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iPhone 4 tariffs compared

All of the UK mobile operators have now announced their iPhone 4 pay-monthly tariffs and most tech web sites seem to have posted something about which is the best deal. Many are mistakenly assuming that the lowest monthly payment or lowest up-front price is the best value though, so I thought I’d analyse the tariffs in a little more detail.

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How to permanently delete a Facebook account

As I write this, a gaping security flaw has been found in Facebook that allows users to spy upon their Friends’ chats. The flaw looks like it’s in the process of being fixed, but this is just the latest in a long line of problems with the social networking service’s privacy.

The security hole in the chat tool was undoubtedly accidental, but Facebook’s repeated slackening of its privacy controls is deliberate and each change puts the personal data of its users at increased of unwanted exposure to third parties.

This erosion of privacy for Facebook profiles is leading many users to close their accounts, but here’s a question — how do you do it?

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Hands-on with the Palm Pre

20090324palm-preI’ve been sitting on this hands-on video of the Palm Pre for a week or so now, since I don’t have a suitable site to post it to at the moment. So although it’s not the kind of thing I’d normally post here, I thought I’d upload the video anyway rather than let it sit idle.

As far as I know, no one has seen such a close-up video of the Palm Pre in action in an informal environment like this, so this video is a bit of an exclusive…

The video is about 30 minutes long and in it, Palm’s EMEA Product Manager, Mark Easton, takes me through pretty much every feature of the Pre. I’ve been impressed with the Pre since I first saw it at CES and I’ve yet to see anything to damped my enthusiasm. I’m still a little lukewarm on the fiddly keyboard (it’s very similar to the keyboard on the  Treo Pro), but that’s pretty much the only negative comment I have so far. (more…)

Why your MacBook runs like crap

20090322macbook-family

I use a MacBook Pro as my my main computer, plugged into a desktop set-up. Like any right-thinking geek with such an arrangement, I removed the laptop’s battery to prevent it suffering from being charged all the time — the MacBook Pro is never used away from mains power and can’t be accidentally unplugged.

I only switched to Mac OS relatively recently (I ran Windows XP via Boot Camp for a spell), but in the few months I have been using it, one constant complaint has been about speed. Mac OS X 10.5.X seemed very slow in some circumstances and I was seeing the spinning beach ball far more often than I would see the hourglass in Windows (when simply switching to an open Firefox tab, for example).

After simply blaming this on the vagaries of Mac OS for a few months, something occurred to me this morning. I vaguely remembered reading a while ago about how MacBooks run slower when the battery is removed. Since I wasn’t a Mac user at the time, I didn’t follow the story that closely and assumed it only affected the new unibody MacBooks (which were launched around that time). I was wrong. (more…)

How to sync an iPhone with two computers

apple-iphoneUnless you’re using over-the-air Microsoft Exchange syncing with your iPhone (via Google Mobile Sync, NuevaSync or a corporate Exchange server), you’re probably keeping its contact and calendar information in sync with Outlook or iCal using iTunes.

This works well enough, but what if your calendar and contact data is stored one computer (at the office, say) and your iTunes library is stored on another (maybe at home)? Try plugging the iPhone into both and you’ll quickly discover that iTunes is fond of erasing the data put in place by the other iTunes on every sync.

Fortunately, you can successfully synchronise an iPhone or iPod Touch with iTunes on two separate computers — here’s how. (more…)

Safari 4’s hidden preferences

The WordPress 2.7 bug makes the Safari 4 beta useless to me, but if you’re a Safari fan who wants to stick with it, but don’t care for the cosmetic changes, head to the Random Genius blog. It has a whole list of hidden preferences for Apple’s new web browser, including one to put the tab bar back where it should be. It’s all done via Terminal commands, so they only work on Mac OS, though.

Or if you think Safari 4 is a pile of shit that you want to jettison from your Mac immediately, Mark Wheadon explains how to do it. Windows users just use Add/Remove Programs (or whatever passes for this option in Windows Vista), of course.

Where does iTunes keep its iPhone backups?

Whenever an iPhone is synchronised with iTunes, iTunes makes a backup of (most of) the iPhone’s data. You can view the iTunes’ backup history by going to Preferences > Devices.

picture-7iTunes maintains some kind of history for successive backups, but I have no idea of the underlying logic. You would imagine that three or four backups would be queued and older backups retired as new ones are made. But no, that doesn’t happen. Instead iTunes seems to purge its backup history on a schedule of its own devising — I’m guessing maybe daily, but I haven’t yet bothered to try and find out.

The problem is that when something goes screwy with your iPhone or iPod Touch (like erasing your contacts during a Google Mobile Sync…) and you fire up iTunes to restore it from a backup you now to be good, you can bet that the backup will have been purged. (more…)

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