Category: iPhone

Print range selection feature missing from iPad

I was recently asked how to print a range of pages from the iPad and despite having seen ‘Range’ as an available feature many times in the past I could not immediately fathom why the feature was absent under ‘Printer Options’. Experimenting on an iPhone revealed the same problem.

After a little bit of research it became clear (smacks head) that the iPad will allow you to print a range of pages only in apps that support it.

The penny has now dropped and apps like Mail or Safari will not be able to offer the range option due to the fact that web pages and emails are not structured in separate pages in the same way a pdf or word document would be.

Instead they are a continuous body of content, images, attachments and so on that reformats itself to fit the device or zoom level – for Mail or Safari to print individual pages they would have to guess how much to print on each page and which orientation would be appropriate.

Apps that support ‘print range’ include apps like Quickoffice Pro HD, Pages and iBooks.

If you have a document (for example a multipage pdf) received as an email attachment then you can ‘send’ it to another app (an app with the capability to do ‘range selection’).

Usually a pdf attachment will be displayed ‘inline’ somewhere in the main body of the email. Sometimes attachments are displayed as a simple icon* instead.

Long Tap on the attachment and when the grid of available options appear just choose an appropriate app.

If the attachment is a pdf then you could use iBooks to print.

One problem with sending to iBooks is that the pdf will then be stored in your iBook shelves unless you then follow through and delete it.
Another issue is that a different type of document, .docx for example, might require you to select a different app instead of iBooks.

Further research reveals an iOS app called Print Agent Pro which can handle most of these file types and offers a few more functions.
Print Agent Pro is $6 for iPad and $4 for iPhone. I’ve yet to test it out, but it sure looks to be the ticket.

*Interestingly, a readable attachment that doesn’t display inline can be printed using Range Selection by long tapping, then tapping Print from the available options.

Using Bigpond email with multiple devices

Please note: the following is my understanding and simplified view of a complex landscape of options and protocols
It is intended to provide insight for the inexperienced, rather than a complete and accurate technical description

If you are reading this as a customer of another ISP then just assume that every mention of Bigpond is a reference to your provider. While things that are true of bigpond might not be true of your provider this should still get you most of the way there

Bigpond and others provide email addresses for free with their services, but in reality this is nothing more than a trap to prevent you from switching to another service – in my opinion there is no reason for a Bigpond customer to use one of these addresses

Apple iCloud, Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail etc. are portable when you switch to a different Internet Service Provider and remain capable of being used with standard settings anywhere in the world (as do properly setup self hosted emails like myname@myowndomain.whatever)

A bigpond address often fails to send when you are not connected to the Telstra provided infrastructure forcing users to access expensive solutions like global data roaming or clunky solutions like webmail

In addition a Bigpond address is not designed (at time of writing) to properly sync between multiple devices

Why? Bigpond use a protocol known as POP which offers advantages for the provider including reduced ‘chattiness’ between devices and the email server, but none for the user – especially when the user has more than one device*

*status of messages (flagged, read, unread, deleted, forwarded, replied) is not echoed between devices

Other protocols exist – IMAP, Exchange, Google Sync, iCloud

Exchange is a Proprietary (Paid) Microsoft protocol which supports multiple devices for mail, calendar, contacts and notes
It is typically used by businesses with their own domain

Google Sync is similar to Exchange and is apparently based on it
Google Sync, with the right settings makes it easy to sync mail, calender, contacts and notes between iPad, iPhone and presumably other mobile devices
while it works well on mobile, due to licencing restrictions, it doesn’t work fully on the desktop and is quite frustrating and time consuming to configure on a PC or Mac (Purchasing Outlook may be a solution to this)
One major advantage of Google Sync is the ability to set it up with your own domain
Update: Unless you were already using Google Sync or a paying Google Customer, Google Sync is effectively dead – http://support.google.com/a/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=2716936

iCloud is a proprietary (free) protocol for those who own one or more Apple computing devices
iCloud makes it easy to sync mail, calender, contacts, notes, bookmarks, documents, location, device backups, reminders between all of those devices and a few items can sync with a PC running the iCloud Control Panel

IMAP is a non proprietary email protocol which works on any device, but must be supported by the provider of your email;

Bigpond – does NOT support IMAP
(email addresses ending in bigpond.com or similar)

Gmail – Supports IMAP, but I have seen the uninitiated become confused by the way Gmail handles IMAP
(email addresses ending in gmail.com)

iCloud – Supports IMAP, but setting up as iCloud is easier (iCloud email can be easily used on PCs with Outlook, Macs, iPod, iPhone and iPad. Setting up on a different device requires careful configuration)
(email addresses ending mac.com, me.com, icloud.com)

email addresses ending in internode.com, adam.on.net, yourdomain.com, yahoo.com, hotmail.com, iPrimus.com
Internode – Supports IMAP
Adam – Supports IMAP
Your own hosted email may or may not support IMAP, although most do
Other providers like Yahoo, Hotmail, Dodo, iPrimus etc. may or may not support IMAP to one degree or another

POP – Some of these emails support POP, but I generally recommend avoiding it. If you have a bigpond address which you have shared with many people and you now use multiple devices it is normally*** best to switch to an iCloud or Gmail address and have your incoming Bigpond emails redirected there

***Not all bigpond addresses are equal. In all cases we can forward emails received at a bigpond address to another address, but it is not always possible to prevent the bigpond inbox from continuing to fill up requiring us to keep checking in

Update:I have experienced varying interfaces with Bigpond webmail and settings.
In all cases those settings allow mail to be forwarded to another address, but most of the time there is no option to stop the Bigpond inbox from continuing to fill up. Since writing this blogpost I have helped people set this up 3 or 4 times and it is starting to appear as though address ending bigpond.com are of the inferior variety (inbox continues to fill) while those ending in bigpond.net.au appear to be capable of forwarding emails WITHOUT, at the same time, continuing to fill up themselves

We can use pieces of each protocol – for example

A bigpond user might use POP for his email, but use iCloud for his Calendar and Contacts

A Gmail, internode or Adam user might use IMAP for email and Notes with iCloud for Calendar and Contacts

While these solutions work they require more configuration than a single solution like Exchange or iCloud (Google Sync is similar but much less easy unless we are only interested in using mobile devices)

iCloud seems to be the best overall solution, but your needs will vary depending on your email address, willingness or ability to change address, current devices, future devices

Now go and have a lie down…

Update:Adam it appears do not allow email addresses provided by them to be forwarded at all – if you are an Adam customer I recommend avoiding their free email accounts like the plague

Update March 6, 2013:Chariot – www,chariot.net.au – also omit options for forwarding, but a call to their helpdesk reveals that they can set it up manually for you

Jaycar Techview Camera Review

After some shopping around for security cameras I recently opted to try out the Jaycar Techview QC3834 for it’s low cost and wireless capabilities

Like many devices this new range of wireless IP (QC3834 – QC3836 – QC3832) cameras is almost fully Mac compatible despite no information about Mac installation

Readers may not be familiar with some of this terminology, so before I go into any further detail about setup I will give a few definitions

  1. IP Address
    An IP address is like a unique numbered seat at the blackjack table – without a seat you are not part of the game (every device that needs to download, upload or share data with the internet or locally with another device needs a seat at the table)
  2. Router
    A router is a device that moves data around and delivers it to the appropriate device (the router is equivalent to the dealer at the blackjack table who collects and distributes chips (data) between players and the house)
    Most of us have Modem/Routers which would be plugged into our phone line or Cable internet
  3. DHCP
    DHCP or Dynamic Something Something Protocol is like the Maître d’ who decides where you sit at the table. For many reasons your seat number (IP Address) might change or be reassigned to other devices – as you can imagine this would make it difficult for the dealer to assign chips to the right seats

To set up this camera we are going to need to assign an IP address that can’t change – since our IP Camera Viewer relies on that address to show us the feed, but first we are going to need to work out which IP address is assigned automatically by our router when we plug it in to our existing network and then fix a different address that is not part of the normal pool of IP addresses (my router has been reconfigured to automatically dish out addresses from 1 to 200 out of 255 available leaving me with 55 manually selectable seats)

That last point is important, your router must have a range of addresses that are not part of the pool – if you are not able to set this up for yourself, get some help or risk temporarily breaking your network. Once that is set up, read on…

Step 1 – Log-in to your router and make a note of the currently assigned range of (just the un-named ones) IP addresses – this process should be easy but will vary depending on the brand of your router (Look for a button that says ‘DHCP Client List’ or similar)

In my case my router is accessed by opening a web browser on my computer and typing 192.168.1.1 using ‘admin’ as the user name and ’admin’ as the password (you might open a web browser and instead type ‘routerlogin’ or ‘192.168.1.254’ or something else. Don’t guess – if the login information is not printed on the back of the router or in the instructions then it will be available by searching online for the model and brand of your device)

Step 2 – Plug the camera into power and then plug it in to your router using a network (ethernet cable)

Step 3 – Refresh the window in your web browser – a new item should appear. This new item might be called ipcam_xxxxxxxxxxxx (the x’s represent numbers that are unique for each device)

In my case this was followed by a newly assigned IP address – 192.168.1.4

Step 4 – Type whatever IP address was shown into your browser and click enter

Login to your camera setup with username:admin with password:admin and you will be able to see a range of options under 3 headings at the top right

Step 5 – Click ‘Device Management’ then ‘Basic Network Settings’
In the window that appears you must;
Untick the dhcp server box

Type an IP address that is not part of the pool and is not assigned to another device already – in my case I used 192.168.1.225

Type the Subnet Mask, gateway, dns server and port then click ‘submit’

I wasn’t sure what to enter for DNS yet (this will be important to access the camera from anywhere that isn’t our home network), so I just put 192.168.1.225 for now

The subnet mask and gateway might be different depending on your routers default settings, but in my case the subnet mask is 255.255.255.0 and the gateway is 192.168.1.1

Port number was set to 80

At this point it should be possible to type 192.168.1.225 into any browser on my network to view the camera feed or further change the settings
In addition I also downloaded an iPhone/iPad App called CamViewer (free) and a Mac App called Security Spy (Paid) and was able to view, control and record from the camera

You might also like to set up the camera with WiFi so that it can be plugged in anywhere within the range of your network – this is done under ‘Wireless LAN Settings’ and though my network did not show up I was able to type it’s name (and password in the ‘Share Key’ field) to connect easily

Viewing from the internet is also possible, but I’m still not quite there on the right settings (DNS, Open Ports, Firewall etc) to make this work

One important thing to keep in mind though is that the correct settings will mean anyone can view the feed from this camera – to prevent this be sure to click ‘user settings’ and type a password in the first password field and, if you wish, change your username (don’t forget to click ‘submit’)

So, what do I think of the camera?

I don’t have a great deal of experience with security cameras, but my photographic background means I know enough to say that it is good value for money but will not wow you with the quality

Of the 3 cameras that are available I chose the QC3834 which also offers PTZ (Pan Tilt Zoom), I’m sure the other two are almost identical except for the housing

Picture Quality – At 640×480 (max) the picture quality is adequate and colour is good. I’m sure there are much better cameras out there, but few will offer IP network connection at this price point

Focus – The camera appears to be fixed focus and due to it’s small sensor images are reasonably sharp at any distance

Low Light – The camera will automatically turn on it’s LED illuminators as the light level drops. The led’s can be turned off in the web view and if there is some light this might be preferred since the led’s create quite a hotspot.
Subjects that approach the camera will be overexposed very easily by the LED’s and strong light sources within the frame and close to the camera are best avoided

Options – The web view allows a few things to be controlled including;

4 user presets for position
Image flip or rotate to support surface or ceiling mounting
Vertical Patrol
Horizontal Patrol
Illumination on/off
Alarm (motion detects and triggers via an external alarm socket)

Since my goal is exterior security I have to decide whether to return this camera and exchange it for the outdoor version, but I really like the ability to control the Pan Tilt and zoom. Perhaps I can purchase a weatherproof dome enclosure separately

Snapseed – Nice Photo Editor for iPhone

Having had a quick play you when I first downloaded Snapseed months ago, I finally got around to giving it a proper go over the last couple of days.

It really is quite an amazing little app with a lot of options that I was surprised to find on an iPhone app, including such things as control points and a ’tilt shift’ effect.

Below are a couple of images created in Snapseed with the untouched images included at a lower Resolution for comparison.

20121123-203332.jpg

20121123-203853.jpg

20121123-203347.jpg

20121123-204023.jpg

iPhone accessibility – swipe to scroll

Having played with accessibility on the iPhone it is clear that iOS must be the most accessible device yet.
However I think I have discovered a weakness in the scrolling system and a solution for the flaw.

The following feedback was therefore recently given via the iPhone feedback form – let’s hope it gets seen

Three finger scrolling for the visually impaired could be dramatically improved by enabling the action that brings down the notification panel (unused during VoiceOver) to be used from each edge of the screen to scroll.
it is very easy for a blind user to feel each edge of the device and swipe across the screen rather than swiping with three fingers, which sometimes drag and don’t always perform the desired action.

For those who don’t need accessibility the same gestures from the left, right and bottom (but not the top due to notifications) could be used to move the cursor in a body of text as though using arrow keys.
Perhaps a swipe would move one character in the swipe direction. Swiping but then pausing mid swipe might cause the cursor to continue moving one character at a time until the finger was removed from the screen.

Lightning fast?

My iPhone 5 just charged from 63% to 83% in 20 minutes
This was using the included charger and lightning cable – I can’t remember my 4s charging so quickly.
It’s risen another 4% in the last 4 minutes. Further testing is required

I can’t wait to see how fast the next iPad charges (I imagine Apple were not delighted with the ten hour charge time of the current model)

Update: I will keep posting unscientific observations here
1. Monday Oct 1st – at least an hour off the charger and still at 99%
2. Eight hours off the charger now and my battery is at 84%
3. Tuesday Oct 2nd – 17 hours off the charger now and we are only down to 70% (a lot of this had to do with not leaving the house, but it shows how good the battery life can be when the iPhone isn’t struggling to amplify its connection)
4. 40 minutes charging and we are up to 92%
5. Tuesday Oct 9th – Charge the client iPhone 4S today, 10 minutes to charge to 2%
6. Saturday Oct 13th – From 28% to 90% in 61 minutes

I haven’t given this much thought for a while, but my iPhone was on 5% today at 8:34pm.
I put it on charge and by 8:46pm it reported 30%. In the last 4minutes it has added another 6%
That’s pretty amazing – Lightning by name…

Typing fractions on iOS, iPhone, iPad the easy way

While iOS can display a full range of characters the iOS keyboard is unable to type many of them.
There are several methods to work around this limitation, the easiest of which uses the built-in keyboard shortcuts.

It does require a little bit of setting up to use this method, but once done will yield the quickest typed fractions possible.

1. Search the web for a page that includes the fractions and/or characters that are most important to you

2. Copy each character one at a time and perform the following steps

3. Go to settings, general, keyboard and finally shortcuts

4. Choose Add new shortcut

5. In the Phrase field paste the character. eg. ‘½’
In the shortcut Field type the shortcut. eg. 1/2
(return to step 2)

Other methods, all of which require copy and paste, include;

Creating a note (using the note app) that includes all the characters you might use, then copying and pasting from the note each time a fraction is needed.

Or, searching the web each time you need a character.

Or, using a webapp known as Glyphboard which allows fast access to a range of characters

Or, use text expander to create and store your shortcuts. (Text expander shortcuts can be shared and edited with multiple devices).

Unlocking the iPhone quickly and easily

So what’s the easiest way to unlock an iPhone after it has been released for use on another carrier?

Is it, as most will tell you – Apple included, to completely restore the phone through iTunes?

No. Simply insert a SIM card from another carrier and wait for a minute or two (use common sense with any prompts that may appear).
Note: carriers tell me that the unlock can take from 1 hour to two days, so if it doesn’t work it’s worth waiting a couple of hours and trying again.

As always, ensure you have backed up your iPhone first.

iPhone 5, iOS 6, Public Transit

Dear reader

Never mind the deterioration of map resolution, if you rely on the public transport capabilities of Maps in your iPhone you might want to think twice before you upgrade to iOS 6 or buy an iPhone 5

Apple’s switch to their own mapping technologies has left a gaping hole where useful transit directions once lived

If you have already upgraded What can you do (other than waiting until Apple catch up to where they were yesterday)

One option is simply to carry another older iOS device.

I’m lucky enough to have a first generation iPod touch lying around – this device is incapable of running iOS 6 and should continue to provide public transit times and directions well into the future

Another option while we pray that Google release a standalone Maps app is to visit maps.google.com and add their web app to your home screen

It’s clunkier (for example, you can’t search for directions until the page has finished loading), but at least it works

10 things you should know about your iPhone camera

Apple’s iPhone is one of the worlds most popular cameras, yet most users are unaware of many of the features Apple have included.
The following list offers a range of useful tips and tricks to help you shoot better and faster with the iPhone

1. Get to ‘Camera’ quickly when your iPhone is asleep

It is easy to get to your iPhone camera from sleep.
Just press the home or wake/sleep button, slide the camera icon (iOS 5+ required) and you are straight into your camera.

2. ‘Half Press’ - lock focus and get more immediate shutter response
Your iPhone camera can perform a ‘Half Press’ similar to a regular camera.

First, frame your shot.
Then press and hold the on screen shutter button and the iPhone will focus but will NOT release the shutter until you then release the shutter button.

3. Real Shutter Release button.
The + volume control button can act as a shutter release button affording a more secure grip and less chance of camera shake

4. Cable Release.
The + volume control button on your Apple headphones can act as a shutter release

5. Shooting at reduced resolution.
When file size is all that matters your iPhone camera is ready to take low resolution images.
Simply open the ‘Messages’ App, start a message and tap the camera icon – from here images will be captured at a low resolution (1024×768 on iPhone 4S at time of writing).
These images can be emailed from ‘Messages’
That’s right, the ‘Messages’ app can send to email addresses. Or they can be copied and pasted into mail, pages, keynote etc.

6. AE/AF Lock.
Often a camera will make an incorrect exposure decision due to an abundance of bright or dark tones in the image (it can also fail to focus correctly).
AE/AF Lock allows you lock the exposure based on the brightness values elsewhere in the scene and at the same time lock focus on that part of the scene.
To use AE/AF lock, tap and hold on dark objects to brighten and lock exposure (focus will be locked too).
If you tap and hold on light objects the image will darken instead.
Ideally you would locate objects that are the same distance as your subject and with balanced tones (neither too dark or too light), then touch and hold on the screen in this area to activate AE/AF Lock

7. ‘Rule of Thirds’ – Compositional aid.
Under the ‘Options’ button it is possible to activate a ‘Rule of Thirds’ grid. This grid overlays the screen and assists with composition (objects of interest should intersect with the lines rather than appearing within the boxes of the grid)

8. Stabilisation – avoiding camera shake.
There is a built-in stabiliser that is always active to minimise blur caused by camera shake.

9. Getting to ‘Camera’ when the iPhone is NOT asleep
The quickest way to get to the camera when the iPhone is not asleep is using a variation of the first tip.
Simply press the sleep/wake button twice and then slide the camera icon (this requires you to have the lock code active)

10. Zoom In
The iPhone camera has a little over 3x zoom Simply spread two fingers on screen to activate (unfortunately this is a digital zoom and will reduce your capture resolution to less than 1 Megapixel at maximum zoom before extrapolating back up to a 3264×2448 file)