FaceTime Audio = Awesome

facetime-audioOK, so if you have a recent iPhone (4 or later), you’re probably accustomed to the occasional FaceTime. This really comes in handy for traveling parents and bedtime g’nights and such. Well, honestly, I don’t really use it in many other cases – it’s just a little too intrusive for business, in my opinion (at least for now).

Last week, Apple released iOS 7 for their devices. I’ve generally enjoyed it all around on my iPhone 5 (snappy, nice new features, etc.). Then, I stumbled on the new audio feature for Face Time. This could be really good . . . let me set up why.

A few years back, Skype was released for iPhone. To me, this was huge, because now I could make very high quality phone calls using my Wifi  or cellular data connection. And, it delivered on that – but, finding people who had Skype was the hard part. After a short time, my enthusiasm fizzled.

Enter today! I have talked to 4 or 5 people over both Wifi and Cellular (LTE specifically) and the audio is leaps above what the normal connection can offer. I can see why Apple didn’t promote this feature (AT&T would have a cow – voice calls are about their only exclusive left . . . I mean was their only).

The good news is, it’s as easy as a voice call. Look at your contact in your phone – if they have a FaceTime option, it will now show a movie camera AND  phone symbol (iOS 7 only). Just click the phone and it will ring them. If they don’t have the correct equipment or iOS version, it will quickly let you know, then you can resume with a standard phone call.

I’ve already reprogrammed my favorites list with FaceTime Audio as the preferred method – if I run into any hiccups, I’ll be sure to post it here. So far so good!

Update (02/24/14)
Well, after 4 months, the new as fizzled out . . . there’s just too much lag between the connection. Alot of “hello . . . Hello . . . HELLO!” going on . . . otherwise, super clear and mostly connections are ok. Maybe they’ll fix this someday with better data.

GPS Drive by Motion X

I wanted to take a quick moment to write a small review about GPS drive for the iPhone. I’ve always seen this app as I browse the iPhone app  library, but never took time to download it even though it got great reviews. Well, I went ahead and downloaded it since it was just $.99. What I found was a very well-written, very good looking at that gave really good GPS directions that are on par with other dedicated GPS systems that I’ve used.

I think the major draw for this app is the fact that it’s just $.99 for 30 days of activity. This make it very nice for special trips when you don’t want to buy a dedicated system.

What I really like about the system is the clarity of the screen and the speed of the app. Menus are very quick to respond, and I can see the screen while well away from my face. The interface itself for navigating and searching local restaurants and other places is very well laid out. Also, I like the way I can set my home as a favorite and other locations as well.

In addition, just the feature of having an ETA and mileage count down (like a real GPS) is much better than using the Google maps app (of course, until Google Nav comes along!).

All in all, I’m really pleased with this app and I’m excited about taking another trip just opened tried out. I highly recommend it especially since it’s just one dollar.

Viva Netflix!

Well, about to test it out, but Netflix has released their iPhone (iOS) app to stream from your Netflix account . . . too sweet.

http://www.macrumors.com/2010/08/26/netflix-app-now-supports-iphone-and-ipod-touch/

Update: OK, so it’s all I wanted . . . awesome stuff. If Apple launches a new Apple TV next week, this might be the end of cable for me.

iPhone Won’t Sync Properly with iTunes

OK, here’s a quick tip for you iPhoners out there. Recently, I’ve been running into the trouble of the phone (iPhone 4) hanging when it syncs with iTunes. Many times, there’ll be a 583iurw984r.m4v type notation and the system freezes. I searched far and wide to no avail and finally did the last-but-shout-be-first-resort option of a hard reset on the phone. Viola! All is well.

So, if you’re having similar trouble, hold your power button and home button for about 5-10 seconds until you see the shiny Apple logo (do this while your phone is NOT connected to your computer). To be safe, restart iTunes (if not your whole computer), then re-sync. Hopefully, you’ll be good to go.

Is it just me, or has this iPhone been a bigger pain than the rest? Oh well, I still love it.

On to the next rant of how criminal it should be to charge $30 for that bumper case (before it was a freebie) . . . what a piece of junk . . .

DVPRemote App

So, what’s really impressing me about the iPhone app development community is the fact that there’s pretty much ANYTHING available should you have the notion. Of course, I love my Roku player for streaming Netflix. My son “relocated” the remote the other day. Thankfully, I had the 99 cent DVPRemote app.

Simply put, the app controls my Roku player through the network in my home. No lag time – works just like the remote. Now, I don’t necessarily want to replace my rubbery buttoned remote, but this sure is handy when it’s not immediately available – and for some reason I don’t lose my iPhone as easily.

iPhone 4.0.1 Update Glitch (crime)

Why don’t I trust my better judgement? Here I am, trying to follow Apple’s rules by updating firmware on the iPhone 4 and, yep, have a useless piece of glass on my desk. I’m trying the following fix at this moment . . . I’ll post to let you know how it goes. If you’re having the same trouble, try at your own risk.

http://chrisgrannell.co.uk/2010/07/16/iphone-4-0-1-brick-solution/

Funny thing is, I thought “better wait a few days, Lance” . . . riiiight.

Update: Ok, the link above did nothing. I did, however upgrade iTunes to the latest version, then synced and all is well . . .whew.

Update #2:  So, how does it feel to get a shiny new iPhone and use the great video feature and camera on your beach vacation only to sync to get the recommended firmware upgrade, then have your phone bricked and your backup file corrupted only to find your images and videos are forevermore lost? You take a guess . . . but, hey, the Apple rep said he was sorry, so I’m sure I’ll keep that memory instead . . . good job, Apple.

Update #3: A Little joy . . . well, looks like I can rename the files from that corrupted backup. Now, I have to guess which ones are video files and which are photos, but size will help there. So, if you run into the same situation, look at your backup files. On a Windows machine, head to C:\Users\Username\AppData\Roaming\AppleComputer\MobileSync\Backup to see a list of older backup file folders. You can sort by date to find the most recent one (or the one that corrupted). Copy this folder to another directory (so you can always go back and retry). Then, rename the larger files as “filename.mov”, then double click to test it out . . . hope this helps!

iPhone 4

OK, I don’t have much time, but here are some things I’m really excited about with the upcoming iPhone 4:

  1. Facetime video chat – I’m not sure how much I’ll use it, but a really cool feature I’ve wanted since forever!
  2. A4 chip – they say this dude’s a hair faster than the 3GS, but anything will blow away my aged 3G!
  3. Glass and more glass – the look of this guy is super slick. What thrills me is that my 3G has nary a scratch on the front glass . . . scuffs galore on the back. I might just go caseless . . . riiiight.
  4. That extra mic for noise cancellation just might be the sleeper feature . . . I’ll give it a good test in my Jeep (top’s off!)
  5. Video features – the iMovie app really got me excited. I use a Kodak Zi8 and love it. Add built in editing and I just might use my videos for once!

So, needless to say, I can’t wait. See you June 24th!