Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Reminder: Students get free iPod touch with new Mac purchase

If you didn't win the iPod touch we gave away last week, fear not, you can still get your grubby little hands on one of these babies for free. All you have to do is buy a Mac using Apple's education discount and an 8GB iPod touch is yours.

This offer is open to the following people:

1) Current and incoming students at university, the polytechnic, junior college or the Institute of Technical Education;

2) Faculty and staff at all education levels; and

3) Parents buying for your kids at university, poly, JC or ITE.

If you want to take advantage of this offer, you need to hurry; the offer is only good until September 7.

For more details about Apple's Back to School program, click here.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Singtel 3G not working for you? Here's the fix.

Reports are coming in of people being unable to get onto Singtel's 3G network this morning.

The fix is change the APN. You need to go to Settings / General / Network / Cellular Data Network. In APN, replace "e-ideas" with "Internet". Leave the username and password fields alone.

Thanks to @honcheng for this remedy. He learned this the hard way, via a dogged determination to get an answer from SingTel's Customer Service people. He fully deserves an award for perseverance.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Congrats to our winner!

So yes, we are a week late announcing the iPod touch winner. We thought it would be easy but we received so many entries and many were good so it actually took us time to go through each entry to pick the best one.

Eventually we narrowed it down to 10, then to five and finally, after much debate, to one.

So congratulations Lee Ken Ming, you are our winner! We will be emailing you shortly to tell you how you can pick up your prize.

In the meantime, thanks to everyone else for taking part. It was really good to get all your suggestions.  Watch out, we'll have more to give away soon.

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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Foound gets funding from National Research Foundation

Local startup Foound, which makes it easy for friends to plan meet-ups, has just received funding from Signapore's National Research Foundation.

According to the newspaper Today, Foound is one of seven startups to be backed under the Technology Incubation Scheme. The size of the investment was not mentioned.

Foound is one of the more promising startups in the local scene doing iPhone development. They were featured on TechCrunch and VentureBeat earlier this year and Mugunth Kumar, who developed iCash SG and StationAlarm, recently joined them as their head of mobile.

They have just released their free iPhone app, also called foound.

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MeRadio updated. Now supports background audio

Fans of MeRadio, which is an Internet radio app for radio stations under the Mediacorp Radio umbrella, will be pleased to learn that the app has been updated recently.

The new update supports background audio properly which means that you can now listen to your favourite station while doing other stuff. Previously, MeRadio used a workaround that played audio in the background by hijacking the browser. That meant that Safari was out of commission while Me Radio ran.

With the latest update, this is no longer an issue and you can use Safari while listening to music.

Some people have reported problems with the app. One solution is to delete MeRadio and reinstall it from scratch instead of merely updating it.

MeRadio is free and can be downloaded here.

(Tip of the hat to iMerlion reader @witzer! for this!)

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Update to SG Buses, NextBus will fix arrival times

Bus arrival times have stopped working on SG Buses and SG NextBus but their developer, Muh Hon Cheng, has already submitted updates to Apple to fix the problem.

Hon Cheng believes that the bus times stopped working because he was grabbing the data from a URL which was discontinued without warning.

"I have just send out three updates to fix this for SG Next Bus, SG Buses (old, and V3)," said Hon Cheng. "I think it may take Apple around eight to 10 days for approval."

He has pulled these apps from the App Store until Apple approves the update.

Update: The change has also affected gothere's app as well as bus@sg. Currently, tranSGuide's bus arrival time is still working.

(Thanks to sh2sg for the tip-off!)

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Friday, August 20, 2010

New and updated apps: Team Singapore YOG, iCash SG, gothere.sg

Team Singapore YOG (free). The Youth Olympic Games might be an incredible bore but at least it has uncovered a bunch of youth athletes who have tremendous potential. Follow the progress of Singapore's medal hopefuls with this app. Team Singapore YOG identifies the athletes, the events, venues and results. Nice idea.

iCash SG v 3.7 (free). The latest version of this app provides iPad support, iOS4 compatibility and support for the Retina Display on the iPhone 4.

gothere.sg v 1.1 (US$1.99). This update supports the Retina Display, has high resolution maps, real-time bus arrival information, allows you to book a taxi by calling or texting and now more visible location markers.

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iPhone app-making contest kicks off. No Objective-C needed.

 On top of running a music school, developing apps and being a new father, Joash Chee has started an iPhone app-making competition. Above is Joash and wife Kris, with their month-old twins Emma and Clara.

Local training firm DivZero Consultancy is organising an iPhone app-making competition with a difference. In this competition, all the apps have to be made using GameSalad instead of Objective-C and XCode.

According to DivZero founder Joash Chee, the company is restricting the contest to the GameSalad platform because it is an easy platform for people without a programming background to pick-up "We believe that there are many people out there that have the devices and may fleetingly dream about putting some of their ideas into apps, but fear the daunting task of learning how to develop the traditional way (Xcode, Objective-C)," he said.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Apple Singapore starting to ship iPhone 4 orders

After what feels like an eternity, Apple's online Singapore store is finally shipping iPhone 4 orders. Those who placed their orders on Friday, July 30 are being told that their iPhones will be delivered by tomorrow, August 20.

On the bright side, this is earlier than what Apple had previously promised. It had initially promised to ship on August 23 and have it delivered by August 26.

There must be an enormous backlog though because yours truly ordered his iPhone 4 just a day later, on July 31, and it has yet to ship.

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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Nubox opening Tampines outlet this Friday. Special deals for first 50 customers

Apple premium reseller Nubox is opening a new outlet in Tampines Mall this Friday (Aug 20) and they are celebrating the opening with a bunch of special offers.

The first 50 customers who buy a Mac will receive a 320GB hard disk, a $20 voucher, a sleeve or mouse, a palm guard and a keyboard protector.

The first 50 people who buy an iPod will get a Dexim silicon case for the iPod nano and iPod touch. This will also come with a bunch of things including a screen protector, cleaning cloth, earphones and a USB A/C charger.

If you want to take advantage of these offers, head down to #01-49, Tampines Mall, Tampines Central 5. The store is opening at 7pm.

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New apps: NTUC Income Motor, SingTel Barclays Premier League

NTUC Income Motor (free). This app helps you record details of accidents and helps you locate authorised workshops. If you are insured with NTUC Income, this is a no-brainer. Income is also giving away a free iPad each week between now and September 7 if you play their built-in driving game.

SingTel Barclays Premier League (free). This app provides a live video stream of mio Stadium (Ch102), match clips, the latest news, fixtures, results and odds, along with live text commentary. Video is only supported if you are on SingTel's 3G network.

Insurance Kit (US$3.99). This app by a local developer is aimed at insurance agents and financial planners. It will calculate the rate of return on limited payment saving/ insurance/ investment plans, as well as the amount needed for retirement, life insurance and college. It is also a financial calculator.

Thanks to Victor and @Frinzo for the tip-offs!

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Liquidmetal in Apple's present and future

Cult of Mac has a nice story about how Apple might be able to use Liquidmetal for making future iPhone cases.

The blog cites Dr. Jan Schroers, the former director of research at Liquidmetal Technologies, as saying: “I think they’re going to make the iPhone out of it. ... It’s quite obvious from what Liquidmetal has done in the past and what the technology is capable of.” Check out the blog post for pictures of a perfume bottle made in Liquidmetal as a example of how the metal can be used.

In addition, Apple is already using Liquidmetal now, according to Cult of Mac. The blog says that Apple is using the metal alloy in some of its SIM card ejector pins.

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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

New apps: Weather Alert, LIVE Odds, iTotoSG, YOG 3D Maps, Cleo goes shopping

Weather Alert for Singapore (US$2.99). Monitor the weather around Singapore and get updates pushed to your phone.

LIVE Odds (Free). Get real-time football odds from Singapore Pools. Does odds for BPL, UEFA, Serie A, Primera Liga, S-League.

iTotoSG (US$0.99). Generates random Toto numbers.

YOG 3D Maps (Free). 3D maps around YOG venues. With parking space availability and real-time traffic news.

CLEO goes shopping at Bugis Junction (Free). Get deals at Bugis Junction. Some involve simply flashing app. Others require September issue of Cleo.

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Saturday, August 14, 2010

A look at Apple's iAd from the perspective of a local developer

A Nissan ad running on Simple Paint Free

When Apple launched its iAd platform, it was in part to help developers monetise their apps and thus give them an incentive to stay with the iOS platform. While it is still early days, at least one local developer has given the iAd platform the thumbs-up.

Thanks to iAd, developer Lim Thye Chean of Virtual GS has made close to US$400 from ads on his apps in the one month that he has been on the platform. What he did was to rework a few of his apps as 'lite' apps with ads running in them. These include apps like Simple Paint, Kids Paint, Magic Paint and Doodle Note.

Opinion: Living a #singtel3gfail life

In the last few weeks, I've had the dubious pleasure of learning what it's like to be an iPhone user in New York, without having to leave these shores.

Since upgrading to iOS 4.0 on my 3GS, I've been plagued with dropped calls, poor call quality (where the other party hears my voice breaking up), and an inability to connect to the network (it starts 'searching' and takes several minutes to lock on).

Yesterday morning, it happened while I was travelling from Jurong East MRT Station and heading east. On the platform at Jurong East Station, my wife called but the call failed within 30 seconds. On the train (note: aboveground), it had problems finding the network. At Buona Vista station, I attempt to call again and after a minute, the call fails again.

Round-up: Security fix for jailbroken iPhones, Rage at 60fps, Liquidmetal as antenna and the Eye of the Tiger

Security fix for jailbroken iPhones. Apple's latest iOS update patches newer iOS devices and plugs the major security hole that also enables Jailbreakme.com to work. Unfortunately, the patch leaves out older devices. If you have an older iOS device, or if you have a new iOS device that you would like both jailbroken and secure, there is a patch called PDF Patch on Cydia. Read all about on the Dev-Team's blog.

Rage at 60fps. At QuakeCon, John Carmack of id showed off a demo of Rage running at 60 frames per second on an iPhone 4. MacRumors has a nice video of it running.

Liquidmetal may be used as antenna. The co-inventor of the metal alloy marketed as Liquidmetal says that Apple would be able to use the alloy as an antenna. Cult of Mac has the exclusive interview with Dr Atakan Peker. Earlier this week, Apple made headlines when it obtained the worldwide exclusive rights to use the Liquidmetal's IP in consumer electronics. Check out this cool video demonstrating one of the properties of the alloy.

Eye of the Tiger, on the iPad. If you need to get all pumped up, you need to watch this cover of Survivor's Eye of the Tiger being played using iPad apps.

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Friday, August 13, 2010

No need to DM us for chance to win iPod touch

Sorry. Our bad. No need to DM us to send your suggestions to improve the website or app. A simple tweet to @imerlion will do. Or just email us at editor at imerlion dot com.

Remember that you have to be a follower on Twitter or like us on Facebook to be eligible for the contest. See here for contest details.

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Thursday, August 12, 2010

We're giving away a free iPod touch!

Want a free iPod touch (8GB)? Never used and still in the box?

Standard Chartered gave us an iPod touch so that we could review the Breeze app. We didn't need it because we already have iPhones so it's been sitting on the shelf collecting dust. It would be unethical for us to keep the iPod touch so we're giving it away to our loyal readers instead.

To kill two birds with one stone, we'd like to use it to get some feedback about the iMerlion website or the app. So to get this iPod touch, this is what you have to do:

1. Tell us how we can improve either the iMerlion website or app
2. You can do so either via email to editor at imerlion dot com or send us a tweet via Twitter. (No need to send a DM.)

We'll give the iPod touch to the person with the best suggestion. If multiple people have the same suggestion, we'll just pick at random from those people who made that suggestion.

We'll run this giveaway for a week (till Aug 19, 2359 hours) and we will announce the winner on Friday, August 20.

Note: We want to keep this contest solely for our loyal readers so we're restricting it only to people who follow @iMerlion on Twitter or Facebook. If you don't currently follow us on either of these platforms, here's a good reason to!

Also, we're not planning to spend money sending this overseas so you'll have to be in Singapore to collect it if you win.


Apple updates iOS to fix security flaw

Apple has released a new version of the iOS to fix a major security flaw. iOS 4.0.2 for iPhone and iPod touch and iOS 3.2.2 fixes a problem first highlighted by Jailbreakme.com which would allow a PDF file to execute arbitrary code on your iOS device.

In the case of Jailbreakme.com, the security hole was used to jailbreak the iOS device, a relatively benign operation. However, that same exploit could be used for less innocent purposes.

If you plan to jailbreak your iPhone, don't upgrade to this version of the OS. However, if you do jailbreak your iPhone with Jailbreakme, you should still do something to protect yourself from this exploit.

The only solution I've seen is an app called PDF Loading Warner that will warn you if Safari is loading a PDF. It's available for free on Cydia. (For more on PDF Loading Warner, check out this Cult of Mac post). Note that this app does not fix the flaw. It only warns you if Safari is trying to load a PDF and gives you the option to prevent the PDF from loading.

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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

iPhone users have more sex partners, and why Flash is bad

OkTrends, the blog of matchmaking website OkCupid.com has just released a bunch of figures that should make iPhone users happy.

Apparently, iPhone users have more sex partners than users of Android or Blackberry.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

New apps: ILoveDeals, mVoucher, REEBONZ, Foound, My Movies, and much more

So shoot me. I've been busy and I haven't had the time to catch up on all the new apps. On the bright side, you get a bumper issue!

ILoveDeals (free) is a new app by SingTel that helps you find discounts at restaurants based on the credit cards you have. Currently, it tracks discounts provided by Citibank, DBS, OCBC, POSB and UOB. You can configure the app so you only see deals relevant to you. In addition, you can look up deals around you.

iPhone 4 users now making up close to 50% of local app usage

Thanks to a chronic shortage of the device, there may not be many iPhone 4 users in Singapore. However, that is not stopping these users from punching above their weight.

In SG NextBus, a popular app that provides bus arrival times, 47 per cent of user sessions in the last seven days were from iPhone 4 users, according to developer Muh Hon Cheng.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Is the Gothere.sg app worth US$1.99?

Local mapping start-up Gothere.sg has finally gotten its own iPhone app, just over a year after the company unveiled the iPhone-friendly version of its website.

Gothere.sg is available in the App Store for US$1.99. Now US$1.99 is not expensive, but it is certainly US$1.99 more than free, which is how much it would cost if you just went to gothere.sg in mobile Safari.

We asked Gothere co-founder Ang Junhan why the famously tight-fisted Singaporean would pay for something he could get for free. According to Junhan, this is what your US$1.99 gets you:

Latest iOS beta supports FaceTime with email contacts

MacRumors reports that a new option in the Contacts app now allows FaceTime calls to contacts with email addresses and not just phone numbers.

This seems to be evidence that Apple plans to expand FaceTime to non-phone devices, perhaps like the rumoured new iPod touches that are supposed to get a front-facing camera.

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Thursday, August 5, 2010

Wassup? Who cares?

Who says Singapore is a gourmet's paradise? Not STB.

Wassup? Just as this phrase is several years out of date, this app doesn't quite hit the mark either. Wassup? is a misnomer because it doesn't actually tell you what's up. It is really just a directory of places to go in Singapore. It doesn't take it one step further to tell you what's up at those places.

The app also suffers from a number of odd flaws in the database. This app wants to entice people to go out, but there are no very few pictures. Other problems exist. For example, none of the attractions have any descriptions (What's @Hibiscus Singapore Turf Club?). In addition, the dining establishments, arranged alphabetically, stops at B Bakery. There are, apparently, no restaurants in Singapore whose names start with C onwards.

The app was developed for the Singapore Tourism Board and is aimed at tourists, except that there are no maps. The only possibly useful thing about the app is the dedicated YOG (Youth Olympic Games) section. If you want to get results, medal tallies, schedules and locate venues, this app will (we imagine) deliver it.

Wassup? is free. Download it here.

Note: I managed to find one picture, for the Esplanade, so I changed the text accordingly. 

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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

SG Buses for older OS, and for iPads now available.

Two flavours of SG Buses, a local bus guide and bus arrival times app, are now available in the App Store.

SG Buses V3 is compatible with iOS 4, and will run as an iPhone app and an iPad app.

SG Buses (without V3), on the other hand, is designed for people who have not upgraded to iOS4.

SG Buses currently has more features than V3 but developer Muh Hon Cheng promises to add more features to V3 in future updates.

Both apps are free.

Update: SG Buses (without V3) currently has issues. Do hold off on downloading it until the fix, which has been submitted to Apple, is out.

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Flood Alert app is a must-have in rainy Singapore

While some of us see the awful weather we're experiencing as a problem, a local developer sees it as an opportunity. XVision has released a great new weather app called Flood Alert that pushes the local weather forecast to your iOS device.

Latest iOS beta pulls support for Game Center in older devices.

The latest beta of iOS 4 (4.0.1 4.1 beta 3) no longer support Game Center on the iPhone 3G or the iPod touch.

Previous betas have fixed the proximity sensor, added remote control over Bluetooth audio and added parental controls for FaceTime and Game Center.

(via MacNN)

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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

M1 starting to fulfill post-launch iPhone orders

Update: We are hearing from a number of sources that the 32GB iPhone 4s are out of stock in M1. 

M1 customers who reserved an iPhone online but failed to get it during the launch weekend are starting to get emails from the carrier inviting them to pick up their set.

iMerlion readers are alerting us that M1 started sending out the emails yesterday telling people that their set is now available for collection from any of the seven M1 shops and retailers that carry it.

(Thanks to Junwei and Sidwyn for the heads-up!)
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Monday, August 2, 2010

Is antennagate a problem in Singapore?

Since the iPhone 4 was released in Singapore, we've been keeping a close watch to see if the iPhone 4 would suffer from significant signal problems here. The results so far have been interesting.

Before we go on, let's be clear: the issue isn't whether or not the signal on the iPhone 4 gets attenuated when you hold the phone. In the famous antennagate press conference a few weeks ago, Apple CEO Steve Jobs said that the iPhone 4's signal does get attenuated when it is held in a particular way. He also noted that this was a problem that other smartphones experience as well.

To us, the more important question is the practical one: is this problem here so bad that calls drop as a result?

Cut your SIM card without a SIM cutter

If you don't want to spring for a SIM cutter to cut your SIM card down to MicroSIM size, you can still cut your old SIM card using nothing more than a pencil and a pair of scissors.

Local developer Lee Lim bravely captured his SIM cutting efforts on video from start to finish. The four-minute long video shows the cutting process and the trimming involved.

Note that if you manage to cut the gold contact on the SIM card, you will ruin your card and you will have to fork out money for a new one. We recommend that you cut your second SIM card (perhaps the one you were planning to use for your iPad) so that if you do ruin it, you will still have a phone to use. If you only have one SIM card, perhaps some practice might be in order unless you're good at DIY.

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Jailbreak for iPhone 4 now available

The jailbreak for the iPhone 4 is now available and it couldn't be simpler to do. All you need to do is visit the website www.jailbreakme.com in Safari using your pride and joy. The jailbreak should also work with the iPhone 3GS, 3G and the iPad.

However, before you run off to visit the website, do note that this jailbreak is fresh out of the oven and bugs are being reported. The jailbreak can cause problems with MMS and Facetime. Engadget has reported that the jailbreak temporarily bricked its phone. In addition, iPads running iOS 3.2.1 should stay away from this jailbreak because there are issues. Also note that not all existing jailbroken apps will work with this jailbreak.

If you're a neophyte, we suggest you let the experts test drive this baby until the bugs are ironed out. Even if you are not a neophyte, we advise you to check out Redmond Pie to get the latest news on the jailbreak.

Please note that iMerlion does not endorse jailbreaking, and if you have problems, or worse, manage to brick your phone, you're out of luck, we can't help you. If you still intend to jailbreak, our advice is that you back up your iPhone first, then run the jailbreak. If you have problems, try restoring. If that doesn't work, Google is your friend.
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Sunday, August 1, 2010

SingTel starting to fulfill second wave of iPhone 4 orders

A pleasant surprise awaits some people who reserved their iPhone 4s at a SingTel store. SingTel started calling people yesterday to tell them that their set was ready for collection.

Developer Muh Hon Cheng received a call from SingTel yesterday and he was told that his set would be ready for collection today. Hon Cheng placed an order at a SingTel store on Thursday after failing to reserve a set at the midnight launch.