Until recently, however, I didn't know that two of these objects could be working together in a more friendly and symbiotic manner. Enter the the IT expertise of my friend Kenneth.
Tonight Kenneth and I were going to join our buddy Liz at a benefit concert up in SF. I opted out pretty last minute in the interest of sticking close to home and the baby (and also on account of the work-the-next-morning factor), and he flaked for as-yet-undetermined, less substantial/noble reasons (I'm thinking it would have cut too deeply into his WoW time). Still though, since he'd originally offered to drive, he was nice enough to head up my way and make good on a previous promise, which was to help me with what became
Today's New Activity: Jailbreakin' my iPhone
So apparently there are tons of people out there developing apps for the iPhone that, for whatever (and various) reasons, Apple decides not to approve for download through iTunes. Some of these are good, useful apps, though. So the Smarties in Smartyville found a way around this, which involves "jailbreaking" the phone (totally legal, FYI) to allow these other apps their day in the sun. Granted, some people may then use the phone for more nefarious, pirating purposes, but that is honestly not my intention. I'm pretty firmly anti-piracy.
What I wanted to be able to do was tether my netbook to the 3G network the iPhone accesses in order to have the glorious interweb available to me wherever I may roam (namely coffee shops without a wi-fi connection, or the breakroom at work). Jailbreaking makes this possible. Yay!
Kenneth and I had long been unable to get together to make this 10-minute phone fix happen, so I was happy we'd get it taken care of. Unfortunately, I'd failed to download the latest version of iTunes, or the latest version of iPhone software to my iTunes or my phone, so the 10-minute fix turned into a whole lot of download progress bar watching. But eventually everything was up-to-date and ready to be hacked.
I freaked out a little when my phone did this:
until I realized it would do that with the download of every single app or configuration available through Cydia, the software and hub of download madness the jailbreak bestowed upon my phone.
And I nearly squealed with delight when I saw that the normal apple icon that appears anytime the phone boots up was replaced by this:
Though I'd already loved my phone well and truly, exploring Cydia (which I was up waaayyyyyy too late doing last night) made me realize the iPhone was an even better investment than I'd thought; there is so much more it can do; I haven't even scratched the surface of its potential. And I was super excited to try out the new, mobile wi-fi connection my netbook would be enjoying.
Just one thing, though. As with any tool, the phone is only as good as the monkey who possesses it. By way of proof, consider this tech support-soliciting text I sent Kenneth after he'd left and I'd purchased the tethering package ($1.99...not bad):
"I can't figure out how to actually do the tethering. It is turned on but I don't see my phone in my network list. I know I'm missing a step but I'm not sure what"Good thing he gets paid to anticipate the special needs of tech-challenged people. His response:
"And phone is plugged into laptop?"D'oh!