July 2007

The vibrating iPhone problem

One of our iPhones was vibrating whenever you placed a call. That wouldn't necessarily be so bad but it continued to vibrate the entire duration of the call. Ever held a vibrating phone to your ear and tried to carry on a conversation? Fortunately powering off and back on solved the problem but it is odd to say the least.

Close Signups with maximum registrants

Working on a project this week I needed a module to allow users to sign up for orientation sessions and automatically close signups when the sessions are full. The signup module for Drupal does this but didn't have the ability to close signups after reaching the maximum number of participants. After a few false starts and simplifying the code I rolled a patch that adds eight lines of code and adds the functionality. The patch uses an unused column in the database so a database change isn't needed (I originally had added a new column but realized that the close_signup_limit column isn't used).

iPhone I'll not be ill

Thanks to this post it is much easier to enter contractions on the iPhone. The automatic correction features work well but don't guess that I mean to type "I'll" when it sees the perfectly spelled word "ill" which one hopes to rarely type on an iPhone. However, adding a third 'l' makes the phone suggest "I'll" as the correct spelling so instead of switching to the symbols just type "illl" and you'll get "I'll" offered as the correction.

iPhone impressions

So it is the thing to do these days. Posting one's impressions of the iPhone.

Oddly in explaining why he is not getting one now Adam Engst sums up much of my joy over the phone:

The cost becomes especially steep here in upstate New York, where cell service is fairly spotty. I'm sure the iPhone would get fine reception in downtown Ithaca and at Cornell, but all bets are off once you go more than a few miles out of town. Poor reception promotes a feedback cycle - if you can't rely on having access wherever you are, you stop thinking about using the cell phone unless it's absolutely necessary.

iPhone diagnostic information

My iPhone crashed. Or so it says. I never noticed the problem and couldn't tell you when it happened. But upon plugging it in to the computer tonight I saw the screen below.
iPhone error message

While it appears true that there is not personal information in the log files there is a treasure trove of information that I'm equally certain that there will soon be folks figuring out how to mine and use that information. In the meantime it is another great example of a good user interface that makes it easy to provide feedback that will hopefully make iPhone 2.0 even better.

On a related note since Apple names its computer operating systems after big cats one wonders if the next version of the iPhone operating system will be Siamese or Manx. Personally I vote for Abyssinian.

The problem with sync

Apple's page trumpeting sync services in Tiger makes it sound great:

Sync Services Supplied
Tiger advances the state of the art by integrating intelligent, high-performance sync services right into the operating system. In Tiger, the preferences and controls for what, when and which devices you want to sync appear inside your favorite applications, such as Safari, iCal, Address Book and Mail — including multiple Mail accounts, Mail rules, signatures and Spotlight-driven Smart Mailboxes.

Indeed these features were prominent two years ago when Tiger was making its way to release. It is puzzling then that the state of sync is so poor in OS X. Here's a brief list of the most disappointing:

It's 11 AM do you know where your thermometer is?

Summer is definitely upon the southwest. Not quite 11 AM and the thermometer is already crawling past the 100-degree mark. Some will hit eject to get to a cooler place. There seem, however, to be plenty of people who are happy with the heat. Phoenix, described earlier this year as a place where"the heat is intolerable in the summer, and the city has no defining cultural tradition or obvious reason for existence" just bumped off the city of brotherly love as the 5th largest city in the country. They must sell a lot of real estate in January when it's only 90-degrees outside.