Monday, December 1, 2008

odd laptop hardware

Apple hardware, otherwise perfect, was doing something weird to me a few days ago.
See for yourself.

Friday, October 10, 2008

New war? UK in Panic

Ok, UK is mad at iceland because lots of savings where put into icelandic banks and now have vanished. However, as it is always the case with investments: know your risks before you invest. The UK authorities apparently didn't read the fineprint.

But is this the right reason to start a war?
UK is now using the terror law as a tool for revenge?

Trouble and panic in Iceland.

I have a big telecom's project in Iceland since a year. Iceland is a beautiful and amazing country. But it is in big trouble one might think. The 4 biggest icelandic banks have been taken over by the government over night. Icelandic companies of the finance sector are in big trouble due to that and the sector has big issues too.

Everyone thinks I must be mad to be in telecoms and into Iceland at this time. The reality is different. What's happening currently in the icelandic market is pure panic. Ok its for real that some people have lost or are going to loose big money or already have lost it. But does that have to do anything with my plans? It doesn't. It means my competitors get into trouble. They are already cutting jobs big time. It means a lot of people revise their budgets and will be looking for better deals to save. The result of this is that we might even get more customers than we thought. It means there might even be one or two competitors less. Have we lost money so far? No. As we only invested in our own infrastructure and didn't play games on the financial market, we have lost nothing. Our own infrastructure is still worth the same as before. Zero value lost. So why panic?

Quintessence: Generalizing trouble in panic situations is bad. One guy's trouble is the other guy's opportunity. Trouble and panic as it happens right now is just shifting money around quickly. Some will loose and some will win. And this time we won't bee on the loosing side.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

NDA dropped

Apple has finally dropped the NDA for iPhone development!
Its abut time developers can now talk freely between them!

Long live free speech...

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Swiss German is not German

Writing Swiss German on a German keyboard on the iPhone is messy. Autocorrection gets into the way constantly. There is a property which allows you to switch autocorrection off or on but Apple simply doesn't show this switch if you choose german language (or its not offered preinstalled on the models sold here). In other words, you must jailbreak your phone to be able to switch off autocorrection by adding one single line into a .plist file.

Its so easy for apple to fix this but they did not think someone in Switzerland might want to write english,german,italian, swissgerman, french etc. on the same phone. While switching between german and english keyboard is ok to switch autocorrection to the corresponding language, when it comes to swiss german, it just messes up your text totally. And then there are other people from other countries living here who want to write their native language for which the iPhone might not have support for. Well autocorrection makes it very difficult, I can tell you.

I reported this problem to Apple back in August already as Bug #6162063 and it got marked as duplicate of Bug #6182799. However it did not get fixed in 2.1 firmware.

Now I realize I'm not the only one. There is a large protest against autocorrection in switzerland and 4'600 7'000 end users have already signed a petition against autocorrection not being able to be disabled! This is probably about 60% of the sold iPhone 3G owners (given after 1 year of iPhone "classic" there where about 15'0000-20'000 iPhones in the market in Switzerland)

So its time for Apple to THINK DIFFERENT....


My second iPhone application is now under review.

QTH is an application useful for amateur radio operators. It shows you your current location in longitude/latitude and in QTH locator.

For those non radio amateurs among you, QTH is a shortcut used in morse code and stands for "My location is...". The QTH locator (sometimes referred to Maidenhead locator) is cutting the earth into squares. It is used in VHF contesting a lot to calculate the distance of the connections.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Karl's blog

Karl Kraft has written an excellent blogpost about his experience developing for the iPhone.
You might want to read his post here:

Thursday, September 11, 2008


My first iPhone App is done. Its not rocket science but its a tiny useful application which gives you all kinds of information about your system such as kernel version, IP addresses, Model number etc. I have more applications in the pipeline but this one is the first one to finish and make it to the AppStore. It's now available in the AppStore.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Apple slavery (also known as NDA) [# 6192802]

Others have complained about the Apple iPhone Developer NDA. I can only double back that opinion. I followed discussions why the NDA has not been lifted by now.

Some people say because of patents because things under NDA are not considered published.

If you take a look at the NDA though, you'll see that Apple not only forbids the use of private frameworks, but any unpublished API.

So if the NDA forbids use of any unpublished API and everything given out is considered not published, the conclusion is: Whatever you build your application on, is violating Apple's NDA in some argueable sense. In other words, whatever you do, Apple has a hook to kick you out of the door if they want to and if you're out, you will never come back. Apple has the right to do anything with you.

I call this a modern version of slavery.

Monday, August 25, 2008

SIM Locks the Second

The Swiss TV magazine "Kassensturz" has picked up the SIMLock story.

Also, iPhones from italy are 569 € which corresponds to 922 CHF (not even taking off the more expensive italian VAT). So another proof the 1199.- CHF price is a real rip off.

The video is here:

Friday, August 15, 2008

Programmers are artists...

If you use iTunes and browse through iPhone/iPodTouch Applications, you will realize what Apple did. They used their music store, renamed it to App Store.

You can see this if you go into the AppStore and then click browse on the top right.
You will end up in a nicely structured window with applications listed. The odd thing is simply the application have a length, artist,album, genre etc.

This implies programmers are artists.

Thank you Apple!

(radar: 6152083)

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Roaming Madness (Problem ID: 6138068)

Living in Basel, Switzerland, attached to France and Germany, I can pick up many GSM networks. In my living room I picked up 9 signals. I'm sure from the roof I can pick up all of them.

I repeated the exercise what drove me mad during my vacation. Here's how I killed my iPhone's signal completely (until reboot).

1. I go into carrier preferences and selected manually E-Plus as carrier. Swisscom has roaming with them so it should work just fine.

2. After a while, I got no change into the carrier at the top left. So I go into carrier preferences again. Now I get welcomed with a popup saying "Network connection lost". Well not surprising, the signal might not be strong enough. As I'm already in the preferences I go back out and back in. Now it says it can not load my network list. This is like that until I reboot.

3. Exercise #2. I select "sunrise 3G" as a carrier. Well the iPhone lets me do that. I am 100% sure, Sunrise does NOT have roaming with Swisscom. But the iPhone lets me select it ? Yes. I got the checkmark next to it. So I went back out and everything looked fine. It still showed swisscom and some bars at the top left. Suspicious as I am
I wanted to see if it auto reselected my home carrier. So I went into carrier preferences again and voila. it switches to "No service". So far so good but now it says "Searching...." and no list appears. Never. You can wait for hours it will stay empty. The only way to get your phone back is to reboot it.

It seems to be that Apple has not well tested roaming. In USA it only works on AT&T. You can drive 5'000 miles and you will still have AT&T coverage or no coverage anyway. So why care about roaming?

In Europe we use roaming (and we get ripped of by the carriers for it). And due to SIM lock, Apple doesn't help the budget neither. In my case I can walk 10 minutes and I'm in another country (France). I can walk another 10 minutes and I'm again another country (Germany) again. At my home I can pick up signals of 8 carriers from 3 countries on which I can roam on all of them except the other carriers of Switzerland.

Coming back to my vacation spot.
There I had 4 carriers I could select from:


TDC had a strong signal. Telia a "ok" signal and Sonofon I have not seen at my vacation house and 3DK only very weak on the balcony. So I called swisscom support line asking which carrier would be best for my Laptop's 3G card (Novatel XU870). The answer was I should choose TDC as they have 3G roaming with them whereas they don't have 3G roaming with Telia despite Telia having 3G. The result was that I got GPRS speed. It was not good enough to use it for browsing or reading email even. While trying to do a wiretransfer on e-banking, I timed out on the login screen as the security key changes every minute or so and it took longer to transmit it so it was always expired. Telia supported EDGE in that region. However, my 3G card from Novatel had switched me back to TDC all the time. And there is no option to change the carrier. Apple has simply not thought of anyone wanting to do that. On the iPhone where I could at least read my mail, I had similar problems due to the experiences of switching carriers as explained above. Driving to the next village, dropped the signal for a minute or so and the guesswork started again. After a week, I fixed the problem for the laptop by manually changing the connection scripts to force a selection of carriers (using AT+COPS=...).

Its a shame a world wide company like Apple has never thought through what roaming means to non americans. I guess they have a learning curve on the mobile side.

But lets not give up hope yet and give them a chance to fix it. They fixed another problem I reported (one I'm not allowed to tell you due to NDA madness) even though they didn't told me its fixed in that new release. Could have saved me some hours of work. But what the heck.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

SIM Locks...

Finally I was able to get an iPhone 3G. I bought it from Manor.
According to, you can buy the 16GB model it either with Swisscom prepaid SIM for 619.- or with Orange prepaid SIM for 899.-. But as I travel often and want to use my own network's SIM (which doesn't have roaming with neither yet), I bought the "APPLE iPhone 3G 16.0GB ohne Vertrag" (means without contract) for whooping 1199.- CHF (for your foreigners out there, 1 CHF is approx 1 USD). So I paid 580.- more so I have an universal iPhone and no prepaid SIM with it.

But what did I got? A SIM locked iPhone! So why did I pay 580.- more? Because they removed the prepaid sim from the bundle?

A total rip off.

As the Manor offering at has been removed in the meantime, here some screenshoots of what it was before.
Product comparision
Product detail
Product description

Friday, July 11, 2008

IPv6.... the future or the past...?

RIPE (The europen internet registry) says:
With approximately 85% of all available IPv4 Internet addresses already in use by May 2008, experts predict that the remaining stock of unallocated IPv4 addresses will be consumed by around 2011. This may have an impact on new Internet users and users of Internet devices that are not IPv6 enabled. In contrast, the pool of available IPv6 numbers will exceed 340 billion billion billion.

ITU invites to a workshop on IPv6:
The main purpose of this workshop is to raise awareness of the importance and opportunities of the deployment of IPv6...

Apple has support for IPv6 in MacOS X since a long time.

BUT: iPhone has no IPv6 anymore.

Am I missing something?

App Store starts

AppStore has started. Tons of US-Apps. Of course they had 3 months more to prepare compared to folks on this side of the ocean. But there's more to it.

More information about Enterprise Distribution will be available soon.

So we can continue to go fishing...

But hey it ain't so bad. Almost no one gets iPhone 3G anyway as the supply is so short :-)

Thursday, July 3, 2008

SIM Lock confirmed.

Dear Mr. Abonde
Thank you for your email. We are happy to reply to your query.
The new iPhone mobiles (prepaid-Easy & postpaid) will be SIM-locked for 24 months. Swisscom is not allowed to sell unlocked iPhones. The SIM-lock is a component of the agreement of Swisscom & Apple. So it will be not possible to use it with SIM Cards from other providers.

So if you travel often, don't buy an iPhone DONT BUY.
(or at least not in Switzerland).

Friday, June 27, 2008

iPhone 3G unlocked

According to, the iPhone will be sold with or without a subscription in Switzerland.

That's good news. My guess is that Apple did not have a choice than to offer the iPhone unlocked in many countries as otherwise the carriers wouldn't take it.

So the wait is over soon.

Monday, June 9, 2008

The 3G iPhone is here

Apple at WWDC 2008 now announced the widely expected 3G version of the iPhone.
Now everyone says "hurray". Well not really. There are essential things still wrong.

- 3G support is nice but its lacking the Video Call feature.
- It's apparently still locked to operators so you can't travel to another country and put a prepaid SIM in (to be verified shortly).

At least they got the price right this time. And added GPS is nice too. So its a trade off. For me, locking myself to one operator is a no go. I'm operating with lots of SIM cards all the time so I can't use just one. It would ruin all my travel budgets.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


Apple starts giving out SDK keys. After 3 months of waiting, finally there's movement.
I have not got mine yet though but I was allowed to pay for it.

Friday, May 23, 2008

WWDC 2008 Speculations

WWDC is coming up. Everyone expects a 3G iPhone to come up and so far this seems to be a very realistic guess (but with Apple you can never be sure). Some people try to abuse this hype by publishing non existing future products for a not yet existing 3G iPhone. Another funny speculation is  a 3G iPhone with 42Mbps download speed. As nice as so much speed sounds, it's useless for such a device. First: no network supports it today. Second: the CPU can't cope with so much speed (and if it would it would zap the battery in 10 minutes). Third: where you want to put so much data away?  Thats 5.2MBytes per second. You want full HD resolution on your iPhone?Well your screen can't cope with that. And it takes exactly  50 seconds to fill up your 16GB of storage. And I still need to see that fast and affordable flash chips. But I'm sure this one will make it to many newspapers as it sounds so nice. So speculations over speculations and Apple masters it again to make everyone very eager to see what's now the real truth behind why I still have to wait for my SDK developer key. Hopefully they don't just come up with a new MacPro II. Well why not as long as there is "one more thing....".

See you at WWDC.

Monday, May 5, 2008

There's hope for europe

Given Apple Insider says some europeans got their iPhone SDK keys now

it seems to be there's hope for the iPhone cracks out there in the 60% hacked market share land.
However the odds are not much better. Having enrolled in the very first hours of the iPhone SDK being available to download (yeah you where able to download 2GB files but you wheren't able to run applications on your 999 € phone with it...), I'm still locked in "You will receive notification of your enrollment status. Enrollment ID: ....". Apparently it is being used to promote WWDC 2008 as everyone hopes to see the 3G version there. Its pure speculation if the 3G version of a iPhone will be announced at WWDC 2008 but it's pretty realistic timing for a 3G version. Could also hold up Apple to release the SDK to a larger public because it could lead to "hints" apple doesn't want to give (but as the US developers are already good in leaking such information, who cares. Everyone knows anyhow, even before its released :-O).

So. time for me to print my t-shirts and check out flights to San Francisco. And to check out who to meet from Apple. Unfortunately there's no company directory so its VERY hard to find the right people. But let's not give up. Apple has been a great company in the past and I'm sure it want to be a great company in the future.

Friday, March 28, 2008

iPhone SDK take 2

Now Apple has posted a new verison of the SDK. So you could think things do improve.
You are wrong. You can't even compile code anymore without having a key.

So nice of Apple locking us out even more. So we can stare once more to the screen saying:

You will receive notification of your enrollment status. Enrollment
ID: YD8P2E58P9

Bummer. I'm sure Bugreport #5827950 #5787381 will has been be closed soon under the category "non americans are potential terrorists. They could invade our iPhones". as duplicate. So no more tracking of the issue *sight*

Monday, March 17, 2008

Apple price politics

Apple no longer charges on a world wide price. Europeans are by far more charged for the same items as Americans.

Today I compared prices of the iPod touch. And they are wooping 51% to 76% more expensive
in Switzerland compared to the US price. Of course you should remove the 7.6% swiss VAT from this and what it would cost to ship it. But at 60% higher prices, it's a public offense to the loyal swiss market.

Hopefully people will react accordingly.

PS: part of the price increase might be caused by the swiss agency of author rights (Suisa) which pushed through a cost on a MP3 player. Its legal to download MP3's. So its legal to have them on your iPod but you are punished by a increased buying price. Its even that odd that its per Megabyte and its different if its flash or HD. A odd story by itself. But I leave it to the judges to use common sense to fix this one day.

When comparing to UK or germany prices, they where stilll 10-25% higher than in USA for the iPod touch. So its not THAT bad but still bad.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

iPhone SDK nonsense

Dear Reader,

I've followed the iPhone SDK launch and I can only shake my head. So I decided to let free my thoughts about it.

Apple originally didn't wanted to have 3rd party Apps on the iPhone. Web 2.0 is all what you get. Bullshit said the developer community. The iPhone was hacked and thousands of more or less useful app's where created over night.

Well this is interesting as an experiment but for commercial developer use this is not solid ground because you can not safely assume everyone has a jailbreaked iPhone. At least it had pushed Apple to release an official SDK.

We have awaited the offical SDK with tension. Our goal was to solve the most burning problems of the iPhone in the european market which Apple has simply forgot to solve because they have no clue how advanced Europe is in using mobile telephony. We have identified the following hot spots:

- Bluetooth modem
- Bluetooth filetransfer (OBEX)
- Bluetooth sync
- Accessing or importing adressbook from SIM card
- SCTP Support for applications.

While investigating those solutions we have faced the wall at all times.

1. You can build your application but you cant run it on the iPhone. I have nowhere seen how you get this "special" key and neither how you get and install it. A simple error -34 is all you are going to see.

2. A lot of things use reuseable code. Thats what dynamic libraries are there for. The SDK can not build any shared libraries. Ok you can copy all code into the application but thats not the idea. Our WAP stack project is killed because of this.

3. Background daemons are not permitted. So no daemon who listens to bluetooth filetransfers, synch's or functions as a modem. Bluetooth projects are killed because of this.

4. Kernel extensions are not permitted. This kills SCTP. A fantastic network protocol which would be perfect to be used on the iPhone. SCTP supports seamless handover between multiple IP connections. So you could start downloading stuff on WLAN and continue to do so over EDGE/GPRS without any interruption on application level. Linux has it, Solaris has it, HP Unix has it, Windows has it. MacOS X hasn't. There's a solution for desktop MacOS X but its kernel dependent as it has to use an unsupported API to install a protocol above IP (next to UDP and TCP). Apple has told me they will support it. Maybe in 10.4.8 but maybe only in 10.5. Well we are at 10.5.2 now and there is still no corresponding API which was promised at WWDC 2004, 2005 and WWDC 2006.

5. There is no API to work with SMS This means you can not receive SMS to be dealt with inside an application. So no WAP push or MMS notification can be handled! MMS project killed. Chess via SMS killed.

6. The sandbox does disallow us from using any hardware directly. So importing from the SIM card? Don't even think about it. Project killed.

Now what does this mean? My project for the 6 "most wanted features" have been killed. So I can start developing another Tetris and stay in line with 192764652 other developers doing the same. And of course i have to sell it at the same place as the others. How can a buyer decide which tetris to take? Well it means Apple will be the judge at the end of who gets business and who doesn't.

I consider the requirement to sell via iTunes store as pure offense. There are many european countries who dont evne have a iTunes store yet. There are most european iTunes store who don't have Videos or TV offers. It will take dozens of years until there will be a iTunes store in every european country being able to sell applications.

Also there's lots of other places people look for apps. Handango, Kagi or similar platforms. So why should I give 30% of my revenue to Apple so I'm locked into their platform where no one looks and my market is limited?

And while we talk about the market: If i look how many iPhones have been sold in Germany and compare the population of Germany to Switzerland, it would mean in the first 1-2 months there would be about 7000 iPhones sold if its launched in Switzerland one day. If I compare this figure to the information of Swisscom moble saying that they have 15'000 subscribers using an iPhone in their network, I must say that the market of the "official" iPhones will be the minority for a long time.

My personal opinion is the marketing manager for the iPhone should get kicked. He has no idea on how Europe works in regards to mobile phones. Adopting US views don't work (otherwise there should be 10x more iPhones sold in Germany and UK). Europeans are by far advanced and used to new mobile technologies. But that guy just hasn't got taken a look outside the borders.

Apple should come back to its roots and think of what made Apple big. It was the developers who made useful applications for their hardware. Today those developers are being treated like kids. The message Apple gives them is "Go play in the sandbox" (and pay Apple a fortune for the permission to do so).

I can only say, don't allow this to happen to you and start protesting.

Especially if you are not living in USA, you get kicked your ass many times. European developers pay 50% more for being a member of the ADC! Even ADC Premium members who pay a very high price don't get accepted by the iPhone SDK Developer program. Europeans get iPhones half a year later (UK, Germany, France), or not at all (all remaning countries). They don't get any useable SDK they could start developing. iTunes stores don't exist in some european countries.

There is only one way Apple will change its mind to abandon the closed community approach: LET THEM KNOW what kind of nonsense they produce. You can do that by:

1. Create bugreports / feature requests ( making it clear what you want from Apple. Make sure how you feel being put into a sandbox. Make sure you keep copies of the bugreports. Apple is known to delete them silently or make it invisible. ( If this happens, make sure they know you are upset about that. Also a very doubtful practice by Apple.

2. Swamp Apple Developer Technical Support with requests of missing SDK features. Ask them why europeans have no access to the required keys of the SDK. You won't get any answer but at least it keeps them busy thinking on what they could do wrong.

3. Print T-Shirts for WWDC 2008 with a good slogan like:

"Free Europe from Apple's slavery".
"Thank you Steve for for treating europe like shit"
"I'm Apple second class developer (non US) but I still write better code than you!"
"Free the iPhone"
"No censorship for iPhone Appications".

(who has better ideas?)

4. And if that all doesn't work there's two other alternatives.

- ignore the SDK and write no applications for the iPhone
- ignore the SKD and write App's for jailbreaked iPhones (Thats soon the bigger market anyway)

Bottom line:

Let Apple know what kind of nonse they have produced!