Installing Java in OS X 10.7 Lion

February 27th, 2011

Several people have tweeted me to ask me how to install Java in OS X Lion. I would love to help them, but I haven’t had any problems with it.  As soon as OS X realized it needed Java, it downloaded and installed it automatically.  Sorry.

A couple of people did need to switch their preferred order of which version of Java to actually use.  You can do this through Java’s Preferences:

iPhone 4.1 iOS Update Features

September 8th, 2010

Apple has released the latest operating system update for the iPhone today. Here is a run down of all the new features:

Apple’s iPhone 4 has an interesting antenna problem. However, if you hate AT&T, it may be a blessing in disquise.

Multiple people are reporting that when held a certain way the phone loses cell reception. Anandtech’s research establishes that this is a real phenomena.

Apple states that it’s more of a visible perception problem. They believe the current display visually magnifies what is actually only a small effect that is common to all cellular phones. What is true and what is Apple propoganda is not yet obvious. What is interesting is in Apple’s press release about the issue:

As a reminder, if you are not fully satisfied, you can return your undamaged iPhone to any Apple Retail Store or the online Apple Store within 30 days of purchase for a full refund.

Why is this interesting? Bloomberg is now reporting that Verizon will offer the iPhone in January.

So now you early iPhone 4 adopters have a get-out-of-AT&T for free card…

Return your iPhone now. Let your old AT&T contract expire. Buy the new Verizon AT&T in January.

The iPhone may still have an antenna problem, but at least you will not be limited by AT&T’s poor service.

Field Test Mode on iPhone 4

June 25th, 2010

All the prior verisons of the iPhone had a diagnostic mode used for testing the cellular connection and such.

The previous code was the following: *3001#12345#*

When you try to dial this number, nothing happens. The phone doesn’t drop into Field Test Mode or respond.

Where is the Field Test Mode on iPhone 4?

Interesting enough, if you call the number without the asterisk you do get a response.

If you call *3001#12345# you wil get the following message:

USSD Test response. Hi!

iphone 4 test mode

iOS4 will install and run on 3G quite well. However, with the older hardware several new features had to be disabled.

Here are a list of disabled features in iOS4 for 3G:

1. Background/Wallpaper Images – In iOS4 the icons are rendered with shadows to help them standout from the background. This additional processing slows down the 3G hardware. Old jailbreak options for changing the background/wallpaper images do not render this shadow and therefore are more friendly to older hardware. By jailbreaking iOS4 enabling this feature is possible but the device is less snappy.

2. Multitasking – One of the reasons that Apple has waited so long to release multitasking is that it is an obvious resource strain. The 3G hardware is pushed too hard by multitasking and is therefore disabled. Once again this is possible through jailbreak but your device performance and battery life is be highly effected.

3. Bluetooth – The old 3G hardware only supported Bluetooth 2.0. With the 3GS hardware, Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR was included. The more efficient pairing mechanisms and power use of 2.1 allowed it to be mobile-friendly enough to be enabled in the 3GS and iPhone 4 hardware.

4. Hardware Encryption – This hardware feature supposedly provides additional data protection to sensitive data such as emails. This hardware was not available in the 3G device and thus is disabled.

png corruption aperture 3

I’m a big fan of the aperture programs, but this is a really nasty bug. Sometimes aperture 3 corrupts PNG files upon importing. If you frequently delete your originals after importing into aperture, you are at high risk of losing your data forever.

My png files that were corrupted were originally created by Photoshop and as the picture shows are accurately viewed in OS X Preview.

This bug has been reported since February.

Here’s an example image that imports incorrectly — original png

Flash has failed.

Adobe Flash (formerly Macromedia Flash) was introduced to the world in 1996.  This is the multimedia platform that brought browser based gaming and video to their current massive popularity.  It’s hard to imagine that YouTube would have exploded without the ubiquity of Flash.  Curiously, YouTube was also one of the first betrayers.

In 2007 YouTube started converting videos to Apple’s preferred H.264 format and distanced itself away from the Flash encoder.  Ironically, this was made possible by Adobe’s acceptance of h.264 codec in flash.  YouTube started using the new format so that Apple could more efficiently use the videos on its AppleTV and soon to be released iPhone devices. 

The only thing that could have forced Apple to accept flash was video.  Now with YouTube available in an alternative format, Apple could boldly strike the first blow against Flash.  The iPhone could be released without Flash.  Apple’s attack on Adobe was clear.

Today, with the release of the iPad, Apple strikes another mortal blow to the Flash platform.  The iPad is the logical conclusion to the success of the iPhone.  People enjoy the applications and video features of the iPhone so much that Apple has designed a device just for those purposes.  It’s a giant iPhone without the phone, and size is important.

The large format of the iPad allows of easy viewing of video content.  Netflix, ESPN, and ABC will have apps to view their content on the iPad.  Many news web sites such as CNN are adopting non-Flash methods for video delivery such as HTML5. Flash’s dominance in the video market is dying.

Apple has repeated stated that they dislike Flash because it is inefficient and insecure.  Most computer experts would agree with these points.  Since its beginnings, Flash has had this reputation.  Apple’s real concern with Flash, however, is just as obvious.  Flash is a multimedia platform that could distribute powerful applications for mobile devices without using Apple’s application service.  If allowed, users could use Flash applications through the browser instead of purchasing similar applications through the Apple app store.  Web based applications, such as those built by Flash, are the only real competition to the applications available through the app store. 

Apple uses unique, brilliant hardware to capture entire markets.  The iPod captured the music market.  The iPhone/iPad devices will capture the mobile application market.

The next logical step is to take control of Internet based delivery of all video.  Why pay your cable company when you can get all of your audio and video content from Apple?  A redesigned AppleTV could be Apple’s next weapon?

Will Apple attack the cable companies like they have attacked Flash?

Stay tuned. 

Many, many users are now experiencing Blue Screens of Death when upgrading to iTunes 8. Often the BSOD will occur after reboots or after plugging in a device such as an iPhone via USB.

The BSOD will note the error is with usbaapl64.sys.

Here are some potential fixes and work-arounds.

Most of the problems are related to Logitech and HP drivers. Uninstall iTunes 8.0 and then uninstall any logitech and HP drivers on your system. Then reinstall iTunes 8.0. Of course, the downside of this is that your logitech and HP hardware will not work without the drivers.

Often just disconnecting the HP or logitech device from the computer is enough to prevent the error without uninstalling the drivers. Moving your USB device or Apple device to different USB ports may work for some people as well.

With an error this large, I imagine Apple will release a fix soon. Until a fix is found you can downgrade your itunes to an older version. However, it’s a tricky process.

1. Uninstall all Apple Products including quicktime, apple mobile device support, and iTunes.
2. Download and install older version of iTunes 7.7.
3. Go to your iTunes music folder
4. Backup (or rename) your iTunes Library.itl file and then delete it. By backing up this file in a safe place you will keep your iTunes 8.0 library intact.
5. Open the Previous iTunes Library folder
6. Copy the most recent .itl file to your main iTunes music folder and name it iTunes Library.itl
7. Start iTunes
8. Deauthorize and then Reauthorize computer (if you don’t, you will have to reinstall all the apps onto your iPhone). You can find this option through the Store Menu.
9. Sync with fingers crossed

Updated: Activation servers are back up and working. Upgrade at will.

With people across the country slamming the iTunes servers, new iPhone users and upgrading users are commonly seeing the following error:

iphone 9838

“We could not complete your iTunes Store request. An unknown error occurred (-9838)”

Alternatively you may receive this error as well:

“iPhone activations are unavailable at this time”

Sadly, this may render your phone unusable!

Calls to Apple support suggests that this a problem with their servers. This is similar to Apple’s activation problems during the first rollout. Just do not upgrade or activate your phone at this time. The iPhone must reconnect to activate initially or to reactivate after the software upgrade.

For those who are currently getting the 9838 error. Keep trying. Once you get punched through the server, your activation should complete. Closing any application that may be in the activation/upgrade chain may help as well. Therefore, if you are trying to activate/upgrade, have all applications closed except iTunes.

With the information that is currently available, the second version of the iPhone will not be cheaper. Yes, you pay less on day one. However, the planned rate increases will cost users more over the price of the contract.

Without a plan, iPhone Version 1.0 was about $400.
Without a plan, iPhone Version 2.0 will be about $200.
Day one savings of about $200.

Data plan for iPhone Version 1.0 was about $20 with some text messaging.
Data plan for iPhone Version 2.0 will be $30 probably without text messaging.
$10 per month over the mandated two years yields an extra $240 dollars. With SMS will probably at least cost $5 more a month.

Over a two year plan, the new iPhone version will cost users at least $40 more than the old iPhone.

For somebody buying an iPhone for the first time, it may not be a killer cost. $40 more to get GPS and 3G speeds is not bad. However, many users will not fall into 3G coverage even if they have a 3G capable device.

I am not saying that the new iPhone is not worth it. I am certainly impressed with my original version. The press, however, should not just swallow Apple’s PR that the new iPhone version is ultimately cheaper.

(Oh, and it would be a mistake to think that one could buy one and unlock it without signing up for an AT&T account. Devices will not be sold without activation anymore.)