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Sunday, November 11, 2012

Removing Stock iOS Apps - No Jailbreak (iOS 6)

If you have upgraded to iOS 7, please use this updated post. If you are still using iOS 6, please continue reading.

At first glance, the iOS home screen looks nearly identical to the original release back in 2007. Though those experienced with the evolving iterations of iOS will tell you that the features have changed. Furthermore, with the App Store continuing to explode with (lets face it) better options than the stock software, these included applications are only causing clutter across the springboard.

The last two releases of iOS have included new applications. One of which, "Newsstand" is of particular annoyance as it cannot even be placed in a folder. There was a former fix for this, however Apple quickly patched that "bug". There is now however a new method for hiding Newsstand and most of the other stock iOS apps. The following will provide instruction and links to complete this on your own iOS device.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Quick Fix: iOS 6 Passbook (Eliminating App Store Error)

The recently released iOS 6 included a built-in app called Passbook. This feature for many has been a sore spot because of the lack of functionality. Upon opening the new application an introductory screen is shown with a button guiding the user to the App Store. However, the common reaction to the tap of the App Store button is a cannot connect error. 

While this feature is new and few app developers are supporting it currently, the "cannot connect" error limits the consumer market to even see what options are available. If you have encountered this error, there is a very easy fix to allow you access to the App Store through Passbook so that you may look at you option to take advantage of this new iOS feature.

This simple fix

The steps:
  1. Open Settings>General>Date & Time. 
  2. Turn off the "Set Automatically" feature.
  3. Manually set you device's date to 2013.
  4. Close the Settings app and navigate to the Passbook app.
  5. Follow the link in the app to the App Store (A loading wheel should appear rather than the error).
  6. Navigate back to setting and re-engage the "Set Automatically" feature for the Date & Time.
  7. Hard reboot your device. This is accomplished by holding down the sleep/wake and home buttons at the same time until the screen goes black (ignoring the "Slide to power off").
  8. Restart the device and open the multitasking tray.
  9. Close from multitasking both the App Store and Passbook.
  10. Done!
With these steps complete opening Passbook and navigating to the App Store through the provided button should be successful. At the time that I enabled this functionality there were only 6 apps supporting Passbook integration.

Let me know if this worked for you in the comments below. 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

iSO 6 Live for Download

The much anticipated iOS 6 is now available for public download. Available either through iTunes with a connected device or over the "air" on you iDevice (Setting>General>Software Update).


Friday, June 22, 2012

Thinking about the "Surface"

Earlier this week Microsoft held a super-secret-event in which they unveiled the new Surface. This is no longer the tabletop touch screen that was revealed earlier but a highly portable Ultra-book / Tablet computer. The event's presentation explained, in limited detail, two iterations of the product: Surface for Windows RT & Surface for Windows 8 Pro. This is a break though product for Microsoft, though not for the reason you might expect.

Hardware and Software Hand-in-Hand

Microsoft's flagship product is software, both the Office Suite and the Windows operating system. They also have an abundant hardware business model as well, producing peripherals such as keyboards and mice, and the very popular line of Xbox products. The Surface is where the merge of these to focuses come together. This is the strongest point in the Surface; the fact that the hardware is built for the software and vice-versa. 

This hardware/software relationship has been modeled by Apple for years. Commonly referred to as a "walled-garden" or "closed-ecosystem" it ensures consistent stability and optimization. Microsoft historically has used the OEMs for hardware production; with Surface, they are now in direct competition with they main software licensees. It will be interesting to watch how this new business approach plays out once the Surface comes to market.

Surface Without Depth

While it is high time that Microsoft brings something of value to market, the presentation was disappointingly low on details. While all the dimensions and set-aparts were touched on, the important details were ignored. 

The display, while described as HD and Full-HD with mention of eyes not distinguishing pixels (sound familiar) was never clarified with a pixel density.

The product pricing was almost forgotten and only stated as "competitive."

The product release was mentioned often enough but only on a surface level (pun intended); "... will all be available on launch day." Thanks Tips, it is only fair to assume we can buy you product on launch day but is that next week or next year!?

The Surface for...

The naming of technology products is a difficult place to be (remember the feminine product joke with the release of the iPad?). Simple is the best way to go; it becomes memorable and creates ease of conversation. Case in point, try comparing all your favorite Android devices without stumbling and stammering over names.

Microsoft failed at the names for the new Surface product line. Since it is Microsoft hardware, there is no need in the name to specify that it is "....For Window...". The name approach should have been Surface RT & Surface Pro. Easy and clean. Instead we get "Surface for Windows RT" and "Surface for Windows 8 Pro

(Courtesy @isaach)


Microsoft designs an upside-down laptop and calls it "New". This graphic explains it all:

What are your thoughts on the Surface? Is it a worthy opponent for the competition? Leave your thoughts below.

Update 06/26/12: Upon further reading about the Surface product launch, this product might not be as polished as presented. According to, the post-presentation "hands-on" was very limited in what could actually be handled. Included on the "no-touch" list was the TouchCover keyboard. Being as this is a key feature and new tech, the fact that these were display only raises large red flags; makes one wonder how much product development remains for the "within the year" launch.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

WWDC Reflections: Hardware

Over the last week and a half I have both drooled over and chewed on the Next Generation MacBook Pro announcement. This notebook is nothing short of remarkable and I would be lying if I said I did not desire one myself. However, the justification of the purchase price coupled with the how the hardware was designed, the satisfaction quickly wears off.


The Retina Display

This is the reason to purchase this machine. With an incredible resolution, images and video will have never before seen clarity. The downside to this however is the applications that do not support the pixel density, they not going to look too hot until the developer gets around to an update.


All Flash Architecture

This flash storage setup coupled with the new Ivy Bridge processors is going to make this machine screaming fast. According to this independent YouTube Video boot time is under 15 seconds! 

Dropping the Legacy

(Courtesy of
The other main feature of the next generation MacBook Pro is the removal of all legacy I/O ports. What have come to be standard features on most notebooks have been removed in entirety from this hardware. The list of "missing features" includes: Ethernet port, FireWire, and (thought this would happen a while ago) Optical Drive. There are two other features that although not "legacy" will be missed from this device. First is a dedicated Audio-in port. Second is the simple battery charge indicator.

Putting it All Together is Where it Falls Apart

This computer's physical size is impressive enough; slap on the specs that Apple has built in and it is jaw-dropping. This computer was built to take on the most demanding of computing tasks in whatever location you want to perform them (I always prefer to work out of the office). There is no doubt that "Pro" is the name that suits this computer...But not for the reason in which Apple started the Pro line.

The Apple Pro line of computers (Mac Pro and MacBook Pro) where, and still are, designed for the professionals. The original feature that set these machines apart from the rest of the Mac line-up was the easy upgrade-ability. Though the easiness of this upgrading has taken a downward turn over the past few years it was still possible, until this next generation MacBook Pro. With the RAM soldered to the logic board and a proprietary cut SSD, what you buy is what you get. My advice, buy the fully upgraded version if this is the machine you want. Otherwise, you may regret it in as little as a year from now.

What are your thoughts on this new generation of hardware? Comment below.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

How-To: Stop Procrastinating

There is plenty of information online about how to stop procrastinating (here, here, here, and here to name a few). The difficulty is they are encouraging the behavior that needs to be corrected. By reading all available information about putting off procrastinating, you are still procrastinating (unless you have been assigned the task of researching how not to).

If you really want to stop procrastinating it is one simple step: Start the task. With that said, go start the task you are avoiding. By starting the task, your procrastination is cured.

Do you put things off, or get them done instantly? Leave your comment below.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Apple's Naming Convention - The New iPhone

Since the release of the Millennial Mac, there have been many iterations of both hardware and software. Along the way we have seen Apple's products grow in leaps and bounds in the performance spec department while keeping the familiar names: iBook, MacBook, MacBook Pro, Mac Pro (okay, the latter hasn't seen much change). And since the release of OS X (the tenth Apple operating system) we have simply referred to it as the "big cat" names: Tiger, Leopard, Snow Leopard, Lion. All along the way, Apple has used a naming system that is both recognized and simple (unlike the Android phone names). There has however been an exception, specifically in the mobile device department.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

WWDC 2012 - Predictions

Apple's World Wide Developer's Conference (WWDC) is right around the corner. The feature Keynote address is probably one of my favorite times of the year... actually any Apple Keynote event is great. With WWDC 2012 less than two weeks away the rumors are flying around the internet. These are my thoughts on the subject.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Thoughts on Flash

Since the invention of the iPhone, it has been heavily scrutinized for its inability to run Flash. Former Apple CEO Steve Jobs publicly shared his thoughts in the famous Apple's thoughts on Flash letter back in 2010. Here we are 2 years later and the iPhone (and iPad) are still flash free.

And it appears mobile devices are going to stay Flash-free. Adobe has put an end to the mobile flash development. Yet I still hear potential cell phone consumers (and sometimes new iPhone owners) complaining about this "hindrance." What is the big deal anyway? I have been an iPhone user since the 3GS and the number of times "Flash-inability" has ruined my internet browsing experience is exactly... never. Sure I have come across the "you must install Flash" badge on a handful of occasions however, it is rarely hindering the reason that I have navigated to that page. Furthermore, if the page requires Flash there is most likely another non-Flash-based site with the content that I am looking for.

In my opinion there is another way to view Flash and this is probably the more important argument to have.

What's your experience with Flash in the mobile world? Do you encounter Flash issues regularly? Are you sad to see it go? Comment below.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Tips: Internet Automation -

Social media (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pintrest...) are all platforms to share information. Many of us have multiple accounts in order to interact with different groups of people. The difficulty is managing all these accounts while staying on top of other repetitive tasks. That's where ifttt comes in.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

iPhone Repair

The iPhone 4 and 4S have raced to the top of the mobile phone market. With the popularity being so high, accidents are inevitable; luckily parts and tool providers are plentiful however repair-skills required go from Basic to Challenge Accepted.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Tips: Wallpaper

Desktop wallpaper is one of the easiest changes to make in personalizing your computing experience. Depending on your taste, the default system wallpapers may be enough to satisfy your desired theme.

But wallpaper is not just for the desktop computer anymore.

All of our mobile devices now have wallpaper options and since the aspect ratio is nearly opposite of our desktops and notebooks, the choices for using a similar wallpaper on all platforms while keeping them aesthetically pleasing on each decreases.

My favorite site for high quality wallpapers is Not only are the graphics beautiful and of great quality but there is an optimized version for each device that I may want to us it on. On top of that, some of the graphic even include alternate images (the "Lego" wallpaper is a perfect example of this).

Where do you normally find your device wallpaper?

Did you know you can customize your device beyond the background picture? Check out these iOS tweaks that do not required jailbreaking.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

How-To: Enable iPhone/iPod Emoticons

There are plenty of third-party apps in the App Store that offer additional options (or add-ons) for text messaging. One of my favorites is TextPics (or there is a free version available here). However, did you know that there is a plethora of standard emoticons available through the iOS 5 native software?
This feature has not been widely advertised, and is buried deeply within the settings menu. To be more specific, it has been camouflaged as an "international keyboard" under the language "emoji."
For full instructions, follow this easy how-to that I posted over at

Enjoy your new emotion-filled text conversations.

Friday, May 11, 2012

How-To: Email

No Offense

I admit, the title for this post is slightly condescending but allow me to explain. Email is one of the cornerstones of computing both in our work and personal lives, yet most of us neglect to foster good habits to ensure our inbox remains user-friendly. Surprisingly there is very little time and energy involved in making sure your digital mail experience is both friendly and rewarding.

Inbox Analysis 

How many messages are in your inbox? And I am not referring to new or unread messages.
At the peak of my email neglect I had over 2000 messages in my inbox (the email address was less than 2 years old)! All of them were marked as "read" and all of them were in various stages of completion. Now I hope that you are not in a similar situation otherwise this comic is probably an accurate representation of you email habits.
If you can relate with any of this, or are just looking to improve your own management system, keep reading. There is hope.

Thursday, May 10, 2012



I have to be honest, my name is not Steve. Nor is my nickname. Nor have I ever been called Steve (except by that one person who thought they recognized me and insisted on guessing my name). My name is not Steve but Steve is a part of me. Allow me to explain. During the years of Window's '98, I came to the realization that someone, somewhere was creating all the printed media that I enjoyed consuming. It was at that moment that imaginary Steve knocked on a door in my brain and said, "Hey! We could do that."

The early years

Being 13 years old and armed with MS Paint, Microsoft Word, and greeting card generating program I started designing graphics. The first, of course, was to be a logo in order to brand myself and have my masterpieces easily recognized. After hours of work spread over multiple days, the logo was complete. It was "STEVE'S STUDIO" in white Stop font angling slightly upward in the center of a 12-point blue star, giving the appearance of a casually placed sticker. It was perfect.
With the logo complete (and saved as a *.doc file) it was time to start building a portfolio. The question was, where to begin? Webdings would be the beginning. These glyphs were nice, but very boring in black and white. One-by-one I colourized the Webdings font. Which made for good practice of my next endeavor.
At the time the graphics on skateboards were very intriguing. Using the "Drawing" toolbar in Microsoft Word I created a to-scale outline of a skateboard which would serve as both my canvas and template for my first graphics. Sadly, these graphics were lost when that computer crashed.
With all my hard work gone, I hung up my graphic designer dreams and moved on to other things. Steve on the other hand, did not give up on the dream...he waited.


By the way, my real name is Byron.
Along with the continuation of the story of Steve, this blog will also contain how-to's, tips, tricks, and history revolving around my experience with and around technology.