Apple iPad iTunes Uncategorized

Oh, and if you independently download the IPSW for #iOS update, this may enable you to do a normal update

Instead of updating by running \”update, and then searching for the downloaded file\” option, you might want to play around with copying the downloaded IPSW file into the following location.

First, close iTunes (just in case!)

Second, find your Application Data location (this will normally be under c:\\users or c:\\documents and settings and then your user name. If your folders are redirected then speak to your network admin (although whether they want Apple Device Updates on the network is another matter!)
If you are not sure:
start a DOS Command prompt (start, CMD)
type \”set APPDATA\”
this will show you the path that you seek 🙂

Inside that folder you will find \”Apple Computers\\iTunes\\iPad Software Updates\”. This location appears to hold the downlaoded file, so if you have already downloaded the file, then copy/move it here.

I cannot prove the theory as the update is now over, but as the file names are the same, I would hope that when iTunes starts up, it will see the file and then proceed to offer the update instead of offering up the \”downlaod and update\” option – which at Corylus Towers (in deepest rural Fenland) takes a bloody long time!

Apple Fail iPad iTunes Uncategorized

With #Apple it doesn\’t "just work", in fact it can fail and they can\’t help you. Don\’t upgrade to iOS5 without reading this.

Leaving aside the links they send you to fixes that will probably fix things, but they won’t support…
The iOS upgrade process is fundamentatally flawed.  At the beginning it wants to backup your device – good idea.  However (as I have discovered) it makes some pretty weird decisions about how much disk space is required – in my case it claims 20GB is required, but in fact only used about 500MB.  What I didn’t know it would do is do the backup, not verify it, and then perform the upgrade anyway.  So despite knowing the backup was smaller than expected my iPad was being upgraded anyway…
Because of the situation I was in, I was on the phone to Apple support when the upgrade process was finally made to start – so the backup happened and then the upgrade took place under their guidance, and then I got my iPad back.  But it was somewhat stark – no applications at all.  And no documents of in application data either.  Then the automatic restore of the iPad post upgrade failed.
So I got back onto Apple support.  The long and short of it is:
  • Backups are hidden away in your application data folders on Windows machines.
  • Backups may demand 20GB, but then only consume a few MB, but even if they only need a few MB you need that 20GB free first.
  • The backup before an iOS upgrade may remove all previous backups so that you have no fall back to iOS 4.x
  • The backup before an iOS upgrade is necessary (and if you cannot do it – you get a warning that it is a risk), however it is not verified, may fail, and you’ll not be told that the backup is bad before the Upgrade continues anywa, overwriting your setup.
  • Whilst Apple completely control the environemtn (hardware, software, app admission) their Tech Support says that inapp data or settings may corrupt a backup and make recovery impossible. And that’s not their fault, or their problem to fix.  Apparantly it’s mine.
If you have any in application content on your apple device then you need to make sure you have alternative arrangements for its protection:
  • some (like iA Writer, PhatPad etc) backup into the cloud with DropBox
  • some (like Pages etc) can backup through the File Sharing in iTunes (although in my experience not all your documents are exposed and therefore available to backup under iOS 4.x)
  • some will have iCloud backup after you get to iOS 5
  • some have the means to email yourself settings or data (and I do this)
  • some apps will store your settings in the cloud at their own services (Echofon, Feeddler using Google Reader for instance…)
In the end I have to accept that my iPad is little more than a factory reset, and I have to start again.  Many of my apps have settings in the cloud, or docs in the cloud so I should be OK, any that are not – I probably won’t miss (as I had been anticipating this issue and had been creating content defensively).
So my fix is to force App sync from iTunes to the iPad, overwriting anything there, and potentially any app data.  Once that is done, I then have the horror of rebuilding all my app group icons so that instead of 10 or more screens, I have 2 sensibly organised windows of apps that I can easily find, with the occasional exception where I use search instead.
I’m not stupid enough to believe that a backup should never fail and that Apple should be entirely responsible for the security and protection of my device.  But I am clever enough to know that that when a backup is a required step in an upgrade then a) the backup should be verified, b) the user should be advised of backup or verification failure and c) the user should be allowed to make an informed decision to go ahead without such a backup.
So – you should regard an Apple device as something that even the Apple tools may not protect, and in their own words, do not rely on a courtesy tool and instead make alternative arrangements for backup of app content and settings.  In the main, look for apps that allow you to use tools like DropBox et al for content, and apps like Feeddler or Echofon that can synchronise settings around the devices.
Finally?  I reckon if this story had been a Microsoft story instead of an Apple story…  imagine:
  • Paid for Microsoft support
  • An upgrade to an OS that fails
  • Microsoft support talk you through using Microsoft supplied tools to backup the system and implement the upgrade
  • The upgrade fails and you cannot restore your computer
  • Microsoft say that the failure is no longer their responsibility and that you are on your own, and wish you good luck with it.
I think some of the media and Microsoft ecosystem might have something to say.

Apple Fail iPad iTunes Uncategorized

Where do iTunes backups go on a Windows PC with redirected folders? After 70 minutes with #apple support iTunes for Windows #fail again. #Mobius

Time for the iOS 5 update to hit the iPad and wanting to have the vanilla user experience I elected to wait until Apple’s servers and my middle of the rural blackout zone ISP connection to hold up long enough for iTunes to complete the download of the iOS update.
So, backup the pad, transfer the purchases, sync up and hit the magic Update button.
Despite having ½TB of free disk space the pre-upgrade backup would not proceed because there was insufficient disk space.
Turns out that despite Apple support\’s certainty that the backups should be on the C: drive, if you have redirected AppData and home folders (an entirely reasonable business decision), then iTunes insists on backups to the redirected folder.  Apple support then suggested that as iTunes and the device is more of a domestic device that this is sensible.
So then it turns out that iTunes does not have the capability to redirect the backups anywhere.  So they send me a link to a fudge.  Thus:
Dear P J,
Thank you for contacting Apple.
Your support Advisor, , has a follow-up message for you:
Based on the details you provided, we think you might find the following information helpful:
We want to help you get the best service and support for your Apple product. Please visit our award-winning Support website to find product information, tutorials, troubleshooting steps, and much more.
One catch – this is not supported by Apple.  So should I take a backup, and redirect it this way, then Apple cannot help me sort things out.  How to turn an iPad into an expensive paperweight.
Not acceptable.
We discuss it further.
Apple Support suggest I do my backup to iCloud (assuming I have purchased enough capacity there).  I (not so gently) observe that he is suggested I upgrade to iOS 5 to do a backup to iCloud so that I can then upgrade to iOS 5.  I am now fully on the Apple Support Mobius Strip
So, where does the backup go? I ask.  Some scurrying around on their information systems and eventually we discover it is not the home drive as previously stated (I knew that because I’d already looked), but the redirect Application Data folder.  There I find the backups.
Eventually, after further discussion we come to the conclusion that after backup I can move the folders (\\Apple Computer\\MobileSync\\Backup) to my local disk.  This will save my server from having an extra 20GB or so to backup each night.
Apple support then went on to suggest that the obfuscated location is good for security and this is why the location of the backups cannot be changed within the iTunes interface.  A red rag to a bull, we discuss.  Apple support eventually come to the conclusion that password protection of the backup might be a better security approach.  But maybe I could make a suggestion at their website.  I do, the webpage does not exist…
When the page works, enchantingly the only OS I can report problems on is OSX.  It seems for feedback purposes, Windows does not exist to Apple.

Fail iPad Uncategorized

Honestly #Apple are you seriously not letting me control content on an iPad

I\’ve had an iPad for a while, and it\’s my first piece of apple kit. It does what I want it to do really well, but I\’m struggling to achieve a couple of things now it\’s been in use for a while.

1. The iTunes PC that it connected to is no more. So now iTunes insists that the iPad is managed by another computer and my only option is to wipe and start again. No thanks.
Yes I can push most of my data into the cloud with the majority of my apps, but there are some that are on the iPad only, and they don\’t expose their documents to the download feature in iTunes. So unless I email content to myself from the iPad, I may lose data.

What is worse, I\’ve no way of identifying what I shall lose until it is lost. I now need to laboriously go through apps to check content.
But I suppose at least the app store now identifies what apps I\’ve not installed.

2. Volume of content. Photos and music I have a-plenty, too much in fact. So I wanted to remove some. Seems I\’m not alone in wanting to do this, and not having the means.
It seems insanity itself, that if away from the PC/Mac that \”owns\” the iPad then I cannot remove photos I no longer want, remove albums that are only copies of CD\’s I own so that I can create free space for new content. Instead my device can just run out of space and the only route is to delete apps, which by comparison is a piece of cake.
Nanny state gone mad.

Add those two together and you get a seriously frustrated user whose previous jibes at the fanbois are going to take on a much more serious edge now.

It\’s ridiculous that the owner cannot exercise sufficient control of their device.

iPad iPhone Microsoft Uncategorized WP7

Windows Phone 7 time

Having had the iPad for some months, I had been pondering the next upgrade to my phone. Since 2000 when the Compaq iPaq was launched (at Microsoft Tech*Ed Amsterdam with a heavy discount)* I have been a fan of the windows mobile platform. The early days of WinMo phones was quite painful (M500, then M600, M3100). But latterly the TyTn II, and finally the Touch Pro2 have overcome that. But I have always valued the proper Exchange integration and management.

The platform had finally got to be good (although some still disagree) and the Touch Pro2 was a phone I felt I could evangelise, and did not feel a need to upgrade from. The interface (having used something similar for years) was easy to use – although it took me a while to stick with the 6.5 upgrade (the failure of apps – especially Twitter ones – to maintain current state properly annoyed me loads). Twice I rolled back to 6.1!

But with the advent of my first Apple device my Twitter life moved there, and the phone suddenly got a better battery life!

In considering a new phone I have been strongly tempted down the iPhone front to get that app experience in the phone – but I also believe that WP7 is going to move along well, and I\’m reluctant to miss out (especially now it is really slick). It\’s just a pity the first generations don\’t support the Enterprise properly (encryption and management mainly).

In the end I resolved to upgrade to the HTC 7 Mozart. Orange have confirmed that they will support the Mango upgrade to it (I have that in writing as a condition of sale!!) – so now I have the iOS experience in the iPad, and WP7 in the hand.

If I want a smaller iOS device I can always get the iPod Touch when they launch next, as I have quite a few NetGear\’s Apple vouchers to spend in store.

*I do wonder Microsoft didn\’t repeat this at Tech*Ed last year. 7,000 delegates ready to be marketed to for a highly discounted Windows Mobile 7 handset – how much (near) free evangelising and support would they have got? Or was it a recognition that the device is not enterprise ready?

Bing Flash iPad Uncategorized

Tickled me, this page promoting Bing\’s iPad app, yet wanting Flash upgrade cc: @edbott

To be found at

Amazon Broadband Customer Service Fail iPad Kindle Succeed Uncategorized Zen Internet

Zen Internet to Amazon Kindle – from triumph to disaster in 2 hours… and why you need to buy a windows PC with your Kindle.

I got home from the client this evening to 2 technical tasks.  Today was the day I left Virgin Media for an ISP that gives a damn.  Zen Internet is now the ISP of choice at Corylus Towers, and the upgrade happened as they said it would – today, and all I needed to do was tweak the router.
I had a new, unused NetGear router (DG834PN) that was going very cheap in the manager specials bin at Staples a few months ago for this very purpose, but on checking the Zen site for the “how to configure your router” discovered a NetGear specific instructions, and wondered if the Virgin specific router firmware in the old DG834 would take a tweak.  I wanted to do this as the Wi-Fi setup (including all the MAC filtering) would remain in place.
Lo and behold, 2 tweaks and the new userid and password and I’m connected.
What’s more my internet connection has moved from 1.6MB to 2.3MB without anything else being done (and I’m pretty sure the 668KB upload is a better connection too).  This bodes well for the other broadband line being migrated later.
So, having restored the Internet connection to the domestic network, the goal was then to get my newly delivered Kindle up and running.  I’d ordered the Wi-Fi only version as I have Wi-Fi in the house and office, and a MiFi unit to cover the situation when hotspots aren’t available.  I prefer it that way to subscribing to more data connections and hotspot services (although of course whilst the Kindle has free 3G, the unit is £41 more expensive).
The Kindle was unboxed, and set to charge for a bit.  After dinner, I grabbed the MAC address of the unit, and added it to both Wi-Fi networks running here and switched on.  The Kindle would not connect to the network, it could see it, and I could see that it was attempting a handshake, but all I got was “Unable to connect to wireless network…”.  Some surfing later gave me cause for concern, so I decided to try some diagnostic tests.
Thirty minutes later, and both network changed from WPA2 to WPA to WEP, from MAC filtering to none, (etc. etc.) nothing was working still.  The device would very nearly connect, but not.
In desperation I got the DFG834PN out,  and just plugged it in.  In factory default it’s completely insecure; but as it wasn’t actually connected to a phone line, it didn’t matter.  A quick check on the iPad confirmed it was working (and got me its IP range – the usual 192.168.0.x), and I tried the Kindle on that.  Again, nothing.
So over to the help line, noting with some wry amusement that the plastic protective sleeves were not yet removed from the Kindle…
At least it was an 0800 number, as the Kindle support line first cut me off, and then on the second call believed I had not bought one!  Eventually we got to work.  The usual interrogation by a customer support line took place, almost down to my inside leg measurement,; then after some initial attempts a full hard reset of the device was prompted.  After this the device briefly connected (albeit at what seemed to be 14bps), and I got a list of books I had already bought – but completely failed to download them beyond a few % (and again very slowly).
Some more diagnostics later Kindle Support decided (as I had over an hour ago!) that the unit was faulty in the Wi-Fi department.  “So I will send you an email with details on how to create a couple of logs files, you then just connect the Kindle to your computer and send us the files”…  At which point I asked why they assumed I had a computer to which I could connect the Kindle.  That caused some fun…  I pointed out that I had an iPad in front of me (which was working perfectly well on the Wi-Fi).  SO I was asked to connect the Kindle to the iPad “but the iPad has no USB!”. 
Several minutes later, Kindle Support had no idea how to overcome this particular problem, but I had shown mercy, and dug out the laptop and grabbed the files.  One of my reasons for reticence is that I would not trust the 3MB contents of these files not to contain data that I consider to be confidential.   I had a quick scan through, and all seemed to be OK, but when they said they’d call back in a couple of days I got properly annoyed.
I suggested that as the unit was not working properly it was “unfit for purpose” and “of unmerchantable quality” under the terms of the Sales of Goods and Services Act 1968 (as amended); and that I thought a more proportionate response (as they already had my money) would be to send a replacement and arrange for collection of the useless unit.
The resulted in a lengthy conversation with his supervisor whilst I listened to more muzak, when he came back, the answer was yes.  The support engineer wanted to know the name of my Wi-Fi network (not keen), but he went back to his colleagues to find out what next – which was go ahead.
So after about 70 minutes on the phone, my Kindle was factory reset (only have a hard reboot though as it stuck again), reboxed, and a replacement due to be with me in 2 days.
After I hung up, my wife commented that I’d remained very calm (surprisingly!) and guessed I might write a word or two about the experience.  Right on both counts!
Apple iPad iTunes Uncategorized

#iPad and #iTunes – why i am giving up on films. #fail

I am now giving up viewing films on my iPad. I have a blog in preparation on the experience of a windows person with their first Apple device, but in the meantime, having tried to download 6 films to watch on flights, and had 4 fail with iTunes having to sort out refunds, i am giving up.

Either the iTunes infrastructure is no good for films, or the support desk is not good enough at *really* sorting it out.

In frustration, Peter

Apple iPad Uncategorized

the iPad

As a non-Apple user I’ve watched the iPad excitement from the sidelines with interest. This time round there seems to be a considerable wave of negativity and not just from the anti-fanbois. So what to make of it?

It’s my contention that the negative views are because those commentators and reviewers are trying to see it as a small iMac or a large iPhone/iPod. I think it’s neither.

I reckon Apple have learned some lessons on revenue for the future (especially from the app store) and are thinking differently. Despite not inconsiderable margins on the hardware; I think they are following the Polaroid and the inkjet manufacturers.*

The profit opportunity comes from content. If you marry up the iPad with an always connected world (be it Wi-Fi, 3G or 4G), then the device makes revenue sense, you tie in customers with content subscriptions, iBooks, apps etc and suddenly the sale of the device is merely the start of a long relationship between your bank account and Apple and its partners.

That my two penny worth.

*Polaroid sell films not cameras
*inkjet companies sell ink, not printers.