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#657: Mac Treat #112: iPhone Security Settings, Unbloat That Inbox, Browser iTunes Previews, Software Updates

 
     
 

Dear Friends,

It has been a busy week for me. I drove to New York City to attend the NY International Gift Fair with our Chill Pill Audio team for Monday and Tuesday, back for meetings on Wednesday, VBSR board meetings and legislative reception on Thursday and then some fun today at the Boston Celtics.

The more I think about the iPad, the more I feel that it is just the start of yet another digital revolution that will truly change how we read, receive information and media. I was meeting with my banker on Wednesday and he asked what I thought of the iPad.

I mentioned how I think that newspapers and magazines have gone downhill lately. I was looking at my Newsweek subscription that I have had forever and was just imagining that if I had access to a current magazine with full rich media and links on an iPad, how much better the experience and the information would be.

That same feeling goes for books (which I already read on my iPhone with the Kindle application) and for textbooks, too. Cash-strapped schools can use iPads instead of instantly out-of-date and expensive textbooks. Apple has embraced and created a new digital market that when we look back a few years from now, will be amazed that it started out as the iPad introduced last week.

MacWorld is next week, however, Apple will not be exhibiting or promoting the event. While I am heading west next week, it is to Cupertino for meetings with Apple and to give a presentation on Small Dog Electronics. I saw the dramatic decline of the Boston MacWorld show when Apple stopped coming and while I certainly wish everyone involved with MacWorld the best of success, I do not see the San Francisco MacWorld being a shadow of itself any longer.

 
     
  (Supersized) MAC TREAT #112: iPhone Security Settings  
   
 

Earlier this week, I had the heart-wrenching experience of losing my iPhone for a few hours. Okay, it was actually just a few minutes, but it felt like hours. I soon found it under a pile of mail that had been dropped off at my desk. What a relief.

In the past, if you lost your cellphone you probably also lost any new contacts or other information entered in it. One of the big advantages of using a smartphone (such as iPhone) is that it’s designed to sync with your computer, keeping your information backed up. If I lost my iPhone, I wouldn’t worry about losing the data on it since it’s backed on my computer. And while I don’t really want to buy a replacement iPhone at this time, at least I’d have justification to upgrade to an iPhone 3GS.

My major concern about losing my iPhone (or having it stolen) is the risk of someone accessing the data on it. Most people keep a lot of personal information on their iPhone. I have contacts, business emails, financial information, and more that I’d rather not expose to the world. Fortunately, the iPhone has many security features built in. I use all of them to keep my iPhone locked down.

First, every iPhone should have a passcode assigned to it. By default, iPhone doesn’t require you to enter a passcode to unlock it. I highly recommend you assign a passcode to your iPhone and require that passcode for access.

To set a passcode: Choose General > Passcode Lock and enter a 4-digit passcode, then enter the passcode again to verify it. iPhone then requires you to enter the passcode to unlock it or to display the passcode lock settings.

It’s important to note that you can configure your iPhone so you don’t need to enter the passcode every single time you access it, but only after it’s been idle for a set period of time. I have mine set so I only have to enter my passcode once per hour.

To set how long before your passcode is required: Choose General > Passcode Lock and enter your passcode. Tap Require Passcode, then select how long iPhone can be idle before you need to enter a passcode to unlock it.

Erase data after ten failed passcode attempts: This is another essential security setting. If someone obtains your iPhone and enters the wrong password ten times, all data on it will be erased and the iPhone will be locked. This deprives thieves from an unlimited amount of password guesses to access your data.

To do this, choose Settings > General > Passcode Lock, enter your passcode, and tap Erase Data to turn it on.

How to prevent Voice Dialing when iPhone is locked: In Settings, choose General > Passcode Lock and turn Voice Dial off. Unlock iPhone to use voice dialing.

To change the passcode: Choose General > Passcode Lock, enter your passcode, and tap Change Passcode. Enter your passcode again, then enter and reenter your new passcode.

To turn passcode lock off: Choose General > Passcode Lock, enter your passcode, and tap Turn Passcode Off, then enter your passcode again.

If you forget your passcode, you must restore the iPhone software. See Updating and Restoring iPhone Software.

MobileMe Adds Additional Remote Security Features to iPhone

You can get additional (very cool) remote security features for your iPhone if you have a MobileMe account. MobileMe is an online service, available by subscription. Go to Smalldog.com/mobileme for more information.

Find My iPhone: The Find My iPhone feature helps you locate iPhone if it’s been lost or misplaced, and display a message on your iPhone to help someone return it to you. It includes Remote Wipe, which lets you erase all your information on iPhone in case you don’t recover it. The Remote Passcode Lock feature lets you remotely lock your iPhone and create a new or replacement 4-digit passcode.

To enable this feature, turn on Find My iPhone in your MobileMe account settings.

To Find your iPhone: Log in to your MobileMe account at www.me.com and go to the Find My iPhone pane. Follow the onscreen instructions to locate your device on a map and display a message on its screen along with an optional sound to help you find it.

Remotely wipe information on your iPhone: Log in to your MobileMe account at www.me.com, then go to the Find My iPhone pane. Click “Remote Wipe…,” and follow the onscreen instructions.

A remote wipe is equivalent to the “Erase all content and settings” feature in Settings. It resets all settings to their defaults and erases all your information and media.

Remotely Lock Your iPhone: Log in to your MobileMe account at www.me.com, then go to the Find My iPhone pane. Click Remote Passcode Lock, and follow the onscreen instructions

Go to Smalldog.com/mobileme for more information.

 
     
  Unbloat That Inbox  
   
 

I was on vacation last week, enjoying some fresh powder (6 feet!) and admiring the iPad from afar (no, Steve didn’t check with me prior to scheduling Apple’s Special Event to see if I had a conflict. He’s been warned.).

While on vacation, I wanted to make sure that I was still (somewhat) connected to my crew here at work via my Small Dog email. However, much like the last time I went on vacation, around the second day in a remote location, Mail stopped communicating with the Small Dog email server (or vice versa). It’s probably all a coincidence, but I still wanted to figure out what I could do to make sure Mail and my email stay BFFs.

I have heard grumblings from many people about how Mail and especially Mail for iPhone have issues handling inboxes with a large number of emails. There are several theories about why this is the case, but a good rule of thumb is to limit your inbox to under 1-2K messages. (My last count? Almost 16,000!) This is especially important if yours uses an IMAP protocol, as ours does.

With an IMAP account, it allows users to access their email through multiple means, because whatever actions you take (sending, saving drafts, etc.) always stay synced to the server. (For example, if you have your email account set up on your Mac as well as your iPhone, the same information will be available on both.) So, it stands to reason that once the emails start to stack up, that’s a lot for the server to keep straight, and for it to do so quickly.

So, with the help of our IT Department (who, let’s face it, knows more about email protocols than anyone should), here’s a handy checklist to keep in mind when managing your inbox, whether you’ve had issues with it or you just want to do some preventative maintenance:

  1. Keep your inbox under 1 – 2k total messages (apparently, it’s so important, it’s worth mentioning again).
  2. Store your messages in a folder outside of the inbox, whether it’s solely on your Mac (“On My Mac”) or a folder that is available on the email server (Mine’s called “SDE” with a subfolder called “Archived Mail”).
  3. When moving your messages to your preferred folder, try not to move too many at a time (I like to grab a month at a time, which works out to between 1,000 – 1,500k; ideally you’ll only move a couple hundred at a time, depending on your connection).
  4. As you move the groups, don’t move a new group of email until your last one has finished (Open Window > Activity to preview your progress).

Hopefully, you’ll notice that Mail continues to work speedily and consistently. Mine’s been great so far—I’ll continue to mind these tips and to use Smart Mailboxes to keep myself organized and trouble-free.

Have you had an email nightmares or tips you’d like to share? Email me with your stories!

 
     
  Preview iTunes Apps Via Web Browser  
   
 

Apple has slowly been moving the functionality of the iTunes Store to the web. First, Apple introduced iTunes Preview, allowing people to read browse and read about albums and songs in the iTunes Store from the web in any modern web browser. Then Apple added the ability to actually listen to :30 second previews of songs from the web.

This week, Apple introduced webpages featuring information about iPhone apps and games. These look just like the pages you’d see in the iTunes Store, but again, you access them from any modern web browser. In my opinion, it’s somewhat easier to read about various apps in full-screen web browser than it in the standard iTunes Store interface.

Interestingly, when you’re reading about an app online, iTunes will simultaneously launch on your computer, directing you to the app you’re reading about.

Check it out at Apple.com/itunes. At the bottom of the page you’ll see a window called “iTunes preview.”

Back in December Apple acquired a streaming music service called Lala. Perhaps iTunes preview is simply a preview of a future, web-based iTunes experience, based partly on intellectual property from the Lala acquisition.

 
     
  iPhone OS 3.1.3 Released  
   
 

Earlier this week, Apple released iPhone OS 3.1.3 for all versions of iPhone and iPod touch. This fixes several bugs and addressed a number of security issues:

  • Improves accuracy of reported battery level on iPhone 3GS
  • Resolves issue where third-party apps would not launch in some instances
  • Fixes bug that may cause an app to crash when using the Japanese Kana keyboard

Click here for full details on the security updates in iPhone OS 3.1.3.

Download the update via iTunes with your iPod touch or iPhone connected to your Mac or PC. It took me a total of five minutes to download and install the update.

 
     
   
   

The days are getting longer, but winter is definitely still here. Among the challenges of winter: snow, cold, ice, dog paws on salted sidewalks, and using iPhone with gloves. Normal gloves and mittens lack a conductive surface, making it impossible to access iPhone’s touch screen. Here in Vermont, you see a lot of people talking on their iPhone with one glove off, looking a little like Michael Jackson.*

A solution to this problem is Tavo gloves. They’re constructed with an electrically conductive overlay on the index finger and thumb to engage touchpad sensors and wind resistant fleece for superb warmth and comfort. Silicone texture on the fingers and palm enhance grip and control. They’re perfect for everyday use, commuting,
running, walking and cold weather sports.

I’ve worn them comfortably in cold to freezing conditions, and for running. In very cold conditions, I’ve layered them under snowboarding gloves.

They come in medium and large, on sale for $5 off!

*Editor’s note: Umm… guilty as charged. Plus, my self-made fingerless gloves are a tad too cold for winter…

 Tavo iPhone / iPod touch Glove with Playpoint (medium) - Black, Save $5!
24.99
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 Tavo Glove with Playpoint (Large) - Black, Save $5!
24.99
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 Valentines Day Gift Package! iPod nano 16GB - Pink (5G), $15 iTunes Card, Free Shipping!
189.99
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 Valentines Day Gift Package! iPod nano 16GB - Silver (5G), $15 iTunes Gift Card, Free Shipping!
189.99
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 MacBook 2.26GHz 4GB, 250GB White Unibody, 3-year AppleCare Plan, Free Sleeve, Free Shipping!
1,289.99
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 iMac 24in 2.66GHz 4GB/640GB/SD/9400M, 3-year AppleCare Plan, Free Shipping!
1,419.99
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 Mac Pro Quad-Core 2.66GHz, 8GB RAM, two 640GB drives, GT120 graphics, Free Shipping!
2,699.99
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 iMac 27in 2.8GHz Quad Core i7, 8GB RAM, 1TB drive, 4850 graphics, AppleCare Plan, Free Shipping!
2,429.99
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 Mac Mini 2.26GHz 4GB, RAM, 160GB drive, SuperDrive, 9400M Graphics!
699.99
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 Chill Pill Audio 2-Port USB Charger for iPhone or iPod and Dock-to-USB Cable - Save $5!
24.99
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I’ll be celebrating my birthday on Sunday watching the Super Bowl and cheering on the New Orleans Saints. It should be a good game and a great way to spend a relaxing Sunday.

Thank you for reading this issue of Kibbles & Bytes!

Your Kibbles & Bytes team,
Don, Kali & Ed