Posts tagged iphone
By now I’m sure you’ve heard of the problems facing owners of Apple’s latest and greatest phone – for those who need a reminder, here’s a video put together by the folks at engadget…
As I tested this out for myself with the on display models (didn’t happen for me, tho I did notice an uncomfortable tingle) one fully fledged member of the Cult of Jobs expounded “Just buy the bumper, the problem goes away” (not to mention one of the more decidedly PC fixes).
But hold on there, why should you have to buy an overpriced bit of rubber just to work around what is a glaring design flaw? This kinda thing gets lambasted in other companies, why should Apple be excused? Especially when said company is supposed to place you, the consumer, at the centre of the universe.
So, what should Apple do? Recall every unit with the flaw with a redesigned one that doesn’t have the cockup?
I doubt they would do that, so how about they take a leaf from another mega-corp who showed a lot more class when faced with such a problem and potential backlash?
Cast your minds back to the tech jurassic age – 2006. The ipod was dominating the pocket and the PS2 was just about to get a major contender for the front room – The Wii.
Basking in the glow of their all conquering DS and a return on the home console scene, Nintendo’s smugness started to slip more and more as reports of sweaty palms, thin strap strings and resulting airborne Wiimotes spread from rumour, to news to internet meme.
In response to a potential PR disaster, Nintendo offered free silicon grips to those who had already bought their Wii’s and began shipping them with every new Wii and seperate Wii controller. The complaints about the bodily and property damage by flying controllers simply faded away as a result.
Jumping right back to now, why is it that Apple – with an obvious design flaw – are greeting their problems with “You’re holding it wrong” or “Just buy a bumper“? That’s hardly the actions of a company who places their customer as their number one priority. Instead is smacks of arrogance and caring only about the customers wallet!
Would the Apple of even 5 years ago respond like this? I remember when you got all sorts of extras in your ipod box – covers, docks, power bricks… Now, they’re all separate purchases to maximise the amount of money they extract from you.
The right thing for Apple would be to say “OK, some users are having major problems with signal quality. If you’re one of them, pop into the Apple store and we’ll give you a free Bumper (Limited to one per phone, of course) and from now on, every new iphone4 will come with a bundled bumper.”.
So, what will it be Apple? Greed? Or a return to the customer service of old, you know the one that set you apart from the rest in the first place?
At the start of the month I gave a review of the iPiMP app here and came up with 2 things that would not only turn this into a must have bit of software; but strengthen mediaportal’s position as one of the best media centre applications available for windows users as well.
The first was the ability to stream live tv to the iphone – However, a bit more thought into that and I have come to the conclusion that it’s not such a hot feature after all. Too limiting and would depend on some structural changes to the mediaportal software itself.
The second one is the truly killer feature though… Remote control of a client.
Well, it turns out that I didn’t have to wait long at all after a comment popped up from the developer informing me that version 3.0.0 (latest version is now 3.0.1) now includes that very feature!
The installer now comes with a “client plugin” option that is required on every client you wish to remotely control.
Just remember to untick the server and transcoder options, this could be made a little easier for some people by having a menu before the component selections with 3 radio buttons offering “server and client”, “server only” and “client only” options to auto choose these; but then it isn’t really hard to untick the boxes.
Once installed, remember to enable the plugin from within the mediaportal client settings dialogue and add the port it runs on (55667 tcp) to your firewall.
After you have your server running and all your clients set up and enabled it’s time to fire up the iphone.
Oh, small change – the username field is no longer case sensitive so it doesn’t matter anymore about the recent auto caps’ing Apple included in the latest firmware.
And there we have the addition of “Remote control” to the home menu.
Before you can start controlling any of your clients, you’ll need to add them by tapping onto “administration”.
Tap through to the “MediaPortal clients” and you’ll see a very simple add, delete and edit screen. Tapping onto add will give you the following screen.
Here you can give it a friendly name that can be its location in your house, the name of the PC it is running on and the port the service communicates on.
Unless you changed this within the plugin options in the mediaportal config, you can leave the port setting blank and it will use the default setting; which is a nice bit of design by the developer – fewer settings for users to remember and fiddle with usually results fewer things to break.
Once you have configured your clients and saved the settings tap on the home button and go into the Remote control option.
The little guys on the second page represent the different categories such as music, games, videos, pictures and live tv.
The first page is a simple navigation layout, not a bad first config but one I’m sure will be refined over time as people begin using it – the first suggestion that springs to my mind is having the tv guide button on the same page as the navigation buttons.
It is very intuative when moving around mediaportal with the iphone and this app, I can already see my logitech mx air getting even less use now!
As it is, the only fault I have picked up on so far while testing the remote control isn’t overly the fault of the app, instead it’s more to do with the responsiveness of the touch screen on my iphone – it has never been quick enough to keep up with the speed at which I can attempt to use it, causing many of my taps to not register.
The result, browsing a long list of video files can take a lot longer than a mouse to navigate around leaving you to tap, tap, tap, tap your way around. As I said tho, this is more a failing of the iphone than the app.
I wonder how difficult it would be to implement a slide scroll to it.
Anyway, time to navigate aside, this little applet just joined my list of must have apps where-ever I deploy a copy of mediaportal as it finally begins to make PC based TV’s a real and friendly replacement to a traditional TV and seperates solution without having to own expensive remote controls that are pretty much useless beyond the application they were designed for.
Convergence is always a good thing and if you ever lose this TV remote, you can always just call it and discover where they have been vanishing to all these years!
Verdict: If you’re running mediaportal and own an iphone, this just became a part of your standard install!
Iphone app review: iPiMP.
If you’ve ever spoken to me recently, you’ll know that I am espousing MediaPortal to as many people as possible and one of the first things I did after getting my shiney new iphone was to download the iPiMP (iphone interface for MediaPortal) app from their site.
For those who don’t know what mediaportal is, shame on you!
I… er.. mean, it’s an opensource PVR solution for windows XP machines and in direct competition with others such as BeyondTV, MythTV and Microsofts own Media Centre. While not as feature rich as BeyondTV it does get the streaming of live TV across your network very well and all for the price of zero. Definately in my top 5 apps you must download if you run windows.
The iPiMP app has been designed by one of the community to provide you with a portable interface for recording shows and playing them back.
It’s not strictly an app that you install onto your iphone, you install it onto the PC running the TV server and it will serve webpages using the built-in apache server, saving you from jailbreaking it – which is nice. Just remember to change the port to something like 81 because it’ll fail to start it’s service due to the TV server already using this port.
When it asks where you store the logos for the channels you need to point it towards here
C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Team MediaPortal\MediaPortal\thumbs\tv\logos
Sadly it doesn’t seem to pick mine up, so I need to spend a little bit of time troubleshooting this.
Once everything is installed without error, connect to your wifi network, open safari on your iphone and point it to the following
When you reach the logon window to enter the default details, the lack of screen space gives you the only real annoyance when the keyboard covers the text input boxes until you enter something (and I’ve found the auto caps’ing of the first letter to be a pain too, since the default admin account is lower case).
Once logged in you’ll be greeted by a very clean interface with simple tasks allowing you to see what is currently on, schedule recordings and watch recorded TV (as long as you set it up to transcode them to the supported format).
Sadly you can’t stream the live TV feed to your iphone, which would have been the truly killer part of the app but it does turn your iphone into a handy mini EPG and recording unit.
The TV guide is split into days, a now and next lineup (which is a bit confusing when tv logos aren’t working) and a very handy search feature.
Clicking on an entry will bring up some show info and a record button, clicking onto it brings up the various recording options.
As you can see, the record buttons get skewed out of alignment, but it doesn’t stop you from following it.
Returning back to home and then onto the recorded TV section, you can choose what time frame the shows were recorded in and browse the list of shows.
Just remember, if you haven’t set it up to transcode the recordings you won’t be able to watch them. This section also allows you to delete recordings – sadly it doesn’t delete the transcoded files, you’ll need to do that manually on your server – which gives you a small degree of remote management over your burgeoning collection.
Overall, the app is very well put together and would be a very handy compliment to anyone who has implemented mediaportal and also happens to own an iphone. Sadly it is missing a few features such as live tv viewing and remote control of a client, add them and that would turn it into a truly killer app.
As it is, iPiMP functions as a very handy EPG and recording scheduler with the ability to watch your recorded shows if you make use of the supplied transcoder.
Verdict: Worth running if you have mediaportal.
Catch an update to this review here.