Wednesday, 16 November 2011

How to get rid of the dependency on Icon Project when using it to make iOS 5 shortcuts

The Icon Project app is great way to get custom app icons onto your home screen. In combination with iOS 5 exposing deep links into Settings, its a must have.

However installing the app from the App Store did make me pause and reconsider when it says "your icons won't work if you uninstall Icon Project".

Wow, I thought, one extra icon I have to keep around. Because once you have your icons, why should you need it?

Turns out that the URLs for the icons are redirected through the Icon Project app. Making them truly standalone is better and this is what I set out to do.

To do this we edit the URL back to what it should be before saving it to our home screen using the technique for Mobile Safari bookmarklets.

Create your icon as normal and when Icon Project sends you into Safari follow these steps:

1. Save the icon's web page as a bookmark (not on the home screen yet).

2. Edit the bookmark (tap Bookmarks, then find it, tap the Edit button and tap the bookmark).

3. Copy the Address text to the clipboard (tap the text, tap Select All, tap again, tap Copy).

4. Press the Home button and launch the Notes app. Create a new note and Paste in the text (the address is an embedded web page therefore it's easier to edit this way).

5. In the note, look for the URL starting with iconfactory:// ending with a numerical ID. Replace this text with the URL you want the shortcut to load.

6. Select All and Copy the text again.

7. Return to Safari. Select All on the address and Paste to replace it with the modified version. Save the bookmark.

8. Go to the bookmark. This will reload the web page with the new URL in it.

9. Now Save to Home Screen as normal following it's instructions. This icon won't require Icon Project to be installed.

Now you can delete the temporary bookmark you created but I instead recommend you keep it so you can quickly re-create the one on the home screen should you delete it and later want it back. Think of them as backups. You can move them into their own folder too if you want.

Now to prove it, you can delete Icon. Project. (Don't panic after proving your icons work simply reinstall it from the App Store Purchased page.) Icons created without being modified freeze on a white screen. The modified ones should still work.

Bonus tip: If you want some other icons, use Google Image Search in Safari, saving the icons you want to the Camera Roll (long tap and then select Save Image) then get the icons via the Camera button in Icon Project.

More prefs URLs for use on iOS 5 for Settings App shortcuts

The below link describes App shortcuts deep-linking into the Settings app on iOS 5.

How to Create Custom Shortcuts For WiFi Settings, Airplane Mode, and More – No Jailbreak Required

(Blogger app keeps losing my text, so apologies for the abbreviated post.)

This captivated me so I hunted around for more options, here they are:

Call forwarding: prefs:root=Phone&path=CallForwarding

Call waiting: prefs:root=Phone&path=CallWaiting

Show my caller ID: prefs:root=Phone&path=CallerID

Mobile calls and data usage: prefs:root=General&path=USAGE/CELLULAR_USAGE

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Commentary on Google announces _nomap for WiFi SSIDs

Greater choice for wireless access point owners

While my initial thought is that this is a clumsy idea (it means that you have to re-save your network password on all of your devices for the new SSID) I'm warming to it for a crucial reason:

Recently a couple of things have bothered me in WiFi geolocation:

1. I moved house. The location of the access point I own still registers the old address.

2. I bought a new access point secondhand. The location of that access point still registers as the original owner's address some 3000km away!

Now the _nomap solution won't fix either of these problems because both access points are already in the database. I am waiting patiently for Skyhook to trickle down the updates, if that's even the correct place (how do I update Google directly?).

But it can be used to great effect in another case: mobile wireless hotspots. Any mobile hotspot, be it a device, a laptop (such as a Mac or running Connectify), or a mobile phone has no inherent location, therefore I would love it if manufacturers (because we know no-one changes defaults) could append _nomap in their firmware to the default network name on such devices.

Then again, maybe all devices should do this to their default name upon factory reset, because it only takes being tracked once to get in the database and it's harder to get out once you're in (how often is Google really going to be sampling your network name in your neighbourhood anyway?) as in my above cases.

Of course none of this stops the nefarious among us, the information is out there anyway...