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apple-mac

Like any loyal Apple customer, I was as happy as a pig in shite. That is, as happy as Steve Jobs allowed me to be. I had an iPhone (because they look cool), a Mac Mini (because they look cool), a MacBook Pro (13 inch - because they look cool) and the all-new iPad (because, yes, they look cool) - but I wasn't always such a sadcase Apple fanboy.

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As the ads go, I was a PC, and quite happy at it. In fact, I still am a PC which probably compromises my fanboy status. Some applications I need to use every day for work are only available on PC, so I have no choice but to use Windows. So I use a Mac laptop mostly, with the PC tower in my office/playroom doing my heavy lifting, and a Mac Mini in the living room for watching movies and Hulu. And I'm not alone. I read a surprising statistic that shows a massive number of Mac owners also own a PC - which is funny considering the ongoing online flame wars between fanboys from each camp.

So, I was a happy PC owner. The prospect of a Mac, with it's impossibly different operating system was just too much of a chore to consider, and I wasn't shopping anyway. Then that all changed, initially with the iPhone. When that landed, I knew I just had to have one. When they were released in America in 2007, I was planning to go that November for Christmas shopping and headed in to buy one. At the time they were AT&T network-locked, but I got a jailbreak for it. When I arrived home, I found that there was no network in Ireland to support the data on it - except for Meteor. At the time, I was on Vodafone - had been for years - and they were 3G. O2 were the same and the original iPhone required an EDGE network connection, and Meteor were the only show in town with a data plan I could afford on EDGE. That changed subsequently, and now it's available on most (if not all) of the Irish networks. So I jailbreaked/jailbroke the thing and started using it on Meteor.

ScreenHunter_04 Jun. 25 01.11

After falling - hard - for the iPhone, I was beginning to come round to the church of "It Just Works". A friend of mine was a die-hard Mac user and I was eventually shopping for a new laptop. My old one died and I had to replace it. It was around the same time that Apple released the MacBooks with Intel processors, replacing their old proprietary PowerPC chips. This meant that the user had the option to install Windows on the machine. Great, I thought. I can have a cool machine, running all my usual software on it. I went ahead and bought it, installed Windows alongside OSX, and it's now my most-used machine, apart from the Mac Mini, which I have an entirely different use for.

When my main PC at home was nailed by a deadly virus (lesson: always use protection) I needed to get a machine. I don't remember why (probably because I spent too much on a MacBook) but I was pretty smashed at the time. I really couldn't afford a couple of grand for another computer, but I did want a cheap, always-on-at-home kit. I managed to talk the wife into the Mac Mini because it was half the price of a big PC, it looked cool (I may have mentioned that already) and I could stick Windows onto it, like on the laptop. It worked great and when I eventually had the cash for a new heavy-duty machine, I moved the Mac Mini to the living room where it's connected to the internet and my telly, with Hulu via VPN so I can watch all the American TV I want. It's a great setup and extremely easy to use - which is a marital requirement.

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(Pic of my old-school Mac Mini. They released a new one last week with HDMI)

Subsequent iPhone upgrades came when the device was eventually launched on O2 in Ireland, and I've generally been very happy with them, although I will be shopping around for better deals when the new iPhone 4 arrives next month. I got out of my contract with O2 this week, after a twitter-pal of mine got me onto it. I had another few months to go until I was eligible for a no-strings upgrade, so I thought it might be a handy idea to get out now so I can shop around later. Apparently you can cancel on the grounds that O2 are slightly raising their calls to voicemail prices, and this somehow nullifies your deal. If you call them before the 11th of July (I think!) you can get out and keep your phone.

In fact, one colleague of mine only had his iPhone a couple of months and called to cancel - they did it without quibble. I'm sure it's a massive pain in the hole for them, but to be fair, they were very pleasant and easy to deal with.

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My final Apple gizmo - The iPad - was a stupid impulse buy that cost me too much money I just didn't, and still don't have. But I use it all the time and genuinely love it, so fuck it. You win this round Jobs!

But the iPad is where my Apple problems started.

The iPad is notorious for having really poor WiFi reception. I haven't found that, but my house and work have pretty solid signal throughout. What I did find is that the iPad's WiFi will be connected to the network but the internet connection within the WiFi connection will just die. This did not happen on my laptop or my phone, just the iPad. The WiFi is on, connected and working, but there's no internet. Apps that need the net, like twitter and mail will refuse to load. The only way to fix this is to turn on and off the WiFi for a second, or to flick on and off airplane mode in the settings. This might need to be done from once an hour to a couple of times a minute. The Vodafone 3G signal I have in the iPad is solid and doesn't suffer the same internet dropouts.

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This week, the new iPhone OS was upgraded from 3.1 to 4.0 and with it came some nice little changes.

One of the biggest changes for me was that the carrier profile settings for my network, O2, were deleted from the phone, so when I attempted to get online it failed. I found the APN settings online, entered them, and now 3G works. Well, most of the time it does. Since the upgrade, both the WiFi and 3G connections are suffering the same WiFi issue from the iPad as described above. The connection is there, just no internet. As I say, this is only sometimes and not always - but regularly enough to piss you off. There seems to be a constant problem with these carrier settings, because when hitting the voicemail button in the phone app, the phone is unable to dial 171 - it says contact your carrier. This happens when there is a problem with the iPhone's carrier file.

The 4.0 operating system has yet to be released for the iPad, but it is imminent. So for now, it's running version 3.1. Prior to upgrading, the iPad and iPhone had both been using 3.1 and I have been using Microsoft Exchange to handle all of my contacts, calendars and email in GMail and sync it using push on both devices. Then I upgraded. Ever since, I've had nothing but problems with this setup. Only a few items are sync'd - ever - and email will sit on the phone all day without being sent. This is a disaster for me, since I use Google all the time.

So, having had enough of all these issues, I decided to restore my iPhone. Before doing so, I backed up, then restored. When that was complete, it seemed (after a little bit of testing) that all of my problems were fixed. Network and push functionality were back, as was the voicemail button to 171. BUT! (There's always one) My texts, photos, favourites, call log, safari bookmarks and apps were all completely wiped. It's essentially a new phone, which is great - except I need my texts and call log along with most of the other stuff. Not a problem, I'll just restore back to the one I made before wiping it. I did that, it worked flawlessly and I was finally happy as a pig in shite again.

Except that all the issues I had were back, every single one. To be certain before writing all this, I repeated the whole procedure with exactly the same result. Which leads me to believe there was something wrong with the phone, which is being lumped into the iPhone backup, so when I restore from a backup, the phone goes back to it's original fucked-up state.

One last little niggle with iOS4? Photos are being emailed sideways if I take them vertically. Not a big deal, but an annoyance:

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Your ideas and comments are, as ever, greatly appreciated.

Ray

9 Comments:

  1. David Butler said...
    Hey Ray, sorry to hear of your woes with your iPhone since upgrading to iOS4. I upgraded my own phone earlier this week and touch wood it's been grand so far. One suggestion that might help is that I had problems with my iPhone (3GS 32GB) a few months back when I was using up most of the space in the storage. I was having really odd issues, apps struggling to load and problems with wifi connections (3G was fine). At the time I was down to a few 100 mbs few. I did a cleanup and reencoded some of my music to take up less space, resynced and it's been grand since. I try to keep about a gig free. Not sure if this might help but maybe give it a go, I'd suggest maybe taking off the sync to your pictures/video library if you have one to free up some space....that should do a quick test. Once you resync, give it a restart and try it out. Best of luck.
    Tony said...
    I just read that whole thing thinking you pasted the link from somewhere else?? Anyway I upgradedy 3GS lastnight and as of yet had no problems granted I'm on my back (literally) after an op an haven't been in 3G land for a while.. So time will tell.. Oh my cuz upgraded his 3G and is fit to kill!! Seems as thought it can't handle it
    Tony said...
    I just read that whole thing thinking you pasted the link from somewhere else?? Anyway I upgradedy 3GS lastnight and as of yet had no problems granted I'm on my back (literally) after an op an haven't been in 3G land for a while.. So time will tell.. Oh my cuz upgraded his 3G and is fit to kill!! Seems as thought it can't handle it
    Tony said...
    I stand (lie) corrected.. It just Posted twice and my spell check is poo
    David Butler said...
    Oh and I wouldn't be going near the iPhone 4 for while yet, seems to be some serious issues with yellowing in the corner on the screens and also reception issues. You got to love Jobs's response to the reception issues here:
    http://gizmodo.com/5572279/
    Unbelieveable really!
    bigtoeknee said...
    This is dragging on Ray...
    PeterC said...
    Hi Ray, sorry to hear about your iPhone problems, and before you get your hopes up, I have no solution for you I'm afraid. I just wanted to say that your article was great as it reminded me of why I got into apple hardware too.
    I too was a convert after buying an iPod touch, then an iPhone, then an iMac and even an iPad, but I still use a pc for my day to day cad work.
    I updated my wifes iPhone 3GS the other day to iOS4 as an experiment, I didn't want to put my own 3GS through the upgrade just in case. As a result I nearly lost all her contacts, texts, emails and photos etc even though I did a full backup beforehand. When it tried to restore after the update, the only restore I could find was one dated 2001. I checked my laptop's date just in case and it was fine. So I restored using that file and got everything back and it's working fine. There seems to be some major issues with the iOS4 update, listening to your problems you would swear it was a PC you were talking about and now an Apple product. I hope you get your iPhone working properly again soon and Ray, .... Love the show.
    Graham said...
    Hey Ray, Over here in Chicago for the Summer and have been playing with the new iPhone 4 and OS4.... I have to say im really impressed the screen is just amazing and I think im just gona have to go out an buy one tomorrow!!
    Sean said...
    Hey Ray, I would never claim to be a sage on all things Microelectronics however yesterday I did go shopping for a smartphone in the US of A and compared the iphone 4 to the Motorolla droid. For me the droid won, Apple shot themselves in the foot with the AT&T exclusivity deal, and the droid is a slightly better and easier to use phone. Not a die hard droid fan (they do exist) but not blown away by iphone 4.0 it does not "change everyrthing again"

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