• Tag Archives iPhone
  • Error updating iPhone. IOS problems.

    I’ve had problems updating my iPhone from IOS9.1.1 to IOS9.2 since it was released in the middle of December.

    I’ve tried the usual fixes:

    1. Updating from the iPhone as normal. This fails just after verifying the update.
    2. Updating from iTunes. This fails trying to create a backup. IT always says there isn’t enough space on my 2TB hard drive that’s about 50% free.
    3. I even resorted to resetting to factory defaults and installing the update before restoring from an iCloud backup. This gave the same errors as before.
    4. Obviously this is after various resets and trying from different wireless and wired networks on different Internet connections.
    5. I’ve even tried changing my regional settings to see if it was something related to my connectivity to an Irish update repository.

    Today I’m trying something different. I’ve downloaded the firmware for IOS9.2 and I’ve restored using that IPSW file using iTunes.

    Of course this is going to wipe the iPhone again but restoring from an iCloud backup using Doulci activator will get everything back as it was. Excluding WiFi, Email and social network passwords for some reason.

    This is the first time in about six years that I’ve had problems with an IOS upgrade. It’s quite frustrating and disappointing.


  • A draft introduction to Android accessibility with Talkback.

    This is by far one of my weaker podcasts but it’s late! Give me a break! I just wanted to set up the equipment and get the ball roling. Please leave me your comments, suggestions, questions and ideas. I will definitly cover more about this platform over the next few days.

    My thanks to users of this platform for answering my many questions. Please visit The blind geek zone for a very interesting podcast by Mike Arrigo. He does a much better job than I have done introducing the platform.

    Listen to the first introduction to Android and talkback.

    Again, sorry if I sound tired and half a sleep. I’ll provide a better introduction shortly.


  • Continuation of Mixing the old with the new. Nokia C5 and iPhone 4S.

    There were a few interesting questions and points made as a result of my post yesterday. Firstly, let me just remind readers that I love getting your Emails and phone calls but it would be nice if you would comment on the site instead of contacting me privately so as other readers can have the benefit of reading your questions and observations.

    Firstly, Jenny asked if the C5 has wifi. NO. It doesn’t although as I’m not using this phone for any data usage this actually makes no difference to me. I’m interested in what you might use wifi for though. Are there apps on the S60 platform that you would use?

    Nicky touched on the idea of using an iPod for listening to Music and using Apps. This is a very good idea. The iPod is smaller, lighter and cheaper and if you’re not using it for phone calls or texting then there’s no need for 3G. However, the iPhone battery lasts for a very long time when not used as a normal phone and there is nothing that the iPhone can’t do that the iPod does so there’s no need to change over if you already have an iPhone. Also, because I could potentially change back to the thinking that one device is just more convenient selling the iPhone would be a mistake because a 64GB iPhone 4S is not a cheap toy at all. I’ve already done this in the past. I moved back to a Nokia phone for a while about three or four years ago but after a while I missed the power of the iPhone so I went back again. However, at that time, I wasn’t running both phones simultaneously so things may be different this time. For me, the iPhone has almost become essential. I use Facetime with sighted people when I need something looked at, I use the many social networking aps to stay in contact with people, I read the local and national news, I keep up to date with Email and I even use it for GPS occasionally. However, I have a tip for you. I have a wireless Vodafone dongle. I usually have my laptop with me when traveling to and from work and this wireless dongle has a nice place in that laptop case. When I really want Internet access on the iPhone while traveling I just turn on that wireless dongle, connect to it from the iPhone and I have the same data access as I had when using it as a phone. Really, the only down side to this is that I have a few more devices to carry around. However, this is more than made up for by the efficiency of being able to make and receive calls and write text messages quickly and comfortably. I’ve been using this method now for just over a week and so far it’s working quite nicely. However, ask me again in a month. Maybe by that time I’ll be tired of carrying an extra phone around with me.

    Just one more note. I have given serious consideration to an iPad or an iPad mini however as a blind person I simply can’t understand why one of these devices would be appealing to me. The larger screen makes absolutely no difference. Why not just use an iPhone or an iPod. The iPad mini feels lovely and sexy. It’s slim, curved and light but once you get over that what’s the benefit if you can’t see the screen?


  • Mixing the old with the new. Nokia C5 and iPhone 4S.

    I’m sure you couldn’t care less what phone I’m using or why, but I want to explain something to you.

    I am now using a Nokia C5 for day to day phone needs. I haven’t completely moved away from the iPhone but for making and receiving calls and sending text messages there’s just no beating the convenience of a classic mobile phone. When I want to dial a number I simply key it in on the numeric key pad. When I get a text I can respond to it with one hand if I want to. When I’m looking for a contact I dial in the first few letters and it searches for it. Finding Frank for example takes me less than two seconds. Finding frank on the iPhone takes a lot longer.

    That’s not to say that I have anything against the iPhone or I have gone away from Apple products. I just got sick of fluffing around with a phone when all I wanted to do is answer or hang up a call. In fact, I’m going to get my frustrations out here by listing some of the things that are driving me crazy about the iPhone. Read on though. I’m going to also tell you why I carry an iPhone around with me as well.

    • When I hang up a call I should be able to press the power button but this only intermittently works. It is fixed in some updates but breaks again with the next.
    • Taking the iPhone away from my ear causes it to go to loud speaker. I know this is by design but it’s irritating.
    • A bug that has been on the iPhone since IOS4 has caused Voiceover users to encounter an issue where while on a call the phone intermittently switches back and forth to the loud speaker.
    • Texting on the iPhone on-screen keyboard is horribly slow, cumbersome, unproductive and difficult. Even Flexy isn’t great if you’re in a noisy area and you can’t hear the phone. Also, it’s badly designed when you’re holding it up to your ear to hear the text to speech synthesizer.
    • Bugs are frequently not caught or not fixed. For example, in IOS 6, Voiceover should speak new notifications when the screen is locked if the option is enabled but this no longer works. This senseless disregard of simple bugs has turned me off Apple to a large extent. In fact, because of this I recently sold my Mac book air.
    • The battery life is absolutely terrible. I charged my Nokia C5 on Sunday evening and I won’t need to charge it until tomorrow night. Imagine that. Three days of phone usage on one charge!
    • The iPhone is too big and it’s getting bigger! I don’t like the extra bulk of the iPhone 5. I also don’t like having to put a case on my phone. If it is vital to have a case on a phone to stop it from becoming easily damaged then the phone is badly designed.

    The iPhone is still brilliant. As I said before, I don’t want this post to seem like I’m gone against this product. I still carry one around with me and I use it when in range of wireless networks. I know you might think this is crazy and I would ordinarily agree with you but access to the Internet and apps simply can’t be rivalled by any other phone. The iPhone has more apps than any other platform and with thanks to the voiceover screen reader as blind people we have the benefit and luxury of having access to the vast majority of these. It’s a fact that I simply wouldn’t want to do without the connectivity provided to me by the iPhone however again, as a simple phone and text utility the iPhone has a long way to go before it is efficient in comparison to classic mobile phones. In fact a few people have commented that call quality is clearer when I speak to them from the Nokia C5 and I also find that I can continue a conversation for longer when traveling home by train than I can when using the iPhone.
    I have examined other platforms however although I think they have a lot of merit for most mobile phone users, they unfortunately can’t compete with the accessibility of the iPhone. Specifically Android, Blackberry and Windows phone. The Android platform has a screen reader and it is making slow and steady progress. I would like to see this reach the point where it can meet the expectations of usability and efficiency set by the iPhone. The Blackberry platform has also improved recently but the stability of the screen reader on this platform doesn’t seem to have lived up to the hype. Finally Windows phone. Ah, good old Microsoft. No accessibility for blind users at all. There’s absolutely no screen reader on this platform. I can only hope that they’ll fix this soon because I actually like what I’ve read about this platform so far and I have really enjoyed using previous versions of Windows mobile. I know that since 7.5 the platform has changed substantially but I loved the interconnectivity between the mobile and desktop platforms.

    I want to say something to you about Windows Mobile for a second. In the nineties Microsoft launched a mobile platform. The user interface was based on the PC desktop. This idea was a complete disaster. Microsoft had to completely change their approach to Windows mobile to win any kind of market share. It was acknowledged that the expectations and requirements of users were vastly different for both platforms. This bought about the lovely idea of the today screen that we have enjoyed on Windows mobile for about ten years. In Windows 8 and Windows mobile 8 this today screen has become much more powerful with its evolution into the start screen. In 2012 Windows 8 for the desktop and laptop has taken on a look and feel similar to Windows mobile. About twelve years on from the catastrophe that was Windows CE for mobile devices with its user interface based on the desktop version of Windows we now have Windows 8 for the desktop based on the user interface on mobile devices. So, I have two questions for you. Is Microsoft looking at another disaster or do users really want this new and improved today screen on their desktops. I’m not sure. For me, I wasn’t too happy with Windows 8. I found that even after customization of the environment it was still trying to push its own objectives onto me. Use Microsoft services for sign on, cloud storage, search, mail and chat. Of course they can’t be anti-competitive so alternatives are available but it’s easy to see what the preference is. Your thoughts are welcome.


  • App of the day 10: Twitter.

    We’re finally on day ten of the iPhone apps. Today, let’s look at Twitter. Let’s face it, we use that a lot more than most websites or social media applications. It’s only fitting then that there’s so much choice.

    The main Twitter apps that I have used are: Echofon, Tweetlist and of course, the official Twitter app.

    Each app has its positives and negatives but there’s no doubting that each of them have a place on most of our iPhone.

    Firstly, let’s look at Echofon. This got a lot of bad press over the past six or eight months. In IOS 4 a bug was introduced when using Echofon for Voiceover users that caused Echofon to crash when a user tried to swipe to the search field from the top of the screen. This problem does not seem to exist in IOS5 so it might be worth giving Echofon another look when IOS5 is released in September. Echofon supports the following features:
    Firstly, Echofon is great when you regularly move between devices to read tweets. It works on the iPhone, the Mac and Windows so when you’ve read a few tweets and you want to continue from another device you can pick up where you left off. This is a major selling point of Echofon pro.
    Echofon supports lists and allows you to modify and create lists from within the application.
    The app comes in a free version that includes ads and limits certain features and a pro version that costs €3.99. Both versions now come with push notification. Push notification is not something that is available with all twitter clients on the iPhone.
    Echofon does not require you to enable geo tagging every time you want to show your location. It is on enabled or disabled globally but you have the option of turning it off temporarily in a tweet you are composing if you need to.
    Echofon has probably the nicest interface for reading and replying to tweets of any of the other twitter clients for the iPhone.
    Unfortunately Echofon does not show real names. It only shows the Twitter username when reading through the list.

    Tweetlist also comes in two varieties. The Free app only allows you to use one account and includes advertisements in the interface. The paid version costs €2.33 but allows you to have as many accounts as you can shake a stick at. Some of the features of Tweetlist are below:
    You can see users by their display name and not just by their twitter username. This is something that can be configured within the settings.
    Replying to a message requires less tapping. There’s one button and no additional menus are shown. This is the same for retweeting and direct messages.
    You can easily choose the link to open in a tweet, response or direct message and you can also choose to open this in safari instead of using the basic imbedded browser.
    Unfortunately Tweetlist does not have the ability to provide push notifications. These can however be obtained by using a second app called Boxcar. This however has a few limitations. When you tap view when a notification is received, Boxcar opens then redirects you to Tweetlist. You may however not be on the screen where the mention or direct message is shown so the process of navigating to the tweet is significantly slower than when using the native Twitter app or Echofon.

    The Twitter app is now reasonably integrated into IOS5, the latest version of the software used on the iPhone. When configuring Twitter preferences in the settings screen, you are given the option to download Twitter directly from the App store. This app is free but lacks some functionality found in both Echofon and Tweetlist. Most significantly compared to Tweetlist, the Twitter ap does not show real names. Accessibility with Voiceover has however undergone a major improvement lately so if you haven’t tried this App in a while it might be worth having another look More features and disadvantages are shown below:
    The Twitter app includes the ability to provide push notifications. These allow you to see responses and direct messages when you are not in the Twitter app. For example, if your phone is locked but you receive a DM it will be displayed in a similar way to when a text message is shown.
    I like composing tweets in the Twitter app. The options are very easy to find by switching between keyboard and options views.
    The main downfall of the Twitter app is although it can be configured to show the full name / real name in the settings, this setting has no impact on the names shown when looking at the main list of tweets. If this one issue was resolved I would probably use Twitter as my main app.

    Sorry if this wasn’t as detailed as you might like however please leave a comment with any questions and I’ll try to answer them all. Unfortunately today, I’ve been much busier than I anticipated.