Downgrading my iPhone 3G from iOS 4 to iOS 3.1.3

In September, I made the mistake of upgrading my iPhone 3G from OS 3.1 to OS 4.0, making the phone a lot less useful and losing visual voicemail as a feature. (I had a big event coming up and Eventbrite told me their app would allow me to scan tickets with my phone. I said, “Really? It will work on a 3G running 3.0?” They said, yes, really. The event was looming and I needed to test the app ahead of time and so when it didn’t work with 3.0, I upgraded to 4.0. Come to find out, the scanning didn’t work on a 3G at all. Thank you, Eventbrite.) Since I upgraded, my 3G has been beset with some minor and major issues that make it much less useful than before. Some tasks, like browsing are usually OK, but Safari sometimes takes a while to load, other tasks like using Google Maps go from horribly slow to completely useless. Foursquare check ins can take minutes. The phone app stalls a lot when trying to make a call and, most importantly, visual voicemail does not work at all. I can still get voicemails, but there is no notification of their presence.

Yesterday, at Tim’s suggestion I decided to try downgrading my phone. It did not go as planned. Recboot didn’t work the way it was supposed to, and at one point, my phone was a brick for an hour. Immediately after downgrading to 3.1.3, I was left with a phone that didn’t have any of my data, but did give me visual voicemail. The back up I made before starting was gone so I used a back up from 9/17 running 3.1.3.

The phone functions as it did then, much faster on Foursquare and Google Maps, and tethering works again. This would all be wonderful except I again don’t have visual voicemail. I’m opposed to wiping it clean and starting over because I don’t think I’ll be able to download working versions of the apps I use.

I’m going to try to hang on for the iPhone 5, which will hopefully come out in July. Any ideas? Would jailbreaking the phone give me visual voicemail back?

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Update: Visual Voicemail is back after 4 months. After trying to reset the settings, I removed the AT&T Profile in the Profiles section of the Settings (I think Settings —> Network Settings —-> Profiles). I restarted the phone after that and some test VMs I’d been leaving the last couple days showed up. I guess I don’t have an excuse for not calling you back now.

Downgrading my iPhone 3G from iOS 4 to iOS 3.1.3

Facebook/iPhone Contact Sync

The latest update to Facebook’s iPhone app offers push updates, which is nice. Also, the ability to sync your iPhone contacts with your Facebook contacts, which sounds nice, but ruh roh, what’s this? “Please make sure your friends are comfortable with any use you make of their information.” To tell you the truth, I probably wouldn’t have minded sending the info to FB, but this warning is so sketchy as to be alarming. FB is now saying that you’re not responsible for your privacy, your friends are. How does that make any sense? I wonder if this is an example of FB’s last few privacy moves. Overreach inappropriately and then walk it back if there’s an uproar. What do you think?

Facebook Notice

Facebook/iPhone Contact Sync

Apple Gives You a New iPhone if Your Old One Breaks

I don’t know what’s more remarkable, how often I’ve heard of the 3G iPhones crapping out because of hardware issues or how easy it is to get a new phone from the Genius Bar at the Apple Store when it does. Seriously, this seems like the hidden story of the 3G phone. My guess is Apple knew very quickly that the 3Gs weren’t ready for primetime and went against about 25 years of corporate policy to make it easy to replace a malfunctioning product. I just got a new one today and I’m psyched!

Apple Gives You a New iPhone if Your Old One Breaks

Readability

Readability is the greatest thing ever. It’s a little bookmarklet from Arc90 that strips away all of the clutter on a page, and just displays the text content in a nice, clean, readable format. I really like it for, say, reading a long article on the web, but where it really rocks is on the iPhone. Seriously, do yourself a favor: set up the bookmarklet (I use the “eBook” style, large text, narrow margins) in Safari and sync your bookmarks to your iPhone, and suddenly discover that you have the option to not make your eyes hurt anymore.

Via Kottke, where I learned about Readability, I see that some guy named Michael Donohoe objects and has created some anti-Readability JavaScript. His objections are both stupid: they boil down to (1) “Wah, you can’t view my content in any other layout than the one I designed,” and (2) “What about my precious ad revenue?” Objection 1 I think we can all agree is pretty pointless, since this is the web, and in a world with user stylesheets, mobile browsers, Greasemonkey, and lynx, you don’t get to control how your readers experience your content. Get over it. Objection 2 skips over the fact that visitors to your site have to load your page first, ads and all, before they can wave Readability’s magic wand over it, and honestly anyone sophisticated to install and use a bookmarklet isn’t going to click on a banner ad anyway.

Readability

Best iPhone App?

I love the iPhone. I use mine incessantly. Mostly I use Mail, Safari, Google Apps, and Facebook. Maybe I’m just jaded, but most of the applications on the App store are garbage and don’t do anything terribly exciting. The other morning I downloaded the AccuWeather GPS-enabled iPhone app, though, and wow. This is the weather App for which you’ve been waiting. It uses GPS to give you the temperature at your current location, plus a “feels like” temperature. Plus there’s a radar section , finally. And to top it off a risk bar set up. It’s not perfect, but it’s the most perfect free weather App I’ve found. Also, it’s one of the more useful applications. Anybody have thoughts on other useful applications? Leave them in the comments. (By the way, the working definition for useful is something like “Not a light saber, zippo, or glass of beer.”

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Since writing this post a couple weeks ago, I’ve noticed a few quirks in the app that I would change if I was building the BEST iPhone app. If you’re looking at the 5-day forecast and you switch to a day a couple days away, it goes back to today when you toggle between night and day. Also, you can’t view today’s forecast more than a few hours into the future? It would be good if you could hit ‘next’ and move forward. Fact remains, it’s still more useful than all the others and I want to know what you’re using.

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Update: Thanks to digiphile in the comments for pointing out my error in leaving out Pandora. I was remiss. I don’t use it much, but that’s a great app. Also, since iTunes started streaming podcasts, I appreciate it even more.

Best iPhone App?

BusRyda

BusRyda is a mobile web app that makes it super easy to find a bus to take you somewhere at sometime. There’s even a trip planner, too. The website is designed specifically with the iPhone in mind, which makes having an iPhone even better. I think there are a lot of features that could be added to BusRyda, but it doesn’t sound like the developer is close to done. We’ll see how it grows.

(Via Bostonist)

BusRyda