Posts categorized "Phones"

LifeHacker: How to Downgrade Your iPhone 3G From iOS 4.0 to iOS 3.1.3

lIfehacker.jpgAs I wrote before, I made a serious mistake in upgrading my iPhone 3G to the new iOS 4.0. Now, courtesy of LifeHacker, we who made that mistake now have a path backwards:
How to Downgrade Your iPhone 3G[S] from iOS 4 to iOS 3.1.3

The process looks a little bit involved, but not terribly difficult.

I haven't decided whether I'll go through the process myself, but I think I'll at least download the relevant files so that I can go through the process if I want to.

Thanks, LifeHacker, for giving us a path back to a better performing iPhone!

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Tip: Do NOT upgrade your iPhone 3G to iOS 4.0! Here's why...

snail.jpgLast week I made one of the stupidest IT decisions I've made in recent years:
I upgraded my iPhone 3G to iOS 4.0!

Dumb, dumb, dumb...

You see, the "Update" button was just sitting there waiting to be pressed in iTunes... and caught up in all the hype around iOS 4.0 I forgot all about those articles I had read... and so I did a backup of my iPhone 3G, and hit the button...

I should have perhaps seen it as a sign when after the upgrade my old backup WOULD NOT RESTORE onto the phone! It was an ugly process... and a couple of hours and multiple restore attempts later my iPhone was in a weird state where it seemed to have data for some apps, but not all. I wound up syncing the apps via iTunes and got the iPhone 3G back into near normal operation - only minus data for some of the apps.

It was then I realized that the only real feature I wanted in iOS - multitasking - doesn't work on the iPhone 3G! It only works on the iPhone 3GS and of course the new iPhone 4.0. Yes, there is a way to hack it, but I don't want a jailbroken iPhone.

And what is worse is this...

M... Y...   i... P... h... o... n... e... 3... G...   i... s...   G... L... A...C... I... A... L... L... Y...   S... L... O... W... !

It's VERY clear that the processor on the 3G just can't handle the performance demands of iOS 4.0. Everything is slooooow. Opening apps. Composing messages. Accepting phone calls. Switching to the home screen. Bringing up the iPod player. Everything... is... slow.

Unfortunately, it appears that this was a one-way trip to iOS 4.0... looking online it appears the only way to get back to iOS 3.0 is to go to an Apple store (which there aren't any near me) and get a new iPhone 3G with the old OS. That's not happening any time soon. So it appears I'll probably just use the iPhone 3G less and look forward to the time when it is eventually upgraded to an iPhone 4. (It's a corporate phone, and they're being upgraded over time...)

My question for Apple, though, is this - if you knew this iOS 4.0 "upgrade" was going to make texting, for instance, so painful on a 3G, why did you allow it? Or why didn't you put prominent warnings in place? (Saying, perhaps: "Be advised that after this upgrade you will not have multitasking and your 3G will be slow as molasses.")

In the meantime, if you have a iPhone 3G and have been debating about "upgrading" to iOS 4.0, don't do it! Stick with what you have - you'll be much happier!

P.S. And yes, that snail image accompanying this article was drawn by yours truly on my iPad, demonstrating to you all why I need to leave the artwork to my wife and stick to writing! ;-)

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CounterPath launches SIP/VoIP softphone for iPhone/iPad and brings enterprise to mobile

Have you wished you could easily extend your corporate IP-PBX to your iPhone? Or have you wanted a good SIP softphone for your iPhone that you could use for testing systems? Or do you just like new shiny iPhone and iPad apps?

This week long-time softphone maker CounterPath Corp. released their "Bria iPhone Edition" and for $3.99 it's a great app to have! Ever since I learned about it a couple of days ago, I've been playing with it and this morning I posted a video review as Emerging Tech Talk #51. I show how I've connected the app to Voxeo's corporate IP-PBX, how I can use it to make calls to both regular phone numbers and also SIP URIs, how it works with the iPhone's address book and also how I can use it on the iPad. You can view the 7-minute video here:

Now my friend Alec Saunders spoke with someone at CounterPath and published a great post yesterday discussing some of the limitations and the future plans that CounterPath has. Definitely worth a read - and I'm looking forward to some of those plans! (Like wideband codecs and multi-tasking support.)

As he notes, this Bria app is not specifically designed for the iPad, but as I show in the video it can be used on the iPad, subject to the standard pixelation that happens with iPhone apps on the iPad. (And in tomorrow's video podcast, I'll talk about how you can connect a USB headset to the iPad! ;-)

Here are some screenshots from the app:

bria-iphone-registration.jpg bria-iphone-keypad.jpg bria-iphone-incallcontrols.jpg bria-iphone-incomingcall.jpg bria-iphone-callhistory.jpg bria-iphone-settings.jpg

So far I'm quite impressed! You can get the Bria softphone from the AppStore on your iPhone or iPad.

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Humorous video - in how many movies is the "No Signal" theme over-used?

It's Friday, so here's a bit of humor... I admit that I had not really paid attention to how incredibly over-used the "my cellphone has no signal" theme has been in recent movies until I saw this video. Keep watching, though, because after the "no signal" theme, it does go into other amusingly over-used themes like dropping mobile phones in water, ripping them apart, burning them, etc....

Kudos to someone named Rich Juzwiak for apparently editing together pieces of 66 movies!

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Some initial impressions of the iPhone 3G...

As I wrote about recently both here on Disruptive Telephony and also over on the Voxeo weblogs, my employer, Voxeo, has made the switch from the Blackberry 8830 to the Apple iPhone as our corporate mobile phone. Employees in our Orlando office have already been receiving iPhones and mine just arrived last Thursday. Given that I've now been using it for a few days, I recorded these initial impressions:

Initial impressions of the iPhone 3GAs I've documented on my employer recently made the switch from Blackberry to iPhone - these are some initial impressions...

The quick summary is:

  • Typing - Better than I expected with the touchpad typing and Appple's correction routines.
  • Coverage - Pretty much what I expected. AT&T's coverage here in southern New Hampshire is much less than Verizon's. However, it wasn't terribly bad and I did actually get better coverage in a few places like a local grocery store.
  • WiFi - Very nice!
  • Camera - While it's clearly not as good as my normal digital camera, it seems to be adequate for pictures for posting to blogs, etc.
  • Browsing - As expected, the browsing experience is excellent. I do like being able to switch the phone to a horizontal display. Watching YouTube videos is great as well.
  • App Store - Very cool apps available. I've installed a number related to social media / social networking and so far been quite pleased.

All in all, I've been quite pleased with how well it works. I'll write more as I use it more...

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Voxeo switching from Blackberries to iPhones... (even as Blackberry releases the touch-screen Storm)

voxeologo.gifOver on one of Voxeo's weblogs I wrote a piece yesterday, "Goodbye BlackBerry... Hello iPhone!" that speaks to our vote in the evolving "RIM vs Apple" battle going on out there in the enterprise marketplace. It will be an interesting move that I'm very much looking forward to.

From what I've seen, we join a growing number of companies that are now using Apple's iPhone for a corporate mobile phone.

Interestingly, RIM is today announcing the impending release on Verizon (US) and Vodafone (UK) networks of the Blackberry "Storm", RIM's touchscreen entry against the iPhone. Some links today:

Alec Saunders also has it as the topic for today's Squawk Box at 11am US Eastern time.

Will it be enough to stop enterprises from defecting to the iPhone? I don't know... I'm sure it may stop some, but until RIM can come out with a development platform and distribution system rivaling Apple's AppStore, I think you'll see more developers choosing to go the iPhone way. We'll see.

Regardless, it certainly is good for us as users to have the increased competition out there... in the end, we'll all wind up with much better devices, methinks.

Meanwhile, I'm personally looking forward to receiving my corporate iPhone and joining in the iPhone fun. :-)

What do you think? Is the Storm enough to keep you on Blackberry? Or will you (have you?) move to the iPhone? (Or don't you care?)

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Google's Android and the future of the (open?) mobile Internet

In just a few minutes, at 10:30am US Eastern time, Google and T-Mobile will be in New York City to announce the launch of the first Android handset.

Predictably, the blogosphere is buzzing with posts and articles.

I expect, quite honestly, to be a bit underwhelmed by the initial launch... after all, Android is still evolving. We'll see - the fact that stories are out that Amazon is launching a DRM-free music service along with the Android phone is certainly an interesting dynamic.

Today's launch aside, the launch of Android is really the next step in the ongoing discussion about what the future of the mobile Internet looks like. Will it be controlled by only the carriers? Or will we as consumers have the freedom and choice to use the apps we want? Android holds out that potential - if the carriers let it be used that way. This morning I recorded a short video on the subject:

If you would like, please do join us on today's Squawk Box at 11am US Eastern time to discuss what all this means. Undoubtedly I'll be writing more on this here as will others across the VoIP blogosphere in the weeks and months ahead. We are definitely living in VERY interesting times!

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Tune in to the Mitel / Sun Webinar tomorrow (Aug 21) at 1pm EDT

mitelsun-mcnealy-matthews.jpgIf you are free tomorrow, Thursday, August 21st, at 1pm US Eastern time, I'd encourage you to listen in to a joint Mitel / Sun Microsystems webinar. Details are available on the Mitel web page.

Why am I encouraging readers to tune into this webinar? Especially when I no longer work for Mitel and have really nothing to do with them any more? Two words:

Terry Matthews.

During the time that I worked for Mitel from June 2001 up until last October (2007), the telecom industry went through some pretty bleak periods. Some very bleak periods. Mitel was not immune and there were certainly some tough times there. There were multiple times when friends seriously questioned why I continued to work there amidst some of the challenges and headaches. And while I admittedly had a few of those moments myself, I kept on working hard at Mitel because of the tremendous people I worked with there... and ultimately because of the vision and enthusiasm of Terry Matthews.

If you aren't familiar with Sir Terrence Matthews, his Wikipedia biography and Wesley Clover (his investment firm) biography give a taste of the man. Terry is at this point a billionaire serial entrepreneur who has founded something like 60 companies related to high tech and telecommunications - primarily in Canada and Wales. Not all of his investments have been successful, of course, but many have, and there are a great number of companies and products that owe their birth to Terry. He bought back Mitel in 2001, focused it on the emerging space of VoIP and continued to invest in its future. He understood back then that the revolution in ubiquitous broadband was underway and that that huge availability of network bandwidth would open many opportunities for products and services that could make use of that bandwidth.

In the last few years of my time at Mitel when I was working in the Office of CTO, I had the privilege of working more with Terry Matthews and his advisors and it was definitely an interesting and memorable time. There is a certain energy, enthusiasm and charisma that Terry exudes that just inspires you to want to do more. Sure, there were challenges, too... like all of us he's only human. But even now, almost a year after leaving Mitel, I still retain an immense amount of respect for the man and his vision.

He's also a great presenter... so if my schedule allowed I'd definitely tune in to listen tomorrow, if only to hear Terry's take on where part of the industry is going. [NOTE: Now that I'm building him up like this, I do hope he's not sick and off his mark tomorrow!]

mitelsun-jointproject.jpgOh, yeah, Sun chairman Scott McNealy is speaking, too, and the product they're talking about, the Mitel Unified IP Client for Sun Ray, is pretty cool, too.

I had a chance to see earlier versions a year ago and definitely thought it was a very cool way to deal with strong authentication. Essentially you insert a secure Java card into the Mitel phone and you are logged into both your phone as well as the Sun thin client. Pop the card out... move to a different station in that office or in some other office on the network... insert the card, and now you are logged in there. All your desktop apps go with you, as does your phone extension, voicemail, message waiting indicator, etc., etc.

Very slick way to do secure "hot desking". If you go down the thin-client route, that whole solution works real well together.

Anyway, if you're around tomorrow at 1pm US Eastern, I'd encourage you to join the webinar. I'll unfortunately be on a train from New York City heading back up to Vermont/New Hampshire, so I'll have to view it later (I'm told it will be archived for later viewing). Cool stuff.

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Is anyone really surprised the iPhone has a "kill switch"?

Are people really surprised that Apple has a the ability to remotely kill applications?

Based on news reports about Steve Jobs statement that Apple does have a way to remotely remove/disable software on users' iPhones, there were a good number of blog posts diving into the issue. Several posts seemed to view this as a way for Apple to remotely disable your entire phone... but let's look at what was actually said:

But the real controversy started when Jonathan Zdziarski, author of the books iPhone Open Application Development and iPhone Forensics Manual, discovered a URL buried in Apple's firmware. That URL links to a file dubbed "unauthorizedApps" where malicious or simply bad apps might go once they disappear from the App Store.
So essentially they are providing the application equivalent of a "Certificate Revocation List" (CRL) used in SSL (a point I was glad to see made by one commenter on a post). If somehow an application gets through Apple's vetting process and is found to do "bad actions", Apple has a way to tell iPhone's they should disable that application.

This very much makes sense to me... Apple needs to protect the trust users have in their AppStore. If something goes wrong, they do need a way to have rogue apps get shut down. A CRL-type of mechanism makes logical sense to me. I do agree with the article, though, that it would have been nice if Apple had disclosed this capability a bit more in advance.

I do understand the concerns various bloggers raised, though, about the centralization of control / power in Apple's hands. It is, however, their platform and so if you want to deploy your application on their platform you have to go along with whatever rules they may put in place. As a security guy, I have other questions, such as:

  • How is access to that list of unauthorized applications protected?
  • Who has the power to add applications to that list?
  • Could an attacker fake the site (via DNS poisoning or something) and shut down iPhone apps within an area?
  • How often does the iPhone "phone home" to check this list? On some regular interval like daily? Or only on power-ups?

The existence of a CRL-like mechanism is a double-edged sword. The company can use it to protect the network/platform... but attackers could also use it to shut down apps. The question to me is not whether or not such a list should exist... but how well is access to that list protected. Those would be some interesting questions to have answered....

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Mobile World - Alec Saunders previews the new Nokia handsets

mobileworldcongress.jpgOver on his Saunderslog site, Alec Saunders previews the new phones announced by Nokia today over at the Mobile World Congress (formerly "3GSM") in Barcelona:
When you think of companies who really understand mobility and mobility use cases, there's only one contender, and it's Nokia. Even Apple's iPhone, as pretty as it is, is a sophisticated expression of ideas that others pioneered first. If you want to know where mobile is going, the company to watch is Nokia.

So it was with a great deal of anticipation that I accepted the invitation to sit down with a few of Nokia's product managers to preview their announcements for today - the Nokia 6210 Navigator, 6220 Classic, and the newest members of their multimedia computer line, the N78 and N96. These products are at the confluence of the two major mobile trends today - social networking and multimedia. They represent, in my opinion, both the future of mobility and the next logical expression of many trends that have been emerging for the last several years.

Alec goes on at some length explaining the new features of the various handsets and the new applications that are coming out along with the handsets.

Alec also discussed the new phones in his daily "Squawk Box" podcast that should be up on his website soon (and I'll provide a link here when it does). It all sounds quite interesting and I'd suggest giving Alec's post a read.

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