Menu

Michael Gracie

Improving your iPhone’s indoor reception with Wi-Fi calling and some basic network trickery

No shot against AT&T here, but the reception in my home office sucks. It’s probably just the combination of zombie-proof glass, the custom kevlar/copper mesh in the walls, and the tin foil hat I wear, but I called the carrier about it anyway. They suggested I buy one of those mini cell site jobs for ninety bucks. Instead I spent several times that amount for a new phone because I heard it was capable of Wi-Fi calling i.e. using my internet connection to make and receive calls. Sure enough it seemed it was …

phonescreenshot1x

Unfortunately, even after upgrading the network I still experienced warbled voices and dropped calls, meaning pineapple and broccoli pizza showing up at my neighbor’s door. Very bad.

However, all was not lost. With a little network trickery – mostly tinkering with IP addressing and port forwarding – I was able to get consistent Wi-Fi calling. Crystal clear with near zero drops, and my favorite Chinese takeout joint is again accepting my orders. Very good.

Note that the instruction that follow were done using a plain vanilla iPhone 6s and an Airport Extreme, but that doesn’t mean the general premise won’t work with a Samsung Galaxy and old Linksys gear. All is being provided in as layman-esque terms as possible for this reason; technical types providing commentary such as “you didn’t define NAT correctly” will be punished via intentional disregard. Further, everything that follows assumes you have Wi-Fi calling activated. If not, read the instructions here for getting it running.

(more…)

Simple advice for “dizzy” iOS 7 users

iOS 7 users are reporting that all the zooming and sliding going on in Apple’s latest operating system is making them sick

Triggers and symptoms vary, but TidePool mobile app developer Jenni Leder’s experience is not uncommon. A self-professed power-user, she frequently switches apps; but on iOS 7, this has caused headaches and feelings associated with motion sickness. “I now have to close my eyes or cover the screen during transitions, which is ridiculous,” she told The Guardian, adding that there’s nowhere to hide: “It’s not apps that affect me, but accessing them. Tap a folder and the view zooms in. Tap an app and it’s like flying through the icon and landing in that app’s micro world — and I’m getting dizzy on the journey there.”

Read on, as this phenomena is pinned on not-so-uncommon disorders of the vestibular system i.e. people who easily get seasick.

Now a word from your sponsor, including shocking disclosures…

(more…)

Pulp Fly now available on iTunes

Pulp FlyThat is correct. You heard it right here. First. The authors don’t even know yet.

You are special.

The latest release can be had via this link: Pulp Fly Volume Two.

Volume One is just a few days behind, reason being the producer rushed a bit (i.e. fricken blew it on the first go ’round). Damn that guy! The fine folks in Apple Quality Control are reviewing updates, and the first born should be attainable soon enough, right here: Pulp Fly Volume One.

MG signing off (to congratulate all, and kick the producer’s ass)

UPDATE 8/1: Volume One is now available.

The pitfalls of going iPhone

You held off, and now have to explain to all your early adopter cohorts why you made the move. If you’re smart, you’ll regurgitate a few obscure specifications, wowing them with your technical know-how. If you’re lucky those listening are holding iPhone 3’s; if you are very lucky they’re holding five year old Windows Mobile devices. All is good in iOS Land, unless of course you’re me.

Sponge Bob iPhone Case

Anonymous Bob

A SpongeBob Squarepants iPhone case was waiting on my doorstep this evening. I didn’t order it, and while it appears to have come from Amazon the buyer was very clever, picking an Amazon seller located somewhere in east Asia. I am certain this is a blatant slight against the device.

It could be worse than actually dropping the phone during the first two weeks of use, but at least the cover wasn’t the Hello Kitty version.

MG signing off (to track down the practical joke-ster, and thank them for the laugh)

Top five overlooked advantages of using AT&T for your wireless service

More Excuses In More PlacesMore Excuses In More Places ©

There’s been a lot of rumbling over AT&T’s wireless network, with particular emphasis on iPhone users’ data hogging and Verizon’s supposedly superior network quality. AT&T customers have some valid gripes over the lack of network investment, and those of us who have been with AT&T and/or Cingular for years and now use 3G “dumbphones” are definitely miffed at the dropped calls and voice mail notifications after no-rings. Fortunately, some of us don’t need to be connected 24/7. We realize we’re really not all that important in the grand scheme, and intelligent enough to comprehend that a little unavailability can go a long way to making life that much better.

With that in mind, I’ve assembled the top five reasons you should WANT to be on AT&T’s wireless network…

  1. You’re playing hooky, and going fishing. On the way to the river your boss calls, asking why you are not in the third “Kum Ba Yah” meeting this month on how to cooperate with your fellow employees so they can get promoted on the back of your work. You start your response with “I’ve got a lead on…” and then simply hang up. When you return to the office your boss accuses you of avoiding them. Your retort: “I was headed into an impromptu meeting downtown, and I use AT&T.” To top it off, you were actually taking that lead fishing for the day. They have a banner outing, you get a big contract from them, and get promoted instead of those cubicle critters.
  2.  

  3. Your mother-in-law calls. You don’t like your mother-in-law, so you hang up on her mid-sentence. If she calls back and asks you why you hung up on her you just say “I was walking into Target to buy some toys for the kids, and I’m on AT&T.” She doesn’t believe you because she hates you too. So she calls your spouse with a mind to bitch, but your spouse is actually in Target buying some toys for the kids. That call drops, meaning you’re safe because you doubled down on AT&T.
  4.  

  5. You have this client from a couple of years back who continues to call for advice. Repeat business is good, but each time you mention a new retainer, they say they’ll get right on it but never do. Good thing you’ve got AT&T. Take the next call, cordially, and ask them a few deep questions about their business. In the middle of a particularly insightful one, hang up. They’ll definitely call back, because they think you work for free (and you’re good). Throw out another brilliant question, and at the beginning of their response, hang up again. They’ll soon cut you a check, and won’t forget to mention the wireless network they use. You then thank THEM for the advice.
  6.  

  7. Your ex keeps calling you. You’re a bit non-confrontational, and don’t want to hurt their feelings either. If you don’t pick up the phone, they just keep calling. So you answer instead, generate small talk for 30 seconds, and then hang up. You do this several times, and after each exclaim “I’m really sorry” and divert the blame to AT&T. They offer to put you on their family plan, but you decline with sympathetic tones regarding their need to budget appropriately in this tough economic climate. They are soon telling their friends you are a wonderful, caring person, and things simply didn’t work out.
  8.  

    And finally…

  9. You actually are a pretty important person. People love you, and you’ve maxed out on your Facebook connections count. Your phone rings off the hook, and an unlimited texting plan is a must. You enjoy this life, but sadly you live in a state where hands-free cell phone use is mandatory while driving. One day you’re scooting down the road, making plans to meet many of your many friends for happy hour, and a cop stops you and writes you a ticket. You show up in court. The judge says you’ve been charged with violating the Cell Phone Use While Driving Act. How do you plead? Not guilty, of course. When the judge asks for your reasoning, you state “That’s simply impossible, your Honor. Because I’m on AT&T!”

Case dismissed.

Disclosure: “More Excuses In More Places” is copyright under a Creative Commons License. Any likeness to actual tag lines is simply random chance (kind of like completing an entire phone call using AT&T Wireless). All logos are the property of their respective carriers.

iPhone kerfuffle makes me wonder whether anyone bothers unplugging anymore

I find the OS X platform exceptional for development, but what buggy code I do produce is almost exclusively for the web. Therefore, I don’t follow what goes on at Apple Developer conferences – it just doesn’t concern me. But today I heard that Apple had announced a new iPhone at their Worldwide Developers Conference, and almost immediately the news turned sour. Amongst the spoiled grapes, users were peeved that AT&T was not going to allow existing iPhone owners to upgrade equipment at subsidized prices unless existing contracts allowed for it, and that MMS and internet access tethering wouldn’t be available right away either. People are downright hostile, over a phone.

I’ve toyed around with an iPhone, and I don’t understand the attraction. But it certainly seems like a fatal one. It’s got a pretty, but delicate screen. There’s no tactile keypad or keyboard. You can’t swap batteries when the charge dies. You can install applications on it, but only those the manufacturer approves (and delivers). Rumor has it the manufacturer can “brick” the phone, of any “owner”, any time it likes. But my goodness it plays music. And you are always “connected” when you have it.

Considering the magnitude and intensity of the obsession with the device, I wonder whether the always connected mantra is becoming a neurosis.

It sounds like you need to unplug man. What do you think DeJour…should we take him with us? Definitely.

Forget the white rabbit. Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg…heck…Oprah Winfrey – they’re handing out their own brand of blue pills.

I doubt those passed even phase 1 trials, hence the side effects are anyone’s guess.

What you can’t learn about economic crisis from an iPhone

John Carney, Managing Editor of the Silicon Alley Insider, waxes poetic regarding what you can learn about economic crisis from an iPhone:

It started innocently enough. This company called Apple had released a new phone that everyone said was going to change the world. People lined up for days to get the new phone the moment it was released. The news media covered the launch breathlessly.

I didn’t even consider buying one. Sure, Jim Cramer’s nephew was telling everyone that it was a good way to impress girls. And I noticed that my friends at the Gowanus Yacht Club in Brooklyn were getting a even more of the fairer sex’s attention than usual when they brandished their iPhones. But I never seriously considered buying one.

Eating an iPhoneI hope you’re still with me, because I myself was lost from the get go. Maybe I’m just dense – I still can’t figure out where the rubber meets the road, unless Master Carney was…

    a) trying to point out that Jim Cramer’s nephew is desperately seeking the wrong Susan;

    b) attempting to impress us by alluding that he hangs out with a ‘high-class’ yacht club crowd; or

    c) letting us know that he’ll soon lose his ass on financial stocks and is setting up for a stimulus handout to get that iPhone.

All I can tell you is that I’m hard pressed to imagine that the folks at Gowanus (the non yacht club) are shooting the duck they’re eating, so if the proverbial shit hit the fan they’d all starve.

And they can’t eat their iPhones either.

Ready for Business: A Cupcake On Your iPhone

Forbes: Digital goods–and pets–are coming to Apple’s blockbuster device.

As a solution for the rumored pathetic MobileMe service Apple should buy Facebook and enable users’ ability to wipe poop on each others iPhone screens.

Instant enterprise ready, baby!

UPDATE: There’s a heck a goodwill write-off waiting there too.

UPDATE 2: Even better – sell the poop for $1,000.

AT&T And The 3G iPhone: Did Stephenson Just Screw Up Apple’s Near-Term Handset Sales?

Via Barrons:

One of the interesting theories floating around today is that the disclosure by AT&T (T) CEO Randall Stephenson this week that Apple (AAPL) will offer a 3G iPhone sometime in 2008 was either a massive screw-up, or an intentional swipe at Steve Jobs.

Probably a screwup, but not as bad a screwup as the one perpetrated by folks who buy Apple products for the holidays, only to find out said products are completely obsolete two weeks later at MacWorld.

Google to decimate a good portion of the smartphone market on Apple’s and RIM’s behalf

That’s not exactly what the myriad of press releases say, but if some random research firm can wildly guess that Google’s Android cell phone operating system will capture 2% of the worldwide market in just a year’s time, I feel I’m entitled to some speculation of my own…

Motorola, Samsung, LG, and HTC already make plenty of crappy phones, desired by three types of customers:

1) Those who can’t afford an iPhone, or the subsequent iTunes bill;
2) Those who can’t afford Blackberry service, or the subsequent divorce; and
3) Those above who just dropped their device in the toilet (while using it ON the toilet), and can’t afford another until next month.

The opposite of the three above are those who already have a functioning iPhone or Blackberry, can’t live without it, and trying to convince the rest of the world they can’t live without one either.

Conclusion

Android goes live, the phone manufacturers spend gazillions integrating it, and it fails miserably. Sprint and T-Mobile die trying to sell the things. We are left with two decent hardware manufacturers with two decent operating systems…that Google can live happily within.

Then again, that’s just a wild guess.

UPDATE: I almost forgot Symbian. Been there, done that with Nokia. Nokia too makes great hardware – actually, I’ll call it utilitarian. Fits the masses well, but just doesn’t create the kind of fervor that would make you carry it with you into the bathroom.