Nov 24, 2010 Smart Phones

Nov - 10 2010 | By

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Glenn & Mikail were in the studio; Paul was away.

Mikail has Google Voice Plus for his iPhone (also available for the Android).
He also has a Comcast app, to remotely check voice mail & an Exfinity app to remotely control his DVR.
He can do both thru his iPhone.

Recently Mikail had a problem where calls to his house went to his voice mail. He found out that his electricity went out at home and Comcast was diverting the calls to voice mail.
So now he has good way to check remotely if his power is out.

Devices like smart phones and the iPad have apps to add functionality. Apple jumped in to apps early on, providing them thru their app store. Though many people don't like the tight control Apple has over the apps, the quality is better controlled.
Some Apple apps are silly, many are very useful and many are free.
Besides the Apple store, you can get apps at Cydia. Cydia recently bought out the Rock App Store. Both were associated with jailbreaking the iPhone.

There are other specialty app stores that cater to alternative lifestyles (
Mikail has yet to find an app with malware
There is an issue if you enable SSH on the iPhone (it's not enabled by default). The default password for SSH is alpine and if it's enabled and you didn't change the password, others may play havoc with your phone.
If you do enable it, be sure to change your password.

Use some common sense when judging whether an app has malware. Services that provide apps for their community, and that you're familiar with, are generally safe. But beware of places you know nothing about.

Some people get concerned about battery usage because of the apps they run, but you have to consider whether the usefulness of the app outweighs that concern. An app called Grinder was mentioned. It is a drain on the battery but is very useful.

Mikail said that the jailbreak for versions 4.2 & 4.21 is not quite ready and to avoid it for now. The jailbreak for version 4.1 works great.

Mikail recently went to England and while there he changed the AT&T SIM in his iPhone for a Truphone SIM.
– The Truphone service costs him $20/mo.

But while he was charging the phones battery, he received a call and the phone died.
The phone was under the Apple Care warranty and he was able to get a replacement phone.
At that point, he no longer had the info (like his contacts) normally stored on his phone.
– He now recommends people carry a back up on a flash drive
– Or you can use MobilMe to store your info online.
– You can also put your contacts on Google.

With version 4.2 of the iPhone OS you get the Find My Phone service for free. It's to track your lost phone.
Again, if you're thinking of unlocking or jailbreaking your iPhone, DO NOT upgrade to this version at this point, or you'll end up with a 'tethered jailbreak'.

Allison called. She has 3G iPhone and has had no success using a different SIM card.
– The 3G, unless you upgraded it to the latest OS (4.1 or 4.2 which changes the baseband and prevents you from unlocking it) it can be unlocked thru the jailbreak process. When it's unlocked, you can use a separate SIM.
– Beware that an unlocked iPhone cancels your Apple Care warranty. Mikail was able to get the warranty service mentioned above because it was completely dead; they had no idea it was unlocked.
– If you restore to original OS you can get service under Apple Care.

Mikail offered his services to Allison. Go to and click the mechanic logo at the bottom of the screen.

Allison also asked about using the iPhone as an iPod.
– It's the other way round, you can use an iPod Touch as an iPhone over wi-fi. The 4th generation iPod has a mic built-in to make calls and a front-facing camera so you can do Facetime <video calling>.
– For $220, or what ever it is, it's a killer tech toy.

She also wondered if it's possible to use the iPhone to make calls without paying AT&T.
– If you have a contract with AT&T you have to turn off your phone service. Then, with the iPhone, the newer iPod, or older iPods if you plug in an external mic, you can use Skype or other services that work over wi-fi to make phone calls.

Gary called. He has an Android and wanted to know if the apps for it are safe to use? Is there a way to prescreen the apps before using them?
– Try
– Some apps can damage the android OS.

Gary also asked if there is anti-malware software for his Android.
– Mikail hasn't heard of any

Mikail said Glenn's iPhone (a 2G) can dual-boot to Android OS or iPhone iOS. The iPhone 3GS & 4 haven't quite gotten there yet because of a change in the hardware.

Gary then asked about tethering. He's used PdaNet on his Android and asked if the iPhone needs to be jailbroken in order to use it.
– Yes, it's true. AT&T hasn't enabled tethering and you have to jailbreak the iPhone to bypass AT&T.

Mikail said the Android has a lot of cool stuff even though he's an "Apple guy" and already has service with AT&T.

Glenn asked Gary what he uses for his contact list & calendar with his Android. Gary said Google synchs completely with his phone.

Thor called. He uses an Android phone and said an alternative to PdaNet is Barnacle which does wireless tethering.

He also asked if one can use a different SIM card.
– If it's an iPhone and it's unlocked, yes.
– On the Android it's a "similar sort of thing"
– Mikail came across a device that allows you to have up to 4 SIM cards in one phone and you can easily select which to use. It's great for travelers who need to readily change services.
– Glenn said even if your phone is not unlocked and you travel, you can still use your phone but you'll just pay a lot.

Virgin has pay-as-you-go plans, mentioned on a previous show.
– There is a weekend rate, a minute-to-minute rate, a day-to-day rate and a month-to-month rate.
– It can be tethered with some effort.

Mikail used the pay-as-you-go TruPhone service; at $20/mo

Again, Mikail recommended Google Voice, it's great.

Mikail recommended these other apps for the jailbroken iPhone:
Package Backup for about $5 to backup/restore your phone data.
Infinidock to dock your apps at the bottom of your screen.
– Folder Enhancer allows you to have folders within folders.
– Multimove Icon to tag & move multiple icons. <maybe MultiIconMover; I couldn't find the link>

Kelly called and asked what cell phone to look for? He's currently on the AT&T network.
– Base your choice on the features you need.
– Virgin Mobile has a Google phone for $25/mo.
– Both the iPhone & Android phones are available for use on AT&T; in particular the Droid 2 is recommended.
– Again, Mikail said he really likes iPhone 4; but get a good case for it because it has a lot of glass that can break if you're careless.
– Mikail's not crazy about the Blackberry.

Mikail mentioned a couple of things quickly in closing:
– Acer just announced 7" & 10" tablet computers under $200.
– There's a Black Friday app for the iPhone that's highly recommended.
– K-Mart has a 7" Android tablet for $139.95 going on sale between 5am & 11am Friday.

Last updated 4:45 PM 11/25/2010 

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