iphone update and apps to spend time

Ok, since the latest scare regarding the iphone being hijacked by a series of invisible text messages, the update to version 3.0.1 was mandatory.

iphone bios ver. 3.0.1

iphone bios ver. 3.0.1

Apparently, malicious code could be sent to the iphone via text messages, and all the rightful owner sees is a short message with a white square. More details in this detailed article.

The bios update is a bulky 240 MB download and you download it via the usual itunes channel.  It will, as usual, back up the current contents of the iphone and then go through the loops of installing and resetting the iphone. It took less than 15-20 minutes including the download time for me, but it was time well worth it.  Highly recommended for all iphone 3G and iphone 3GS owners.

Now, onto something lighter (after all, it’s august).  I have been playing a lot with these free apps for the iphone, and i like them very much. These are not the only free and fun apps residing in my iphone, but they are the ones that keep me busy all the time. Note that all links open in itunes app store:

  1. paper toss game image

    paper toss game image

    paper toss. What you get when you bring together a waste bucket, a desktop fan, and a piece of paper rolled up like a ball: Paper toss. Cleverly simple in principle, all you have to do is throw the paper in the bucket taking care of the wind coming from the fan. Wind speed and direction varies, but mission remains the same: throw the paper in the bucket.   Now, this game has some hidden treasures: try to throw the paper way off-target so that it hits the cubicle next to you and you’re gonna hear from the guy trying to work while you goof off.  The game has three levels of difficulty (easy, medium, and hard) and promises several hours of productivity of doing … nothing.  Beware, if you lose a paper toss, your streak gets erased and you go back to zero (0).
  2. wild west pinball iphone app

    wild west pinball iphone app


    wild west pinball. This is an application for the pinball afficionados with a touch of wild west flare. It includes a bank heist, a gold digg mine, a “kill-dirty-harry” shootout among other things. It has traps on each side of the controls and requires pretty good dexterity and coordination especially when the ball comes tumbling down the middle.  This is aslo a free app.  I would have liked better controls, but this is a great app all around.
  3. toobz free iphone app

    toobz free iphone app


    toobz this is the free version of the same app and offers only five levels. It is a puzzle like game and you got to build a network of interconnected water tubes just before time runs out and water is spilled. The paid apps sells for EU€0.79 and offers more levels than the free version.
  4. trains iphone app

    trains iphone app


    And finally, the one iphone app I paid to download and get addicted to it:
    trains a train dispatcher like application in which you control the switches in a yard and have to steer the incoming trains through their destinations and safely out of the yard. It features three levels: basic, advanced, and insane, and it’s got me addicted. I would have liked separate top score lists based on level but that’s ok. I got it when it retailed for only EU€0.79 but now it is sold for €1.59.

I also got an invitation to review this iLight Farts paid app, but did not get around to doing so yet.

So, there you have it.  Updated iphone and a bunch of fun apps to spend your time.

Enjoy,

I.

PS. If you like any other free (preferably) or not-so-expensive apps, please drop me a line.

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good bye to 2008 with iphone freebies


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As the year 2008 is about to depart (it has already departed in several parts of the globe), I leave you with a few free apps for the iphone, probably the coolest new gadget of the year. All of them are free apps and can be downloaded via itunes and the app store.

1. iSlots, for those who can’t live without their personal slot machine.

iSlots app

iSlots app

2. Black Jack. There is a paid and a free version, but the one we will choose is the free one.

BlackJack Free app

BlackJack Free app

3. Just to get away from the cards, the smoke and the casino atmosphere, FS5 Touch Hockey will help us do just that. One of my favorite apps for visual-motor co-ordination activities (i.e., killing time while pretending to work).

touch hockey app

touch hockey app

Happy New Year 2009.

I.


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my iphone apps


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First, I must say that the following list of iphone apps may not appeal to everyone, but that is to be expected. Second, they are all free apps (as in free beer, $0.00 cost), since there are enough free gems floating around. Of course, there are enhanced for-fee versions etc, but I don’t see myself buying them.

iphone apps

iphone apps

The apps I use the most are (in no particular order): (a) Zenbe lists, (b) twitterific, (c) IM+, (d) Speedtest, and (e) netnewswire.  Not that I don’t like or don’t use my other apps (especially, shazam, evernote, facebook, linkedin or maps), but the five apps I mentioned earlier are my top-tier apps.

I like zenbe lists because the iphone app synchronizes with the zenbe lists server over wifi or 3G and I can update my things to do (separated by context) at any time.  The same is true for netnewswire which also syncs with my unread subscriptions.

Twitterific offers twitter on the go, which is always nice and is available here at the App Store.  Speedtest is a nice app which helps you estimate the speed of whatever network you are connected at the time.  I use it when I am at a low speed wireless network and to verify my home wifi speed.

Finally, IM+ is a nice all-in-one instant messenger for connecting to almost all the IM services you need (AIM, MSN, Yahoo, Google Talk etc).

I run these apps either over the Vodafone 3G network or via wifi when there is one available.  They run fast, they do the job and keep me connected and in touch.

I.

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non-USA iphone impressions


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On August 22nd, the iphone made it to this corner of the world officially (that would be Greece). Vodafone Hellas is the official telecom carrier for Greece offering a variety of programs especially for the iphone. Following the news about its relase in other countries, vodafone had set up a notification scheme to let us know of the availability of the handset, pricing, and plans. My problem: I was not a vodafone customer at the time but did want to keep the number from the previous phone carrier. Although, we did not experience the waiting lines and the hour-long queues for getting and activating the iphone, there was quite a feeling of excitement about the new device. I did my homework and checked the available plans, so the only question was the transfer of the old phone number.

“Portability, sir”, the very helpful customer rep told me. You can ask to have the number transfered to the vodafone system. Which I did (actually, vodafone did it on my behalf). So, after 20 minutes or so, I had a brand new 16GB black iphone with a new (inactive) SIM card. I was told that the SIM would be activated on or about sep 11 (9/11). I was also told that it would not be wise to initiate and activate the iphone with another phone carrier SIM card, although others told me it was quite safe to do so. As you can imagine, I opted for … the non safe route. The itunes activation was done in no time, after which I had a fully (sort of) functioning iphone working through another carrier (and of course without the 3G capability, since I had no such plan with the previous carrier).

iphone 16G with box

iphone 16G with box

Because several posts had mentioned that the iphone battery life is horrible (especially in 3G or wifi mode), I followed the instructions by Guy Kawasaki and fine tuned the iphone settings hoping to improve its battery life. Basically, I deactivated location services, 3G, wifi (although I turn on wifi only when I needed it).

First impressions even without the “official carrier”:
1. Elegant mobile. Thin even if little “square”, specifically if you do not use the white earphones.
2. If you don’t like the tangled white earphones, the iphone will work fine with any bluetooth earphone (I paired it with a Samsung WEP200 set and worked just fine).
3. It does not offer a way to send a text message in Greek, that’s a major letdown, although i can read just fine incoming text messages. Unfortunately, the 2.1 update did not fix this and we still cannot type in Greek.
4. The same limitation applies to the internal phone list. “Contacts” imported my older addressbook but will not let me add Greek names. All of my contacts were imported in the right alphabetical order but were classified under the # symbol (in bulk).
5. Very soft and functional touch screen. A BEAUTY.
6. Excellent wifi locator. I may say that it is even better than my macbook’s airport.
7. I like the fact that I can connect to the app store directly through wifi and don’t have to go through a mac or pc and itunes.
8. The app store and its wide range of applications. Several diamonds for free.
9. It is a fabulous ipod.
10. Safari (no need to explain) 🙂

The vodafone switch
On the day that vodafone told me that the transfer would occur, I deactivated my iphone, ejected the old SIM card, inserted the new SIM card, switched it on and voila!!! Vodafone GR with 3G.

I was very happily surprised with google maps. Although I have to input Greek addresses using the english keyboard, I get absolutely accurate instructions (I compared them with my mio pda and destinator gps).

Next big hurdle, the 2.1 firmware update. Would there be a problem since this device changed carriers? Not a chance! The update worked like a charm and I also downloaded a couple of gtd, note-taking apps not to mention othello, dactyl, tap tap etc. 🙂

Yes, the iphone has limitations and it’s a disappointment that there is no Greek input, no video call, or mms. But, I don’t really care for either video calls or mms. It does what I want it to do and that’s good for me!!!

I.


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