Monthly Archives: June 2009

Mon, June 29th, 2009 by Graves and Allen

iTunes University

I had some spare time the other day, so I opened up iTunes and went to the iTunes Store fore a quick look to see what it may have of interest.  I spotted a section of the store that I had heard about, but to which I had not paid much attention, iTunes University.  To my amazement, the iTunes U department had course and lecture offerings from some of the world’s top institutions of higher learning.  Among the schools represented: MIT, Oxford, Cambridg, Stanford, Duke,  and my own alma mater, the University of California at Berkeley.

The University section of the store included materials covering fields as disparate as the arts and political science, physics and foreign languages (although, I have heard some people say that physics is a foreign language to them).  I also found courses on history, mathematics,  philosophy, literature, education and rhetoric.  Stanford and Cornell even offered courses on Law.

The store has broken the offerings into thirteen general categories to facilitate finding what you seek.  The chosen categories:  “Business”, “Engineering”, “Fine Arts”, “Health & Medicine”, “History”, “Humanities”, “Language”, “Literature”, “Mathematics”, “Science”, “Social Science”, “Society” and “Teaching & Education”.

All of the courses I looked had were of recent vintages and none of the schools charged for their offerings.  Acquiring a course took little effort, simply clicking on it and telling it to download to iTunes.  Once in iTunes, you had the option of playing it on a computer or synching it to an iPhone/iPod.  The store offers another very convenient feature;  it allows you to download the entire course or selected lectures from the course.  Some of the courses continue to grow in terms of material and lectures.  The University allows you to subscribe to the course, so that iTunes can automatically download any new material for your use and enjoyment.

If you have not yet seen the iTunes U section of the iTunes Store, you should do so ASAP.  Download a few courses and learn something new.  Expand your horizons!

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Tue, June 23rd, 2009 by Graves and Allen

Apple iPhone OS 3.0 – Preliminary Assessment

Image Courtesy of Apple, Inc.

Image Courtesy of Apple, Inc.

OK, Apple finally turned out iPhone OS 3.0.  I immediately downloaded it into my 16 GB 3G iPhone and gave it a quick run through before replacing that phone with the 32 GB 3Gs that I am now using and which I will report on in a week or so.  This is a preliminary assessment of OS 3.0.  Get it!  Get it now!  Apple makes it available free for all iPhone owners. iPod Touch users need to pay $9.95 for the upgrade.

Simply put, I am very impressed with the new OS.  It improves on existing features and adds some new features to the mix.  The things that most impressed me from the start:

1)  Spotlight.  You can now search your iPhone for data or the location of an App using the spotlight feature.  Spotlight is not immediately apparent on your iPhone.  If you go to the home page of the iPhone and shift one page to the left (you could only go to the right before) you find yourself at the Spotlight screen.  Type in your search term and let the computer (iPhone) do the work.

2)  “Find-Me”.  Ever lose your iPhone?  Not such a problem any more.  You can use the GPS features of the iPhone and MobileMe to locate a misplaced iPhone using another computer.  The system is not perfect.  For example, it won’t tell you that you left it in the kitchen under the sports page.  It will tell you that you left it in the vicinity of your house or your office or at a shopping area, etc.  Note, it only works if the iPhone is on and has power, so don’t wait until the battery is gone before you start to look.  If you find out that you left it at home, go into the house, dial up your iPhone and follow the ring.

3) “Wipe” (or for you Beach Boy fans, “Wipe Out”).  As long as your iPhone has power and is on, you can wipe out all information on the iPhone remotely from your computer using the “Wipe” feature.  Not a bad idea if you get your phone stolen.  On the other hand, if you wipe it out and then find it, you can restore the information from the last synch using iTunes.

Apple also added “cut and paste” to this version of the OS.   I have not yet tested that feature, but I think it will likely add value and functionality to the iPhone.

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Mon, June 22nd, 2009 by Graves and Allen

Partial Redemption for Mophie

A few weeks ago I wrote about my experience with the Mophie Juice Pack Air;  perhaps more accurately, I wrote about my experience with Mophie’s support and warranty service.  Since that post Mophie has somewhat redeemed itself as to its support and warranty service.  The jury remains out about the device, however.

Although Mophie’s support department never returned any of my telephone messages, several days after I wrote the last Mophie-related post, I received a call tag for the dead device.  I packaged the device up and gave it to the carrier.  Not quite a week later, I received an email telling me that Mophie had determined that my Juice Pack Air was defective and that they would ship me a replacement.  A week later I received the replacement white Mophie Juice Pack Air.  It appeared to be a brand new (as opposed to remanufactured) device.  Accoerdingly, while I do wish they had returned my phone call, I have no other substantial criticism of Mophie’s support or warranty service.

My testing of the Juice Pack Air has commenced anew as I have recently upgraded my iPhone to the Aple’s new iPhone 3Gs, operating on the new OS Version 3.

More on the testing later, as I remain concerned about the issue of signal blockage and have discovered that the new device will not talk to iTunes with my new phone and OS 3.0.

jpa-vs

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