From: iPhone 3g Review – 3 weeks later… – Xathros’ Blog.

Its been a few weeks now since I picked up the iPhone 3g and its gotten quite a bit of use.  I figured it was time for a followup article to let you all know how it has worked out so far.  For the most part, I like it but like most things, there are good points and bad.  I will discuss some of each today.

The good:

Slick user interface.

Leave it to Apple to design a nice user interface.  I love the touch screen.  The iPhone uses a capacitance sensitive screen, not pressure sensitive like most other devices.  This means no stylus is needed and the items on the screen won’t be activated by items in your pocket.  This screen supports multi-touch!  This allows you to use more than one finger to achieve a number of tasks like zoom in, out and rotate.  Pretty slick!  Most of the UI has a very OS X kind of feel to it.

Lots of Apps

There is a large number of applications for the iPhone.  Many of them are free and the rest are cheap for the most part.  I have most of what I want already.  Things like an SSH terminal, FTP, VNC and various other utilities for time tracking etc.

Good network support

Between built-in WiFi and 2g/3g data support, it’s hard to find someplace where I can’t get online with the iPhone.  Most apps will automaticly use the best available connection selecting WiFi over cellular data anytime WiFi is available.  Just today, I have the iPhone in the car kit cradle on my way to work with the Google map app running.  The iPhone was happily downloading the necessary maps over 2g as I was driving along.

Good text input.

The onscreen keyboard seems to work quite well compared to most every other small device I have tried.  It’s built-in dictionary catches and fixes most typos on the fly.  There have been a few things that it has wanted to correct that were’nt wrong but those have been mostly names of people or places.

Excellent music player.

Well, it is basiclly an iPod with a built in phone.  As usual, Apple has done an excellent job with the iPod portion of the iPhone.

Excellent Phone

As a phone, the iPhone does a great job.  Call quality is better than most of my previous phones.  It works well even when there is only one bar of signal.  AT&T’s visual voicemail is a nice touch.  The contact list is very easy to use and maintain.  The call log maintains the last 80 incoming, outgoing and missed calls with the missed calls listed in red.  Here however is where I will segway into the bad…

The bad:

Call logs

The iphone seems to fall short when it comes to some basic cell phone functionality- mostly in the call logs area.  The log does not indicate whether a call was incoming or outging unles you check the details for the call.  The details do not include call duration.  This is a big problem for those of us that bill for phone time.  In some cases, if there are multiple calls to/from the same contact in sequence, the log will bunch them together and you lose the ability to tell what was incoming or outgoing.  While on a call the iPhone does display the duration but that is lost as soon as you end the call.  This hopefully will be addressed in a future firmware update.


…or the lack thereof.  The iPhone does support bluetooth headsets and handsfree devices, sort of.  Ringtones are not transmitted to the headset so I still need to look at the phone before I answer a call.  Its been a long time since I’ve had to do that.  Being an iPod, one would think that the iPhone would support stereo bluetooth devices.  NOPE!  No A2DP support at all.  Again – maybe in a future firmware since the rumor is that the hardware will support it.  No native voice dialing support.  There are third party apps to add this but I haven’t seen any that claim to work with bluetooth headsets.  AT&T offers a pay by the month voice dialing service but again, I don’t think it will work with a headset for hands free dialing.  Pretty lame for a second generation Apple device.

Battery Life

Battery life seems to be well below par for a cellphone.  I haven’t yet run out of juice but I’ve come quite close.  It seems that there is barely enough to make it through a full day with moderate usage.  I haven’t done a decent study on this yet but can say for sure that I get 1/3 to 1/4 as much life with the iPhone as I did with my last 3 or 4 phones.  Even worse – I can’t carry a spare battery since the iPhone’s battery is NOT USER REPLACEABLE!!!  I wonder how much it will cost me to get the battery replaced when it comes time to do that.


The iPhone relies on iTunes to sync most everything to/from the phone.  I’m a linux user so I have to have a virtual machine running Windows XP to install and run iTunes.  This is not a big supprise as most other devices will require Windows or OS X to sync but it is a bit of a pain none the less.  iTunes is one of the SLOWEST apps I have seen in recent years.  Even on a real Windows machine with relatively fast hardware its slower than death.  From what I can see, its not any better on a MAC with OS X either.  The connection to the iPhone is USB2 but the data transfer speeds remind me of the 28.8kbps modem days.  Er… maybe it was 14.4…  There is no excuse for this and it seems to be a very common complaint.

Well, thats all for now.  I may post a follow up to this review down the road if I think of something I missed or if Apple comes through with some improvements via firmware updates.  Please feel free to comment below if you have anything to add.


By Bill, February 10, 2009, 11:30 am
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iPhone 3g

iPhone 3g

Late last week I went to pay me cellular bill and found that my cell provider Unicel had been bought out by AT&T. While I was there, I learned that I could port my account over to AT&T and upgrade my hardware without having to pay a early termination for my 4 month old Unicel contract. AT&T offers the Apple iPhone 3g and after playing with the demo unit for a few minutes, I was hooked.

I moved my 2 lines over to AT&T upgrading myself from the MotoRokr Z6 to the iPhone 3g and grabbed a new sim for my daughter’s MotoRokr. The AT&T plan is a little nicer than the Unicel plan was. For the same monthy price, I now have 100 more anytime minutes and those minutes can roll over for up to 12 months. The iPhone does require a $30/mo data plan and my old plan was only $15/mo for unlimited data so there is a $15 increase in the overall monthly cost. At least the iPhone makes good use of the data services. All I used the data for with the Rokr was to teather my Nokia N810 when there was no WiFi available. The iPhone (or more likely AT&T) does not allow teathering but now I don’t need that since I can use the phone itself to get me online.

The iPhone has quite a few apps pre installed. Email, Safari web browser, Calendar, Camera, Youtube viewer, Map app, Weather app, iPod app and a few others. There are plenty of other apps available from free up to $30 or more and many of them are only a buck or two via the iTunes app store.

The phone has a gps built in and makes use of Google’s maps. The internal gps gets a near lock within a few seconds likely using AGPS to help then improves the position with the satellite gps within a few more seconds. The map app will display satellite, road map or a combo (hybrid) of the two. You can searh for address or general services (Pizza ?) and the phone will display push pins on the map for the search results. Pretty cool.

The iPhone supports WiFi, 3g and Edge for data and will use them in that order. Luckily, I have WiFi available most anywhere I spend much time and in between Edge does a decent job of filling the gaps. There is no 3G here yet and I haven’t been anywhere that offers 3g yet but I will get to test that in the coming weeks. I look forward to seeing the higher over the air speeds 3G has to offer.

OK. Thats the good stuff. Now for the bad…

This is actually my second iPhone 3g. My forst one started refusing to make outgoing calles within the first 10 hours that I owned it. It didn’t matter if the was 1 bar or 5, all it would do is say “Call Ended” followed immediately with “Call Failed”. Incoming calles worked fine. All of the data stuff worked just fine. I could send and receive texts just fine. Only problem was outbound calls. I tried everything I could think of to get it working again. Power off/on, Soft reset, Factory reset, Swap sims, tested my sim in another phone and it worked fine there. Googled for the problem and found plenty of info. This has happed to alot of others. Some were able to fix their iPhones by manually setting the date/time and timezone, some by disabling 3g others by soft or factory resets. None of those worked for me. The next day I went back to the AT&T store and they happily replaced it with another brand new unit. Since then all has been fine. Now, however, I panic anytime the phone says “Call Failed”. So far thats only happened when I have not signal but its still a bit scary.


via iPhone 3g joins the family. – Xathros’ Blog.

By Bill, January 22, 2009, 11:07 am
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This is just a test post from my new iPhone. Well, from my new new iPhone… My first one died the day after I brought it home. AT&T replaced it with the one I have now and all is better. It seems there is a common problem with iPhone’s not being able to place calls. Everytiing worked great except for outbound calls. Any number I dialed would result in a call ended-call failed message. A Google search turned up many stories of the same thing happening. A few were able to fix the problem by turning off 3G network or setting date/time manually. None of that solved my problem so I had to get the phone replaced.

By Bill, January 18, 2009, 8:25 am
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After several weeks of hacking at this Dell Dimension E521, I finally have a working server!!!  I had this extra system laying around and decided it would make a good replacement for my aging webserver.  It didn’t have a hard drive so I ordered up a 750Gb Seagate Sata drive and stuck it in.  I had already downloaded and burned an Ubuntu ISO for the A64 platform.  This should be easy right ?  Just boot from the CD and install. NOT!  It turns out that this particular model Dimension has some serious issues with Ubuntu.  Between USB lockups and the inability to run an install from the Sata DVD drive, I was unable to move forward.  I tried several versions of the Ubuntu installer, alternate installer, i386 version all with the same results.  Some searching indicated that a BIOS update, disabling acpi and apic would work. So, off to I go to download the latest BIOS.  What do I find ?  The BIOS is only available in a Win32 binary?!  Argh!  So, now I go and waste an afternoon installing XP so I can run a damn exe BIOS updater only to wipe it out right after.  Talk about frustration!  skip to later – BIOS updated…  I try again to boot from the Ubuntu CD and guess what! – same as before. This whole saga has been quite a supprise. I have never had any issues installing any flavor of Ubuntu before and the only thing a Dell system has refused before was XP on a system that shipped with Vista.  After a few more hours of messing with it I determined that the major failure was with the Sata based dvd drive.  It would dissappear just as the installer kernel was supposed to load.  I walked away from it for a few days and when I returned, I was armed with a bootabe 4gb USB flash drive with Ubuntu installed on it. Ubuntu 8.10 has a USB stick creator built in which makes this really easy.  I plugged it in and started up the machine.  After a quick trip into the BIOS to set up for usb booting, up came the installer! Within an hour I had a completly functional machine.

Hopefuly, this post will save someone else the hassles that I went through with this build.  I wish I have found a post like this during my early searches.

By Bill, December 4, 2008, 6:05 pm
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Bruce and Missy adopted a ten month old male chow mix last Friday.  His name is Buddy and he has been adjusting to his new home pretty well over the last few days.  There has been a little tension between Buddy and Lady (the cat) but for the most part all is going well.  Here are a few pictures I snapped while we were out in the shop over the weekend.

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By Bill, December 1, 2008, 9:06 am
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