Hidden “feature” in Apple Lighting cable

One of the major changes in the new iPhone 5 is the new 8 pin “Lighting” cable instead of the 30 pin cable used in all iPhone and iPad devices previously.

Now the general purpose computer that you can make phone calls on (i.e. the iPhone 5) comes with a Lighting cable, but odds are you are going to need at least one spare.  No problem if you don’t mind paying Apple $19 for a spare cable.  If that is a bit pricy for you, you may have to wait.

According to one cable manufacture that has done a tear down of a Lighting cable, Apple has put an authentication chip in the cable (which is doing D2A conversion as well).  So beware of any third party “Lighting compatible” cables for a while.  I’m betting this can be cracked, but it may be a few months before its done and third party cables start hitting the market.

If you are laying out the cash for the Darth Vader phone, part with another $19 and get a spare cable.  You’ll need it.  I’ve been considering a dual 1.0/2.1 amp car charger anyway, so can I could charge both my Nexus 7 and an iPhone at the same time.  I could charge my iPhone straight from the car’s USB port, but the Sync system treats its as an MP3 player and tries to index it, which screws with the Bluetooth streaming (are you paying attention Ford?), so it’s easier to use a car charger  plugged into a power point (the former cigarette lighter socket).    The care would probably do the same thing to the Nexus 7, but I don’t keep much music on that (lots of music on the iPhone anyway).

Ok, back to the cable, you can get a 30 pin to Lighting adapter.  Apple sells one for $29.  Again, off the bat, I’m not sure I would trust any third party adapter for  a while.  Not until some early adopters spring for them and start sharing their success/failure rate.

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Just a bad phone UI design

I had to pick up another mobile phone number, so I went looking for a basic phone to get to put it on. I called my cell provider, AT&T, and was pointed to the LG CF360. The physical design is good. It feels solid, the sliding is smooth and locks/unlocks easily. It’s got Bluetooth support and has a micro-SD slot.

The UI is an utter piece of crap, and that is an insult to crap, which can be put to good use as fertilizer.

It’s a fornicating phone, being able to access my call log would actually be useful, so what ever brain dead software “coder” working in what ever sweatshop he/she/it deserves to stay in decided to leave that functionality out.

If I ever get my Razr back from one of my kids, I’m moving the SIM card over to the Razr.

“iPad Killer” rumors are all the rage

I do like the look of this HP tablet. For the rumored $600 price tag, it supports an impressive feature list.

  • 1.6 GHz Intel Atom processor
  • an 8.9-inch, multi-touch display
  • 32 or 64 GB of Flash storage
  • 1 GB of DDR RAM
  • Windows Home 7 Premium
  • a VGA Webcam
  • an Intel UMA graphics chip that supports 1080p, high-definition video playback

Oh, and it supports Flash, has at least one USB port and a SD slot.

Nerd Bling

OK,I admit that I’m using the title from the latest episode of TWiT. It just describes this product so well.

The Orb Bluetooth headset/ring. Not only is this trendy nerd jewelry, it has some nice tech included.  Bone conduction and Flexible Organic Light Emitting Device screen that allows you to look at a ring on your finger and see caller ID, voice to text info and more.

Yup, Nerd Bling.

Best tech rumor I’ve heard lately…

From what I’ve read, there was nothing really eye popping at CES this year.  Some cool stuff, but nothing to really thrill anyone.

Apple is having their own press announcement next month.  So of course, Apple tablet rumors have been running hot and heavy again.  I heard the name “iSlate” dropped several times.

My favorite rumor was on a recent episode of TWiT, where one pundit quoted his inside Apple source as saying that there will be a lot of Kindle’s on e-Bay after this announcement.

Two new Android phones

AT&T is finally carrying an Android based phone, this one is made by Dell, and called the Mini 3. This phone has been selling overseas already, so the specs are pretty well known. 3.5-inch 640×360 display, Bluetooth, 3 megapixel auto-focus camera with flash, microSD, and GPS.   Two things catch my eye, no WiFi and and microSD support.  So that is the bad and good points right off the bat.  No WiFi was one of the major complaints about the Crackberry Storm.

The inclusion of a microSD slot is a big, big plus.  The lack of an additional memory source is the biggest strike against the iPhone hardware, IMNSHO.

The other new Android phone is Google’s own Nexus 1.  We’ll see how long that name lasts.  The estate of Philip K. Dick is already taking legal action against the name.  Otherwise, this is an impressive bit of hardware. It sports a one-gigahertz processor, a 3.7-inch display, a five-megapixel camera, light and proximity sensors, and dual microphones that allow for noise cancellation.  Woot! This phone also has a removable battery!  The serious road warrior can pack a spare for emergencies.  The phone itself only has 512 Meg of flash memory, but it comes with a 4 Gig microSD card.  The phone will support up to 32 Gig in that slot, so expansion is available.

You can buy an unlocked phone direct from Google fro $529.

iTunes for the UI Fail!

Approaching the two hour mark for what should be a simple iPhone sync.

I flushed the primary drive of my desktop, loaded Windows 7 and and started reinstalling software. All my data is on another drive, so it should be a fairly straightforward process.   To Windows 7’s credit, it has been. Up until I hit iTunes, software from the UI Uber-geniuses at Apple.

I installed iTunes, it found my old information in the my documents folder tree (part of that keeping all the data on a separate drive things), but was treating this as a new instance of iTunes, instead of the continuation of the old one.

I manage my music and movies manually, and sync podcasts and apps.  If I tried to change the default setting to that configuration, I got dire warnings from iTunes that it would erase my phone data and replace it. After a bit of digging, I did the non-intuitive action of transferring my ‘purchases’ from the iPhone to this instance of iTunes.  They I made the selection to sync the podcasts I wanted synced and got the dire warnings again.  I bit the bullet, hit sync, and here I am two hours later, still waiting for iTunes to figure this out.

I’ve made the selection not to send usage data to Apple at least three times, each time, careful to hit the “don’t ask this questions again” button.

I’m still no closer to having Dr. Tiki and the gang loaded on my iPhone. So much for Apple’s ease of use and well known attention to detail in order to improve the user experience.

In this case they have screwed that pouch so hard that poor mutt can’t walk.

Epic Fail for the vaunted Apple UI here.