Monthly Archives: July 2007

Uruguay got Screwed!

So, it just occurred to me, it would be cool to own the “in.ur” domain, because then you could sell people URLs like “” (if I have to explain to you why this is desirable, you probably don’t want to know).

So, I figure .ur must be the top level domain for Uruguay, and so I set about trying to find out how who the Uruguayan registrar is. Man, was I disappointed! Uruguay’s tld isn’t “.ur,” it’s “.uy.” If they controlled UR, they’d be set selling URLs to internet goofballs obsessed with a silly meme and bringing in useful foreign currency.

Secure iPhone email on with SSL for SMTP and IMAP

The iPhone encourages “risky” network behavior. The cellular EDGE connection is slow enough that its tempting to connect to any available WiFi network. Unfortunately this has security implications, because the network owner can peek into all your traffic if they are so inclined.

Encryption can help. Your connection to the sensitive parts of bank and retail websites is almost always encrypted SSL. Most other websites don’t use encrypted connections. There are ways to address this by using a VPN or secure proxy server with your iPhone, but neither option is easily available to the average user.

One think you can do is turn on SSL encryption for sending and receiving e-mail, which many web hosts support. These options are available in the advanced settings for each e-mail account. I had no trouble encrypting my IMAP connection, which the iPhone uses to receive new messages and manage my e-mail boxes, but it didn’t work for outgoing SMTP mail.

A little research and I found the problem. SSL encrypted IMAP and SMTP use different ports from unencrypted IMAP and SMTP. The iPhone automatically adjusts the port when you turn on SSL encryption for your IMAP connection, but keeps using the standard SMTP port when you turn it on for SMTP.

The solution is simple. For the outgoing webserver, just add the right port number (typically port 465) to the end of the hostname. If you are a customer like I am, and you use their mail server for outgoing mail, your outgoing mail server when you turn on SSL encryption for SMTP should be listed as “”

iPhone video streaming

I’ve been trying to find a way to stream video to my iphone without much luck.

TVersity, which transcodes on the fly, is pretty cool. It looked like a great option except it doesnt seem to do things quite right. Plus, the iphone compatible web interface is ugly and clunky (they have a slick flash UI for regular browsers). Safari says the file is too big, even though tversity offers to byte-serve it.

I also tried using apache with some existing mpeg4 files, but even after telling apache to return the “ranges accepted” header and adding the appropriate mime-type it choked, giving an unhappy icon to replace the initial QuickTime icon without showing any video. I’m not convinced that I did everything needed to configure apache to byteserve. The documentation isn’t any help, and my googling wasn’t very successful.

Phone Pheast and Phamine

At this time last week, I had two cell phones, a new employer provided iPhone, and my old samsung flip-phone for my Verizon account that I was going to port over to AT&T.

Now I have no cell phones. The iPhone is with my employer, who is trying it out for a few days before I port my cell number over to the AT&T account.

The Samsung is in a waterproof pouch, somewhere in Lake Washington. It is apparently close enough to the surface that it is still on the cell network, because when I call it, it rings a number of times before going to voicemail.

iPhone Impressions

The iPhone is really slick. Having a full web browser that works well on a compact device is really cool. At&t and their edge data network are definitely the weak half of this partnership. When it is good, it is *almost* good enough for most web browsing. The problem is that it often isnt good enough. Its also too slow at starting videos, which cuts into the instant gratification aspect that seems inherent in the whole idea of having such a device. WiFi hints at what things could be like when the iPhone makes it on to a less compromised mobile data network.

In the meantime there are probably a few things apple could do to improve the experience on EDGE, but that is another post.

Text entry isn’t too bad, but it does have its quirks. I’m still getting used to some of the predictive features, but that is to be expected. It bugs me that you can’t reorient the keyboard when you are on text entry mode. I think it is easier to type when the on-screen keyboard is oriented horizontally because it the keys are larger so there is less chance of hitting the wrong one. On the otherhand, if you have to edit some text its easier to do it in vertical orientation because it provides enough room to see the magnifier that lets you position the cursor. In fact, the magnifier is often offscren and useless, a substantial usabillity bug.

I realize as i type this that the predictive text entry and correction works pretty well, when it works. Unfortuntely it doesn’t work across space boundries, which often happen accidentally when trying to type letters on the bottom row.

The other annoyance i have noticed is that it can be difficult, or impossible, to position the cursor if the text on a web form is bigger than the text entry area.

I’m sure I will see other room for improvement. I’ve allready noticed some defficiencies. I expect apple to address many of them in the coming months. There are some that I worry that they will never address because the interfere with their own plans, or those of the carriers they partner with.