Dec 28, 2011

Jan - 08 2012 | By

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The guys talked about their favorite tech of 2011. Glenn's favorite gadget is his iPhone 3GS. He's looked at some tablets but his ASUS12" netbook, which both guys have, meets his needs and he's found no need for a tablet.

Paul noted that Cisco routers have an operating system called IOS: Internet Operating System. That's the same name used by the iPhones & iPads from Apple.

iOS 5.0.1 is Apple's latest iteration and it can't be used in an iPhone older than a 3GS. But Glenn said he recently plugged someone's 3G into his iMac and it prompted him to upgrade to iOS5, so he's going to look at that again. Paul said it's not always easy to tell what kind of iPhone you have. In an iPhone or iPad go to Settings -> General -> About and look at 'Model'. Use the number you find there to do a Google search and find the exact version of your device. What you see on the back of the phone cannot be totally relied upon.

Paul said there 2 types of firmware in iPhones, iPads, and just about any cell phone. One is for the modem, which is the cellular network system. Paul's phone has modem firmware version 5.16.
– There are jailbreaking methods that require a higher version number.
– Version 6 has been hacked.
– "It's the modem firmware that one has hack to permit the phone to talk to chips other than the one it was sold to go with", Paul said. The modem hack is what permits you to get off of the AT&T contract. <I think he meant you'd then be able to use a SIM card from another service provider: in other words, switch your carrier>

Paul went on to warn users that if they update the modem firmware to version 6 and then unlock the phone, they'll not be able to revert to the older version.

Glenn said it's been 4 or 5 months since iOS 5 came out and it's taken this long to jailbreak it. Paul said it keeps getting harder to jailbreak as new versions of iOS come out.

Glenn again mentioned that he uses a Tom Tom GPS unit and noted that Paul didn't especially like his unit because it wasn't easily hackable and it did not display the elevation along with the coordinates. Paul also noted that the USB connection of the Tom Tom Via is proprietary and therefore required a separate cable. And he said older Tom Tom unites allowed you to view the files it contained as if you plugged in a USB flash drive, so you could, for instance, easily replace the voice files. You can hack the newer units but it takes more work.

Tom Tom releases their navigation software for various platforms. For $39 ($49 if you want to add Canada or Mexico) you can get a version for iPhone & iPad thru the iTunes store.
– It can access your contact list if you tell it to navigate to one of your contacts.
– It's perfect for those with unlocked or jailbroken iPhones, as in Paul's case, because he doesn't have a contract with AT&T and only uses it on a wireless network. Since the Tom Tom software comes with all of the maps, all of the data resides on his phone so he doesn't need a network connection to use it.
– Just because your iPhone is jailbroken doesn't mean you can't use the iTunes app store.
– You can't get this Tom Tom software directly over the air, you have to use iTunes and synchronize it that way because it's a big download and iTunes has the ability to resume the download in case it's interrupted.
– As an aside, if you have iOS5, you can do your iTunes synching wirelessly now. You have to have iTunes 10.5.2 and iOS5 and the two have to be shared on the same local area network. One thing you cannot do wirelessly, however, is upgrade the operating system.

iOS5 is required if you want to use the new service called iCloud. It's an internet-based service that stores your data and synchronizes between all of your Apple devices. Paul seems to like it.

Paul mentioned Timeline on Facebook. It's a feature that presents the postings & dialog in a more accessible way. If you've been on Facebook for years, you can click on a particular year and see the content specific to that year. The content has always been available but now it's easier to get to.

Glenn said Facebook now has a feature similar to LinkedIn where you can view people's profiles. He couldn't remember the name of the feature and wasn't sure if it's a paid service. He said it was especially useful for the business professional.

Margie called and wondered of iCloud is meant to replace MobileMe.
<FAQ about the transition here.>
– Yes.
– The guys weren't sure if iCloud is a charged service. Looking it up on the net, Paul found info suggesting it is free. 5gig of storage is free & the music, book, apps & photo stream don't count against the total. Additional storage is $20 per 10gig.
– Make sure you have iOS5. Then look under settings for iCloud. You should be able to use your MobilMe login.

Margie also asked if Contacts & Address Book are not the same and will not update each other.
– They have some things in common which do update.
– Each will synch with its counterpart on the computer.
– Paul doesn't think there's enough difference to warrant a different name.

iCloud will only synchronize music you bought at the Apple Store. If you want to synch your other music, you'll need a service called iMatch for $20 per year. It will allow you to take music in your iTunes library and store it on iCloud.

Google now has a service called Google Music.
– You'll need a Google account.
– You download a small app.
– You get an enormous amount of storage. Paul was able to store 150gig on Google Music.
– It synchs all of your content from iTunes or from a generic folder — i.e. you don't have to use iTunes.
– It's for the PC or Mac.
– Paul loves it.
– Find it at

Hopefully the Zentech website will be working soon. <Remember, I tweet new show notes & updates at and if you've been paying attention, you know the temporary alternate location of the notes>

Glenn got an iMac earlier this year and he's now using it at home.
– Compared to Windows XP, he's noticed some clickable elements are in a different location.
– On the XP he was able to set his mouse to automatically position itself to the 'OK' button whenever a dialog box comes up. He hasn't been able to find a similar feature on the Mac.

One thing that Paul & his sister (a long time PC user) have yet to get used to is the magic trackpad device for the Mac. From his description, it's a trackpad that responds to gestures and multiple finger movements. It can be bought as a separate add-on for older Macs, but you have to have the latest (Lion) operating system `he implied>. Check Youtube for tutorial videos on its use — search for "lion mouse".

Ross called. He has Macbook Pro and suggested that his girlfriend get a Mac Airbook but she wants something smaller. Knowing the guys use ASUS notebooks, he asked if the Mac OS will run on them.
– It can be done but it involves a lot of hacking. Use Google to look up "hackintosh"
– ASUS isn't the only one that makes netbooks. Look up netbook with Google and you'll find a Wikipedia article.
– These units run much longer on a charge than they used to because the screens now use LED backlighting — 4 or 5 hours easily.
– The guys now both have the 11.6 (called 12") screen ASUS. It has a bigger keyboard then the previous smaller units they've tried and they give better resolution when an external monitor is attached.
– This 12" ASUS is a bit slow because it uses the Atom CPU. And they found the performance improved when they increased the 1gig RAM to 2gigs.
– The Atom is good enough to play Youtube videos but is not great for video games or animation work.

Paul said there are Chinese "clones" of the MacBook Air but in fact actually run PC software. Google "knockoff Air" to find out more.

Paul again mentioned that the Mac version 10.51 OS is the last that can run a telephone connected modem, 10.7 can't.

Paul found the correct name of the trackpad he talked about earlier — Magic Trackpad. He said you might be able to use it on the PC too. Find more info here.

Mark called. He just moved to Nevada County and needs to find a broadband service.
– Try Smarter Broadband.
– Try Spiral Internet, the local provider of Digital Path.
– As a last resort you can use a satellite connection.

Last Updated: 10:58 PM 12/28/2011

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