Monthly Archives: January 2010

how to jailbreak your iPhone and restore it back

over the past 2 weeks, I attempted to jailbreak my iPhone. The only reason I wanted to do it was that I thought that I needed a mobile hotspot and there are jailbreak apps out there that makes it possible. It’s either this or invest in a dedicated pocket device that varies from $200 to $400. Since it was a much cheaper option to just do a jailbreak, I gave it a try.

After trying for the whole of a Sunday afternoon, it never went through and I gave it a rest. Over the course of the 4hrs I spent, I ran the jailbreak utility BlackRa1n, it would always get the phone to the iTunes restore screen (the one that showed a USB cable and iTunes logo), and never got past that. Overall, I reloaded the iPhone 3.1.2 firmware over and over, and finally I ran out of time and had to restore the phone back to the original state.

So, first rule of thumb, always run an adhoc backup in iTunes before any potentially disruptive change toe the iPhone. Do note, this is not the automatic backup that runs when you connect your phone to iTunes. Let that automated backup run when it does. But make sure you manually run the backup AGAIN after the automated on. This will create a permanent snapshot of the backup in iTunes. The automated one gets overwritten each time it runs.

With everything restored, iTunes slowly sync’d the apps, music, videos, podcast back. Interestingly, photos are not sync’d, but backed up. Which is good, that you’ll get all your photos back after the restore.

Couple of days later, I thought of giving it a try again. Trying to see what I did wrong. The whole process was suppose to be simple, many people have done it, and it’s just not right that a Tech Savvy guy like myself just can’t get it to go through.

So, I just fiddled around and by chance, I got it to run!!

The instructions are easily available if your search around for the complete steps to use BlackRa1n. What I always got stuck at was the “iTunes” screen on the phone. If the jailbreak worked, it should have automatically showed a picture of “Frodo”. What I did different this time, was by chance.

  1. I’m using Windows Vista Home Premium
  2. I stopped iTunes, and killed the process “iTunesHelper.exe”
  3. connected the iPhone 3GS to the notebook (iTunes should not start up at all)
  4. ran BlackRa1n
  5. it detected the phone, and forced it to reboot (this is normal)
  6. phone comes up in recovery mode (iTunes logo shows up)
  7. bam… it’s stuck here again and by chance, I was checking on some security settings on BlackRa1n.exe
  8. launched 2nd instance of BlackRa1n. (the first one was still running and… waiting…)
  9. lo and behold!! “Frodo” appeared, and the first instance of BlackRa1n was able to pick this up and continue the process of jailbreaking
  10. it reboots once more, and returns back to the normal iPhone interface
  11. DONE!

I was pleasantly surprised. At this point, the phone is jailbroken, and the next step was to put in the “App Store” of the jailbroken world, Cydia. It’s a neat little package manager, and pretty much what most people will need to do.

To top it off, the jailbreak was done without having to reset the phone to factory default first. All my existing apps, contacts, calendar entries, etc… were still there and working. So that was good, otherwise I would have to reconfigured everything from scratch.

I tested out several apps that was suppose to enable the iPhone as a mobile hotspot. Most of them work similarly, with the main differences to be the user interface, and here are the key features I found

  • all of them work in adhoc mode wifi, none provides infrastructure mode networks
  • this is usually not an issue, as nearly all computers can work with adhoc mode wifi networks
  • however, if you are planning to use an Android phone as a client, it will not work; as Android does not support connection to adhoc mode wifi (unless you root the Android device and hack it)
  • most of the apps do not initiate the adhoc mode wifi, in fact it requires the pc/notebook to create the adhoc network first, then the iPhone will join in
  • all buy one of these apps behave like that; the exception is MyWi
  • MyWi will create and initiate the adhoc network and even broadcast it
  • in this way, all devices can find the adhoc network that’s available and join it instead
  • I tested out MyWi with the free trial, and I loved the performance; the speed was good
  • it even works with my iPod Touch G1 which was able to stream youtube, etc.
  • sadly, my Android device will not work, which is the main deal breaker for me

With that, I found a part solution to what I need. It’s only a partial solution because not all my devices can work. However, it’s good for the performance was satisfying.

To restore the phone back to the original state, just fire up iTunes, connect the phone to the PC and hit “restore” in iTunes. It will do everything and should leave no trace of the jailbreak.

Will I encourage users to Jailbreak? Only if there’s a good reason for it, and that being that you are a power user, and there’s a specific functionality you want and need that only can be achieved by Jailbreaking.

Fapturbo 中文版出炉了!!





A Happy Day!! I got my Blueant V1 replaced!

so recently, my Blueant V1 started to fail.  After the exchange I realize that my original unit had a manufacturing defect which after months of usage finally resulted in the unit to fail.

So, I found the distributor of Blueant in Singapore, ARS IMG Pte. Ltd. Called them up and told them my problem. It was a very simple; head down to the office in Golden Wall Centre, showed the person in charge the problem. And he gladly gave me a 1-to-1 replacement.

I’m so glad that I’m once again equiped with my Blueant V1, I felt so handicapped without the voice dailing when I had to switch back to my backup headset.

2 thumbs up to Lawrence at ARS IMG Pte Ltd!! You made my day =)

I’m certainly very happy with my decision to buy the Blueant V1 months ago.  Looking forward to many more moons of service with the unit.

XBMC on XBOX not playing MP4 files – solved!!

I’ve been using XMBC on the XBOX for several months now… (yes it’s kinda late) but hey, it still rocks!!

Then recently, I moved the XBOX to the living room and for some reason the MP4 files would not play anymore. Everything else worked fine… but not MP4. I spent over a month troubleshooting it, re-installing XMBC, etc.. nothing worked. All I knew was that these files would play, when the XBOX was in my study & in the bedroom.

Finally, I was shown the light, by someone a lot less techy than me… my wife. I lamented to her about the unexplainable problem I was having with the XBOX. Then she asked… “is it because of the TV?” That literally lit up the bulb in my head and it lit up the path to the solution.

So, how does the TV have anything to do with the XBOX? What ever the XBOX should not be dependent on the TV. So, up front, that theory should have gone out the window… but not exactly. It was due to the TV, or rather… the xbox is connected to the TV using component cables. Everywhere else was using regular RCA. So… what’s the difference?

The difference was 1080i. Because the XBOX was using component cables, I had it configured to go up to 1080i. So, I turned of all hi-def resolutions (480p, 720p & 1080i) and tried. The movie played flawlessly. It was just that simple!! Further testing confirmed that MP4 would play in 480p and 720p… but not 1080i. That’s good enough… since my MP4 were all standard def anyway.

So, the month long troubleshooting, network testing, performance tuning, all went no where. It was simply just the XBOX settings for the TV.

Definitely learnt a new lesson about checking on the basics… even if it’s seemingly unrelated.

All thanks to my dear wife, Winny =)

HDMI to VGA/RCA cables? *beware* I don’t think they work

was just on ebay looking for some cheap alternatives to buy HDMI cables… found some, quality was questionable… then I stumbled upon some people selling “HDMI to VGA/RCA” cables.

I was surprised for a moment. How’s that possible??

I should state that, it sure is possible to fabricate such a cable. It’s easy to just take any wire and put any sort of connectors at both ends. But watch out!! They are likely not to work.

The engineer in me knows that HDMI and VGA/RCA connections carry completely different type of signals. HDMI is pure digital and VGA/RCA are pure analog. There’s no way you can just take a cable, hook up the components and they will work.

For a start, if your equipment doesn’t get fried, you should already be lucky!

In reality, what you really need is a coverter box. A dedicated piece of equipment that converts HDMI signals to RCA or VGA.

So, be warned, don’t get suckered by simple cables that appear to do the trick. No such thing!!

Facebook update to 3.1.1 for the iPhone – GOOD!

just checked out the update to the iPhone’s Facebook app… the current version is 3.1.1.

What’s new? my favorite part… Contacts Sync. It’s a step in the direction which was default feature my wife’s HTC Hero. Though the iPhone’s sync is not as comprehensive (yet) as what’s in the Hero, it’s a step in the right direction.

So what the contact will do is compare the contacts in iPhone’s contact list and your friends in Facebook. If it has found matches, it will then download their facebook photos to the iPhone contact (there’s an option to prevent overwriting an existing photo), and it will add a “home page” entry in that contact, which links to the facebook page. Touching that entry will launch the facebook app and bring up your friend’s page in-app.

This is pretty cool, except there were a few misses…. here’s what I’m certain of… when either one of the below matches

  • firstname & lastname
  • email address (if shared with you)
  • possible phone number as well (I don’t have enough information to validate)

I did have a mis-match… a  contact I had in my phone was matched up with someone in facebook with a completely different name, and I’m not even friends with the match. The only data in there was the phone number, and I can’t tell if that happened to have been the criteria of match. Anyhow, certainly a bug if you ask me.

So, how do you perform a sync? First a few things to do prior

  1. sync your contacts to your PC/Google
  2. create a backup copy of your contacts after the sync.. e.g. on Google, go to contacts and export everything
  3. backup is crucial, in case some how the facebook sync screws up your precious contacts
  4. go forth and make sure you have Facebook 3.1.1 installed

Having done the above, here it goes

  1. Launch “Facebook” app on your iPhone
  2. go to the app’s main menu by tapping the top left corner
  3. touch on the “Friends” icon
  4. touch “sync” on the top right of the page
  5. slide “Syncing” to “ON” (notice that “Replace Photos” is “OFF” by default)
  6. you’ll have to agree to proceed on, tap “I Agree” if you do
  7. sync begins… take note though, if you have a lot of contacts and they match… expect this to take more then just a few minutes. Try to keep the phone from going to sleep when doing this, or it will slow down
  8. however, if there’s any interruption, you just need to relaunch the app, and navigate to the sync page; and it should start syncing again from where it left off
    *note* some times I need to relaunch the app a few times before the sync will start on it’s own… haven’t figured out why yet.

I hope future updates can even identify changed contact information and the app can prompt for updates.

have fun!!

“Please revert.” – really??

my first rant of 2010… actually been holding off this post for a while… but alas! I must put it out there…

so what’s irritating me? the use of the word “revert” in many many emails (To/Cc) I receive.

Before reading furthur, I would like you to sit back and think… what do you think the meaning of the word “revert” is?

Do you think that “revert” has a meaning like… “get back to”… as in like “reply”, “respond”?

Have you seen, or even written sentences similar to… “Please revert to me once you have a decision.” ?

Now, please read up on the definitions of the word “revert” as found by Google, here.

Welcome back, did you find any of the definitions there that meant “respond”, or anything similar?


Well, “revert” really means something like “undo”, “roll back”, “to restore back to a previous state”.

It DOES NOT MEAN, “reply” or any way near the vicinity of the word.

Now, if I’ve made you aware what “revert” means… think back on the sentences where the word has been misused… don’t they seem strange?

I work in the IT industry, and frequently we encounter problems and they’ll need to be fixed… so the person who’s tasked to make the necessary fixes sends you a mail to tell you that the problem will be worked on and it ends off… “I’ll revert once the problem has been resolved.”

Now, doesn’t it sound funny? If you read the sentence to the true meaning of “revert”… it probably could be read that this person is trying to be funny… yes, the problem will be worked on… but once it’s fixed, it will be “reverted”. LOL!!

Well, hope you’ve learnt something new today, good for the new year.