Skip navigation

Sigh…the wait is ever so long. Even one week could seem like eternity, I kid you not!

I paid maxis TTDI a visit again today. It has been exactly one week since I placed my deposit. I have checked at one MEP outlet a few times over the last one week just to see what’s the stock like. Seems the 16GB model is higher in demand than the 32GB counterpart this time round. And stock had arrived on 16th September 2009, for those who placed orders between mid- and end-August. I checked the list. There were many people who have yet to collect their units. According to maxis, some claimed that they had wanted to wait until after the Hari Raya to collect, presumably once they have collected some money. They actually have that kind of control and restraint. One thing I’ve learnt here is instant gratification. With the iPhone 3G S, you ain’t gettin’ any!

I was in Mid Valley and Gardens later part of the day. Caught an old uncle sitting at My Toast toying around with his iPhone 3G S, sending an MMS. Told me he got his during the launch, just 2 weeks after he placed his deposit with maxis. Well, his son has one too. He mentioned that the iPhone was extremely easy to use, a suitable device for an old man like him. He showed me how Google Maps worked on his unit, giving the example of routing the current location to his home. I now know he stays about 17 minutes from Gardens.

I will be checking with maxis again in the next few days to see if anyone is cancelling their order. That is the only way I can get a unit from that order batch. And for now, that’s the closest thing to instant gratification.

Why the French?

Because French swear words and gestures are poetry in motion, and my wife will be heading to Paris for a gig between the 4th and 7th of October 2009.

What is to keep me occupied in those days of solitude when my wife is on French soil making music for the benefit of the French people?

One possible thing – the iPhone 3G S! If it arrives by then, that is. The week on the 4th of October will be the 4th week since booking. Not quite 30 days, but over 3 weeks in waiting. I would say chances of it arriving is 50-50 or higher.

I am now at the end of the 2nd week of waiting, tomorrow is the start of the 3rd week. As expected, some of the enthusiasm is beginning to fade. I don’t even check around for a spare in stock anymore, as the usual same answers can be very demoralising and discouraging after awhile. Best not to prod. Like an ancient chinese saying, “if you poke and dig faeces, you’re gonna get faeces aroma and smell”. Not quite the situation to be used here, but it seems applicable.

Meanwhile, I thought I would do something more productive, instead of just waiting, checking and hoping. In the last one week, I’ve been tidying my music files in iTunes – removing albums with only one or two songs, reorganizing tracks and albums, and…using better higher resolution cover flow artwork in anticipation of the coming 3G S. You see, my previous iPod was the fourth generation one called iPod 4G Photo. The album artwork used in this device was of low resolution, given the small colour screen. The same artwork used on the iPhone 3G S would look blurry, so a higher resolution replacement was in order. I have been doing this daily for the last three days, and I have only managed to replaced about 20% of all artwork in my iTunes. Having to reinstall, crop, resize and readjust the contrast of the new downloaded artwork is a painstaking task!

I bet that by the time I’m done with this, the iPhone 3G S would just about arrive. It would be nice to know that with one sync, all these would be in proper order, without having to spend some 2 weeks getting them straightened out!

A further 2-week wait sounds predestined.

iphone

Hey you…yes you, the one with all things iPhone in mind. Trust me, I know what it’s like once you’ve finally decided an iPhone is the way to go!

You know, I was fairly enthusiastic when the original iPhone 3G was launched in Malaysia some time last year. No doubt it was launched pretty late over here at this god-forsaken land, especially since most people in other countries around the world have had their iPhones in their hands by then. And by the time it was launched here, most of the people I know (who owned iPhones) had actually travelled out of the country to buy one (think neighbouring Singapore…) or had friends from places like Hong Kong and Australia sent one to them. I was keen on getting my grubby little hands on one too, but there were a number of issues that kept me from buying one. Not that it prevented me from stopping by the Machines shop ever so once in a while, flicking things on the screen of the display model, face lighting up like a 7-year-old with a new toy! So if it could bring such obvious joy, what kept me back?

One was the features on the iPhone 3G…or the lack of them.

I was coming from a Symbian S60 v.3 platform, still am. I have been so accustomed to it, having used many Nokia phones since the day I could afford one in 1997, but left it briefly in 2003 when I jumped on the PocketPC bandwagon, only to find myself coming back to Symbian two years later after having found PocketPC Phones irritating at best, unreliable at worst. Sure, they make great PDAs, but don’t count on them to play the role of a telecommunication device. In my opinion, the operating system was way ahead of the time of the hardware, in some case the other way round as well. They somehow fail to work well together. Most people I know (read: All) have had similar experience with PPC, and usually revert back to something more stable, after realising that they could never live a decent life with missed calls and smses that don’t deliver. You could blame it on the buggy software I had installed, but the less-techie ones amongst us, real friends included, have had similar problems without installing any or many third party apps of sort. Eventually the touchscreen gave way, thanks to the incessant scribbles, jabs and pokes. I had become very proficient with stylus use. Somehow, the idea of having to spend quite some money to replace the touchscreen on a two-year old, already-obsolete at the same time unreliable device didn’t sit quite well with me. So it’s back to Symbian…

Being on good ol’ reliable Nokia phones meant having all the reliable features that came with them. At least reliable enough to do day-to-day PIM work. I started out from the early banana Nokia 8110 right up to the Nokia N95 and E90 that i use interchangeably today. Having these great N- and E-Series phones meant good multimedia facilities were at hand, and calling the wife with 3G video calls wasn’t a problem.

So when the iPhone 3G was finally launched here, I was at first a little surprised to find that a phone with 3G in its name doesn’t do 3G video calls. Especially when most other phones in the market already had a tiny dedicated low-resolution camera on the front panel specifically for 3G video calls. It wasn’t a put-off, considering the number of video calls I make – few and far in between, and only to the wife when I travel abroad once in an indigo moon. So yes, I could live with an iPhone 3G without video calls.

I decided to check with a friend who has been using the iPhone 3G since it was launched in the USA. He lives there, so he got it the day the 3G was born and delivered to the world. He discouraged me from getting one when I asked him about it, citing reasons that the phone hangs and crashes once in awhile. Coming from a Symbian platform that rarely crashes if ever, thoughts of my previous Windows Mobile experience came to mind. Am I going to take a step backwards with another touchscreen device? Despite being very proficient with Graffiti when I was with Palm and the handwriting recognition with Windows Mobile, I had longed again to type with a keypad and T9 predictive text input those days. I’ve had it with touchscreens and styluses…

Plus, there was no copy and paste (which my N95 could do pretty well), proper GPS software that is usable in Malaysia (Maps 2.0 has done it pretty well too on the N95 and E90), no MMS (not that it bothered me, since I never send out MMS and rarely receive them…but these days, what kind of phone doesn’t have MMS capability?!). I believe the battery life on the E90 to be better than the iPhone’s too.

With disadvantages about the iPhone 3G abound, I discarded all thoughts about buying it. Sure, once in awhile the feet walks me to a nearby Machines and the fingers practised the flips and flicks on the glorious 3.5-incher, imagining “what could have been”.

iphone header

Fast forward a few months and out comes the iPhone 3G S. Even before that, the OS 3.0 had been released, with souped up features and a promise that it was going to be in the next iPhone incarnation. While I loved the new additions in 3.0, I couldn’t wait to see what upgrades would be implemented in the new hardware.

It was dismal day to learn that Apple still had not incorporated the front camera for 3G video calls in the iPhone 3G S. Why? Nevermind why for now. What matters are the other bits that have been included. While the previous good features remain, the new 3G S sports 256 MB of RAM doubled from the previous model, rumours of an 800 Mhz processor underclocked to 600 MHz, a new magnetometer and a new oleophobic coating on-screen to prevent the smudges found so often on touchscreen devices, the iPhone 3G included. Won’t go into detail here on the specs.

After much deliberation, I finally decided the specs were good enough reasons for me to go out and buy one. Problem is, you don’t get an iPhone 3G S off the shelf like you do with bread. Or like with any other phone for that matter.

I thought of maxis, since they are the appointed official carrier for the iPhone in Malaysia much like what AT&T and O2 are in the USA and UK. I have also been on maxis since 1998. However, I remember clearly when the iPhone 3G was launched last year, many complained about the contract packages that came with the iPhone 3G. I also did my own calculation, and found the overall price a little too hefty. Clearly it was a toy not for the big boy, but one for the big as well as the rich. It was one of the reasons I did not buy the iPhone 3G. If I was going to buy one then, I was going to get it from Skudai-based iWorld.com.my – contract-free and reasonably-priced!

I guess with the complaints, maxis decided to restructure their packages. The contract plans haven’t changed very much at all, but the overall price of getting the 3G S from maxis has come down somewhat. I already have over 30GB of music in my iPod, so a 32GB iPhone 3G S was the way to go. At the RRP of RM2,990 it was already cheaper than the prices at iWorld.com.my (RM3,599 at time of writing) and ebay in Hong Kong, Italy and the US (at least USD699 on average for unlocked brand new!). Plus, the laws in Malaysia does not allow for a phone to be locked to one particular telco, hence all iPhones sold through maxis is already factory-unlocked from start. So why not just get from maxis?

Just when I was going to splurge RM2,990 on the phone, I realised that it would actually be wiser to go on a plan. With iValue 1 at RM100 monthly for 12 months, the price of the phone becomes RM2,290 i.e. RM700 off RRP. I was already spending RM50 a month on my maxis phone bill, so that meant having to fork out only an additional RM50 a month. In 12 months, I would only be paying 12 x RM50 = RM600 more than what I am already currently paying. It would be erroneous to include my monthly RM50 in the calculation, as I am not adding a new line. So my nett savings would be RM700 – RM600 = RM100, plus I get 500MB data usage (free or prepaid for, whichever makes you happy!) a month.

iback

So, rather than buying the 3G S at the price of RM2,990 without contract and benefits, I am now getting it at RM2,890 with free 500MB data and 333 minutes worth of calls a month. Sounds like a better deal? I think so!

With this new revelation, I decided to go right ahead and place my RM200 deposit at a maxis Centre. I did on 12th September 2009 at TTDI. It has been agonizing, just waiting for shipment to arrive, which they promised would take within 30 days from date of booking.

How could it be agonizing, you ask? After all, I’ve survived through the years since iPhones 2G, 3G…and the first few months already of the 3G S.

I’ll tell you. It’s different, when you’re playing with one at the store which is not your own, and expecting one which you’ve put downpayment for, knowing that the model and unit you’re destined to own is sitting in a box somewhere in town.

In that respect, an iPhone is not very different from a new BMW.

My uncle Francis secured a new iPhone 3GS 16GB this evening at Low Yat. At RM2,800 it is a little more expensive than what you could get from maxis, but Francis found the trade-in value of RM500 for his old and almost obsolete Sony Ericsson hard to resist. It is probably not too bad a deal, considering the number of freebies thrown in. Plus it was an unlocked SIM-free unit (like all maxis iPhones) and already jailbroken. Francis could certainly do without the hassle. Hope he will have as much fun as I did when I first got my 32GB. There’s just so much to explore on the first few days…

I’m not going to tell you what you can or cannot do, or what is right or wrong. When it comes to hacking and cracking, it’s best to adopt the politician’s mentality – there is no right and wrong, only winners and losers. So depending on your integrity (or the lack of it), you choose your own destiny and that of your mobile device. Now that we’ve got that out of the way…

For those of you running the firmware 3.0.1 on the new 3G S and want to have more than the standard apps that come by default with the phone or downloadable free from the App Store, read on.

Before anything can take place, your iPhone must first be jailbroken. As with all jailbreaking process and methods, all procedures done to hack the iPhone will have its risks, so proceed with caution.

I will assume you have had your iPhone already jailbroken. If not, kindly refer to “Jailbreak At Your Own Peril!“. If your 3G S is as free as mine, let’s move on.

Previously, upon a successful jailbreak, there were a number of methods that would allow you to install cracked .ipa files into your iPhone. I think the most popular of these is one that would require you to install openSSH from Cydia, log into WinSCP on your PC, modify some permission settings for a number of device folders, and renaming the mobileinstallation file, all while being on a wifi connection. This method was tried and tested by many to be effective, and although quite simple to do, it was still considered complicated to users who are not familiar with SSH and setting folder permissions. People without accessible wifi would find this method less than perfect as well. I was about to use this method myself yesterday when I stumbled upon another method much simpler by comparison.

This new method can be found at iPhoneheat’s blog. It is rather straightforward in nature and requires that you only download an executable patch (downloadable from iPhoneheat’s blog) which when activated with your iPhone connected to your PC, would give you similar results like above and enable you to install cracked .ipa files directly to your device. The fantastic thing about this method is you do not need wifi to perform the patch or install .ipa files. It seems this method would work with iPhones running the 3.0 firmware, regardless of device model. At least it was reported that it even worked for a first generation iPhone, provided it had been updated to the 3.0 firmware. I have successfully performed this operation on my 3G S running on the 3.0.1 firmware, and can confirm that it works too. Some prerequisites are in order, as given on that blog:

  • iPhone must already be installed with OS 3.0 (or 3.0.1 in my case)
  • iPhone must already be jailbroken (this you must do for the iPhone to be a great servant!)
  • PC must be running on at least iTunes 8.2.0.23 (iTunes 9.0.0.70 in my case)
  • PC must be installed with .NET Framework 2.0 (most newer PCs would already have this by default, if not head on over to microsoft.com for a download first)
  • iPhone must be connected to iTunes at least once before

If you do not want any unwanted surprises, please do not ignore the last prerequisite. It is simple to do, and I would recommend that you install at least one free app from the App Store via iTunes for even measure.

To check for .NET framework in your PC, just perform a search in Windows XP for .net through Start > Search > All Files and Folders, OR type .net in the Search box in Windows Vista.

My reply post at iPhoneheat’s blog after the successful operation was as follows:

For those of you with the iPhone 3G S running on FW 3.0.1, this method is confirmed working. Upon the manual reboot right after patching, you will come across the apple logo as reported, but the logo may stay on longer than expected, giving you the impression that the phone has hung, crashed or **worse* have been bricked. Just be patient and let the phone ride along for awhile…you will be pleasantly surprised with the image of your wallpaper in about 5 minutes and under.

Just to be certain, what I did was left my phone connected to the PC throughout, even after the reboot. I don’t think there should be a difference connected and disconnected, but just to be sure, you could follow what i did.

I have already had free apps from the App Store installed before this, so it was just a simple case of clicking (or double-clicking) one of the .ipa files in my hard disk downloaded before. If your PC does not recognize the .ipa file, just select a program from the list, and make iTunes the default program to run future files with this extension.

I’m running on iTunes 9.0.0.70 and it works! Excellent work there Rizwan, and all concerned. Bravo for a job well done!!!

May the Force be with you on this…

In a previous post, I did mention that it was more natural to use finger motion to flick to page 5 on the springboard (screen pages on the iPhone) than to search for apps or folders using buttons and the D-pad joystick on other devices. What happens when you have double that number of pages and you want to launch an app which resides on page 8? Flick 8 pages from the Home Screen? Everytime? You have to be a hardworker or really enjoy flicking pages for a living to not mind doing that! For me, an app known as SpringJump is the surest way to go.

For those of you who needs this application badly, this will be one of the reasons you will need to Jailbreak, as the application is available for download only via Cydia at time of writing. At less than 90kb, the file is a small one that will make huge changes in the way you use your iPhone.

IMG_0060

SpringJump allows one to place soft key buttons on any page of the springboard, buttons which when activated by touch will jump and bring you to the designated page indicated on the soft key button itself. There are a total of 9 buttons, ranging from Page 0 for the Home Screen, to Page 8 for the 9th screen at the end. To access the 10th screen and beyond, you would have to jump to Page 8 and flick to get to the pages at the end. This alone would have saved you 8 finger flicks out of a total of 9, if you were heading for Page 9 (10th screen). On top of that, the app also allows you to name each of the screen which then appears at the top of each corresponding screen. On the left is a snapshot of the home screen on my iPhone, where I have used only 4 of the 9 arrow buttons available. There is no point in cluttering my first home screen with arrow button nos. 1 and 2. You can see that now, the top of the first page is now labelled Home, as you will find Reference and Office on pages 3 and 8. The 16 icons on each page are vertically squeezed slightly together in order to allow room for this screen heading. You may also replace those dull grey arrow buttons with an icon of your choice. Very customizable.

There are other alternatives which provide similar functionality, such as Categories…but from reports circulating around, SpringJump is the most stable, and more stable than some of its competitors. If this is what you need or what you’ve been looking for, find and download it over at Cydia. It is simple to use on its own without having to refer to any manual.

S for SPEED

The 3G S has proven its mettle for being fast, zippy and speedy, true to its ‘S’ suffix moniker! A number of videos on YouTube showing comparisons between this and previous models of the iPhone demonstrates this rather clearly, especially with regards to application launch. In fact, this was one of the reasons I was sold to buying the 3G S. More than meets the eye what lurks beneath the hood of the iPhone 3G S, and beyond as I will explain shortly.

Apple prides itself as a hardware manufacturer first, software manufacturer next. Due to this scenario, I believe they are able to combine both aspects of hardware and software to work in harmony with one another. Something similar again would be Blackberry running on one of RIM’s devices. Something opposite in nature would be Microsoft’s Windows Mobile Edition running on HTC TyTN II. Somewhere in between would be Nokia’s Symbian running on Nokia and UIQ on Sony Ericsson. Try going on these platforms for a couple of months and you’d get the idea which performs best with greater efficiency.

U for UNIVERSITY

One thing I wasn’t aware of before securing an iPhone was this thing called iTunes U. Perhaps it was lack of marketing, advertising and promotion on this aspect of iTunes; perhaps I had been living in a cave until the day the iPhone set me free. Either way, iTunes U would have been the deal clincher for me to get an iPhone or iPod in those days when I was deliberating in getting one. But truth be told, it was actually more fun getting the iPhone first, and discovering the existence of iTunes U along the way.

My guess is U stands for University, judging by the number of University-related topics in iTunes U. iTunes U allows users of iPhones and iPods to download over 200,000 lectures, language lessons, audiobooks and more onto their devices to be viewed whenever the situation calls for it. You could call this Education Programme on the Go! Of course, if you ran iTunes on your Mac or PC, you could enjoy the same privileges, but I bet it would certainly be more fun watching or listening to these educational programmes on a mobile device on the go, rather than on their more cumbersome siblings. A video lecture on your iPhone would serve as a great time filler during those boring waits at the bank, bus stop and customer service queues. Easier to watch it on the iPhone instead of a MacBook too, while you’re sitting on the WC.

For a guided tour on what iTunes U can do for you, head on over to Apple’s site on this.

Have fun!

No, I didn’t pound it with a mallet.

I merely tested it this morning just to see how fast the battery on the 3G S would drain with some simple short use.

I unplugged it from the charger this morning the moment it hit 100%. With a fully charged iPhone, I received a pdf attachment by MMS from a friend, asking me to take a look at some contract plans for the iPhone 3G S his company was offering. The pdf wouldn’t open in Messages, so I forwarded it to my wife’s Nokia N81. The pdf file opened flawlessly on the N81. A shortcoming of the 3G S? Perhaps for now, but nothing a software or app won’t fix, which I will sort out in the next few days. I would have preferred to view the pdf file with its content on contract plans in tables on the larger glorious screen of the 3G S anyway. However, today’s post is on battery life and not features or lack of them. Moving on…

After forwarding the MMS and having failed at a few more attempts at opening the attachment locally, I locked the 3G S and left the house. I noticed that after all this while, the battery was still showing 100%.

Starting the car on the way to work, I launched the iPod on the iPhone, plugged in my RM600 UE in-ear monitors/earphones, and started the journey to work. During the drive, I turned on the iPhone a few times to switch songs. Still 100%. Could something be wrong? Come on, I turned it on a few times to scroll the list and switch songs, at the same time with a track playing through my headphones. Oh, and with the phone’s EDGE/2.5G radio on constantly too. All that and the MMS and file attachment opening have got to account for at least 1%! As it turned out, no. Maybe it used up 0.4% or something.

The journey to the office took all of 20 minutes. I turned off the 3G S’s iPod, went into office and looked at the bar again. Still 100%. I know the percentage readings on my iPhone 3G S can be quite accurate, having seen it drop every single percent during an attempt to drain the battery dry a couple of days ago. It is not like other phones where it remains at a percentage reading for a long time, only to suddenly drop drastically at a certain point or when the phone is switched off and turned back on, apparently forcing the system to read the battery level again more accurately.

So that I tried. Hold the Sleep/Wake button for 3 seconds and slide to power off. I had turned it off completely. I was expecting to see upon waking the phone, a 2% or 3% drop perhaps. Nope. Still at 100% upon switching it on.

The battery only started to hit 99% after I checked on some new downloaded apps (downloaded in the morning during the battery charge) at the office. It was then that I was pretty convinced that the battery on the 3G S is quite remarkable, comparison with the previous 3G model’s battery aside.

The day before, starting with a 100% charge from home, the day ended with a 60% charge left. And believe me, a lot happened during the day, ranging from phone calls, text messaging, keying calendar entries, checking the dictionary, testing new softwares and apps, using the calculator, reading the free Archie comic from start to end, demonstrating Maps, Compass and iHandy Level to my boss shortly hooking to the 3G network, playing the softkey piano to a song on the phone’s iPod, and the most stressful test of all – the wife playing some games on the 3G S. I even played Paper Toss, Tap Tap Revenge 2 and VW Scirocco after that.

This kind of abuse on the battery is expected when a phone is spanking new, when there’s still so much left unexplored, waiting to be discovered. A 40% battery usage with that is quite remarkable. I can guess, once the novelty wears down and the iPhone is used normally, a 20% to 30% usage per day can be expected. The phone should then last 2 to 3 days on a single charge without much problem. Great!

Nevertheless, like money, one can never be satisfied or have enough battery. But with the way the battery was battered in the last 2 days, a better battery will not be necessary, for now.

Previously, I had thought that it wouldn’t be necessary to jailbreak the iPhone 3G S. With over 50,000 apps in the App Store of which 30% are free for download, is there a need to jailbreak the 3G S? Surprisingly, the answer is still YES! A resounding one at that.

For the less initiated ones amongst us, jailbreak is a process in which you modify the system and OS of the phone, allowing you to install third-party applications not approved by Apple. For many reasons, some good – most bad, Apple doesn’t want you to install apps which have not been tested by them, or tested but doesn’t meet their standard and requirement. It is a good call, considering that the majority of the millions of us are not tech-savvy enough to solve mobile phone problems often due to a buggy software. What then, for the more tech-savvy ones amongst us? The answer: Jailbreak.

Jailbreaking has its risks too, and while some steps may look simple, the whole procedure is not for the faint-hearted. Many users have bricked their phones (i.e. rendered useless), sometimes necessitating a trip to a phone outlet to get it sorted for a fee. There are reports of permanent damage which required direct exchange, but I somehow think that in bricking a phone, the damage is never permanent and can usually be reversed, with due diligence during the procedure and in the research prior to that. Most dead phones happen because people get too impatient and jump right into doing it without having read or heard all the horror stories. I was soon to learn that myself.

I decided to jailbreak for many reasons. Despite knowing that it would void the one-year warranty on a three-day old phone, I went ahead with it. The push factors to that decision must have been compelling ones. And they certainly are. Partly, it was the ego. You see, all my phones in the past, regardless of platform and OS, had been hacked to a certain extent. If I had done it to Windows Mobile and Symbian OS, what good reasons do I have not to do it on the Mac OS X? Void warranty? Nope, not good enough.

These devices, being rich in multimedia features and equipped with state-of-the-art sensors have one main goal in mind. That is to serve their masters to the best of their bestowed abilities. How can they serve well if restrictions are put on them? If they had flawed mortal desires like we do, they would be begging to be hacked! Crashes and hangs? You know, sometimes we allow ourselves trivial pursuits which may be bad or unhealthy for us in the short run, but what is life if not for living? What is an iPhone if not for hacking? Jailbreak us, I hear them beckon.

To please my 3G S with its trivial pursuits, I decided to jailbreak it on the third day. If I know I was going to do it someday, let it be at the beginning of ownership. The earlier you do these things, the longer you get to reap its benefits and enjoy its full’er’-fledged features during its limited specs lifespan, expected of any technology and mobile device in the market.

For obvious reasons, I will not be going into the real reasons of jailbreaking a phone. Maybe in future posts this will be self-explanatory. But I will outline my procedures in the following, including where I went wrong, so that those of you treading the same path as I did may learn to avoid the pitfalls I had stepped into. I begin:

Performing a process like jailbreaking in the wee hours of the morning has its plus and minus. Plus is no one is around to disturb you, and you are unlikely to receive a call at that hour that would throw you off-track. Minus is, if you’re not used to being awake at those hours, you may lose concentration as sleepiness gets the better of you. For me, sleeping at 5 or 6 am is routine, so the lack of concentration out of sleepiness wasn’t so much the problem. The problem was knowing I had to sleep by 6 am, and not having enough time to complete the jailbreak process by then. In a bid to rush things, I had left out the part on “having done sufficient research”. I had read in a number of post that the purplera1n method was best suited for the 3G S. I had known about the redsn0w method as well, but that required downloading huge files. While that was downloading, I went ahead with the purplera1n method.

Plugging in the 3G S to the laptop, I initiated the purplera1n jailbreak, and in almost an instant, the screen on the 3G S went blank and at the same time, the program on the laptop crashed. I knew then something dreadful had happen. The iPhone with a blank screen that failed to respond to button presses and the purplera1n software that kept crashing on the laptop confirmed this. It was only then that I did further research and discovered that in much later forum and blog postings, the creator of purplera1n had claimed that his brainchild will only work with firmware 3.0 and not with firmware 3.0.1, due to some differences in the kernel and patches. And it was also then that I learned that redsn0w 0.8 was the way to go. What a time to realise that!

At that time, the firmware versions (3.0 and 3.0.1) needed for the redsn0w to work was being downloaded. At nearly 300 MB each, it didn’t seem I was going to complete the jailbreaking, if at all still possible, that morning itself. I did a bit of further research (which were to save me further trouble later as I had come to know) before I retired for the night. Or morning. Before going to bed, I removed the SIM card from the iPhone and inserted it into my old Nokia E90. It seems the E90 was going to serve me for the day to come.

The complete download was almost finish when I woke up 4 hours later, and was done when I was ready to go to work. I decided to do my jailbreak in the office.

With the firmware versions 3.0 and 3.0.1 in my hard disk, I thought I was already on safe ground. I plugged my iPhone and connected to iTunes on the laptop. iTunes came back saying that the iPhone was in recovery mode and needed to be restored. Fine. To point to the firmware sitting in the hard disk, you would need to click the Restore button in iTunes while holding down the Shift key (in Windows). After that, iTunes will then prompt you to select the file on the hard disk to be restored to the connected iPhone. After selecting 3.0.1, iTunes then went online to seek approval from the Apple server. The message came back saying the device was not eligible for 3.0.1. Somewhere along those lines. I repeated the procedure with 3.0 and received the same response. I believe that it was only possible if I did not hold the Shift button down and allowed iTunes to restore my iPhone to the latest firmware available then i.e. 3.1. Thanks to much research during the hours before bedtime earlier, I had learned that going to 3.1 was a point of no return that had left many woeful iPhone owners with regret and sorrow. If I had to, that would be the very last resort when I have exhausted all resources.

With the 3G S still in recovery mode, I started the redsn0w program and ran it like normal. I did this with the SIM card back in the iPhone. It may be a necessary step as advised by some forumers. When I came to the part to install Icy and Cydia, I made sure that ONLY the Cydia tick box was checked. I had also learned during the research some hours back that installing both Icy and Cydia would result in a lot of problems. Given Icy’s lack of support and hence implied unreliability, I chose Cydia. This is also recommended by many in the online community.

A few clicks on the subsequent Next buttons and I began to see some activity on the iPhone screen. When the picture of a half-bitten pineapple appeared on the iPhone screen, I knew that I was on the right track, and that the jailbreak process was on its way to completion. The only thing I wondered then was whether my phone with its firmware 3.0.1 and its contents would still be there once this was over.

It only took about a minute or so after that before that familiar “slide to unlock” appeared on the screen, together with my selected pebbles wallpaper. I knew then that all was fine. Everything had been left as it was and the phone was finally restored, with Cydia sitting on the springboard. Excellent. Keeping the E90 back in the laptop bag, I was on my way with the iPhone once again.

For those of you with an unlocked iPhone 3G S running on the firmware 3.0.1, this would be the surest way to go. If your iPhone is a locked version, of an earlier model or with a firmware other than 3.0.1, a different method and further research would be needed.

The detailed step-by-step for the redsn0w 0.8 method outlined above can be found here.

Good luck!

Well, this post is a little late. Can’t blame myself, not especially when I’ve got something new to tinker with and about. It was a whole new experience for me, and I was certainly on unfamiliar territory. I’ll start where I left off…

On the same day of acquiring the 3G S on Monday, 28th September 2009, I headed to Mid Valley in the evening to purchase the much needed protection for the new toy. I already had an idea of what to get as I had visited the Machines retail outlet there almost everyday in the last 2 weeks.

Once I got there, it didn’t take me very long to choose what I wanted. I had eyed the Speck CandyShell case for quite some time now, having been totally sold by the idea that it was designed in such a way as to offer the protection of a hard case shell on the outside, and good adequate bump buffer safety of a rubber layer inside. As an engineer by profession, I appreciated that – good design and great functionality. As a violinist by profession, I thought the sweet artistic looks of the Speck case blended very well with 3G S’s sleek exterior casing. I settled with the lime green-and-grey model (pictured below) rather quickly, as I liked the way the green borders and highlights the front fascia of the iPhone. It is fluorescent enough without being too outstanding in-your-face bright sort of way. The grey may seem dull but it goes very well with the lime green and accentuates it at the same time. The only openings or holes on the case, other than the big one on the front that exposes the screen of the iPhone, are the ones that reveal the headphone jack on the top, the silent switch on the left side, and the docking/charging port at the bottom. The sleep/wake switch and volume rockers are covered with the rubbery material in lime green. Some may or may not like these controls covered, but the lime green does add some interesting highlights to the overall looks of the case.

speckcs

I haven’t used any case with the iPhone before (obviously), and haven’t seen all that many before too, except for the ones owned by friends and colleagues. But I have used many types of cases on previous phones ranging from silicone to plastic and to leather, and I have to say, the Speck CandyShell for the iPhone is certainly the best I have used on a mobile device.

After having used the case for 3 days, I am very pleased with the way it slips in and out of the pocket with ease. Rubber and silicone cases will usually get caught with the trousers pocket lining, and it can get frustrating when you’re picking a call and rubber friction is working against you. The hard shell exterior of the Speck CandyShell makes keeping in and drawing out the 3G S a smooth affair. And even with the seemingly hard cold  concrete-like exterior, I am comfortable and confident knowing the soft rubber interior will keep the 3G S safe from harm and minor impact. True to their tagline, a best case scenario!

Sold at Machines Mid Valley for RM118, it does seem a little pricey but the premium feel and excellent build quality will soon convince you that it is worth the cash. That is, until you head over to the maxis store right across the alley and find the exact same case going for RM98, with more colour combination to choose from. At least, I know where I’ll be getting my next Speck case from.

Seems I didn’t have to wait that long. It has finally arrived and it is now in my possession.

It took less than 2 weeks and a half for it to arrive. Sadly, I had to go over to maxis to check…they didn’t call me to inform as promised. So, I don’t know how long it had been sitting at the maxis Centre since arrival. Well, not like I was going to let that ruined the whole experience.

For those of you who placed an order since early September and have not received news of your units arriving, I suggest you head on over to the centre and check. You’re likely to get the good news as I did yesterday morning.

Yesterday started out with me taking a last minute detour to TTDI on the way to work. The driver behind me I reckon, didn’t appreciate my sudden lane change to get into TTDI. Thanks to most people still celebrating Hari Raya, finding a car park in that otherwise congested region of Kuala Lumpur would have been like ***censored***. I checked with Lawrence, and with a smiling face, he told me yes, it was ready for collection. “Do you want to collect it now?” He told me it would take about 15 to 20 minutes.

I went outside to make a phone call to my wife to convey the good news, and to work out a way to pay for it. I need to make certain arrangements with the bank and some credit cards in order to pay for this. I told Lawrence I was going to come back in the afternoon or evening to settle it.

I headed to office right after, a drive which was as surreal as it could get. As I reverse-parked my car, I scraped the rear bumper against the rough wall surface outside my office. Nope, face was still beaming. Wasn’t going to let that ruined the day for me. Went down to check the damage…ah heck! I was getting the 3G S today. Damage Schlamage.

To cut a long story short, I went into office at 11 am, finished some bugging KPI-related report for the month, applied for the afternoon off, left office at 2 pm, and headed home to pick the wife. We went to some banks to settle some outstandings, and by the time we got to maxis, it was already 4 pm. Both the wife and me skipped lunch…despite our stomachs growling to the max. Oh, did i mention we didn’t have breakfast that morning as well?

Our wait at maxis started at 4 pm, and we were only called to the counter at 4.35 pm, thanks to 2 lady-customers who couldn’t decide what contract plan to be on. I even spoke to them about their iPhones, and suggested what plan to take, hoping that would expedite the queue line, but they have their own theories and calculations to remain in contemplation. They must have been there for a long time, as when they left, the maxis customer service officer looked up and gave a sigh of relief. Though my wife had begun to grow edgy with the wait, I maintained my cool because…yes, you got that right – I was collecting my 3G S. She didn’t blame maxis for the slow service. It was the customers. Why couldn’t they decide that at home, since the contract plans and related information were readily available? If it’s the confidence in having a person explain the details to them over the counter, I don’t blame them…but do spare a thought for those in line. With 3 iPhones already in their possession, I’m sure the 2 ladies would understand by then not to keep people from getting their iPhones!

When it got to my turn, I was given the chance to officiate the opening of the box. The nice Malay lady at the counter slit open the wrapping over at one edge, and passed me the box to do the opening. She mentioned that she understood how people felt about being the first one to open the box. She was really nice and understanding! With the attentiveness and care of a maternity surgeon, I unboxed and delivered my iPhone to the world…!

I activated the iPhone on the spot, after much thinking of whether to do it at home or there and then. Figuring that I didn’t have much time at home later, I decided to go with the latter. After the quick activation, she requested for me to check the condition of the iPhone, for any scratches, dings, dents or imperfections. I didn’t think it was necessary, but I gave it a once-over anyhow. True enough, I found a hairline scratch on the silver surface of the silent button. Being an indigo child (or so I’d like to believe!), I have excellent eyesight which is above the average of the common mortals. My wife couldn’t see it, neither could the maxis CS officer. She confirmed that the unit has not been handled before, and said that I would have to wait another day if I wanted to change it.

I decided not to change. It was a minor scratch line not really visible unless you look very very closely. My wife eventually saw it in the reflection of daylight, after much turning and flipping the phone. We were done and out of maxis Centre by 5.10 pm. I don’t think I could stomach another day of wait. If I had to, I would have to go back and kick the wall that scraped my bumper, flicked the bird to the driver who wasn’t pleased with my car manoeuvre, give maxis a spanking for not informing me of stock arrival, and get even with the ladies who made me wait for over half an hour. All with an empty stomach! No thank you.

Hi folks,

ip

I’m writing this today to describe the thought processes on how I came to decide to be an iPhone user. I thought it would be necessary to explain as I find a number of people, myself included, finding multiple reasons not to crossover. The word crossover would seem adequate as the iPhone running on a scaled down Mac OS X is truly a revolutionary device quite unlike any other as you will soon realise.

For the many of us who are already accustomed to the ubiquitous Finnish, Korean and Japanese-Swedish mobile phone brands, the iPhone differs most significantly in its ease of operation. My opinion and findings are listed as 10 points (by no means exhaustive) below:

  1. On accessing applications on the different pages, you have to admit that flipping to page 5 and tapping on an app all by finger action is easier and more natural than the usual first pressing the menu button, followed by a series of alternating joystick or D-pad manoeuvres and key-presses.
  2. Whilst the iPhone may not have some of the features of other phones in the market (such as hard disk capabilities out of the box to facilitate file transfers, an infrared port which would otherwise have made it an excellent universal touchscreen remote control,  and a front camera for 3G video calls, to name a few), it does its core functions as a phone and multimedia device very well, with such simplicity that makes you wonder why all phones couldn’t just operate in that manner. It’s all in the user interface and built-in sensors. It is a paragon of hardware and software working in tandem and in complete harmony.
  3. As the iPhone does not rely on hardware buttons for any form of input, it allows the operating system and software applications to customize the input options on the screen. Options may be increased on-screen to minimize otherwise redundant key-presses, or reduced to avoid complexities and confusion. The on-screen keyboard and the way it allows umlauts and foreign characters to be keyed in is one such example.
  4. The iPhone does not require you to close any application once you are done. You may choose to force an application to close should you want to do that, but as a book suggests, this is not really necessary. With a 256MB RAM and rumoured 800MHz processor underclocked to 600Mhz, the iPhone 3G S remains speedy and zippy even with a number of applications open in the background. Crashes and hangs do not seem to occur as frequent as a Windows Mobile device, if ever. At least this has been reported by some who have had experience on both platforms.
  5. Of course, an iPhone is rather large in size – bigger than your average mobile phone, but flatter (12.3 mm) and lighter (135 g) than most. While its large size may be a bane to some, it is also a boon to those who appreciate a good screen real estate. Similar in screen size to the XDAs of yesteryears, its 3.5-inch screen allows sizable buttons to be displayed, such that even users with gigantic fingerpads would have no problems hitting them accurately. A large screen with a resolution of 480 x 320 pixel at 163 pixels per inch also means fonts could be displayed at a larger-than-normal size, whilst still allowing a fair amount of information on a single screen without the need for much scrolling.
  6. The built-in accelerometer also made it possible to do away with key-presses to change screen orientation. A typical key-press sequence on a regular phone would be something like Options followed by Rotate Screen, followed by Left or Right. A change in the screen orientation from portrait to landscape on the iPhone is achieved simply by rotating the device 90-degrees to its side. Although the accelerometer is built into some other phones such as the Nokia N95 (such as the one I am currently using), the flow from one orientation to another isn’t quite as smoothly rendered as on the iPhone. As mentioned above, hardware and software working in complete harmony.
  7. A proximity sensor on the iPhone also tells the device to switch the screen off when placed next to your ear during a phone call, saving precious battery life and avoiding any accidental and unintentional key-presses for those with clumsy thumbs.
  8. On the iPhone 3G S, a built-in magnetometer allows a pre-installed compass to function instantaneously the moment the app is activated. For the urban dwellers who have no use for a compass, the magnetometer would allow users to know immediately which direction they are facing when running Google Maps, a feature that would have been useful in my Nokia N95 when I run Maps on GPS – when I am stationary close to a highway divider, sometimes Maps gets confused which side of the highway I am on, alternating between to and fro, until I start moving again! With Google Maps now, you will immediately know your orientation, i.e. which side of the map you are facing. In that respect, the iPhone becomes a more effective digital map than your conventional paper map!
  9. One of the great things about the iPhone is Safari and its ease of use when browsing the web. With intelligent selection of div containers and zoom by tap or pinch out, surfing the web on a mobile device for long period at a time is no longer a pain. This was recently conveyed to me by a friend, who surfed the web for 2 whole hours using Safari on his iPod Touch, something he could not imagine doing on his Nokia N95, which uses the same Safari web browser!
  10. If I have not made it clear before, I’ll say it now again. The user interface on the iPhone is not only ergonomic, but eye candy to the user who appreciates well-planned and well-designed on-screen layouts. It adds to the overall thrill in mobile device usage, whether it is answering a phone call, keying entries into Calendar, or running one of the many free apps already available and downloadable from Apple’s App Store!

iphard

If you are still not totally convinced about getting the iPhone 3G S to replace your existing mobile device, I would urge you to view the Tour Guide and TV Ads for the iPhone 3G S available at Apple’s website. And if that doesn’t do the trick still, then by all means keep your existing Finnish, Korean or Japanese-Swedish mobile phone. It must be a very good model. Then again, the generated interest on the iPhone has been the result of great hype and media attention, purportedly by blogs such as this as well.

There are other new features such as Voice Control and onboard video trimming that I did not touch on. However, the above are just my thoughts prior to being a true blue user, as I have yet to receive my unit, due to arrive in the next few weeks. Until then, I hope my expectations and enthusiasm on this superb device would not wane or fade altogether.

Fingers crossed-over,

Devon Buy