Archive for the ‘Tech’ Category

I’m back…and here’s a new iPhone post

August 23, 2012 Leave a comment

I’ve been super busy at work/with family/attending family reunions/ blah blah blah so I haven’t posted in a awhile. Actually the main reason is that I was lazy as shit and was off the interwebz for a awhile and social media specifically. But I’m back now.

I wanted to let those JailBreakers know about a new app available in Cydia called MissionBoard which replaces the native iOS switch. I actually like the idea of being able to see all the apps on one screen and this allows you to see thumbnails of what is currently running. Here’s an image courtesy of (excellent resource for JailBreak aficionados).

As you can see, the running apps are visually displayed on the screen so you can quickly see what is running. Scrolling up and down will show all open apps on a page by page basis. One advantage is that it allows me to see immediately which browser was open to which site. If you’re like me, I find myself using multiple browsers because Apple allows no way to default to a third party browser. So when I click on a link, it opens up Safari by default. I use Opera and A Perfect Browser for the most part so often times I have to remember which browser has which page. Not a big deal, but I like this look better than the native Apple iOS.

I lost my iPhone 4 so I had to get a new 4S which annoys me because I wanted to wait for the 5. Once my wife gets the 5 though (she’s having issues with her 4) I will have her iPhone 4 to play with and I will Jailbreak that device. My iPad 1 & 2 are also jailbroken but I decided not to jb my son’s iPad 3 (given he needs it for school). That’s it for now. New post next week about my health a potential surgery.



War & MP3s: Rare Earth Elements

April 2, 2012 Leave a comment

Today’s post comes from Imogen Reed, freelance writer and wannabe rockstar.

China is at risk of sparking a trade war over unsanctioned restrictions of exports of a number of rare metals. These materials, commonly known as rare earth elements, are used in the manufacture of myriad different products including iPods, iPhones, plasma TVs, night vision goggles, Blackberries and hybrid car batteries. In addition, they are also required for the production of military equipment such as laser-guided smart bombs and heat shielding.

Back Story

The first indication of China starting to hold back on its obligations was in September 2010 when the uneasy sense of antagonism existing between China and Japan was flared up once again by a boat collision around the disputed territories of the Senkaku Islands and the subsequent detention of a Chinese fishing trawler captain by the Japanese coast guard.

China’s ban on the export of rare earth metals to Japan may or may not have been a direct reaction to this incident, but the timing was too coincidental to not look suspicious. Of course, China denied that such a restriction had been implemented, but then the Chinese government does expect its citizens to accept official statements as indisputable facts and presumes the rest of the world will follow that same logic.

Mining Monopoly

It’s now apparent that China’s export quotas and the duties that must be paid on them are designed to give an advantage to its domestic industry over international competition, which is a violation of international trade rules. Countries in the West are forced to pay excessive amounts for a supply of the minerals that barely meets demand.

Although deposits of the metals also exist elsewhere in the world, the deposits are often tainted by radioactive metals formed under similar conditions. China, never being a nation to let danger to human life stand in the way of industrial progress, began large scale mining in earth mineral-rich areas in the early 2000s, thus cornering the market on their refinement.

The Obama administration has now lodged a joint formal complaint with the World Trade Organization along with Japan and the European Union.  The responding statement from China’s Ministry of Commerce declared it has “no intention of protecting domestic industries by distorting its foreign trade.” But of course, nobody was really holding out for an admission of guilt.

Periodical Importance

The more technical name for rare earth elements are lanthanide metals. This series of elements are one of the two rows on the periodic table that break out of the transitional metal block. They’re the ones you always ignored in chemistry class because they were never mentioned and didn’t seem to fit in with anything. The two elements above in the block, scandium and yttrium, are also classed as rare earth metals due to the close similarities in properties.

Compounds of the elements are phosphorescent, meaning they give off colored luminescence, making them perfect for compiling the pictures in TV screens. Their magnetic properties, combined with relatively light weight, also make them ideal for computer disc drives and electronic devices like iPods and mobile phones.


If the restrictions of rare earth metal exports remain unchecked. It will doubtlessly have knock-on effects for the cost of any shipments that make it through. Certainly, nobody is going to cry a river for Apple executives forced to shell out over the odds for the raw materials required for their designer products, as they have enough money for all the big houses, expensive cars and Mediterranean cruise deals their steam-pressed hearts desire. However, it’s more than likely that the increased expenditure will be passed on to the people wanting to adorn their lives with sleek shininess, meaning the retail prices of the goods could skyrocket without warning, possibly pricing the items out of the reach of ordinary consumers.

A further issue is that due to the use of the metals in military hardware, they can be classified as a strategic resource, like oil was in the 1910s and ‘20s, and uranium in the ‘40s and ‘50s. In doing so, the government can invoke the Defense Production Act, meaning that all imported quotas of rare earth metals can be prioritized for the requirements of national defense. Subsequently, any leftovers will end up scarce and pricey, so it follows that any items made using them will end up even more prohibitively expensive.

If for some reason you don’t already own an iPod, you might want to look into getting one fairly quick. Who knows how much longer you’ll be able to afford it?

Interested in more? Here’s an article from on the subject.


March 22, 2012 2 comments

So, being sick and tired of all the downtime I was experiencing with AT&T’s Uverse, I decide to switch to Time Warner. I opted for the faster download speed well, just because I could. Naturally, the first step is to check out the speed. In case you’re interested in YOUR downstream speed, check out I did and here’s my result.

Needless to say, I’m pretty happy.

Categories: Other, Tech Tags: , , , ,

Rumor roundup: ‘iPad 3’ release date, specs – The Washington Post

February 8, 2012 Leave a comment

iOS 5 jailbreak a bit buggy

February 2, 2012 Leave a comment
dreamboard with Android theme

Looks nice but...

Having a lot of issues after my jailbreak  weeks ago, more on the iPad than the iPhone. Lots of crashing out of apps indicate some instability with the system.

I also notice that Dreamboard, while it looks neat, the concept of a theme within a theme (Dreamboard->Honeypad->theme in Honeypad) doesn’t work so well. Perhaps in the iPad 2 or the iPad 3 (supposed to feature an A7 quad core processor?) with the horsepower, it will be able to handle the system requirements, but right now, iPad 1 just can’t handle it.

iOS5 Untethered Jailbreak

January 11, 2012 Leave a comment

Jailbroken Home ScreenSo last night, after months of not having had a jailbroken phone (since the update to iOS 5) I took the step to jailbreak the phone. The motivation behind this was the release of the untethered jailbreak this week, courtesy of the iPhone-Dev team and @pod2g.

Supported devices are:

  • iPhone 4 (GSM – CDMA)
  • iPhone 3GS
  • iPod touch 4G
  • iPod touch 3G
  • iPad 1

It was not without some issues.

There are some steps you need to take before you begin:

  1. First off, to jailbreak the phone, you need to download Redsn0w ver. 0.9.10b3 for Windows or for Mac
  2. Download the IPSW for iOS 5.0.1 for your specific device. This page has a list of IPSW’s for the different models.
  3. Make sure you have the latest version of iTunes.
  4. Make sure you are on the 5.0.1 version of the iOS. (Settings->General->About->Version

Now that you have all of the items you need, here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. Connect your device to the computer you have it partnered with and hold the power key down until the slider to shutdown the device.
  2. Launch Redsn0w
  3. Click on Extras->Select IPSW->Select the one you want.
  4. Go back to the main screen and click the Jailbreak button
  5. Make sure the “Install Cydia” box is ticked
  6. Click Next
  7. Make sure your device is bot turned off and plugged into your computer before you get to the next step
  8. At the next step, you need to put the device in DFU mode. Follow the steps on screen.
  9. Once this is complete (it takes a bit of time), you will see a Cydia icon on the screen. Congratulations! You are now the proud owner of a jailbroken phone.

What next? Check out my earlier blog post on what to do after you jailbreak your device.

Texting and Driving

October 24, 2011 1 comment

My wife is part of the Injury Research Coalition here in Wisconsin and she sent this to me as an item of interest. It’s long, sad, and well worth a watch.