They say that curiosity culled the chat…

•March 1, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I am posting to open my new topic, the punny ‘Curiosity Culled The Chat’.  My Wife and I love puns and I came up with this one the other night to use as a category for random topics I’m curious about exploring.  Future posts in this category may include (but are not limited to):

  • The meaning of life
  • Trends in lesbianism
  • Why Tim Horton’s refuses to use interac
  • The screaminess of our cat
  • My generation’s dependence on Facebook
  • How the majority of public transit commuters read books
  • Does Murphy’s Law correspond with Karma?

Stay Tuned!

Breaking Free Of Apple Standards

•February 9, 2010 • Leave a Comment

The reason I wanted to blog about all of my recent jailbreaking feats is mostly because having taught myself all of this through extensive research of forums, YouTube videos, articles and more, I don’t want to forget it all.  I took minimal notes, so this is my way of recording everything that is currently in my head so that as the knowledge fades in the future (as it always has a way of doing), I will have something to refer back to.  I will be writing this tutorial-style so if anyone happens to stumble across this and can use the information to benefit themselves, I’m all for it.

In one of my last posts, I had given up jailbreaking my iPhone 3Gs because of the difficulty.  This is a resolve that I stuck to…oh, for about 10 days, until I found myself at home alone for the weekend (my Better Half was out of town visiting her Sister).  After getting bored of reading and nothing else for the better part of a day, I ventured onto the computer and after surfing for about an hour or so found myself migrating toward the jailbreak community part of the web.  It was then that I decided without much else to do, that I had the time to invest to increase my knowledge.  This post will be about how I jailbroke my iPhone.  I will write future posts about all of the customization I’ve done since.  I’m writing from my own experience.  There are lots of other tutorials out there, I may link to them as I go along, but what I’m writing, I’ve learned and done myself.

First, I will describe the process of jailbreaking:  Basically, Apple’s software keeps you from installing applications from third parties.  The only apps you can get on the iPhone (and iPod touch) are through the iTunes Store.  This also limits things like customization options – changing the appearance and setup of your phone.  It comes with a black background and standard icons on the screen.  All unjailbroken iPhones look the same.  But imagine if you could change your wallpaper behind the icons, change the icons themselves, have a drop-down menu to quickly toggle on or off things like wifi or bluetooth, change the appearance of your lock screen, the system font on your phone…with jailbreaking, you CAN do all this, the possibilities are endless!  All you need to jailbreak is to download a small program written by people who are much smarter than you or I, plug in your iPhone and run it.  It really is that simple.  Almost.

Because the iPhone 3Gs runs on firmware 05.11.07, version 3.1.2 and because it is one of the brand new iPhones that runs on a new boot rom, I had to do a tethered jailbreak.  Basically this means that each time you boot your iPhone, you have to have it connected to the computer because you have to run the jailbreak program each time you reboot.  Kind of a pain in the ass, but since they’ve figured out how avoid this with older versions of the iPhone, I feel confident that they will for the 3Gs at some point too.  In the meantime, it’s not really that big a deal for me.  I realized that although this sounded awfully inconvenient, I rarely ever reboot my iPhone.  I don’t let the battery die, and when I do a manual reboot, I’m at home anyway, so I can easily just plug it in.  In short, totally worth a slight inconvenience to gain the awesomeness of a jailbroken iPhone.

I used GeoHot’s program Blackra1n to jailbreak my iPhone 3Gs.  Here are the instructions: Download the program for Windows to your desktop.  Since I’m using Windows Vista (Uggh, I know) I had to right click and run the program as administrator (the same as running it in XP mode). If you have user control running in Vista (which you probably do unless you’ve learned how to disable it), your computer will ask you a couple of times if you’re sure you want to run the program. This program is safe, so yes, you do.  Click run or allow until it’s open.  Blackra1n is just a small program – a button in a window.

Now plug in your iPhone, make sure to close iTunes if it opens. (There is an option in iTunes to NOT have the program open each time you plug your phone in – this can come in handy if you’re running blackra1n often).  Now click ‘make it ra1n’.

Blackra1n will say ‘entering recovery’.  Your iPhone will turn off.  Now, this is where I had trouble, but eventually figured it out by doing research.  My phone kept getting stuck in recovery mode (showing the cable and iTunes picture on the screen) because I didn’t do this: As soon as your screen goes dark, hold down the home button (located on the front of your iPhone, below the screen) and the lock button (located on the top right of your iPhone) at the same time.  When the Apple logo appears, release the lock button, but keep holding the home button down.  The cable and iTunes recovery screen will appear, wait until you see the GeoHot screen.  You’ll know it because he looks kind of like Frodo Baggins from LOTR with iPhones flying around him…LOL.  Once you see this screen, release the home button and you’re done!  Your iPhone is now jailbroken!  You’ll see the following message from blackra1n:

Now, if for some reason, your iPhone is stuck on a black screen, stuck on the recovery mode screen, never shows the GeoHot screen, etc, don’t panic.  This happened to me more than once, and I freaked out and restored my iPhone in iTunes, then loaded all of my music and pictures and crap back on, before trying again, and restoring all over again.  I really didn’t need to do all of that.  I’m going to tell you, that if it doesn’t work the first time, don’t give up.  Just close blackra1n, and start again.  Sometimes it takes a few times before you get the timing with the buttons down right.  It will work eventually.  And once it does, you’ll never look back!

Now, when you unlock your iPhone, you’ll notice a new icon on your springboard: the blackra1n icon.  It will be wherever there’s room (if you have several pages of apps on your phone, just scroll through them until you find the icon).  Open blackra1n and you’ll have the option to select the following packages: Cydia, Rock or Snow.  Cydia and Rock are both programs that are similar to the iTunes app store, which allow you to browse and download 3rd party applications.  I’ve tried them both, Rock has a nicer look to it, but Cydia has more apps and seems to be more stable.  Personally, I recommend Cydia, especially to start out.  You can use both, I have, but I have read about some people who have issues when they use both programs.  I haven’t, but just so you know.  I do recommend however, that you only install one at a time, if you are going to try both.  Just select either Cydia or Rock, there will be a green check mark next to it, and an install button will appear near the top right of the screen.  Press install and your iPhone will respring (meaning it will restart the springboard – get used to some of this terminology, it’s used a lot in the jailbreak community).  If you want to install the second program, just open blackra1n again and do the same for the next one.

Snow is a program to unlock your iPhone, which allows you to use it on any carrier, but I don’t know anything about unlocking since I’m happy with Rogers.  You can find lots of information about it elsewhere, just google it.

Once you have Cydia or Rock or both installed on your iPhone, they will be icons on your springboard.  The use of the blackra1n program on your iPhone was to install these programs, so if you don’t need it anymore, you can open it again and press ‘Uninstall blackra1n’ at the bottom to uninstall it.  I just left mine there because it’s in a folder and out of the way (I’ll tell you how to get folders on your iPhone in a later post).

Now you can open Cydia (or Rock) and start browsing and downloading 3rd party apps!  To navigate using Cydia for the first time, there’s an excellent tutorial here.  And that’s it!  Have fun!

Some more points about jailbreaking:

  • If you ever need to take your iPhone into the store where you bought it, or send it to Apple or anything like that, you just have to restore it in iTunes and it will get rid of all signs of the jailbreak.
  • I recommend doing some research online about jailbreaking before you do it.  It is pretty straightforward thanks to some excellent programs, but for peace of mind, it’s nice to know what you’re doing, especially because you love your iPhone so much!
  • Once jailbroken, your iPhone will still work fine with iTunes.  You can sync all your music, apps, pictures and everything – your new apps from Cydia won’t show up in iTunes but will still be on your iPhone.
  • Once you’re jailbroken, DO NOT update firmware in iTunes unless you’re sure the latest version of blackra1n will still work because you will have to re-jailbreak after updating.  For example, version 3.1.3 is available for update now, but I’m waiting until I know for sure that blackra1n will work for the 3Gs on that firmware.  You can keep tabs on the latest updates through the main Cydia page.
  • When you do update, you will have to re-jailbreak and go through the same original process, installing Cydia, etc.  All of your Cydia apps will be gone from your iPhone.  Fortunately, Cydia has an option (you get the option to activate it when you first use the program) to record all of the apps you’ve installed so that after upgrading, and re-jailbreaking, you can see the list of apps you had before and install them from there. Sweet!

If you have any questions, just leave a comment and I’ll get back to you.

The Lazy Blogger

•February 8, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I have been very busy lately, just not busy blogging. I’ve jailbroken and customized my iPhone like crazy and I’ve got all kinds of ideas for posts to share all of this, I just haven’t sat down to do it yet…

So here I sit, on the couch, using a newly aquired blog publishing app, recovering from a cold and too lazy to put the effort into writing one of these preconceived posts on my laptop. This will have to suffice for now. I should have some more exciting things to look at in the near future!

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:The Couch

I Like To Wake Up To Music…

•January 16, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I’m fairly new to the whole iPhone movement.  So new in fact, that my 3Gs has the latest bootrom, making it a bitch to jailbreak and get all kinds of awesome 3rd party apps, not to mention customizable themes and icons from winterboard…but hey, I figure it’s not worth the pain in the ass right now.  Eventually, GeoHot will come out with a way to do an untethered jailbreak for the 3Gs’ latest bootrom and I’ll be customizing to my heart’s desire.  Until that day, I am sticking to the original iPhone firmware.  Which really isn’t that bad, I mean, it’s Apple, so it’s pretty.

Of course, this also means that I’m sticking with the ‘Apple approved apps’, and for me, who doesn’t have the money to spend on apps, I need free ones.  Good free ones.  I’ve been drawn lately to some of the alarm tunes apps.  This is an alarm clock app that allows you to set an alarm using any song in your iPhone’s music library.  Pretty awesome if you’re sick of the same old beep.  However, the huge drawback to these apps is that unless you dock your iPhone at night (so that it stays charged) the app will drain your battery so that your phone dies on you half way through the next day.  Not so convenient.  The most unfortunate part is that using the iPhone’s clock, you can set and save as many alarms as you’d like, but you can’t use music to wake you…unless…it’s a ringtone.

So after scrapping these annoying alarm tune apps, I went into iTunes, chose my favourite songs to wake up to, made AAC copies of them, went to the copies on my hard drive, changed the files from m4a to m4r (the ringtone file extension), then added the files to iTunes and voila, a song to wake up to.  They will just get cut off if you use these as your phone ringtone (ringtones are 40 seconds or shorter), but now I can choose them under the original iPhone clock app and it won’t kill my battery.

Look at me and my bad self!  Sometimes it’s good to be a geek. ;0)

Rockband Tickets

•January 11, 2010 • Leave a Comment

So I play Rockband 2.  And Guitar Hero(es).  Totally a PS3 geek.  The truth is though, before Tasha, I was a FPS gamer (that would be First Person Shooter).  I had heard often enough from my friends about their sweet, sweet addictions to Rockband and similar games, but I’d never actually played myself.  All of that changed on Thanksgiving 2009.  That is the day my Rockband character, Tickets, was born.  But before I tell you how I got into these games, I have to tell you the origin of my nickname ‘Tickets’.

One evening while sitting around the backyard fire pit at our good friend Nanc’s place, after consuming several beers, we were all telling stories.  As our friend Chrys was relating pub crawl tales to Tasha, she was describing using the women’s washrooms in our city pubs, where you have to ‘hover’ above the toilet because you DO NOT want to sit down.  FYI: Hovering can be quite difficult when you’re drunk.  At around this point, in my infinite drunken wisdom, (it was a bathroom story), I thought it would be funny to remind Tasha of our other friend’s reference to toilet paper being ‘shit tickets’.  Only I couldn’t get her attention.  Eventually, after several failed attempts, no longer able to contain myself, I grabbed Tash’s knee and interjected at a near yell ‘SHIT TICKETS!!!’  Both Chrys and Tasha went silent and looked at me for a moment before breaking out in laughter.  My nickname since that night has been ‘Tickets’, especially when we hang around these friends.  Thank you Coors Light for that.

Fast forward to Thanksgiving a few months later, when Chrys and Pat brought their Wii to Nanc’s along with Rockband 2.  We had been talking about playing this together for some time, Chrys and Pat are crazy good at it.  Tasha was also no stranger and jumped on the Rockband wagon right away, while I timidly watched in the background.  She was awesome at it!  I thought it was so sexy : )  Eventually, I wanted to try it out, and created myself a character, whose name was of course – Tickets.  What else?

We’ve spent many hours playing Rockbands 1 & 2 and the Beatles version with Chrys and Pat at their place, but eventually we procured ourselves a PS3 and we now play at home.  Tasha’s character is named ‘Bitch’.  This has always been the name of her characters, even when she played with her ex, sister and friends long before we were together.  I’m Tickets, of course.  Our band’s name is ‘Lesbionic Guitors’, (another drunken slip by me, saying ‘guitor’ instead of ‘guitar’ – why can I NEVER live anything down? I would like to note here that my Wife is known for having a brain like Teflon – she forgets everything. Yet she remembers, in detail, every little humiliating slip I’ve made when drunk.  How convenient.  Maybe instead of selective hearing, she’s got selective memory.)

Here is the Lesbionic Guitors band logo. The toaster is significant because I am Tasha’s *toaster.  The band is made up of Tickets, Bitch and different artists they recruit in every town they gig for vocals and drums.

Tickets plays lead guitor, her hometown is Dublin, Ireland (she has a clover tattoo on her chest).  Her favourite rockband 2 song is Lazy Eye by Silversun Pickups.

Bitch plays Bass guitor, her hometown is Boston, USA.  She plays a 1962 Fender Jazz Bass.  Her favourite Rockband 2 song is A Jagged Gorgeous Winter by The Main Drag.

*Ellen DeGeneres made the toaster oven joke famous. The joke is based on the premise that there is a secret-society lesbian recruiting service – kind of like Amway – that gives out toaster ovens when you “turn somebody gay.” It’s the gay/lesbian way of making fun of all those closed minded people who think we’re out there recruiting their children to some ungodly cult.

Laundry Blogging

•January 5, 2010 • 1 Comment

So I’m sitting in the local laundromat (blogging in the WordPress App for my iPhone), I’ve been inundated by the smell of Gain (my favourite laundry detergent of all time – thanks to Tash for bringing it into my life). I used to hate doing laundry; it was always such a chore. However, these days, I actually look forward to doing it. This isn’t just because I’m marginally addicted to my detergent, or the satisfying feeling I get when I’m putting all of my clean clothes away at home. It’s because I enjoy SO MUCH any time spent doing something with my Wife*. I have never enjoyed anyone’s company so much. As I’ve told Tash… I’d rather do nothing with her than something with somebody else. So thank you, Love, for making every event in my life shine…

* We are in fact engaged, not married but we FEEL married and fondly refer to each other as ‘Wife’.

M’iPhone ♥

•January 2, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I have a new love.  It’s no longer just my Wife, my dog and my cat.  I’m talking about my iPhone.  I have dreamed of owning this phone since they started developing it; years before it was released in the US, I was reading up on Apple’s latest mobile technological feat.  That dream came true at the hands of my Tasha this Christmas.  I remember drooling over the video introducing the iPhone, presented by founder of Apple, Steve Jobs himself.  Say what you like Mac haters…this phone is by far the most intuitive touch screen phone out there.  And with the 3Gs being 2x faster, apps for anything you could think of, and amazing features like voice control, voice memos, compass and more, I really can’t say enough about it, so here, take a look!

*Don’t get me wrong, I still adore my Wife, my dog and my cat more than anything.  But as far as toys go…I will love my iPhone until its little processor heart stops beating.