Archive for the iPhone Category
The kids and I drove up to the North Shore, to go to Ka’ena Point State Park for a bike ride. I had crazy hopes that we’d actually ride all the way out to the point there, but we didn’t even come close.
Knowing that the “road” from the south had washed out some years ago (great description of that route, here), I figured / hoped we’d do okay on the dirt road on the north side.
And by road, I mean something that looks like this:
There’s always been a road around the whole island, it’s just that this one was pretty much abandoned in the 40′s when private companies stopped maintaining it and the new State of Hawai’i wasn’t ready to take on its upkeep. Now, it’s left as a nature preserve — which is very cool.
There’s now about a 6 or 8 mile stretch, all the way out to the point, that’s just a park. Vehicles are permitted, but really, you do need a truck since the road isn’t much of a road. But, it is idea for bike riding. Not so much for single speed bikes, like my daughter rides, but more for mountain bikes.
Some folks were fishing, some were just out for a drive. We passed one couple hiking to the point, and another guy out for a run (he runs the length and back, he said). Lots of trucks — big trucks, dirty trucks, trucks that look like they get used.
The surf looked pretty strong. Online I’ve seen that it’s surfed less, but folks report big waves through the area. I’d rather not surf there — the lava shoreline would be a mean thing to hit.
On the way out, we ran into a park ranger. She told me to go to this website, because it has details of all of the hiking on the island. And I gotta say — cooooool website!
If you’re interested, I made a Google Earth file, here. Also, there are more photos of the trip on Flickr, here.
PS — After Iraq, I’m doing a LOST tour of Oahu, which will include returning to Dillingham Airfield.
Got a DVD that is just plain ornery? Won’t submit to the power of Handbrake?
You’ve found an oddity, for sure. Handbrake is known for being able to chew through just about anything.
Sure enough, though, I came across one such SOB yesterday. It would kill Handbrake every time I asked it to even look at it. Forget actually converting it — Handbrake would barf up a hairball and quit just scanning this DVD.
So, I turned the job over to Mac The Ripper, to convert the DVD to files on my hard drive. Then I asked Toast 9 Titanium to convert it to an iPhone friendly format (Toast 9 Titanium can actually do a ton of different formats; I just favor iPhone friendly stuff). Yep, that worked.
I decided to bite the bullet tonight and upgrade the software on my iPhone.
Doing that, of course, re-locks the phone and means that my SIM chip and phone number won’t work. Which is fine — I can unlock it / jailbreak it.
Why upgrade the software if it re-locks it and means I have to re-jailbreak it? Well, version 2.1 is said to impact battery life. Which is good. When the upgrades come out, I don’t do them immediately, but wait to read 1) what’s in the upgrade (and is it worth it), and 2) how many hours or (gasp!) days does it take the nerds to come up with a patch to allow jailbreaking. This time, it was almost instantly.
But there’s always risk. This time around, I downloaded the 2.1 software, applied it, and then fired up pwnagetool, what I have been using to jailbreak my iPhone. And I hit a snag. There’s always that risk — and why i started this at 2200 on a Saturday night, when I am in need of sleep and planning to go to Atlanta tomorrow, I will never understand.
But, lucky for me, the nerds behind pwnagetool have unleashed a new program — Quickpwn. Oh my God, it is amazingly simple. And it works. A chimp could do it. So, that little rush of adrenalin when I first ran into troubles, passed immediately when I fired up Quickpwn for the first time. It’s a neat little utility.
I’ll take my iPhone with me tomorrow, when we go to the store. I’ll wander off to a corner and use their free WiFi to load more bootleg stuff onto my renegade iPhoney, just because I can.
Posted by: art in iPhone, iTunes
I’ve had this crazy idea for a while now, and for some unknown reason, I started working on it tonight.
I want to be able to surf around YouTube, find a video that I like, mark it in some way (probably as a favorite), and have it magically show up in my iTunes, ready to synch to my iPhone.
I’ve figured out a bit of this using Yahoo Pipes. I can grab my YouTube favorites page, and can sift through it some using the Pipes tools. I’m trying to find how to pull from it just the URL’s for the pages of the videos I have marked as favorite.
I want to be able to then take those URL’s, one at a time, and push them back through the Pipes again, and ID just the .flv
Really, I just want it to work. That’d be awesome. I can envision the concept, I am just unsure if my Code Monkey skills are there or not.
Know what I really want for my iPhone? Batch files.
I want a pretty button on my main screen that, when I hit it, toggles on/off WiFi and Bluetooth, and then updates / synchs with iTunes (to include updates to apps); synchs mail, calendars, etc with my Mac; and then plays a nice little jingle when it’s all done, so I can press the button again and go back into battery-saving mode.
Surely, I can’t be the only one with these kinds of wants – more than just this combo, but this capability.
Why can’t we have this?
I drive a 2006 Mini Cooper S. I am, in every sense, just your typical Mini owner, in that I am as fanatically obsessed with my Mini as the next guy or gal.
I love my Mini. I love driving my Mini. And I love my Mini adventures.
I’ve got a running list of adventures that I’ve had in my Mini. It looks something like this:
* Going full throttle on the autobahn
* Driving the Odenwald
* Sunday drives the Black Forest / Schwarzwald
* Driving the Black Forest from end to end
* Driving Poppa Bear Point
* Turning laps on the Nordschleife at the N?rburgring
* Minis in the Alps 2008
And this weekend, I added another one to that list.
I joined 8 others, mostly from the Tar Heel Mini Motoring Club, for a few days of driving through North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and on into Tennessee. The trip was organized by my “brother from another mother”, Paul. He’s a veteran of five trips up to Deal’s Gap, and he organized a great weekend.
The coordination for the trip was ongoing, and it was online. Paul’s plan was to meet Friday night near Asheville, NC, have some dinner and a beer or ten, and stay at the Days Inn. Saturday, we’re make a wandering drive through the countryside, ending at the Dragon and staying at the Fontana Village Resort. Sunday, we’d have some breakfast, drive the Dragon again, and then head out separate ways in order to make it home at a decent hour — some folks had to work this morning.
Friday I popped smoke around noon and started the drive north. Dropping the address of the hotel into Tess’ GPS, she wanted me to head an hour east to Columbia SC and then north on interstate the rest of the way. Well, this was going to be a weekend about the drive, and that wouldn’t do at all. So, I had Tess re-plot a new route — the shortest one possible.
Much better. Much. The new route was almost entirely on 2 lane roads headed through the country side. I took a peak into Greenville, SC, as the only real detour from heading north, stopping to see the city some — no reason, other than it was there. Once I got north of the city, though, the low mountains started to come into sight, and I knew it was going to be a good weekend — the looked like the mountains around where we just were living in Germany.
I was the first to arrive, so i was able to relax and settle in some. We’d only be there the one night, so I kicked off my shoes and relaxed some. Just when I was starting get a little bit hungry, the convoy of 5 Minis from NC arrived.
We turned around and headed into Asheville, figuring we’d find some place to eat. Asheville is a nice, nice little city. I rode with Rudy and Paul, and the two of them told me the history of the founding of the city. Rudy had gone to college nearby, and Paul, having come up that way often enough to drive the Dragon and for work, is in love with the city. We didn’t have a chance to stop off and see the Biltmore Estate, which would be on my list of things to do if Tess were hanging around some more. We walked through the city some — on such a nice evening on a long weekend, everyone was out and about, and parking was limited — and ended up at Tupelo Honey, a nice restaurant with great food, great atmosphere, and great beer, and a wait that was probably less than an hour. I opted for chicken, vice the shrimp with grits that a few people had. Yes, I am not Southern.
(L to R: Frank, me, Paul, Mike, Van)
After dinner, we were teenagers — we stood around the back of a car in the parking lot, drinking beer from 5 liter kegs, using the ubiquitous red cups, and smoking (cigars, because we’re civilized). This weekend was advertised by Paul as being his Tour of Terror, and he was promising to show us a “spirited” drive. There had been much debate on what he meant by spirited — I was hoping it meant good German bier, and I was not disappointed. But other clearly wanted it to mean going fast, and it was that, too. Paul is fast — just look at this photo. He’s that fast.
Saturday was indeed about driving. Here is the actual route we took (it’s in Google Maps). We were assembled and on our way at 0800, in military precision. Eight Minis, 9 people, and not much extra stuff other than a cooler of beer. Paul had laid out this elaborate drive to get there, and I was not disappointed at all. It was fantastic. Easily, any one part of the drive to the Dragon would have been a good day, and we did it all. Without a doubt, my favorite stretch of the road was Wayah Road — it was fantastic. It’s marked in here, my Google Earth file for the trip.
Just driving Wayah Road would have made it a great day. We did so much more than that.
Lunch was at the Sweetwater BBQ, in Robbinsville NC — and the food was out of this world. Somehow I doubt I’ll find BBQ like that in Hawaii or Iraq.
After lunch, it was a good drive up to Highway 129 and Deal’s Gap, the Tail of the Dragon. And let me be clear — we were deep in motorcycle country. It was clear when we arrived at lunch, and there was no doubt, as we got closer to Deal’s Gap, that cars were the minority. I think they cut us some slack — eight Minis is a pretty cool sight. And, well, we drive like the dickens — that helps. We got up to Deal’s Gap, bought goodies and stickers and shirts and stuff, and then made a slow drive out the Tail of the Dragon for orientation and to check for police — who were out in numbers. We stopped at the dam at the far end, and took a group photo. I snuck in a photo of the 300Z guys who had gone before us and gone a little too fast (it’s a 30 mph zone), and they got to meet the TN fuzz.
The Dragon itself is 11 miles. It starts at Deal’s Gap, and goes out along a ridge and then on down to the water. It’s not a lot of changes in altitude, no massive climbs or descents. It’s all turns.
And by turns, I mean 318 of them. In 11 miles.
Is there any wonder why it’s motorcycle country?
The best part, as I see it, is that the route starts in NC and heads into TN, and there is nothing along those 11 miles. No driveways. No intersections. No stop signs. Nothing. Just turns. And since it starts in NC, and since there are very few places to even pull off the road, the only police are from TN, and if you don’t see any on the way out, there won’t be any on the way back in.
But we’d seen some on the way out, so we had a nice, tame drive back in. Once back at Deal’s Gap, we turned left and headed out Hellbender, the stretch of road to Fontana Village where we were staying. Nice, nice place, loaded to the gills with motorcyclists, of course. We dropped bags, changed, had a beer or three and then had some dinner. The Fontana Village is a very nice resort, and the rates were very, very good. And yes, there’s a military discount — always a good sign. There was no free ‘net access in the rooms, and we had drinking to do, so we only loaded and shared photos on thumbdrives, stood outside drinking and telling lies, before we called it a day and headed to bed at a decent hour.
One Mini driver had to head out early, so we were down to seven Minis. Five of us headed out around 7 am, to drive the Dragon and then meet the others for breakfast. The drive out was, um, spirited indeed, and the drive back was, um, terrorizing. On the way back in, I loaded Sara’s camera onto the camera mount in my car, and chaser her the whole way. I’ll link to the video when she posts it — it was awesome.
The driving. Let’s see. I have dynamic stability control on my car; if the front tires are going to break free, the DSC kicks in to get the car back under control (and a light goes off on my control panel). It’s front wheel drive, and those front wheels are getting about 190 horsepower — maybe a little bit more. The car is supercharged, and I’ve replaced the supercharger pulley with a smaller one (for more pressure and more horsepower). The car weighs nothing.
That warning light from the DSC? Yeah, I saw it — a lot. The front tires? Thoroughly abused. The brakes? Needed cooling off time from excessive use. I learned how to torque steer when the ass of the car broke contact with the ground and I’d tripped the DSC at the same time. Ponder that one for a minute.
There are a few photography shops that go out to the Dragon every day and post their photos online. I am waiting for them to do so — I am dying to see them! I’ll link to them later when they go up.
Most made one run on the Dragon Sunday morning, before we had breakfast and before they headed home. Paul and Rudy are known for going fast. I was known for liking pretty roads. They’re the terrorists, I’m the prettiest. Paul and Rudy and I made a second go of it — and it was the slowest, “prettiest” drive on the Dragon, ever. Nice, though. At the far end, we said our goodbyes, and headed our separate ways. Actually, I headed out while they let their brakes cool some more.
I headed for Helen, GA. Why Helen? It’s Bavaria, in Georgia. Really, it is. Spot on tourist reproduction. And there happen to be some amazing routes to get there. It was just me, one Mini driving solo, and I really, really enjoyed the drive. At felt at one with Tess again, and I’d missed that feeling. Once I got out of Helen, though, it was pretty mundane driving (in comparison to the rest of the weekend, I suppose), though it was mostly smaller roads. When it was all done, I was really, really tired. I was asleep by 2000 / 8 pm.
I’ve got two videos from the weekend. The first one is on Google Video and is on the drive getting to the Dragon. It’s filmed with my camera, but a borrowed mount that just didn’t see to want to work with me on finding an angle to see around the damn mirror. The second video is on my server, and it’s in an iPhone-friendly format, just for the cool kids. The second one is actually a good chunk of the Dragon, but I had no idea that that run was going to be soooooo sloooooooow. I ran out of disk space, it was so slow.
I’ve got photos up on my Flickr account, and Sara posted hers, here and SGT Pepper his. I suspect there will be more — like RudyT.
One last topic: How does it compare?
It’s not the N?rburgring. The Dragon is not built for speed. You’ll never hit even 4th gear on the Dragon, when you can wind it out past 100 or 120 mph on the Ring if you know what you’re doing (and are in a capable car). The Dragon is no racetrack, that’s for sure. The Dragon is all turns — which makes for an entirely different experience. But — both the N?rburgring and the Dragon are public roads; the only difference, I suppose, is that the N?rburgring has no speed limit. And it’s car country, without a doubt, while the Dragon isn’t.
It’s not the Alps. Holy crap, it’s not the Alps. Both have lots of turns, but the Dragon slinks along across the spine of a ridge. Lots of small turns. The Alps? Massive changes in altitude, and lots of switchbacks. Granted, the Dragon is 11 miles long, while we did 1100 miles through the Alps. But still. Even if you add in the miles getting to and from the Dragon, there’s no comparison. The area around the Dragon might, at best, qualify as foothills for the Alps. Foothills for the foothills of the Alps. Maybe.
It’s not the Black Forest. It’s close to the Odenwald (here and here). It could easily be Poppa Bear Point Run. The area absolutely reminds me of the area around Annweiler, out west of where I use to live in Baden-W?rttemberg. The Dragon would be an intense section of one of those drives. However — and there’s always one of those — there are a couple of differences. You wouldn’t see cops in the back woods in Germany, unless it was something unusual (I think I saw them once on Poppa Bear Point Run). Also, the roads in Germany were in better shape — this is more clearly shown if you include all of the miles I drove getting to and from the Dragon. Lastly, there are some great, great stretches I use to drive that were maybe wide enough for a car and a half, but were in fact two lane roads. Zippy fast, very smooth, very curvy — and very narrow, with the highest chance of an encounter with a tractor and not another car.
I’d do this weekend again, though — in a heartbeat. Great group. Great drive getting there, especially Saturday. The Dragon itself? Yeah, it’s OK. I got my sticker to put on the car later. But really, it was all of the other driving that made it awesome. I’d move to Wayah Road tomorrow if I could. I am glad that we had that one, um, aggressive run on Sunday morning, and I am dying to see Sara’s video of how I was driving. But really, it was great time spent in my beloved Tess Turbo, doing what we do best. I wish the kids had been with me, too — they’ve have gotten a kick out of it.
Oh, and as thanks for putting it all together, I bought Paul something pretty for his Mini. He’s a Dragon Slayer, and a Lady Killer.
So, I now have three iPod variants — a 2GB iPod shuffle, an 8GB iPod Touch, and a V1 iPhone.
All play music. All synch from the same iTunes library on my MacBook Pro.
The shuffle just does audio. I have a nice set of nested Smartplaylists that serve up music for me to listen to when running, which is pretty much all that I use the shuffle for.
But the iTouch and the iPhone both play video. I have the same music library for them, but really, should I be loading audio? Or should I be loading music videos?
Internet rock star Wil Wheaton today mentioned Dark Side of the 80s, saying to get it if you can. It’s on Amazon (here), and it’s uncommon, and it’s expensive. And if I saw where he mentioned it, so did 33,000 other internet rock stars. It only became that much more rarer today.
So, I went to YouTube. And I put together a playlist in my iTunes of the same songs, just with videos from YouTube instead. Almost all of them are studio-produced music videos, but a couple are live performances (when there weren’t other choices). And I think I had one song for which I could not find a video, so I added the MP3 file that was already in my music collection.
Will I pay attention to the video screen while the music is playing? Probably not. Is battery life a big deal to me? No, not really. I think I’m starting to see the merit in the music videos now, finally, after all these years. And that’s only because the iTouch and the iPhone are nothing but video screen; seems a waste to not play the video when I want to hear the music.
Posted by: art in iPhone, Movies
How sad is my life?
I can watch a decent vampire movie and think only how it compares to US Army doctrine for fighting an insurgency.
30 Days of Night came out last year, and came out on DVD this year. It’s yet another movie based on yet another graphic novel, like Wanted, like 300, like everything else.
Barrow, Alaska is our most northern city, and in this fictional account of life in this small town, the 500 people there mostly leave for the 30 days a year when it’s all but dark all the time.
On that last day, as most are trying to get onto that list flight out of town, a strange arrives by boat. And starts to cause problems. Kills the dogs, sabotages the phone network, and just poses a general menace.
And right after that, the vampires arrive. And they are a mean bunch.
Now, I don’t know how much you know about vampires, but, well, they vary a bunch. One main tenant of being a vampire seems to be that if you’re a vampire, you drink the blood of your victims to survive. The blood is their food, and given their hyper metabolism, I’ve always guessed that they need a bunch of it.
But in this movie — wow, they’re not in it for the nutritional value. For all the killing they’re doing, on what is a finite number of people in this sleepy down, you’d think they’d put heroic effort into getting all the blood they can from each victim. Eventually, it turns into siege warfare.
I could tell you more, but really, it’s a vampire movie. And really, it’s an insurgency. No one fights clean, and everyone is fighting to win. There are no masses of soldiers in formation, standing off on each side of an open field ready to fight, out of the way of the civilians and in some sort of noble manner.
No, none of that. Just lots of blood spilled, spilled on the white, white snow.
As vampire movies go, this one is OK. Middle of the road. On a scale of 1 to 10, it’s a 6. But it’s new, and it’s pretty well made. I guess I’d rather watch a decent new vampire movie than a better old one.
If you need to see a vampire movie, sure, see this one. But if you don’t need a vampire movie, well, skip it.
Though the little girl vampire is a nice change.
So, I synched up my iTouch iPod.
I told it to synch all of my music and all of my playlists.
I specifically told it to synch no movies, no podcasts, no TV shows, etc. Just music.
So, when it was done, it showed that it had synched all of the music — and a bunch of video. 500 MB worth.
What did it synch? 30 podcast video files that met criteria to be included in one playlist or another. Even when I told it no video, and even when I told it no podcasts.
It lists to my instructions about as well as my cat does.
[Update: Select all songs you want to be able to shuffle - Go to "Get Info" menu - In the "Multiple Item Information", in the bottom is the "Skip when shuffling" menu - click no and OK to be able to shuffle between videos.]
I’m looking for some brain power help on this one.
I’ve added a number of video files to my iTunes collection, mainly through this little trick of importing YouTube videos in Quicktime format via RSS.
Some of the videos, though, are ones that I have downloaded (via Firefox) and converted with iSquint.
iTunes recognizes them. They play just fine in iTunes.
After getting them into iTunes, I got into their properties (Get Information) and change the video from Movie to Music Video.
These files then filter through my integrated Smart Playlists just fine, and show up in my playlists just fine.
Only, they get skipped. The audio files play, but the video ones always get skipped.
There’s a related observation that I’ve had. It does this with podcast files – even audio. My first thought was that it was because I was pulling this music video files in via RSS in the podcast part of iTunes, but even the ones that I am manually load into iTunes get skipped.
And this does not happen with non-smart playlists. I can manually make a playlist that mixes audio and video files, and the video files play just fine. It’s the smart playlists that seems to gag on the video files.
Anyone know why? I’m searching the whole worldwide web for an answer, and not finding much.
Did I mention that, at dinner tonight, I downloaded, installed, and played Quake on my iPhone?
It was incredible. No, not the actual gameplay — that was actually kind of crappy, given the controllers. But just being to do it. Wifi internet access, an unlocked iPhone, the right web address, and poof, I was in.
I am sure that I looked like the complete fool at dinner, too.
But it was a Taco Bell, so who the hell cares, anyway.
Posted by: art in iPhone, iTouch
When I was in Atlanta the other day, I stopped by the Apple store to talk about my new (to me) iPhone.
It’s tax-free weekend here in GA, so the store was swamped.? So much so that they emptied out the nerds from the back to help customers up front.? I ended up with just such a nerd — a guy who toils away in the back repairing the broken things folks bring in.
So, I asked him.? I keep my iPhone in this little pouch, but do I need something more to protect it?? Yes.? This.
A hard case?? Yes.? Wouldn’t something soft and squishy help if I were to drop it?? No; this works.
OK.? I bought one for the iPhone, and one for the iTouch.
Oh, and it’s cheaper via Amazon.
I went up to Atlanta for the weekend.? Went to see A & T & their daughter, MacAttack.? T and I went to college, and being as it’s only 120+ miles to their house, it seemed to close to not do.? Awesome, awesome weekend.
Let’s see. There was:
1.? The new iPhone.
2.? The trip to the mall.
3.? Dinner at Ted’s.
4.? A morning of unlocking the iPhone and T’s iTouch.
5.? A lazy afternoon of looking at the new iPhone like it’s a naked lady who moved in across the street.
So, bear with me — this will take a bit to recap.
I haven’t coughed up a summary of cool things from around the web for some time. I suppose it’s because I’m all about the RSS feed concept, and the fact that I have a couple of them.
There’s this one, just for the stuff that I post to this site.
There’s this one, which is all of the stuff that I bookmark and share and annotate as I read 100+ RSS feeds in Google Reader. Pretty much, I have stopped surfing the web, and instead I use Google Reader and these RSS feeds to bring the web to me. As I find cool things, I mark them, and they show up in this RSS feed. Want to see what I think is noteworthy, on a daily basis? Yeah, get this RSS feed.
And then there’s my Friendfeed. It picks up a few other odds and ends, like the Twitter stuff I am playing with, the rare comment I make on YouTube, etc.
So, really, if you’re hip and cool and use either of the latter two, you’re aleady seeing the cool things that I’m stumbling across around the web (granted, I’m no Andy Baio, but still.)
But, that being said, here’s some of the good stuff. Read carefully — you might even get your own shout-out!
Here’s a video worth your time. Poor, poor Mini.
If I end up with a new Mac, it’s going to get X-Box Media Center loaded on it. No if, ands, or buts. Oh, and I can run it from a thumb drive? Even better — cookies and porn, my favorite!
Paul, Poppa Bear, Scott, etc: Can we mount these to the tow hook on the front of the Mini? Someone buy one, figure it out, and send me the solution.
Orwell, Jay, Doug — the almost-geo capabilities of the iPhone amaze me, and should impress you, too. It’s one of the reasons I’m looking at getting an Eye-Fi Explore (that, and so I can upload easily to Panoramio — it’s too much of a pain in the ass right now to manually geo-code crap). Oh, and speaking of iPhones — you did read this one, right?
I love this piece on terrorism and photography. It’s a sound argument. Kind of mocks TSA and DHS a bit, don’t ya think. It struck a chord with me, having just finished Little Brother.
Bets, there’s a new version of the video camera out. Don’t worry — while it’s smaller, the early reviews all seem to indicate that is fares worse in worse light conditions, if that makes any sense.
So, follow a feed, and keep up with what’s hip and happening in my little world. While on the road, I’ll probably blog less, but I doubt my RSS reading will suffer much.