.  But, I'm sure that will change in the future.

Here's more screenshots from the iPad app:

Sunday, October 9, 2011

iPhone 4S Pre-orders Sell Out

The way the world responded to the iPhone 4S announcement last Tuesday, you'd think that nobody wanted the newest iPhone.

Well, all iPhone 4S pre-orders have sold out.

UPDATE 10/10/2011:  Apple has announced that iPhone 4S pre-orders topped one million in the first 24 hours.  That broke the previous single-day order set by the iPhone 4.

What that means is you can't pre-order the iPhone 4S to get it on or around October 14 to be shipped to an address.  If you want the iPhone 4S on launch date, your only option now is to stand in line at one of the stores that will be selling it.

Apple Retail Stores will be open at 8 a.m. to sell the iPhone 4S. Here's a list of the other stores selling the iPhone 4S according to the Apple press release:

  • AT&T
  • Sprint
  • Verizon Wireless
  • Select Best Buy, Wal-Mart and Target stores
  • Select Apple Authorized Resellers

As a buyer of the iPhone 3G and iPhone 4 and having to wait hours in line to get them, I wholeheartedly recommend waiting in line at the Apple Store.  In fact, I would try to make a trip to the largest Apple Store in your area because that one will most likely be better stocked.  Here in Honolulu, that would be the Ala Moana Center store.

The carriers seem to sell out VERY quickly.  From what I've heard, stores like Wal-Mart sell out just as fast.  But on the mainland where there are much more Wal-Marts than Apple Stores, there may be a chance you could get a really short line or no line at all.  Still, selection of the model you want may not be good.

I'm going to check out one of the early lines, probably at Ala Moana.  Then, I'll come home and wait for the iPhone 4S that will be going to one of my immediate family members.  Yes, I've been charged with setting it up and I'm all too eager to do so.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Sprint Abandoning WiMAX

Maybe sometimes it's not better to be first.  Sprint was the first major wireless company in the U.S. to deploy a 4G network.  Unfortunately, it chose the wrong type of technology.  It went with WiMAX instead of the speedier LTE network.  Today, Sprint announced it will no longer sell WiMAX phones after 2012.  Sprint will deploy an LTE network in 2012 that will be as large as the WiMAX network by the end of the year (which is not saying much).

I'm a Clearwire customer, which uses the same WiMAX network.  Sprint is a majority shareholder of Clearwire but does not run the company.  I have the iSpot which is supposed to give me 6 Mbps down and 1 Mbps up.  It does decent on the uploading.  But, I have never gotten 6 down in Hawaii.   I got that speed when I went to Washington state and Oregon.  In the video above, it says 12 down in Chicago.  That may be right.  But, I'm not going to Chicago anytime soon.

All of this comes as Sprint begins pre-orders on the iPhone 4S.  So, if you do have a Sprint 4G device, you WILL have to upgrade to an eventual LTE device.

I never believed in WiMAX.  I knew LTE was the way to go.  I bought the iSpot because it was on sale for $30 and I get unlimited data for $25/month without a contract.  LTE hotspots go for at least $50 for the device and $50/month for around 2GB of data.  And now Clearwire has an uncertain future.  Will Sprint "share" its LTE network with Clearwire?

It's not always good to be first.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Real Racing 2 Gets Multi-Screen Update

Apple Insider is reporting that the Real Racing 2 franchise on the iPhone and iPad is getting a major update next week as iOS 5 is released.  You will be able to play with one to three other players in a multi-screen mode:

So what do you need to make this happen?
  • You need an Apple TV to wirelessly stream your devices through AirPlay.
  • You need an iOS device with an A5 processor.  Right now, that would be the iPad 2 with iOS 5 or the iPhone 4S.  That device needs to host the multi-player, multi-screen game.  All other devices just need to have iOS 5.
  • The latest version of Real Racing 2/Real Racing 2 HD coming out next Wednesday.
  • A big screen HDTV.  I have a 46" Sony.  I think any smaller than 40" will feel cramped, especially in four-player mode.
I'm REALLY looking forward to this.  I just need to find another person who has Real Racing 2 on iOS.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Steve Jobs (2/24/1955 - 10/5/2011)

This was the final image of Steve Jobs that some of us will remember.  His final appearance at an Apple keynote at the Worldwide Developer's Conference 2011.

He was given a rousing standing ovation.  None of us knew back on June 6 that this would be one of his last public appearances.

Today, Steve Jobs said goodbye to the world.

Even if you never bought an Apple product, your life has been somehow affected by his presence on Earth.  A computer with a mouse and "windows."  Mp3 players.  Your touchscreen phone.  Tablet computing.  Jobs did not invent any of this.  But he took each computing paradigm to the next level.  We all thought he was crazy most of the time.  And then amazed when he was right.

LIVEBLOG: Apple's iPhone Announcement

There is no livestream of today's Apple event.  I'm not at the iPhone announcement.  So why am I doing a liveblog?  To basically record my personal reactions to the information about the iPhone, iCloud and iOS 5 as it happens.  Keep in mind, some of today's event may deviate to other topics like iPods and the Mac.  But, it is called "Let's Talk iPhone."  I will try to answer as many questions as possible.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The iPhone 4S It Is

It looks like an iPhone 4. It feels like an iPhone 4. For most anticipating the iPhone 5, it might as well be an iPhone 4. But it is the iPhone 4S.

Was there ever an iPhone 5? If there was, it hardly matters now. People are disappointed they didn't get their mythical iPhone 5. That teardrop shape is now in the shape of a real teardrop falling from their eyes.

Really, all of this grumbling is mostly over a cosmetic difference. A larger 4" screen and a slimmer, sexy exterior. I have to admit, I kind of bought into it myself. But, in the past month, I knew it was going to be the iPhone 4S alone because that rumor was the one that wouldn't go away. Plus, iPhone form factors usually survive for a full two years.

So what do I think about the iPhone 4S?

Monday, October 3, 2011

Crazy Sprint, iPhone News

Don't you love wireless companies who do anti-iPhone ads and then clamor for the iPhone?  Verizon did it first with its "iDon't" campaign and then with its "Pretty" commercial.  Then Verizon finally made the deal with Apple to get the iPhone and iPad and now they brag about their shiny, new Apple products.

T-Mobile has taken shots at the iPhone.  And now that it is on the verge of a merger with AT&T, T-Mobile is practically begging Apple for an iPhone.

And then we have Sprint.  Sprint hasn't been as vocal against the iPhone, but its commercials are laced with subtle jabs.  In one instance,  a review liked the HTC EVO 4G more than the iPhone.

And it looks like a Sprint iPhone is a done deal.  In fact, it looks like Sprint will be spending $20 billion over the next four years buying iPhones.  It's a desperate move for a company desperate to compete.

And that's not even the craziest news about Sprint.  There's a rumor that we should all take with a grain of salt that the iPhone 5 and the iPhone 4S will be unveiled tomorrow but the iPhone 5 will be exclusive to Sprint with WiMax 4G capability.  The iPhone 5 will then be available in the first quarter of 2012 to Verizon and AT&T customers with LTE 4G capability.  I have a hard time seeing that kind of favoritism, but it is $20 billion in the bank for Apple.  This could piss off a lot of people wanting to upgrade to the iPhone 5 but don't want to leave Verizon or AT&T.

We'll see tomorrow.  If I feel up to it, I'll be liveblogging my comments during the event tomorrow that starts at 10 a.m. PST.