Category Archives: iPhone



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I know you’ve already done so, but indulge me and make a new one, you won’t be sorry.


Oh Shure!

iPhone, Tech

Continuing my iPhone headphones story

Last night I went back to Apple to exchange those god awful noise leaking ear buds for something better. RodTO, I looked at the Bose but they didnt have any with a microphone/pause button so I went for the Shure buds.

Again, the customer service was impeccable. This time I actually managed to snag a hipster to ask her questions about the buds and she spent the time to go over a couple options and offer some candid advice about a certain product (read: she slagged off the $89 Apple In Ear headphones, which makes me believe they’re only a gateway product, designed to be returned to spend more money in the store). And as it was before, the counter exchange was fast, courteous, and slicker than a lonely twink in a bath house.

The Shure ear buds are unwieldy, ugly, come in two parts and have thick wires that don’t straighten out too well.

But they sound amazing. They let in just the right amount of noise so that I’m aware of my surroundings and the ear plug part isn’t silicone so it will stand up to greasy Italian ears. There is no wire vibration and yes, yes I can hear the lead singer from Underworld fart during track #2 on Oblivion With Bells. Finally happy.

(Head)Phoning It In


Oh Apple. How I love and hate you simultaneously. Your iPhone is a thing of beauty. Sublime. Utterly life changing. But your accessories leave me thirsty for more, like some post-Survivor participant thirsts for their sixteenth minute of fame.

We all know the ear buds suck. No big surprise. I want to talk about how Apple knows they suck, made an equally maddening improvement that sucks even more so. And just as you’re about to play the boiling mad consumer when you return them, they soothe your pain with treacle and excellent customer service.

Yes. I bought the $90 In-Ear buds that may or may not work for iPhones and they were glorious. The sound was so rich I could hear the lead singer from Underworld fart during one track, I swear. But soon after the cons started.

Logically, headphones with a microphone suggests they made these buds for the iPhone, since voice recording isn’t all that much of a big need (or a huge selling app) on an iPod Touch. So I’m assuming it’s primarily made for the iPhone but on the iPhone, the volume controls don’t work – they only work correctly for the iPods. So why add a microphone if it’s an iPod accessory? Maddening.

Secondly, as I paid for them, the woman pointed out that I have 3 weeks to return them for a full refund. Not a store credit, or exchange. Full. Refund. Uh oh. Not a good sign but at least she pointed that out verbally and on the bill.

Another con is that the wire used for the buds have a habit of transmitting any vibration directly into your inner ear. So any footstep, any brush up against the wires, any silent burp, telegraphs to your ear bones like a tin cup and yarn telephone. It’s utterly distracting from the rich, beautiful music.

And finally, I don’t have the ears that keep the buds in place. I tried all three sizes but found I was reinserting them every block or so. I plucked my ear hairs, cleaned the wax out and yet still no grip. They constantly slipped out, reducing the aural impact.

I took them back last night to a very crowded Apple store, where they’ve banished the long wait for the cash by having floating remote cash points on the back pocket of the hip, young(ish) things that man the isles (tiny voice: Brilliant!). After a short exchange with the most popular and sexy Panda Bear that works there…

Panda Bear: (flashing his pay point machine) Paying with credit card?
Me: Returning, actually.
PB: Really? Didn’t like them?
Me: My greasy Italian ears can’t keep them in my ear holes.
PB: You said it, not me.

…I got to the counter and was out of the store with not an ounce of hassle. In fact there was only one question asked:

Clerk: Can I ask why are you returning them?
Me: (Offering my list of complaints, said nicely and with a smile).
Clerk: I am sorry to hear that these didn’t work for you.

Yeah. She took ownership of the problem. I was so shocked by that one sentence that I told her at the end of the transaction that her service was excellent. It was like getting a good night blow job when you only expected a kiss. I didn’t add that part.

Unfortunately when I got home, the 3rd party brand I bought were such utter shite I tore them from my head and cursed the day this nameless company was created. The jack wasn’t sitting correctly in the iPhone, producing a crackling noise, the microphone produced such poor quality playback over the phone that I sounded like I was in an empty bucket at the back end of a concert hall while trying to removing chicken feathers from my throat. The buds themselves leaked so much noise SharkBoy was holding his own ears. Yeah that bad.

I’ll recount my second return later. Wish me luck!

At the Back of the Universal Serial Bus

iPhone, Personal Bits, Tech

My computer is on it’s last legs. How bad is it? As example, I couldn’t download the free Spore creature creator because I didn’t have enough memory and CPU power. As another example, the side panel is off. Has been for two years. Every so often I have to go in there and fudge the graphics card fan to make it stop sounding like an asthmatic marathon runner with a bad smokers hack. I have to unplug and replug in my keyboard/mouse combo every time I come out of sleep mode longer than 2 hours. Photoshop is a “click something-go get a tea-click something-go play Little Big Planet” operation. Children stand in yard and yell “Single core processor! Single core processor!” then run.

This morning, the USB ports gakked out, right when I was updating my iPhone, sending my poor darling into a Download Firmware Update mode. Suddenly I got the dreaded “Cable to iTunes” image. Meaning FUBAR, SNAFU, Fucked.

I’m 120 days away from Disney. Next week I’m going down to 4 day work week at work, which means it’s Kraft Dinner for the next 120 days. This couldn’t come at a worse time.

Anyone want a Kidney? Slightly used.

Spore: Origins

Distractions, Hobbies, iPhone

The problem with believing hype is that you’ll fall hard if the hype doesn’t live up to itself. I think that’s what I did when I heard that Spore was coming to the iPhone. Back when Spore was originally shown off at some distant, forgotten tech convention (voiced over by Robin Williams) I was enamored. Play god from the Primordial ooze to spacefaring creature? Oh hells yes! To have it on my phone (albeit a truncated version) was going to be the extra fluff added to the already fluffly clouds in heaven.

Hello little guy! Hey wait… are you baked?

Don’t get me wrong, I really like Spore: Origins. The graphics are more than I expected for a phone game, and with the accelometer, it’s a lot different phone gaming experience than say, Tetris or Bejewelled. But with that in mind, I still feel a little dissapointed that all you do in this game other than evolve your little dude, is eat other little dudes (which consists of just “running over” other organisms). There are the “bigger fish” that will eat, bite, chase you (“There’s always a bigger fish…”) and generally get in the way but with accelometer controls, it’s a bit difficult to get the hang of. Thankfully the screen is calibrated to a slight angle, not dead flat, to make your dude stop dead. The cost of the game is a bit dear for this mini-version of Spore. The price could have been reduced and the evolving of your character could have been made easier so that you get hooked enough to send your character into the desktop version, thus buying into the costlier game. But that’s just my evil marketing side talking. It is a fun timewaster.

Dude! Run! Pointy Thing!

As you play along, you are unable to re-play any levels. That’s evolution, I guess. But you are able to re-evolve elements on or off your little dude. As you can see from my pictures, I added a ton of eyes that seems to give him a little more agility in avoiding enemies. Later, I added spikes and he can “defend” himself a little from the bigger guys.

Eat me! No don’t!

Get big enough and the big dudes that bit into you become your dinner. There’s a metaphor here too. The more you play, the less your battery stays alive. It’s a bit of a resource hog, more so than video. Be warned.

Screw this, I’m going to eat Ariel’s Grotto

I give Spore: Origins a 8 out of 10. Slightly worth the $10 from the Apps Store, only if 1) It’s game play is longer than a couple hours total – I’ve only played to level 7 so far; and 2) I get to export my guy into the PC game (which I’m sure it does, but I won’t be able to because my desktop is so frigging old – it can’t run Spore Creator).

One of Ussssss


Tonight I leave the realm of iPhone hacking. I’m signing up for a real honest to goodness iPhone plan, while keeping my first generation, slow but lovable original iPhone.

It’s been a curious year. I’ve learned a lot about how cell phones actually work, more than I thought I’d ever be interested in. The rush of hacking into the phone and creating something personal while knowing it was a “gray” product, in a copyright-licensing obsessed autocracy that is Rogers Wireless, was at times a dangerous obsession, bordering on outright fixation. I’m hoping that someone will write a book about the first year of the iPhone because it’s pretty full of drama and celebrity: GeoHot’s first hardware hack, the ease of the first unlock and the inevitable division of the original Developer Team, spawning the evil villain, Zibri with his suspect stolen code, ZiPhone hack. And the apps. Oh those hundreds of apps from people who really loved the phone. In all, only one malicious app was created, which is incredible considering the iPhone Hacking community’s openness, if you consider how easy one could have been created and how many there are for Windows operating systems.

Then – nothing. The luster left me as soon as the iPhone came to Canada and the “naughty” of having a “gray” phone wore off. Don’t get me wrong, I love this product from Apple so much that I’m ready to succumb to their idea of what their phone should be. No mods, no hacking, iTunes ready. I’m just… past it. The fad has faded for me. The thrill of hacking has jumped the shark and I want to move on.

Ironically, I have to go to a non-Rogers store to get the services I want from Rogers while using a product they don’t need to support (their Edge network is in place and works with the first gen iPhone) but yet have told me, at their flagship store at 55 Bloor St, that they wont. Yet, this non-Rogers place has documented proof that they will sell plans to first gen iPhone holders.

Confusing? Well yes, this is Rogers we’re talking about. Most of the time, the right foot doesn’t know what the left ear is tasting. SharkBoy did remind me that our first Rogers cell phones were bought at a non-Rogers place and took less than 30 mins to do it, while the Rogers store across the hall couldn’t answer all our questions correctly.

Oh well. On to the next big thing. You have me Rogers. I feel like that final scene in Matrix Revolutions where Neo is being absorbed into The Matrix.