How to kill your iPhone with the wrong case

May 15, 2008

iPhone Proximity Sensor
A lot of the magic of the iPhone is that things just work. Intuitively. A great example is during a call — when you bring the phone to your ear, the touch screen and display shut off automatically, to keep you from hanging up or dialing with your face. When you pull it away, the screen lights back up and the touch screen is activated again. All automagically.

Of course, that auto-magic has some real technology behind it — there is a little proximity sensor that both emits and detects an infrared beam — during a call, when an object (such as your ear) comes near it (within an inch or so), it reflects the beam back to the detector and shuts down the screen. When the reflection stops, the screen comes back on.

The proximity sensor is hidden under the glass just above the speaker hole — the overly-contrasty image above shows the rough location. You can see the actual sensor on this disassembly photo from iFixit.

Amazingly, nearly a year after the introduction of the iPhone, there are still a lot of cases being sold (even in places you think would know better) that cover up the proximity sensor with opaque material. Put one of these on your iPhone, and you too can dial with your face, hang up with your cheek, and get frustrated by not being able to punch in digits during a call.

Worse, there are more than a few rumors out there that if you leave the proximity sensor covered long enough, it can “stick” and just fail to work altogether — even if you take the cover off. If it sticks in the “screen off” position, you’re done until you get your phone repaired.

The moral of the story is be careful of your iPhone case — if you try a new case, double-check that the proximity sensor still works as it should, and if not, take it back and get a different one.

If you’ve found a great case that does work properly — or have a case horror story — share it with us in the comments!

Vaja iVod DJ iPod Case Review

July 20, 2005

Vaja iVod DJI love Vaja cases.

To me, the Vaja is typically the premier case for any portable device I own. Unfortunately, they’re priced that way too, but that doesn’t make them any less worth it.

Naturally, when I got the new iPod 60, I needed a new Vaja case (since my old 3G case wouldn’t work with a clickwheel iPod). I couldn’t resist going with the new iVod DJ — it’s just entirely too sexy.

Unfortunately, it’s not quite all it’s cracked up to be.
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GTR B-01 – Cheap HTPC Case Review

May 22, 2005

Dan’s Data has a detailed review of the GTR B-01 HTPC case, and Dan’s fairly impressed.

The GTR B-01 case supports a MicroATX motherboard, has a wide aray of front-panel connectors, a backlit front panel display, passable looks and sells for $115 Australian (about $90 US.)

If your HTPC must be a thing of beauty replete with RAID arrays and multiple tuner cards, then the GTR B-01 just won’t have enough room for the gear you need, much less achieve the requisite ooh-ah factor.

For most HTPC purposes, though, the B-01 will cut the mustard. You can take the cheap way out and use a MicroATX board with integrated everything, or you can install your own selection of graphics, sound and tuner cards, and be confident that the PSU won’t scream and explode. And three 3.5 inch bays give you room for a moderately ludicrous amount of local storage; “300Gb” drives are mainstream now, so it’d be no biggie to pack in around 840Gb of formatted space.

Introduction to dynamic pages

February 14, 2005

One of the most powerful features of blogs and other content management systems (CMS) is that they can create pages “on-the-fly” that to all intents and appearances look like a hand-built static web page.  This allows you to focus on developing your content itself, while the software generates the pages for you.
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Weblog Services

February 11, 2005

There are a lot of good reasons to include a weblog into your business site.  Many of these advantages go out the window if you use a weblog service instead of making it an integral part of your site.  Nevertheless, many people use them.  If you’re considering doing so, here are the leading candidates.

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When is a blog a blog?

January 19, 2005

One of the frequently heard objections to adding a weblog to a small business website is that they don’t want their site to look like a blog.  Of course, my standard reply is that it doesn’t need to in order to have all of the same functionality.  This can work too well, however.
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Are you choosing keywords properly?

January 17, 2005

One of the easiest ways to get the search results you want is to keep your keywords in mind when you’re writing content for your small business web site.  How do you know for certain that you’re selecting the right keywords?

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Business Blogging Article Roundup

January 15, 2005

There are a lot of people busily writing away this week on how to successfully build and promote business blogs.  Here are a handful of good tips regarding finding your voice as a business blogger, and some anecdotes regarding search engine success.

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Pew Survey on Blog Penetration

January 13, 2005

Just in case there was any remaining doubt on the importance of blogs, the Pew Internet & American Life Project has released the results of a survey they conducted last November.
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The Case for Quality

January 9, 2005

In “Blog design in the age of RSS”, “The Long Tail” author Chris Anderson suggests that the new shift towards RSS as a substantial traffic source means that the quality of articles posted to your site is beginning to be more important than regularity in posting in keeping people subscribed to your syndication feed (and thus returning to your site.)
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