AT&T Auto-Updating Unauthorized iPhone Tethering Accounts to Paid Tether Plans

May 9, 2011 - 6 Comments

AT&T iPhone Tethering Fee Being Charged for Unofficial Tethering

A few months ago, AT&T began cracking down on unofficial iPhone tethering usage by sending warning messages to account holders. The message was simple; if you’re using tethering but not paying for a tethering plan, you will be automatically upgraded to a tethering plan. Now AT&T is making good on that promise, and has started to automatically update user accounts that they suspect of using unofficial tethering methods.

Those who use a tethering app such as MyWi or PDANet are being notified of their plan changes through text messages:

AT&T Free Msg: We’ve noticed you’re continuing to enjoy the tethering feature with your smartphone. Your plan has been updated to a tethering plan ($45/mo incl. 4GB) and you’ll soon see this change reflected on an upcoming billing statement. Visit att.com/dataplans or call 866-679-7136.

Outside of having your data plan updated and including a new monthly tethering plan fee of $45, there does not appear to be any repercussions or animosity from AT&T. The biggest complaints from users about the AT&T crackdown pertain to data usage rights, with many suggesting that once they pay for wireless data they should be able to use it as they wish. Furthermore, grandfathered unlimited data accounts that are automatically updated to a tethering plan lose their unlimited data capability, and instead receive a 4GB transfer limit.

For some users this could be seen as good news, since the original iPhone and iPhone 3G are not capable of using official wireless tethering through Personal Hotspot due to the inability to update to iOS 4.3. While AT&T hasn’t specifically OKayed the usage, this suggests old iPhone owners can use wireless tethering through MyWi and PDANet without incident, assuming they pay the standard tethering fees to AT&T.

MyWi and PDANet are both apps available exclusively on the Cydia store to users who jailbreak their iPhones. Jailbreaking is not illegal, but it is frowned upon by Apple.

By Paul Horowitz - iPhone, News - 6 Comments

Apple is the Worlds Most Valuable Brand in 2011 with a $153.3 Billion Valuation

May 9, 2011 - 2 Comments

Apple is the most valuable brand in the world, with a brand value of a staggering $153.3 billion. Perhaps more impressive than the overall value is that Apple’s brand valuation grew a whopping 84% year over year.

Apple is Worlds Most Valuable Brand 2011

Other Notable Findings from the brand valuation report:

  • Google is #2 at $111.4 billion, down -2% from the year prior
  • Microsoft is #5 with a brand value of $78.2 billion, up 2% from 2010
  • AT&T is #7 with a brand value of $69.9 billion, I’ll go ahead and speculate that this is helped by their long-running iPhone exclusivity
  • Verizon Wireless is #13 with a brand value of $42.8 billion, who recently started carrying iPhone
  • China Mobile, #9 on the list, has been in talks with Apple to bring the iPhone on their network

Unsurprisingly, Bloomberg contributes much of Apple’s brand growth to the success of the iPhone, iPad, and Mac lineup.

You can see the full top 100 brands list at MillwardBrown.com. I find it interesting that some of the other top brand entries are either direct competitors to Apple (Google, Microsoft, Blackberry, etc), or carriers and resellers of Apple products (AT&T, Verizon, Walmart, Target, Vodafone, T-Mobile, Orange, etc).

By Paul Horowitz - News - 2 Comments

Super-Size Dock Icon Magnification

May 9, 2011 - 2 Comments

Super Size Mac OS X Dock Icon Magnification

For those using larger displays you may wish the Dock icon magnification was greater, this can be achieved easily with a defaults write command. The number at the end represents the pixel dimensions of the icon magnification, so 200 equates to 200×200 (for reference, 128 is the default):

defaults write com.apple.dock largesize -float 200

200×200 makes the icons quite a bit larger, but you’ll start noticing pixelation because Mac OS X does not yet support resolution independence. For you to see the changes, you’ll need to have Magnification enabled through System Preferences > Dock > Magnification, and then you’ll have to kill the Dock:

killall Dock

Other than aesthetic reasons, larger magnification can be useful when setting up user accounts for novices, the visually impaired, or kids. If this is your objective, you might want to go a step further and create an iOS style desktop for the Mac.

Beyond a point this really isn’t that useful and it can turn just downright useless and even ugly as icons get pixelated, case in point:

defaults write com.apple.dock largesize -float 512

Other than for pranking someone, this looks basically ridiculous. The image below shows 512×512 Dock icons laying over System Preferences:

Read more »

By William Pearson - Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks - 2 Comments

Accidentally Drop an iPad Out a Plane? Throw a MacBook Out a Two Story Window? No Problem with a G-Form Extreme Sleeve

May 8, 2011 - 9 Comments

G-Form iPad Sleeve

Think you’ll ever be in a situation where your iPad needs to survive a drop from 1/10th of a mile up? Do you ever get so frustrated with your MacBook Pro that you want to toss it out of a two story window, but you don’t want it to actually break?

These are ridiculous scenarios and not survivable, right? Wrong. The new high-tech G-Form Extreme Sleeves for iPad and MacBooks do exactly that, and for the skeptics, the creators went about making videos to demonstrate how these cases allow electronics to absorb serious impacts.

The first video shows an iPad enclosed in a G-Form Extreme Sleeve being dropped from a light aircraft at 500′ and surviving. The second video shows a MacBook Pro 13″ wrapped in an Extreme Sleeve being thrown off a second story deck. Both survive without incident or damage. I’d say that’s pretty impressive.

Watch both of the videos below:

Read more »

By Matt Chan - Fun, iPad, Mac - 9 Comments

Set TextWrangler to Always Display Line Numbers

May 8, 2011 - 9 Comments

Show Line Numbers in TextWrangler

Want to always show line numbers in TextWrangler documents? Of course you do! Pull down the Edit menu and scroll to “Text Options” where you’ll see the preference panel that lets you set line numbers to be displayed with a checkbox. Alternatively, you can hit Command+Option+, from within the app to bring up the view settings.

TextWrangler is without a doubt the best free text editor for Mac OS X (if you don’t have it yet, you can get it free from BareBones), but why isn’t this enabled by default? This drove me absolutely nuts and I’m probably not the only one, thankfully it’s a simple fix once you find the setting.

Update: Some users seem to be having an issue with getting line numbers to persist after quitting TextWrangler. I can’t reproduce that problem, but apparently another option is to go to Preferences > Text Status Display and check the “Show line numbers” check box there too. I also just discovered that we covered exactly that here before, so that could be a solution if they keep disappearing after relaunch.

By Matt Chan - Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks - 9 Comments

Redsn0w 0.9.6rc16 Released (Download Links)

May 8, 2011 - 20 Comments

redsn0w 0.9.6rc16 Redsnow 0.9.6rc16 has been released for iOS 4.3.3 jailbreakers. This new version serves primarily to resolve a few bugs with the prior redsn0w app, most notably with the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4′s side switch improperly vibrating. Additional fixes resolve a problem with verbose booting on the iPhone 3GS and an issue with the Windows app crashing during the jailbreak process.

If you are already jailbroken from rc15, you can simply run rc16 over that jailbreak to apply the bug fixes. If you need a walkthrough, follow this guide to jailbreak iOS 4.3.3 with redsn0w, everything is identical.

Download Redsn0w 0.9.6rc16

These are direct downloads links:

As mentioned above, the Windows-specific bug fix pertains exclusively to those jailbreaking from Windows Visa and Win 7. These users no longer have to adjust CPU affinity of redsn0w to prevent a crash, although it still must be ran in XP mode. This does not effect Mac users.

We’ll update more redsn0w releases and important jailbreak info as it becomes available.

By Matt Chan - iPhone - 20 Comments

15 Awesome High Resolution Wallpapers to Spice Up Your Desktop

May 7, 2011 - 7 Comments

I got tired my desktop and login wallpaper today and went looking for a bunch of new ones. Instead of keeping them to myself, I’ve decided to share the wealth. Without further ado, here are 15 high resolution wallpapers that will make your desktop look beautiful again.

Read more »

By Paul Horowitz - Customize, Fun - 7 Comments

iPad Becomes a Restaurant Menu in China

May 7, 2011 - 9 Comments

iPad restaurant menu

The iPad is already a huge hit in China, and some trendy restaurants are cashing in on the craze by using the iPad as a visual menu to order your meal from. Is this gimmicky or just another creative use of the iPad?

Read more »

By Matt Chan - Fun, iPad - 9 Comments

Mac Setups: MacBook Air & Apple Cinema Display 30″

May 7, 2011 - 4 Comments

MacBook Air 13" Driving a 30" Apple Cinema Display

If you thought the MacBook Air wasn’t powerful enough to be a primary Mac, think again. Here is a MacBook Air 13″ driving a 30″ Apple Cinema Display. Rounding out the setup is an iPad sitting in a BookArc stand running DisplayPad (App Store link) to serve as a 3rd display.

Image via flickr

By William Pearson - Mac Setups - 4 Comments

iMac 2011 Benchmarks Cause Speed Envy

May 6, 2011 - 6 Comments

Benchmarks for the 2011 iMac update are starting to appear and they’re very impressive. The chart below shows Geekbench scores for the entire 2011 iMac lineup, and for reference points they are compared against 2010 iMacs and 2009 iMacs. The improvements from last years to this years model are not quite as dramatic as the huge jump from Core 2 Duo to Core i7 architecture, but they still represent a 20%+ improvement in speed.

iMac 2011 benchmarks with Geekbench

(FYI the contrast on the benchmark chart was altered from the source to reduce file size)

These results were compiled by PrimateLabs, the developers of Geekbench. You can run the test suite yourself on any Mac (or even a PC or iPhone), but be forewarned, unless you have a Core i-series equipped Mac, speed envy may inspire spontaneous upgrade decisions and a visit to the Apple Store.

On a related note, these benchmarks are exactly why I hope the rumor of Apple moving to ARM processors for the Mac is false.

By Paul Horowitz - Mac, News - 6 Comments

Apple Moving Macs from Intel to ARM Processors?

May 6, 2011 - 17 Comments

Apple ARM Processor

Apple may be looking to move their laptop lineup from Intel processors to ARM CPU’s sometime in the next few years. According to a report on SemiAccurate, the move away from Intel is a “done deal” and that the transition to ARM processors will likely happen to Apple’s desktop lineup as well. ARM processors currently power Apple’s iOS lineup including the iPhone and iPad, while Intel processors power all existing Macs.

SemiAccurate (maybe that name is telling?) who claims to have sources with knowledge of the matter, seems absolutely certain of the move:

So short story, x86 is history on Apple laptops, or will be in 2-3 years. In any case, it is a done deal, Intel is out, and Apple chips are in. The only question left is if they will use their own core, a Samsung core, or the generic ARM black box.

They also say that waiting 2-3 years is enough time for ARM to develop higher end chips with full 64 bit support. MacRumors further notes that Apple has made heavy investments in ARM architecture, acquiring several companies to move the processor design in-house and completely under their control.

This rumor has caused quite an outrage on the Mac web, since ARM CPU’s are perceived as significantly less powerful than Intel CPU’s, although waiting a few years may be enough time for processing power to catch up. While the move may seem farfetched, it’s entirely possible considering Apple transitioned from IBM CPU’s to Intel CPU’s which caused similar disbelief and frustration, but ultimately results in more powerful Macs.

The idea of ARM processors coming to Mac hardware has also reignited the theory of iOS and Mac OS X merging down the road, as several Apple patents originally suggested such hybrid machines are in the works (touch Mac, iMac touch runs Mac OS & iOS, MacBook touch, etc). The basic idea is a single OS that transitions between an easy interface, perhaps how LaunchPad in Lion resembles the iOS switchboard, that is intended for most users, while power users would have access to a more advanced interface for things like app development and system administration.

Remember, this is all rumor, theory, and conjecture, so until you see an announcement from Apple, nothing is guaranteed.

By Paul Horowitz - Mac, News - 17 Comments

Unlock iPhone 4.3.3 with Ultrasn0w 1.2.3

May 6, 2011 - 22 Comments

ultrasn0w 1.2.3 for iOS 4.3.3 Ultrasn0w has been updated to version 1.2.3 with support for preserved baseband running iOS 4.3.3. In other words, ultrasn0w 1.2.3 does not unlock new baseband, but it does work to keep your unlock if you have been tugging along iPhone 4 with 1.59.00 or iPhone 3G & 3GS with 4.26.08, 5.11.07, 5.12.01, 5.13.04, and 6.15.00.

If this applies to you, you’ll want to use PwnageTool 4.3.3 (Mac) or Sn0wbreeze (Windows) to jailbreak while preserving your old baseband and updating to iOS 4.3.3.

Install Ultrasn0w Unlock for 4.3.3

After you are jailbroken, ultrasn0w is installed through Cydia. You can generally do this just by searching for “ultrasn0w” but if that fails:

  • Add http://repo666.ultrasn0w.com as a source repository to Cydia
  • Search for “Ultrasn0w 1.2.3″ and install
  • Reboot your iPhone

Assuming you have supported baseband and everything is done correctly, the iPhone will boot unlocked and ready for another SIM card. Remember that many unofficial carriers do not support 3G networks so you should disable that in network settings if things aren’t working as expected.

By Matt Chan - iPhone - 22 Comments

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