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.
Not only that, but so has their website.
I’m currently rebuilding my iPhone after DFU-restoring it. However, I forgot that this would also entail restoring all my apps separately from the backup (the iTunes backup doesn’t include apps).
Not only that, but since I’ve changed computers, I didn’t have a app sync from laptop to iPhone, and so I don’t have a backup of these apps elsewhere.
Plus was my main app for tracking various stats – especially workout progress in the gym, and car mileage. Bummer.
I’m a fairly fast typer on my iphone, so debated for a while as to whether I wanted to get a bluetooth keyboard to carry around. However, there are certain times when I don’t want to have to lug my laptop around, but don’t want to try typing a huge long email on the onscreen keyboard… but might still have my rucksack into which I can just leave a small folding bluetooth keyboard sitting handily. Such as now, writing a keyboard review on the train.
For this purpose, I bought the Geyes Folding Bluetooth Keyboard for £50 on eBay. It sits as a small, light block in my rucksack front pocket, and will fit into my jacket pocket if I want to keep it with me.
The keyboard folds up neatly, with sliding clips to keep it closed, and sits happily without its carrying pouch or any attachments in my bag. To open, you slide the clips, unfold, and then push a large slider on either side that locks the four parts into two parts. With sliders locked, the keyboard still folds at the central hinge, so isn’t completely ridge.
The keyboard is actually full-size once unfolded; which is a bit of overkill for me, as I prefer something more compact; I was ideally looking for one like the Psion Series 5mx, which was fantastic, but sadly those don’t exist in this form.
The build quality is… average for Chinese no-name electronics. The keys are light and springy, and the ‘r’ key is already playing up slightly, after my second use. The behaviour is dodgy as well – every third or fourth word has either a missing, or repeated, character, I tried typing 01234567890 several times, as I suspected a problem in the bluetooth connection, but that works OK. I suspect that pressing keys too close together can confuse it – maybe it’s not properly buffered.
Pairing with the iphone was OK: you turn on Bluetooth and the keyboard, press a recessed ‘search’ button on the keyboard, and tap the ‘Geyes’ entry on the iPhone Bluetooth list. It asks you to type a pincode on the keyboard, hit return, and it’s paired. Once connected, aside from the repeating character issue, it seems stable. HOWEVER – I seem to have to re-pair each time. If I turn the keyboard back on, and tap it on the iPhone, then the iPhone is unable to connect to it without re-pairing.
Battery life is untested as yet – I’ve been using it for about an hour. The USB charger is a mini type-B, I think(?) – similar to a miniUSB, but untapered – so your blackberry charger cable won’t work. It also does NOT act as a USB keyboard – power only – which I suspected, but was hopeful it might.
So, would I recommend it? Well – No. Absolutely not. The build quality is poor, the bluetooth connection dodgy, and at £50 is way overpriced. I do sometimes buy dubious-quality no-name electronics such as this, but wouldn’t expect to pay more than £20 to put up with its foibles.
I’m looking for a decent GTD iPhone app, so took the risk and paid upfront for Thinking Rock so I could try it out.
The iPhone app is really bare-bones and a “client” of the desktop app, in comparison to other GTD apps like LifeBalance and Omnifocus which you can use standalone. All you can do is enter new “thoughts”, and view your prioritised tasks – but one does not lead to the other! The actual processing, prioritisation, editing and moving projects and tasks, etc can only be done on the desktop app, which you need to sync to before and after.
As such, it’s very disappointing. If you’re already a Thinking Rock desktop user, this might fulfill a need to have SOMETHING on your iPhone, but it can’t be used at all by itself, and is really just a digital version of a notepad and printout from the desktop app.
Yahoo Autosync seems to be another of those services that Yahoo paid for during the boom times, but seem to have forgotten about long ago (like Yahoo Desktop Search). As with YDS, it was possible to find old installers lying around, and the service itself still worked, but it now seems to be having problems.
I depend on YDS for syncing the Yahoo Mail/Calendar account that my partner and I share, with a secondary Outlook calendar (my primary one being my main work Exchange account). That way, I can easily view what both I, and we, are up to, and copy across appointments so that my partner knows which flights I’m taking, etc. etc.
However, Yahoo Sync now reports “Connection to Yahoo Server was lost”, and the log file shows:
LOG_ERROR 2009:07:24_17:33:44 File: XMLHelper.cpp (line 95)
Error while parsing response from server:junk after document element at line 1
LOG_ERROR 2009:07:24_17:34:03 File: ErrorMessage.cpp (line 191)
So I’m now up Relationship Creek without an calendar sync paddle. How long before I miss an appointment, and end up on the rocks? I can get by with my iPhone, which does great sync with Yahoos’ beta CalDAV servers, but then the entry’s in one or the other – iPhone doesn’t support copy/pasting an entry so that it’s in BOTH.
I’ve used Orb since v1 on the PC, and love it. I just dump my movies, videos, photos, music on my hard disc as normal, and then they’re available over the web if I so choose.
From the reviews, I was expecting nothing to work. But it does! I run the app, log in (only needed first time), and browse around my media looking for something to play.
The free version only shows you 3 items in any folder. Well, if you want, you could just have a max 3 items in any directory, and then you can watch everything using the free version. £5.99 isn’t worth rearranging your entire hard disc though, and the webcam still needs the paid version.
Once you hit play – then it plays! Now… Orb traditionally uses a web browser, and indeed you can just go to the iPhone Orb site and browse your collection through Safari. The only problem is, the Orb team have turned off transcoding to MP4 or whatever the native iPhone format is. So if your media is stored in iPhone format – you can just use the web client, and don’t need this app. But if you want your PC to transcode the media on the fly, you have to use this app to receive it. Maybe it’s how they raise funds to pay for the encoder on your PC.
Anyway… I tried playing 6 movies, and they all worked. Tried skipping position (which Orb on PC often used to fail on) – that worked. Stutter on one video, but another was fine. Overall, I’m pretty impressed.
Regards comments on quality and stuttering: I think that could be your slow DSL uplink speed. That’s always been the limiter for me, and it always goes via the Internet, even if you’re using it at home.
As for the TV card… Well, mine’s never worked with v2 of Orb server. I think that’s my old, dodgy tv card.
So… If you’re already an Orb user, then this iPhone version seems to work pretty well. If you’re new to Orb… Well, as a whole it can just be flakey, so try the free version, and if you don’t like it, try another product.
Footnote: OK, on my demo for the snapshots, the screen stayed fized after one skip while the audio continued. It’s not perfect… But it’s OK. However, I would note that almost no updates have happened in the past year. I suspect Orb are just scraping along, so perhaps look elsewhere for an app from a new, fresh company, if there is one.
Ok, so here’s the scenario.
I have two phones. One is my new iPhone. The other is an old SonyEricsson K610i. I’m using the iPhone for data, email, and exchange sync, and the K610i for voice.
So how do I sync the contacts between these, and keep them up to date?
Well… I was hoping to use Yahoo – my mail Webmail account is Yahoo, I use Yahoo Desktop sync for syncing a shared calendar in another account with a second Outlook calendar. But because I need to keep that, I couldn’t also use the app to sync a second account.
So I found Funambol. First, I went to the website and set up an account. By doing this, it sent an SMS to my mobile (the dumb K610i) with all the SyncML settings needed to connect and sync – even username/password. I accepted this, only changing the data account used, and removing the calendar sync.
I installed the iPhone app, and with a single run, it immediately sent my entire address book up to their servers.
Then I hit sync on the K610i, and it immediately downloaded the same 560 contacts!
All looks fine. The K610i has a few entries at the top with “No name”, but that’s because they have a company name, but no Full Name. Something most phones handle, but not this old one.
So – mobile cross-device contact sync in 10 minutes. And if I receive a new contact, I can just hit sync on both. Fantastic!