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OpenVPN on iPad

Vacation time ahead, and the iPad in the house (who ever had the idea of buying one?) needs a proper VPN connection, in order to be able to access Netflix in Germany.

On Android it's fairly easy: install the app, drop CA cert, private cert, and key on the device, add everything - done. Three devices ready in less than 10 minutes.

And then I tried the iPad ...

 

Continue reading "OpenVPN on iPad"
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Probleme in der Wolke (aka: Backup in the Cloud)

Als langjähriger Palm-Anwender hat es mich sehr gefreut, vor einiger Zeit die Ankündigungen zum Palm Pre zu lesen. Ein neues Gerät, die Optik sah gut aus und außerdem sollte ein Linux drunter laufen. Was will man mehr?

Kurz vor dem Erscheinen vermehrten sich dann die Gerüchte über Details der mitgelieferten Software. So ist z. B. ein Sync zum lokalen Rechner überhaupt nicht vorgesehen, im Gegenzug sichert der Pre täglich alle Daten auf Server von Palm - in den USA. Außerdem will wollte sich der Pre unbedingt an der iTunes Software von Apple anmelden und spielt sehr gut mit diversen Google Applikationen sowie mit Facebook zusammen.

Als Handy für den täglichen Einsatz im Geschäftsleben interessiert mich jedoch viel mehr wie ich an meine Termine und E-Mails herankomme - und zwar möglichst ohne Zwischenanbieter und ohne das die Daten einen Umweg über die Staaten halbe Welt nehmen. Auch möchte ich nicht, dass meine Geschäftsdaten irgendwo anders im Backup liegen und dort gelesen, durchsucht und ausgewertet werden können.

Das sind meine Wünsche und jeder mag anders über die Wichtigkeit und die Privatheit seiner Daten denken. Was mich an diesem "Backup in der Wolke" (Cloud) jedoch wirklich stört: wenn der Anbieter Mist baut, sind die Daten weg. Und man kann selbst nicht mal was dagegen tun (Backup auf den eigenen Rechner ist nicht erwünscht). Palm ist da keine Ausnahme sondern eher die Regel:

Kunden von Microsoft und T-Mobile USA hatten als Nutzer des Sidekick-Handys vor nicht allzulanger Zeit ähnliche Erfahrungen machen dürfen. Bei einem Serverupdate ging etwas schief und daraufhin waren alle Daten von diversen Kunden weg. Der Datenverlust replizierte sich danach von den Backupservern auf die Mobilfunkgeräte. Der Anbieter benötigte zwei Wochen, um zumindest einen Teil der Daten wieder herzustellen. Währenddessen ergingen sich sowohl Microsoft wie T-Mobile in Pressemeldungen, dass sie ja gar nicht zuständig seien sondern die Firma Danger als Anbieter des Service. Als Kunde interessiert mich in dem Moment aber nicht, wer nun nicht zuständig ist, weil der Service ausgelagert wurde. Ich will einfach meine Daten wiederhaben, die angeblich in der Cloud so sicher sind.

Das Zwangsbackup von Palm zeigte nun heute ähnliche Probleme: die Daten von einigen Anwendern waren nach dem Backup einfach nicht mehr vorhanden. Wen möchte man als Anwender da jetzt haftbar machen? Die Firma Palm sitzt in den USA. Die "Zwangsleistung" Backup ist jedoch nicht im Vertrag mit dem Serviceanbieter in Deutschland enthalten.

Bleiben für mich zwei Fragen:

1) Was will man mit einem Palm Pre noch anfangen? Aufgrund der Backup Situation, dem nicht gewollten lokalen Sync, der Gängelung der Anwender und dem nur zögerlichen Befolgen der GPL-Bestimmungen ist Palm für mich keine Option mehr.

2) Welches Handy kann heutzutage so Sachen wie Kalender nach Caldav Standard, vernünftiges IMAP oder bietet mal ein Terminal zum Arbeiten mit ssh?

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Bevormundung durch iTunes

Wie wird man eigentlich diese Bevormundung durch iTunes los?

Über die Feiertage hatte ich meinen iPod und das iTunes längere Zeit nicht an und kaum starte ich das Programm, springen mir diverse graue Ausrufezeichen bei den Podcasts entgegen:

"iTunes hat das Aktualisieren dieses Podcasts gestoppt, da Sie in letzter Zeit keine Episoden angehört haben. Möchten Sie das Aktualisieren dieses Podcasts fortsetzen?"

Ja, zur *censored*, natürlich will ich das! Und wenn es nach mir geht brauchst du die Aktualisierung auch nicht zu stoppen - also wo kann man das einstellen? Hat jemand eine Idee?


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Play podcasts one after another - impossible in iPod

With my iPod i'm subscribed to some more podcasts - but i only fetch new podcasts from time to time because i don't use the iPod every day. That's not a problem because i don't have any podcast with news in my list. As a result (after an update) i have several entries from one podcast source in my list. The iPod arranges all of this entries (from one podcast) on a single page. As example the jokes from a local radio station:

  • from 2008-07-07
  • from 2008-07-04
  • from 2008-07-03

Now believe it or not, it's not possible to tell the iPod: "i want to hear all new entries from this podcast, in reverse order, oldest first". It's not even possible to just play all entries in a row. If you have finished one podcast you have to click on the next one. <sarcasm>That's user-friendly!</sarcasm>

For anyone who want's to tell me about playlists: no, thank you. I don't want to create a dozen playlists in advance in iTunes - one for each podcast. If i have the time and if i feel like i want to listen to a single podcast i just want to listen to all new entries from this one podcast. I surely don't want to plan that several days in advance. This should be possible - even with Apple software.

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iTunes is loosing subscribed podcasts

Every now and then i realise that one of my podcasts is gone from my iPod. Then i check the iTunes software on my PC and have to find out, that the podcast is no longer in the podcast list.

What the hell ... why is iTunes unsubscribing me from podcasts?

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iPod and timezone support

Just back from our vacation in the carribean. There we moved between different timezones and i noticed that the timezone support in Apples iPod is not worth the name. The toy contains a hardcoded list with some city names in different timezones, but you:

  • can't see the full list or pick a city from the list
  • can't create new entries
  • can't use entries like +/- GMT, if you don't know a matching city

In my case, where we visited some small islands, there were in most cases no matching entry in the list. So if i don't know a city in the same timezone, i'm unable to use the timezone support at all.

Finally i decided to leave the timezone setting at my home timezone (Berlin) and just adjusted the clock.

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iPod Touch and stupid sound effects

The iPod Touch is not only a mp3 player, you also have a calendar, adressbook and some more stuff onboard. The latest update even added some more "hot" features, but i don't need them. Yesterday i used the iPod calendar for a note to myself, added an alarm and thought, the toy will remind me in the evening (at the alarm time). Sure, it did ...

In the settings you can configure, where you want to hear system sounds, the usual acknowledge click as example which appears almost everywhere. Since i don't like to disturb my environment i configured the system sound to only use the earplugs. Now Apple surprised me (or not, maybe "i should have expected") by also using this setting for the alarm clock. So my reminder was visible on the display for some seconds and the sound was played at the earplugs ... very effective!

At least an extra setting for the alarm should be available. The current behaviour is just plain stupid: either you nerve the people around you with all the system sounds or you don't get the alarm.

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iTunes is annoying

Earlier this month Apple released an update for the iPod touch. In detail it seemed that this update consists of two updates: one which brings all the bugfixes and one which brings the new software (mail, google maps ect.) stuff. At least the iTunes software installed one update without asking for my credic card and is bugging me really hard to buy the other one.

So everytime i start iTunes and connect the iPod, the iTunes software contacts the shop and looks for new updates. Not only that this step takes some minutes (i blogged about the slowness before), my decision "Remind me later" only works until i restart iTunes the next time. Then the update question is presented again to me. What if i don't want this update? What if i don't read my mails on the iPod? What if i don't need Google Maps on my iPod? What if i don't care about my stock options because i don't trade at all? What if i just want to hear musik and watch some news videos?

Where is the "No, thank you" option?



Update (2008-01-23): i just synced my iPod and now there is a "No, thank you" option. Earlier the annoying update page only had 2 options, now 3.

Will Apple fix more problems if i post them here?


Update 2 (2008-01-25): it seems, the "No, thank you" option only works until the next iTunes restart. Every time i click this button i get an error message that some obscure error on the store has occured (maybe because i don't have an account?) and the "buy the update" option appears again. Annoying ...

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iPod Touch and WPA Wi-fi

As told, i got an iPod Touch as a present. All in all this is a nice toy and i'm regularly using it.


The iPod contains Wi-fi access so i can hook into our wireless network (with WPA encryption) at home. This worked fine ... for some days. After then the iPod told me, connection to the network is not possible. Reentering the (correct) passphrase does not help, resetting network settings neither.

It helps to change the SSID, after the change the iPod can reconnect ... but after some days things stopped working again. I don't plan to change my SSID every 2 or 3 days.

The usual hints from the Apple forum (it seems, more people have this problem) seems not to help, not in my case and not for many other people. But just to be clear a list of things i already checked or tried:

  • The SSID (even if randomly created) contains only digits and chars, no space or special character
  • The password (also random) contains only digits and chars (don't try to hack, it's a long password ;-) )
  • I made sure i'm using the shift key for upper case characters in the password
  • I entered an IP for the DNS
  • I don't use proxy settings
  • I tried manually adding the network with all encryption settings

Given the long list of Apple forum users having similar problems, the fact that some other laptops (windows or linux based) work without problems in our wireless network and the surprise that a new SSID made the iPod working again, this clearly seems to be a software bug in the iPod.

Apple: time to wake up and release a bugfix!

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iTunes and the dullness

Got an iPod as a christmas present and since this iPod (the "Touch" version) is not supported by the usual Linux tools, i had to get a Windows machine at hand and install iTunes. Now it seems that this software is not what you expect to be "stable" ... despite the fact that it is running on windows.

I installed iTunes on the first machine: the software keeps crashing when i connect the iPod. Sometimes the first time i connected the iPod, sometimes the second time but never could connect the iPod more than 3 times without a crash of the Apple Mobile Helper which in consequence crashed the whole iTunes software. So i moved iTunes to another windows pc, rarely used, only Firefox and an ssh client on it. Things keep crashing, no chance.

So if i want to sync the iPod i have to wait until all downloads are finished or i have a good chance that i can restart all of them. This sucks.

But beside all this problems with beta software: iTunes is slow. Really slow. If i want to search for a new podcast or just surf in the store, the software sometimes needs 2 or 3 minutes just to open the connection. We have DSL at home, so speed should not be the cause of the problem.

Every webserver is able to return results in no time (speak: some seconds), but watching the iTunes network traffic you can see, that the software is sending the requests, the packets pass the border router and 30 seconds up to 2 or 3 minutes later the answer packets arrive. Not just one time, every times. What's wrong here? Just because you are market leader you can have slow hardware?

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