Year: 2008

SSH into your iPhone

As a long time jail breaker of my iPhone it came to my attention that I’ve never made use of OpenSSH. Those jail breakers who are so called power users swear by the SSH option.
So what is SSH and why should you use it?
SSH allows data to be exchanged using a secure channel between two networked devices.  OpenSSH is an open source alternative to the proprietary SSH.  OpenSSH basically allows you (your computer) to talk to your iphone in a secure manner.
OpenSSH allows you to access the iPhones file structure and therefore make changes that apple would not not normallly allow; changes such as custom SMS tones.
Do you need to be a geek to do this? It helps, but no you don’t!

A quick google shows up hundreds of sites offering guides and YouTube is full of selfhelp clips. I’ll provide the steps necessary for you to create your own custom SMS tone on a mac.

You need to have a jailbroken iPhone for this.  A guide on how to do this can be found here.

1. Firstly you need OpenSSH. Open cydia and go to all packages and search for it. Once found, install it.
2. You need to know your iPhones IP address. You find this in settings, wifi. Press the blue arrow and in the next screen you will see your IP address.
3. If you don’t already have cyberduck on your mac, download and install it.
4. Open cyberduck, open new connection.
5. Make sure that you have SSH FTP selected and enter your iPhones IP address.
6. Now enter your username and password. These are the same for everyones iPhones. Username is root and the password is alpine.
7. In may take a while for your mac to connect to your iPhone.
8. Once connected you will be able to browse your iPhones file structure.

To change your message tone follow these steps:

1.Trim MP3 files using Audacity (usually SMS notification should be shorter, roughly 3-4 seconds should be good)

2. Import the MP3 file to iTunes
3. Change the iTunes import to AIFF
4. Find the AIFF file and copy to desktop
5. Change the extension to “.caf”
6. SFTP to the iPhone using Cyberduck (Mac)
7. Navigate to the following directory: “/System/Library/Audio/UISounds”
8. Change one of the “sms-received.caf” file to
“sms-received_.caf” where is an integer from 1 to 6
that is least preferrable
9. For example: Rename “sms-received6.caf” to “sms-received_6.caf” to replace the Electronic with custom sound
File name mapping to notification name:

sms-received1.caf – > Tri-tone
sms-received2.caf – > Chime.caf
sms-received3.caf – > Glass
sms-received4.caf – > Horn
sms-received5.caf – > Bell
sms-received6.caf – > Electronic

Upload the file on the desktop using the old name of that was changed
For example: if “sms-received_6.caf” is changed to “sms-received_6.caf”, upload the file using the name “sms-received6.caf”
Choose on your iPhone, the replaced tone.
For example: if you replaced sms-received6.caf, then you should choose Electronic.

Thanks to Life in 0 and 1 for the guide.

The newspaper is dead. Long live the newspaper.

Being someone who has embraced digital content I fail to understand the love affair people have with paper.  I’m not just talking about news papers, I mean books, print outs anything that involves physical copy.  I just don’t get it.  Take books for example, they’re heavy, awkward to hold and are prone to damage.
Why put yourself through that experience?

Yesterday I did something I haven’t done in a long time: I purchased The Sunday Times.  I don’t normally read newspapers, especially Sunday papers which for some reason are huge unwieldy things.  None the less, of to the shop I trundled and struggled back with the times.  After some time sorting through the various sections, I actually started to read.  At this point I should state that I enjoy reading and have always been an avid reader, from fiction to non-fiction, to news and sport I read them all!

Which leads me on to the story which appeared in yesterdays Sunday Times: The plastic fantastic future of newspapers.  In his article, Alex Pell discusses the future of newspapers.
What intrigued me was not the e-reader or the new digital ink being discussed, but that publishers and presumably writers / journalists still do not understand digital content, the internet and where their future lies.

The article tells us how companies are competing with each other to develop a mobile newspaper of the future.  This will be kindle like, will always display the latest edition of your newspaper and will have a colour screen and great battery life.  BUT, it wont be available for a couple of years.  Let me ask you this, if you have a computer at work with access to the internet, if you a have a mobile phone with access to the internet, if you have a computer at home, then what need will you have for (what promises to be an expensive) device that will display your favourite newspaper?

Take the iphone, it is already the biggest ebook reader beating the kindle and Sony’s ereader.  It is not hard to realise why, give consumers a decent screen, the ability to load their own content and a device that they will always have with them and you have a success story.

So what are publishers failing to understand?  Consumers will always demand “content” whether that be the latest news or the latest thriller from a leading novelist, but as can be seen, consumers continue to read the classics.  A quick trip over to Project Gutenberg proves this.  (What is Project Gutenberg?  An ebook site that allows users to download out of copyright books in a digital format.)
Therefore whether it be new content or existing content, consumers want it.  Surely this is a market that is just waiting to be exploited.  

Is there money to be made?  Yes is the simple answer.  Just as the music business has found out and now the movie business, consumers will purchase digital content.  The newspaper industry has for a long time failed to embrace the internet.  In the early days, their websites were not uptodate, with them preferring to maintain the newspaper position of breaking news.  Thankfully today, the internet is full of newspapers delivering their content online, but some sites require users to register, or do not provide rss feeds which make it unneccessarily difficult for users to get the content they demand.

What cannot be allowed to happen is a situation where a leading newspaper tries to get its audience to pay for online content.  That business model is dead.  There are plenty of reputable news sites that exist already that are free, therefore a digital newspaper will have to rely on advertising revenue.

The quicker publishers get their content digitised and availble to the consumer the faster they will cash in, whether it be in advertising revenue or by selling ebooks.  As more and more devices come to market that are “connected” the market for digital content will explode and therefore the future in publishing is in digital.

Time will tell which newspapers will successfully migrate their entire business onto the net, but failure to do so will ultimately ensure their demise.

Google Apps users are no longer second class citizens!

Google Apps users are no longer second class citizens!

Gmail users have been able to use the “labs” features for a while now, but “labs” had been broken for google apps users, that is until…ok not quite today, but sometime last week!

We still do not have themes, which are coming, but all the other cool features now work, including calendar view and tasks.

This upgrade of gmail really makes it a powerful tool, and a viable option to any desktop client.  If you are a windows user and have installed chrome, then gmail could actually function like a desktop client.  This is made possible by gmail operating inside it’s own browser window and outside of the general browsing expereince.

I’m a big fan of the google calendar and now you can view upcoming events inside gmail, but a lab feature might just be the making of gmail – tasks.  It really is simple, working in a similar way to Chat, you just click on tasks and create a to do.  That’s it.

“To enable Tasks, go to Settings, click the Labs tab (or just click here
if you’re signed in). Select “Enable” next to “Tasks” and then click
“Save Changes” at the bottom. Then, after Gmail refreshes, on the left
under the “Contacts” link, you’ll see a “Tasks” link. Just click it to
get started.”

The folks behind gmail really do keep coming up with great new features and this is just another reason why you should give it a try.

Internet Explorer is vulnerable to website attacks

Internet Explorer is vulnerable to website attacks

Today the technology world was rocked by the news that IE 7 is vulnerable to attacks. Oh wait, most of us already new this and switched browsers long ago!
While this isn’t really big news, it does highlight how important it is for the average internet user to make sure they are vigil while surfing the net. Microsoft have said that the vulnerability is present in all version of IE, but state that moving to another browser is risky in itself.

While most users will not switch, experts are indicating that now is a good time to experiment with alternatives.  Firefox, Safari, Opera and Chrome are not vulnerable to the IE threat, but each browser does have their own flaws.  One thing is for sure, most browser attacks are aimed at IE.  This is because IE users (are generally) less sophisticated surfers and are therefore more suseptible to viruses.  I would therefore recommend users to “upgrade” to an alternative browser.  I use firefox myself and find it great.

As a mac user, I should be using safari, but firefox’s pluggins make it a more useful browser, if not a tad slower.  I would live to try Chrome, but google have not released a mac version yet.

New gmail themes

New gmail themes

Google have released themes for gmail. This allows you to ‘skin’ your gmail account and give it a more personal look.

To activate themes, login to your account, go to settings and choose the themes tab. Here you can choose to keep the original or opt for a more radical look.

The service is being rolled out, so if you don’t have it yet, you’ll get it over the coming weeks.
Google app users will have to wait for this. Google have been enduring several problems with gmail for app users, namely the labs features not rolling out to all users and now themes not showing up either. Be patient though, these aren’t exactly necessary features!

iPhone firmware 2.2

Apple have released an update to the iPhone’s firmware. This release brings bug fixes and security updates, but has a few interesting surprises.

Number one is the introduction of street view to google maps, which brings the desktop version to the palm of your hand. This does seem to be the best place for it!

After using safari for a couple of days, I can verify that the update has made it much more stable. Thank you apple.

The best part of the update in my opinion, is over the air downloading of podcasts. You can now get podcasts from the iTunes store, delete podcasts from the iPhone and download new episodes, all without having to connect to your computer.

For anyone who previously had jailbroken their phone, relax! You can safely update your phone in iTunes and use the latest version of quickpwn to jailbreak. Order restored 🙂

iRealSMS has released version 2.0

Yes, as the title says, iRealSMS has released the long awaited 2.0 for jailbroken iphones, and with it comes new features and bug fixes.

First up is a little rant. You have to pay for the upgrade, €5 to be precise. Now, you can take this one of several ways, but I for one think that for those customers upgrading, the upgrade should have been free. That said, I paid my money, so no point moaning now!

If you are a new customer, the SMS app will cost you €10, a little steep in my opinion.

So, why will you want to pay for this when you already have SMS on the iphone?

Folders, forward, landscape and more! That’s why. While this is by no means an ‘apple’ standard app (how many actually are?) it is very functional and works well.

If you send lots of texts, receive jokes or like to save messages then you need this app. Apple should take note, this app has what should have been included as standard in the iPhone.

I’m going to give it 8/10.

Google app on the iPhone includes voice commands

All the talk recently has centered on google releasing an update to their popular iPhone app and that Apple forgot to add it to the app store!

So what is the big deal? You can now speak at your iPhone and the google app will generate a search for you. I have to say that um not that impressed. It does work even though I dont have a north American accent, however I’m just not sure how practical it is. Even in wifi, the voice search takes some time and I think that but the worst typists will get a better result by entering text.

Google do need to be congratulated though, for introducing voice recognition to the iPhone.

The google app is available now from the app store.

testing iBlogger for the iPhone

As a mobile blogger I’ve been restricting myself to drafting posts and emailing them to my blogger account. This has served a purpose, allowed me to review posts before publishing and generally worked well for me.

Today I’ve downloaded iBlogger, an app for the iPhone that promises to make mobile blogging a breeze. It supports multiple blog sites including wordpress, drupal and of course blogger!

The interface is very simple and you can start blogging almost immediately. Once installed you are asked to specify the blog you will use, but after that you are set to start writing.

This seems like a decent product, however with a price tag of $9.99 this will only be for the serious blogger.

I’ll post an update after i’ve used it a few more times.