NetShare pulled from the Apple Store

Netshare is a very useful iPhone app that allows you to share the iPhone’s Internet connection with other devices over the WiFi connection.

Too bad it isn’t available anymoreIt was on the iTunes app store, but then it was pulled, put back, and then pulled again.

The app was produced by Nullriver Software.

No explanation from Apple on why this extremely useful app was pulled.

Update: Nullriver Software claims that they are “working with” with Apple about getting NetShare back in the iTunes Apps store.

Two Hours to buy an iPhone

That is just too long.  I called ahead, made sure that the local Apple Store had the phone my wife wanted in stock.  We get there, on a Wednesday night, and have to wait for a blue shirt to free up.  When one of the blue shirts finally does free up, he manages to get the new iPhone assigned to my number (I have a gen one iPhone and see no reason to upgrade), instead of my wife’s number.

Of course, they can’t fix the problem there, so we have to hike to the AT&T store, wait twenty more minutes for someone there to free up, and then another 45+ minutes for the AT&T rep to reset my account back to the way it was.  That should have taken five minutes, tops!

Instead, it was a major operation.  The AT&T rep had to program a new sim card for my phone!  Then the obnoxious process of having to register my iphone through iTunes once again.

So over half of my time was wasted because Apple screwed up my AT&T account, and I still don’t have the iPhone I came there to buy for my wife.

I understand that AT&T wants to make sure it makes its money back on the iPhones it is paying part of the cost on, but they have gone to new lengths to make the process difficult and un-consumer friendly for those of us who are actually trying to buy the Apple iPhone legally.

I’ve been a customer of AT&T Mobile (as they are now calling themselves) for over a decade.  I have five numbers on my account.  Never before have I run into a case where I was trying to sign up for a more expensive service plan and AT&T refused to take my money.

Until last night.  AT&T’s ovewheleming desire to make sure they squeeze every penny out of the iPhone rates means that they are putting the screws to long time loyal customers like myself.

The only bright point was that someone at the Apple Store finally figured out what customer service was. I managed to get the iPhone for my wife, with it actually assigned to her number, after just over two hours.

I’ll talk about the anti-consumer changes AT&T made to the rate plans later.  That’s a big reason I’m sticking with first gen iPhone.

Why no decent camera app

One of the glaring exceptions in the Apple iTunes application store is a decent camera app.

There are several “jailbreak” phone apps that add good functionality to the extremely basic camera software on the iPhone.  Adding functionality to the camera is something that iPhone users would pay money for.  Price it under $10, preferably under $5, and it would move.

The camera on the iPhone is the equivalent of an old Instamatic film camera.  Not a modern one, you  can get better pictures from a modern cardboard disposable.

It is not that bad, but getting a decent picture out it is a challenge.  Like most photography, it is all about the lighting. Just don’t expect to blow that picture up to a poster.

yet another iPhone post

The iPocalypse may be over, but Apple still has some issues.  According to the in-the-know Morgan Webb, the new iPhone has sold over 1 million units so far.  That’s the good news, the bad news is that its hard to find one.  I called the local Apple store yesterday and there were sold out.  I called them around 11AM today and was told they had gotten in a small number but were sold out on those too.

I’m stuck with my rev 1 hardware and just upgraded the firmware.  The big plus is the non-Apple developed apps.  That shouldn’t be a surprise.  Remember that it was apps written by people who didn’t make the hardware or the OS that drove early personal computer sales.

The app I get the most use of currently is Twitteriffic.  If you use Twitter, and you have an iPhone, you probably already have this.  No more using up text messages (more on this later), or firing up the browser and login in.  Just read and tweet.  If you haven’t tried Twitter, give it a shot, it’s good for you. 🙂

Another  useful app is WeatherBug, which gives more details than the Weather app that comes with the phone.

There are two apps though that I’ve just started to use which I think will change the way people use their iPhones (and other ubiquitous Internet devices).  The AOL Radio and Pandora apps.

These apps stream audio.  AOL Radio provides a wide range of Terrestrial radio stations.  These include many music formats, as well as News and Talk radio stations.  Many radio stations stream over the web, but I carry my iPhone in my pocket.   My laptop, which doesn’t have a ubiquitous Internet connection, is a bit big to carry around all the time.

No need to synch up with iTunes to load music or net casts.  On demand music, news and talk.

That is going to change the way these devices are used and make additional bandwidth demands on a system that is already creaking under the increased demands of the iPhone and similar devices.

Finally!

I was finally able to get a response from the Apple servers and activate my iPhone with the new firmware.

It only took about 12 hours from the time I started the process.

Currently going through the long process of restoring music & video files.

Comments I made on the Apple boards…

Here are some of the comments I made on the Apple support boards today:

1.

I’ve been bricked for over four hours.
Download went fine.
Backup went fine.
Restore went fine.

Activate the phone by connecting to the Apple mother ship…major problem.
Can’t get a response from the server, so I have an expensive paperweight.

Apple does need to compensate its existing customer base for this screw up.

2.

This is a pretty cut and dried customer service issue that Apple has dropped the ball on and handled poorly.

Expecting lousy customer service doesn’t justify it.

Just moved the sim to my old phone, so I’m not dead in the water like those who put all their faith in Apple.  I’ll move it back an try connecting later tonight or tomorrow.

3.

This is still a bad customer service scenario for Apple.  They are literally telling their customers to go back to their old phones.  Some of them might learn that they really can live without their iPhones.

Their marketing team will try to spin this as a major success. Something about the “overwhelming demand” for their new software.  At the same time, they need to try and brush a very large number of extremely annoyed customers under the rug and away from the public eye.

Back to the Razr

After 5 hours of iPhone brickland, I put the sim in my old Razr.

I’ll try accessing the overloaded Apple servers later.

Not good

My iphone is backed up, upgraded, and dead in the water.

iTunes has to connect to the mothership to reactivate the phone.  Apparently Apple screwed the pooch in providing enough bandwidth/server access to support the upgrade rush.

No connection to Apple = dead iphone.

So, until the rush dies down, or Apple IT provides more server access, my phone is a paperweight.

Taking the plunge

I’ve downloaded the 2.0 iPhone firmware.  Currently in the process of installing it.  I’ll post a report on it later today.

Keeping the old hardware…

I’ve been looking at the specs for the new iPhone, and can’t see a reason to spend for, one new hardware, and two, a new AT&T contract.  The big features of the new hardware is the 3G, which only works in limited 3G availability areas, and the GPS, which lacks the critical step by step directions function.

The big selling feature is the new application support, which is a free upgrade to current iPhone owners.

So, I’m not springing for the new hardware, I’ll just download the new firmware.  I’m hoping the GPhone will be out and past the early adopter growing pains by the time my current AT&T contract runs out.