I thought we were finished with the @me.com nonsense! Apparently not. This is the error message I got when trying to click on the Mail icon in iCloud (and also when trying to turn on Mail via the iCloud setting on my iPhone that had iOS 5 Gold Master pre-installed last weekend):

@me.com Address Needed
To use iCloud Mail, create an
@me.com email address by
turning on Mail in your iCloud
settings using iOS or OS X.

iCloud.com still needs @me.com to use Mail

iCloud.com just went live! Some screenshots:

iCloud log-in screen

iCloud sign-in asking for language, time zone, photo

iCloud: showing mail / contacts / calendar / find my iPhone / iWork icons

Yesterday, I posted about several iPhone jailbreak apps that help “deafen” your iPhone with better notifications. I mentioned Notified Pro (and one of its add-ins, Notifications GriP) and how both have so many configuration options. Let’s see if I can do a fair job listing how I’ve configured them. Here goes (gulp) …

First, are you using the latest beta version of Notified Pro (released just a couple days ago)? Go to the Cydia app then to the Manage tab, select “Sources,” tap “Edit” then “Add,” type “http://beta.notifiedapp.com/” (without the quotes), and tap “Add Source.” After refreshing, go to “Updates” and you might see that Notified Pro Beta needs to be updated to 1.99.5-5. Do that!

Part of the huge changes made to Notified Pro Beta is the fact that it no longer has its own app. All settings are now done via the Settings app.

Open Settings then tap Notified. Now, the settings.

Default Alerts Blocker : both options should be On.

Select Gestures: this uses a separate and terrific jailbreak app, Activator; pick your preferred method of viewing recent notifications in a window pane that sweeps down. I personally like the Status Bar – Swipe Down method.

Notifications to Keep: up to you. I prefer 50.

Group By: select “Date” to view past notifications in reverse chronological order.

Custom Icons: off

Show New Only: this shows only new notifications in the sweep-down past notifications pane. I prefer this to be set to On.

Under Auto Delete, set App Launch to On and Notification Tapped to “None.”

Click the “Notified” arrow to return to the main pane of its settings.

Ignored Applications: you can select which apps you want Notified to ignore. Alerts for these ignored apps will appear the “old way” as an intrusive blue window in the middle of the screen. I use this for apps I really MUST know about immediately like Tango or VRS video calls, and also for apps that crashes Notified (like, ahem, Smurfs altho this now seems to be fixed).

Manage Redirections: this is very useful once you understand it. I use PushMail (via the regular App Store) to alert me to new mail – but I don’t want to go to the PushMail app to read / respond to new mail when I tap on a notification. Instead, I set this option to redirect me to my preferred mail app (iMailG, again via the regular app store). Similarly, I use Boxcar to alert me to specific Twitter alerts; I have this redirected to my ultimate favorite Twitter app, Tweetlist.

Back to the main Notified settings pane, one more setting:

Statusbar Icon: On. This shows a “!” when you have new alerts that you may have missed (see Notifications GriP settings later) – you can then sweep down the recent notifications pane to check – and that will dismiss the “!” as well.

You’re now done with the Notified settings. Tap the “Settings” arrow to return to the overall Settings pane. Then tap “NotificationGriP.” If you thought Notified had a lot of settings, wait till you see this …

Let’s hold NGrip Bar Setup till last.

Auto Close (sec): I like my notifications to dismiss themselves after 20 seconds, only because I can then see the “!” if I missed any. Follow your preference for this.

General Setup options: I have the following settings – again, follow your preferences. Max Visible on Screen: five. Collapse Notifications: On (makes them thinner / sleeker, shows less of the body of the message or email). Multiple Notifications: On (display more than 1 notification at a time). Stack Notifications: Off (if on, notifications are stacked on top of each other, hiding the last one; if off, they are listed beneath the last one covering more of the screen). Cover Statusbar: On (conserve screen real estate by covering the top screenbar). Rotate: off (if on, notifications – when NOT in lockscreen – rotate to landscape view depending on iPhone’s orientation; personally, I found this to be a bit annoying so I turned it off).

Now, to the Lockscreen Setup options. I set all three (Rotate, Show, and Wake) to On. Works well with another jailbreak app, LockInfo – especially if you have LockInfo dim delay set to a few minutes or more. I wish there is a Notification GriP option to not auto-dismiss notifications when in the lockscreen, tho.

Set Show Toolbar to On. This shows a toolbar at the bottom when there are 2 or more notifications.

Now, to the NGrip bar Setup options. This is where you customize the appearance of the notification bar. There’s an almost infinite number of ways you can set this up.

(The last screenshot shows what my notification bar actually looks like.)

Vertical / Horizontal Orientation: no, this isn’t something risqué – cut that out. Rather, it’s whether the notification should appear at the top or bottom, and toward the left, center, or right.

Notification Width (pixels): customize the width of the notification. I like having it be a bit shorter than the screen width so that I can still press buttons below it toward the right.

Rounded Ends: up to you.

Show Preview: show the first sentence or two of the message body in the notification.

Icon Opens Notified: if on and you press the icon in the notification, it sweeps down the Notified pane with recent notifications. If off, pressing the icon takes you to the app itself (or redirects you to another app, depending on Notified’s Redirections settings.

Background Setup: set up the background image or color and opacity. I prefer a black, slightly transparent background.

Font Setup: customize the font type, color, and size. Me? White, a bit small so that the notification itself doesn’t take up much real estate. Also set up the shadow here – I have it on but also white and slightly offset to make the letters appear thicker.

Notification Border: set the border color and thickness. Mine is slightly grey and very thin. I think.

Choose Delete Icon: customize the “x” delete icon’s appearance.

Try Me Out: preview your customizations (even as you make them).

Phew. Lots of customizations. Just wait till we talk about LockInfo … Soon!

Earlier today, I got this text message on my iPhone from 801-701-8103:

IWRelay VRS has Top Interpreters, Fast Service, and HD video quality guaranteed. Use YOUR iPhone contacts. Try it now! http://bit.ly/kdKGcA

IWRelay is one of several video relay services (VRS) connecting deaf callers with hearing callers using sign language interpreters. Being deaf myself, this “spam” text message was obviously targeted at me. Several of my deaf friends – all using iPhones too – got the same message too.

This is unacceptable on several grounds:

1. A spam text message is ALWAYS unwelcome and much more intrusive than spam email.

2. It seems IWRelay got our mobile numbers by harvesting them from its VRS app on our iPhones. And then IWRelay texted us an advertisement. I hear that this may be in violation of Federal regulations prohibiting such marketing text messages. Like Anthony said on Twitter, “just because they have our number doesnt mean its ok to text us.”

I’ll research these Federal regulations. I had never used IWRelay’s video relay services. Based on its irresponsible decision to send a marketing text message to our iPhones, I will never use its services.

Edit: A Public Notice published by FCC on January 26, 2005 explains that using customer info to contact prior users to make more VRS calls may be fraud:

[W]e understand that some providers use their customer database to contact prior users of their service and suggest, urge, or tell them to make more VRS calls. This marketing practice constitutes an improper use of information obtained from consumers using the service, [footnote omitted] is inconsistent with the notion of functional equivalency, and may constitute a fraud on the Interstate TRS Fund because the Fund, and not the customer, pays for the cost of the VRS call.

In addition, and as noted in the comments, one can file a complaint with FCC using this form.

Back in the Game!

December 17, 2009

Now that the Post’er app is available for my new-ish Palm Pre, I expect to resume blogging once again!

If only I can add photos via Post’er … 

Are you registered?  Where do you vote?  What are your polling place’s hours?  Etc etc etc?  Google has set up a map website with specialized info.  Just enter your address and you’ll get more information on your polling place than you would ever need.  (And for some locations, you can even verify if you have indeed been registered.)

Google Map with Voting Information

Google Map with Voting Information

P.S. HAPPY HALLOWEEN!  And happy birthday, Alli!

The more I read about and see T-Mobile’s G1 smartphone running on Google’s new Android platform, the more I want it.

It looks smooth. It looks slick. It looks uber-cool. It has most of the programs I already use on my Palm Treo 755p. It has a physical keyboard. It has a touch-screen and wifi as well as high-speed wireless connection. It has a 3 megapixel camera (but I don’t think it captures video). The maps app lets you see street-view, and I believe has GPS as well.

A cool emulator shows what using it would be like. Be sure to click the “360 View,” “Guide” and “Emulator” buttons on the right side. On the emulator, you can slide the background (the “blue pond” in the emulator) left or right to see more. Be sure to slide out the arrow on the right side of the “blue pond” for additional options, then scroll the icon menu up.

Gmail (which I use on the computer and also on my Treo via IMAP) looks easy to use and has just about all the features of the website. I wonder if this allows for logging in from my “Google Apps for my Domain” account which I use with my own domain URL address.

The instant messaging app allows you to log into Gtalk, AIM, Yahoo, and MSN Messenger. Nice! I’m pretty sure it can work in the background — that is, you can do other things and then get notification of new messages. I also wonder if this works with my Google Apps account as well.

If you’re a true geek like me, check out the “settings” on that right-arrow menu to see settings for wifi, calls, sounds and display, data sync, etc. I wonder if it can be set to vibrate several times and for different notifications. One of the most annoying flaws of the iPhone is the fact that it vibrates only once.

The biggest downside for me? It’s T-Mobile, using a similar slide-out as the Sidekick. I’m gonna wait and see if Verizon comes out with a smartphone (and one that doesn’t slide out) using the Android platform. I just hope it’s sometime soon — Verizon is (in-)famous for NOT being an early adopter of new types of smartphones. On the other hand, I’m surprised that Verizon will be the first network to release the new Palm Treo Pro.

The T-Mobile G1 will be selling later this month for $179, and you can pre-order yours via the Tmobile website.

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