Tag Archives: iphone

AT&T improves their crappy iPhone reception inside your home – MicroCell is out

It is finally happening. Starting next month you will be able to have better reception inside your home using the new MicroCell device. What is MicroCell ? Well, nothing more than a wireless access point for cell phones that will provide 3G voice and data services routed through your internet connection. So you basically pay for the Internet and to AT&T for their MicroCell just so you can have the privilege of using your phone inside your house…where everybody knows – reception sucks! At least mine does, and I don’t think I am alone.

Let’s go into a bit of details:

Starting last September, AT&T started to test MicroCell service in collaboration with Cisco (which also manufactures the hardware). MicroCell is basically a box similar in size with your wireless router which, will re-route your 3G and calls and data from your cell phones through your phone network. The price will be $150 per device. One MicroCell supports a maximum of 10 lines and 4 people in the house can use it simultaneously.
This is all nice and fancy. The problem in my opinion though, is that AT&T is making you pay to improve their reception and to help reduce the usage of their spectrum. This strikes me as a bit unfair, but I am willing to bet that, if you call them and complain a lot about the reception quality inside your house, you can probably score one for free.

How to take iPhone screen shots

I just posted a blog about Yahoo! Search being available in App Store and I figured it out that some people may not know how to take screen shots. Starting version 2.X, iPhone OS implements a built-in screen shot feature. To use it is very simple. Click and hold the Home button for about 1-2 seconds and while doing that, also click the Sleep button for a short period of time. If you successfully took a screen shot, the screen will flash for a moment and you will also hear a sound similar with the one when taking a picture. That’s it, your newly taken screen shot should be in the Photos application under Camera Rolls along with the rest of your pictures taken the regular way (via the built-in camera).

Yahoo! Search is available in iPhone App Store

I just noticed that Yahoo! Search is available in iPhone’s App Store (for free, of course). I installed and played with it for a little while. The search is fast and the results are nicely structured including some local results based on your position (you have to allow Y! Search to use your current location). For restaurants for example, it will return phone number, address, pictures if available and ratings as well.

The application also allows you to input voice queries. To delete the last query just shake your iPhone.

Microsoft’s innovation streak – integration on a roll #2

In a previous article we discussed about Microsoft’s latest efforts to become relevant again in the world (not that they ever stopped to be, mind you, but it is not a good idea to rely only on Windows 7 and Office business, even when you are owning 90+ percent of the market). And you know what your investment agent tells you…diversify, diversify and diversify again your portfolio. So let’s continue to look how Microsoft tries to diversify itself and also be successful about it.

In this second part, we’ll discuss about a not released yet product (and not even officially announced), Microsoft Courier, about Bing search engine and the newly “silverlighted” Bing Maps.

1. Microsoft Courier

As usual, we’ll start with the fun part, and the fun part is a gadget, of course. Judging from the various usability movies that surfaced on the web, Microsoft wants to position Courier as a digital journal, eBook reader, Internet Browser and, even if they don’t specifically show it, I am sure it will have media player capabilities as well. After all, it is rumored to include a NVIDIA Tegra 2 at its core, and that is nothing to joke about.

So Microsoft Courier seems to be a dual screen tablet with a folding design – a smart idea to increase portability while conserving space, very light (a little bit over a pound is what Engadget says) and thinner than an average paperback book. The interface seems to support pen writing and touch as well which would be perfect since both input methods have their own pros and cons. I happen to love tablets for e-Book reading and light internet surfing while in bed, so something like Courier would fit my habit perfectly.

Now, if the iPhone’s recent very successful history has taught us something is that, the vast majority of people prefer their life simple. That means a close, proprietary device with its own application library and closed eco-system. So, following recently announced Windows Phone 7 announcement, I would expect Microsoft will have an eBook store ready by the time Courier launches, with various agreements in place to feed content from newspapers as well. So from this point of view, it will be an iPad contender. Where it will different form a iPad in my opinion is the user interface. While iPad is pretty much an over sized iPhone, Microsoft seems to have become more task oriented in their approach, so the UI will focus more on a set of activities and improve upon them, rather than just let the application developers do it at the application level. From the movies surfaced, you will have the ability to drag, organize and share content, together with the ability of using the pen input to  add drawing, notes or anything else you might like. The rumors say that the device will also have an embedded camera and I’m very sure audio out as well what modern device doesn’t?).

Read More…

Microsoft’s innovation streak – integration on a roll #1

Not too long after Windows Vista’s fiasco, continually decreasing relevancy of its Windows Mobile platform and Internet Explorer’s market share dropping rapidly, everybody started to wonder if Microsoft finally lost its way. Its searching engine rapidly losing market share against Google,  together with a corporate image that seemed to discard innovation and originality in favor of …well, I am not sure in favor of what since Microsoft’s most revenue comes from Windows and Office while still losing money almost everywhere else, even in the Entertainment division which was arguable successful through its XBOX 360 sales.

Of course, a company culture that pushes innovation somewhere behind and instead concentrates on marketing, sales, stability and so on is expected to appear in a company as big as Microsoft, but especially in the software industry, it doesn’t take long for the competition to surface. As opposed to manufacturing industry for example, in software you can still have ideas in a garage and became wildly successful, with Google and Facebook being just the two most well known examples.

However, lately Microsoft tries to redefine its image by rolling announcement after announcement. And I am talking about Windows 7, Project Natal, Read More…

Making your blog iPhone friendly – WPtouch iPhone Theme plug-in

Usually in order for a website to look good on a small screen device, it should be either optimized for it, or the content should be fed into a dedicated  application. However, I discovered a WordPress gem plug-in called WPtouch iPhone Theme which does the work for you, and the results are nothing short of amazing.

From the author’s page:

With a single click, WPtouch transforms your WordPress blog into an iPhone application-style theme, complete with Ajax loading articles and effects, when viewed from an iPhone, iPod touch, Android or BlackBerry touch mobile device.

and more

More than just a plugin, WPtouchTM is a mobile theme for your WordPress website. Modelled after Apple’s app store design specs, WPtouch loads lightning fast and shows your content beautifully, without interfering with your regular site theme.

Please check the following screen-shots of this blog on my iPhone: