How to Transfer Contacts From Android to iPhone

I recently purchased a new iPhone 4S after having used the original Nexus One for over two years. Now, like most of you who’ve changed phones more than once, I was prepared for the hard (and irritating) work of transferring my contacts from the Android to the iPhone.

In the good ‘ol days this meant either making a list of all the important contacts in one phone and then manually entering them into the second phone, or transferring contacts from the first phone to the SIM card’s internal memory and then transferring them back to the second phone. Both fairly inefficient and time consuming tasks, more so, because most of the time the SIM’s internal memory wasn’t enough to hold all the contacts one might have.

With the advent of cloud based services, though, this process has become quite easy. In this post, I’ll be teaching you how to transfer your contacts from an Android phone to an iPhone.

Android phones, by default, backup all the contacts to Gmail, so the first step to export your contacts out is to login to your Gmail account and display all the contacts stored in Gmail.

Now, select all the contacts that you want to transfer over to the iPhone. If you want to transfer all the contacts, mark the appropriate check box.

Just be wary of one possible bug, when I tried exporting my contacts list of over 300 contacts in one go, Gmail stopped responding for me. The only way I could manage to get all my contacts out of Gmail was by selecting max 60-70 in one go.

So, now the next step is to export all the contacts that you’ve selected in the vCard format since that is the format that the iPhone understands.

Click the More drop down and select Export. In the window that pops up, select “vCard format” and hit Export.

Your browser will now open a file download dialogue for you to save the contacts on your desktop. The next step is to imp or the contacts to iCloud so that the iPhone can sync them from there.

Log into your iCloud account at iCloud.com, open the Contacts application and drag and drop the vCard formatted contacts that you just exported to the iCloud Contacts application.

That’s it. Your iPhone will now automatically sync all the contacts using iCloud as the backend.

How To Make Free Ringtones For Your iPhone

As awesome as the iPhone is, it has a lot of shortcomings. Apple fans would like to claim that Apple doesn’t really play the “features” game and would rather implement a few features well than having a hundred ill conceived features like it’s rivals.

I agree with Apple’s philosophy to a certain extent but when a phone, in the 21st century, doesn’t let a user have their own songs as ring tones, it is taking that philosophy a little too far. That too, when Apple itself sells ringtones through it’s iTunes music store. Thankfully there are ways to make ringtones for your iPhone for free and you don’t have to pay Apple a cent for them. The only limitation seems to be that ringtones for the iPhone have to be approximately 40 seconds in size. I haven’t been able to figure out the exact time restriction so we’ll keep our custom ringtones to about 30 seconds in length.

We’ll be using iTunes for making ringtones so you’ll have to launch iTunes and select the song that you want to use for making your ringtone.

Select and right click the song in iTunes and select Get Info from the context menu. Hit the Options tab.

Now, enter the start and stop time for your ringtone. For example, in the screenshot above, from the song that I selected, iTunes will use the audio from the 43rd second till the 1.10 min mark to make my ringtone. Press the Ok button.

Now, right click the song again and select the Create AAC version option.

The next step is a little tricky and a lot of people do it wrong. It isn’t that difficult, though.

When iTunes has finished creating the AAC version of your song, you’ll see two copies of the same song in your iTunes library. The only difference will be that one will be the full song and the other will be the clipped version that starts and ends at the times that you gave earlier. You can identify the length of the songs with the Time column in your library.

What you need to do is select the AAC version (shorter) of the song and drag it out of your library to the desktop. When iTunes has copied the song to your desktop, delete the file from the iTunes library. This deletion step is really important otherwise iTunes will fail to recognize your new ringtone file.

The file that you’ve copied to your desktop will have an extension of .M4A. Rename the extension to .M4R.

That’s all. All you have to do, now, is to drag this file back to iTunes. iTunes will automatically place the file in the Tones section of your library. Sync your iPhone as usual using iTunes and you should be able to use your own custom ringtone. All without paying Apple a single dime of your hard earned money.

How To Convert Any Video File to Play On Your iPhone

Apple’s iPhone and iPad are considered to be really picky when it comes to the type of video formats they play. And rightfully so. The iOS family of devices, that include the iPhone, iPad and the iPod touch, support only a few video formats and refuse to play anything else. In fact, iTunes itself refuses to sync any file that it knows will not play on the iOS device.

If you download a lot of movies from the Internet, this might be a problem for you since most of those movies are stored in the Divx format to save space and bandwidth and Apple’s devices don’t support playing Divx or most other popular formats.

The only way to play such a file on an iOS device is by converting it to a supported format. We’ve written about how to convert video files earlier using the open source ffmpeg and WinFF. If you’re a geek and are comfortable using the command line, by all means use those methods. You’ll have the maximum flexibility and ffmpeg is an excellent and reliable piece of software.

If you’re not a geek and would rather have a nice GUI to handle the conversion, fret not ! I’m going to tell you about exactly the thing you need.

Handbrake

The developers of Handbrake describe it as a multi platform, multithreaded video transcoder available for Mac OS X, Linux or Windows. Which, in simple English, means that it is a video conversion utility available for the three major platforms that exist. I’m using Handbrake on my Mac OS X machine but the instructions for Windows or Linux should be similar and you will be able to follow along.

The first step is to, if it wasn’t obvious, download and install Handbrake.

When you launch Handbrake, you will be presented with a file open dialogue box. Select the file that you want to transcode (convert).

Handbrake will automatically fill in the Destination path for you but if you want to store the converted file in a different path, select that using the Browse button.

Now, there are two kinds of conversion that you can do. The first is to create a file, specifically encoded for the device you want to run it on, for example and iPod or an iPad and the second method is to create a generic file that’ll run on almost any iOS device. I’ll take you through both methods.

Create a device specific file

This is the easiest method, just select the Apple device that you want to encode the video file for from the Apple drop down in the sidebar and Handbrake will preselect the best settings for that device. Hit Start and you’re done!

Create a generic file

To convert the file to a format that can run on any iOS device, make sure the Format selected is “MP4” and video codec “H.264”.

From the Audio tab, make sure the Track and Codec are MP3 or AAC.

This really should take care of everything. Press the Start button and Handbrake will get to work immediately. Video conversion is a CPU intensive task and depending on the capabilities of your machine and the size of the file you’re converting, anywhere between 30 minutes to 2 hours or more. Get a cup of coffee, listen to some music and relax a little.

 

5 Ways to Use Your iPhone As A Diet Assistant

This is a guest post by Matthew Denos.

Weight Loss AppsNeed to drop some pounds? Have an iPhone? If so, you have an entire weight loss
program at your fingertips !

There are 500—and counting—weight loss applications available for download, many of which are free. There are apps that will help you determine how much you need to lose, how many calories you should be consuming, how many calories are in different foods, or how many calories are burned with various activities, and apps to help you track it all. No, this doesn’t mean you should skip your workout today—and maybe even for the rest of the week—in order to browse through them. Instead, you can start with the list provided here, which will get you started towards your goal.

1. BMI Calculator

Weight Loss Apps

The first app you might want to use is one that offers a Body Mass Index (BMI) calculator. Your BMI provides a rough approximation of the percentage of body fat you are carrying around, based on your weight relative to your height. BMI Calculator is a free app for the iPhone that will estimate your BMI for you and determine whether you are underweight, normal, overweight, or obese. It is a very basic application wherein you enter your height and weight, and your BMI is calculated. This is a little piece of information, yet very valuable when starting a weight loss progam. It shows you how far away you are from your ideal weight. You also have the option of entering your age and your gender. The newest version of BMI Calculator allows you to save each of your BMI measures and provides a graphic display of the trend; Apple/iTunes.

2. 2Fat

Weight Loss Apps

Another, similar application, is 2Fat. In addition to providing you with an estimate of your BMI, this app translates this number into a percentage of body fat. Instead of having to type in your height and weight, you use scroll wheels to enter the data. 2Fat is a free app, but the developer of the app—two Enterprises—offers an upgraded version, 2Fat +, which costs $0.99 to download. The upgraded version allows the user to enter the data in metric units (a feature that is not available on the free version) and automatically stores the user data when you exit the app; Apple/iTunes.

3. Calorie Counter

Weight Loss Apps

Calorie Counter is another great free weight loss application. This application is an extension of the online diet website, CalorieCount.com. It not only provides nutritional data for more than 100,000 foods, but also offers a library of over 150 low-calorie recipes. Users can browse through the recipe file by course, food group, and/or dietary elements. They can access information for some of their favorite exercises as well and record both their daily caloric intake and expenditure. Both U.S. and metric units are supported by this app, and you can enter your weight and view recent logs even when no Internet connection is available; Apple/iTunes.

4. Lose It!

Weight Loss Apps

Lose It! is a free app that has received national acclaim in the U.S. It enables you to record your daily food intake and exercise to help you in your weight loss efforts. The application provides an extensive database of food—including restaurant items– and activities and allows you to add additional foods and activities with ease. You are also able to track nutritional information, such as fat grams, carbohydrates, cholesterol, and fiber. The “log” screen displays calories consumed and calories expended for the day, along with your daily caloric budget, and calculates how much over or under budget you are. No internet connection is needed, and there are no annoying advertisements, either; Apple/iTunes.

5. Absolute Fitness

Weight Loss Apps

The Absolute Fitness app has an extensive exercise database, in addition to a comprehensive nutritional database. It provides information on calories expended for more than 180 different physical activities and calories, fat grams and other nutritional information—including vitamin content—for over 10,000 foods. It also gives users the ability to create “custom” foods (meals) that consist of more than one food item. This application automatically calculates daily nutrient intake limits and sets a goal for you, based on the information you entered into your profile. You can elect to customize these figures, however. A daily snapshot allows you to see how much you have already consumed and how much you can still consume of a specific nutrient. Absolute Fitness also has a feature that allows you to track your body fat percentage, blood pressure, hours of sleep, and amount of water consumption. All this can be had for a $4.99 download fee; Apple/iTunes.

About the Author:

As a medical scientist with a specific interest in obesity treatement, Matthew loves anything mobile that can get people on the road to improved health and well-being. He writes for a number of different tech and health sites and offers coupons for the Medifast meal replacement diet plan.

How To view iPad version of websites on your Computer

iPadThe iPad has been a roaring success. There are no two ways about it. It is an awesome device and the built-in web browser is the best in it’s class.

Even though most websites work perfectly fine on an iPad, a lot of web publishers have optimized versions of their websites available for just the iPad. Often, the iPad optimized versions are designed with a touch interface in mind but sometimes the desingers get a little more creative and take the single tasking focussed of the iPad and design an interface that is not only a delight to use on the iPad, but would also serve as a better interface for the desktop version.

Take, for example, the iPad version of Gmail. The regular desktop browser based Gmail is fun to use and, IMHO, has one of the best interfaces for email on the web. But, the iPad optimized version of Gmail takes GTD to a whole new level.

If you want to use the iPad version of Gmail on your desktop computer, all you’ve got to do is fool Gmail into thinking that you’re actually visiting the site from your iPad instead of your desktop browser.

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[Mac] How To use Automator to Test your Website’s iPhone version

Automator - LogoBefore the iPhone came, only the largest websites had a separate version exclusively for mobile visitors which was usually based on WAP. And since there weren’t too many mobile visitors anyway, a lot of site owners just didn’t bother with creating a lighter version of their websites. The mobile web was a mess and those of us (un)fortunate enough to have meddled with it back then were a bruised lot !

The iPhone definitely changed the mobile web landscape for the better. The  iPhone’s browser was probably the first mobile browser that could actually display regular websites almost as well as desktop based browsers.

But, the consumers wanted even more. They weren’t happy with pinching, zooming and double tapping their way around to navigate a website and wanted all websites to have a version for the iPhone.

So, let’s say you have made the decision to build an iPhone version of your website, coded it all up and now want a way to test your new iPhone optimized site. What are your options ?

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uQuery: A better search engine for the Apple App store

uQuery LogoThe Apple App store has truly revolutionized the business of mobile phone applications. It is often touted as a unique feature of the iPhone (and the iPod Touch) and is absolutely one of the best things to have happened to the developers developing applications for the platform.

For the end user, though, the App store can be a bit frustrating at times. There are a dozen or so categories and hundreds of applications available for download under each category. At last count, the store had over 65,000 applications competing with each other for a share of the (crowded) market.

iTunes, and it’s mobile counterpart, is used to search for and download applications for the App store. The problem is that with the limited search functions (and categorization) that iTunes provides, it is a nightmare for the users to actually sift through all the choices available and download that one application which’ll work for them.

uQuery aims to solve that very problem and make it easier for the end users to search the app store through an easy interface that (almost) reminds one of the simplicity of Google. And that in my books is a good thing.

uQuery

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WinFF – a media convertor for (almost) any format

WinFFHow many times have you come across a movie or a video clip and wished that you could put it on your iPod and watch it on the go ? Or came across a DivX encoded video and wished that you could burn it to a DVD and play it on an old style DVD player ?

With the increasingly fast broadband connections that most of us have these days, videos are becoming as much a part of our daily internet consumption as text is. But, unlike text, videos are not portable – You can’t just take a video from one source and play it anywhere you want. Of course, with media players like VLC, this is less of a problem but even VLC can’t help you if you want videos from a random site to work on, say, your iPod.

If converting videos and juggling between the different file formats is becoming too much for you to handle, you should give WinFF a try.

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Twitterific 2.0 for iPhone

Twitterrific

Twitterrific for iPhone just updated to version 2.0 (iTunes Link) and I’m already in love with it. I’ve been a long time twitterrific user but that was mostly because of two reasons. The first reason was that it was free (with advertisements) and the second reason was that I liked the clean interface more than the other free twitter clients available for the iPhone.

Twitterrfic in it’s earlier version was not a tool for power users, though, and as I started to *get* twitter more and more, I started missing the features I wanted to use in twitterrific, and was even toying with the idea of purchasing a better and more powerful twitter client.

That  changed with the launch of twitterrific 2.0 recently and from what I’ve seen till now, it is an absolute delight to use. I don’t think I need to leave twitterific anytime soon. This post is a walk through of the major features that Twitterrific 2.0 brings to the table.

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Google releases iPhone interface for Google Book search

Google Book searchGoogle has just released an iPhone optimised interface for their Book search portal.

This brings almost 1.5 million public domain books within easy reach of iPhone/iPod touch owners.

The only problem is that unlike other eBook readers available for the iPhone, the user has to be connected and online to read books on Google’s platform. The other ebook readers usually let the user download a copy of the book on to their fancy devices and read the books at leisure.

Apart from the above problem, Google’s interface is also quite spartan compared to the other offline readers like  Stanza. The web based Google Book search does not support hand gestures to change pages, will not have fancy page turning effects and it looks like in its current avatar, tends to display multiple pages of a book on the same page and so reading a book requires quite a bit of scrolling.

Book search interface

That said, having access to 1.5 million books can only be a good thing and I’m sure many of us would love to curl up with a good book … err iPhone .. in our hands on a nice sunday afternoon. Get start by visiting Google book search from your iPhone at http://books.google.com/m.

This web application also works with the Android browser.