IOS6 3GS and Maps

After a successful post going through my experiences of upgrading the 3GS, I was presented with an opportunity to give the much maligned maps a real time run as a Sat-Nav.

As most of you may know, the maps facility on the 3GS is slightly downgraded in so much as there is no voice instruction, so you  are left with the maps. This is not an issue as i hardly ever use the voice instructions on the one built into the car either.

My journey was about 30 miles around the M25 and then 5 miles home, so not that tricky. For those of you not in the UK, the M25 runs in a 140mile loop around London.

It located my location quickly and gave me a route just as quick. Instead of getting voice,  you get a signpost with an instruction  eg drive here for 15 miles or turn off at junction 2 and head towards London on M2, etc. So detailed enough, but may not be too much help if you are not familiar with the route. I imagine it would be easy to get a turning wrong.

As you hit your next turning, a dark circle appears on the map, highlighting you have a move to make, which is already detailed on the screen. So far , so good, but if you are making several quick turns is can get out of sync, or just not update. This I imagine will be the biggest issue. Having used the 4S, it seems to be a lot better in this respect.

There appear to be a bug, because if the phone orientation is changed, normally from portrait to landscape, sometimes the map doesn’t appear on the screen. and you just see your little blue dot travelling across a screen.

My next test is to see if this works without recourse to using 3g, eg can it just use GPS? Next week in America will tell me pretty quickly. I assume not, but I will update here. As a warning a 40 minute journey took 20% battery. So the advice is to take a charger on your travels if you intend to use this a lot.

Would I throw away my Sat-Nav? No. But if stuck I would use this. Now Apple just need to work on the accuracy of the data! see here

Left !, No Right !, Do what you want !

IOS6 on a 3GS !

Over the weekend  I upgraded my IPhone 3GS to IOS 6. So here’s the low down on new features, and what you should and shouldn’t expect if , like i was, you are slightly hesitant in installing this software on the lowest spec possible device Apple now support. Actually on that point, why no original ipad update?  The 3GS is older by nearly 6 months and surely the IPad  must support most of the features. This is a device that has just had its 2nd birthday (April 2010) and now its persona non grata at the Cupertino dinner table. If Microsoft released a piece of hardware and then dropped it 2 years later, the Apple fan boys would of been hollering from the rooftops (actually they did with the Kin phones and the first batch of recent Windows Phones, but we wont go there ……………..).

The install was quite easy via Itunes (well as easy as a 850mb download can be), and then it just got on with it. I had no errors and all apps seen to be working from the get go, no lost passwords for mail, or loss of twitter accounts, etc. So far, so good. As an aside, my wife did hers on a 4S over the air, and with a good wireless connection, this went smoothly as well.

A quick scroll down the settings app flashed up some new features.

Do not disturb. This is useful feature especially if you are on the road in foreign climes and use your calendar frequently. I have been woken up in all sorts of places in the middle of the night to attend a meeting in the UK that is on my calendar. The Do not Disturb feature keeps everything quiet excep the alarm (tested), meaning , you can have the device as a alarm clock, without everything else keeping you awake.

Privacy. This is a new feature that is actually just a tiding up of what went before. Basically any apps that have requested access to other apps are listed in here. For example, under my contacts I have Skype. Any access can be switched on and off, so if you have said OK to something and then find yourself in a heap of misery, once all your contacts for work are spread across Facebook for example you can turn it off.

Reply with message. This lives in the phone settings, and is something that other manufacturers have had for some time. Basically the deal is as follows: You get a call, you cannot answer, so you swipe up the option to send a pre written message e.g, “I’m in a meeting, call you later”, or “Never call me again, thanks xx”, that sort of thing. Anyway it works fine, unless the person you are calling has a specific imessage setup , then it fails miserably by not sending the message, but worse still logs the message as sent and delivered. Now to me its just annoyance, to a person who earns their living on the phone, it could lose them money and business. I’m investigating it further and it seems to be if you have more than one receive address for imessage. I assume this covers anyone who has an ipad and an iphone, and likes to imessage across both.

Reminders. No new functionality as such but you can now switch on badges to display just how many outstanding tasks you have. If you are like me, and use exchange tasks linked to reminders religiously, then this is great (and disturbing at the same time, every time you look at the home screen !).

Twitter came on board in IOS 5. Facebook has now joined the party in 6. I cannot comment on this, as i do not have a Facebook account (not a long story, i just know a bit about IT security, case closed). Twitter works well though, although seems to take about 10 seconds to come on and update. This is a similar time on the 4s as well, so just bad code, but useable.

EDIT 07/10/2012: One really nice feature that has been added is that each mail account (i run 5 currently), can have its own signature. This is really useful, as I’m sure my friends find it a bit weird to get a reply with my full job title, etc, telling them i’ll meet them at the pub !

Maps. So here it is, one more reason that Steve Jobs shouldn’t have died. This crap would not of been allowed out of the gate. I get the anti google thing, and the money they must hand over to the big G, but really ? This app is just so poor, its laughable. Android is killing IOS in the states, and this will just keep that steamroller going. Turn by turn is a good feature (and been with google for some time), but the turns are only as good as you reaching the destination. I have seen shops missing and some a mile away from reality. Today I looked at my local train line (a mainline into London). 2 of the 5 local stations are missing. Did you know the only shop in Bluewater park is the Apple Store ?

Drawing accurate maps is one of the most technical tasks out there (ask Mark Thatcher), but programming the things takes time and money most companies don’t have, hence there is pretty much one player in town. And it ain’t Apple.

There is a reason google maps, the london a-z and OS maps all look similar, because that style has been perfected over many decades in both print and digital formats. Apple’s take on maps, is Fisher Price at best, with a hard to follow style, and with the current inaccuracies, hard to believe and therefore trust.

Played with an Iphone5 today, and it left me a little bit meh. Yeah it’s nice and all, but not £500+ nice.  If i wasn’t so wedded to ITunes I would be on an Samsung 3 like a rash. I remember the last time I had to convert all the music, and if truth be told I cannot be bothered.

Birmingham and surrounding areas, today
Birmingham and surrounding areas, c.1500. No Wolverhampton ?

In finishing, a reasonable update, v.poorly let down by the mapping. An excuse to launch the phone in my opinion. Apologies to the fan boys, but some things are best left alone. I’m also sure there are a million other features that a 3GS cannot harness, and thats fair enough.

2.5 MrBens

Windows 8 – First impressions

Microsoft have now released a developer preview copy of their next Windows Desktop OS. This is currently named Windows 8 (quell surprise !). The last move to 7 was very favourable as the previous incarnation (Vista) was universally heralded as a failure (a bit unfair in my estimation), so iwas interested to see the new changes.

Since the launch of 7, there has been some major shifts in the IT world, namely the move of all the major players to tablet and touch type devices. This has been led by Apple, but has been hung onto by the likes of Android  and HP (RIP Web OS).

Some players had tried to port 7 to a tablet but as MS themselves said at the time, 7 was not designed for a tablet and therefore would not give the full experience, such as that on an IOS product.

We are told that Windows 8 has been designed from the ground up with touch in mind and the main difference from a user perspective makes this clear with the main interface not being the usual desktop, but the  new look “Metro” UI. This is a collection of panes that represent different applications. As well as being easy to navigate i imagine it makes life very easy for non IT types to find and run their applications. All the favourites are there out of the box, eg settings, IE and Windows explorer, plus some new ones such as a twitter client and a facebook client (Socialite ? really ?). There have been complaints that really only works in a touch environment. I would say that once you are used to it, it’s just as easy on a normal keyboard/mouse interface, but does  feel enhanced using touch. There is also a tile for the normal desktop. This is where the second big change comes in. The start button was introduced with Windows 95, and still exists in 8, but DONT CLICK IT, it takes you back to the Metro UI. This does takes some getting used to. Basically the desktop is only there when you really need it , as you should always use the Metro UI. Any programs you install will be on the Metro UI, and will open the desktop if its needed. I have found a reg fix to change the Start Button functionality back to “normal”, but it will be interesting to see if MS revert it based on customer feedback. I can see a corporate not really wanting the Metro on a normal PC, who will demand the normal Desktop interface.

Most of the other changes are under the bonnet, the key one being speed. Its supposed to be more efficient that Windows 7, and I have to say , on first impressions I’ll buy that. Very snappy.

With two views, Metro and Desktop, comes one of my bugbears. When you run a metro app, you cannot close it, so it all get a bit apple as you switch apps with stuff being in suspended mode in the background. Taking up memory, or more to the point on a tablet, taking up battery. The only way to close fully, is to go back into desktop and open task manager, and kill the process directly. Not the most eloquent of solutions and one easily fixed.

So I’m current running Win 8 on a Acer W501 Tab with 3G and keyboard, and it goes out as a working unit today, so I’ll keep this page updated with any major issues / great success’ I find.

Most of the desktop tools seems the same as they ever were, but for release I would expect updates to Media Centre and the promised out of the box install of Security Essentials. Maybe even on home versions, they should add Security and Live Essentials. They are essential for a reason.

I’m sure more to follow.

Sheep to hack your pc?

This may be a little old now, but for normal users its worth knowing that if you use public wifi (eg that other people you don’t know use), then you could be in all sorts of bother if you also use facebook or twitter or for that matter any site that requires a login and delivers permanent cookies to the PC.

I picked this up from Steve Gibson’s excellent podcast on security for

IPad’s, Touch’s and “closed ecosystems”

So, this finds me finally putting words to “paper” and unleashing some of my useful and not so useful points of view onto the blogosphere.

Anyone who knows me personally knows I’m not Apples biggest fan, but times are a changing and I’m slowly coming round…………………

But if you are developing for this system, and everyone’s supposed to be equal, can you ensure that if you write an app for OS version x of Ipad, ensure that it does the same thing on version x for phones and touches as well, excepting obvious things like 3G, etc. This is just plain lazy and annoying.

I will not be naming names just yet, i’ve given (the paid for app) dev time to answer !


Also, why do i have to jailbreak to get display out from any app, on an IPad. Ludicrous !

IPad to external display