Gadget in, Gadget out

One of many resolutions this year:

Gadget in, Gadget out.

For every new gadget it get, I need to purge 1 or more which is ‘mothballed’ from the house.

Google Voice, FaceTime and having privacy with a public phone number

In all my recent FaceTime tinkering it came to me that I could easily post my Google Voice phone number as my FaceTime number.

The idea being you could post the Google Voice number anywhere. You can accept or decline audio phone calls however you see fit and convert any audio phone call you want to make a FaceTime video call seamlessly with the press of a button.

Many popular tech people on Twitter publish their phone number. Having that number be a Google Voice phone number would allow you to have multiple phones and allow ‘protected’ FaceTime calling since they’ always start as audio calls, you can also have call forwarding and other controls.

Another great thing about Google Voice.

A Simple Graphic of Using a Google Voice Number
and FaceTime Calling

Special Look: Face Time (part 1: Introduction) Facetime Introduction

Packetstan has a GREAT article on FaceTime. Read it!

Special Look: Face Time (part 1: Introduction)
Facetime Introduction

Here’s the Summary -

Based on this analysis we can determine several critical pieces of how Facetime works:

  • Unknown TCP protocol starts the conversation, likely initiated following an event that starts on the GSM network;
  • Unknown UDP traffic between two hosts with similar IP addresses;
  • Certificate validation through an Akamai server, followed by an HTTPS request to an Apple server;
  • STUN traffic for NAT traversal;
  • SIP traffic for call setup and negotiation;
  • UDP stream data for video/audio.

In the next part of this series,we’ll spend some more time look at the SIP and video/audio streaming traffic and look at some tools we can use to extract that data. Stay tuned!

FaceTime call over AT&T 3G, no Sprint, no tether, no iPhone 4 Jailbreak

There have been several stories about FaceTime calls over 3G since the launch of the iPhone 4. People have made calls over LaptopMag, which was covered by Wired and Gizmodo, among others. LaptopMag performed a FaceTime call using a HTC Evo 4G’s Hotspot feature. The consensus was that it worked, but audio and video was bad.

I also found online a DeviceKnit Blog article about FaceTime over 3G (aka FaceTime without WiFi). This requires a Tethering Plan from AT&T and a laptop.  DeviceKnit stated the tethering plan would be an extra $15 a month. What what I saw, it would be more for me and I’d have to worry about Data Usage.

Since the iPhone 4 Jailbreak isn’t public and I don’t have it, I looked for a simpler solution using my Unlimited iPhone Data plan. I found it in my trusty Jailbroken iPhone 3GS, using MyWi.

I succeeded and have made 4+ successful FaceTime calls from my iPhone 4 (Airplane mode with WiFi on), over my iPhone 3GS WiFi (via MyWi) and out into the Internet via my AT&T 3G.

What’s important here is that SMS isn’t a factor on the iPhone 4 once you have done the initial FaceTime registration.  AddictiveTips has a post talking about SMS and FaceTime. My findings seem to conflict with what was reported there.

Some other thoughts:

  • If everyone starts doing this, likely AT&T will find resources they never knew they had to hunt down the abusers.
  • Audio and Video was poor
  • I’m happy to test this out with a member of press, but not just anyone since you could be AT&T and I don’t want to get cancelled!

Here was my setup

  • iPhone 4 -Unit A (Connections: Carrier 3G & Home WiFi)
  • iPhone 4 – Unit B (Connection: WiFi only to iPhone 3GS) Airplane mode w/ WiFi on.
  • iPhone 3GS JailBroken ( Connections: Carrier 3G & WiFi via MyWi
  • MicroSIM adapter (Check Craigslist too!)

I went to the AT&T store and got a new MicroSIM my iPhone 4 – Unit B (I kept getting “No SIM” message, unrelated to this experiment).

After confirming new MicroSIM works, I put the iPhone 4 into Airplane mode. I put the active MicroSIM in my 3GS with MicroSIM adapter.

I took original MicroSIM and put it in my iPhone 4. This SIM was disable by the carrier. It couldn’t send SMS. Turned WiFi on.

I activated MyWi on the 3GS. Connected the iPhone 4 to the MyWi peer-to-peer WiFi connection.

I placed a test call from iPhone 4 – Unit A to iPhone 4 – Unit B. Success!

I also later have a quick FaceTime call with a very nice, random person, from Twitter who was in a Florida Airport via WiFi, about to board for a return trip to Chicago. Connection was poor as stated.

To me, my experiment proves:

1. iPhone 4 – Unit B, which originated FaceTime call, in Airplane mode, with WiFi on, connected to 3GS running MyWi : Doesn’t send a SMS over carrier data. Thus isn’t a SMS, proper. Maybe it’s something else. Maybe it’s like an SMS, bit it’s NOT a SMS going over carrier data since my SIM is deactivated.

2. I’d expect to see an iPod Touch with a camera in the future since FaceTime isn’t designed to rely on SMS over carrier data for every connection.
I’ll add some photos and maybe a video later, if people want.


If you have what it takes, (literally, you need to have all that stuff, MicroSIM adapter, JB iPhone 3G or 3GS, a deactivated extra MicroSIM from AT&T), you may find that once your IP changes you may have FaceTime call errors. I resolved by turning off the iPhone 4. Installing the known good MicroSIM, booted up, got carrier data, and then entered Airplane mode. Swapped SIMs and I was back in business.

I’m happy to answer reasonable questions.

Wi-Fi Sync for iPhone, iPod & iPad

Great news today. One of my must have iPhone apps, Wi-Fi Sync, is on-sale for next week and getting 3G and VPN sync in the future according to their press release today

This is for Jailbreakers only, since Apple choose to reject it.

Yet another great reason to Jailbreak. It’s easy!

Get Wi-Fi Sync

Cydia Direct App Linking / Package Link

I noticed last night in an email from Greg Hughes that Wi-Fi Sync launched on Cydia due to Apple’s AppStore rejection.

He had rather cumbersome directions to get to the app in Cydia. It got me thinking that there must be a better way.

Searching online didn’t reveal anything. A tweet and email to Saurik, aka Jay Freeman, hasn’t been answered and may never.

My research lead me to the solution.

It should look familiar to any developers. I share so anyone, bloggers, developers can add in-Cydia app links onto their websites to help users.


For your app, just grab your package ID (see third photo), and put it after package/


Update: 3/11/11 – Just noticed this isn’t working with my current version of Cydia 1.0.3366-1. humm..

Update: 3/29/11 – Cydia 1.1.1 released today corrects the bug that removed the ability for direct package / app links into Cydia.

Apple showing an uncivilized Side

David Carr with the New York Times had an article on May 2, 2010 entitled: A Lost iPhone Shows Apple’s Churlish Side.

Here’s an email I sent him with some of my comments & thoughts.


With respect to your recent article re: Apple’s Churlish Side

I agree that their visiting the suspects home was behavior befitting a more brutish, paranoid organization and the search and seizure at Jason Chen’s home has yet to be ruled legal or illegal. Apple’s positon on REACT likely fueled the legal effort.

I’m not making judgement yet but would encourage you to consider an update with a detail:

In light of this prior action my Gawker, I feel Apple has no choice but to assert itself as the iPhone 4G was second frontal assault by Gawker in a short time.

With both the iPad treasure hunt and the iPhone 4G in view, Gawker has crossed a line of journalist and headed towards facailating corporate espionage.

Some thoughts. Would welcome hearing from you.

Sorry for any typos, doing this from my phone.


CEOs do care, Palm’s Jon Rubinstein responds

Friday morning, (3/26/10) while driving to work I read an engadget story about a really good Palm fan commercial. I watched it and agreed it was very well done. Heiko Thies did it better then some high priced marketing firm, IMO. On a whim I decided to e-mail the Palm CEO and see if you respond. After all even Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO has been responding lately to emails sent directly to him by customers. To my surprise, Jon Rubinstein responded back.

The reason I’m posting thus online is to point out that it’s really good to see some CEOs still care and take the time to talk to customers. I currently have an iPhone but I’ve been a happy Palm customer before and I hope to be again when a Palm device hits AT&T.

One last note, I don’t think we should all start emailing CEOs without a little due diligence, less the onslaught become quickly overwhelming. I’m sure a flaming email would have been trashed. I know at my last job with a major Financial Services company, the CEO never responded to the general public. His emails were screened by the PR team and stopped there.

Update: 3/27/2010 Gizmodo picked up this story and really trashed Jon and Palm. I think they are WAY off base with their position missing my point.

Palm might be down, but they aren’t out.

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for ; Fri, 26 Mar 2010 12:01:02 -0700 (PDT)
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
Mime-Version: 1.0 (Apple Message framework v1077)
Subject: Re: Fan-made Pre ad gets the point, why can’t Palm? (video) – Engadget
From: Jon Rubinstein
In-Reply-To: <>
Date: Fri, 26 Mar 2010 12:01:01 -0700
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To: Jon
X-Mailer: Apple Mail (2.1077)

I sometime respond too :-)

You should buy a Pre plus because it is the best smartphone on the =
market. Try it, you’ll like it!!!!

thanks for forwarding,


On Mar 26, 2010, at 4:20 AM, Jon wrote:

> If Steve Jobs responds to people, I figured I’d try this.
> Wanted you to see this. I might have bought a Pre had your commercials =
> looked like this.
> Suggest you chat your Marketing / PR team.
> Cheers,
> -Jon
>> =

Why do we blog? Who cares?

The main reason I first got online in 1993, via SLIP, Chamelon, and a local ISP named Charmnet was to connect and learn. Over the years I have done that, and I’d like to capture some of that for myself, as I’m sure I’m going to forget things, as well as for others who might benifit.

This blog will cover a plethora of topics, but it will also be a sandbox for me to tinker with things too. If you like what you read, or not, or have a question drop me a line.

Topics I’ll likely cover:

  • TiVo (DirecTV TiVo mainly, but also general TiVo corporate)
  • iPhone (Proper and Jailbreak) and Mobile devices
  • Apple / OS X (Proper and Hackintosh)
  • Web Development
  • Technology
  • ‘Rants’
  • Anything else that a geeky father stumbles upon in life

More to follow

March 1st

I’ve been on hiatus from the blogging world due to work conflicts. Now that I feel that they don’t exist, I’m back. My goal will be 1 post a week starting 3/15.

Bottom line. Subscribe to my RSS feed or follow me on Twitter @methodicjon

More good stuff coming!