Apple iPhone Days Four through Thirty-Two
So the first thing you'll notice about my Apple iPhone journey is that having the iPhone hasn't made me a consistent blogger. This really isn't the fault of the iPhone, however. Since I have an entire month to cover, the coverage will undoubtedly be wide rather than deep. But I will do my best not to disappoint. Ubuntu-iPhone integration
When I last posted, I had left the task of the ubuntu-iphone integration for the next post so I will begin there. I installed the ipod-convenience and gtkpod packages onto Ubuntu. I am now able to issue the command iphone-mount and mount my iphone onto my ubuntu. Once this task is completed successfully, you will see a cute little ipod icon show up on your Ubuntu desktop. This screen shot shows the mounted iphone and the file browser window showing the contents of the iphone storage.
You do not need to have your iphone physically connected to your computer via the usb cable in order to mount it and browse the filesystem. Once it is mounted, you can drag and drop a file onto the iphone and while the file is copying, you can continue to use your iphone any way you see fit. You can walk around with it, as long as the you don't walk outside of the WiFi connection area, and the file will continue to upload.
gtkpod is essentially the Ubuntu version if iTunes. My experience with using gtkpod was not what I had hoped. I've read online that the version 2.2 iTunes database was changed and this accounts for issues I experienced. It is possible that a newer release of gtkpod will resolve the issue. Basically, I can add content to my iPhone, but the update process which creates a usable playlist on the iPhone doesn't seem to work. I've resolved this issue by installing an application called dTunes which is much more powerful and flexible than the default ipod application. I'm very happy to report that I have no lost functionality due to jailbreaking my iPhone and eliminating iTunes.
Probably the most important reason to choose the iPhone over other similar technologies is the wealth of available applications for this platform.
I covered several applications in my previous posts. Since my last post, I have added a few more applications and I will cover some of the more useful ones now.
- SSH: This application has enabled me to fix numerous server-related issues quickly and easily. In general, operating systems such as Linux, which natively use SSH for administration as opposed to Windows, which uses RDP, are much easier, faster and more secure in general to remotely administer. Without the graphical overhead of RDP, this is especially true for remote administration via a cell phone. While I had an SSH client on my 8525, it was very unstable in comparison to the iPhone SSH application.
- Melodis Dialer: I spend a fair amount of time each week commuting to and from work. In order to use voice dialing capability on my 8525, I had to manually train each contact for voice dialing. Given the interface of the 8525, it was always a dangerous prospect to attempt to use the phone while driving if I had to manually dial the phone. With this application, it is extremely easy to initiate a phone call using my bluetooth headset and my voice.
- The Weather Channel: I have replaced the default weather application on my iPhone with this app provided by The Weather Channel. It provides the same weather coverage you get from the television station, including video, as well as Weather Service alerts. This provides me with valuable and accurate weather information needed for my daily commute.
- CopiercIN: One of the complaints heard about the iPhone is that it doesn't have cut/copy/paste capability. This application closes that gap.
- TWIT.am: As I've already written in previous posts, listening to podcasts during my daily commute allows me to turn otherwise unproductive time into productive time where I can stay abreast of technology news, security information and new technology developments. This application allows me to listen to live TWIT broadcasts whenever I have a gap between new podcast releases.
Just for Fun
Just because a technology provides features which make me more productive doesn't mean that it can't also be fun. I've added a few additional applications to my iPhone that I would place in this category.
- Pandora: I can't say enough good things about this application. It allows you to build a custom "radio" station based on artists and songs that you enjoy. I have found virtually no need to upload music to my iPhone since setting up and using this application. The more you listen and interact with this application, the better it learns your musical tastes and the better the station gets. In addition, if you hear a new song that you enjoy, it is a simple two-click operation to purchase the song from iTunes.
- Flixter: I love movies. During our holiday break I saw four movies in the theater. This application made it easy to check show listings and times while I was out and about running errands.
- WinterBoard: This application allows you to add themes to the iPhone to give it a more personal touch. Just like desktop themes and wallpaper for your computer, it doesn't make you any more productive. But it does make spending time in front of your computer more enjoyable and gives you a vehicle for expressing yourself.
I have a few other applications installed on my iPhone, but I've covered the most noteworthy in these posts.
I created these posts as a way to capture in real-time my experience with using the iPhone as a tool for completing my daily job functions. While I had hoped to include more daily postings, time just didn't permit. But I can tell you that my overall experience was extremely positive. In terms of productivity, there is really no comparison between the HTC 8525 and the iPhone. With the iPhone:
- I am able to easily RDP or SSH into the servers I manage and conduct maintenance and repair activities. While this was possible with the HTC, it was certainly much more difficult and prone to complications.
- I have not once had to reboot the iPhone due to OS issues. With the HTC, I had to reboot the phone often several times per day. On occasion, I had to completely remove the battery two or three times before I could get it to boot back up into a usable state.
- I am able to easily download and listen to a wealth of technology news and information relevant to my job which turns otherwise unproductive commute time into productive work time.
- Interacting with the iPhone is simply more enjoyable than interacting with the HTC. This may seem like a trivial benefit. I don't believe it is.
Different people have different requirements for this type of tool and I can only provide information related to how this tool enhances my own ability to be productive. I can tell you that compared to the HTC 8525, I was actually able to work using the iPhone. While jailbreaking the iPhone provided me with additional options for productivity applications, I can see that for many users, this would not be a required step. Even so, it is not a difficult thing to accomplish.