Fix crackling audio on your iPhone

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If you find that music on your iPhone crackles when you listen through your headphones, try cleaning the headphone jack.

Because your iPhone lives in your pocket, pocket lint can accumulate inside your iPhone’s headphone jack.

I had 3 years of accumulated pocket lint inside my headphone jack, without knowing about it. For months I thought the iPhone was dead and I’d need to replace the headphone jack which is very difficult.

The solution – just get a bent paperclip and scrape it all out. Voila! No more crackling music!

Change your country with iTunes iStore and iPhone App Store

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A few months ago I moved from NZ to London. For a while I kept using my NZ account on iTunes and on my iPhone to buy apps, but eventually I needed to start using the UK app store.

The only info I could find on google was how to change your country in iTunes. That’s easy enough, using the country selector at the bottom of the screen. So now I can browse the UK iTunes store, and everything appears in £. But when I’d try and sign in to buy something, I’d get an error message “Your account is only valid for purchases in the NZ iStore” and I’d get redirected to the NZ iStore. I couldn’t find much help online, and was about to sign up for a whole new UK-based iTunes account with another email address, until I found this help page:

Changing your iTunes Store country:

Sign in to the account for the iTunes Store region you’d like to use. If already signed in to an account, from Settings, choose Store and then View Account.

Tap “Change Country of Region” and follow the on screen process of changing your region. Agree to the terms and conditions for the region if necessary, and then change your billing information.

Once that was done, I could see and use the UK iTunes on my Mac. But when I would surf the App Store on my iPhone I was still seeing the NZ app store. The fix is to just download any free app. Once it starts downloading it, it realises you’ve signed up to use a new country’s App Store and redirects you there. Or, on the iPhone go into Settings -> iTunes & App Stores -> Apple ID, and then Sign Out. When you Sign in again you’ll be redirected to the new country’s App Store.

A final tip: if you decide you don’t want to change your country and you need to buy US iTunes vouchers from overseas, TunesBud can hook you up.

Why the iPhone 3GS ain’t all that

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People who know me tell me “Matt, you’re the only iPhone owner I know who hates the iPhone”.  Here’s why.

It’s a crap phone

As a phone, it’s a piece of crap. My main moan is about it’s uselessness in text messaging. You see dear reader, here in NZ calls are ridiculously expensive so text messaging is very important. I hardly ever call anyone since the plan I’m on for $40 per month only gives me 20 minutes of calls and 100 text messages per month. Now since I also only get 100 txts, I’m reluctant to write a long txt since that would eat into my 100 per month quota – but guess what – the iPhone 3GS doesn’t tell you how many characters your text message is! This basic functionality, which EVERY cellphone has, the iPhone does not.

There is a workaround – I had to download a separate 3rd party app called “SMS Counter”.

Update (May 2011): An SMS length counter was included in the iOS 4.0 update, released June 2010. It only took me 11 months to find it! (Settings -> Messages -> Character count)

The other problem that no one mentions is that the touch screen sucks for typing on. I can txt faster and easier on my Nokia with predictive texting. And the Nokia is much easier to txt while walking – “I’m on my way, see you in 10″. With the iPhone’s touch screen keyboard I always have to stop walking to txt.

It’s a crap mp3 player

It bugs me how Apple market the iPod Touch as “the best music player ever” when it doesn’t even have functionality that my 5 year old iPod does, and which I use every day – Shuffle Albums. All I do is press play on my iPod and it’ll pick a random album, play every track on that album in order, then when its finished it’ll pick another album at random and play every track on that album in order, etc. This is the only way I ever listen to my music. One button – boom, a random album, played in order. Guess what, the much newer, cooler iPod Touch (and the iPhone 3GS) doesn’t have this. Dammit, don’t make me think about what album I wanna listen to! Suck.

The rest is pretty good

OK, so the rest of the iPhone 3GS is pretty good. It’s nice and fast, and the web browser is OK (although it doesn’t have Flash support, which is a big deal).

So it’s still probably the best smartphone available, which is why I have it – I really just wanted to have wikipedia in my pocket. But as a phone, which is it’s core function after all, it sucks.

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