Cool new features in iOS 7

I have been playing with iOS 7 and there is a lot of new things in it. For example:

Mail has new Smart Mailboxes that can be helpful in filtering email: you can access them in the Mail app, just tap on the Edit button when you’re in the mailbox view.

The Compass app has added a level feature . Just swipe to the left when you launch the Compass app to find it.

The Camera app, as before, lets you hold it in landscape mode and use the Volume Up button to take the picture. Now, you can also hold the Volume Up button to have your iPhone autofocus the scene , without having to tap on the screen. You can also apply filters directly in the camera!

Great stuff!

Syncing Gmail contacts to iPhone or iPad

Further to my previous post about Gmail, I noticed earlier in the week that I was missing a number of contacts in my phone. “Surely I did not delete them, did I?” I thought… Checked and checked again and indeed I was missing contacts stored in my Gmail account. How could that be? I had set up my account so that my contacts were synced… oh well, it turns out that back in September 2012 Gmail announced the possibility to sync contacts using CardDAV. However, in December, in their wisdom they decided to discontinue Google Sync from January 30th 2013. I had no idea about this, but here is a post from macworld about it.

So, my contacts had not been deleted, Gmail was not working as I imagined… So, here is how to sync your contacts using CardDAV.

  • Open the “Settings” application on your iPhone or iPad.
  • Select Mail, Contacts, Calendars.
  • Select “Add Account” and then “Other”
  • Select “Add CardDAV Account” and fill in the information. In the Server enter “”
  • Select “Next” at the top of your screen, and make sure that the “Contacts” option is turned on.

Once you have done that open your Contacts app and the syncing will start.

A similar problem may occur for calendars, if you are looking for info about that follow this link



Fixing Gmail incorrect password/user error (iPhone and iPad)


I recently got a very annoying error message in an iPhone regarding the password/user resolution for my Gmail account. I again and again kept entering the correct combination and nothing seemed to work. I thought I was mistyping, or perhaps my fingertips suddenly got fatter… I tried logging in via the website and lo and behold I could indeed login.

Error PasswordThe message: ‘The user name or password for “” is incorrect’ and it appears even if you haven’t made any changes to your account. Well, here is a way to solve the issue:

  1. Quit all mail clients that are having the issue. For the iPhone or iPad you can open the multi-tasking menu and tap the mail icon for a few seconds. A red minus sign will appear at the upper left-hand corner. Tap the minus sign and that quits the application.
  2. Open a web browser (Safari will do) and go to the following link:
  3. Login using your credentials for the troublesome account to verify the account.
  4. Open again your Mail app and voilà


Remove Duplicated from “Open with” in OS X

I quite like the some of the “user-friendly” features that come with OS X. But sometimes they get a bit clogged up. A point in case is the “Open With” menu that appears when any file in the Finder is right-clicked. The idea of the menu is to provide the user with the chance of choosing an alternative programme or application to open a file with, instead of the one by default.

The problem is that sometimes Finder creates multiple copies of the same entry in the menu and although harmless, it is very annoying. So, how can you fix this problem, well do not despair, the command line is your friend:

  • Launch Terminal from the /Applications/Utilities/ directory and following command string onto a single line:
/System/Library/Frameworks/CoreServices.framework/Versions/A/Frameworks/LaunchServices.framework/Versions/A/Support/lsregister -kill -r -domain local -domain user
  • Then, once the previous command has finished (and it may take a while) in order for the command to do its trick type the following in the command line:
killall Finder

Now when Finder has relaunched, all the repeated entries must be gone.

MATLAB for mac in Mountain Lion without X11

Well, I have now made the move to Mountain Lion and for a bit it did look quite good, until I had the nerve of trying to start MATLAB. Now, I must admit that the version of MATLAB that I have is by no means the latest, but it does do the work (for those of you who asked, I am running 2008a). So, I realised that the final blow for X11 was given and that Mountain Lion did indeed get rid of it.

I had encountered this issue when upgrading GIMP, and at the time, everything seemed to be working fine with XQuartz. So, there was I thinking to myself “It is just a matter then of re-installing XQuartz and off we go”. How wrong was I! I installed XQuartz, downloaded from here. The first glimpse that things were not quite correct was when I had to tell manually to GIMP the location of X11. Then tried to launch MATLAB and quite quickly the following message popped up:

“X11 does not appear to be installed. X11 version 1.1.3 or greater is required. For OS X 10.5 or later, X11 is available on the OS X installation DVD. Please find and run the Optional Installs.mpkg installer.”

Great thing that Mathworks has told me that, but Apple does not do X11 anymore, so no installing from the DVD, righ?t! Worse still, unlike GIMP, there was no prompt from MATLAB to tell it the location of X11. I tried creating some symbolic links, but this did not work either. Finally, after a lot of fiddling and searching and all, I found a way to run MATLAB successfully. A solution? Oh well here it is:

  1. Install XQuartz
  2. Launch XQuartz and from the menu launch an xterm.
  3. Type the following command first:
  • $MATLAB/bin/matlab -maci

Where $MATLAB is the path to your installation. And voilà!

Incidentally, if you are having problems with the graphics in MATLAB, such as the application crashing when plotting and the like, you can type the following command before launching MATLAB as specified above:

export DYLD_LIBRARY_PATH=/System/Library/Frameworks/JavaVM.framework/Libraries

Let me know how you get on with this and should you find another alternative solution let me know!



A hidden shortcut to switch to previous Desktop Space in Mac OS X

A picture of the Magic Trackpad next to the Ap...
A picture of the Magic Trackpad (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Imagine this, you are using Desktop 1 to write a long document and you are doing so with information that is displayed in Desktop 4. You can indeed move the relevant window from Desktop 4 to Desktop 1, but that simply does not help. So you end up moving back and forth between the two. Did you know that you can do this using a double-tap with four fingers on your trackpad? No? Well, this is because it is a hidden gesture. To activate the gesture all you have to do is open a Terminal (Finder – Applications – Utilitites – Terminal) and type the following two commands (please note that the first line is one command):

defaults write double-tap-jump-back -bool TRUE
killall Dock

The changes take effect immediately after the second command is issued. Enjoy!

Setting up Posterous in Tweetbot for iPad

Posterous Logo
Posterous Logo (Photo credit: SWikipedia)

UPDATE: Sadly this post is now obsolete with the shutting down of Posterous…


I have recently started using Tweetbot as a Twitter client and I must say that I am quite pleased with the way it handles things like mentions, RTs and particularly the display of media such as photos and video. It seems to be quite easy to use and setup multiple accounts. However, there was something that I didn’t quite like… I tend to use Posterous to upload pictures and other media. I prefer this to services such as Twitpic or Moby, and as such I was expecting Tweetbot to handle Posterous as easily as these other services. Although in their site Tweetbot mention that they support Posterous, once in the application it was nowhere to be seen. If like me you want to use Posterous, do not despair, it is just a matter of configuring the “Custom” service. Here is what you need to do:

  1. In Tweetbot, open the Settings (at the bottom of the navigation bar on the left hand side).
  2. Under account settings, tap your username and tap in either the “Image Upload” to “Video Upload” (changing one will make the service available in the other).
  3. Scroll to the bottom of the menu and select “Custom”
  4. You will be asked to enter an API endpoint, enter one to the two following options:

And you are ready to go! Please note that this assumes that you already have a Posterous account and that it knows about your Twitter identity. If it doesn’t, Posterous will create a new account for you. For more info about the API, visit this page.

Saving screenshots with a useful name (Mac)

Are you a Mac user? Do you end up taking one, two, thousands of screenshots? Well, then you would agree with me when I say that having them automatically saved with a long and not very useful name is a bit of a pain.

It would be great if you could have a choice over the name used to save your screenshots. Well, there is! Here is how:

Open a terminal and type the following (using your own useful text string in between the quotes):

defaults write name "A useful name"

Then, restart the user interface system with the following command:

killall SystemUIServer

And that is it! Enjoy!

Downgrade iPhone 3GS from iOS 4 back to 3.1.3

I have been very happy with the performance of my iPhone, but I could not help noticing that after upgrading the 3GS to iOS 4, the phone not only slowed down, but effectively stood still. Not really what you want when you are in need of getting directions, finding the name of that actor in that film, or simply making a phonecall. So, if you are in that boat, here is a recipe to downgrade your device and recover some functionality! You will need the following ingredients:

  1. iPhone 3GS
  2. iTunes
  3. Cable to connect iPhone to iTunes
  4. A copy of iOS 3.1.3
  5. RecBoot
  6. Some patience

Preparation 1 – Get iOS 3.1.3 ready

This sounds like a tricky one, but do not panic, it might well be that you do indeed have a copy of the iOS available in your hard drive, check in:

~/Library/iTunes/iPhone Software Updates

On Windows, your iPhone OS updates should be stored in:

C:Documents and Settings[username]Application DataApple ComputeriTunesiPhone Software Updates

If you see a file inside this folder corresponding to




those are likely the restore images you need.

If you don’t see anything that resembles the 3.1.3 OS or you just want  a freshly downloaded one,  iClarified has a list of iPhone firmware files. Just find 3.1.3 for your phone and download it to a place in your hard drive that you can remember.

Preparation 2 – RecBoot

Later on in the process, you will need RecBoot to be able to tell iTunes to free your iPhone after downgrading. You can download it here (available for Mac and Windows).

Preparation 3 – Put your iPhone into DFU mode

You need to put your iPhone into Device Firmware Update (or DFU) mode in order to downgrade to 3.1.3., here is how:

  1. Plug in your iPhone.
  2. Power it down by holding the sleep/lock button at the top and sliding to power off.
  3. Once it’s powered down, press and hold both the sleep/lock button and the home button for ten seconds.
  4. After ten seconds, release the power button but continue holding down the home button.
  5. If you did it right, iTunes will pop up a window telling you that it’s detected an iPhone in recovery mode and your iPhone’s screen will be black. If it didn’t work, start from the beginning and try again.

Preparation 4 – Downgrade to 3.1.3

It is now time to do the downgrading. Dismiss the iTunes alert that told you you’re in recovery mode. Select the iPhone in the iTunes sidebar

  1. Hold Cmd and click the Restore button
  2. iTunes will pop up a window prompting you to choose a file. Navigate to the location of the 3.1.3 OS file you obtained in preparation 1.
  3. Select that file, and iTunes will start the OS restore process. You will now use the bit of patience as thos takes a few minutes
  4. When it’s finished, you’ll  receive an error message  and your iPhone will boot up with a “Connect to iTunes” screen.

Preparation 5 – Recovering the iPhone

This is where RecBoot becomes useful. Open RecBoot, and click “Exit Recovery Mode”. After a few seconds the software should prompt your iPhone to leave the plug-me-into-iTunes mood  and there you go, you have a freshly downgraded iPhone device!

Serve cold and enjoy!