Edimax BR-6258nL Wireless Router

Here’s another great little gadget to have in your travel kit, a wireless router the same size as a USB memory stick!

Configure it once with a unique SSID and password, then plug it into the ethernet cable in your hotel room and it creates your own WiFi network for all your devices. It also works as a WiFi repeater so it will retransmit any wifi you are already connected to.

Much smaller, lighter and cheaper than an Apple Airport Express.

£22 from Amazon

Netgear XAV5501 AV+500 Powerline Adapters

Holy moly!

I’ve been using a pair of Netgear XE104s to extend our network to the living room. They connect using mains electrical power, and have worked fine for a couple of years.

Netgear XAV5501 AV+500

This morning I replaced them with Netgear XAV5501 AV+500 adapters, which claim to work at gigabit speeds. So I ran a small test, sending a 30mb file to the mac mini in the living room using the XE104s: 28 seconds. Same test with XAV5501s installed: 4 seconds!


Here’s a link to a proper review, and here’s the Amazon UK link if you want to buy.

Google Plus

Google Plus looks interesting. I tried FaceBook a while ago but didn’t like it. Google Plus might be a big improvement.
G+ is still in beta, so I need to snag an invite to give it a try. I thought I’d got one yesterday but the email never arrived. Just have to be patient, I suppose…

iPad 2: Protecting the back

Everybody loves Apple’s Smart Cover for the iPad 2. But it doesn’t protect the back of the iPad at all.

Several companies have released “smart” back covers, such the SwitchEasy CoverBuddy, the Hypershield, the Smart Cover Enhancer and the Simplism Smart Back Cover. However these back covers aren’t cheap and, as far as I know, aren’t available in the UK yet so you have to add on international postage. Bah!

But now there is a huge choice of cheap back covers on Amazon UK. I wanted a clear cover to show off the iPad’s Apple logo, so I chose the LuvMac Clear Solid Gel Back Cover.

LucMac Clear iPad Back Cover

Less than £10 including delivery and it does the job well without adding much bulk or weight to the iPad. Recommended.

Aperture Albums in iTunes

I had an issue the other day where a couple of my Aperture photo albums weren’t appearing in the photos tab of iTunes, so I couldn’t sync them to my iPad.

The fix turned out to be: select the errant photos in Aperture and then click on the menu item “Photos > Generate Thumbnails”.

Some people recommend “Photos > Update Previews” as well, but it wasn’t required in my case.

Olympus Penpal PP-1 for E-PL2

So my PP-1 turned up last week. It’s a Bluetooth adapter for the Olympus E-PL2 which fits into the Accessory Port and allows wireless image transmission from the camera to a mobile phone or laptop.

I paired it with my Apple MacBook Air but couldn’t get any files to transfer. So I emailed Derrick Story who’s a big fan of the Micro Four-Thirds cameras and who had already blogged that he’d got it working. He got back to me straight away and explained that you have to go to the Sharing Preference Pane and switch on Bluetooth Sharing. While you’re there you can also make “When receiving items:” read “Accept and Save”.

Now it all works fine and the PP-1 is a useful accessory! Thanks Derrick!

Reset iPad Backup/Sync

Several times lately when I’ve tried to sync my iPad it’s failed to complete the backup stage, even after 10-12 hours. If you force-quit iTunes and try again iTunes will skip the backup with the error message:

“iTunes could not backup the iPad “Chris’s iPad” because a session could not be started with the iPad”

I did a little research to find a solution, here’s what works for me:

  • Quit or Force-Quit iTunes
  • Delete your old backup: ~/Library/Application Support/MobileSync/Backup
  • Delete all files from ~/Library/Lockdown and /var/db/lockdown
  • Reboot Mac
  • Reboot iPad (hold Home and Power buttons until Apple logo appears)
  • Run iTunes
  • Select Reset Warnings and Reset Cache in iTunes Preferences > Advanced

Hope this helps someone else.

iPhone Folder Icons

Apple’s iOS4 introduced folders to the iPhone. By dragging an app onto another one, either on the iPhone or in iTunes, a folder is created with a suggested, editable name.

Many of us have done just that. In my case, I kept my most-used apps on the first Home Screen and organised the apps into folders on the second screen, thereby reducing the number of screens from 12 to 2!

Then, this morning, I noticed a tweet from Don McAllister (@donmcallister) who pointed out this page about how to name folders with icons instead of text.

I started playing around with it, firstly by creating an Apple folder, then by attempting to use icons for all my folders. “Flying”, “Travel” and “Games” were easy, but I struggled with “Sailing”, “Photography” and others. Then I remembered I had installed Spell Number on my iPhone which enables emoji icons.

A few minutes’ later I’d created this. Whether I stick with it is another matter…

(Click to enlarge)

iPhone 4 folders
iPhone 4 folders

O2 micro sim Activation

iPhone 4
iPhone 4

I had a faff activating the micro sim in the Apple iPhone 4. The O2 page talks about activating the phone and activating the sim card and I confused the two.

After leaving the iPhone overnight with a screen message “Waiting for activation, this may take some time”, I realised I had to complete the O2 Sim Swap page as well. Three hours later it still hadn’t activated. So I removed and reinserted the sim in my iPhone 3GS which immediately came up with no service (deactivated successfully) then inserted the micro sim in the iPhone 4 which immediately activated.

Hope this helps someone else.