Noooot really, but we like to joke that I am. Jason likes to joke that I am turning into a mini-HaX0r since I tend to know workarounds for just about everything he wants to do these days, but since I almost universally refuse to touch code, Jeff != HaX0r Really, all I did this time was jailbreak the iPhone.
Simply put, this was long overdue. Travis sung the praises of a jailbreak over a year ago, but I hesitated because I viewed it as a hassle when it comes to installing firmware updates and things of that nature (which I still haven’t quite figured out how all that will work, but I will). Since then I have felt the frustration of all that the iPhone doesn’t (thanks Droid ads for pointing this out over and over again), I have gone ahead and done what was necessary. I now introduce you to, Jeff’s iPhone 2.0:
(FYI – I was charging the phone when I took these screenshots)
Kinda neat, yeah? Nothing mind blowing, but I love that I can run multiple apps (notice the radio icon in the bottom right corner as a “waiting” tab on it, meaning it’s running in the background), have 5 apps in the dock down below, a theme/skin (custom icons, a background other than black, my own name instead of AT&T in the upper corner, etc…), a simplified lock-screen… Simple stuff that’s apparent right away, and very very nice!
The jailbreak process is incredibly straight forward. I used the Pwnage Tool (google it and you’ll find a plethora of information), made sure I had current backups in iTunes (which is essential if you wanna keep your Apple App Store applications where you left them), and followed a couple different tutorials (one for when I worked on my phone and a different one for Jason’s – only really because I lost the first link). This is why I can’t call myself a HaX0r… The real geeks made it easy for schlubs like me!
Really, a key feature is being able to run multiple apps at once – something the phone SHOULD be able to do but Apple keeps it from happening.. I installed an app called Backgrounder (off of Cydia, the jailbreak app store) to run the multiple apps, and another called ProSwicther which gives me the fun look and feel of a Palm Pre when switching through applications, including the same touch gestures (see below – to close an app you can hit the (x) or slide it off the top of the screen).
While some of that stuff is just aesthetics (btw, did I mention my ring-tone is now the hidden door sound of the original Legend of Zelda? Major shout-out to Derek Christensen for the idea), there are some serious tweaks going on in the background. To name a few, I’m running open SSH to gain access to my file structure, NetaTalk (uses Apple Protocol) to allow wireless access to my iPhone’s file structure, 3G Unrestrictor which gets past the “You Can Only Use This App on Wireless, not 3G” stuff, and SBSettings (see images below) to have easy access to turning features on and off as well as free up memory or kill applications.
(Note the “Available Memory” in the first image. I hit “Free Up Memory” and it cleared a considerable amount that was being wasted. Also note that the SSH toggle on the right only exists because I have Open SSH installed)
Finally the iPhone is what it should have been, arguably, from the beginning! Does everything work perfectly? Surprisingly, it’s pretty close! Apple continually spews lies about how running multiple apps will kill the battery or destroy the memory management, but it seems pretty obvious that the jailbreak community has figure some of this stuff out. MAYBE my battery dies a bit faster than it would otherwise, but I have to charge it every night anyway… And with the ability to quickly turn off 3G, location awareness, and wifi in SBSettings, it’s really easy to actually conserve more battery that way. This is the only reason I have some hope for the iPad – Apple made a fail of a product, but perhaps the jailbreak community can actually make it cool!
Oh, and my favorite jailbreak app?
WHAAA?! You mean I can haz texts in appz?! (Sorry I’m using you as an example Aly!) I didn’t take a screen shot of the actual reply function, but essentially I just hit that reply button and an overlay of the texting screen pops up and I can immediately respond without going to the texting application (don’t fool yourself, it’s an app like the others but with a push notification like setup – it is NOT like the phone or email clients that are constantly running). This is a HUGE plus for me! HUGE! I get text messages throughout the day, and I hated having to close whatever I was working on to reply. Granted, now that I can run multiple apps I could just move from app to app, but this streamlines the process even more! Why does this not exist in the native iPhone OS? Ask El Jobso, cause it freakin’ should!
All in all, I’m happy as a clam. Yes, the novelty of it all has kind of worn off, but that doesn’t mean I’m not super happy about it. Really, truly, this is the kind of stuff the iPhone should already be able to do. If Apple adds a majority of these improvements to the standard OS then maybe I’ll switch back at that point, but right now the jailbreak community has figured out how to truly unlock the power of the device.