ElevationDock modified for iPhone5

My ElevationDock is now modified to support an iPhone 5, u sing [Mike Hellers' 3D model](http://mikehellers.com/blog/2012/09/30/3d-printing-iphone5-adapter-for-the-elevationdock/) and my own Lightning cable. I was in Carmel this morning to give a talk and stopped by afterwards to see Mike and Jody Elliot of XIT404, who were gracious enough to print me one of the adapters. The printed part required the use of a dremel to install properly, and because it isn't at an angle like the [Lightning adapter ElevationLabs will be shipping soon](http://www.elevationlab.com/products/lightning-adapter), the iPhone 5 sits a bit high and doesn't rest against the back of the dock.

The machined ElevationLabs part is $15 plus shipping and is probably better, but if you have access to a 3D printer and are OK with the drawbacks, you can do the mod yourself.

[smugmug url="http://photos.echeng.com/hack/feed.mg?Type=gallery&Data=26350018_g96mSp&format=rss200" imagecount="100" start="1" num="100" thumbsize="Th" link="lightbox" captions="true" sort="true" size="L"]

Automatically syncing Instagram and iPhone photos to your Mac

The recent [Dropbox](https://www.dropbox.com/iphoneapp) update on iOS (version 1.5.1) includes a new feature that automatically uploads all photos and videos taken with your iPhone or iPad to Dropbox. Various camera apps and social network apps like Facebook's Camera app and Google+ have started offering automatic sync to their respective photo albums, but I want my pictures to sync to my computer, not to an online service. Apple's iCloud service also offers Photo Stream sync of your last 1,000 pictures, but this works best if you're an iPhoto or Aperture user. **Dropbox Photos and Video Sync**

When I upgraded to Dropbox 1.5.1, the app stopped responding altogether, so I had to remove it from my iPhone and re-download it. Once I did that, the first-use wizard connected my account and asked me whether I wanted to automatically sync photos and video to Dropbox. If you have gigabytes of media on your iPhone, be sure to tell the app to only sync new media; otherwise, you may find yourself trying to upload a lot of data over Wi-Fi—or worse, over your mobile carrier's data plan.

Once you're set up, you'll find a new folder called "Camera Uploads" in your Dropbox folder. Initial tests worked very well. Bringing the Dropbox app to the foreground will start the sync process, and when I launched the app and left it running in the background, it continued to upload (once I had kicked it off by launching it); to avoid uploading huge amounts of data over your mobile data plan (if you're not on an unlimited data plan), you may want to [keep Dropbox closed](http://bit.ly/N2KmOm).

**Syncing Instagram to DropBox**

I also like to sync my Instagram feed to a folder on my computer. To do this, I use a free web service called [Instadrop](http://instadrop.appspot.com/).

Instadrop connects with your Instagram account and automatically pushes new pictures to a Dropbox folder. It works very well—so well, in fact, that it continued to work even after I forgot how I had set it up originally. If you want to stop syncing, you can revoke access to Instadrop by going to *Dropbox->Your Account->Manage Applications*.

Once you revoke access to Instadrop, the Dropbox sync will stop.

**Dropbox security**

Remember that any app you authorize to talk to Dropbox will have access to every file you have hosted on the service. I don't like this, so I use a second Dropbox account for my mobile apps and share folders to my main Dropbox account. I also use an encrypted sparse bundle within Dropbox to store all of my sensitive information. Since Dropbox and most other cloud-based file storage services are insecure by design, you need to protect your sensitive data yourself.

Mophie is my best friend at #SXSW

Yesterday, I heard a story about an Uber pedicab driver here at SXSW who was making a lot in tips by pedaling people around and letting them charge their devices via USB battery. Conferences like SXSW chew up mobile device batteries because people are Tweeting and using apps all day long, without any real opportunity to charge up during the day. One of our Lytro team members was so desperate that she climbed over the counter at a bar to charge her iPhone up. I've been going to a lot of conferences lately, and finally bought a [Mophie Juice Pack Plus](http://www.mophie.com/iPhone-4-s/47.htm) because it's more convenient than using an external battery and cable.

It's awesome. It will more than charge up an iPhone from empty, which means that you can share it with your friends as they need power. Also, it is strangely satisfying to hold a larger mobile device. I actually find the iPhone (4S) more comfortable to use with the Mophie case than without. Highly recommended. The Juice Pack Air is even smaller and cheaper, but has a battery with 25% less charge capacity ([people say](http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1194000) that the Air won't quite charge an iPhone from empty to full).

Did Siri stop working on your Verizon iPhone 4S? Here's how I fixed mine.

I have an iPhone 4S on Verizon. Last week, I asked Siri a question, and she responded, "I'm really sorry, but I can't take any requests right now." After 24 hours, it was clear that Siri was broken. I looked only, and there were dozens of support webpages offering various tips on how to get the service working again; apparently, it is pretty common for Siri, clearly labeled a beta product by Apple, not to work. This is unfortunate because the iPhone itself is clear NOT a beta product. For any Apple-branded service not to work taints the entire iPhone experience. Here's how I finally managed to get Siri to work again:

1. **Settings->General->Reset->Reset All Settings.** This will reset things like your Desktop background, notification settings, and network settings, but will not delete any applications or user data. After I did this, Siri worked, but there were still a few problems: Siri refused to call anyone, and all phone numbers in my address book seemed to want to be 9 digits instead of 10. For example, if I entered a normal, 10-digit phone number like (415) 123-4567, Address Book would display it as "4151234567". However, if I removed the last digit, it would display, "(415) 12-34-56". Truly bizarre.

2. **I turned off Siri.**

3. **I dialed *228 and selected option 2** to update roaming.

4. After updating roaming, **I turned Siri on again and waited** for the phone to connect to the Verizon network. At this point, 10-digit phone numbers were again recognized and re-formatted to the proper "(xxx) xxx-xxxx". Siri was again able to dial.

I hate wasting time trying to get services to work properly. One of the reasons I have an iPhone is that I just want things to work, and all of the effort expended to figure out a way to get Siri to work was not fun. If I wanted to endlessly tweak my devices, I'd still be on Android!

Anyway, I hope this post helps folks out there to get Siri working again on their Verizon iPhones.

My $2.99 (shipped) iPhone 4 dock and cable

$2.99 iPhone 4 dock and cable 2 weeks ago, I ordered an [iPhone 4 dock and USB cable](http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=330518840243) off of eBay for $2.99 shipped, which seemed impossibly low. As promised, the dock and cable came in the mail today shipped from Shenzhen, China (not surprisingly, the same city in which iPhones are made). Although the dock is black and is made of a different material, the fit and finish matches what I'd expect of a product made by Apple. Who knows? Maybe they used the same machines. :)

$2.99 iPhone 4 dock

At 10% the price of an Apple dock, it was an incredible deal (I bought 2). If this vendor can make money selling a dock & cable for $2.99 shipped from China, imagine Apple's margin on its branded accessories!

**UPDATE**: I forgot to note that I have Wrapsol applied to my iPhone, and it fits just fine in the dock.

The first 3 days on my new Verizon iPhone (also, useful apps)

Verizon iPhone
I've had my pre-ordered Verizon iPhone for 3 days now, and I love the thing.

My good friend, [Sterling Zumbrunn](http://sterlingz.net/), helped me with initial app suggestions -- super helpful because he has pretty much tried every app in the app store :).

Things have changed quite a bit since I was last on iPhone (in the AT&T dark ages), and the infrastructure and app ecosystem are really mature now. One big difference for me is that many apps now support [DropBox]( https://www.dropbox.com/referrals/NTY3ODc2OQ), which means that all of my devices are always in sync.[^1]

[^1]: The notable exception is [OmniFocus](http://www.omnigroup.com/products/omnifocus/), whose iOS clients do not support DropBox even though their Mac desktop client does.

For note taking and text editing, the combination of [Elements](http://www.secondgearsoftware.com/elements/) on the iPhone and [nvALT](http://brettterpstra.com/code/notational-velocity-alt/) (a Notational Velocity fork) on Mac OS X is convenient and versatile. Since I don't like UI clutter, I also have [PlainText](http://www.hogbaysoftware.com/products/plaintext), which is cleaner but less powerful than Elements. All three are pointed at the same DropBox folder, so the content is seamlessly shared, and all three support [TextExpander](http://smilesoftware.com/TextExpander/). I'm finding that this combination works well for both jotting down notes and composing and previewing longer articles (in Markdown). If you don't already use Markdown and are a frequent web content creator, you [really need to check it out](http://daringfireball.net/projects/markdown/).

Other apps that are indispensable for desktop / mobile device harmony are [PasteBot](http://tapbots.com/software/pastebot/), an app that lets you easily push clipboard content to and from your Mac, and [DropCopy](http://10base-t.com/macintosh-software/dropcopy), which lets you easily send files and images to any other device currently running DropCopy.

For mobile WiFi, I retired my MiFi 2200 and am now paying $20/month for 2GB of wireless hotspot service (instead of $65). I rarely use over 2GB a month, and at $10/GB for excess data, it is a much better deal even if I do go over.

Other apps I use daily are Istapaper, Kindle, GoodReader, TextExpander, 1Password, Evernote, 42s, Twitter, Facebook, and Google.

Pam got her pre-ordered Verizon iPhone at the same time. I backed up her old AT&T iPhone 3Gs, restored the backup to her new Verizon iPhone 4, and she is happily using it exactly the same way she used to. The one big change? I can actually call her and talk for more than 20 seconds!

I do miss the physical keyboard on my old Blackberry Bold 9650, and I miss Blackberry Messenger. Blackberry is still the king of messaging, but since messaging is only 10% of what I actually want to do with a mobile device, an iPhone or Android makes much more sense. When I travel internationally, I will likely swap my line over to the Blackberry so I can take advantage of the unlimited global data plan. [As I noted before](/journal/2011/01/29/why-blackberry-is-the-only-viable-international-phone-for-usa-residents/), I believe the Blackberry has the only viable international plan for those of us living in the States.

Shrinking by the year: MacWorld 2011

I went to MacWorld last week to check out products and to meet [Sterling Zumbrunn](http://sterlingz.net/) and [Daniel Brown](http://www.downloadculture.com/). The show was tiny this year; it is shrinking year after year because [Apple pulled out in 2009](http://articles.sfgate.com/2008-12-17/news/17133698_1_macworld-conference-expo-macworld-show-apple-worldwide-developers-conference). MacWorld 2011 might as well have been named "iStuff 2011." The vast majority of booths seemed to be dedicated to iPhone and iPad accessories and software. Still, the show was interesting. The Mac has a great shareware culture, and some of the more successful shareware companies were on site in micro-booths -- a great opportunity to meet some of the folks who write the software I use every day.

Setting up Gmail properly on iPad and iPhone / iOS 4

A post I wrote in April 2010 called [How to properly set up Gmail on your iPad](/journal/2010/04/05/how-to-properly-set-up-gmail-with-your-ipad) has gotten nearly 50,000 page views since it went live. Users of Gmail are used to its archive-instead-of-delete model, but by default, Apple devices prior to iOS 4 were deleting trashed messages when integrated with Gmail. iPads running the original OS and iPhones running iPhone OS 1.1.2 -> 3.x needed special instructions to set up Gmail accounts properly, which is detailed in the post I linked to above. Starting from iOS 4, setting up an iPhone or iPad using the big "Gmail" button archives mail by default instead of deleting it (but there is an option to go back to deleting mail). The trash icon even becomes a filing cabinet icon to signify archiving instead of trashing. I'm not sure what happens to drafts and sent mail in the new scheme.

Note that older versions of iPhone and iPad operating systems continue to delete trashed Gmail messages unless you set the account up as an "Other" mail account as detailed in [my other post](/journal/2010/04/05/how-to-properly-set-up-gmail-with-your-ipad).

I'm still using the old way to talk to Gmail on my iPad, and it continues to work well.

Here's [what Google says to do](http://mail.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?answer=86614) as of today (January 8, 2011):

Other useful links:

- [Gmail help's official instructions for setting Gmail up in iOS 4](http://mail.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=77702) - [Gmail help's official instructions for setting Gmail up in iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch 3.0](http://mail.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?answer=184972)

Setting a different reply-to address in Gmail on iPad/iPhone

I've been struggling with this for some time. I really like that the iPad and iPhone both will talk to Gmail via Activesync (Exchange). This allows me to have Mail, Contacts, and Calendars pushed / synchronized to my device from Google. But the Mail implementation is flawed because you cannot set a different reply-to email address. Actually, you *can* set a reply-to address, but it reverts to your gmail address when you launch the Mail app. I want my incoming mail to come in via Gmail, but I want my outgoing mail to be from a different address (I don't use my gmail address as an explicit email address).

So here's what I've done:

1. Set up my devices to [talk to Google via ActiveSync](http://www.google.com/support/mobile/bin/answer.py?answer=138740&topic=14252). Check sync for Contacts and Calendar, but NOT for Mail.

2. Set up a second Gmail account as "Other" IMAP -- not using the default Gmail setup ([here's why](/journal/2010/04/05/how-to-properly-set-up-gmail-with-your-ipad/)).

3. Set up the IMAP account to use my normal SMTP server (the one my echeng.com address uses).

I tested this, and it works. I get my email through Gmail, but I can send through another email address.. although with this setup, I've lost push email.

You can't win 'em all.

How to properly set up Gmail on your iPad

**UPDATE**: This post is only valid for users using iPads and iPhones prior to iOS 4. Users running iOS 4 should [read this post instead](/journal/2011/01/08/setting-up-gmail-properly-on-ipad-and-iphone-ios-4/). If you're a Gmail user and have just taken delivery of a shiny new iPad, you should be sure to set your Gmail account up properly, just like you had to when you set up your iPhone. On the iPhone, the default Gmail setup did bad things because it violated Gmail conventions (actually deleting your mail instead of archiving it). I'm not sure if they've fixed the issue on the iPad, but the only way to be sure is to set it up manually.

Here's what to do:

1. Go to **Settings -> Mail, Contacts, Calendars** and tap **Add Account..**. under **Accounts**.

2. Select **Other**, and then, **Mail Account**. DO NOT select Gmail.

3. Use imap.gmail.com as incoming server and smtp.gmail.com as outgoing server. Put in your entire gmail address and password in both incoming and outgoing server settings.

4. Go back to iPad home and start up the Mail app. Once it connects and downloads mail for the first time, go back to **Settings -> Mail, Contacts, Calendars**. Select the new mail account you just created, scroll down, and tap **Advanced**.

5. Select **Drafts Mailbox** > **On the Server** > **Drafts**. Return to the **Advanced** view.

6. Select **Sent Mailbox** > **On the Server** > **Sent Mail**. Return to the **Advanced** view.

7. Select **Deleted Mailbox** > **On the Server** > **Deleted Messages**

8. Back all the way out and hit **Done**.

Set up this way, your iPad will now store also Drafts and Sent Mail in Gmail instead of only storing it locally. Here's the [GMail Blog entry](http://gmailblog.blogspot.com/2009/01/tip-archive-mail-on-your-iphone.html) that details this for the iPhone. Deleted mails will go into the archives under the "Deleted Messages" label, but they will still be searcheable and will not automatically be deleted like messages in "Trash" are.

Alternatively, you can set up your iPhone or iPad to [talk to Google using ActiveSync](http://www.google.com/support/mobile/bin/answer.py?answer=138740&topic=14252) (Exchange). I've been doing this for awhile now, and it's been working perfectly.

Why Read It Later improves web reading productivity

I read a lot, and much of what I read lives on the web. However, I rarely actually *read* documents on the web, preferring to read them offline during time away from the computer (e.g. when I'm waiting in line for something). [Instapaper](http://www.instapaper.com/) and [Read It Later](http://readitlaterlist.com/) are two services that reduce the queuing of articles for offline reading to single click actions. I happen to use Read It Later because of flexibility in apps (Instapaper focuses on iPhone), but they are both fantastic. Both offer free versions of their iPhone apps[^1] and paid $4.99 Pro versions that support things like HTML caching (as opposed to text-only reading). I find the pro versions to be worth every penny of their cost.

[^1]: Free iPhone apps: [Instapaper](http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/click?id=XZpO96fuxfc&subid=&offerid=146261.1&type=10&tmpid=5573&RD_PARM1=http%3A%2F%2Fclick.linksynergy.com%2Ffs-bin%2Fclick%3Fid%3DXZpO96fuxfc%2526subid%3D%2526offerid%3D146261.1%2526type%3D10%2526tmpid%3D3909%2526RD_PARM1%3Dhttp%253A%252F%252Fitunes.apple.com%252Fus%252Fapp%252Fread-it-later-pro%252Fid309601447%253Fmt%253D8), [Read It Later](http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/click?id=XZpO96fuxfc&subid=&offerid=146261.1&type=10&tmpid=3909&RD_PARM1=http%3A%2F%2Fitunes.apple.com%2Fus%2Fapp%2Fread-it-later-free%2Fid309597402%3Fmt%3D8) Pro, paid iPhone apps: [Instapaper](http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/click?id=XZpO96fuxfc&subid=&offerid=146261.1&type=10&tmpid=3909&RD_PARM1=http%3A%2F%2Fitunes.apple.com%2Fus%2Fapp%2Finstapaper-pro%2Fid288545208%3Fmt%3D8), [Read It Later](http://click.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/click?id=XZpO96fuxfc&subid=&offerid=146261.1&type=10&tmpid=3909&RD_PARM1=http%3A%2F%2Fitunes.apple.com%2Fus%2Fapp%2Fread-it-later-pro%2Fid309601447%3Fmt%3D8)

Here's a 1-minute demonstration of me pulling an entry from my journal into Read It Later:

I've not found a good way to use Read It Later on my Kindle (Instapaper is supposed to have decent Kindle support), but this isn't such a big issue because I find the iPod Touch to be more than suitable for reading articles offline. Also, the device is always with me. Instapaper also supports list sharing, which is something that might convince me to switch over, but I suspect that in practice, I'd rather just read the things that my friends tweet about because the act of explicit sharing doubles as a filter for good content.

Other apps I use also support Read It Later, including Firefox (via add-on), Google Reader and NewsRack (iPhone), Tweetie 2 (iPhone), and mobile Safari. This covers most of the applications I use to read online content, so anything I read can instantly be flagged for offline reading on another device.

If you are a consumer of web articles, you absolutely need to get on one of these services. They're both free, so there's no excuse not to do so!

Yelp for iPhone offers augmented reality

Monacle, Yelp's new iPhone AR feature
Augmented Reality is coming. The new Yelp app on iPhone already has it as a hidden feature.

If the Yelp app doesn't excite you, check this one out: NY Subway map. It's probably one of the more compelling consumer AR apps out there at the moment, but research previews from universities show that a lot more is coming. This is either really exciting or really scary, depending on who you are. :)

TapDefense v2.2's unlock "offers" are a bad idea

I'm a big fan of the iPhone game by TapJoy, TapDefense. It's the only game I play these days, and I use it to pass the time when I'm waiting for something else to happen. TapDefense is a fantastic iPhone implementation of a variation of Tower Defense. It's free, and the ads are really unobtrusive, which always impressed me.

However, the creators updated TapDefense recently with a new version (2.2), advertising the inclusion of 2 new tower types. Excited, I updated the app. Upon running the new version, I discovered that the new towers were unlock-able features. To unlock a tower, you must install an iPhone app (one is free; the rest cost money) or complete one of many free "offers" via web browser. I installed the free iPhone app and tried to complete two of the offers. The offers are terrible, and **the creators of TapDefense should be embarrassed for associating themselves with overt data harvesting services**. Page after page of advertising are presented to you until, after 20 pages or more, you finally simply close the application out of frustration. The offers try to extract your name, address, email address, mobile phone provider, mobile phone number, birth city, birthday, and more -- enough to try to perpetrate identity theft, if they really wanted to do so. I felt dirty and cheated for even having seen the so-called "offer."

I don't mind being shown a few inconspicuous ads when I'm using a free app, but this is ridiculous. TapDefense fans like me are obviously going to be interested in content updates; in my case, I would rather have paid $0.99 than to come out feeling cheated after having their "offers" try to harvest my personal data. There is no option to simply pay for the updated app; instead, you have to buy a third app or attempt to complete one of those terrible offers.

I left a message on their Facebook fan page wall, but it was deleted within 30 seconds.

It feels strange to voice feedback about free software, but these guys are going to lose a lot of fans if they continue to try to extract personal information from their players.

If you're a fan of the game, head over to the TapDefense iTunes app page and leave feedback!

Selling a 16GB iPhone 2G

I recently upgraded to an iPhone 3GS, and now need to sell my original 16GB iPhone (2G). On eBay, a mint-condition jailbroken 16GB iPhone 2G sells for $300-$350, while iPhones that look used are going between $200-$300. Assuming I managed to get $300 for mine (unlikely, even though the screen is perfect -- it looks used), I would pay approximately $21 in fees, plus at least $10 insured shipping, netting me around $269. For my phone, FlipSwap offers $235 in the form of an Amazon gift certificate, or around $223 in cash. I've decided to sell via FlipSwap / Amazon gift certificate because the $34 difference isn't enough to make me go through the effort of listing on eBay and risking a sale price lower than $263, which the break-even price at eBay after fees. I'd also risk an international sale, which comes with its own set of issues, like risk, and time to actually go to a post office. Also, I'd have to either wait for a 3.0 jailbreak tool or downgrade the firmware from 3.0 to 2.2.1 for jailbreaking before selling it on eBay. More effort.

FlipSwap seems like the best deal, that is, unless someone reading this wants to buy my iPhone for more than $235 + shipping. :)

Synchronizing birthdays from Mac to iPhone (and more)

Even though iPhone 3.0 supports CalDAV, there still doesn't appear to be an easy way to get the "Birthdays" calendar to sync to iPhone over MobileMe. Enter Dates to iCal, by John Maisey, a background script that creates and maintains a new calendar in iCal containing all of your birthdays and anniversaries. Because iCal sees the new calendar as a standard calendar, it syncs effortlessly using MobileMe. Within 60 seconds of turning on Dates to iCal, I could see all of my contacts' birthdays on my iPhone and on my two Macs running iCal. I then published the new Birthdays calendar to Google using BusySync, and my Blackberry Bold now also sees the calendar after syncing with Google Sync.

General notes on syncing Macs to Google to iPhone to Blackberry: I have been a loyal user of BusySync for some time now; it allows me to sync my iCal calendars to and from Google.

My calendar sync looks something like this:

> iPhone <-MobileMe-> Mac <-BusySync-> Google Calendar <-Google Sync-> Blackberry

Even I'm amazed that it works.

iPhone's new CalDAV support means that I could probably start hosting my calendars in Google and subscribing to them via CalDAV in iCal and on the iPhone, but it's all working well right now and I don't have the energy to re-think things, especially when it all seems to work.

Amazon releases Kindle for iPhone

Amazon released Kindle app for iPhone. This is really, really cool. Now, I can read my Kindle books on my iPhone when I'm out around the city without my bag (no bag = no Kindle). The Kindle app includes a feature they call Whispersync: > Kindle for iPhone also includes Whispersync, which allows you to seamlessly switch back and forth between your Kindle device and Kindle for iPhone while keeping your bookmarks and reading location synchronized between devices. Now you can easily pick up reading right where you left off on your Kindle or iPhone.

Of course, Whispersync probably only works if I'm home in the U.S. on the Sprint network, so the sync and read where you left off feature may not always work for me.

How to fix RjDj crash on iPhone

Yesterday, I downloaded RjDj, which is a really interesting iPhone app that augments aural reality by sampling sounds and using them in a sort of real-time soundtrack played back via the headphone jack. The problem was that the application crashed upon launch (it's affecting many users). Here's the fix, which worked for me (posted by a user on RjDj's website): 1. Delete the RjDj application from iTunes 2. Delete the RjDj application from iPhone 3. Hard reset iPhone (hold the sleep/wake button and home button down at the same time until the screen goes dark and the white Apple logo appears) 4. Quit and restart iTunes 5. Re-download the RjDj application in iTunes 6. Plug iPhone in and sync

Unfortunately, I am suffering from the low volume problem now, which makes the app essentially useless. The sound volume is so low that you basically cannot hear anything. I hope they fix it.