Civic Involvement



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iOS 4 On iPhone 3G Kills Wifi

Aug 15th, 2010 by Atelier | 1

One month after upgrading to iOS 4 on an iPhone 3G, the wifi stopped working. It would keep searching endlessly for available networks but never pick up anything.

This happened just before I bought the iPhone 4. It might seem like Apple was trying to push people to upgrade. After all, the iOS 4 upgrade on the iPhone 3G caused it to run unbearably slow.
Next, the wifi was no longer working rendering it’s use limited as an iPod Touch equivalent.

No amount of restoring nor upgrading through the various iOS 4 updates solved the problem. In fact, the wifi problem surfaced just after the extended warranty AppleCare was over. The iPhone 3G worked fine over the two years and never required any repairs till iOS 4.

Here I was with an iPhone 3G that I bought on the official launch day and even spent another $99 on the AppleCare and now it’s a paperweight just after the warranty is over.

So for all you iPhone 3G users out there still on iOS 3, do not upgrade to iOS 4. Not only will it run unbearably slow but it will also cause damage to the wifi hardware.

How to fix slow iOS 4 on iPhone 3G

Jul 16th, 2010 by Atelier | 1

So you’re a fan of the iPhone and every software update has brought about new functions and made the iPhone better like cut and paste or spotlight search with iOS 3.

And as there were not many problems with the earlier iOS software updates, your iPhone was quickly upgraded to iOS 4 the moment it was launched.

Now you’re slapping yourself thinking what have I done? The iPhone 3G is now crawling at a snails pace.

The temporary fix is to reset the phone while the other option is to downgrade from iOS 4 back to iOS 3 as discovered and detailed by other iPhone 3G users around the world.

To reset the phone, press the home button together with the sleep button and hold it there till the iPhone shuts off and begins to restart before letting go the buttons. Don’t worry about the information on the iPhone as data is not lost with a reset.

Rebooting probably clears the memory and possibly any cache. In my experience, it did help at times when the phone was extremely sluggish. However, it does not bring back the same level of response from ios3.

The next option is to downgrade the iPhone 3G from ios4 to ios3.1.3 if you prefer speed over the added functions.

Instructions can be found here. For me, I’m going to get the new iPhone 4 although there seems to be a big issue over the reception at the moment and restore the iPhone 3G when I find some spare time.

Mac Mini Living Room Setup

Jul 14th, 2010 by Atelier | 0

My first Mac Mini was an Intel Core Solo 1.5 ghz model. It was purchased from someone who used for only 6 months. The previous owner also bought a dvi to video adapter for connecting to a LCD television and a set of first generation Apple Wireless Keyboard and Wireless Mouse.

This purchase was actually due to my Black MacBook Core Duo 2.0 ghz giving some problem with random shutdowns. It was a problem that plagued the first generation Intel MacBooks. Having had the MacBook fail on me just before the semester ends left me with unnecessary stress. So the used Mac Mini was a backup system for me as it was small enough to bring along with me to University and takes up little space in the dorm room.

It was particularly powerful compared to the G4 Powerbooks and this was evident when running the iTunes visualiser. It was a lot smoother with faster frame rates. While serving as a backup for studies, it was also used to connect to the television for watching movies. This was particularly useful during parties and gatherings.

Upon starting full time work, the Intel Core Solo Mac Mini was largely left unused. The Black MacBook was also mostly deskbound and used for checking emails and facebook. The Mac Mini was subsequently sold away. The new owner wanted to replace the Core Solo processor with a faster Core Duo. So it’s use would probably be extended for a while longer.

When the Mac Mini was updated in 2009 with a better Nvidia GeForce 9400M graphics card vs the old Intel GMA 950 and the Server model introduced, I was really tempted to order one. As I was in the midst of moving to my own apartment, finances were tight and I held of the purchase.

In the middle of 2010, Apple introduced a totally revamped Mac Mini. The form factor was finally revamped to be in line with the rest of the Apple product line. The enclosure was a unibody machined out of a block of aluminium. The memory slots are now easily upgraded with a twist of the bottom cover. This time around, I really wanted a Mac Mini for my living room. I did not have a DVD player and so a Mac Mini was a good choice over other products such as an Apple TV.

In the end, I found a used early 2009 Core 2 Duo 2.0 ghz Mac Mini with 4gb of memory and included a Snow Leopard upgrade disk. It was a good deal and it is now connect to a 42 inch HD Ready Samsung plasma television. I used a Belkin dvi to hdmi cable to link the video output. The dome shaped Airport Extreme wireless base station was retired as the Mac Mini now shared the internet via it’s built in wireless card.

Some of the software installed includes Plex which is similar to Apple’s Front Row but plays a wider range of file types. OSX Mame is also installed for a bit of retro gaming.

The Mac Mini is controlled via VNC (Screen Sharing) through an iPhone or other Macs in the house. With a dynamic IP updater installed, it can also be access over the internet from my office. It is also currently hosting a simple website.

Plans for the future will be a USB TV tuner to record television programmes and an external hard drive for storage of media.

Review of iOS4 on iPhone 3G

Jul 3rd, 2010 by Atelier | 0

Before I upgraded my iPhone 3G to the latest iOS 4, there were many pages of apps which made it frustrating to quickly find the app I wanted.

This problem was partially solved with iOS 3 as it brought spotlight search function from the mac OS X to iPhones. So instead of manually flicking through pages of apps, a few taps of the virtual keypad and I could launch the app from the search result.

However, this did not solve the problem of sorting and arranging the apps easily for people who like to keep things systematic.

As with all new products and software, never upgrade immediately for there is a high probability of issues with a 1st generation product. In this instance, the promise of folders, unified mailbox and dictionary proved far too tempting to wait it out.

After upgrading to iOS 4, the iPhone 3G became as slow it brought back memories of using a HP Jornada running Microsoft Windows CE from the beginning of the millennium. How was it possible for Apple to release the iOS 4 for the iPhone 3G when it created such a terrible user experience?

Perhaps it was meant to be a compelling reason to encourage users to upgrade to the iPhone 4. Bottom line is don’t upgrade if you have an iPhone 3G.

Mac Mini

Jun 18th, 2010 by Atelier | 0

The Mac Mini was first introduced in 2005 with a G4 1.25 ghz or 1.42 ghz processor and ATI Radeon 9200 graphics with 32 mb of DDR SDRAM. It only had one memory slot making upgrade options highly limited. Towards the end it was shipped with a G4 1.5 ghz processor shortly before it was replaced by the Intel based Mac Mini in 2006.

With the move to Intel processors, the Mac Mini form factor remained but now have a Intel Core Solo 1.5 ghz or Core Duo 1.66 ghz processor with an Intel GMA950 graphics. It uses shared memory up to 64 mb from the available memory in the two ram slots. Both models sold for  SGD 948  and 1249 respectively. It was later upgraded to Core Duo 1.66 ghz and 1.83 ghz.

The Mac Mini was the last in the entire Apple line to switch to the faster Core 2 Duo processors with a C2D 1.83 ghz or 2 ghz processor.

In 2009, the mac mini graphics was improved with a Nvidia 9400m chip supporting up to 256 mb of shared memory.  It was only available with a Core 2 Duo 2 ghz processor and an optional upgrade to 2.26 ghz.

Within that year, the Mac Mini range widened to became available with a Core 2 Duo processor at 2.26 ghz or 2.53 ghz. A new Mac Mini Server was introduced omitting the optical drive for a second hard disk and came with Snow Leopard Server instead priced at SGD 1588.

After 4 years, the Mac Mini finally got a new redesign. The case was now a unibody with easy access panel to the memory. The graphics was also upgraded to a Nvidia Geforce 320m. Prices for the entry level model was raised from SGD 948 to SGD 1088. The Server edition remains at SGD 1588.

Apple iPhone 4

Jun 8th, 2010 by Atelier | 0

Today at the World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC), Steve Jobs announced the iPhone 4. It is similar to the leaked photos of the prototype that surfaced a few weeks earlier.

Continuing in the same material and colour scheme of the earlier iPhone 3GS and current iMacs, it is available is glossy black or white with an aluminium frame.

Although there were additional features such as video calling via wifi dubbed Face Time, the capacity of the iPhone 4 remains the same as the current offering of 16gb and 32gb for the iPhone 3GS.

Perhaps Apple did not want to make the iPad appear to have so little storage as it currently tops out with a 64gb model. Also, this allows Apple to introduce an iPhone 4G or 4GS a year later with higher memory like the iPhone 3G and 3GS.

With my iPhone 3G approaching 2 years of age, I will definitely be upgrading to the iPhone 4. For current users of iPhone 3GS, it may not be such a must have upgrade as the iPhone 4 OS dubbed iOS 4 will be available as a free upgrade on 21st June 2010. In fact, this upgrade is also free for users of the iPod Touch whom had to pay for earlier OS upgrades.

Apple Lisa First Look

Mar 18th, 2010 by Atelier | 2

As promised yesterday, here are the pictures of the Apple Lisa.

Bubble wrapped

Front View

When I purchased it from eBay, the seller posted under item description as faulty for it could not be turned on. Due to the scarcity of the Apple Lisa outside of USA, a bidding war broke out minutes before the auction ended.

Fast forward two years later and here it was. After removing the bubble wrap, I plugged the power cord in and crossed my fingers. Hit the little bottom on the bottom right and to my surprise, it actually lighted up with the sound of a hard disk whirring to life in the background.


Fuzzy Screen

After adjusting the screen, the image was still split in three and I could not make out what was on the screen. Does anyone have any idea if it’s an error message or part of the boot up. One thing to note, I did not plug in the keyboard or mouse at this point.

Serial Number

Model Number

The serial and model number tags are located beneath the computer. I tried to do a search online but could not find out much information about this Apple Lisa. So if anyone knows how to decode the serial number to find out the manufacture date and other facts, do leave a comment.

Side Profile

Rear Access Panel

Near the top of the rear access panel are two metal knobs to access the innards of the Apple Lisa. There are three expansion slots on the left but none are installed for this particular machine. Interestingly, there is a port for video out which is the left rectangular connector.

Open Sesame

Inside the Apple Lisa

There were three variations of the Apple Lisa sold. The first was the Apple Lisa 1 which came with twin ‘twiggy’ floppy drives. These are really expensive as it is very rare for Apple provided free upgrades to the Apple Lisa 2. When paying more than $10,000 for one of these, you can be sure most people would have sent their Apple Lisa 1 to be upgraded to a Lisa 2.

Apple Lisa 2 has only one 3.5 inch 400k floppy drive. Towards the end of the production run, the Lisa 2 was marketed as the Macintosh XL and could run system 6 through emulation.

Any Apple Lisa technicians out there? I guess the first step is to fine tune the screen to see exactly what’s it trying to display. Perhaps there’s a way to plug in an external display through the rear video port? Any tips or help will be much appreciated.

Apple Lisa Arriving

Mar 17th, 2010 by Atelier | 0

Yesterday I received a call saying the Apple Lisa has arrived and delivered by the shipping company.

2 years ago, I bought this Apple Lisa on eBay and it has been sitting in storage. The cost of shipping it back was too expensive and so it was with someone I knew in Sydney.

Approximately 2 months ago, someone was relocating and shipping a lot of stuff back. Through the generosity of this person, the Apple Lisa managed to sneak a ride back.

I will be picking the Apple Lisa up tonight. Will post some pictures later.

Apple iPad and the Newton MessagePad

Jan 28th, 2010 by Atelier | 0

Apple first introduced their portable personal computing device with the Newton Original Message Pad or Newton OMP.

The first model was a large PDA and the home screen looks similar to the iPhone. There were rows and columns of applications with the bottom reserved for navigation and built in programs like calander and mail.

The killer feature it had over other PDAs was hand writing recognition. Apple thought the Newton could replace a paper diary and organiser for taking notes in lectures or meetings and managing time.

As it turned out, the handwriting recognition software was not quite ready to hit the market. This was quickly fixed in subsequent models. Apple continued introducing upgraded models including an education model called the eMate which looked like a laptop and ended the line in 1997 with the Newton Messagepad 2100.

In a market with lower cost and smaller devices like the Palm Pilot and the fiaso of the poor handwriting recognition during launch etched in consumer minds, Apple pulled the plug on the Newton with a minority group who love their Newtons petitioning against the decision.

Before the news to discontinue the Newton Messagepad, I was in the midst of moving to a new place. The timing of the move also meant a 6 month stay in a rental apartment before the new place was ready.

My main computing device was an aging 486DX running windows 95. I had seriously considered switching to using a Newton MP 2100. It would take up less space and be easier to move instead of the bulky CRT and CPU.

The Newton was available with the option of an external keyboard for input besides the on screen keyboard and hand writing recognition with a stylus. It could access email and web pages although the screen was monochrome. There were programs for word processing and other applications.

Since I hardly do any gaming, the Newton MP 2100 seemed to be all I needed for a computing device. A device the size of a paperback novel that could almost replace a desktop. Now that’s what I really consider a personal computer.

Many people first compared the Newton to the iPhone and iPod Touch. But we believe it is closer to the iPad.

Through advancement in technology, Apple has in a way brought back the Newton in the form of the iPad. Will the iPad be a success or fade into technology heaven like the Newton?

The key reason we believe it will be a success is because the technology and also consumers are ready for such a product.

Millions of people have used the multitouch interface on the iPhone and iPod Touch and Apple was able to thoroughly improve and test the software implementation. These devices were also at a lower price bracket which was within reach to most consumers. After people are familier with how to use it, they will find it easier to buy and use an iPad.

In the past with the Newton, applications had to be installed from a computer. Today with iTunes and the App Store, the iPad can connect directly to the Internet and download programs and more importantly access the wealth of music, videos and news. It’s this ease of use that will make the iPad ride the wave created by the iPhone and iPod Touch.

Since I already have an iPhone and no iPod Touch, the iPad is on my list of gadgets to buy. In fact, I have already found myself relying more on my iPhone to check emails, facebook and update blogs than on my MacBook. With 9 hours spent almost continually in front of the computer, I just want to chill out on my sofa and watch some TV when I get home. With VNC installed on the iPad it could also access my MacBook to do stuff that the iPad can not handle all from the comfort of my couch.

Got to start saving up for the iPad.

Apple Lisa

Jan 20th, 2010 by Atelier | 0

Two years ago, an Apple Lisa 2 that could not be powered on was listed on eBay.

As it was located in Sydney and not halfway across the globe in USA, a frantic bidding war broke out during the last few minutes and we won the auction for the Apple Lisa 2.

The seller dropped off the Apple Lisa 2 with someone I knew in Sydney to save on the shipping cost. It has been sitting wrapped up in storage for the last 2 years until today where it was packed and awaiting the freight company to pick it up.

Can’t wait to finally see it after such a long wait.