How to Jailbreak: iPhone 3G Tip

After having my iPhone for over a month now I started to miss a few things my old Nokia N82 could do. Although the iPhone is revolutionary and I would never go back, there are some things Apple don’t provide. But, there is a solution…

I knew that what I needed could be done in software alone, for example, the ability to record video from the built in camera. I had heard about jailbreaking but thought it would be a messy hack that would just give me headaches. After looking into it further and hearing others people’s experiences, it seemed quiet straight forward with minimal side effects. I liked the fact that the process is completely reversible too.

Jailbreaking is a way to allow the iPhone to run much more software than Apple normally allow through the Appstore.

So, some of the programs I wanted to run are:

  • Cycorder – allows you to use your iPhone as a video camera.
  • Backgrounder – allows your iPhone to mutitask, for example you could have an instant messaging client run in the background while viewing your calender, then switch back again without having to interrupt your conversation.
  • iPhonemodem – allows you to share your Iphone’s internet connection with your laptop.

These programs and many more are available under the ‘Cydia’ app once you have jailbroken your iPhone. Installing them is very similar to installing from the standard Appstore.

This post at ReadWriteWeb gives some other good reasons to Jailbreak your iPhone.

Jailbreaking is not the same as Unlocking. Unlocking removes the limitation some iPhones have of been ‘locked’ to one carrier.

If your iPhone is carrier locked, it is a better idea to use a program called PwnageTool intead of QuickPwn. The reason for this is because, if you wanted to ‘unlock’ you iPhone at a later time, you need to install a program called Yellowsn0w which relies on PwnageTool preserving the Baseband (the part of the phone that controls the radio). Yellowsn0w unlocks your iPhone and allows you to use it on different networks.

Here is the link to download PwnageTool 2.2.5 for Mac.

At the time of writing, Yellowsn0w will not work on Apple’s firmware 2.2.1 so do not upgrade to this version if you want the option to unlock at a later stage.

Visit the developer’s website for a lot more detail on jailbreaking your iPhone.

If during the process you get an error telling you that you can’t go into DFU mode, use a USB hub between your iPhone and computer or see this information on Fixing DFU mode on 10.5.6.

My iPhone is already unlocked by the carrier so I upgraded the firmware from 2.2 to 2.2.1 via iTunes, then ran QuickPwn.

Here are the download links for QuickPwn 2.2.5 for Windows and QuickPwn 2.2.5 for Mac.

You also need to donwload this iPhone 3G 2.2.1 firmware and put it in the same folder as QuickPwn.

The update is pretty straightforward and leads you step by step through the process.

Here is a very good and detailed tutorial on How to Jailbreak Your iPhone With QuickPwn (Mac).

Good luck with the upgrade and I hope you get much more out of this brilliant little device.


How to Embed YouTube High Quality and HD video

In a previous post we discussed how to get the High Quality or HD video options in your YouTube videos. Videos played in these modes looks a lot better than the standard low resolution mode. Normally you need to view these modes directly on the YouTube site. The reason for this is, by default, YouTube’s embed code limits you to the normal quality mode. This might load faster but looks unsightly after seeing the other versions.

There is a way to embed High Quality and HD modes in your site but it takes a little cutting and pasting of the standard embed code supplied by YouTube.

I won’t go into it here because Julie Perry over at has put together a short tutorial that explains it quiet well.

Here is the video she put together but you can find her full article at


YouTube High Quality and HD Test

I recently bought a new Nikon D90 DSLR after hearing all the excitement over the new breed of hybrid digital cameras. They have HD video as well as stills capabilities and can take advantage of the great DSLR lenses out there. The main advantage is the ability to get shallow depth of field which has normally been the domain of very expensive video cameras not within reach of the average videographer.

The Nikon D90 is the first of this type of camera and was closely followed by the great Canon 5D Mark II. You can find many examples of the great videos produced by these relatively inexpensive cameras.

So now we have the ability to create masterpieces and watch them on our computers and HD TVs, but what about internet distribution? How do we best share our creations?


TubeMogul Video Embed Code vs Standard Embed Code

Further to my previous post on free video hosting sites, I was asked if the varied results had something to do with the way TubeMogul submitted your video to the different video hosting sites. From what I can tell, TubeMogul sends your video in it’s original format unless some conversion is needed by the receiving site. Here is a chart showing accepted video formats listed by site.

This from TubeMogul’s site:

We accept files up to 500MB, but recommend staying under 100MB. Each video sharing site sets its own limits, but many require you to stay under 100 MB. To prevent any quality loss, we only transcode when required to match different sites’ size and formatting requirements.

Obviously TubeMogul in most cases is not submitting your video any differently to what you would yourself, so I thought it may pay to compare TubeMogul’s embedding code to the default embedding code taken directly from each site. Keep in mind you can modify the embedding code at some of these sites to change the video size and other options. Remember this video was uploaded to TubeMogul directly then distributed to the other sites.

Also, this time I have left the complete embed code intact, as you can see Dailymotion and Veoh add some text at the bottom of your video via TubeMogul while, Yahoo! and Metacafe add text via the code on their site.

An interesting note, Blip’s embed code actually displays the video in full size!

So here goes…

YouTube (using TubeMogul code)


Free Video Hosting Comparison

I thought I’d throw together a side by side comparison of some of the free video hosting services available. I’ll be adding some more over the next few days.

If you are looking for a more elegant media hosting solution, Amazon S3 offers a low cost alternative.

I uploaded the original video to TubeMogul which then distributes it to the other sites automatically. The original video is taken from a Nikon D90 at 720P (1280X720).

I have embedded the videos using the default code supplied by TubeMogul, most of these sites allow you to choose many more playback options.



iPhone Camera Performance

iPhone 3G vs Nokia N82 vs SE K800i

I had been holding off getting an iPhone because I liked having a half decent camera phone. I thought changing from the well regarded Nokia N82 to an iPhone 3G would leave me bitterly disappointed with the image quality. Although I would never consider a camera phone as a replacement for a dedicated camera, there are plenty of times it’s all I have and given the right conditions, the results can be more than satisfactory.

So after a long hesitation, I finally succumbed to peer group pressure and grabbed the latest iPhone 3G.

I have to admit I was instantly surprised when I took my first photo and found there was very little shutter lag and the image looked awesome on the large iPhone screen. I’m used to being very frustrated as a lot of the pictures I take with my phones are opportunistic shots of my kids and usually the shutter lag prevents me from getting the shot I was after. Not so with the iPhone camera. Obviously this has to do with the fact there is no auto focus system but instead the lens is a fixed focus type.

At the end of the day, I don’t care what technology is used if the phone delivers reasonable pics of the shots I want.

After using the iPhone camera for a few days I decided to compare the image quality with my previous 2 camera phones, a Nokia N82 and a Sony Ericsson KE800i. These 2 phones are highly respected in the area of imaging. The Nokia N82 is probably still about as good a camera phone as you can get. It has a 5mp sensor and carl zeiss auto focus lens. Both the Nokia N82 and the SE K800i have xenon flashes which allow them to take pictures in total darkness, the iPhone 3G simply can’t compete there.

DSLR Video

How To Use Video Mode on the Canon 5D MKII

Just been watching a 20 minute video that runs through some of the features and gives you a few ideas on how to get the best from the Canon 5D MII video mode. The article has a few useful comments posted by readers as well so is a good place to visit if you are starting out with 5D video.

Watch the clip below or alternatively, on Vimeo How To Use Video Mode on the Canon 5D MK II.

DSLR Video

Nikon D90 Video Tip: Using AE-L to Lock Exposure During Filming

When using the Nikon D90 video mode you can sometimes observe a stuttering effect as it tries to adjust settings to changing light conditions. This can result in less than adequate clips, as shown below. Observe the stepping up and down of the lighting in the clip.

The video above shows the D90 adjusting to light conditions during filming (AE-L off)

This video shows the Nikon D90 holding it’s settings even with changing conditions during filming (AE-L on)

To prevent the camera hunting you can press the AE-L (hold) button before switching to LiveView (LV) mode.

Use these steps to set your camera for AE-L (hold): Menu > Custom Settings (Pencil Icon) > f (controls) >> Assign AE-L/AF-L Button > AE lock (hold) > OK