I’ve been looking for a great syndicated feed reader for my iPhone for whats seems like ages and I finally found one: Reeder. I stumbled upon this while reading iPad Opinions as, yes, there is an iPad version as well. After reading Ken’s review, checking out the Reeder screenshots, and noticing the Google Reader synchronization support, I immediately spent the $2.99 for the app and have been happy ever since. Besides, OmniFocus for the iPhone, Reeder is my second favorite app on the iPhone. In fact, I enjoy the app so much that I actually find my reading habits have changed to where I prefer to read the news via Reeder on the iPhone rather than via a desktop client. Its that good!
This is the main or initial page of all items you have stared for reading later, etc. Clicking on “Starred” gives you a list of all starred items in all folders. Otherwise you can click on a folder in particular to read specific starred items. The circular arrow icon (lower right) is for manual syncing with Google Reader. This isn’t a bad habit to get into, once you have finished reading your feeds, to ensure Google Reeder stays in sync.
This is the second page of unread items only. As with the first page, click “Unread” to read all or delve in each folder for specifics.
This is the third page of just your folders, notes, etc. Well, this is out I organize/categorize my feeds at least.
This last screen is of a few unread items within my “Development” folder. You can tap on each headline to read in detail.
The design, as Ken mentions in his article is very spartan. I would argue that controls are not the most intuitive but you only need to stumble a few times before you’re off running.
The synchronization with Google Reader is really, really good. I’ve not seen synchronization work so well for a feed reader. Then again, I’ve really only used NetNewsWire (both desktop and iPhone app) which are somewhat pathetic. In fact, NetNewsWire for the iPhone is downright awful. Then again, the app is free. Perhaps that is why.
As mentioned earlier, my work flow has really changed. I used to read my feeds morning, noon, and night via the desktop (and still do for the most part) but the sheer convenience of being able to read my feeds while on the balcony, traveling, eating lunch, in bed, etc. is a lot of fun. If I need desktop access for downloads, video feeds, etc. I can star those news articles for later reading and quickly move on to next unread items.
If you enjoy your feeds, love being mobile, and appreciate really good synchronization, then buy this app!
You can associate an icon with your web page for users of Apple iPhone and iPod touch devices. The icon, once bookmarked, will appear on the home screen of the device. Having an icon is a nice way to represent your site instead of the default behavior which is scaled down screenshot of the front page of your web site.
The following describes how to create an icon that fits within Apple specifications (click the “Create a WebClip Bookmark Icon” link).
- Design a 57×57 pixel image and save it in PNG format.
- Name the file “apple-touch-icon.png” and place it in the root of your web server directory just as you would for web browser bookmark icons OR you can name the file whatever you want and place file wherever you want on your web server by placing the following code within the
<head>element of each page on your site (NOTE: replace the code highlighted in yellow with a path applicable for your web site):
(click to view)
The following is the result of bookmarking this web site and placed on the home screen of an iPhone:
NOTE: This requires iPhone version 1.1.3 or higher to work.
I recently went shopping for an iPhone armband and ended up buying the Belkin Sport Armband for the iPhone. After jogging on the first day of using the armband I discovered that the entire side of the armband that holds the iPhone was split at the seam! Here are a couple pictures to help illustrate:
(click to view)
I am just glad that the phone didn’t slip out and break on a rock. Needless to say, you probably should mark this product off your shopping list. Luckily for me, Belkin customer service was kind enough to refund my money.
While some are hacking the iPhone, I am playing it safe and decided to install the latest 1.1.1 software update on the iPhone. My favorite feature from the update is the ability to double tap the Home button to resume playback of music. Previously, you had to unlock the phone or use the mic tap from plugged in headphones (which I have written about here).
Below is a shot of how the iPhone behaved before the software update (first picture) and a shot of how the iPhone behaves now that the 1.1.1 software update is applied:
As you can see, there is no need to unlock the phone to resume playback. Sweet!
For more details about the 1.1.1 software update, go here.
Here is a quick summary of my first AT&T iPhone bill for all those out there interested in the new iPhone and AT&T service:
- Total Phone Minutes: 1080 (includes both day and night time usage, none of which ran over the alloted 450 daytime minutes).
- Total Text Messages: 65 (sent and received).
- Total Data: 113,554 KB (sent and received).
I opted for paperless billing which allowed me to save the AT&T phone bill as HTML or PDF. The total size of the bill as saved to disk was roughly 3MB in size which includes full details of all my phone, text, and data usage.
- The most obvious reason is that it was difficult to be traveling and not be able to stay in touch with family, friends, business contacts, etc. easily and effectively. WiFi is still hard to find and so is trying to make long distance phone calls from those ever elusive pay phones.
- The Skype Wi-Fi Phones are still not good enough to be practical.
- I could not resist buying a device that allows me to combine my iPod, PDA, and cell phone into one simple, elegant, and easy to use device.
The following is a breakdown of what I like and dislike about the phone.
The construction is elegant and simple. I really like the hard glass cover and well as the smooth rounded edges. I do, however, wish there was a way in which I could record voice notes like other cell phones I have used in the past.
Setup was a breeze! I connected the phone to my computer, launched iTunes, and then followed the setup instructions provided by iTunes.
I would have liked to have been able to pick from a pool of phone numbers, though. Instead, AT&T assigns a new number to you automatically with no option to choose otherwise.
- SMS Text - I ended up choosing the default or basic AT&T plan. This allows me to send 200 text messages a month. Each conversation is listed by contact/number. It is easy to browse past conversations or delete them. Also each message you send and receive is shown in alternating colored bubbles which makes following the conversation easy on the eye.
- Calendar - A great application. I can easily add events to the calendar and give them a location, start and end date/time, have them repeat, set up to two alarms, and provide notes. I am bummed, however, that there are no birthday reminders despite the fact that you can enter birthday information. By the way, the calendar application icon number changes based on the current day. Neat.
- Photos - Using iTunes, you can sync photos within a particular directory on your computer to your iPhone and then turn them into a picture show or just scroll through them. You can also access photos taken from the iPhone camera as well. I like how sub-directories are preserved so you can easily categorize your photos. When connecting your iPhone to a computer that does not have iTunes installed, this is the only application that allows you to access the data (in this case pictures) from the computer. The iPhone will appear as an external hard drive with your pictures at the root level.
- Camera - Useful for taking quick photos or picture notes. The quality is surprisingly good. I have heard some complain that it should have zoom and flash capabilities but if you want that, then buy a real camera.
- YouTube - Entertaining. Time waster.
- Stocks - Provides simple data on your favorite stocks. Configure as many as you like.
- Maps - This is one of my favorite applications as I can easily find an address or plot a route using start and stop destinations. You can either type in an address yourself or click on an address from your contacts list. The route comes complete with pushpins, highlights, and even text directions. The only thing missing is the ability to track your progress in real time (i.e. GPS capabilities).
- Weather - You can add and track multiple cities for current weather. Switches from day and night modes depending on your timezone. Useful as a quick reference.
- Clock - Comes complete with a world clock for tracking multiple time zones, an alarm clock, stopwatch, and a timer. I am particularly fond of the alarm clock as it can be configured for different days of the week, uniquely labeled, assigned a particular sound, and have snooze disabled/enabled. Multiple alarms can be configured as well. The stopwatch is also handy, especially when exercising. I should mention that the alarm clock is a tad buggy. When snooze is enabled, it sometimes does not stop ringing. This is because the option to turn the alarm off completely is missing. Sometimes the option appears, sometimes it doesn’t.
- Calculator - Simple and and easy to use. Handy to have around.
- Notes - Allows you to take quick notes. The first line of each note becomes the label of the note and each note is saved by date and time. Each note can be easily e-mailed as well. This application is too simple, however, and I would like to see this enhanced in the future. My main reason is that one should be able to categorize the notes instead each note added as part of the same list. I like the way you can pull up artists, videos, podcasts, genres, etc using the iPod application so why not bring that capability to the notes application?
- Settings - Intuitive and easy to use. This is where you can customize the behavior of the applications. I really love the “Airplane Mode”. With a simple tap, you can have WiFi, phone, and Bluetooth services turned off. I would love to see the “Usage” option fleshed out a bit more. Why can’t I get current stats on how many regular talk minutes I have left as well as how many text messages I have used?
- Phone - This is the centerpiece of the phone, obviously, and very nicely done. It is so easy to use and takes very little effort to switch from speaker phone, mute, adding callers, putting a caller on hold, etc. In the past I’ve had to muddle around with funky buttons and would sometimes end up dropping calls because I couldn’t remember the right button sequence. I also love that when listening to iPod music and an incomming call (or I make a call), the music fades out and pauses while I take the call. Then, after the call is over, the music fades up and starts playing again. I really wish this worked for voice mail too. Instead, when listening to music and checking voice mail, the music stops and I’m forced to go back and start my whatever song I was listening to from the iPod application. Boo.
- Mail - Being able to have e-mail anytime, anywhere is really handy. I like the fact that you can configure multiple e-mail accounts as well. GMail connectivity, however, is a little buggy. The issue I am facing is that my sent mail ends up in my Inbox. Both Google and Apple are aware of this issue and are working to fix it.
- Safari - One of the best web browsing experiences on an small device. Even better if you have WiFi access as the AT&T EDGE (data) network can be rather cumbersome at times. Really handy for quick referencing of information especially when in a store or at some location where you need to do a quick Google search.
- iPod - I have been rather fond of my iPod Nano but this takes the cake! I can do everything the Nano did and then some. I especially love the fact that you can delete videos after you have watched them. My only complaint would be that this functionality should should be allowed for not only video but audio as well. For example, after listening to a podcast, I would like to delete it so the next one is at the top of my list (assuming you use play lists that is).
The iPhone ships with a pair of earphones that includes mic/button on the right earphone wire as shown above. The mic, obviously, comes in handy when you want to talk hands free but the best part is that the mic is also a clickable button. The significance of this is important because it allows you to answer/hang up phone calls as well as pause/skip songs from your music collection. I really enjoy having this capability. Brilliant idea Apple!
I encourage you to read page 20 of the iPhone User’s Guide for more information.
Back in 2000, I bought a Palm V which changed the way I managed and kept information close at hand. I have enjoyed using that device but now I am a iPhone fan and feel it just as revolutionary as the Palm V I bought years ago. It has a few flaws, yes, but the convience and ease-of-use is outstanding.
I am definitely glad I bought the iPhone and would recommend it to anyone who is wanting to simplify their life into one single device. Feel free to ask any questions. I’m sure I’ll update this post over time as I discover new pros and cons.
The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is in full swing again this year with Apple’s new iPhone generating a lot of buzz. This is a device that not only is a phone, but an iPod, web browser, e-mail client, camera, etc. I recommend following the iPhone link provided above as Apple has done an excellent job of putting together product propaganda that will give you much more of an idea of how the device looks, acts, and performs. Do not get too excited though, you won’t be able to get your hands on this device until June of this year. For more info, go here: