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Apple Maps Alternative

As many of you know, I play with as much tech as I can get my hands on. I try to thoroughly test devices and applications best I can.
Also I have been a long time fan of Apple devices since getting my first iPhone 3G in 2008. Soon following with the iPhone 4 then the iPhone 4S and now after being fed up with horrible AT&T service in my area, the iPhone 5 on Verizon.

The iPhone 5 came preloaded with iOS 6 which included the new Apple Maps, a replacement for Google Maps which had been on all iOS devices prior to iOS 6.

I was excited about the new maps and on first use it did not fail. The turn by turn and voice were magnificent. It was spot on. I thought it was working great and would be ready to serve me up directions to anywhere whenever I needed it.

Later in the week to come I read many articles on how the Apple Maps were horrible at giving directions. I couldn’t figure out why they were so bad so I decided to further test it out.

Wow this app really IS bad.
Apple Maps could not find my local Wendy’s Restaurant right in the middle of my small town. Also while traveling, it COULD drop a pin on the hotel I was staying at, but its location was miles from me, so had I chose for it to give me directions to it, I would be almost a hundred miles from it. This was not good!

Apple Maps

Not a Wendy’s in my town at all according to Apple Maps.

No Home Depot in Oxford, MS ????

I KNOW there is a Chili’s in Batesville, MS. Why would Apple Maps disagree?


I can do this all day but I wont.
First before I tell you an awesome alternative to Apple Maps, I must defend them a little bit.
You can read it all day long on the internet http://www.newjerseynewsroom.com/science-updates/apple-apology-for-maps-shortcomings but to sum it up, Apple wanted Google Maps to on their iDevices to have turn by turn voice directions.
Google said No!
Google wants to reserve that to just their Android powered devices. Apple said Good Bye and put a nice effort into making their own turn by turn voice driven Map application. Unfortunately it didn’t work out that well right out of the box. Tim Cook CEO of Apple release an apologetic letter to all and within it some alternatives. When Apple gets this one right, it will be great. Its already been proven that it uses vector images and therefore reducing data usage a great deal.

Of all the alternatives mentioned in Tim Cooks letter and the ones I have used in the past, I really really think WAZE is the best to use.

Ones I have used in the past were:
Navigon
TomTom
Google Maps
Apple Maps
Motion X GPS
Bing Maps
Google Maps inside of Safari

WAZE is the only one that has our most recently built TACO BELL on it. This is because the maps are constantly updated with other WAZE users input. I myself have even fixed some roads along my travels.

A short video about WAZE.

 

 

Has WAZE been helpful? You bet!

WAZE knows where the closest Chilis is!

It even knows where Wendy’s is

 

This app is really fast. Its faster than any other navigation app I have ever used. Its intuitive and easy to operate. It has alerts for speedtraps and other things due to the community of other wazers out there reporting.

Get this app and try it out.

WAZE http://www.waze.com/

Meet Waze – a fun, community-based GPS traffic and navigation app.

Join forces with drivers in your area, easily report what’s happening on the road and get turn-by-turn navigation that automatically re-routes you when road conditions change.

That way everybody’s commute gets faster and safer. Smart, right?

Download from the Apple App Store HERE

Download for Android users HERE

Download for Windows Mobile and Symbian devices HERE

Oh yeah and its FREE!!

Airplay Enabled Backyard

We have talked about Apples Airplay before on this website here http://www.userbytes.com/enable-airplay-on-boxee-xbmc-plex/ which allows us to push whatever we are seeing on the iphone, onto the tv screen if you are using an Apple TV or Plex, or XBMC, or even Boxee.
Airplay is a fantastic technology that uses WiFi instead of Bluetooth.

I spend a lot of time in my backyard working on projects, swimming in the pool, etc. I love it!

Often when we have people over and have time by the pool we pull out an old set of computer speakers with a sub. I have this mounted to a carry around unit I made. I plug it into the power outlet and plug the 3.5 mm cord into the headphone port of my iphone, or anyones device, and we rock out. This is cool and all but I have to remember to put it up out of the weather after each use. Also I have to leave my phone tethered to it.

This is inconvenient.

There’s a better way!

I decided to mount two outdoor speakers under the eve of the house on the corners near my security flood lamps. Then an amp to power them, then connect the amp to an Apple Airport Express. I built a small box to house it all in under the eve of the roof.

The Apple Airport Express is connected to my current WiFi. This is beautiful as I do not have to switch WiFi signals while in the backyard.

This works great too. Now while by the pool or anywhere in the backyard I can Airplay my Pandora, Slacker Radio, or iPod to the speakers in the backyard. I bet my neighbors love me even more now.

Also if you have iTunes on your computer, you can use Remote found in the Apple App Store to control your iTunes playlists and make them play over the Airplay as well. Also in iTunes there are a ton upon tons of radio stations to listen to.

Here is a list of what I purchased to accomplish this setup.

Apple Airport Express

3-way Indoor / Outdoor Speaker set

Pyle – Mini 2x75W Stereo Power Amplifier

3.5mm to Stereo RCA Male Cable – 6 ft.

18 g Speaker Wire

Apple Releases iOS 5.0.1 – Solves Battery Issues

Apple released iOS 5.0.1 today to fix a few bugs that effected the battery life and some document syncing issues.

You can download it with iTunes and it will be the full install of 709MB or you can use your iDevice and go to Settings/General/Software Update and update it over the air. This will be only the changes needed and will be 55 mb.

How To Enable Secret iOS 5 Features

Did you know that there are probably dozens of secrete easter eggs in iOS 5 that are just waiting to get discovered?

I will tell you about two the I enabled that are pretty awesome and that you may find useful.

 

First feature that I find very very cool is the panoramic mode of the camera.

Its pretty cool actually. You have to have a steady hand to pull off some great pics, or a tripod.

There is a arrow that acts like a leveler and you touch the camera button then slowly turn to the right and it snaps many photos one frame at a time and puts it together.

Here are some examples and they were done fast and ugly.

The one above was really ugly and done fast.

With a steady hand you could take some really neat photos.

 

Next is the hidden auto correct feature on the keyboard

OK so you like all this and want it and want it all without jailbreaking right?

OK LETS DO THIS!

First you will need a tool. The Tool is iBackUpBot and its available for Windows and the Mac.
Get it here http://www.icopybot.com/itunes-backup-manager.htm Its free to download and use for this.

Download the correct version for your operating system.

Next you will want to do a full backup of your iPhone to iTunes.
I do it the old fashioned. That is to say that when the iPhone is detected in the left hand pane of the library window in iTunes, right click the iPhone and choose Backup.
This will back it up and copy any new apps over to iTunes.

Now you have a complete backup.

Now install iBackupBot (free download) program and open it up.
It will scour through your iTunes Backup directories and reveal all of your backups.

Select the latest most recent backup.

Now for the Camera hack, look for Library/Preferences/com.apple.mobileslideshow.plist
Double click it to open it up in the plist editor.
Click Cancel on this page about registering the iBackupBot app.
Now you will add a few lines and they will look like this:
<key>EnableFirebreak</key>
<string>YES</string>

Then save it, then close it. Follow steps one, two, and three.

Here is a picture.

 

Now for the keyboard hack.

While you are in iBackupBot with your backup open, look for
Library/Preferences/com.apple.keyboard.plist
You will do the same thing but add the following:
<key>KeyboardAutocorrectionLists</key>
<string>YES</string>
After that click Save and Close.

Now from within iBackupBot, you will restore your backup to your device.

 

Now you are complete.

Let us know what you think about these hacks.

 

The Future of TV

For long time on Tuesday nights at 8 p.m. you could find me parked on a couch somewhere tuned into ABC to watch my beloved L O S T.

Before I lost myself in “L O S T” it was “Big Brother” on CBS.
We used to pile around the TV set and watch this show.

To this day I cant figure out why, but me and several others used to have Big Brother and Survivor parties and sit and watch these shows. I say I cant figure out why, because after about 5 seasons of the same thing, you grow tired and wonder what the hell you were doing ever watching it past season one.

Back in those days it was a sure fire way to have a social gathering. A very positive thing.

The negative, was that you may have found yourself always having to be in front of the TV at a certain time. These days the entire television frontier has changed.

The future of TV is right now and growing quickly. Right now you no longer have to fit YOUR schedule around your TELEVISIONS schedule.

With the advent of DVR’s (digital video recorders) and other like devices, you can now watch TV when YOU want to watch it.

In this “On Demand” world we now live in, everyone wants to WATCH what they WANT when THEY want to, freeing up their lives to do more, like going to soccer games, no longer postponing dinner engagements, and other things.

Currently there are many devices on the market to which TV shows, Podcasts, Music, even Movies can be delivered to your TV anytime you want them.

We really shouldn’t call these devices SET TOP boxes anymore as its hard to set anything atop a flat screen LCD that is only about 2 inches thick at most. Instead we now call them appliances. Seems like everyone is getting into this game now. Lets see there is the Roku player, the Boxee Box, The Apple TV, heck even hard drive maker Western Digital is getting into the mix with their WDLIVE!

Out of all the appliances out there today, the only one I want you to really meet is the new black Apple TV or as some are referring to it as the Apple TV 2 or ATV2 since its the second generation one that Apple Computer has put out.

Apple TV is slick and tiny. It can fit in the palm of your hand, and is very easy to setup.

 

You simply just take it out of the box, connect an HDMI cable (not included) to your TV and power it up, then you are quickly presented with a screen to set up a few preferences.

 

 

Check out this video about the Apple TV

 

 

I purchased one of these for my Aunt and she says its the best gift she has ever received, a truly amazing device.

I highly recommend this device over the other ones for its pure simplistic user interface.

 

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