iPhone 4 Earpiece Troubleshooting

December 31st, 2011
Are you having problems with your iPhone earpiece not working? The most typical symptom is you make or receive a call and cannot hear ringing or the other caller through the speaker.  Usually switching to speakerphone will work until you have time to address the issue. There are many forum posts across the web with various solutions, I decided to put a short list together with the actual fix I discovered.
  • Check volume
    • Sometimes the volume is just turned down too low, while this seems like a big duh!, its always good to check this first.  Volume is adjusted while the call is taking place otherwise your ringer or system volume are changed.
  • Reboot
    • Ahhh. the ole windows trick, sometimes this fixes it.
  • Headphone plug
    • Try plugging in headphone, can you hear the caller now?  Occasionally the iPhone will incorrectly think that headphones are plugged in.  Inserting and removing the headphones can sometimes fix this.   Others have various cleaning methods including paperclips to remove junk in the bottom of the port or using an alcohol wetted q-tip.
  • Bluetooth
    • Does it work with bluetooth?
    • Try turning off bluetooth, sometimes the iPhone thinks it is still connected when it is not.
    • This is occasionally caused when the iPhone loses its connection with a bluetooth device.
  • Huff the Earpiece
    • This is my own discovery.  I tried all the above plus doing a full reset.
    • Pucker up,  make like you are going to kiss the earpiece and lightly blow back and forth (lightly!) while your lips remain pressed against the glass.  If the speaker is frozen/jammed, this will free it.
    • My guess it that perspiration causes the internal speaker to get stuck and moving it with air will free it.
    • It seems crazy but it fixed my phone
  • Restore
    • Restoring to factory settings using itunes will usually resolve any issues caused by third party software.
    • Restore, then don’t restore your own data and test the phone.
  • Apple Store
    • If you are under warranty, time to take it back to an Apple store
    • Out of warranty?  Did you buy with MasterCard or Amex?  Both double your warranty on many electronic devices.  Check with your card provider to see what additional coverage you may have.
Good luck!

Heytell vs Voxer

December 15th, 2011

Heytell and Voxer are two popular PTT (push to talk apps) that offer walkie talkie like service for various  smartphones.  Anyone that has used a real walkie talkie or is familiar with Nextel knows how useful this feature can be.  While text messaging is great in meetings, it’s terrible for driving, not to mention illegal in most places.  Sending someone a quick voice message is often preferable to placing a more time consuming call.  I have compared the two apps, and below is a list of features available in each.

Feature Heytell Voxer
 Walkie Talkie  √  √
 Text Messaging
 Picture Messaging
 Video Chat
 Location Sharing  √
 Group Messaging  $  √
 Privacy Settings (limit contact to friends only, FOF, all)  √
 Block Users  √
 Facebook Integration
 Works on Wifi
 Works on 3G
 No Ads $

√=included feature $=additional in-app purchase

With the above features in mind, sometimes there is more to an app than just cold hard specs.  Each has its pluses and minuses in my opinion.

Lets start with Heytell.  This is an app that focuses just on the walkie talkie feature.  And it does it well.  It is no frills and has a very intuitive user interface.  I’d single handedly recommend it if it employed streaming like Voxer does.  Instead you must record your message, then wait for it to be transmitted.  This is much like the days of the internet before Youtube began streaming video.  Lots of waiting for no good reason.

Voxer on the other hand tries to do many things at once.  You can of course voice chat, but you can also text and send picture messages.  This makes the app much more flexible, but the fact is the additional features are available as core components on just about any smartphone.  Then there is the thing that makes Voxer great.  As soon as you start talking, the other person hears your voice.  The streaming function works very well.  Then there is the UI.  Its not very intuitive, and it really strays from the iPhone motif.  I don’t expect every app to look like iOS native, but then again, I’d prefer it not look completely out of place.  Then there is the dagger to the heart.  Voxer has no privacy settings.  Its like AIM 1.0.  Anyone can (and does!) message you.  Voxer allows you to block the user, but you still get an annoying popup that makes you think someone you know has contacted you.  In my limited use, I got several chat popups from random strangers.  This alone made me abandon the app.   The blocking feature is very tedious, I believe there are four or five actions required to block that users after the initial badge pops up.

I’m sure Voxer will address the privacy issues, but ideally I’d be even more happy if Heytell added streaming support.  Heytell is just more intuitive and tries to do one thing well instead of a bunch of stuff you don’t want or need.  Both will get the job done, and since both are free, its worth checking either of them out!

Dear Local Bike Shop…

March 14th, 2011

I’d like to take a minute of my time to congratulate you on the enviable position of willingly turning away paying customers.  It’s 2011, the economy is still pretty rough and apparently, buyers of several thousand dollar mountain bikes are all beating your doors down.  I have the audacity to show up or call you on the phone, merely asking for a minimal discount,  and the prospect of not getting at minimum, MSRP, serves to agitate you more than a customer asking you to fix a flat before closing time.  Sales must be great, where are the customers?

Many might question why I deserve any discount.  First off, I’d like to point out that we live in a free market, we are free to shop on price.  Secondly, while some shops offer great before and after sale service, none of that is of any value to me.  All I want is a bike in a box.  I’m sure you claim your mechanics are the best, but when you say that, you are thinking of your one good mechanic, not the other three stoners.  I want my bike in the box, in fact, please don’t even open it. I won’t be back for any work unless I crack the frame.  If anything else breaks, I’ll replace it myself thanks.

Wait, what sort of discount are you looking for, you say?  Well, most shops I called, I didn’t even throw out a price, the mere mention of discount set them off.  So how exactly did I do my wheeling and dealing, I mean, I must have been rude and crass, right?  Umm, not exactly.  This was pretty much my call:

“Hi, I’m interested in a new mountain bike, I want Brand X, Model Y in size L.  I’m calling around to local shops to find the best deal.  I know you will have to order the bike, I don’t need any help with it, all I want is the bike in the box, if you insist on putting it together, that is fine.  I’m not in any particular hurry, but I am looking for an attractive price.”

The most laughable calls were when I was actually quoted the actual MSRP.  As if I was calling for a price quote.  Just be honest and say, we don’t deal.  What would someone interested in a narrow market, high end MTB need you to quote the price for?  Your customer knows more than you about the bike!  In fact I had researched bikes for quite a while before I narrowed my selection down.  I know what the mail order prices are.  Shops are selling these same bikes for 20-30% less than you are, and somehow it appears their businesses are flourishing.  I would have been happy with 10-15%.

But instead, you missed one important point.  There is no limit on these bikes, in fact, there are leftovers from last year.  The bikes aren’t scarce, you can have another one in your shop with a few clicks.  How easy is it to find another schlep willing to spend what buys you a good second hand car?   When I walk, you not only lost a customer, you gave your competitor the sale.  You totally closed off any opportunity by refusing to discuss price.

And that is what has me writing this post, I am totally confused at this fact, how is $427.50 so much worse than zero?  That’s right, even if you were so liberal as to offer me 15% off, you’d still turn a profit of over $400.  But what about overhead, and “expert” assembly?  Unless you are at full sales capacity, more sales doesn’t cost you more overhead.  That expert assembly, I’ve been around bike shops long enough to see 5-6 bikes being built an hour by the average bike mechanic.   In fact, there is more labor involved assembling those $299 specials than the bike I wanted.

So yes, I’m curious as to why you hate me, the guy that buys the pricey stuff, wants a few bits chipped off and will be back to you for another bike in three years.  Instead you seem to enjoy helping your worst nightmare, the customers that keep bringing in their ratty rust machines for their yearly tune-up.  Your mechanic spends over an hour on each one and you bill out 30 minutes of time, every time another one comes in, you get further behind.  I’ll spare you my rant on how you can’t seem to make money on service, because I don’t want to kick you while you are down.

Sure is sad you turned down my money, because Bob didn’t.  He’s cool with shipping me the bike in the box.  That whole thing about not selling bikes to out-of-towners, yeah, he’s got that figured out too.  See, Bob knows business.  He knows that customers that come in the front door might pay full price, but he won’t let the ones that refuse to pay full price go, without a fight.  He knows that once a customer leaves, he’s not coming back.

They’re baaaaaaaaaaaaack…….

August 24th, 2009

Doritos Toro Habanero

Finally, I was able to find Doritos Fiery Habanero chips.  Another post to my original complaint prompted me to do another google search.  It looks like they have been re-born.  A new name and a new look.  Labled as Sabritas Toro Habanero, rest assured, its the same chip.  It appears they are targeted to the Hispanic market, apparently nobody else can handle the heat <cough>.  Anyway, you can find them online at mexgrocer.com .  Same taste, same amount of heat.  I bought 8 bags to start….

Update 2:

Looks like they are back at regular stores now, I saw some at a Harris Teeter yesterday (1/1/10).  Looks like several other places are carrying them too as some comments to my other post had indicated.

Update 3:

Looks like they are gone again as quick as they came, Frito Lay, why do you taunt us with these?????

Update 4:

Now Mexgrocer has them again, yes the real ones.  They have awesome service and ship fast so you can get your fix soon.  Its just too much hassle to find these in stores now.  If you google, you can find a coupon for mexgrocer.  Shipping is reasonable.

Dell = Fraud – Cancels orders for no reason

August 20th, 2009


Add another one to the list, Dell, I will not purchase anything from you EVER again.  Four orders canceled this year.

  • You list an item as being in stock
  • You take my order and send me acknowledgement email
  • 24 hours later you send me email that my order is canceled.
  • This email lists no reason for cancelation
  • This email lists a phone number that does not work – it loops back to the original menu
  • When I do contact sales they claim my order reference id is not a valid number
  • You ask for a phone number and “can’t find my account”
  • You can’t tell me how to find my customer number
  • You can’t tell me anything whatsoever

I have purchased several computers, accessories, cameras, etc from you in the past 10 years, now for some reason you can’t seem to sell me something.  I’m not ordering using some magic coupon.  I’m going in the front door, looking for an item number and then ordering, no coupon, no funny business. The cards used have plenty of funding and the billing and ship to addresses match.

What you are doing is fraudulent, infuriating and just plain out crap.  I’m done with you, I hope you burn. At least I’m decent enough to give you a reason.

Next step, I’m sending a complaint to the FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection. Complaint  ####1208 submitted via FTC Consumer Sentinel

Fedex sucks….

July 24th, 2009

I’ve had so many bad dealings with Fedex that they have now made my banned list.  I’ve had a few issues with other carriers, but in the case of USPS and UPS, it is the exception, not the norm.  With Fedex, 2 out of 3 times there is an issue.  Fedex Ground seems to be a little bit better about leaving stuff, but it is SLOW.  Some issues I’ve had in the past:

  • Leaving door tags without ringing the bell or knocking.
  • Not leaving packages that don’t require signature
  • Slow delivery
  • Packages not being at the pickup facility when the tag says they should be

The last and final straw was a document I had shipped from New Jersey by Fedex saver.  I had documents sent from the same source via first class mail that arrived in the same amount of time.  To top it off, of course they couldn’t leave the letter.

On the door tag it says “Pick up after 6pm ”  Well, 9 AM is after 6pm, turns out it is out for Re-delivery.  It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to fill out a form, but then again, it’s the same genius who thinks I might be home tomorrow at the same time.

So if the same letter was mailed via first class, it would:

  1. Be sitting in my mailbox
  2. Not require me to drive to pick it up
  3. Cost $16 less
  4. Arrive in LESS time!!!!

I’m not even going to get into the apathetic attitude of the people that work at Fedex, except to say, if you get complaints all day long and can’t do anything to help your customers, I bet you do get a bit sour.

Felt F5 – Routing the front derailleur

April 21st, 2009

I’ve had a few requests to post up how to route the front derailleur cable and how I used a teflon liner.  I think the pics speak for themselves.

Felt F5 in the wild….

April 16th, 2009


Its been a few months since I finished the Felt. I changed the stem out for an FSA and saved about 40 grams. Changed the tires from the Pro Race II’s 700×25 as they were rubbing the frame occasionally. Other than that and a few adjustments, it has been an amazing ride.

What makes a great digital camera???

April 16th, 2009


If you believe the advertisements, magazines and online forums you should consider:

  • Megapixel Rating
  • Brand
  • Battery Format (AA vs Proprietary)
  • Memory Format
  • Zoom factor

The real problem is, when comparison shopping, that is what most people use to compare.

Wow, this camera has 4 more megapixel than that one….. and it costs less!!!

The above items actually have very little to do with what makes a digital camera great.

First and foremost, size matters.  If you don’t have your camera with you, how are you going to take that picture?  This can’t be stressed enough.  People buy cameras and then leave them at home.  Second, batteries do matter.  AA batteries are great because they are everywhere.  But they also don’t have nearly as much power to recharge your flash, and have a high rate of self discharge (ie while sitting in your drawer).  That means you miss the picture on both counts.  If the camera is dead… no pictures.  If you are waiting for the flash… you miss the picture.  Last but not least, lag makes for a bad camera.  If you miss the moment, its gone forever.

What really makes a camera great?  Its simple.  Great pictures.  If you don’t regularly get great pictures out of your camera, it sucks.  Plain and simple.  I’m not saying a camera will make an artist of of you, but your shots should come out clear, crisp and properly exposed.  For good pictures you need a good lens, a good metering and focusing system, low noise at reasonable ISO levels and a good strong flash for indoor photography.

So how do you find a good camera?  Look at lots of pictures online.  The review sites have some good pictures to compare “lab” type pictures, but sites like flickr let you look at pictures taken by average users.  When you think you found something you like, buy from a place that allows returns.  Costco is one of the few places that gives you 90 days to play.  You need to know if the camera works for you.  Then take lots of picutures.

Jake’s Done

April 16th, 2009

finally all built....finally all built….

So after being a little busy and not having much time to build, I got around to finishing the Jake.  The build went very well except for needing new cables.  The cables from the donor bike were a bit too short.  Other than that, everything transfered over just fine.

I am amazed at how smooth this thing rides for being aluminum.  I guess its the FAT Kendas, 700×38 that help.  No changes planned yet….