I often use my iPhone as music player, travelling around the city with my headphones and answering calls by clicking the microphone. I was looking for a way to announce Caller ID, and was surprised there's only this hint here and it doesn't use built in speech technology.
This process could be scripted somehow, but as I didn't need hundreds of contacts, I just created them one by one. The described process is, however, optimized, taking only about 20 seconds per person.
First, open GarageBand and create a loop of desired length. I chose just about six bars. Then place your favorite ringtone sound (I used one from GarageBand's Library, found in Sound Effects » Work/Home » Cell Phone Ringing, and boosted its volume a bit) and place it at the second bar.
Copy the person's name in Address Book.
Paste it to Terminal as part of this command: say -o ~/Desktop/Output.aiff [paste person's name here]. Note that the Up Arrow key reveals the last command used, so later you can backspace the previous name and paste a new one.
Drag the Output file on your desktop to GarageBand on the first bar of your composition.
In GarageBand, choose File » Save As..., and again paste person's name as the filename (it's not important where it's saved).
Then select Share » Send Ringtone To iTunes.
The ringtone will play in iTunes so you can move on to another person. Finally, synchronize your iPhone with your iTunes, and assign the ringtones to your favorite people.
Now, I didn't spend much time on this at all, and it could be in the next version of iPhone software (I did submit it as an enhancement request) -- perhaps activated by a setting in the iPhone preferences. We'll soon find out, I guess.
Sometimes it's annoying to have to use Mail on my iPhone to review a PDF, Word or Excel file I received a couple of days before. I wanted to have permanent access to some of my inportant files (roadmaps, notes, lists etc.) even when I can't go online. All you need is a jailbroken 1.1.3 (or newer) iPhone, an FTP client on your Mac, and the "Safari 1.1.3 Patch" for your iPhone (see the Big Boss' repository: "Adds file:// support for local files viewing to Safari.")
For PDF: Use your FTP client to create a new folder on your iPhone in /var/mobile/Media/. Name it PDF and drag your PDF files into it. Some of them have to be renamed to meet the usual URL naming conventions. This means: no spaces, no umlauts, etc. I dragged a file named regex.pdf in there. Now I only have to type in the following URL in Safari on the iPhone:
Safari can display PDF, Word, Excel, and any HTML file you put in the Media folder (or in a sub-folder of Media). Additionally, you can save this to your home screen, or as a bookmark, for easy access.
Additional hint: instead of typing the URL in Safari on the iPhone, you can do that on Safari on your Mac and save it as a bookmark for later syncing to the iPhone.
If you set up groups before transferring contacts to the iPhone, you can then show only a certain group (or all groups) when browsing contacts. I set up several groups in Address Book, but noticed that you can't change which group a contact is in on the iPhone itself. Nor can you add new groups on the phone, either.
However, if you want to add a new contact to a group that is already on the iPhone, first go to the Phone Application, then tap "Contacts" and then tap the "Groups" button at the top left of the screen to select the group to which you want to add the new contact. It will return you to the Contacts screen with the group name at the top. Now tap the "+" button to add a new contact that will be associated with that group.
If I get a call or email from someone not in my contact list that I know I want in a particular group (like "Work" contacts), I go through the above steps to create the new contact in that group, then go back to the phone call or email and tap on "Add to Existing Contact" to make the new contact. If I "Create New Contact" from a recent call or an email there's no way to edit the group into which the new contact is placed.
The 'Find Me' location feature in Google Maps on the iPhone and iPod touch is great, but if you are in an area with wireless access points that have yet to be mapped by Skyhook (the company that provides the location-acces point data for Apple), your shown location will rely upon cellphone tower position alone and so be far less accurate.
Recently, Jazzdogg on the Australian MacTalk forum contacted Skyhook with regard to manually submitting the longitude/latitude of his own access point to improve the location feature. In response, Skyhook created a form that allows anyone to do exactly that. Whether to improve the accuracy of your iPhone's pseudo-GPS when at work or home, or to map out access points about town, you can now supplement Skyhook's database manually without having to wait for Skyhook to map your community. This is great for those of us outside of the US and UK where there is no access point-location data, or even those in less populated areas of the US and Europe where Skyhook have yet to map.
By using the iPhone app Stumbler to directly show the MAC addresses in your vicinity, you could even do this direct from your (jailbroken) iPhone or iPod touch.
Help improve the location feature for all iPhone and iPod touch users by submitting your own access point MAC address and location. Personally I feel the privacy issues are pretty minor, as my access point MAC address is already being freely broadcast, and thus simultaneously giving its general location -- but this may be something you need to consider before you submit your own. (As far as I can see though, there is no direct public exposure to the MAC-location data.)
For some hobbies and businesses, it's necessary to use Coordinated Universal Time or UTC, which is similar to Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). The iPhone World Clock can display several separate clocks, so I thought it might work to add London as a substitute for Greenwich, which was not listed. But on a lark I typed utc in the search for city dialog, and it came up! Once selected, I had a clock dedicated to UTC. This is better than using a nearby city, as it should avoid problems with daylight saving time changes.
I am an avid Google Mail user, and recently purchased an iPhone (how couldn't I, after seeing the SDK demo). I configured the iPhone Mail app to use my Google Map IMAP account. Works like a charm, but, a lot of times I want to send reminders home from the iPhone. Obviously I'd see those mail on the iPhone as well. Too much information. So here is what I did:
Set up a new Google Mail account -- email@example.com.
In my main Google Mail account (firstname.lastname@example.org), I set up a filter like so ... in the 'Doesn't have:' field, I listed subject: -iphone, OR, from: -email@example.com. On the next page, enable Forward it to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
On the iPhone, I created a new Mail account, but used the email@example.com as my main account. (I can still access the other gmail accounts through Google Mobile, just in case.)
On the iPhone, I changed the outgoing SMTP server to firstname.lastname@example.org. That way, mail I send from my iPhone look as if they come from my main mail account.
Using this setup, the following mail will arrive on the iPhone:
Any mail I send from another mail account (the office), as long as it doesn't have -iphone in the subject line.
Mail I send to email@example.com
For me, this is pretty much perfect, as it keeps my iPhone mail account pretty clean without losing out on important mails. Of course, adding more OR entries to the filter will allow for even finer control on what to let through to the iPhone.
I was really sick of POP GMail and the iPhone not just working. I found several types of hints online, and none would really work for my situation. I use POP on GMail so that I can get mail on my Mac and leave a copy on GMail's server for archive and search purposes, which I do endlessly. The subtle implication here is that I have about 2,500 messsages in there.
So I set up the iPhone and was all excited when it just took my accounts from iTunes and set them up. But I noticed one thing: even if I had Recent on, for some reason, my Mac and my iPhone would race to download a message and if one got it, sometimes the other did, and sometimes it didn't. I confirmed this to happen to other people via many furious and frazzled searches waaaay past my bedtime.
Another thing I found was that I'm not a super great typer on the iPhone yet, and there were some messages I'd want to read on the iPhone but respond to on my Mac. In short, for a lot of reasons, it wouldn't bother me to have messages on my GMail, on my Mac via Mail, and on my iPhone.
Further, even if I got some messages to actually find their way to the iPhone, I could read them okay, but when I deleted them, the iPhone politely asked me if I would like to load the next two billion -- I'm not exaggerating, it really said that -- messages. I found this to be a documented problem and, frankly, I was disgusted. Well, I figured out away for everyone to just get along:
Set up a new account on GMail. For this, I just added a "1" to the end of my existing GMmail account. Make sure you have POP enabled.
Make your current GMail forward to that address.
Add a new account on the iPhone, but click Other instead of GMail when setting it up. Now enter in your new GMail account info, but on the outgoing server, put in smtp.gmail.com with your old GMail account.
This way, you will receive an email any time one pops into your GMail account on your iPhone and on your Mac (provided you already had your Mac setup how you wanted it). Also, when you respond to an email, it will appear to come from your regular GMail account since you used that outgoing server. Now everyone can play happily together!
You probably know already that you can hold down a key on the iPhone keyboard to select international versions of a character (eg. Accented characters) I have just found that this also works for the .com button on the Safari version of the keyboard.
Hold down the .com button, and you will be able to quickly select the regional domain suffix for whatever international language keyboard you are using. Eg .co.uk for the UK keyboard, .de for German, etc.
You can simulate the 'pinch to zoom' gesture of the iPhone in Apple's Aspen Simulator by holding down the Option key while clicking the mouse in the area you wish to pinch. This brings up a pair of dots that represent your fingertips.
When you are zoomed in to read, for example, a column of text in Safari on the iPhone and iPod Touch, it can sometimes be hard to scroll in a straight line without accidently scrolling left and right. I found this quite frustrating until I changed the way I was scrolling.
The important thing is the direction you start dragging in when you scroll. If you move only vertically then the scroll becomes vertically locked and will not scroll on the horizontal axis until you next lift your finger. Conversely, starting a horizontal drag locks scrolling horizontally. The problem is that it's too easy to start off on a diagonal and drag the column you're reading sideways.
If you scroll by running your thumb along the very edges of the screen then you can always be sure you're moving in a straight line and you won't suffer this anymore. This has the added benefit of keeping your view of the screen uninhibited since your thumb can be practically off the display entirely. Additionally, it's possible to scroll a long page like a forum thread continuously by starting a new drag with the opposite thumb even before you reach the top or bottom of the screen.
I created a short video demonstrating this scrolling method, in case you'd like to see it in action.