Archive for August, 2008

Comics 2.0 in the Digital World?

August 27, 2008

While I have enjoyed the recent Hollywood iteration of Marvel comics with movies such as Superman, Spiderman, Hulk, etc., I have never been a reader of comics books themselves.

Reading through my typical news articles I found an intriguing article about Apple banning a comic book based app called Murderdrome.  Apple, according to the SDK guidelines, reserves the full right to reject any application which may be offensive to some people.  It’s very concerning to me when content beyond the obvious porn and blatant gore is blocked from being available through the App Store.

If an international news application, not bound by domestic censorship rules, posts a graphic image of a war scene in their news application as part of an article — can this now embody Apple to remove the application from the App Store?

Due to lack of access, I have yet to preview the Murderdrome app to determine how graphic the scenes may be, but based on the YouTube video below it’s plan comics and far from any graphic or questionable content.

Presuming Murderdrome simply has a controversial name and their content was actually quite the contrary to from the name’s suggestion, would Apple have accepted the App?  And if so, would they take it out afterwards when the content transitioned slowly to the more murderous scenes as the name implies.  As you can see, it’s a very blurry line Apple has their work cut out for them if they are going to play the “Content Cop” in their App Store.

The matter of fact is this App is very revolutionary.  Just by watching the YouTube video, I learned about the way comic are from pencil, to ink, to color — granted, one could have derived this through simple thought and this should probably indicate how distant I am from comics in general.

Bottom line though, Infurious, the makers of Murderdrome, decided to exploit the iPhone features to expose the entire process to the reader — an innovative feat clearly seen in their YouTube video.

In essence, they capture the three representative images for each scene during the stages of development (the pencil, inking, and final colorized step).  As you interact with the comics by flipping through the screens, you can drill down to either of the three images by dragging down or up. So if you like comics with the pencil look, you have it.  If you like comics in their full color mode — you have it to.  If you are simply the curious observer on how they created a particular screen, stop and flip through the three versions accordingly.

This is simply another demonstration of how digitization enhances the experience of a traditional medium beyond a simple port.




iTunes 7.7.0 and iPhone 2.0.2 Results

August 23, 2008

There is great debate still with the delays and times the iPhone takes to backup.  I myself had the excruciating waits of 2-3 hours for a simple backup as well as apps crashing.

I am not going to speculate exactly why the delays are, however after extensive research I concluded iPhone 2.0.2 has cleared the backup delays.  Since I am not sure if the backup delays are also remedied by the version of iTunes I am using, I would like to emphasize I am using 7.7.0 (shown as 7.7 in the about iTunes) instead of 7.7.1 which is the currently available version.

iTunes 7.7.1, again after extensive research, lead me to conclude it also has problems with the digital rights management applied to the applications.  If you download Apps from iPhone, this app may have trouble synching back to your computer.  I quote “may” because I have had mixed results.  Similarly, your apps may simply start crashing from one day to another without warning.  In my case, I was comfortably using my apps and stopped to show the lighter to my brother.  The lighter app froze (didn’t crash; just froze after a few frames of the flame video) requiring me to cold boot the iPhone.  Upon rebooting, none of my apps would launch — they would immediately quit.

By downgrading to iTunes 7.7.0 as some have indicated, I have resolved all these app problems.  I believe Apple is not as quick to update iTunes, even though they are aware of via a blanket email from Steve Jobs on the matter.  I feel this is mainly due to the fact they may be hard at work with 7.8 for a September announcement of a new iTunes subscription model (rumors have it at $100/year for full iTunes music access).

Anyhow, just to dispel any concerns I decided to perform a sync which should cause an automatic backup to occur as the conclusion of this post and these are the results.  My iPhone is pretty loaded too as you can see from this picture:

Backup started first, so will list times for this:

01:21:30am – started
01:22:30am – 33% done
01:23:30am – 50% done 
01:24:10am – 80% done 
01:24:30am – 80% done (stuck there a bit)

01:25:00am – 85% done (moved a few notches)
01:25:45am – 95% done
01:26:03am – 100% done (backup complete)

Sync started:
01:26:15 – Started Updating Apps

01:27:30 – Sync 80% done (Stylem only apparently)

01:28:55 – App Sync completed  
01:29:00 – Pod Casts synching started 

[Note:  I was wondering why iTunes seems darker here than the previous and this was due to the fact I had iTunes selected as the foreground window for this screen shot and those that follow]

01:30:55 – Photos Synching started
01:31:00 – All SyncComplete


I highly recommend you download the 7.7.0 version of iTunes for PC & Mac from my other postings or other sources on the internet and recommend you do a clean slate starting with a 2.0.2 factory restore using 7.7.0.



iPhone App Crashing Issue Resolved

August 21, 2008

After numerous restores, endless backups, and frustrating reconfiguration of my favorite apps I have finally arrived to the root of the problem and the solution.  First, just to make clear, I would like to point out the various things I have tried over the past week or so as surely you have tried some if not all yourself.  Each of these had varying levels of success but ultimately I encountered errors either when upgrading an app or simply launching it later on.

  • Restore from previous backup
  • Restore to original factory software and resync apps
  • Remove App explicitly via the iPhone and resync
  • Remove App explicitly via iTunes and re-adding it
  • and more…
The root of the problem seems to be the way iTunes 7.7.1 applies the digital rights management to the apps.  iTunes does this to ensure the app only runs on authorized computers similar to how the music you purchase is also limited to authorized computers.  The problem stems from some failure in the way iTunes 7.7.1 applies this signature to the apps.  Further complicating matters are apps purchased through the App Store icon on the phone. Theory states these apps will sync up to your computer automatically since they were purchased through the same account.  These apps many times didn’t transfer over transparently — identifying again some issue with the digital rights management applied to the application files.
The solution is quite simple!  Simply downgrade to iTunes 7.7 and use that version until the next release is issued by Apple (expected in September as per some other blogs).  I had a heck of a time finding 7.7 and even initially thought Apple themselves downgraded to 7.7 because their site reflects iTunes 7.7.
After downloading from their site however, it clearly states 7.7.1 in the title bar so another source must be found.
For convenience, I have aggregated these installers from the web and they can be downloaded here:
Simply drag the iTunes application into the trash.  Don’t worry none of your preferences are erased. Rerun the 7.7 installer and you are done.
Uninstall iTunes and reinstall the following one.

iPhone 2.0.2 update results

August 20, 2008

The iPhone 2.0.2 update does indeed help matters with the 3G connection. Now I waited almost a week since the update to report on my blog because I wanted to have ample time to test and review the results. As we all know, the update improved responsiveness of the phone in many areas such as the keyboard and contacts. The one item most people have been waiting roe though is the improved 3G connectivity.

My findings indicate the switching to edge randomly has decreased quite a bit. It has not been eliminated only because I noticed it on edge the other day at the AT&T store but this was the only time I noticed. Previous to the update I would notice through my speakers as the speakers would make the infamous GSM noise – indicating it as on the edge network at the time. Since the update the speakers never made noise again!

While at the AT&T store I mentioned the edge connection to a salesman and h pulled his 3G phone ( non iPhone ) and he also had edge at that time too! Great news for me as I felt the iPhone was simply doing what any other 3G phone would do.

I rarely have dropped calls and for some reason when I visited my parents on Saturday I had notorious amounts of dropped calls and no data connection. — at least it wouldn’t bring down the mail or web page when trying to. This brought my spirits down quite a bit as now my phone was acting up like many of the iPhones talked about online. Interestingly enough when I left my parents house everything went back to normal. Keep in mine also I had almost a full 3G signal at my Dad’s house.

Curious if this was an isolated incident I decided to drive by my dad’s neighborhood the following day and attempt making calls and low and behind I was dropping like crazy again.

Initially I believed AT&T was resetting their network or something to that effect the night before. This time however it was too coincidental the calls were dropping again in the same vicinity. My take so far is we have some areas of AT&T network which are not iPhone friendly for some reason and those in that area are mostly being affected.

iPhone speed tests super fast

August 19, 2008

I just upgraded my iPhone to firmware 2.0.2 and decided to conduct some tests. This website conducts some latency tests and then does a bandwidth test right afterwards. I feel this test is more valid than say the speed test within the app store because there are delays with DNS resolution and transfer start up times which unfortunately are included in the timing. While I agree the speed test app in the app store may represent real world scenarios, it does not measure nor report brute download capacity accurately.

I did find this website with a casual google lookup and I am in awe with the repeated results with a poor 3G signal.

See for yourself:

No matter how many times I try (in this case three) I find it difficult to match the brute timing above with the free speed test app in the app store. See for your self:


UPDATE 8/20:

Just to not create the wrong expectations, the speed I was obtaining was at 2:30am when surely there was very little traffic on the 3G network.  All throughout the day I was obtaining values from 400k-800k.

Musharraf, president of Pakistan, resigns

August 18, 2008

Today Musharraf, in a nationally televised address, resigned. Democracy prevails in pressuring those who exercise control over the will of the people.

Farewell to Inktel interns!!

August 17, 2008

Every year we reach the sad moment where we say farewell to our interns. This is a farewell party we threw this year for them. Each recieved a plaque containing a certificate of appreciation for all their hard work.   In the first picture from left to right are: Lionel Perez, Stephanie Tamargo, and Belkys Fernandez.

Tetris for iPhone – Tris

August 15, 2008

One of the best games for the iPhone is now available — and it’s FREE! I normally do not play games much nor was I ever a crazy tetris fan, but this native application by far exceeds all expectations for an iPhone game.

The game has excellent animation by having the pieces smoothly move down for each descending step.

The most impresive feature though is the touch interface along with the smooth animation. Everyone who I have shown Tris to instantly said “wow” when the first moved a piece with their finger.

A unique feature of the finger interface is the ability to move the piece up again. You might say, “hey wait a minute that’s not allowed in Tetris”. But indeed you can though. At first I thought this was a simple one time helper feature because I was not able to move the pieces up consistently. In the end though it turns out I can move each piece up — but only if I accelerated it by moving it down with my touch first. In other words you can move the piece up only as far as it would normally be if you hadn’t accelerated it down.

I really recommend the game and I easilly give it a full five stars! Search for Tris in the app store to download it.

Birthdays at Inktel

August 12, 2008

At Inktel we usually give surprise birthdays from time to time where many members of our company gather secretly in the large conference room and then someone lures the birthday person with some bait.

This time around I had my iPhone with me and decided to snap a few. The birthday person this time around was Luis Gonzalez, VP of call center operations. Ricky Arriola, our president had the honors of luring him to the conference room with an impromptu meeting. These pictures were snapped moments after the candle blowout.

iPhone Backup Taking Too Long – The Fix

August 4, 2008


Are your backups taking too long with your new iPhone?  There is great debate online as to why the iPhone takes so long — some claiming its due the apps, while others claiming they won the IBL (iPhone Backup Lottery) if they can sync without performing an automatic backup.


For sure this issue will be resolved by Apple in the next iTunes/iPhone updates however until then we need a solution so here it is:

MAC Users:

First exit iTunes and then open your terminal window and type in the following command:

defaults write DeviceBackupsDisabled -bool true


Sample Terminal Window

Sample Terminal Window

This command simply accesses the MAC OS X user default system [defaults] using the [write] command to change an attribute of the [] application setting it’s [DeviceBackupsDisabled] boolean attribute to [true].

Now, simply exit iTunes & restart iTunes.  After doing this, the Backup is no longer performed automatically nor is it an option from the iPhone’s device’s context menu.  To re-enable backups, just type the same command with false and relaunch iTunes.

Some Sources: