What They Aren’t Telling You: San Bernadino Shooter’s iPhone

USA Today and others made headlines today reporting “Apple ordered to break into San Bernadino shooter’s iPhone”. The topic of government access to encrypted devices has gotten a lot of attention lately, and I’m not writing this post to take a stance on either side. My goal here is to inform some of my less tech-minded friends of a curious thing I noticed…

Fact: This iPhone was owned by San Bernadino county.
Fact: Deploying iPhones to your workers should only be done if they’re properly managed.
Fact: Apple’s management software, Profile Manager, allows you to clear passcodes.

Here’s the proof from my own Profile Manager installation – this is the list of options I get when I bring up my own iPhone from the management console:

In case you’re wondering, it’s also possible to prevent a user from wiping his/her iPhone using Profile Manager:

In case you’re wondering what “supervised only” means, it indicates that the phone has to be setup using the Apple Configurator software, which is free.

Obviously I don’t know what happened in this case, and won’t pretend to, but from an IT guy’s perspective, this problem seems like it would have been avoided if the devices were configured appropriately. In any event, I figured this would be useful information to my non-tech friends who noticed it was a government owned iPhone and wondered why the government couldn’t unlock it.

Splash Mountain’s Origin

Mental floss has a pretty interesting piece on Song of the South, the Disney movie that the characters from the ride Splash Mountain originate in (as well as the song Zip-a-dee-do-dah). It’s truly an interesting situation: popular franchise characters in a movie that hasn’t ever been released on home video in the US for fairly obvious reasons. If you’re scratching your head going “I’ve never heard of that movie..” Take a read and think about how we sorta forget that things we still see evidence of today were interpreted differently 70 years ago.


(PS: I’m composing this on my iPhone, and Autocorrect almost turned the title of this piece into Allah Mountain. How it got Allah from Splash, I have no idea!)

Get True Push Gmail on Your iPhone or iOS Device

A few years ago, Google announced it was ending support for the Exchange ActiveSync Protocol (EAS) for most users. Now those of us who were grandfathered in have changed devices, and likely lost that grandfathered status. So how do you get Gmail pushed to your iOS device without having to download the Gmail app – or giving up the built-in mail client? It’s pretty simple – you resort to the only free email option that Apple provides push to – a secondary iCloud account. But what about that pesky “iCloud won’t let you send as another address” problem? Simple fix – use GMail’s SMTP server.

By: rovlls


Receiving mail sent to your Gmail address in iOS’s built-in mail client with push speed (no Fetching!) & Sending mail with your Gmail address (or custom alias).


  • This method will likely be somewhat annoying if you’re a heavy Gmail in the browser user, since most of your inbox will live in iCloud. This method works best if you use mail clients on your mobile devices and desktop, and rarely use webmail.
  • This method isn’t as nice if you have a Gmail account that you use to send out as another user (i.e. whatever@gmail.com but you usually send as whatever@customdomain.com). I explain this in more detail below, but it boils down to this: Your device won’t be able to tell Gmail what to send out as, so Gmail will assume you want to send as your primary address. If you’re a Google Apps Free user, then this method will work fine.  I was actually wrong about this one – this works fine as long as you have your preferred FROM header selected as the default account in Gmail’s settings. So if you don’t already, log in and click the Make Default link next to your desired FROM account in the “Accounts & Import” tab in settings.

Here’s what you need…

  • A Gmail account that has IMAP enabled (Check your Gmail settings). You’ll need the username (your complete @gmail.com or @customdomain address) and the password (or an Application Password if you use Google’s 2-factor authentication.
  • A secondary iCloud account (See the steps below to create one)

On the iPhone / iPad / iOS Device

I’m using iOS 7 on an iPhone 5 for these screenshots. The steps should be more or less the same

  1. If you don’t have one, set up a secondary iCloud account. I suppose you could use your primary one, but I prefer to keep the mail / inboxes separate

To do this,  go to Settings on your iOS device and tap on Mail, Contacts, & Calendars. Then tap “Add Account”, then “iCloud”, then “Get a Free Apple ID”


Go through the enrollment process and note your new iCloud username and password. You’ll need the username later when you set up your Gmail address to forward to it.

  1. Set up this secondary iCloud account to send through Gmail’s SMTP server (smtp.gmail.com, port 587, Use SSL set to On)

To do this, go back into Mail, Contacts, & Calendars, and tap on your secondary iCloud account. Then tap on the account name once more to go to the Account page. From there tap on “Mail” under the advanced settings. Then tap on SMTP.


Now that you’re in the SMTP screen, tap Add Server, and fill in your hostname (smtp.gmail.com) and your full Google Gmail username (whatever@gmail.com or whatever@domain.com) and password. If you’re using 2-factor authentication, you’ll need a dedicated application password. Once all the info is verified, you should see an entry under “Other SMTP Servers” for smtp.gmail.com.

You will need to go into both the iCloud & Gmail SMTP servers, setting iCloud to Off, and Gmail to On. In the end, your screen should look like the third picture below:


OK, now you’re done.

Basically we’ve told that iCloud account to send out through Gmail. Google’s servers force all outgoing mail on an account to be through either the default FROM address (your account’s address OR the address you selected as default on the Accounts & Import tab in Gmail’s settings)) or an alias, so in this case, while iCloud will want it to go out as whatever@icloud.com, it will be changed by Gmail to whatever@gmail.com. If you have an alias that isn’t your primary Gmail address, you’ll likely not be able to use this setup since iCloud won’t let you change the “from” address. However you can set up a regular IMAP account on your device with your Google credentials and change the “FROM” address.

The only issue is that replying to messages won’t be seamless – you’d have to manually select to send your reply through your IMAP Gmail account, not your secondary iCloud email account, which is messy. Therefore if you have a gmail account with a custom alias you want to use, these steps might not be any easier for you than just resorting to non-push email. As I said above, I was wrong on this one – just make sure you have the address you want your email to come from set as your default address on the Account & Import tab in Gmail’s Settings.

On Gmail’s Website

Now you need to get your Gmail pushed to your new secondary iCloud email. You can do this in Gmail’s settings by forwarding all of your mail to your new iCloud address. I then set Gmail to archive my mail, using a filter, so it’s out of my Gmail inbox (my iCloud inbox becomes my “working” inbox).

In the end, as a bonus, you also can get backups of your mail. Basically you’ll have a copy on both Google’s Gmail servers and Apple’s iCloud servers, so if one is down for any length of time, you can use the other (Although sending through iCloud.com will use your iCloud email address, not your Gmail address). In my setup, I have a similar configuration on my desktop using Apple Mail – but if you’re a heavy webmail user, it could be distracting to manage two inboxes.

In a few years if you max out your storage on iCloud, then simply create a new iCloud secondary account, and keep your first secondary account’s information if you need to use those older emails.

Hope this helps you – in the end I now have the solution I want: I send out as my custom email address, and receive at the same address in real-time. Sure I’m leveraging two clouds to do it, but who said life was easy 🙂

Jon’s “Broken” Day

So I should start this post by noting that as of 7:24 AM this morning, Saturday, “Broken” day has been resolved. Amazingly. So however horrific this ‘bad day’ story sounds, at least I believe it has a happy ending.

Broken glass © by liknes

Yesterday started out like any other Friday. Little did I know that it was the day that most of technology and mechanical interaction were gunning against me. I peacefully woke up, worked out, showered, and was excited to teach on a Friday for the first time in 5 years. Karey even woke up early with me, and offered to make me breakfast.

“Sure”, I said, “Just make me a couple of pop tarts”.

About 10 minutes later, she arrived with said pop tarts, which were burnt around the edges.

“Sorry – I don’t know how they got so dark so quick – I’ll eat them if you want, and make you new ones”. My wife is great like that – she’s willing to remake something for me and even masochistically eat the ‘bad’ food so it doesn’t go to waste. I declined said offer, and just ate the crispy parts first to get rid of them. In retrospect, I should have seen this as an omen of the day ahead.

I arrived at work around 9, and at 9:45 I headed off to my class. The clock in the back of the classroom was running slow, so my colleague ran a bit over on his class. No problem, I got in, got set up, and was off and rolling by 10:01.

Then at about 10:30, everything died.

And by everything, I mean the computer, monitor, and projection system. My notes disappeared into the ether of thrown breaker. My students rejoiced, and I tried to ad-lib, recalling my lecture as best as possible. The custodian in the building checked in with me every couple of minutes, asking if she’d thrown the right switch to bring my class back to life, which in a way only made things more vexing. Now I’m trying to recall my lecture outline from memory, and just as I get rolling, I need to break to see if the power is back on. At one point, I simply looked at my students and explained:

Listen, I view this as “I’m telling you the story of the lecture”, and I apologize for the distractions. It’s sorta like telling a story to a child and having the book suddenly explode. It throws you off

After the students got a good laugh, and about 10 minutes, the computer came back on, and I was back in business. Not a horrible event, but one that was annoying.

So I played ‘catch-up’ as best I could, noting where I left off to resume on Monday. I returned to my office, and found an email, displayed below:

Hmm… so that’s why it was a bit warm in here. Oh well, at least it’s only in the 80s today, not the 90s as usual. And I have a little fan, so I make due.

The rest of the work day was pretty uneventful. The A/C got fixed, the second “show” (a.k.a. lecture) went smoother, and I left work around 5. I wanted to get home quick because a new “toy” was waiting for me. You see, after 5 years, the dyed-in-the-wool geek in me finally decided to buy and activate a current-generation iPhone. And it was arriving today.

So, anxious geek Jon gets home, checks the mail, and no iPhone. Karey was out shopping, so I assumed she got the mail first. I figured I’d check the tracking information when I got to my computer, however upon returning to my computer, I am distracted by a very loud buzzing noise coming somewhere in the sea of technology of both my and Karey’s desk (which are back to back). I dismiss the buzzing in favor of looking up the tracking number, and see an “exception” – “notice left”. This makes no sense – we have locked mailboxes here – why wouldn’t USPS drop the package? I start to get angry. Post offices here are not open on Saturday, so if it’s sitting at the post office, it will be there until Karey picks it up Monday during the day.

While I wait for her to get home, to see if she might actually have said notice or package, I decide to figure out the buzzing issue. I check the two small desk fans, neither are on. I check Karey’s laptop, it’s fine. Finally I decide to turn off my monitor, and it goes away.

I turn the monitor back on. And nothing happens.

Now I’m really stressed. My monitor is a 27” Apple Cinema Display, which I (in a delirious state and after receiving a consulting payment) paid nearly $1,000 for last year. I intend for it to last quite awhile, and shutter at the thought of lugging it in for service (especially since my nearest Apple store is 3 hours away, and I don’t know if authorized repair shops take AppleCare). I mess with the plugs, power cable, etc.. and nothing works. I am now sad, angry Jon.

Karey arrives home with my iPhone – it had been left, the postal service website was wrong (And they wonder why people find their service sub par). I figure if one Apple product is broken, I might as well play with another. Since moving to our new apartment, my T-Mobile service has absolutely sucked in the building and at our pool and fitness center. Since it’s my only phone, I’ve investigated multiple options to get around this limitation (VoIP, etc…) but nothing has worked. Most of my phones don’t have T-Mobile’s WiFi Calling, so I decided a few weeks ago (in a moment of rage) that I was just going to dump T-Mo after 9 years, 9 months of service. Surprisingly, I found that Verizon would give me everything I was currently using for a cheaper rate, so my mind was made up.

So yesterday I took my used iPhone 4s (which I bought on eBay after verifying the ESN was clean) to the Verizon store and got it activated on a month-to-month service basis (Because I have a feeling a new iPhone might be coming out soon… that I’d like to use a subsidy for). The whole process seems to go smoothly, the number ports, and my 4s is up and running. Karey and I grab dinner, and head home.

I arrive back at my desk to look at the giant paperweight which used to be my monitor. Figuring that now was as good a time as any to call Apple and see what they have to say (And since I now have cell coverage, I can do that confidently), I dial them up.

And the call connects!

And there is no audio!

Yea, my first night on Verizon, and the calls have no audio incoming or outgoing. I freak out. Did my new iPhone have some weird defect related to the phone’s radio audio channels? The rest of the phone works fine. Speaker works fine. Mic works fine. No audio. Grr….

I pulled up Twitter, searched “Verizon”, and find nothing of note. So it’s just me.

After an hour of frustration, multiple reboots, and much frustration, I search Twitter again, and find 1 tweet. Here’s the conversation I had with the gentleman:

By Midnight, my “wiggin” service was fixed. I head to bed, figuring that I’ll deal with the monitor tomorrow.

This morning my eyes popped open at 7 AM (Oh well, I’ll sleep when I’m dead), and I stumble out to my desk with my non-wiggin phone. Figure I’ll give the monitor one more shot. Nothing.

After my macbook finishes booting, something prompts me to try the monitor yet again. And for some weird reason… it works.

So I power cycle a few times, and it comes back each time. No problem. In fact, I’ll do it right now just to tempt the Apple gods.

And it came back again. Hopefully the issue was transient and now we’re back to “normal”.

So, to recap, here’s what broke yesterday:

  • My pop tarts
  • The power in my classroom
  • The A/C in my office
  • The United States Postal Service’s method of tracking packages
  • My ludicrously expensive Apple Cinema Display
  • America’s largest network

Here’s hoping that today isn’t a repeat!

Yes, an AT&T GoPhone SIM Will Activate an iPhone 3GS

Hey, so no one could provide a definite answer and all of the stuff I found was way out of date, but here’s the proof straight from my own experience. If you have an iPhone 3GS that you somehow killed the activation on (e.g., it’s stuck on the “insert SIM” screen / Emergency Calls only) you CAN use an AT&T GoPhone SIM to activate it. I don’t know if it will work for data/voice, but at least it will get you back to the springboard!

Working as of June 23, 2010. More Info.

i-mate Jumps on Alternate UI Bandwagon


“First things first… It’s no TouchFLO 3D. Ok, now that we have that out of the way we do have to say that we’re happy to see another company making an effort to tidy up the Windows Mobile UI a tad. Who knows how far away we really are from Windows Mobile 7 becoming a reality and in the meantime, even many Windows Mobile die hards seem to be losing patience with the very dated look of the OS. Samsung, HTC and Sony Ericsson aren’t the only companies attempting to bandage their mobile OS of choice however, as i-mate has just announced its “i-mate Go” UI. No, it’s not the catchiest name in the game, but those of you looking for high visibility and simple design for your i-mate UI should be pleased. i-mate Go is powered by VITO Winterface of course, a Windows Mobile UI enhancement that essentially started as an iPhone rip off and evolved into a slightly less obvious iPhone rip off.”

Well, it isn’t at all unexpected to see an alternate UI for Windows Mobile these days, which in itself is a bit sad. However, looking on the bright side, I suppose this truly signifies that i-mate is not dead, after struggling with the loss of HTC provided handsets. Still, I’d rather have one nice UI, rather than a patchwork of “improved” UIs floating around.

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Verizon Got $50 More From Early Omnia Adopters!


“Samsung’s Omnia is nice enough to find a good home in many a professional’s pocket, but in terms of overall desirability it doesn’t quite compare to the iPhone or G1. Why, then, did Verizon price the thing $50 higher than its alternate-platform competition? Your guess is as good as ours, but at least the company didn’t take long to see the error of its ways, dropping the handset under the magic $200 mark just a few days after the early-adopters got done paying too much for theirs.”

Verizon just couldn’t resist getting the big bucks from early adopters then dropping the price of the Omnia back down to normal levels to be in line with it’s major competitors. How do you early adopters on Greedy V feel about that? Or are you just enjoying your new devices?

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Brighthand Reviews the Samsung Omnia i900


“Pretty much the only way to describe the Omnia is as an iPhone clone. No insult intended, that’s just the way it is. It copies the same basic form-factor and some of the specs of the iPhone, albeit with obvious differences: addition of a removable battery under the backplate, more buttons, memory card slot, etcetera.”

The Omnia is out and starting to be reviewed by real people. Aside from the pricetag, this Brighthand review seems to be indicating that it’s author, Adama Brown, is a fan. What do you think – is the Omnia worth its near $700 price tag?

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