mobileterminal

So you upgraded to iOS 4.x and now your MobileTerminal no longer works. It tries to start but immediately dies. This really upsets you as you find that you fairly frequently require it. As a solution you end up with MobileTerminal 426. This comes as a huge relief, that is until you realise that it’s almost unusable. If that sounds like the place you’re currently at then stress not. Comment 61 at http://code.google.com/p/mobileterminal/issues/detail?id=172#makechanges includes a link to a fixed package that works exactly how you’d want MobileTerminal to work, but this time also on iOS 4.x. The comment says:

If Allen would like to get MobileTerminal 426 in Cydia, he should personally contact one of the major repositories, such as BigBoss, to get it hosted. The repository maintainers do not like (nor should they like) working with third parties who are trying to get stuff hosted, as it means that maintenance and other correspondence will be going through someone largely uninvolved. Please: DO NOT submit MobileTerminal to Cydia unless you are Allen Porter.

As for the current MobileTerminal package in Cydia, it is much more functional than revision 426, but does not currently work on iOS 4. What made MobileTerminal useful/interesting was its intricate gesture support, allowing for modifiers like control, special keys like escape, and entire commands to be bound to fast movements on the screen. MobileTerminal 426, meanwhile, doesn’t even support scrolling the terminal screen.

It is therefore incredibly depressing to the core community of users of MobileTerminal that the development has taken the direction it has: users of the existing copy of MobileTerminal simply cannot be upgraded to the “latest” release, as it frankly is an entirely unrelated project. It is my personal opinion that Allen should have renamed this new version of MobileTerminal to something different, like “MobileTerminal Redux” or something, to indicate this.

Due to this confusion, when and if MobileTerminal “426” is released to Cydia, it simply cannot be listed as a direct upgrade to MobileTerminal “364”. When and if this occurs, the current “MobileTerminal” package will be renamed to “MobileTerminal Classic” or something, but retain its package identifier, so existing users can safely continue using it until MobileTerminal manages to regain the functionality that it once had.

Now, it /is/ understood that users of MobileTerminal on iOS 4 currently have issues. However, in the grand scheme of things, not many people were actually using iOS 4 on jailbroken devices until the very recent jailbreakme.com exploit release last week. In order to maintain the current level of functionality for these users, I have been forced (again) to step in and maintain the old (awesome) branch of MobileTerminal. I do not like doing this, and was hoping someone else would step up to the plate, but I will continue to do so until such time as there is a viable replacement. :(

Users who wish to help test this new version can obtain it at the following direct .deb URL. It should be noted that this revision isn’t quite right on all devices, having some interesting visual artifacts due to the new way in which it is being rendered. I believe that this can be fixed, but I may end up pushing this release anyway with the old binary also included, doing a selection “is the user on iOS 4? ok, then use XXX binary” when the program is run.

http://apt.saurik.com/debs/mobileterminal_364.3-12_iphoneos-arm.deb

I don’t have to explain how to do anything useful with this, do I? A “dpkg -i” will end up replacing your faulty MobileTerminal with this working one. Happy happy times!! Thank you so much to Saurik for this!!

Bad Apples

I have a Macbook Pro 15” 2.2GHz which was purchased in 2007. I purchased AppleCare with it locally as the company I work for has an arrangement which allows them to purchase AppleCare locally. Doing a warranty check against my serial number on the Apple website confirmed that the warranty expires in 2010. The machine started giving me graphics related issues, but they weren’t consistent so I didn’t take it in for a few days while I tried to find out what the problem was, if any. I ended up running Apple diagnostics and unfortunately my suspicions were confirmed as I was told that I do indeed have a graphics card issue. I then found out that this is a common problem with Macbook Pros that have NVIDIA graphics cards like my one and that Apple extend the standard one year warranty to two years for this fault. Given all of that I felt that it was safe to assume that this was a fairly common problem that Core must surely see pretty frequently, and that it couldn’t be too hard to diagnose seeing as even I was able to diagnose it, and that given how common the problem was, Core would be silly to not keep stock of the replacement parts.

I was going to take the machine to the Core technical center in Jet Park, so I went to the Core website to find the address. Mmm, confusing. The website still said that Core were in Kramerview. Confused and not wanting to go all the way to a location in Jet Park that I had yet to confirm the address of, I tried phoning them. Not ONE of the numbers on their contact page worked!!!!! I asked a friend who used to work for Core if she could find out for sure whether I was able to take the machine in to an iStore, and she said I could, so I took it to Clearwater and booked it in all officially etc. A few days later I phoned all the numbers I could find for the technical center to see how far they were to solving my problem, and was told that the machine wasn’t even booked in yet, despite the iStore having said that they have a daily courier service between all iStores and the technical center. I then began many frustrating days of trying to get through to Core and simply not succeeding. I was given an email address for a supposed “Nuno” who I wrote an email to, only to have it bounce as he doesn’t really exist. I had a security guard answer a phone after ten minutes on hold only to tell me that I must phone back in ten minutes because nobody was there and that he was just a security guard and I must not get cross with him. Not there?? In the middle of the day?

I’m sure you can appreciate how I was feeling about Core (and Apple in general) at this stage. Pretty damn furious. And that aside, if you have a Mac or a job then you will appreciate either how much I was hating not having a Mac, or how much my work was being negatively affected by not having a proper machine to work on.

I finally managed to get hold of Core and was told me that a quote had been sent to the iStore many days ago. Thanks iStore, don’t bother phoning me or anything. I’m sure my sensors will just figure this one out for themselves. I told them that being sent a quote was crap and that they didn’t need a proof of purchase when they were being told quite clearly by Apples own website that the machine is under warranty until 2010. I was told they would let the technician know. I wasn’t told that this was code for “thanks a lot sir now you can begin another four week wait during which you have no idea what’s happening as you can’t get hold of us.”. But that’s what happened.

Tick, tock.

When you reach this point you become stuck as to what, if anything, you can do about it. I thought about Hello Peter‘ing them but decided that this wasn’t going to make any difference with a company that clearly gives rocks for whether they have unhappy clients or are providing an even vaguely decent service. Besides, enough people had already complained there, and they were mostly all still unhappy. Stuck as to what my plan was, I dreamed up different ways for them to die, and made some of these public (on every social network that I’m on thanks to ping.fm).

And what an excellent plan that was, as I was immediately given the attention of the first of two of the only one decent people to work at Core. In an email I told him: “I don’t have the energy or time to baby such a large collection of incompetent people, so who knows how long this is going to take if you or somebody else there isn’t able to help. As much as I love my Mac, and you must understand… I really really love it, this kind of situation is going to play a large part in deciding whether or not I spend another R30 000 in a few years when it’s time for my next machine. It’s _really_ bad service!!!!”. This was only sent to him at around midday, and yet that very same day he had managed to track down on their side what the story was, make a decision on whether they could help me or not, and what help they’d give me, get the second decent person who works there to fix the thing and have him phone me to find out whether I wanted a certain partition on that machine and finally to have him reinstall Leopard on my machine. Very impressive! My problem was immediately solved. It took another three or four days for the machine to return to the iStore, but I was happy to be able to fetch it on Friday after work, despite the time being 20h00… yes, 8 o’clock in the evening.

After all of that I hadn’t wanted to spend any more of my life wasting time with Core, as I just did by writing this post, but if it’s going to help make up the mind of a potential purchaser of a Mac who doesn’t really have R30 000 to spend on a laptop but has been told really good things about Macs, then I guess it wasn’t that much of a waste of time.