iOS6 losing its 3G cellular data settings – fix for Belgium

I upgraded my iPhone 4S to the new iOS6 the day it came out. As I expected, I had to reconfigure the cellular data settings (‘APN’). For some reason they always get lost during major OS updates. However, I have noticed the last weeks that, every now and then, my 3G connection stops working, and when I check the APN settings, they have disappeared. My colleagues, with iPhones and iPads on different cellular operators also have this problem. So for them, for me, and for anyone else who has this problem: here are the settings for the Belgian operators.

PROXIMUS/BELGACOM
APN: internet.proximus.be
Username: (empty)
Password: (empty)
MOBISTAR
APN: APN: iphone.mobistar
Username: (empty)
Password: (empty)
BASE
APN: gprs.base.be
Username: base
Password: base
MobileVikings
APN: web.be
Username: web
Password: web
Telenet
APN: telenetwap.be
Username: (empty)
Password: (empty)
Scarlet
APN: internet.bmbpartner.be
Username: (empty)
Password: (empty)

These are the most common ones.

The procedure is: goto General/Cellular/Cellular Data Network, verify they are all empty, fill in the correct values, leave the Cellular menu, switch your phone to “Airplane Mode” for 10 seconds, and then switch that back off. You should see the 3G logo appear again.

iPhone bandwidth: orders of magnitude – 2009

04112009175905[1]I did a bandwidth test the other day with the iPhone SpeedTest tool. I wanted to compare the speed using (standard) GPRS, using 3G and my own Wifi. The results were all a power of ten apart:

  • iPhone on Proximus GPRS: 35 kbps (download & upload)
  • iPhone on Proximus 3G: 350 kbps (download & upload)
  • iPhone via Wifi: 3500 kbps (download – upload is +- 300 kbps)

 

The real reason is that I wanted to see how fast I would wear out my Proximus data plan (200MB per month). The answer: with GPRS I would need more than 12 hours of continuous downloading, with 3G I could do it in less than 2 hours. So GPRS is pretty safe, it’s also easier on your battery, but you have to live with slow, pre-1996 modem-like performance. The latency – the time it takes to get your first byte after requesting a URL –  is easily 10 to 50 seconds. Not milliseconds, seconds!

 

As a side note: do not take a time-based data subscription, certainly not with the iPhone. My first post-iPhone Proximus invoice was 800,- euro, which is more than the price of my iPhone! When I contacted them about that, they immediately offered to reimburse it and advised me to switch to a size-based plan. I guess I was not the first one …

Imagine: a virtual iPhone for everyone

I was downloading a free iPhone app at noon, and I thought: some of these applications have no good alternative in the browser world. Imagine everyone could start using/buying the Apple iPhone/iPod Touch applications right in their browser. You give your Apple ID, you purchase an app like ColorSplash and off you go. Some of the multi-touch interface would be hard to emulate, but still. It would have to be an Apple application that does it: like e.g. iTunes. It’s got your Apple ID anyway. Why not run a virtual iPod Touch in there?

The advantages:

  • some applications for iPhone/iPod just have no worthy counterpart in the ‘normal’ world.
  • an application would run immediately on Apple MacOSX as well as Windows XP/Vista/7
  • the iPhone developers wouldn’t be looking anymore at a potential audience of some X million iPhone owners, but at all iTunes owners.

Research analyst Sam Bhavnani, of the market research firm Current Analysis, says that iTunes has 200 million users. Research analyst Shaw Wu, of the market research firm American Technology Research, gives a figure of 100 million. Oddly, Apple itself gives a much lower number: 10 million.
Google Answers

iPod Touch running inside iTunes

Create your own iPhone ring tones

I’ve had my iPhone for a week (loving it!) and of course I want to make custom ring tones for some of my contacts. I figured out how it worked from posts like create-free-iphone-ringtones-using-itunes-in-windows but I developed my own workflow:

1. Find a source file

  • I typically start from an existing MP3 file. It might be a CD I have ripped to MP3, or a soundtrack from DVDs or other sound bites. I also have a collection of accapella samples that are a nice source.

2. Create the 15 – 30 sec tone in MP3 format

  • You don’t need a 5 min ringtone, just 15 to 30 seconds will be enough
  • I use Audacity (with the LAME MP3 encoder add-on) to load the full source MP3 file, trim out the piece I want and then add a fade-in and fade-out.

Make iPhone ringtone with Audacity

3. Export to MP3

  • I then export the file to an MP3 file of 128kbps. You don’t need better quality than that anyway. If you want, you can convert the file to mono here, or it can happen in the next step
  • Result: ringtone.mp3

4. Convert with ffmpeg to MPEG4 ringtone

  • I prefer using the command-line ffmpeg for transcoding of audio and video.
  • The simple way of doing it: ffmpeg -i ringtone.mp3 -y ringtone.m4a (.m4a stands for MPEG4 audio, ffmpeg will see this extension and use default settings for the conversion.) Afterwards you then have to change the extension to .m4r (MPEG4 ringtone).
  • The detailed one-step-only way to do this: ffmpeg.exe -i ringtone.mp3 -ac 1 -ab 128000 -f mp4 -acodec libfaac -y ringtone.m4r

5. Open file with iTunes

  • Just double-click the file, that should do it.

The lazy way:

let’s make a batch file that will automatically convert the first 30 seconds of any MP3 file into an iPhone ringtone:
SET INPUT=%1
SET NAME=%INPUT:.mp3=%
SET OUTPUT=%NAME%.m4r
echo CONVERT %INPUT% to %OUTPUT% ...
ffmpeg.exe -i %INPUT% -t 30 -ac 1 -ab 128000 -f mp4 -acodec libfaac -genre Ringtone -y %OUTPUT%