Issues with Cydia apps and Apple App Store apps

It’s well known, that when you decide to have that iPhone of yours jaibroken, you are entering some muddy waters. With the latest evasi0n jailbreak of iOS 7.0.4 and lately 7.0.6, I have encountered more problems than I care to remember. However, after the dust has settled, I have eventually an iPhone which works again, as I wanted it to work.

One thing I’ve noticed, is that some Cydia apps, can create havoc with some Apple App Store apps. Before going into details, here is my testing environment.

  1. iPhone 4S running iOS 7.0.6, jailbroken with the latest evasi0n 1.0.6 on a Mac.
  2. iPhone 5 running iOS 7.0.6, jailbroken with evasi0n 1.0.6 on a Mac again.

The problems I encountered refer to two App Store apps, namely Skype and AP News. The hack that seemed to influence both, is Eclipse, a hack that allows you to reverse the colors of your apps, so that you are using a dark environment instead of the familiar iOS white one.

I first noticed the problem on the iPhone 4S, on which the AP News program stopped working all of a sudden. The program will start and crash after showing the “Contacting the news server” message. No matter what I tried, I couldn’t make it work. I’ve even contacted Associated Press to ask for their assistance. Finally, I gave up on this, since I have other programs to learn the news around the planet.

Then I had a similar issue with Skype on iPhone 5. The program would start and show me the list of my contacts, but as soon as I pressed something (either a name to call someone, or one of the icons at the bottom of the page) the program would crash. I accidentally discovered that Skype would run fine though, if I disabled the Eclipse hack I was using until that moment. That prompted me to add Skype to Eclipse whitelist (a list of apps whose colors shouldn’t be touched by Eclipse). Boom, Skype worked fine with no problems!

I then tried the same trick on the iPhone 4S, I added AP News to Eclipse whitelist and again, AP News started working as it should.What is strange though, is that AP News worked fine in iPhone 5, with Eclipse installed, and Skype was running fine on iPhone 4S with Eclipse installed. So I guess, there is another factor involved, the platform used can affect different programs differently.

So, if you are using Eclipse hack and you find that one of your apps refuses to start, add it to Eclipse whitelist and see what happens.

Why jailbreak developpers lost a friend

It’s well known that I am an avid Apple user. My first Apple device was an iPhone 2, followed by a MacBook, an iMac and several other iPhones until my current iPhone 4S (OK, you can  count my son’s iPhone 5 too). All my iPhones have been jailbroken and several non-Apple programs added from Cydia. My last jailbreak was on iOS 6.1.2, on which I stayed for more than a year, waiting anxiously for the iOS 7 jailbreak to appear.

As the whole iPhone community knows, the jailbreak for iOS 7 appeared a week or so ago. So today, I decided to jailbreak my 4S. What a stupid decision!

It appears that in order to rush the jailbreak to the community, before another hacker comes up with one, the evasion developers shoot themselves to the foot. They came up with a jailbreak, but didn’t comminicate it to the other software developers. As a result, most of Cydia programs do not work with the new jailbreak! So what good is it? I really wonder what good is the jailbreak, if the programs do not work with it!

After spending some hours trying to make my phone behave like it did with iOS 6.1.2, I gave up in disgust and I decided that I’ll no longer jailbreak my phones. It’s pointless.

You rely on some unknown coders, to come up with a jailbreak, which doesn’t even guarantee you that the programs you have purchased from Cydia, and on which you have relied for years, will work. How stupid is this? How stupid is to con the entire iPhone community with your product, if it doesn’t offer the functionality the phone owners need and want? From what we hear, it appears that the developers of the latest jailbreak, were hoping to get one million US$ for it, by some Chinese company, which has been proven to maintain a web site with pirated software. Maybe that’s the reason? I do not know, but I know one thing:

You lost an avid Cydia user you idiots! And I am sure that there are more like me, who do not enjoy being conned by you. Sorry Saurik, I know it’s not your fault, but I can no longer afford to spend hours to fix my phone to the condition it was before the upgrade. No more Cydia for me. So long suckers!

iPhone – Jailbreaking and problems

It’s customary these days to spend time with your family and friends, preparing for New Year’s Eve and the various festivities. Me? I have spend about two whole days now, trying to upgrade my iPhone. How funny can that be?!?!?

Let me give you some background details to understand my frustration and the reasons behind this blog entry.

About three years ago, I purchased my first iPhone. And since then, I’ve been perfectly happy with the various iPhones I got (original, 3G, 3GS and finally iPhone 4). The only times I cursed my luck (and my lack of common sense) is when I upgrade my phones to the new iOS versions.

Now, don’t get me wrong, Apple has made sure that the upgrade process is painless, easy and quick. The problems start, if like me, you want to jailbreak your iPhone. For the uninitiated, the term “jailbreak” refers to the action of changing your iPhone software, so that it can do more things than Apple allows you. There is a whole community out there, of people who try to bypass Apple’s code and allow the rest of us to enhance our phones with additional functionality. The jailbreakers exploit various bugs in every new release of Apple iOS software (the software that makes your iPhone work) and create ways to unlock the phone so you can add programs in addition to those found in Apple’s App Store.

From the moment you enter the jailbreaking trap, you can never look back. You are hooked to the charms of these additional programs, which admittedly make your iPhone so much more useful. However, jailbreaking is NOT without cost. Take for example my latest two days of banging my head on the wall, trying to make my iPhone 4 work again, using the latest iOS that Apple has released.

Three days ago, I had my iPhone right where I wanted. It was running iOS 4.3.3 and I had installed all the applications I wanted from Apple’s store and from the jailbreak community. It was working just fine and I was a happy camper. Then I read on the internet that the jailbreakers had finally released the tools to jailbreak the latest release of iOS 5.0.1! And of course, like an idiot, I upgraded my phone to the latest Apple release and jailbroke it. I had of course backed up everything, using a special tool that exists in the market, and all I had to do (I thought) was to restore my backup and be up and running.

Guess again John! No luck! As soon as I restored my backup, nothing was working as before. It took me two whole days to figure out why: several programs that were working just fine under iOS 4.3.3 didn’t work under iOS 5.0.1. Why? Search me, probably because Apple has changed something significant in the latest release and the programmers who wrote those programs haven’t bothered to update them for the newest iOS.

The worst part is, that Apple doesn’t allow you to go back to a previous version of their iOS, once you have installed a later version on your phone. So once you installed the latest version, you’re doomed.

Right now, I am working to do just that. Go back to the previous version, because I can’t stand my phone the way it is today.

So for all of you, new iPhone owners out there, before jailbreaking your iPhone, please understand what you are getting into. Either be prepared to spend countless hours trying to make your phone work as it used to do, or once you have your phone in a condition you like, don’t bother to upgrade. Stay there and avoid the frustration. Better yet, forget all about jailbreaking and use only software, that comes from Apple. Your  phone may not be doing fancy things like the phones of your friends, but at least you won’t have to spend hours figuring out how to bring your phone back to the condition you liked.

As for me, wish me luck in downgrading to the previous iOS release, I do not care for the new one, all I want is to have my phone as it was three days ago.



Our blogs are at their final home

First of all, let me welcome you to our new family server, our little corner of the Internet.

I’ve been working with computers professionally since 1985, so creating a little home server for the family was something I wanted to do ever since I … got a family. Being totally independent of external services, was something I always fancied and with the kids growing up (well, the twins, the third is already a grown up) I decided to build this little network in our home, to serve our needs. Some background is in order though, for you to better understand my ramblings below.

A couple of years ago, I decided that I had enough of the Windows problems and switched over to Apple. A MacBook first, to test the waters, was soon followed by a 24″ iMac, and then last January a Mac Mini Server was added, to act as the family server. The services I wanted the server to provide were;

  • Calendar server
  • Address Book server
  • Email server
  • Web server
  • Blog server
  • Domain name server (with our family name, as the domain name)

The idea was that we could use this server to synchronize our iPhones (yes, the switch to Apple included our phones too), present our family to the public (as if someone is interested in reading about us) and have a place to post our thoughts. Some additional email addresses, in the family name domain space would be a welcome addition too.

The Mac Mini, loaded with Snow Leopard served the intended role for some months, not without frustrations, due mainly to Apple’s GUI (Graphical User Interface) server management tools, which is both a blessing (when it works) and a curse (when it can’t do what you want it to do, just like any other Unix-based server). But after some experimentation, and after learning to ignore parts of the GUI in favor of the good old command-line interface, I had it set up and running, as I wanted it to.

Fast forward to last summer, when Apple released its OS-X Lion server. Although I know better than installing a brand new version of any software on my machines, when I finally decided to install Lion on my server, I wasn’t expecting the problems that move would bring upon me. Several things that were working OK on the previous version of OS-X, just stopped working. Why would Apple change my existing domain name server configuration files, when upgrading? Why would Apache configuration change with the new version? Why on earth the Wiki and blogs had to be changed so much so to become useless? After spending a couple of frustrating months with Apple’s new server software, I decided I had enough of it.

I had an old, Pentium 4 based computer, which I no longer used, so after some advice from a good friend (thanks Don), I build my first Linux box, using CentOS distribution. I had some experience with Unix (I once owned a Sun SparcStation 4, which I loved) so it was not so difficult for me to build the server. Eventually, the CentOS box took over some services from the Apple server, such as the web server, the DNS server and the blogs server, the Mac retaining what it does best, collaborating with other Apple devices such as our Apple computers, our iPhones and iPad.

So here is where we are today. We are a family with a small private network, connecting two servers, two Apple computers (the iMac and the MacBook), two Windows-based HP netbooks for the twins (I know, it’s a sin, but Apple’s notebooks are way too expensive to trust the kids with such devices), two iPhones, two iPod Touches and one iPad 2. And this here, is the first, inaugural post in our blogs. I am sure many more will follow especially by both me and my wife.

I hope that the above environment will help our kids get acquainted with the computers and the Internet, and it will provide me with the opportunity to learn more things about computers, which is my favorite pass time.

What you can expect to read about in here?

Well, my main interests are computers, photography and cars. But I am sure that you will also find many more blogposts about other things in life, things we love and things we hate. Lena will probably use this space to post her own thoughts, and I’ve heard something about posting some Greek recipes. Lena is Ukrainian but she had learned to cook Greek food and she cooks it beautifully, so I would urge you to try out her recipes, when of course she gets herself to start posting. The only problem you may have with that, is that she would probably post the recipes in Russian, so you English-speaking friends will have a hard time reading them. But of course, there are Internet-based translation tools, which can help you understand her writings, and I am sure she would be too happy to answer your questions, if you have any.

So, welcome to our little corner of the web, we hope to see you around.