Problems with mobile devices

8 02 2015

We love our mobile devices, they’re so very freeing, we don’t have to sit at our desks, they don’t take years to boot up, but, they still lack basic functions which ought to be available.

I recently upgraded to a Galaxy Note Edge, and I have been very happy, I know this because I’ve been using it for weeks, almost forgetting my PC and laptop completely.

But here’s a few thoughts, it’s fucking difficult to hold, firstly it’s super flat which sounds cool in theory, but it’s a cow and a half to hold. I’m sure my hand is getting RSI from holding it by the edge all the time, and I’d like someone to come up with something I could slide my hand into, so I can hold it better. I got a Verus case for it, it’s brilliant, it has given me slightly more grip, and a similar case saved my iphone numerous times, but something so I could really hang onto it (and not drop it) would be extremely helpful.

And now Samsung is thinking of releasing a newer phone with two curved edges, instead of just a single curved edge, like I have on my current phone, that’s going to be murder to hang on to.

Editing is also very difficult on phones.

I’m often on social media and have thoughts which I might type out on Facebook and want to add to Twitter, and yet the official Twitter app does not allow any copy and paste functions, Come on, WTF?

And when I am allowed to copy, yes I can do it from the Facebook app, selecting all the text is not easy, get to the top of the screen and I can never quite get all the text highlighted, that’s frustrating and needs work.

And this is something that I’ve been after for a long time, not only for phones but for the PC too.

Why is copying files to folders so damn complicated?

If I see a photo on a website that I want to keep, it’s a matter of right clicking, choosing “save”, finding the exact folder I want, and saving it there.

Why can’t we just grab the photo with our mouse, drag it to the side of the screen and drop it into a handy recent folders popup? (recent or pre-chosen) I think something similar would work on the phone too.

Wolfie Rankin (Who is currently writing some fiction and needs encouragement)

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Recording Radio on Mac or Iphone, With a TuneIn Solution.

5 03 2013

I tried to record radio on my Mac, and I can’t believe it’s such an utter pain in the arse to get something which simply records an mp3 file of the recording.

I tried the soundflower/audacity combo and was left with something which sounded like someone had recorded an old tranny (70s slang for tiny radio) with a mic in a tin can… maybe there’s a way around that, I don’t know.

And I have tried almost everything else which had been suggested, yes I have googled and read and downloaded, but it was fail after fail.

Finally I gave up, I knew I could record,  a radio stream to my iphone with TuneIn Radio although I hadn’t actually done it yet.

After I was finished I found I had a perfectly good copy of what I needed, except there was no way to get the recording from the iphone.

Again I resorted to Google for help, and again software was mentioned which might work, One looked great… connect the iphone, search the directory for a weird file, copy that, rename it 12345.mp3 or wav or aac or….. and eventually you get a file which plays.

I came up with another idea, I tried it out, and it works.

Get yourself a stereo cable, one with two male jacks on each end, shove one into the iphone and the other into the mic socket on the mac.

Load up Audacity, Select “Built in input” (Where it generally says “Built in mic”)

Turn the Iphones volume up full, press record on Audacity, press play on your Iphone… let it transfer.

Done!





The Club

6 10 2011

There exists a club, which will take anyone.

You can be a Child or an Adult, gay or straight, a Mum or Dad, religious or atheist, black or white, a prince or pauper, Human or Otherwise.

You don’t sign up for it, there’s no venue, and you probably don’t want to be a member… I sincerely hope you never are a member.

You join it the moment you are told that you have cancer.

The astonishing thing about this club is that no member is higher up than any other member, we are all on an equal level.

And I don’t think anyone can fully grasp that until they have cancer.

I had this unusual thing happen to me when I was going through cancer treatments, I was watching the news one night and heard that Kylie Minogue had breast cancer.

We’re both from Melbourne, I’ve never met Kylie and probably never will, but I thought of all the little things that I had thought about in private, my fears, the things my Mother went through and the things I saw and felt when I watched others receiving chemotherapy.

Kylie was about to go through that, and I understood.

I heard others pass judgement about Her, but I knew that if I had cancer, I would have grabbed at every resource to fight it, I wanted Her to fight it, and I wanted Her to win, not just for Her, but for all of us.

Steve Jobs had put on a brave face for the public, He may not have been brave, I doubt any of us really are, but we continue because, what else can we do?

In private, despite his fame, his bank balance or what people think of him, He suffered.

He would have suffered like no Human or Animal should ever experience, physically and mentally, and he would have seen his friends and family suffer because of his illness.

All we saw was a man lose weight, that can be easily brushed off, can’t it?

I saw my Father go from a giant of a man, to someone who looked a lot like Steve did in the end. Mum and I lived with Dads pain twenty four hours a day.

Neither of us imagined that someone so strong, someone who could almost run at the age of seventy, with a large Malamute in front, could suddenly become so frail.

The public don’t see the full effect of cancer on a victim or their close family, and they really cannot understand what’s going on.

Steve Jobs, whether you liked him or not, never should have gone through that.

There will come a day when Medical Science will ensure that nobody will be granted access to The Club, and I sincerely hope You and I live to see that day.

Wolfie!





How to pull iTunes out of saved “Time Machine” Backups.

8 06 2011

iTunes almost beat me recently, as you may know, and I told everyone that I had given up all hope of getting anything back which I’d lost after a recent iPhone crash.

Although iTunes had failed to save my photos, videos and voice memos which were of far greater importance to me than apps or music, I should in theory have a way to get my paid apps back at the very least.

What I found most annoying was that I had been used to the PC version of iTunes which pretty much saves everything by default, but the mac version was different, and wasn’t saving much more than music, notes, apps and I think that was it… So I was very annoyed when I discovered my self made stuff was gone.

Pigs to the apps and music, I can always buy it again, even though it’s a pain, however, I’ve decided to tinker, and I know some of you should appreciate my findings.

Right, You currently have itunes and it’s blank, you can’t see any apps or anything in it, iTunes may just be enough of an arse to be telling you that you can’t sync because of a library issue, maybe it’s the squeaky shoes, heck knows, and frankly I don’t care.

Let’s rip the throat out of iTunes, shall we?

Connect external drive containing “Time Machine” backups.

Disconnect iPhone if it’s plugged in.

Start iTunes, Go to the iTunes menu in the top right of the screen, the one to the left of the Apple logo, go to Preferences, Click “Devices” at the top, and tick the box next to “Prevent ipods from syncing”

Exit iTunes

Now you should run “Time Machine” go to the date which is the last sync before your crash, and navigate to: /Library/Application Support/MobileSync/Backup

What this means is when you see the list of what’s on your computer, you should see the name of your computer under “places” on the panel to the left, there will be an icon of a grey house next to it… if you’re an advanced user, stop your griping 😉

Click that, then click Library… application support… and so on. (as above)

Highlight all the files in the last folder and click Restore in the bottom right.

Now plug your phone in and run iTunes, click “apps” on the left panel, are your apps back?

Now I haven’t done this yet, but I think that after you right click your iphone in the left panel of itunes, and select “transfer purchases” that everything should work.

If it’s not happening, let me know.

I’m not a mega-geek, no matter what you may have heard, even though I do own a mac *feels shame* so it may or may not work, and I have a funny feeling I left something out, maybe, maybe not.

Oh yes, and apparently you can back up onto a dvd, I would do this, it will suck less if it happens again later.

Photos and Videos on the iPhone can be saved manually using preview, do that… backing up photos on PC is a lot easier… back up your photos, do it manually, do it NOW.

Once everything is restored, give iTunes the finger and find some other software that does something similar like DeTune.

Wolfie! (Up yours Apple)





Rotten Apples

3 06 2011

You may have read about my data loss on my iphone, Not only did I lose photos and videos over a month, but also a lot of voice memos, which had been important thoughts, and a few silly ones, from recent times… I really did want to keep these because they were the kinds of things I would one day wish to look back on, and were the kind of thing I’d like to pass onto others.

In general, when we see family trees, we see names and when these people were born, if they married and how many kids they had, and when they died. But a lot of the important stuff, such as what they loved and despised, how they felt, and what made them tick as a person, is lost.

I had been foolishly trusting iTunes to back this data up for me, while having no idea that it was just backing up basics, such as apps, music and phone numbers.

To me, the art I produce myself is of more importance than product I can simply buy again, (though understandably that is a pain too) because our own media is unique, and often the only copy is on the phone or computer.

I have had computers for decades now, and I know full well that backing up is the very best thing to do, and have several backups for my PC in the form of external drives.

When my phone went down, and I found iTunes had only saved rudimentary items, I was shocked and angry, frankly I wanted to beat both my Mac and iPhone to a pulp with a hammer, and to be honest I am considering wiping both and putting them on e-bay.

Apples backup system “Time Machine” failed to help too.

Although I found that I could indeed take a former iTunes from the past and use it’s contents… I could reload my bought apps, but of course there were no voice memos, photos or videos.

I noticed that some of my notes were from the much older PC sync, with iTunes (iTunes on PC appears to be the safer bet), so I thought I’d re-sync with the Mac version.

However, none of the backups worked anymore, each time I tried to run iTunes, I was greeted with an Apple Agreement and a fresh program… completely empty, no apps or anything.

I completely erased iTunes from my Mac and went back into Time Machine, dug out the old iTunes and ran it again, only to be greeted by the same Apple Agreement again, and a fresh, apparently unused iTunes.

Where was my stuff?

I’m feeling really burned by this, and really just want to leave this stuff in the corner to rot.

I will never buy another Apple product ever again, I’ve had enough. For all the sparkly glamour of the company, what has happened over the last week is far worse than anything the PC has ever done to me in over twenty years of use.

If anything has gone wrong on the pc, nine times out of ten I have managed to recover most of my files with relative ease, but with the Mac it’s just complete frustration.

Wolfie!





iTunes Sucks

28 05 2011

A few days ago while I was in the City, Melbourne, I was using my iPhone to keep in contact with a friend who had come to visit, She was here from Sydney, and a little lost.

Just as we were almost together, My phone locked up, it put itself into a state which I could not break out of, called a “Recovery Loop” in which all you see is a screen asking you to plug it into the computer and connect to iTunes.

So I thought this was OK, I could go home, connect to iTunes and everything would be fine since I backed up regularly.

Although I was annoyed because I almost missed making contact with my friend, and I couldn’t take photos to show friends who would have loved to see what Melbourne was about.

I came home and connected to iTunes, iTunes told me that all media (songs, videos and photos) would be lost and did I want to proceed, and I thought that would be ok, since the backup was there, and I have already been in a similar position where the phone was reset and to my relief everything was still there.

So if the phone went back to factory settings, I felt it was ok to assume that my backup would take care of everything, I could re-load all my stuff and life would go on as before… except for the loss of a couple of photos I’d taken before the iphone locked up.

Except it didn’t, I was horrified to find that my 3000 odd photos and videos had all been deleted, not just off the phone, but from the computer as well.

In fact, I was to discover later that unless a setting in the background of itunes is set, to send photos into iphoto, then you haven’t been backing up your media at all, which is what I thought iTunes had been doing the whole time.

I did NOT want to use iphoto, because… When I save photos or songs or whatever I have, I like to keep them in a folder where I can see them, and not allow a program to tamper with my stuff… the photos are mine and I want to manage them personally.

I was horrified to discover that all iTunes was doing was backing up any mp3s I had, (which aren’t important to me) my contacts, some notes, my apps and that was basically it.

I was annoyed that all my voice memos were gone as these were notes on my personal life and history, I am hoping they were backed up with other mp3s.

But mostly my photos which I take daily as a kind of personal diary of what I did each day, I upload the best ones daily to twitpic or flickr, but there are some which are basically notes to myself or general records of the day, these were gone.

What was fortunate though was about a month ago, I had decided to do a manual backup of my photos, which can certainly be done… these were all copied to a folder, in the way that I like… in a safe place where the hated iphoto can’t get to them and tamper with them.

So rather than losing a about two years worth of photos, I had lost most of a months worth… but managed to recover quite a few from “The Cloud”.

When the phone re-started, there were no apps on it, except for what a basic phone comes with. I see the apps on itunes, why didn’t they transfer to my phone?

I think iTunes should read the contents of the phone each time you sync, show you in a list what’s there and what needs to be backed up, and back up everything, as I wrongfully assumed it was doing.

There should also be an option to back up self-made content, to a separate folder.

I’m also concerned about apps which contain personal data, I have a security program with all my passwords on it, where do they go? or what about “time flies” an app which saved day-to-day notes? or even saved games, how are those… are those backed up?

I am left feeling that Syncing, which is something we’re advised to do on a regular basis, is really only a sugar pill… take this and everything will be fine, well my friends, it isn’t.

I had considered that if iTunes had wiped everything off, and that’s a big fault there, it shouldn’t have wiped ANYTHING off the computer regardless of the state of the iphone, that perhaps the backups of my Mac which I made with “Time Machine” may assist me, and I will have to do some more reading about that.

This has left me feeling quite sick, I have never had this experience with my old but reliable Palm T|X,

For those with photos on their iPhone, I strongly advise you to do this:

Plug your iPhone into your Mac and Launch Preview, You can find Preview in Spotlight (magnifying glass in the top right).
Preview does not appear as a program, but look at the top of your computer screen and you will see “Preview” listed in the top left of your screen. From the File menu navigate down and select “Import from iPhone”. Select “Import All” to get all the pictures, otherwise individually select pictures and click ‘Import’. I think you can save them wherever you like from there, this avoids iTunes and iPhoto completely. You can then copy a folder (and I would advise you do make a backup backup) and burn a dvd or send a copy to an external hard drive.

On a PC your phone should open and simply let you get to your photos, I remember doing this but can’t quite recall how, but Google it and you’ll find it.

This personal stuff, your photos, videos, voice notes and anything written or produced by YOU is critical data, I remember how the Beatles had written a song on a scrap of paper while flying somewhere, and it became one of their classics… what if they’d used a phone or tablet and it failed, it’s just not good enough. “Self produced work is critical data” You can always re-download a song if it’s on itunes, that’s no big deal… but if it’s your photo, your video, voice or written work that could be the only copy in existance,
anyone producing any sort of operating system today must take this into account and put the users work absolutely first, way ahead of backing up apps and songs. (Unless they’re yours of course)

As the phone is out of warranty now, I am beginning to research jail breaking, as I have read that I can use a program which is something like iTunes but a lot better, we shall see.

Wolfie!





The Meeting

7 09 2010

I find myself in a large room, which could be a school hall, it’s well lit, I’m sitting on the left (if you were on the stage looking at us) in the front row and it looks like there’s about five hundred people seated behind me,

The stage is about two meters off the ground, and looks very basic, it’s probably made of polished pine.

There’s a group of people up there, maybe thirty, they’re huddled together as though they’re having a very informal group photo taken.

The Guy at the back of this group is Cramer from Seinfeld, and the one in the middle is Steve Jobs who is hosting this get together.

It’s certainly nothing like we’d usually expect, it’s very laid back, there’s no video screens or products, it could just be a meeting at a computer club.

Then Cramer yells out “Has anyone heard that joke about the Chicken?” I seem to remember hearing that joke and recall that it was very “off colour”.

There’s mumbling in the audience and some people appear to be really offended, there’s a lot of frowning and shuffling, and then some people begin to get up and leave.

Steve is really annoyed, and marches off the stage into a room on the right.

I feel annoyed at the people leaving, so I start yelling at them about being so prudish and to at least sit down and hear what Steve has to say, but the buggers walk off anyway.

About half the audience remain seated.

I can see Steve walking around in the room near the stage, so I get up and walk over, I ask him if he’s ok, He yells back at me, but unfortunately I forget what he said.

I walk back to my seat and talk to @GumbyRoffo and he asks me if I was the one who asked the audience about the joke, and I say “No, it was Cramer, I was in the audience” and he says “It sounded like something you’d do”.

Then Steve walks out, carrying a beige plastic pointer, and he looks at me with a bit of a smile and gives me a light but firm crack over the head with it, he hits Gumby too.

The End.

Wolfie!