Archive for January, 2012

iCloud Restore on iPhone iOS – 48 hours later

January 30, 2012 Leave a comment

The other night, I reset my iPhone’s settings. And found myself needing to restore from backup.

Now – I had done this for my iPad 2, which I back up to my laptop’s iTunes, and that had taken around 5 minutes to restore, and another 30 for the 150-odd apps to re-sync afterwards.

My iPhone was backed up to iCloud, reportedly using 3.0GB, so I expected that might be a bit slower….

Boy, was I in for a surprise.

In the Bad Old Days of Windows 3.1 and Windows 95, we used to joke about the Microsoft Progress Bars… you know, the ones that turned out to have no connection to how long the task would really take. They’d race ahead, showing good progress, and then sit for minutes and minutes with the progress bar not moving at all.

This is nothing, compared to iCloud.

Firstly, it took at least 10 minutes for the iPhone to report any time estimate at all. When it did, it was “6 hours”. Not good. I was due to go out for the day, so I left my phone restoring over home wifi, and took my iPad to work.

When I got back, ten hours later, had it completed? Heck, no… it still said “2 hours”…

By the evening (4 hours later), it was down to “42 minutes remaining…”

By the time I went to bed, another six hours later, it was saying “under a minute remaining”. As it had been for the previous hour.

When I woke up, 6 hours later… it still reported “under a minute remaining”. That’s TWENTY-FOUR HOURS from start!

I gave up. I reset my phone and started from scratch. And then thought to check whether my laptop still had a backup from before I started using iCloud. It does – from 3 weeks ago. I’m currently restoring that, and it’s forecast to take 30 minutes.

In retrospect, I should have tested this before, rather than waiting until I actually needed it – as you always should for backups. Now – I have no idea why my restore was THAT slow – my internet connection isn’t great (10Mbps, usually), but 3.0GB isn’t that huge a size.

iCloud Backup? Never again. I’m keeping my backups where I have control of them.


Using Motorbiking Leather Gloves with iPhone touchscreens

January 26, 2012 1 comment

A major frustration for me is when I try to use my iPhone when motorbiking. Now – I’m not saying that I often find myself texting while riding at 80mph down the M1 – I’ve only done that a couple of times – but even the simplest thing – like swiping to unlock the screen so that you can glance at a map, while waiting at traffic lights. Instead, I find myself racing to take a glove off, swipe the screen, look, then put it back on, before the lights change.

The problem is that touchscreens use the capacitance of your body. This means that you can’t just ‘stick on’ a pad or something onto your gloves in order for the screen to work with them – there has to be an electrically conductive path between the surface of your glove fingertip, and your fingers underneath. Hence some gloves available that have metal thread interwoven – particularly woolen ones – to provide that electrical contact through the glove material.

So – since I took ages to find and buy the basic leather gloves that I have, I’d rather keep them, and adapt them for use. Some people have woven metal thread through the fingertips, but I wondered if I could do it with conductive glue. Hence I bought some on eBay, and set about trying to apply it to my gloves.

And…. it seems to work! I’ve applied the glue to just the two fingertips I use the most with my iPhone – left thumb, and right forefinger – with an application of around a 0.7mm x 0.7mm area on the outside. I then pushed the needle through the fingertip, and worked it around to widen the hole, with more of the glue to try to get it to coat the insides of the hole. I let that dry, and then flipped the fingertip inside out, and painted the inside where I could see the glue spot through the hole – again, around 0.8mm x 0.8mm.

It’s not great: the glue cracks and flakes off, so we’ll see how long it lasts – and obviously it breaches the water integrity of your gloves (mine are leaky summer gloves anyway), so perhaps the thread method is preferable. I hope if it does flake off enough to stop working, I can just reapply to the outside, without having to reapply on the inside too. But somewhere, somehow, a conductive path exists, and I can swipe and pan my screen well enough to be useful.

BTW – I did all this wearing latex gloves, since apparently some types of this glue are toxic if touched.

Some pics:

Dried glue on thumb


Forefinger drying (it’ll smooth off later)


The glue




Update: On the second finger, I tried out the glove before turning it inside out to paint the inside… and it worked. So it seems the inside contact patch isn’t essential – as long as the hole is made and enough glue makes it through to provide some contact (and yes, I tried by painting it without the hole first, and that didn’t work).

Categories: Uncategorized

Life proof Bar and Bike mount on Honda Blackbird Motorbike

January 26, 2012 Leave a comment


Well, my Lifeproof iPhone case shipment arrived from the States. A case for each of me and a couple of friends, and a bar mount for my Honda Blackbird motorbike.

Well – potentially for the bike. I had noticed that there was a distinct lack of uninterrupted bar space on the bike, but thought I’d give it a go, and resell the kit if it didn’t fit.


Well – it doesn’t fit: there’s no clear bar area on the inner bar. I did try on the grips or bar ends – the inside of the left grip could work, but it obstructs my thumb from the indicators, lights and horn, so that’s a no-go.

Also – I found that the three adapters they put in the box to adapt the mount to different bar thicknesses, didn’t work: the thin one left the mount loose on the bar, and the mid-thickness one was way too thick. That seems to be a failing on Lifeproof’s behalf, and I’ve emailed them to see if they offer other sizes. (I have also tried some rubber netting to add thickness, but it would be a faff to put on).


Categories: Motorbiking

iPhone Photo Management via Dropbox? If only….

January 1, 2012 1 comment

After a busy Christmas, I’m organising all the photos from various relatives and friends visits. And my iPhone isn’t helping.

To recap (again): this is what I want to do:

  • Perform basic edits on my photos on my iPhone (straighten, lighten, crop)
  • Rename the files, organise them in folders
  • Sync them to Dropbox, Sugarsync, etc.

Difficult? No, impossible, actually. See my previous posts.

My quest has brought another three photo management/sync apps to test, which are worth a few minutes for reviewing.

Photo Manager Pro

This looked like exactly what I wanted. Download! Organise. Rename! Share! Sync!

Organisation is great. Creating nested folders is no problem, and neither is loading camera roll photos into them. Editing… well, it doesn’t support that, either natively or through linking to another tool, but that’s OK, I guess.

But syncing is where it falls down. It has an awkward manual sync mode to another user on the same WiFi network to another Photo Manager app (try convincing a friend to go through all that hassle to get a photo off you). It can also turn your iphone into a webserver that a friend can browse to on a PC/iPhone to grab photos off you, which is better… although still not as easy as Dropbox.

How about some kind of seamless sync? Well… it has an FTP server, which you could use with a competent FTP

It also crashes if you try to sync large files (ie. video) by FTP or HTTP.client/syncprogram such as SyncBackSE to mirror your photo album contents. Except it doesn’t support timestamps (all files are timestamped as “now”), and doesn’t support deletion. So. If you edit the photo on your PC or iPhone, you can’t tell which is the most recent version, and if you want to delete photos off your iPhone after copying them over… well, you can’t.




This is a cool app that has potential. The approach is: “We know you have photos all over the place. Facebook, Twitter, Dropbox, Your Phone. So why not view them in one place: here”.

It’s a cool app and good idea… but not for this purpose. It actually has a little bit of photo management/upload functionality (to allow you to upload photos from your phone to those services), which it does very well: you can even two-finger-twirl a photo to rotate it, and it queues uploads. But it doesn’t allow photo editing, or renaming, nor Dropbox folder creation or folder hierarchies. Which is because it’s not a photo management app… so fair enough.

Photo Box

Photo Box has a single purpose: sync with Dropbox. The folder structure is simply whatever is on Dropbox, and you can’t create new folders. All you can do is sync some or all photos. It has a cool little inline graphic that shows the sync of each photo.

As such, it’s handy for this purpose: particularly if you want to fire a few recent photos over to your laptop without digging out a USB cable (as I just did with these screenshots), it’s a little bit quicker and seamless than the official dropbox app. For photo management? No rename, no folder creation.. again, forget it.

And so, my search for a decent Photo Management tool continues.

Categories: Uncategorized