Digital Thingamajigs
Get the scoop on the latest mobile and handheld devices, high-tech gadgets, phones, gaming devices and more as well as computer-related tips and tricks. Keep up with tech trends, gaming software and check out some of the newest innovations that are turning heads in the electronics industry.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Jailbreaking Part II: Should I do it?

So, you're thinking about jailbreaking your iPhone - or you're on the fence. Here are some of the pros and cons to unlocking your iPhone by jailbreaking it.

The pros
Cool apps: Yes, the App Store has many awesome apps, but as I stated in my previous blog, Apple is notorious for blocking certain applications from getting into its store.

Other networks: After jailbreaking, you have access to phone networks other than AT&T  — and now Verizon - such as T-Mobile's GSM network, which can actually work overseas.

Customization: The iPhone's built-in interface allows you to change certain sounds and the set the wallpaper, among a few other tweaks. But, these options are limited. Jailbreaking allows you to go beyond the normal limits of iOS and do things such as add more icons to the dock (at the bottom of the screen) or install the Winterboard app, which gives you much more customization options such as themes and new skins.

The cons
Lost warranty: If you still have time left on your existing warranty, say goodbye to it if you jailbreak your iPhone. Apple has stated that unlocking your iPhone will void your warranty, although you can supposedly reset your iPhone and wipe clean any traces of the jailbreaking. However, this will delete all of your data and preferences in the process.

Bricking: This is one of the biggest cons — the fear of "bricking" your device. Although bricking won't completely ruin your phone, it's a huge hassle. A bricked iPhone is completely useless until a reset is done, at which point you can say bye-bye to all of your data and preferences.

Instability: However tempting it may seem, jailbreaking is still relatively new and not supported by Apple or other major phone manufacturers. Therefore, you get no help from Apple and rely entirely upon the jailbreaking community (blogs, message boards, etc.) for any troubleshooting or assistance. There are also many security holes opened up by jailbreaking your iPhone that can allow hackers to plant bugs, worms or other malware into your phone.

As is the case with any tinkering you may do with electronic gadgets, you do run a risk of ruining your device should you choose to jailbreak your iPhone. This post is intended to give more information on unlocking your iPhone via jailbreaking and should not be taken as an endorsement or rejection of the process and is in no way comprehensive. If you need more information, the Internet is always a good place to start.

Here are some good links for more information:

BTW: In an attempt to be fair, I tried to find more information on what it means to jailbreak from Apple's website, but all I found were links to Thin Lizzy on iTunes.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Jailbreaking Part I: What is it?

So, what’s all this talk about jailbreaking? Sounds illegal, doesn’t it? If nothing else, it’s pretty scary sounding … combining words like “jail” and “break.” That term must have been started by the phone manufacturers. I mean, why not just call it lovetapping or puppy-petting?

Anyway, I was curious about jailbreaking my iPhone 4, so I did a little research. The good news is that if you’re thinking about doing it, it’s totally legal, easy, quick and free. The bad news: It could void your warranty and, in extreme cases, “brick” your phone, which means you'll have to completely reset it. And if you have no idea what jailbreaking is and why it’s so tempting, I’ll try to clear things up a bit.

So, what is jailbreaking?

Basically, it unlocks your phone. And although the iPhone includes the App Store with hundreds of thousands of apps, Apple has ultimate control over what apps can be sold. This mean if the app doesn’t live up to Apple’s standards or competes with Apple software, it will probably not make it to the App Store. And that can prevent many useful, highly entertaining apps from making it onto your phone. 

Unlocking — or jailbreaking — your iPhone allows you to install apps from sources other than Apple, the most common of which is Cydia. I once heard a great analogy somewhere comparing Apple's control over the iPhone to buying a blender and having the manufacturer tell you that you're not allowed to make a margarita with it. Jailbreaking gives you — the phone's owner — full control of your device. It also allows you to use other carriers besides AT&T. Although that seems less important now that Verizon is on board with the iPhone 4.

Confused? Curious? If so, check out the next installment in my jailbreaking series, “Jailbreaking Part II: Should I do it?” when I will discuss the pros and cons of unlocking an iPhone 4.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Big-screen iPhone

So, you love your iPhone and are amazed at its functions, compactness and all-around awesomeness, except for one thing: That tiny 3 1/2 inch screen. Sure, Apple's Retina display is an amazing leap forward in technology - cramming 960 X 640 pixels into that tiny space - but even at high definition, there's something disappointing about watching the finale of Avatar in the palm of your hand.

Enter the MiLi Phone Projector. This little gadget takes the video output from your iPhone and, from the other side, the LED pico projector shoots out video up to 70 inches wide onto a screen or wall. And while the price isn't cheap, it's definitely less expensive than buying a flat-panel or rear projection TV.

And as of the writing of this blog (Feb. 4, 2010), the projector is on sale at ThinkGeek for $299, which is the best deal I could find on the Web. If you're a gadget geek like I am, then this little thing will be at the top of your wish list. So get the popcorn popped, the Kool-aid (or legal beverage) chilled, and invite all your friends over to check out "Goodfellas" on your new 70 inch big screen projection TV. They'll be amazed, I'm sure.