Posts tagged with "iPhone"

Link Paul Krugman: The iPhone Stimulus

If you think sales of the latest iPhone will help the economy, then you should support the government stepping in and doing more, too.


iPhone App: DocScanner

Were you ever out of the office and desperately need to scan something? Were you ever in the office and either a) not have a scanner, or b) have it stored away and don’t want to drag it out?

DocScanner is a great substitute for a true scanner. Using your iPhone’s camera, it can use a picture of a document to generate a PDF, and automatically push that PDF to Dropbox, Evernote, Google Drive, or any generic WebDAV-supporting service.

It can automatically scan a PDF using OCR (optical character recognition) to index the content of the document and make it searchable. That is a pretty intensive process and can kneecap your iPhone’s battery if you were to use it a lot on a single charge, but its still a handy feature to have around.

I have been using DocScanner regularly since December (2011) and although it can be a bit finicky at times, it generally outputs reliable scans. In the absence of a true scanner, it is a godsend, allowing me to sign and digitally submit paperwork from anywhere (pending I have paper copies already). It lets me take pictures of receipts when traveling for reimbursement and tax purposes. And it has allowed me to leave my old inkjet all-in-one printer, kept around solely for the occasional use of its scanner, tucked safely away in my office closet.

This isn’t to say its a full replacement for a true scanner; I will still eventually be replacing my black-and-white Brother laser printer with a color all-in-one, hopefully with a sheet-fed scanner for bulk scanning operations. But even then, I will probably still find plenty of uses for DocScanner.

If a giant behemoth of a printer isn’t in your future, and you’re tired of an inkjet taking up space in your house or home office, DocScanner would probably work for you too. They also have a Mac App available in the app store that can use pictures from any digital camera (including your iPhone) to generate PDFs and do OCR on them from there.

Give it a look; I’m not getting paid for this or anything, but I do like to share useful apps when I find them, and this is one market where it seems to be a dime-a-dozen, so it can be hard to pick one over the other.

Some details, however incredibly small, can become so annoying with time…

Apple took the time to adjust the Camera button on the iPhone lock screen with iOS 5.1. But we’re still cursed with the most hideous set of audio controls. My improvements above represent but an incremental change. Ideally the damned controls would take up the entire effing screen. Why? Why not?

If I double tap the home button to bring up the audio controls, its quite obvious that I want to control the fucking audio. So why not use as much of the screen as possible for that very purpose? Why are we confined a one-line, 5-button layout, on a 2-inch screen, leaving buttons smaller than a half an inch? You have literally the entire screen save for the slide to unlock (which if the audio controls are up, should jump you to the Music app, don’t you think?) It would really be great to see the clock/date disappear and a nice, fluid set of audio controls to appear. They already go as far as to show album art on the lock screen. So why is this such a stretch?

While I’m in bitching mode… Another complaint still remains: Disable both skip buttons when playing a podcast or audiobook. At the very least, disable the “Previous won’t jump tracks, but will return you to the start of the playing track, losing your place in whatever 2 hour podcast you are currently playing. Good luck!”

And one more for good measure: If I don’t have a passcode set on my phone, and I take a picture after having launched the camera from the lock screen, let me send the damned picture. Don’t make me jump to the home screen, reopen the Camera app (or photos) and locate the damned picture again. If you have a passcode set, I get it. I understand the behavior at that point. But at that point I’d say let me unlock the phone from within the Camera, and enable those controls, but I can see where that might prove difficult.

Link parislemon: Power


I want a laptop that lasts for a week on one charge. I want a cellphone that lasts a month.

I’d settle for a full day (10-12 hours) on a laptop and a week for my cell phone. My Blackberry 8310 would get close to this, but not with what is now normal usage for me. My Bold could get a full day of heavy use, maybe two or two and a half of normal use. My iPhone lasts ~ 8-9 hours, maybe 12-14 if I’m not using it much.


Everytime my iPhone chimes with an email at 12:35am, I miss my Blackberry and it’s beloved sound profiles. Thanks Apple.

Link Agenda (iOS app)

I have to agree with Gruber, this is such a great app. It really should set the bar for viewing calendar data. The “everything is tap-able” approach works so well that it is intuitive and effortless to move between days/weeks/months. The developers behind Apple’s calendar app should be taking notice. Their app feels broken and half hearted next to this $0.99 gem.

re: Different Levels

I’ll stand by my previous statement that this is a huge bane for the iPhone. Elegance through simplicity works in some places, this isn’t one of them.


Basically, the iPhone has two different volume levels: your ringer volume, and your audio playback volume. When audio is playing, or when an audio-centric app is open, the hardware volume buttons change the volume of the audio. When at the home screen with no audio playing, the volume buttons change the ringer volume. The audio level can go to 0, but the ringer volume can only go to 1. The turn the ringer off, you have to use the hardware switch.

iPhone Mute Switch Dilemma…

So if you’ve been living under a rock, an iPhone alarm went off during a performance at the New York Philharmonic, and the conductor went as far as to stop the show and berate the guy.

Gruber notes that he thinks this is an edge case that can’t be easily addressed. I’d argue otherwise. The concept of a Sound Profile is non-existent on the iPhone, and with good reason since it can get excessive (most feature phones and all Blackberries ship with several), but it shouldn’t be.

I should be able to define a quiet profile, a loud profile, a vibrate-only profile, and hopefully an outright off profile as well as a bedside profile, or i should be able to stick with the default 2 (Noise, Vibrate). Profiles should control ALL sound output from the phone that is considered an Alert. Music, game sound, etc., would all be classified separately, but alarms, calendar and task list reminders, message/call alerts, and third party notifications would all fall under the concept of the profile.

Yes, this is like the system RIM has on the Blackberry.

Yes, they had a shitty UI on it that made it slightly painful to set up.

Yes, I understand it would add a layer of complexity to the average user.

No, I don’t give a damn.

Being able to only switch between a vibrate profile and a “make noise” profile is one of the lamest fucking features about my iPhone, and I’ve ranted about it before, to anybody who will listen. Would a more flexible system have saved the poor chump at the Philharmonic? Reportedly he only had received the phone earlier in the day/week and wasn’t fully versed in its functions yet, so probably not. Does it have the potential to allow me to receive a critical phone call in the middle of the night? Yes. Right now, if I forget the mute switch before I go to bed, the phone could vibrate for hours and I wouldn’t hear it. Whereas my Bold’s Nightstand mode let me block out the pings of Emails (except critical ones), quiet the sounds of text messages, and blare the sound of a phone call.

Now i’m stuck getting a loud PING every time an email comes in, or hearing nothing at all until the morning.

Siri Hell

So the guys at Rooster Teeth made an interesting point during this week’s podcast.

They basically asserted that Siri is getting dumber, and its all because of us. And sadly, I agree with them. Siri, in my usage, has gotten worse since the iPhone 4S launched. Dictation fucks up almost every sentence, and queries almost always fall back to misinterpreted words in a Wolfram or Google search. And that’s if it works at all, which often times it doesn’t, either due to Siri being down, or faulty cell service.

Having just gotten a Kinect for our Xbox, I can without a doubt say that Kinect’s voice recognition is a lot better than Siri’s. And I’m willing to bet they are doing more of that locally and not shipping it off to a server farm, but I have nothing to back that up. Burnie also says his Ford’s SYNC system has much better voice recognition, and in my limited experience with that as well, I’d have to agree. No surprise there; willing to place a bet there as well that its using the same or similar code as Kinect, since both SYNC and Kinect are born of Microsoft.

So is this a ‘gets worse before it gets better’ thing? Is Siri going to continue to dwindle? Or is this problem in our heads? (for a while I thought it was just me, but hearing them bring it up and discuss it made me feel a little more sane)

Link Why I Hate Android

Perhaps more people will relate to this: I hate Android for the same reason that Severus Snape hates Harry Potter — the very sight reminds me of something so beautiful, that was taken. Except it’s worse. It’s as if Harry Potter has grown up to become Voldemort. 

Wow! It’s so weird, that’s why I hate Android too!