John Galea's Blog

My blog on Gadgets and the like

Apple iPhone 8

I’m on an iPhone 6 which is getting a little long in the tooth, and I was off contract so I decided to take the plunge. At almost 2 years this is pretty much the LONGEST I’ve kept any phone. A statement of how much I have enjoyed my iPhone. I left Samsung after the debacle that was the S5 and haven’t looked back. Honestly if I had bought an S6 instead of the S5 I may have never ventured back into the iPhone space.

I looked at the iPhone X but it was going to be another $320 so I passed on it. What was I looking for out of the new device? A number of things. Nothing spoils you when it comes to instantaneous quite like an iPhone. And my 6 was getting sluggish. I’ve been using a third party wireless charging case on my iPhone 6 and while it works, it’s clumsy. I also wanted to get hey siri working when not on power which the 6 can’t do. Lastly my battery isn’t exactly new so some improved battery life is always appreciated. So with that in mind on we go …

Physicals:
To say the iPhone 8 looks like every other iPhone is an understatement of epic proportions. Physically the differences are subtle. So if part of your reason to upgrade is status … don’t bother. Outside of the X no one will notice.

Upgrade/Restore Process:
I’ve used the Apple upgrade process in the past and it was painless. This time … not so much. It turns out that the Apple upgrade process requires the new phone to be at the same or newer level of iOS, and this I only figured out after numerous attempts at restores. And to say Apple don’t guide you through this, is being gentle. And I’m irritated so … Apple WTF. My new iPhone was at 11.02 which is over 2.5 months old at this point compared to current. And since the release of the iPhone X the rate of change appears to be more brisk. So here are the steps:
1) Activate new phone as a new device not from backup. I recommend highly that you use a SIM from a different provider than your current provider to insure that the phone is indeed unlocked. As of Dec 1 2017, by law all phones sold in Canada MUST be unlocked. Once activated you can now bring your phone up to date using either iTunes or on the phone itself. This is a long process taking a lot of bandwidth. Your looking easily at over an hour. And you want to do this on WIFI because the update can be as much as 1.5G or more.
2) Reset the new phone
3) Backup your old phone using iTunes. Be sure you know the backup password. And be sure to use an encrypted backup so passwords and Health data come across
4) Activate the new phone again, this time restoring from backup. Again this will take some time. Restoring Gs of music is a slow process. Again your looking at hours

Restore results:
Restore this time around came down into a number of areas. WIFI worked perfectly and all previous settings were kept. All previous apps were installed. Some apps worked straight away, others had to re-authenticate. Apple health worked perfectly. Account settings all came across as well. Apple Pay of course has to be re-setup. But the BIG miss this time around was bluetooth. For some reason each and every bluetooth device had to be re-setup. Sometimes this went well. Others not so much. On my Garmin Fenix I had to delete it from Garmin connect and re add it. Others just had to be re-paired. The Apple watch surprisingly was stubborn and took a long time (10 mins) for first sync once I got it to re-pair.

Overall I have to say, this took A LOT more time than I allocated. Probably close to 4 hours in all. Now the memory of this will soon fade, but geez Louise …

Specs:
Display size and resolution on the 8 is the exact same as the 6 at 750×1334 pixels, on a 4.7 inch screen. Processors get upgraded from the dual core A8 to the hex (six) core A11. According to Apple it’s got four efficiency cores that are up to 70 percent faster than A10 Fusion, and two performance cores that are up to 25 percent faster. The focus of this new hex core is similar to the octa cores you see on Android devices. Have high speed high power processors for when you need it, and low power low performance for standby. On Android it has made a significant difference, reducing standby power.

The cameras get upgraded to 12/7Mp Vs 8/1.2 on the 6. So this is a pretty significant bump, the front facing selfie camera now being almost as good as the main camera on the 6. Battery wise it’s the same at 1810 mAH. It’s always amusing to see how small the battery on an iPhone is compared to Android phones, yet the iPhones get as good or better battery life. Dimensions are 138.40 x 67.30 x 7.30 vs 138.10 x 67.00 x 6.90 for the 6. So the 8 is actually thicker. Weight is 148g Vs 129 for the 6. So the 8 is actually heavier.

The iPhone 8 continues to use the lightning cable, yay! They have however NOT upgraded it to USB 3. One of the reasons why it takes so long to load up your music, backup, and sync your device. Apple have removed the headphone jack, but included a lightning to normal 3.5mm headphone jack. This does limit you to using the headset or charge, not both. Personally I always use a bluetooth headset to listen to music so I don’t care. My two favorites are Jumbl and Sony MW600.

I’ve noticed the iPhone 8 turns on automatically when you lift the phone up to look at it without you having to press any buttons.

The iPhone 8 still ships with the anemic 5W (5V 1A) charger meaning default charge time is the same as the old iPhone 6, at under 2 hours. I’ve done a whole article on iPhone 8 quick charging which you can read … or to cut to the summary, buy yourself a 2A USB charger and use it instead of the 5W iPhone charger.

The iPhone 8 finally supports wireless charging. But as of now Apple do not include a wireless charging pad with the phone and Apple currently do not even offer one to buy. You can buy third party Qi chargers and they do work. I played with a Seneco and Itian both of which I bought from Amazon. The iPhone is said to support up to 7.5W Qi. I’m not sure if that means input to the coil or output to the phone. There are losses of roughly 50% that is normal in wireless charging. That said, with the two Qi chargers the best I could muster was about 0.6%/hr. This is roughly 60% of the speed of the Apple 5W charger. So it will definitely be a slow charge, taking charge times from under 2 hours to around 4.5 hours. This is best used, for example, when sleeping. Here you can see the speed of charge difference between the iPhones default charger and the wireless charging. By 50 mins the difference is over 15%. And this is without even considering a faster 2A charger.
I found this article on good wireless chargers.

I bought the silver, to me it looks a whole lot more like white. I’m underwhelmed by the color but given it will be under a case anyway not sure that I care.

I moved from Rogers to Bell and have seen a significant improvement in both speed and signal strength almost everywhere. I have seen speeds as high as 80Mb/s down and 30MB/s up. I use to see speeds like this from Rogers but have not seen them in quite a while as LTE has got busier. Of course because of changing carriers I can’t attribute that to the phone, it could just be the change in carriers.

Initial battery tests are showing very similar results to the iPhone 6, with some slight improvements on LTE battery life. I’ll update this once I get more data. I’m kinda surprised the new processors haven’t made much of a difference. In the Android world the Octa core was a profound shift in battery life.

So all in all, the 8 from the 6 is an entirely incremental step, evolutionary in nature. I got all the things I wanted from the upgrade and lost nothing. I had read issues with bluetooth incompatibilities but other than setup issues it has been a non-issue for the devices I use. So in the end, I’m happy, specifically with the speed of the device and the wireless charger. Am I thrilled and blown away? Nope …

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December 14, 2017 Posted by | iPhone Stuff, iPhone/iPad | Leave a comment

iPhone 8 (and presumably X) quick charging

The iPhone 8 still ships with the ubiquitous 5W (5V 1A) charger. This results in an unimpressive charge from dead speed under 2 hours. Pretty much every other current phone has quick charge modes. Well Apple has them too, they just choose to not ship it with the phone so they can extract additional $$s from the consumer. Cause you certainly can’t say their phones are cheap. So let’s have a look at the new quick charge mode on the iPhone and see if it’s worth it … According to an Apple article what you need to experience quick charge are the following:
1) Apple USB-C to Lightning cable ($35CDN) and one of these adapters:
2 Apple 29W, 61W, or 87W USB-C Power Adapter, or a comparable third-party USB-C power adapter that supports USB Power Delivery (USB-PD). (The Apple 29W is $59CDN)

So the total price of this is $94CDN + taxes and shipping. Of course you can find other USBC-PD adapters on places like Amazon but be super careful and make sure they can put out at least the 29W Apple recommend or you might not get full speed.

Apple went this way to align with their Mac books, or so the argument could be had. Of course amusing is that the iPhone 8 continues with the lightning cable rather than USB C. For your troubles Apple claims “Your iPhone fast charges up to 50 percent in 30 minutes.

I happen to have an iPad 12W charger, which is capable of 2.4A at 5V using a standard USB to lightning cable, so I thought I’d see what it can do, and compare it to what Apple says the fast charge can do. I saw an Article about this but found it missing details.

Ok lets start with some things I have learned. First of all the charging rate slows down after 80%. This is quite common on most new phones. I also found using the 12W charger that the charge rate draws the most current (as measured by a USB amp meter) between 0 and 50%, exactly the range Apple refer to as their quick charge. A picture goes a long way, here is a graph of the current drawn from the 12W charger Vs the Phone’s battery percent.

Anytime the curve is above the 1A mark you have benefited from being on the 12W charger Vs the standard 5W, which as you can see is a good portion of time.

To look at this another way, here is a graph that shows %of phone charge per min vs the % of the phone is charged. Again you can see a couple things from this, first of all the highest rate of charge occurs when the phone is in the 0-50% range. Second you can see the drop off of the charge rate at around 80%. And lastly you can see the chasm difference between the 2A chargers and the stock iPhone 1A charger. The third charger is an Aukey multi port USB charger which also pumps out 2A.

One more view of the data compares the phone charge Vs time between the Apple 12W Vs the default 5W. As you can see in the graph in 30 mins the difference between the two is around 30% more charge into the phone! (And remembering other 5V 2A chargers will be similar).

And here is a pic of the Aukey I used.

Looking at the data I can see that the Apple 12W or a standard 2A USB charger is pretty much as good as the expensive Apple fast charge option for a whole lot less money! Being able to quick charge a device is as important IMHO as it’s battery life. And this is a HUGE step forward for the platform!

BTW I tried the iPhone 8 with a QC 2 adapter and confirm it does NOT support QC 2. And thus a 9V 2A charger is of no use with the iPhone 8.

December 14, 2017 Posted by | iPhone Stuff, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Wireless charging

With the iPhone 8 and X now supporting wireless, charging (welcome to the game Apple) more people are looking into their options. I fell in love with wireless charging a while back. I’m still on an iPhone 6 so a long time ago I bought a Qi-infinity Wireless Charging case that allowed me to retrofit wireless charging onto the iPhone 6. They have a clever design that the bottom connector slides down to allow access to the lightning port. It works, although not perfect. The case itself is super rigid and has saved my phone on countless occasions.

Back to the wireless charging … So with this case I decided to compare a couple wireless charges. It’s worth noting, that be careful, a number of the super cheap charge pads are single coil devices. This means it has a very narrow magnetic field. So you
have to be super careful with where you put the phone down. I had an early one of these that I paid $3 for and eventually through it out after more than once thinking it was charging and it wasn’t. Most of the charge pads have a light to show you the power is to the charge pad, and a light to indicate it’s charging the phone wirelessly.

It’s worth noting that wireless charge pads are in general slower to charge your phone that by a wired charger, to do with the inefficiencies of wireless charging. The losses involved. They are ideal for overnight charging where the speed of the charge is of little importance.

The first one I tried was a Docooler G300. This turned out to be the slowest of the charge pads I had to try. It charged the iPhone 6 with this case at a rate of 0.375%/hr or a projected full charge of 4.4 hours. Now the speed and amount of time is of less interest than the relative numbers. Your numbers will vary depending on your phone and charge pad.

The second one to try was an Itian Qi. I really like physical layout of this charge pad because it makes it simple to get the phone on the right spot. This charged at a rate of 0.48%/hr or a projected full charge of 3.5 hours. This would make this one 27% faster than the Docooler.

Last up I tried a Seneo Fast Wireless Charger. This one is also a good design for making it easy to get the phone on the right spot on the charge pad. This one charged the fastest at a rate of 0.54%/hr or a projected full charge of 3.1 hours. This one would then be 44% faster than the Docooler.

By comparison a wired charger for an iPhone 6 can deliver about 1%/hr or a projected charge of about 1.5 hours. So you can see what I mean by wireless chargers being slower. You can even see it in the current drawn. The charge case that I bought says right on it that it delivers a max current into the iPhone of .6A, while the power drawn from the USB to give that 0.6A is about 1.2A. In other words you loose about 50% due to the inefficiency of wireless charging. You can see the current and voltage of a USB port by using a USB amp meter like this:

November 2, 2017 Posted by | Electronic gadget reviews, iPhone Stuff | Leave a comment

Heh SIRI not working

I’m still running an iPhone 6, and for a while I was confused by the fact Heh SIRI would work sometimes and not others. Well it turns out on older iPhones like mine Heh SIRI ONLY works while on a power source to save battery. Now Apple could have saved me a time by simply putting a note next to the switch setting that turns on Heh SIRI to say only while on AC, but they didn’t.

So with that sorted out I now know when it’s on my bed side plugged in, I can ask for weather etc. And when plugged in the car I can use SIRI to navigate stuff. This can basically take the place of things like an Amazon Echo or Google home, for free! This may seem super obvious to those in the know, but if it tripped me up, chances are one or two others may have missed this point too …

Article defining where heh SIRI is supported.

October 24, 2017 Posted by | iPhone Stuff, iPhone/iPad | Leave a comment

Here a tracker there a tracker … Apple Health to the rescue?

Getting all your activity/sleep etc data in one place is challenging. The makers like fitbit etc have no motivation whatsoever to allow you to have devices from different companies. In fact, they use it to trap you into their ecosystem. If you happen to change trackers, do you want to change your scale? Of all the companies I’ve played with Fitbit, Polar, Misfit, and Xiaomi only Fitbit allow you to export your data. And then it dawned on me, in the Apple world there is a bridge to bring this data in one place, Apple Health! So let’s have a look at this …

When you install an app that supports Apple Health, you can control what amount of access it can have to Apple Health, ie what it can read and write. When you uninstall an app you can also choose to remove all data in Apple health from that app. You can easily see what sources currently have read and write access and tailor it as you see fit.
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For this to be a savior you need to keep an eye on how well the individual app works with Apple health. I found Garmin connect had some anomalies that were polluting the sleep data. It seems Garmin did not think of the possibility that you might not always sleep with your Garmin device and it used the definition of normal bed time (which is used to mute the device) on those occasions to populate your sleep? WTF.
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Fortunately it’s pretty easy to simply remove Garmin Connect’s access to just the sleep data.

Fitbit have chosen for now to completely ignore Apple Health, likely to keep your data in their vault. Fortunately there is an app out there that simply takes your fitbit data and pushes it into Apple health called Health Sync. It works well.

Fitbit do an incredible job of taking data from multiple devices and merging them. You can wear your Flex for part of the day and switch up to a different tracker and it merges them nicely. Apple Health however makes not attempt to do this. It does however allow you to prioritize which data is likely to be more accurate.
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Additionally you can manually edit and delete entries easily.

Data can be exported from the Apple health app, but I see no way of importing it. This is potentially a challenge if you don’t use the backup/restore method of migrating to a new phone at some point. The exported data comes out in an XML file that is challenging at best to do anything with. Fortunately there is an app called QS Access that will allow you to export exactly what you want to a CSV that in turn can be imported into Excel for graphing and analysis.

So an in all it can be done, but definitely could use some work by Apple …

November 15, 2016 Posted by | Activity Trackers, iPhone Stuff, iPhone/iPad | Leave a comment

Wahoo Blue SC bike speed and cadence sensor

I last tried the Wahoo speed sensor. A brilliant design requiring no magnets and is easy to install. Sadly Garmin did not include support for speed only sensor in older devices (like my Edge 305) so I returned it.

So onto this sensor. It is the traditional speed and cadence (rate of rotation of the pedals) sensor with two magnets one on the pedal arm and one on the spokes of the wheel. The sensor itself mounts on the chain stay and has to be adjusted to be able to get at each of the magnets. There are two LEDs that light up every time it sees one of the magnets so you can see you got it adjusted right.
blue_sc_on_bike_close_1blue_sc__3_parts_3
And thus comes the first challenge. The magnet to mount on the pedal arm is a continuous loop elastic. The only way to get this onto the arm is to remove the arm from the bottom bracket, or remove the pedal. Either requires special tools that most people won’t have. A stupid design. The easiest way around this would be to cut the loop and cable tie it, but Wahoo did not include holes for a cable ties in the loops so all in all this is really poorly though out for all but bike mechanics.

Ok so now to put this puppy to the test to see who does (and does not) support the sensor. So I went on a 2.5 hour mountain bike ride. On a ride that is tight and twisty like this you can see the difference in distance when compared to the GPS. The sensor will always be higher as the GPS will assume a straight line between sampling points. So to test it out I used Endomondo, Wahoo Fitness app, RunGPS (all on iOS) and then I used Garmin FR70, Edge 305 and Fenix 2.

To start off with Endomondo on iOS does not support a speed and cadence sensor so the only reason for this data point is a basis for GPS only data for trying to figure out if the app/device uses the wheel sensor to figure out speed and distance.

The Garmin FR70 does not have a GPS in it, so you are guaranteed that the speed/distance data it displays is from the sensor. So using these two data points we have our comparison points.

Let’s start out comparing cadence data over this ride. ANT+ can talk to multiple devices at a time, and iOS manages multiple apps wanting access to cadence data just like it does for GPS and heart rate. So here’s the average cadence data. In order FR70, Edge 305, Fenix 2, Wahoo fitness, Run GPS are 71, 71, 47, 68, and 69 RPM. So they all agree well except for the Fenix 2, no idea what’s going on with the Fenix 2. Now looking at Max cadence the data is VERY different 145, 163, 217, 136 and 196. So to say this is inconsistent is an understatement.

So now onto the speed side of the sensor: Comparing the GPS only Endomondo with the Speed sensor only FR70 for distance over the ride we have 24.48 Vs 28.21KM, or a difference of 13%.

The Edge 305 on the same ride saw 25.57KM, so in spite of seeing the speed sensor it is not using it for distance. In the owners manual Garmin state: “The speed data is only recorded and used for disatnce calculation when the GPS signal is weak or the GPS is turned off.” So I guess they really mean it. I had seen videos with the wheel being spun and the Edge showing speed even though it wasn’t moving. Seems that is misleading. Of course this also means me returning the Wahoo speed was unnecessary. Oops.

I did a second ride because on the first I had the speed side of the sensor off on the Fenix 2. Oops. On this second ride the Fr70 saw 23.25km and the Fenix saw 22.93 or a difference of only 1% confirming that the Fenix 2 does indeed support and use the speed sensor. Yay!

Now onto Wahoo Fitness app. One would hope if anyone would get this right it would be Wahoo. Why sell a sensor and then ignore the data from it. Sadly this is exactly what they do. The distance off Wahoo fitness came in at 24.4KM spot on with the GPS data. I am very disappointed in this.

Next onto Run GPS. They have BRILLIANTLY included a setting in the app to allow you to decide whether to use the sensor or the GPS for speed and distance. Why more don’t do this is beyond me. The consumer is left guess which it’s using, or in my case running a big test.
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The data from RunGPS shows that they are perfectly using the data and it comes in at 28.4KM.

So in summary Endomondo doesn’t support the sensor, the FR70 works perfectly with it, the Edge 305 ignores (unless you turn the GPS off) and RunGPS nails it perfectly.

September 11, 2016 Posted by | GPS Stuff, iPhone Stuff | Leave a comment

Mocreo 2500 mAH external battery

I’ve bought a few external batteries in the past and overall been underwhelmed. I was looking for one that was small, and light to allow me to carry it all the time for emergencies. Funny enough, more often when I am carrying the external battery pack it’s been used by colleagues rather than by me 🙂 Probably something to do with my paranoia of running out of battery. This one caught my eye on Amazon as inexpensive, light and thing. So I bought it. The model number is a LAVO-2500 from Mocreo.

6181bnhDWFL._SL1500_

iPhones even as far as the 6 only draw a max of 1A out of the charger. Android phones more often require 2A. This battery pack can only put out 1A max. So it’s of little use on Android devices. Check the output current on your charger before you buy a battery pack like this. Most of the smaller ones cap out at 1A. For the iPhone 6 this device is perfect.

Physically the device includes an integrated microUSB cable that is a little on the flimsy side. It also came with a microUSB to lightning converter. The converter has a bay but it is difficult to get it out and if you put it in the wrong way around it’s an even bigger challenge to get it out. If there is a bad part to the design this is definitely it. In fact, I wish the charger was available with a lightning connector on it.

So I put it to the test. The battery on an iPhone 6 is 1860 mAH. I did two runs. First run went from 56 to 92% in 45 mins. Second run went from 1% to 64% in 78 mins. So in all the combined runs were able to provide a 99% charge in 123 mins. The battery pack was able to keep a pretty constant charge current into the iPhone throughout. The charge curve is very close to the stock chargers which is impressive.
external-charger

Looking at efficiency the 2500 mAH was able to push a virtually full charge into the iPhone 6’s 1860mAH battery which comes out as 74% which is very good.

From completely dead it took around 4 hours to charge. It can only draw 1A on charge so plugging it into a 2A charger doesn’t help this. So this battery pack does not have quick charge circuitry built in as a lot of new phones do, but given the price …

The unit supports passthru meaning you can plug the battery into the wall, and the phone into the battery and both will charge. The current it can take is limited so the phone is given all it wants first and then once full the battery charges.

The pack lacks a flash light that some of these have and would be convenient, and there is no way to tell the charge in the battery pack. There’s only one LED, off when plugged in means fully charged, purple when on pass thru means charging the phone and red means charging the battery.

All in all this an excellent battery pack for every day carrying, at a reasonable price for an iPhone!

August 4, 2016 Posted by | iPhone Stuff, iPhone/iPad | Leave a comment

Shinecon VR headset mini review

I’ve been super curious about VR headsets. I’ve seen the ones from Samsung and wondered about them. So I found this one which fits my iPhone 6 and comes with a clicker to control the phone.

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First up comes content. VR, 3D, etc are all names for different forms of displaying 3D content. When you go to the movies or have a 3D TV in the house they rely on glasses that refocus an image that on it’s own is out of focus and in so doing creates a 3D image. As an example here is a Youtube video I thought was pretty decent.

This type of headset, is basically a more elborate Google Cardboard. It relies on side by side distortions to create the depth. So if you play it without the 3d what you see is two side by side movies. There’s lots of content out there for this type of headset. Everything from movies, to Youtube. You just need to look for the buzz words SBS (side by side), Google cardboard, 180 degree VR etc. Because of the side by side what you seeing is quite small (think half of a screen). The overall effect definitely gives a perspective of depth, but is no where near as immersive. You don’t get the holy crap that ball is going to hit me I better duck feeling you do in a movie theater. Some of the effects however are quite good.

The headset itself is simply a holder for your existing phone. This one folds down in the front you clip your phone in close the door and away you go.
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The headset is placed on your head and projects in front of you. Since you are playing from your phone, your device needs to be handle the demands of the specific movie. The headset is by no means light and the weight is quite noticeable. I found myself holding it with my hands to reduce the weight/discomfort. I have a hard time imagining watching a 3 hour movie with it.

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The bluetooth clicker that came with the phone is fairly limited in use on the iPhone. Since the iPhone does not support a mouse you are pretty much stuck with open the door, start the clip, quickly close the door, quickly slip on the headset and away you go. To say it is clumsy is an understatement. This would be a whole lot easier on Android which supports a mouse.

You quickly run into the next challenge, the menuing system for whatever your going to use, be it Kodi, a Youtube video etc all are (of course) not 3D. So your navigating a bizarre looking image. I found it best to close an eye or focus on one eye.

On iPhones you run into a number of additional challenges (beyond the mouse). Storing local content is problematic (although not impossible) and getting Kodi on your iPhone is also non-trivial. Of course none of these are an issue with Android 🙂 Ya ya …

In the end, for $40, it amused me for a brief period of time, and satisfied a curiosity. I am not sure how much I will use it, but been there done that got the t-shirt 🙂

June 10, 2016 Posted by | iPhone Stuff, Mutlimedia | Leave a comment

Apple AirPrint for iPads/iPhones

As with everything Apple they have their own way of doing things. Bringing a new disparate architecture device presents challenges. Everything else in my house is Windows so when I bought a iPhone and iPad I had to look into how to make printing working. One would hope that cloud printing would be possible, if it is I don’t see it, at least not without paying for apps. The google apps (Gmail for example) have some cloud printing within them. HP have an ePrint app but it literally creates it’s own app to get at your photos, to browse the web from, read email from etc. It does allow printing from anywhere but isn’t really what I was hoping for.
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The network standard for an iPad/iPhone is called Airplay. My HP 1102W while not officially on the Apple site does support Airplay and my iPhone found it when I was on the home network allowing me to print easily. But what if you have another printer that isn’t actually supported? Well, while not simple by any means, you can add AirPlay support to any printer on a Windows PC using this guide. I did it and got both my printers working on the network. While this does not solve the issue of cloud printing it does however give you a way to do it. That’s about it.

May 19, 2016 Posted by | iPhone Stuff, iPhone/iPad | Leave a comment

Whatsapp mini review

Many of us have multiple devices we use on a daily bases. Why companies continue to not understand and exploit this is beyond me. A desktop, a laptop, a tablet, a phone etc and it would be great to be able to have one cross platform app from which to chat with friends over. Google Hangouts is probably one of the best at this. It lets you use however many devices you want. And whatever was the last device to get used is where a notification is sent. BBM is one of the worst in that it can only be installed at one device at a time and you literally have to uninstall and reinstall to move it to a different device. And BBM has been absolutely plagued lately by a constant stream of spam from people asking to connect and businesses too.

So along come Whatapp. It is an interesting concept. You install an app on your phone (iPhone, Blackberry or Windows phone). This device becomes the gateway that all other devices can then send messages through. It’s worth noting that you have to keep your phone, on, and online or Whatsapp breaks.

In addition to your phone you can also use Whatsapp and sign into the web, a PC or Mac (No official iPad support and you can’t use the web app from an iPad either). You log onto the web interface (or start the PC or iPad app) and it brings up a QR code which you then from your phone you authorize. You can authorize as many devices at a time but can only log in to your phone plus one device at a time. Not perfect, but not horrible. You can logout from all computers from the phone but not just one device.

When you install it for the first time it goes through your contacts based on phone numbers and finds the list of people already on whatsapp and adds them to your favorites. Now that sounds like a good idea but it created a plague of people in my favorites. Fortunately there is a delete all favorites button and then add back the folks you really want. I see no way to see which of your friends is actually active on Whatsapp Vs tried it and are no longer using it. Once you start a chat you can see when they were last seen so at least at that point you will know if they are active on Whatsapp.

There is no approval process for adding friends, or allowing someone to send you a message. This would imply spam is quite possible. You can block people from within the phone app.

The default privacy policy is terrible (or should I say no privacy), but fortunately can be easily changed. Your status, profile photo, and Last seen are visible to everyone by default. Yuk. Be sure and change that. (Settings, account, privacy).
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Messages are confirmed when sent (single check mark), confirmed when read (two check marks), and you can see them typing (replying). Whatsapp supports text chats, and voice calls. But there is no voice out calling (as there is in Skype), and no voice in (other than from Whatsapp clients).

You can manually send your location (from the phone app only) to a contact, but I see no way to do live tracking of friends, and no way to request a persons location. A crying shame.

Messages are encrypted if you care.

May 12, 2016 Posted by | iPhone Stuff, iPhone/iPad | Leave a comment