iPhone books

Maybe the following books will help in better understanding what an iPhone can and cannot do:

With good reviews:

David Pogue: “iPhone: The Missing Manual”

Andy Ihnatko: “iPhone Fully Loaded”

Scott Kelby, Terry White: “The iPhone Book: How to Do the Things You Want to Do with Your iPhone”

Christopher Breen: “The iPhone Pocket Guide”

Rough Guides: “The Rough Guide to the iPhone”

Edward C. Baig, Bob LeVitus: “iPhone for Dummies”

Without reviews:

Jason Chen, Adam Pash: “How to do Everything with your iPhone”

Erica Sadun: “Taking your iPhone to the Max”

Kate Shoup: “iPhone Visual Quick Tips”

With bad reviews:

Damon Brown: “The Pocket Idiot’s Guide to the iPhone”

Brad Miser: “My iPhone”

Not yet published:

Adam Stolarz, David Jurick, Damien Stolarz: “iPhone and iPod Touch Hacks: Tips and Tools for Pushing the Smartest Mobile Devices to their Limits”

The iPhone … it’s so cool.

[Translated version of a reader’s letter to a German computer magazine.]

At first I was crazy about my new iPhone – elegant, stylish, cool, amazing functions!

Once the first euphoria settled, a brief hesitation: Hhhmmmmm, battery drains pretty fast — oh well, I have played around with it a lot, and also proudly demonstrated my super phone to all friends and colleagues at work.

When doing that, I always was in control of which sites would be surfed to – didn’t want to make a fool of myself, given that neither Flash nor Java are working.

Also, the fact that all photos I have ever made are stored in a hard-coded folder which by now is filled with 200 pictures ranging from a computer trade fair via a Christmas walk to a cozy evening with wine and pasta are nicely blended with each other in there, didn’t bother me all that much. I am sure I’ll be able to split them up once I transfer them to my PC — the iPhone … it’s sooo cool!

MMS? No, the iPhone can send pictures by mail. That’s why MMS doesn’t work, not even receiving them — the iPhone … it’s so cool!

However, I wasn’t quite as enthused anymore when I had to delete my emails one by one individually. When I was on vacation I had received way more than 150 emails. Each and every one of them had to be deleted manually. Functions such as “delete all” or “select” are missing. As a result, I endured cramps in my finger, having to move them to the recycle bin — oops, this mail should have gone to the recycle bin, but rather to the inbox; there it is, but how to get it back into the inbox? — No such feature — the iPhone … its’ so cool.

Little by little I am starting to worry. I had to install iTunes on my PC to get the iPhone to work. A music program to manage my phone? Apple did have to have my credit card, too? Sure, given that MP3-rings aren’t available.

Now it’s defective, the volume button does not work anymore, call to t-mobile [iPhone cellular provider for Germany] — sure, send it in, takes about 1 to 2 weeks. Temporary iPhone — sure, none. “Please make a backup of your data before shipping it” — sure, will do. T-mobile was kind enough to provide the phone number of the Apple call center; they themselves didn’t have any clue as to how to do that.

I briefly fumbled around with iTunes — the software shipping with it for my PC. What do “party jukebox”, “TV shows” and “iTunes Shop” have to do with backups? So I called the Apple call center to get professional help in backup up the data. In short: a disaster. Following exact written instructions by the call center pro, first all my contacts were completely deleted from my iPhone (this can also be reproduced time and again after the fact, since the stupid iTunes at first syncs the empty Windows address book to the iPhone!). They are gone for good. Then he quickly hung up and could not be found anymore.

His colleague informed me that I cannot backup the contacts, schedules, emails and pictures, nor SMS — only synchronize them, but only with Office 2003 and above and Photoshop, and only to the iPhone, so that upon the first syncing all iPhone addresses are lost! Say what?

For the photos, however, he had an idea: I could mail them to myself — one by one, naturally, since you cannot select multiple pictures — 200 pictures!

iPhone for sale, full of teething troubles, slightly defective — the iPhone … it’s not cool anymore …

Dietrich v. Witzleben, Munich, Germany
(reader’s letter to “iX magazine for professional information technology”, published on page 6 of the February 2008 issue)

Failure to launch new generation of spy satellites

In a New York Times article published on 11/11/2007, Philip Taubman elaborates on the death of a spy satellite program, dubbed the Future Imagery Architecture, for which bids were solicited in 1998, even though an internal assessment raised questions whether it was achievable given the tight constraints on the project.

According to the New York Times, the collapse of the project resulted in a loss of at least $4 billion; cost estimates at the time the project was killed off in September 2005 ran as high as $18 billion.

Ed Nowinski, a former key player of the project, asserts that the most of the problems had been solved by the time project was shut down, so that with adequate time and money, the electro-optical satellite could have been built.

The BlackBerry Challenge

InfoWorld’s Tom Yager is not so sure that Apple’s iPhone is quite there, yet, to live up to the challenge posed by the BlackBerry handset. In his opinion, operators are not likely to invest just as much and just now into network upgrades as they did when they bought into the whole BlackBerry concept.

His full column is available here.