The smartphone market made things change in 2013 – a little overview

We are at the 4th quarter of the year and the Smartphone market is hyped, by many factors, good and bad changes happened in the recent past that I wanted to discuss and mention in this post.

I seriously think changes that are done to adopt to the ever growing market are done too fast by big companies without being well thought regarding the effects this has to the users.

E.g. Skype now informs you via a pop-up that Skype Desktop API will be discontinued by December this year, making many plugins and even commercial programs like Pamela and Messenger Plus! for Skype will be no longer available for use.

This also affects hobby projects like my C64 diskmag Scene World, where we use thew Messenger Plus! for Skype Skype plugin to record Skype video interviews with computer industry pionneers for every isssue.

Right now, I do what Pamela suggests (see above) and stick with an older version of Skype. Lucky enough 6.7 for Windows Desktop can be found here.

While this is bad for freeware and commercial solutions that rely on the Skype API, there are now already alternatives that of course use that for marketing. Like SuperTinTin here, which means I have to buy it from my own pocket just to be able to do the Skype videos again in the future. Sad!

Skype reasioning is, that people shall rely on the new Skype URIs that are also used for their mobile smartphone clients. Means less resources neccessary to use for Microsoft developers (Yes, Skype is owned by Microsoft nowadays, and they didn’t kill any platform in contrast to what people were afraid of (a lot of users said “now Linux, and Mac clients will be dead 🙁 ), instead they decided to make the life for the 3rd party Skype applications hard.

Skype explains the reasons in their Support database here and speaks about the road ahead in their “Big Blog” here.

Last but not least let’s look at the statistics of the smartphone world via an info graphic:

Are We Wasting Time With Smartphones?

This Infographic is produced by Coupon Audit (provides Shoebacca coupon) and Nafcom


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Replacement iPhone won’t sync on iOS7 – itunes stuck at “waiting for changes to be applied”

So I have got my new iPhone 5 today as a replacement for my previously broken one.

Now I was struck with a problem. After I registered it as a new phone in order to be able to update it to iOS7 as my backup of the old phone was made on iOS7, I was finally able to get it working again except all the apps were missing. syncing was always stuck at “waiting for changes to be applied” (last step of the process).

As I was very unlucky, none of the suggestions I found on the internet worked except the one to transfer all purchases to the new iPhone. At the post of JDCree you can find the way.

now it finally installs and syncs all the missing apps!

I really wonder.  Why is iTunes so uneasy sometimes? I had smiliar “stuck issues” with itunes with older iPHones too.
they could as well, make a time out and give an error message but no, things are just stuck endless.

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My first defective iPhone – AppleCare Warranty Case – A True Story! – The Broken Power Button.

Apple’s customer support is not really really having a good reputation in the EU, especially since they tried first to limit the 2 years warranty to 1 despite it’s an EU law. I have been an early adopter of the shiny new iOS7 and installed the beta, Especially I was happy about the new looks, the new notification center, the control center and the new photo app and the improved multi-tasking.

Then suddenly I notied with the latest beta version, that the Power Button reacted slow on input, I thought this was due to a bug in iOS 7. In the night of last Thursday, when Apple released the new iOS7 in its final version, I had the problem like others that the device crashed while updating and ntoiced that the combination to reset the phone didn’t work well either. I thought damn, the bug is still there. and opened a case under the topic related to firware issues. I was then seeing a message on the screen with “you have decided to call Apple later.

Hotline hours Monday-Sundy.

Your Case Number (You might be asked for this).”

On the following Saturday, I noticed that the problem with the unresponsive power button worsened and decided to google to see whether it’s a known “common” problem.

I found then this (in German). It was exactly as described and pictured there and as in the youtube embedded video: First the right side of the button gets unresponsive, the next step would be that the full button fails.

Since I am a very fair seller and I wouldn’t like to sell a partly damaged phone to a co-worker, friend or on ebay (and I am proud of my 100% positive profile. No neutral no negative ever!) I decided I call them on Sunday. The welcoming message said, Sunday, only limited support is available and when I provided my case number I was told to try again on Monday. So I decided to go without case number this time and was transfered to a German agent that asked standard questions like serial number, IMEI, AppleID, iOS version. When I told him I have a case ID already, he checked it up, found the case ID but said all fields were empty, no AppleID connection, no Serial Number, no error description or IMEI of the iPhone 5 in question. He assumed I didn’t fill the info. When I told him that I didn’t receive a copy by email, he told me I was supposed to call the next day as this happened. I asked him “How I am supposed to know? I got my case ID and thought it’s like at all customer support systems that this is containing all info and my problem”. I told him I first assumed it was caused by a bug in iOS7 rather than anything else, when I found out yesterday that the problem worsened, on the last day of thw 1 year manufacturer warranty covered by AppleCare. He tried to send me to the trader as by EU law this is aupposed to cover the 2nd year of limited warranty as I am 1 day over the manufacturer warranty now becase the ticket is empty. I told him, I didn’t not fill anything, I was simply not asked for additional information but was forwarded straight to the screen with “you have decided to call Apple later.” .

I have told him I noticed problems on Thursday night already when the iOS7 was released but I thought it was because of a software issue but just found out on the last day of the 1 year manufacturer warranty that it’s a hardware failure but that was after Apple’s hotline times. And I would rather not deal with my trader (in this case O2 Germany – Telefonica who are slow … (reports on the internet say O2 takes 4 weeks and longer as told e.g. in this thread of O2 Germany’s forum). I surely didn’t feel like waiting for that long.

The Apple Supporter put me on hold and told me a few minutes later a repair ID number and that UPS will pick it up while I am on holidays the coming week (and guess what, an UPS driver really came at 6 PM today and picked it up! 🙂 ).

We had a few cases of AppleCare returns with iPads at work, and in both cases they rather replaced the device with a new one instead of repairing the device that was sent in. I assume the same will happen with mine!

If you are interested to learn about the power button problem in English, check this.

If you are interested on the EU law rules for warranty and how Apple modified their tables according to it, check this (in German).

Interestingly, the power button problem has also been seen on the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4s previously. However the difference is: in such cases, it was long after the warranty, while the iPhone 5 powerbuttons, if they break, usually break within the warranty time!

An English video of the faulty button can be found on youTube here.

All in all, I am glad I found this out before it was too late. And the Apple Supporter was nice enough to believe my (seriously true!) story!

I can understand how Apple tried on the phone to protect itself from warranty fraud/misuse, but I felt like I was seriously not responsible for the faulty ticketing system that didn’t even request any info and only provided a case number without any user info, device info or error description!

Luckily, I was believed!

This is my 2nd experience with Apple’s customer support and can say I am happy with how I was helped!

Thank you, Apple!

And the new owner of my old iPhone 5 will be happy to get a wonderful shiny and 100% working device for his money! 🙂

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Fixing Windows Update and IE9 starting issues in Windows Vista for good!

Windows Vista, we all hate it. But once in a while we are still facing it. Might it be because we fix a co-workers laptop that comes with it, or you have it because of the sake of using programs that do not run under Windows 7 or 8, or you just never bothered updating.

For a year now, I had faced the following two very disturbing issues:

1) IE 9 would open and close instantly rendering it unuseable.
2) Windows Update Service would not start anymore, despite being activated and not showing any errors.

Of course as usually, in such cases , all the helps on google do not help, neither the official or nor the custom made fix ie and fix windows update too.

An in-place upgrade installation of Windows Vista was not an option as Windows 8 is my primary OS so I didn’t want to spend a lot of time with fixing it, and didn’t feel like fiddling with BCD because of overwritten boot info due to the inplace upgrade.

So I have decided to try a forcing installation of SP2 and IE9, that wasn’t succcessful either.

Finally I found the solution:

As described here in TechNet in “1st option”: 

“Run the System File Checker (SFC) to repair Windows Vista system files
1. Click Start, type “cmd” (without the quote) in the Start Search bar, right-click cmd.exe and click run as administrator.
2. Input the following commands and press Enter after each line.
sfc /scannow
Note: There is a SPACE between “SFC” and “/Scannow”. This command will take several minutes to complete.
If the corrupted files are detected but cannot be fixed, we need Windows Vista Installation Disk to repair Windows.”

This fixes the IE 9 starting issue.

Then I did create a way of fixing Windows Update 
(this is coming straight from my head).

First we stop the update service by running the following in CMD as Admin:

net stop wuauserv

Then we delete the “Software Distribution” folder which can be found in your Windows Root folder.

then we restart the Windows Update service via CMD and same command as above except “start” this time.

If you run Windows Update now it will tell you that it has to install updates to be able to use Windows and then it will ask you to reboot Windows and run Windows Update again

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Super Speed USB Hub (Non Functional) with ASMedia USB 3.0 Controller (e.g. on M5A78L/USB3 motherboard) on Windows 8

you see Super Speed USB Hub (Non Functional) in the device manager with ASMedia USB 3.0 Controller (e.g. on M5A78L/USB3 motherboard) on Windows 8?

 (You can see in detail what this means at the Microsoft Windows USB Core Team Blog, here).

 Here is what to do:

 try disabling the onboard USB 3 controller in the BIOS first and see whether the Non Functional SuperSpeed problem still appears. Well , it didn’t. So it was a driver issue between the PCI-e USB 3.0 controller card and the on-board USB 3.0 controller.

 Of course the ASUS M5A78L/USB3 is not certified for Windows 8 and contacting ASUS before they denied any support or putting new Windows 8 drivers on the download page because of it.
 But thanks to Google I found out that there are new ASMedia USB 3.0 Win8x64 drivers supplied by asus on their Notebook drivers download page:

 And voilla it worked!

This solution was actually supplied with big help of redyear20! Thanks! 🙂

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Installing OpenMandriva 2013 Beta on a laptop with ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4650 (in my case Sony Vaio VGN-FW46M)

You have a  laptop with ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4650 (in my case Sony Vaio VGN-FW46M) and your OpenMandriva 2013 Beta does not show a screen after installation and booting?

I wrote about this issue last year already but it’s a bit different with this new release.

Here is what you have got to do:

Select in grub boot menu that you want to edit the entry.

then you add the following line in the menu entry:

vga=844 nomodeset

You will be very pleased to see that OpenMandriva 2013 will boot for you now ! 🙂

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Zound Me – A unique sound guessing contest game!

The users looking for Quiz games and have ever played SongPop or Quiz battle by (Bubble Pixel) they must try Zound Me. It brings in the new concept in Quiz games, this is actually the combination of sound and pictures in a unique quiz experience – what you hear is what you guess!
Quiz games are the best way to teach the children in the modern educational system and in normally quiz apps comprises pictures and alphabetic guess. Here Zound me step into the new quiz gaming concept, hearing and seeing are our two most important senses and in combination they make up most of our daily experiences. This is the simple observation behind Zound Me – a completely new game just introduced by Copenhagen Creators Associated and QuizN’Joy.
Copenhagen Creators is a concept development company, specializing in apps and mobile games for iOS. Copenhagen Creators was founded in March 2012, a young company but with a very experienced team.
In Zound Me, thousands of sounds from any imaginable source are sampled or recorded and categorized with a corresponding picture of the sound carrier. The game is all about making the connection between sound and picture as fast as possible.
There are six main categories in Zound Me:
Each category contains a great number of sub-categories that can be mixed and played for a constantly changing and challenging gaming experience – and new categories and Zounds will be introduced continuously.
Each question is linked to Wikipedia where the source of the sound is treated in depth. So for the quiz buff who wants to learn new stuff while having fun linking sounds and pictures, Zound Me is a unique new way to indulge in one’s passion.
For everybody else it’s just fun and excitement like they have never heard before.
Zound Me is available as a free download from App Store. Android and Windows versions will follow later. We appreciate if you write an review about Zound Me on your respective site, you can use the screen shots from iTunes.
iTunes Link:

Zound.Me Website:
Facebook Page:
Link to Music Trailer:
Purchase Full Soundtrack:

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Nafcom being interviewed at Classic-Videogames LIVE! #39 with Apprentice

I have recently been interviewed again, this time primarily about my C64 diskmag project Scene World.

The interview is in German and includes a live presentation of issue number #20 starts at 1:00 h in this video:

I hope you enjoy as much as I did enjoying being interviewed 🙂

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Solution: My iOS device only shows a blank update page in the App Store

You have an iOS device from Apple (may it be an iPhone, iPod Touch, or an iPad) and suddenly in your App Store you only see a blank update tab page and even if you connect it to your PC or Mac to your iOS device and update it through iTunes to have the most recent app versions, you still see a ‘1’ like as if 1 update was srill missing?

Well, even the Apple forums don’t have a solution and I was out of ideas, so I decided to contact Apple Support (the first time that I did by the way) and a Mr Slip told me the solution that worked!:

Settings –> General –> Reset –> Reset Network Settings and that worked! 

After the iPhone restarted and I waited till the appstore completely finished loading (Since I did reset the network settings I only had 3G and no WIFI of my router anymore). it took a bit but then there it was the previously hidden update! 

Thanks Apple Support! Thanks to the fact that it was happening to me since the iOS update to 6.1.2 that I updated to yesterday, I was able to request an exception online so received the support call for free! 🙂

Here is how to contact them:

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