4 Interesting Things

Caught up on my RSS feeds today, found some interesting bits & bobs I thought I’d share.

Pepsi embarks on $1.2B rebranding effort
Looks a little weird, I’ll reserve my final judgement once I see some packaging. 

via brand new


Banksy opens a faux pets store in NYC – thnx Ron
…complete with mechanical chicken mcnuggests pecking away at BBQ sauce, genius. 



Demo of Fennec Alpha 1, the new mobile browser from Mozilla via ajaxian

Fennec Alpha Walkthrough from Madhava Enros on Vimeo.


AppLoop iPhone application generator! – via Techcrunch
This looks incredibly promising! I’ll be trying it out shortly.

iPhone Application Generator Demo from AppLoop on Vimeo.


The Best iPhone App – Taskbar Notifier

In my opinion, the single greatest omission from the iPhone has got to be the lack of global notifications. Every other phone I’ve owned in the past 6 years has had an icon for thing like new sms and missed calls, visible from every menu. The iPhone does not.

Taskbar Notifier fixes this. It adds configurable notification icons for new email, sms, voicemail and missed calls to the iPhone’s top bar.

This app alone is worth jailbreaking your iPhone for.


iPhone 2.1 Firmware Actually Fixed Stuff

Go figure. 

  • Battery life is better. I haven’t had to charge my phone over night.
  • Keyboard and animations seem faster. 
  • My car adapter actually charges my phone again. 
  • I’m getting 1 more bar of 3G at home.
Random Review Tips & How To's

iPhone Tethering, Not As Hard As It Looks

In a flip-flop move reminisant of John Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign, Rogers Wireless has reversed it’s policy regarding smart phone tethering. I’m not even going to try to speculate what’s going on internally with this company. Buried in this CBC article about Rogers’ (baffling) new data plans is this nugget:

Unlike other cellphone carriers, Rogers is allowing customers to “tether” their smartphones, or connect them to a computer and use them as a modem.

This new policy was one of the reasons I decided to jailbreak my iPhone earlier this week.

Finally got around to trying it out tonight. A quick google pulled up a very ominous looking 9 step How To. In actuality there are only 3 things you really have to set up. 1) ad-hoc network on the pc, 2) run ‘socks’ on iPhone, 3) set up SOCKS proxy connection in your browser

First Impressions:

  • 3G is fast! gave me 2742 kb/s down and 246 kb/s up. That was with full bars of reception, during off-peak. This is definitely fast enough for standard browsing and not too bad for file downloads. I’ve gotten worse connections with paid wifi.
  • Because it’s a browser based solution, it’s somewhat limiting. I suspect there’s some software available that would hook into a proxy server at on a lower level, it might even be a standard configuration setting in windows. I didn’t look into it.
  • Either the socks app stopped working and/or firefox randomly forgot my proxy settings. Over the course of my 15 minute trial, I had to reset firefox’s proxy settings 5 or 6 times.
  • Battery drain on the iPhone is high. You probably only have an hour max.

Overall, it’s pretty cool.
That said, I’m not entirely sure where I’d use this. Most of the time the iPhone is going to be as much internet as I need. I might use it at an airport, if I wanted to sync some podcasts before a long flight or something. I may use it if I wanted to work in a wifi-less location. Other than that, it’s a good backup incase the cable ever goes down.

Review Websites the best iphone podcatcher is a iphone optimized website that aggregates a tonne of popular podcasts, so you don’t have to. Basically, it gives you a very iPhone friendly interface for finding and listening to podcasts.

A common complaint of cranky geeks everywhere, is the iPhone’s inability to sync with iTunes over the air. With – as long as I’m planning on staying in 3G range – I don’t think I’ll ever worry about syncing my podcasts again. We’ll see.

The first time I used the site I accidentally discovered that when you load an mp3 file directly from a website iPhone’s version of quicktime actually continues to run in the background! I’m not sure if it’s a bug or a feature, but I like it!

The only thing I don’t like about the website is the interface. Switching between pages is really quirky. I don’t know exactly how to describe it… it’s kind of like the destination page loads twice. The navigation itself could be improved somewhat, it’s 4 or 5 taps to find and play a podcast, that’s 2 taps too many.