Wednesday, 7 March 2012

One of these things is not like the other

If a contractor doesn't proof read their word documents, of course you can trust them to replace and configure the servers which your company vitally needs. Those little details never hurt anybody.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Broken things: iPod Classic

Somebody brought me an iPod with the timeless White Screen Of Death. That used to be pretty common and is easily fixed by reloading the firmware.

It worked, I turned it on, and things got a bit weird.

Somewhere along the way, about half the letters in every bit of text in the firmware vanished. Some shorter words had the misfortune to disappear altogether.

I have no idea why this happened. The firmware copy was fine, the loading process was fine, and if it was general corruption we'd be seeing a lot more than just missing letters.

Sadly, reloading the same firmware a second time gave me a perfectly-working iPod. Sometimes things are more fun half-broken than working.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Obscene Automated Tour Guides

I went to a rather nice museum a few weeks ago - it was quite new and focussed on doing everything in as modern a way as possible. In keeping with that, they'd replaced the tour guides with iPod touches that ran a custom app.

The app itself was pretty great. It identified nearby exhibits (via unique bluetooth transmitters, I'm guessing) and let you rate how you felt about them. You could read through some extra information if you wanted, and sometimes see related audio or video clips.

As an added bonus, you could leave the app and access the normal iPhone tools. I wasn't the first person to realise this.

These guys were able to deploy an advanced location-aware custom app, but don't have anybody who understands iPhone restrictions, the iPhone Configuration Tool, or old-fashioned Kiosk Mode. It didn't even throw any errors when I added a throwaway email account.

This wasn't just a recent problem - a lot of the contacts had been added over 6 months before, so they aren't even being wiped regularly. I can only assume the guys who made the app are long gone while the staff just update exhibit information on a local server.

To end with, here's some more detail about those gentlemanly prior patrons of the museum.